of Bishop Fellay
June 29, 2001
In the name of the
Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. Amen.
Dear confreres in the
Here we are once again
on this magnificent feast of St Peter and Paul, birthday of
Catholic Rome, born of the blood of these two martyrs who
gave their lives, a life all for Our Lord Jesus Christ, to
fulfill to the end what Our Lord asked of them: save souls.
Yes. Again on this day and for the twenty-fifth time, on
this same spot, it is given to us to confer the grace of the
it is already history and for us, it must be said, what a
It seems to me appropriate
on this day, especially after the events of recent months,
to take a look at our situation.
Why are we here on
this spot? What are we doing? Well we are trying to be faithful
to the word of the Apostle in his epistle, a word we received
it as did Mgr Lefebvre depositum custodi keep
the deposit. We have received an inheritance from a
Catholic bishop, this inheritance we must keep it, transmit
it. It is not ours and at the same time it is ours. It is
not ours in the sense that we do not have exclusive rights
to it but it is ours because it is our very being. We are
here because we are Catholics and want to remain so.
To take this look allow
me to quote from the last letter we sent to cardinal Castrillon
Hoyos in answer to his letter dated May 7.
The Jesuit, Mgr
Pierre Henrici, then secretary of Communio in a conference
on the maturing of the Council, said that at the Second Vatican
Council two theological traditions, which fundamentally cannot
be reconciled, collided. Your letter of May 7 has caused
a similar feeling of misunderstanding and deception. We have
the impression of being faced with a dilemma: either we enter
into full communion but then we must be silent on the great
evils which afflict the Church; instead of a golden cage we
are offered a muzzle; either we remain outside.
We refuse this dilemma.
For on the one hand we have never left the Church, and on
the other hand our present situation, unpleasant as it is,
is not our doing but the result of the disastrous situation
in the Church against which we have tried to protect ourselves.
The different decisions taken by Mgr Lefebvre were dictated
by the will not to lose the Catholic faith and to survive
in the midst of the general debacle to which Rome is no stranger.
This is what we call a state of necessity.
For your Eminence,
We are not in communion
The reasons advanced to justify our actions, the episcopal
consecrations amongst others, are totally insufficient. The
Church being holy and the magisterium always assisted by the
Holy Ghost the failings we complain about do not exist or
are only limited abuses. Our problem would come from a fixed
and narrow view of the Churchs history and its crisis
which prevent us from understanding the homogeneous and justified
evolution of the different adaptations to todays world
done by the Council and the subsequent magisterium.
Rome is good enough to offer us the proposed structure.
To ask for anything more would be an abuse, and probably an
insult to the Holy See since Rome has made the first step.
No pre-conditions will granted. Especially concerning the
Mass as this would cause trouble in the Church.
On our side, following
popes Pius XII and even Paul VI, it seems we can affirm that
the Church finds herself in an apocalyptic situation. It
is undeniable that the break down of the Catholic hierarchy
cardinal Seper said the crisis of the Church
is a crisis of bishops the deficiencies, silences,
inductions, tolerance of error and even positive acts of destruction
are to be found all the way up to the Curia and unfortunately
even in Christs Vicar. These are public facts visible
to the common of mortals.
these facts is not contradictory with faith in the holiness
of the Church or in the assistance of the Holy Ghost. In the
declaration of the infallibility of the Sovereign Pontiff,
the First Vatican Council has explicitly given a limit to
the assistance of the Holy Ghost: the Holy Ghost was
not promised to the successors of Peter that by His revelation
they might disclose new doctrine, but that by His help they
might guard sacredly the revelation transmitted through the
apostles and the deposit of faith, and might faithfully set
But it is precisely
here that we arrive at the heart of the present mystery.
It is precisely the novelties of the new theology, condemned
by the Church under Pius XII which have entered at Vatican
II. How is it that all the great tenors of the Council, the
expert theologians were all censured under Pius XII? De Lubac,
Congar, Rahner, Courtney-Murray, Dom Beaudoin, and to go a
little farther back Blondel, Teilhard de Chardin.
would have us believe that these novelties are a development
in harmony with the past? They were condemned at least in
their principle. Cardinal Ratzinger himself calls Gaudium
et spes a counter-Syllabus.
The fact that
these doctrine be afterwards sanctioned by a Council which
was not dogmatic does not suffice to make them acceptable.
The vote count does not transform an error into an infallible
truth; to witness the answer of Mgr Felici to the Council
when asked about its infallibility. (Notification of November
16 1964, DH 4350-4351)
In his letter the cardinal blames us for attacking the Council
on the basis on individual interpretations without following
the authentic interpretations of the magisterium. If we
follow its interpretations (of the Holy See regarding
the Council) we arrive at Assisi, in the Synagogue, in
the sacred forests of Togo. How can we explain in
the light of the Catholic faith statements from the Pope which
is are key statements and which enlightens many, many passages
which would otherwise remain extremely confused, incomprehensible,
statements like the way of the Church is man or
regarding the Incarnation Our Lord reveals man to man
(Gaudium et spes, 22).
we find the explanation, the light to understand these statements
in a 1981 papal statement: In the Holy Ghost each
person, each people have become by the Cross and Resurrection
of Christ, children of God, participants in the divine nature,
heirs of eternal life.
which contradicts past teaching (for example present day ecumenism
and Mortalium animos), a magisterium which contradicts itself
(for example in the condemnation and praise of the term sister
Churches; like the condemnation in the note of cardinal
Cassidy and afterwards his signature and approval of the text
of the joint declaration on Justification.) Yes a magisterium
which contradicts itself, there is the haunting problem.
This nightmare extends from the Curia to the bishops, to residential
Two recent examples from the Curia: the substitute Secretary
of State, Mgr Tauran, who declares that it would be abnormal
to consider the faithful of other religions as someone to
be converted and who assigns to the different religions this
role: religions must not enter into competition with one another
but must rather be like brothers and sisters walking hand
in hand building fraternity, building a beautiful world in
which it will be possible to live and work. This is not
And cardinal Kasper speaking of the Jews: the Church believes
that Judaism, that is the faithful response of the Jewish
nation to Gods irrevocable alliance brings salvation
for them because God is always faithful to his promises.
are here in full contradiction with Our Lord, St John, St
Paul, the entire gospel, and everything the Church has always
taught. It is impossible to be in communion with them.
They do not have the faith. And we could quote dozen upon
dozen of Episcopal declaration along the same lines.
are we to do when the guardians of the faith fail? Follow
them blindly? Is this obedience? Are they not rather deserving
of the qualifications St Catherine of Siena addressed to certain
princes of the Church in her time?
this will not put us in the good graces of the Holy See.
But we have greater worries. The millions and millions of
Catholics who fall from the faith and go to hell because for
the failures of Rome, this is our worry.
We then quote the beginning of the Creed of St Athanasius:
Whoever wishes to be saved, needs above all to hold
the Catholic faith; unless each one preserves this whole and
inviolate, he will without doubt perish in eternity.
of Pius XII, then Secretary of State of Pius XI resound in
our ears: Imagine, dear friend, that communism be only
the most visible of the means of subversion against the Church
and against the tradition of divine revelation, then we will
assist at the invasion of all that is spiritual, philosophy,
science, law, teaching, the arts, the press, literature, the
theatre and religion. I am obsessed by the confidences of
the Virgin to the little Lucy of Fatima. This obstinacy of
the good Lady in front of the dangers which threaten the Church
is a divine warning against the suicide represented by the
alteration of the faith in its liturgy, its theology, in its
soul. I hear all around me innovators who want to dismantle
the Holy Chapel, destroy the universal flame of the Church,
throw away her ornaments, give her a remorse of her historical
past. Well my dear friend, I have the conviction that the
Church of Peter must assume her past or she will dig her own
grave. A day will come when the civilized world will deny
its God, when the Church will doubt like Peter doubted. She
will be tempted to believe that man has become God, that his
Son is a mere symbol, a philosophy like many others and in
the churches Christians will seek in vain the red light where
God waits for them.
friend Jean Guitton, Paul VI said in substance that there
is in the Church a non-Catholic belief. It may prevail but
it will never be the Catholic Church.
with his catastrophe what are the faithful to do? Are they
allowed to react? We simply follow the advise of St Vincent
of Lerins in his Commonitorium (No 3): What will the
Catholic Christian do if part of the Church detaches itself
from the communion with the universal faith? What other alternative
but to prefer the whole healthy body to he gangrened and corrupt
member? And if a new contagion tries to poison not only a
part of the Church but the entire Church? Then again his
greatest worry will be to attach himself to antiquity that
is to the past, which obviously can no longer be seduced by
I told him, this is the state of the question from whence
we will need start to find a solution. We are but a signpost
in the terrible crisis the Church is undergoing, perhaps the
must terrible up to now, where not only a dogma but all the
dogmas are attacked from the pontifical universities down
ignore the gigantic problem. With our whole heart and our
whole soul we want to work for the restoration of the Church,
but we cannot simply act as if everything was fine, as if
it were only a matter of details.
ready to render an account of our faith to Rome, but we cannot
call evil good.
Here my dear brethren is the answer we made to the cardinal.
We are living a tragedy; we are not allowed to let things
go on without reacting. He who wants to follow the general
flow will perish. In every era and we see it today in this
feast of Sts Peter & Paul, Christians have had in their
Our trial is more difficult
because we have to say no, not to a hostile temporal enemy,
but precisely to those who should confirm us in the faith.
This is the mystery in which we live, but we see throughout
our little history how God has sustained us. How God is present.
How He does not abandon those who turn to Him, those who do
not want to abandon Him.
is not new. Our Lord said it to his apostles and we can repeat
it today to you dear ordinands: We send you as sheep
amongst wolves. It is truly so and it is impressive
to see especially for the deacons how the Church speaks and
insists on fortitude. In the form of the sacrament, she speaks
of the Holy Ghost just before, during the imposition of the
hands of the bishop who says: accipe, receive
the Holy Ghost ad robur to be fortified. And
you need this fortitude to speak in a world which would like
you to keep quiet. To say and be convinced with St Paul,
that the name of God, Verbum Dei, the word of
God non est alligatum it is not bound, it is not
tied down. Today by the duty of preaching it is entrusted
to you. Today you receive a great treasure because the gospel
is what saves souls fides ex auditu. And the
efficaciousness of your preaching will depend more on your
example than on your words. Of this the Church reminds us
also. She want you to be the gospel, that others may read
the gospel by seeing you, and this type of preaching converts
more souls than the Scripture on its own. You receive today
a title. The Church gives it to you to remind you if need
be of the great state in which you are established today:
co-ministri et co-operators corporis et sanguinis domini.
The co-operators and co-ministers of the Body and Blood of
so closely approach Our Lord, that to you who receive today
a first part of the priestly character, and you, on rare occasions,
as extraordinary ministers of the Holy Eucharist, will be
allowed to touch Our Lord, the sacred Body of Our Lord.
my dear friends who in few moments will receive the priesthood,
not only will you touch Our Lord, you will become sacerdos
alter Christus. At the altar you are no longer you,
you are Jesus being able to say: This is by body
and on the altar there will be the body of Jesus. To your
voice, to your word Our Lord has given this power which is
found in God alone, omnipotence. Because there is only the
omnipotence of God who can do this. By a word from a piece
of bread you make Jesus. And this is not all; you renew his
sacrifice, the reason why he became man, the reason why he
annihilated himself, and the reason why he sacrificed himself.
Yes the sacrifice of the cross in all its greatness in all
its worth. This sacrifice you renew it, you perpetuate it
at the altar imitamini quod tractatis.
the invitation of the Church imitate, imitate, reproduce
in your life what you do at the altar. Before anything
else the priest must believe, believe in his priesthood.
It is so great. He is in contact with what Our Lord himself
calls the mysterium fidei, the mystery of faith
and more than anyone he is in contact with it. Every day
you must nourish this faith, this faith which saves and the
principal food to nourish this faith is your union with the
sacrifice. I tell you nothing new; I am not a prophet in
telling you that God will make you participate one way or
another to his cross. This is part of the program. You will
have the cross in your priestly life, one way or another and
more than anyone else. It is by this union to the sacrifice
of Jesus that you will bring your part. There is something
mysterious here. On the one hand the sacraments, the Mass
works ex opere operato and thank God for it, independently
from the qualities and merits of the minister but on the other
hand in the mystery of the communion of saints, we know it
and the Church teaches us for example by Pius XII, that the
salvation of a certain number of souls, only God knows how
many, rests in our hands, in the hands of the priest and his
answer is personal.
Let us ask
today of Our Lady, Mother of the Priest that she make you
grow in this mystery, in this faith, in the answer of love
which is asked of you today.