Dear Friends & Benefactors,
a few weeks we shall have the great joy of celebrating the
centenary of the birth of our venerated founder, Archbishop
Marcel Lefebvre. What an extraordinary figure this tireless
missionary presents, missionary first of all in Africa to
bring the Gospel, and then missionary in Europe and the
whole world so that the Catholic Faith might be preserved
whole and entire.
would like to dwell upon his magnificent stature and the
profound virtues that characterized him throughout his life,
but in light of the audience we had at the end of August
with Pope Benedict XVI, we shall be content to reproduce
a document that sheds light both on the wisdom and perspicacity
of our founder, as well as upon the rule which guided him
and which we, too, wholly espouse.
1966, thus just a year after the Council's close, Archbishop
Lefebvre responded to questions posed by the Prefect of
the Holy Office, Cardinal Ottaviani, on the situation in
the Church in the following letter.
dare say that the present evil seems to me something very
much more serious than the negation or placing in doubt
of any one truth of our faith. It manifests itself in our
day by an extreme confusion of ideas, by the disaggregation
of the Church's institutions, religious institutes, seminaries,
Catholic schools, and, finally, of what had been the Church's
permanent support; but it is nothing other than the logical
continuation of the heresies and errors which have been
sapping the Church for the last several centuries, especially
since the liberalism of the 19th century, which has done
its utmost, no matter the cost, to reconcile the Church
and the ideas that culminated in the French Revolution.
In the measure that the Church has opposed these ideas,
which are contrary to sane philosophy and theology, it has
advanced; on the contrary, the least compromise with these
subversive ideas has provoked an alignment of the Church
with civil law and risked making it a slave to civil society.
each time groups of Catholics let themselves be attracted
by these myths, the Popes courageously corrected them, instructed
them, and, if need by, condemned them. Catholic liberalism
was condemned by Pius IX, modernism by Leo XIII, Sillonism
by St. Pius X, communism by Pius XI, and neo-modernism by
Pius XII. Thanks to this admirable vigilance, the Church
was strengthened and developed. Conversions of pagans and
Protestants were very numerous, heresy was completely routed,
and the States accepted legislation in keeping with Catholic
groups of religious imbued with these false ideas succeeded
in spreading them through Catholic Action, and in the seminaries
thanks to a certain indulgence on the part of bishops and
the toleration of certain Roman dicasteries. It was from
among these priests that bishops were soon to be chosen.
is in this context that we must situate the Council, which,
through the work of the Preparatory Commission, was preparing
to proclaim the truth in the face of these errors in order
to make them disappear for a long time from the Church's
midst. It would have spelled the end of Protestantism and
the beginning of a new, fruitful era of the Church.
this preparation was odiously rejected in order to make
way for the worst tragedy the Church has ever suffered.
We have witnessed the marriage of the Church with liberal
ideas. It would be to deny the evidence and to shut one's
eyes not to affirm courageously that the Council allowed
those who profess the errors and tendencies condemned by
the Popes named above to legitimately believe that their
doctrines were henceforth approved.
One can and one unfortunately must affirm that, in a general
way, when the Council innovated, it shook the certitude
of the truths taught by the authentic magisterium of the
Church as belonging definitively to the treasure of Tradition.
it be the transmission of the bishops' jurisdiction, the
two sources of Revelation, the inspiration of Scripture,
the necessity of grace for justification, the necessity
of Catholic baptism, the life of grace among heretics, schismatics
and pagans, the ends of marriage, religious liberty, the
last things, etc.: on all these fundamental points, the
traditional doctrine was clear and unanimously taught in
Catholic universities. Now, numerous Conciliar texts on
these truths henceforth allow doubts.
consequences have been rapidly drawn and applied to the
life of the Church:
Doubts about the necessity of the Church and the sacraments
lead to the disappearance of priestly vocations.
Doubts about the necessity and the nature of the “conversion”
of every soul lead to the disappearance of religious
vocations, the ruin of traditional spirituality in the
novitiates, and the futility of the missions.
Doubts about the legitimacy of authority and the duty
of obedience provoked by the exaltation of human dignity,
the autonomy of conscience, and of freedom shake all
societies starting with the Church, religious societies,
the dioceses, civil society, and the family.
normal result of pride is the burgeoning of the concupiscence
of the eyes and of the flesh. Perhaps one of the most frightful
observations to be made about our epoch is to note to what
a level of moral degradation most Catholic publications
have descended. They speak without the least reticence about
sexuality, birth control by any means, the legitimacy of
divorce, of co-education of dating, of dances as a necessary
part of Christian education, of priestly celibacy, etc.
about the necessity of grace in order to be saved provoke
the undervaluing of baptism and its postponement, and
the abandonment of the sacrament of penance. Moreover,
this especially involves an attitude of priests and
not of the faithful. The same goes for the Real Presence:
it is the priests who act as if they no longer believed
by hiding the Sacred Host, by suppressing all marks
of respect towards the Blessed Sacrament and all the
ceremonies in Its honor.
Doubts about the necessity of the Church as the unique
source of salvation and about the Catholic Church as
the only true religion originating in the declaration
on ecumenism and religious liberty, destroy the authority
of the Church's magisterium. Indeed, Rome is no longer
the unique and necessary “Magistra Veritatis”.
by the facts, it is necessary to conclude that the Council
has favored, inconceivably, the diffusion of liberal errors.
Faith, morals, and ecclesiastical discipline have been shaken
in their foundation according to the predictions of all
destruction of the Church is rapidly advancing. By an exaggerated
authority given to the episcopal conferences, the Sovereign
Pontiff has rendered himself ineffectual. In a single year
how many painful examples of this have we witnessed! Still,
the Successor of Peter, and he alone, can save the Church.
are the solutions recommended by Archbishop Lefebvre:
the Holy Father surround himself with vigorous defenders
of the Faith; let him designate them in the important dioceses.
Let him deign, by important documents, to proclaim truth,
pursue error without fear of contradictions, without fear
of schisms, without fear of questioning the pastoral dispositions
of the Council.
the Holy Father deign: to encourage the bishops to uphold
faith and morals, each in his respective diocese, as befits
every good pastor; to support the courageous bishops, encouraging
them to reform their seminaries and to restore studies according
to St. Thomas; to encourage the general superiors to uphold
in the novitiates and communities the fundamental principles
of Christian asceticism, especially obedience; to encourage
the development of Catholic schools, a doctrinally sound
Catholic press, associations of Catholic families; and,
finally, to reprimand the instigators of errors and reduce
them to silence. The Wednesday allocutions cannot replace
encyclical letters, mandates, and letters to bishops.
it is bold of me to express myself in this way! But it is
from a burning love that I write these lines, love of God's
glory, love of Jesus, love of Mary, love of the Church and
of the Successor of Peter, Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Jesus
has been said, and even today there is nothing to add or remove
from this remarkable analysis of the logical consequences
of the Council, replaced in its historical context, and of
the reforms that were then on the horizon, and even of the
depth of the crisis which had struck the Church and from which
she has still not escaped, held fast by the principles with
which the Council and the popes have bound her.
think quite frankly that the solution to the problem that
the Society creates for Rome is intimately linked to the resolution
of the crisis which has struck the Church. The day that the
authorities again look with a benevolent eye and with hope
upon the Church's past and her Tradition, they will be able
to get beyond the rupture caused by the Council and to be
reconciled with the eternal principles on which the Church
has been built for twenty centuries; they will be able to
draw strength and to find the solution to the crisis. And
then there will no longer be a Society of Saint Pius X “problem”.
is the reason for our discussions with the Holy See. That
is the fundamental problem. The new Mass and the Council are
just the tip of the iceberg that has struck the barque of
the Church; the spirit of the Council proceeds from liberalism,
from Protestantism, and, ultimately, from the revolt against
God which will mark the history of men until the end of time.
What would be the point of an accord that would consist in
letting oneself be sunk by the iceberg.
heartily thank you for all your prayers and generous sacrifices.
All of that is very precious to us. In our visits to Rome
and in all our activities, we rely very much upon them. Please
be assured in return of the seminarians' prayers and ours
at the foot of the altar in thanksgiving for your unceasing
the Feast of St. Michael
September 29, 2005
+ Bernard Fellay
Our Lord's sacrifice be your daily support! May the Immaculate
Heart of Mary be your protection and refuge. With all my gratitude,
I bless you.