“ONE DOES NOT PLAY WITH THE FAITH!”
- Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre
By Fr. David Hewko
November 8, 2013
Feast of Four Crowned Martyrs
1. COMMON OBJECTION: “But Abp. Lefebvre never rejected the Protocol of May 5, 1988! In fact,
he was pleased with most of its contents except for the fact that Rome didn’t give him a bishop for
consecrating. The April 15, 2012 Doctrinal Declaration was similar to it.”
REPLY: Let the holy Archbishop speak for himself:
• When asked what he thought about Dom Gerard accepting the proposals of the Pope, he said, “At our last meeting, he asked me if I could accept the Protocol [of May 5, 1988] THAT I MYSELF REFUSED!...We must no longer discuss with the Roman authorities. They only want to bring us back to the Council, we must not have a relationship with them!”(Controverses, No. 0, September 1988, Le Rocher No. 84).
• Regarding the May 5, 1988 Protocol…”If only you knew what a night I passed after signing that infamous agreement! Oh! How I wanted morning to come so that I could give Fr. du Chalard my letter of retraction which I had written during the night.” (Marcel Lefebvre, Bp. Tissier de Mallerais p. 555).
• Our true believers—those who understand the problem—feared the steps I took with Rome. They told me it was dangerous and that I was wasting my time. Yes, of course, I hoped until the last minute that Rome has to show a little bit of loyalty. One cannot blame me for not doing the maximum. So now, to those who say to me, you must agree with Rome, I can safely say that I went even farther than I should have gone! (Abp. Lefebrve, 1990, Fideliter, No. 79, p. 11).
• “I said to him [Cardinal Ratzinger, who became Pope Benedict XVI] ‘Even if you grant us a bishop, even if you grant us some autonomy from the bishops, even if you grant us the 1962 Liturgy, even if you allow us to continue running our seminaries in the manner we are doing it right now—we cannot work together! It is impossible! Impossible! Because we are working in diametrically opposing directions. You are working to de-Christianize society, the human person and the Church, and we are working to Christianize them. We cannot get along together!’” (Marcel Lefebvre, Bp. Tissier de Mallerais, p. 548).
• “Someone once advised me, ‘Sign, sign [the May 5, 1988 Protocol] that you accept everything; and then you can continue as before!’ No! ONE DOES NOT PLAY WITH THE FAITH!”…To ask this of us is to ask us to collaborate in the disappearance of the Faith. Impossible!” (They Have Uncrowned Him, Abp. Lefebvre, ch. 31, p. 230).
2. COMMON OBJECTION: “But Bp. Fellay just imitated the Archbishop! He sought a possible
agreement, signed some documents, realized Rome wasn’t cooperative, and wouldn’t accept the
Second Vatican Council and the New Mass. So things are back to square one!”
REPLY: Firstly, Abp. Lefebvre had hopes, with traditional-minded Cardinals in Rome to bear some
influence on the Pope (i.e., Cardinals Oddi, Bacchi, Ottaviani, Gagnon, etc.). They’re all dead now.
Secondly, Abp. Lefebvre did not sign a DOCTRINAL Declaration (a Protocol was a preliminary step)
excusing Vatican II, saying it “deepens” and “enlightens” certain aspects of Church doctrine, and
doctrines “not yet conceptually formulated.” He did not sign a document saying that religious liberty
and “other affirmations of Vatican II must be understood in the light of the whole uninterrupted
Tradition.” That the New Mass and New Sacraments are legitimately promulgated, the New Code
and New Profession of Faith are acceptable. These he never would have signed!
3. COMMON OBJECTION: “Since the October 13, 2013 Conference of Bishop Fellay things are back
to normal, seeing that he called the New Mass “bad,” that “we don’t accept the Council,” etc.
REPLY: Did these optimists forget the principle of non-contradiction? “A thing cannot be and not be
at the same time in the same place.” If Bp. Fellay really didn’t want an agreement, then why does the
General Chapter Statement and 6 Conditions, binding the SSPX to seek an agreement, still exist
officially in writing? (This, to the exclusion of Abp. Lefebvre’s most prudent principle, namely, “No
agreement until Rome comes back to Tradition). In other words, the “For Sale” sign is still on the front
lawn of the SSPX, regardless of how much “verbal fog” there is! For decrees of such weight, they must
be cancelled out with decrees of equal weight. The Faith is being played with, here, and that means
eternal souls! A General Chapter to rectify the errors and publicly reject all the compromises, is
absolutely necessary. Along with this, a Statement publicly announcing the same, with the public
rejection of the 6 Conditions and April 15, 2012 Document to prove the “conversion” to the old
position of the SSPX.
4. COMMON OBJECTION: “But the April 15, 2012 Doctrinal Declaration was ‘withdrawn’! It’s a
REPLY: To “withdraw” (for a time) is not the same thing as to publicly reject, retract and correct. If it
is truly withdrawn, in the sense of “withdrawn forever,” then why was it printed in the March, 2013
Cor Unum showing all the priests that it is, indeed, official? Why is Fr. Daniel Themann’s
Conference in St. Marys, Kansas on April 16, 2013 that justifies the April 15th Doctrinal Declaration,
still being promoted worldwide? If it is true that “things are back to normal now” then where’s the
apologies (or better, gratitude) to the Bishop and priests who were expelled and silenced? At least a
home and health insurance can be given back to some of the Resistance priests in their 70’s who
warned the Superiors of the SSPX that this is all a danger to the Faith. Where’s the public retraction to
the liberal statements in Interviews that continue to be quoted in recent SSPX articles, such as “95% of
the Council is acceptable” (on September 3, 2013); or, “Religious Liberty of the Council is limited” (in
fact, it’s a heresy condemned many times by the Pre-Council Popes); or “the errors of the Council are
not really from the Council but from the general interpretation of it?”
5. COMMON OBJECTION: “You SSPX, Marian Corps Resistance priests are just exaggerating matters and making mountains out of mole hills!”
REPLY: The Roman Catholic Faith comes from above. Christ the King is not an option! Public
Revelation must be believed to save our souls. If anyone, be he pope, bishop or priest compromises or
puts the Faith in danger, then, like St. Paul to St. Peter, there had better be a strong resistance and
St. Thomas Aquinas warned that inferiors have a duty to publicly rebuke superiors who play with the
Faith, Abp. Lefebvre and Bp. de Castro Meyer were the only two, out of 2,300 bishops in the world, to
openly resist the Vatican II Popes, in defense of Catholic Tradition.
If playing with the Faith endangers one’s eternity and placing the one True Faith (outside of which
there is no salvation) in serious danger (by the liberal compromises in the documents and 6 Conditions
officially signed and sent from Menzingen to Modernist Rome) then, truly, every single baptized
Catholic is obliged to resist and demand more than a mere verbal: “I didn’t mean it.”
It’s a contradiction to say one rejects Vatican II, when the official documents from Menzingen say the
2nd Vatican Council is only “tainted with errors,” and accept the Council as “deepening” and
“enlightening” Catholic Tradition (cf. General Chapter Statement and Doctrinal Declaration 2012).
It’s a contradiction to say the New Mass is “bad” when the official documents signed by the Superior
General and Assistants declare it’s “legitimately promulgated”! (Which is the same as declaring it
“legitimate,”…which is one step from celebrating it!).
It’s a contradiction to say with passing words that “things are back to the way they were under Abp.
Lefebvre” when the 2012 documents clearly express a desire of openness to the Conciliar Church, as
long as they grant us our Traditional Altars in the Ecumenical Pantheon, (cf. 1st Sine Qua Non
Condition). Or, as the notorious General Chapter Statement of July 14, 2012 put it: “We have
DETERMINED and APPROVED the necessary conditions for an eventual CANONICAL
NORMALIZATION,” regardless of Rome’s return to Tradition!
It’s a contradiction for the Superior General to say in the Sydney, Australia Conference in August,
2012, explaining that he SIGNED the Doctrinal Declaration of April 15, 2012; and he also said, “This
text…I was told—the Pope was satisfied with it.” And to say in his October Conference of 2013 that he
did not sign it. Either this is a true lapse of memory or a bold lie. What are we to think?
It’s a contradiction to try to use Abp. Lefebvre to defend the new liberal ideas presented in the
documents sent to Rome, when he clearly opposed such a direction, especially in his last three years.
In fact, he laid down clear guidelines for every future Superior General to follow: “…Supposing that
Rome calls for a renewed dialogue, then, I will put conditions. […] I will place the discussion at the
DOCTRINAL LEVEL: ‘Do you agree with the great encyclicals of all the popes who preceded you?
Do you agree with Quanta Cura of Pius IX, Immortale Dei and Libertas of Leo XIII, Pascendi Gregis
of Pius X, Quas Primas of Pius XI, Humani Generis of Pius XII? Are you in full communion with
these Popes and their teachings? Do you still accept the entire Anti-Modernist Oath? Are you in
favor of the social reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ? IF YOU DO NOT ACCEPT THE DOCTRINE OF
YOUR PREDECESSORS, IT IS USELESS TO TALK!” (Abp. Lefebvre, Fideliter, Nov-Dec 1988).
These are the clear-cut conditions Abp. Lefebvre laid down, but these were abandoned for the more
complying 6 Conditions…all in the name of “prudence”! As he himself frequently preached “…One
does not dialogue with Error, with the Freemasons, with the Destroyers of Christ’s Social Reign and
their father, the Devil!” (Abp. Lefebvre, Sermon in Martingy, December 8, 1984).
If people’s bank accounts were played with the way the True Faith is now, there would be a universal
outcry. How much more should we love Christ, the True God, more than filthy lucre? How must we,
sons of Martyrs, be up in arms with anyone who dares to play with the Faith as a negotiating item for
steps towards an agreement, with authorities that crush the Faith! (Let it be noted well, Pope Benedict
XVI was far more successful in this deception than even the reigning Pope Francis!).
Why I Refused to Put Myself in their Hands – Archbishop Lefebvre
CONTROVERSES: Archbishop, the consecrations that you performed last June 30th have raised quite a stir. Curiously, it is not the “silent” faithful, but the main spokesmen of various traditional associations that have expressed their disapproval of your decision to ensure the future of Tradition. How do you explain their declarations of unwavering commitment to the See of Peter?
ARCHBISHOP LEFEBVRE: Actually, I do not really see which traditional associations expressed their disapproval of the consecrations. In general, the people who expressed their disapproval were not entirely with us and were not attending our organization, but had a certain sympathy for Tradition while professing unconditional submission to Rome. It is imperative to know that today Rome is at the service of the revolution and therefore terribly anti-traditional.
That is why I refused to put myself in their hands. They only wanted that, by recognizing my mistakes, I help them continue their revolution in the Church – no more, no less. All those who have left us are not aware of the situation and believe in the good will and the rectitude of thought of the bishops or cardinals in Rome. Nothing is further from the truth! ‘It is not possible for them to lead us into the revolution,’ say those who agree with the Pope and his bishops. Well, that is exactly what will happen.
C: In some newspapers like 30 Jours dans l’Eglise and Le Monde, Vie actuelle and others, Cardinals Ratzinger and Oddi gave interviews in which they admit, to cite just Cardinal Oddi, that “ you had not been wrong on all counts,” which makes some people say that there is a certain change inside the Roman curia. What is your opinion?
ABL: If we read the interview of Cardinal Ratzinger, we must from now on take care to apply the Council properly, not to err in its application and be careful not to repeat the errors that we might have made. He does not speak about changing its principles.[i]
Even if he comes to the point of admitting that the fruits of the last council are not the ones he expected, he opts to go back to the basic principles and to do it in a way in which there will be no more difficulty in the future. Thus, they did not understand what the return to Tradition that we are demanding means, and consequently they do not want to return to the Tradition of the predecessors of John XXIII.
C: These days, we often hear about “living Tradition.” What do you think is the meaning of this expression?
ABL: Well, let us take the condemnation of us that the pope made in the Moto Proprio.[ii] This condemnation is based on “an erroneous concept of Tradition.” In fact, the pope, in the Motu Proprio, condemns us because we do not accept “living Tradition.” But the way in which this “living Tradition” is understood was condemned by Saint Pius X in his encyclical Pascendi against modernism, because it entails an evolution based on history, which destroys the notion of dogma, defined for always.
Tradition, according to them, is something that lives and evolves. This “living Tradition” is now the Vatican II Church. It is very serious and denotes a modernist spirit. This new doctrine, because that is what it is, is formally condemned by Pope Saint Pius X. The Church carries Tradition with it. We cannot say something contrary to that which the popes declared in the past. We cannot allow such a thing. It is impossible.
C: Do you think this is why, for last twenty years or so, there have been no more acts of infallibility?
ABL: For the Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI did not use the principle of dogmatic infallibility. He was satisfied with declaring it pastoral.
The conciliar popes are unable to use their doctrinal infallibility because the very foundation of infallibility is to believe that a truth must be fixed forever and can no longer change: it must remain as it is.
John Paul II, even more than Paul VI, does not believe in the immutability of truth.
The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary was defined by Pope Pius XII in 1950. It is now an immutable dogma. For them, no! Over time, there are new scientific explanations, developments of the human mind, progress that alters truth. Therefore, one could possibly say something other than what the popes have said.
In an interview with Pope John Paul II, I asked him if he accepted the encyclical Quas Primas of Pius XI, on the social reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ. He replied, “I think the Pope would not write it in the same way today.” These are our current leaders. We certainly cannot put ourselves in their hands.
C: Among those who have accepted the proposals of the Pope, there is Dom Gérard. What do you personally think of his decision?
ABL: At our last meeting, he asked me if he could accept the protocol that I myself refused. I told him that his situation was not the same as mine, that the Society has spread throughout the world, while he is responsible only for his monastery. “You may be able to defend yourselves more easily. But I am not for an agreement. I believe that at present, an agreement is bad.”
And I even wrote to him. We must no longer discuss with the Roman authorities. They only want to bring us back to the Council; we must not have a relationship with them. Dom Gérard replied that his case was different and that he would try anyway. I do not approve.
The last time that we saw each other, I told him:
“Dom Gérard, you will do what you want, and I will say what I want. For the people, your submission to Roman authority is your separation from Écône and Archbishop Lefebvre. From now on, you will seek your support from other bishops. Up to this point, you turned to me; well, now it is over. I consider you like I do the priests who have left us. We will no longer have a relationship because you have dealings with those who persecute us. You have put yourself in other hands.”
Five years ago already, Dom Gerard made a statement in his newsletter to benefactors in which he said that he wanted to be more open to those who are not like us, to no longer remain in sterile criticism, to receive everyone in the hope of having them participate in Tradition. This he did, and now he is a prisoner of all these people, of these writers, the media, teachers, like Bruckberger, Raspail; he preferred them to us. He is now in the hands of modernists.
C: How do you judge the proposals made to the Prior of the monastery of Barroux?
ABL: For them, their goal is to divide Tradition. They already have Dom Augustin,[iii] they have de Blignières,[iv] and now they have Dom Gérard. This weakens our position still further. It is their goal: divide to make us disappear.
Cardinal Ratzinger said in an interview given to a Frankfurt newspaper that it is unacceptable that there are groups of Catholics who are attached to Tradition in such a way that they are no longer in perfect agreement with that which all the bishops of the world think. They do not want to admit our existence. They cannot tolerate us in the Church. Dom Gérard does not want to believe this.
C: Marc Dem just published a beautiful book dedicated to Dom Gérard and his work. This publication seems to come at a bad time for the Prior, who is described in it as one of the pillars of the reconstruction of Christianity, faithful to Tradition and to Your Excellency.
ABL: I congratulated Dom Gérard for this book and he replied, “Do not talk to me about it, I do not want to hear about it, it is not I who wrote it, it is Marc Dem.” All this because Marc Dem presented Dom Gérard as he was originally, as a soldier and fighter for the Faith.
C: Contacts with Rome are not broken. It even appears that talks could resume this fall. Can you talk about that?
ABL: These are fabrications. If ever there were a willingness from Rome to resume discussions, this time, I will be the one to set down the conditions.
As Cardinal Oddi said, “Archbishop Lefebvre is in a strong position.” That is why I will demand that the discussions concern doctrinal points. They have to stop with their ecumenism, they have to bring back the true meaning of the Mass, restore the true definition of the Church, bring back the Catholic meaning of collegiality, and so on.
I expect from them a Catholic, and not a liberal, definition of religious liberty. They must accept the encyclical Quas Primas on Christ the King, and the Syllabus (Pius IX). They must accept all this, because this is from now on the condition determining all new discussions between us and them.
C: In conclusion, after all the events of this summer, what advice do you give your faithful?
ABL: The only goal that the faithful must have in front of them is the universal reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ over individuals, families, cities; there is no other religion that can remain under this reign.
If it happens that I teach you something other than this, do not listen to me. As Saint Paul says: “If an angel from heaven or myself would teach you a doctrine contrary to what I taught you before, do not follow me, let me be anathema.” The good Catholic sense of our faithful has made it that 90% - and still more, I think – continue to follow us.
[i] This was confirmed by the pontificate of Benedict XVI, which has never ceased to defend the same line.
[ii] The root of this schismatic act can be discerned in an incomplete and contradictory notion of Tradition. Incomplete, because it does not take sufficiently into account the living character of Tradition, which, as the Second Vatican Council clearly taught, "comes from the apostles and progresses in the Church with the help of the Holy Spirit. There is a growth in insight into the realities and words that are being passed on. This comes about in various ways. It comes through the contemplation and study of believers who ponder these things in their hearts. It comes from the intimate sense of spiritual realities which they experience. And it comes from the preaching of those who have received, along with their right of succession in the episcopate, the sure charism of truth". But it is especially a notion of Tradition which opposes the universal Magisterium of the Church, belonging to the Bishop of Rome and to the main body of Bishops, that is contradictory. No one can remain faithful to Tradition while breaking the ecclesial link with him to whom Christ, in the person of the apostle Peter, entrusted the ministry of unity in His Church. (Apostolic letter "Ecclesia Dei" of the supreme pontiff John Paul II, given Motu Proprio, July 2, 1988, No. 4)
[iii] Dom Augustin-Marie Joly (1917-2006), founder of the Abbey of Saint-Joseph de Clairval, in Flavigny, recognized as a monastery of diocesan right on February 2, 1988.
[iv] Fr. Louis-Marie de Blignières founded the Society of Saint Vincent Ferrer in 1979. In 1987, this community within the traditional sphere of influence, “realizing that their doctrinal position on the issue of religious liberty in Vatican II was not correct,” took steps toward Rome in order to try to obtain canonical recognition. Following the consecrations of 1988, their small group was recognized as a Religious Institute of Pontifical Right. (cf. Fr. Dominique-Marie de Saint Laumer, new prior of the Society of Saint Vincent Ferrer as of September 2011, in La Nef No. 239, July –August 2012).
“Let us not set foot in the opposing camp, because we would thus be giving the enemy a proof of our weakness, which the enemy would try to interpret as a sign of weakness and a mark of complicity!”
---St. Pius X
1. Learn from the enemy, as well! A Modernist, Cardinal Decourtray, known for his friendly ties with
leading Freemasons, had this revealing comment on December 4, 1988 at a meeting held in Lourdes,
France: “If Abp. Lefebvre had confirmed the signature given on May 5, 1988, it would have shown that
he was willing to accept all of Vatican II, along with the authority of the current Pope and local bishops
it united. In fact, if Abp. Lefebvre did not accept the Protocol proposed to him, it is precisely because
he suddenly understood its real meaning. ‘They wanted to deceive us,’ he said. That meant: ‘They
wanted us to accept the Council!’” (Card. Decourtray, Progress in Fidelity to the Council, Bishops’
Meeting in Lourdes, Dec. 4, 1988).
Also, speaking of the compromising declaration that the ex-SSPX priests joining St. Peter’s Fraternity
had to sign in 1988, the same Cardinal said: “The diverse points of this declaration are nearly those of
the Protocol, refused on May 6 by Abp. Lefebvre.”
Let all those who argue that Abp. Lefebvre never retracted the May 5, 1988 Protocol think again!
“Contra factum, not fit argumentum!”
2. “We are forced to choose. Naturally, in our time of liberalism many people cannot understand that
we can defend opinions that can seem “outdated,” “antiquated,” “medieval,” etc. But the doctrine of the
Church is the doctrine of the Church. When the popes condemned liberty of thought, liberty of
conscience, liberty of religions, they explained why they condemned them. Leo XIII wrote long
encyclicals on the subject. One only has to read them [to understand the reasons for these
condemnations]; the same applies for Pope Pius IX and Pope Gregory XVI. Again, all of this is based
on the Church’s fundamental principles, on the fact that the Church is truth, the only truth. This is the
way it is; you either believe it or you don’t, of course, but when you believe, then you have to draw the
consequences. That is why, personally, I do not believe that the declarations of the Council on liberty
of conscience, liberty of thought, and liberty of religion can be compatible with what the popes taught
in the past. Therefore, we have to choose. Either we choose what the popes have taught for centuries
and we choose the Church or we choose what was said by the Council. But we cannot choose both at
the same time since they are contradictory.” (Abp. Lefebvre, Press Conference, September 15, 1976;
from Itineraires, entitled “La condemnation sauvage de Mgr. Lefebvre,” April 1977, p. 299).
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