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[To show the ignorance or deceit of  accusations of “schism” or “excommunication” levelled at Traditionalists, we reproduce here several articles the first of which is by Fr. Thomas Glover.

Some readers may remember Fr. Glover, an Oratorian priest who worked with the SSPX throughout the 1970s, 80s and early 90s, first as professor of Canon Law at Écône and then as a priest of the British District. From the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s he offered Sunday Mass at the Station Hotel in Newcastle-upon-Tyne (fore-runner of the SSPX church in Gateshead) and in the village of Sacriston, near Durham, where he lived.


Fr Glover held a doctorate in canon law and before working with Archbishop Lefebvre, he had been on the Roman rota. The following article was written in 1988, not long after the Écône episcopal consecrations and printed in ‘The Northern Catholic,’ his newsletter for Masses in Durham and Newcastle in those days.]

Schism and Archbishop Lefebvre 

By the Rev. T.C.G. Glover

Voices are heard saying that Mgr. Lefebvre and Mgr. de Castro Mayer, together with the four bishops they consecrated on 30th June 1988, have been excommunicated for schism. The same voices also say that all the priests of the Society of St Pius X, and all the laity who   support them or attend their Masses, are automatically excommunicated for schism. Generally, they ignore the fact that there are plenty of traditional priests running Mass Centres who are not members of the Society of St Pius. X, and include these as schismatics and so excommunicated. The facts do not support them.


There is no dispute that the episcopal Consecrations took place without a Pontifical Mandate, it is, without the Pope’s permission and indeed against his express wishes. Canon 1382 states that a bishop who consecrates another without a Pontifical Mandate incurs excommunication ‘latae sententiae’, and the priest who allows himself to be consecrated a bishop incurs it likewise. Excommunication is of two types: ‘latae sententiae’ and ‘ferendae sententiae’. The first type is often called automatic, as the delinquent incurs it simply by committing the offence specified in the law, whereas the second type requires the intervention of a judge or superior to impose the penalty.


On 1st July 1988, the Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of Bishops (the old Consistorial Congregation) issued a decree declaring that all six bishops were excommunicated. As the penalty is latae sententiae, this is not a condemnatory sentence imposing a penalty, but a declaratory sentence saying that the penalty has been incurred by the violation of the penal   in question. To many, this will seem the end of the matter: the six bishops broke a law of whose existence all were aware, and which carries with it automatic excommunication. This is not so.


First, no penalty is ever incurred without grave moral imputability (Canon 1323.7). This means, in the moral theologian’s terminology, subjective mortal sin. The Archbishop has made it clear many times that his primary purpose in consecrating successors is to ensure a future supply of additional priests to provide the laity with Mass and the Sacraments. He  acted only after years of thought, and many months of protracted negotiations with the Holy See and a similar intention and careful consideration can be discerned in the other five     bishops. Even if the final decision is judged a mistake, it cannot amount to subjective mortal sin.

Secondly, Canon 1323.4 states that even where an offence carrying a penalty has been committed, the penalty is not incurred if the act was performed out of necessity unless it be something intrinsically evil or damaging to souls. Again, it is clear that it was the necessity of providing for a future supply of traditional priests which caused the Archbishop and his co-consecrator to act as they did, after all hope for a ‘reconciliation’ with Rome had proved groundless.


There is a very old ‘rule of law’ (Regulaluris 15) which gives the benefit of any doubt in cases of penal law: Odia restringi, et favores convenit ampliari. In other words, if there is a doubt whether a penalty has been incurred in a particular case, it means that it has not been incurred. It is not, therefore, necessary to prove that the Consecrations were morally innocent and done under necessity; it is enough to show sufficient serious arguments to establish that there is a doubt, so the six bishops are not excommunicated under Canon 1382.


But the decree of the Sacred Congregation for Bishops goes further by declaring the six    bishops to be schismatics and so also automatically excommunicated under Canon 1364.1. It further warns the faithful that if they support “the schism of Mgr. Lefebvre, they too will be ipso facto excommunicated”. This charge involves a large and unjustified mental leap. It is made by the Pope in his Apostolic letter ‘Ecclesia Dei’ of 2nd July 1988. Speaking of the Consecrations, he writes:


“In itself, this act was one of disobedience to the Roman Pontiff in a very grave matter and of supreme importance for the unity of the Church, such as is the ordination of bishops whereby the apostolic succession is sacramentally perpetuated. Hence    such disobedience - which implied in practice the rejection of the Roman primacy - constitutes a schismatic act.”


It does nothing of the sort. Schism, defined in Canon 751, means refusal of subjection to the Supreme Pontiff or refusal of communion with other members of the Church. A mere act of disobedience to a superior does not imply denial that the superior holds office or has authority. The child who says, “I won't!” to his mother does not deny that she is his mother; the soldier ordered to polish his buttons by his officer, who instead smokes a cigarette, is not denying   the validity of the Queen's Commission. Again, for the charge of ‘Schism’ to stick, it must be certain beyond all reasonable doubt. In a word, the six bishops have not incurred excommunication for schism so those who adhere to them cannot be excommunicated either. There is indeed more muddled thinking here.


The phrases ‘followers of Mons. Lefebvre’, ‘Lefebvrist Mass Centres’, ‘Lefebvre priests’ are frequently used. They imply that Mgr. Lefebvre is the head of the Society of St Pius X. He is not. Fr Schmidberger has been Superior-General for five years, and has District Superiors  under him.


Even if the six bishops had been excommunicated for illegal consecrations and schism, it would not in itself affect the others. If a retired Benedictine bishop were to be excommunicated, it would not mean that Benedictines throughout the world, and those who hear Mass in Benedictine churches, were excommunicated. Excommunication is a penalty for those who commit certain crimes with full moral guilt, not a contagious disease!


The point may seem academic: to support a schismatic against the Pope and ‘adhere’ to him is to join in his schism; but we have shown that the charge of schism will not stick. Even if it did, it would not automatically involve the laity who attend Mass Centres in excommunication. Canon 844.2 allows the faithful to seek the Sacraments of Communion, Penance and Extreme Unction even from non-Catholic ministers (provided their Orders are valid), if it is physically or morally impossible to go to a Catholic minister. This Canon has caused great scandal amongst traditional Catholics but it is, of course, accepted by the Pope! Even the old Code allowed access to an excommunicated priest in certain cases of necessity. And there is no doubt that it is often physically impossible to receive traditional Sacraments, except from a priest who supports the actions of Mgr. Lefebvre. This does lead to another point. Traditional Catholics have become used to defending their actions, justifying their attendance at Masses not authorised by the local bishop, and so on. This article is written in a similar strain, showing on the basis of Canon Law that the six bishops are not excommunicated either for illegal Consecrations or Schism, and in consequence, that other traditional priests and lay people are not excommunicated either. But it is a mistake to leave the question on this defensive note.


It is for the Pope and bishops to justify their actions. They have abandoned the traditional rites of Mass and the Sacraments, they have allowed heresy to be taught, and abuse to abound throughout the Church. Traditional Catholics have merely remained faithful to what the Church has always taught and done, and this fidelity to tradition is the sole cause of all their problems with authority. We now have the ludicrous episode of the Holy See condemning the six bishops in the Church who are clearly Catholics! There may be plenty of others, but their Catholicism is no longer manifest, and their attitude over the past 20 years puts it in doubt.


It is now for the Pope and those who claim to be ‘faithful’ to him to explain their actions, and to show that they are still Catholics. The six bishops involved in the events of 30th June [1988] have made their orthodoxy clear.

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The Dispositions of Canon Law in a State of Emergency


[The following extracts are from the 1984 study by Professor Georg May, President of the  Canon Law Seminary at the University of Mainz, entitled: “Notwehr, Widerstand, Notsand” (“Self-defence, Resistance and Emergency”).]


The [1983] Code recognises emergency as a circumstance exempting Catholics from any   penalty in case they have to violate the law (canon 1323, paragraph 4), provided that the action is not intrinsically evil or prejudicial to souls; in this latter case the emergency would merely attenuate the punishment. But no latae sententiae punishment can affect someone who has acted in an emergency situation (canon 1324, paragraph 5).


In the Church as in civil society there can be conceived a state of necessity, of emergency, or of urgency which cannot be overcome by observing the positive law. Such a situation exists in the Church when the continuation, order, or activity of the Church are threatened or harmed   in an important way. This menace can bear mainly on teaching, liturgy, and ecclesiastical   discipline.


A state of emergency justifies emergency law. The emergency law in the Church is the sum of juridical rules which apply where there is a threat against the perpetuity or activity of the Church.


This emergency law can be resorted to only when one has exhausted all possibilities of re-establishing the normal situation by relying on positive law. Emergency law includes also the positive authorisation to take the measures, to launch the initiatives, to create the organisms, necessary for the Church to be able to continue its mission of preaching the divine truth and of dispensing the grace of God.

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The Case of  the “Hawaii Six”


This is a famous example from the days of the old SSPX. Even modern Rome, when put on the spot, was forced to as good as admit that there is no “schism” really.


“It is true that when Our Lady of Fatima chapel in Honolulu was founded in 1987 it was not a part of the Society of St. Pius X, and that it did invite in some other traditional priests, who were not members of the Society. However, as of 1990 it has been regularly and almost entirely serviced by the priests of the Society of St. Pius X. Consequently, the faithful whom Bishop Ferrario attempted to declare "excommunicated" on January 18, 1991 were so treated directly on account of their attachment to the Society of St. Pius X.


This is in fact confirmed by the Formal Canonical Warning itself. Of the three grounds listed in it by Bishop Ferrario, two directly concern the Society. The first does not, being the incorporation of a traditional chapel. The second concerns the radio program “aligning yourselves with the Pius X schismatic movement”. The third directly concerned the visit of  Bishop Williamson, one of the Society bishops invited to Hawaii to administer the sacrament of Confirmation. This visit was supposed to have communicated, as if it were an infectious disease, the censure of excommunication: 


‘Whereas on May 1987 [actually 1989] you performed a schismatic act not only by  procuring the services of an excommunicated Lefebvre bishop, Richard Williamson, who performed contra iure illicit confirmation in your chapel, but also by the very   association with the aforementioned bishop incurred ipso facto the grave censure of excommunication.’ ”




Bishop Ferrario, the bishop of Honolulu diocese, served his Canonical Warning on the six faithful in 18th January 1991. On 1st May 1991, he formally declared them excommunicated.


The six faithful appealed to Rome and in June 1993 the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith  responded by overturning the decree of the local bishop, declaring that the faithful were not guilty of schism and that Bishop Ferrario’s decree of excommunication was null and void.


If laity who have had an actual decree of excommunication and schism passed on them by name by their local bishop are not excommunicated or in schism, even in the eyes of modernist Rome, a fortiori faithful who have never had such a decree passed on them are not schismatic or excommunicated.


The “Hawaii Six” were: Mrs Patricia Morley, Mr Christopher Morley, Mrs Shirley Cushnie, Mr John O’Connor, Mr Herber Carlos and Mrs Louis Santos.

Hawaii Six - 1.jpg
Hawaii Six - 2.jpg

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[The following extract is from a longer article which appeared in the summer 2002 issue of ‘The Latin Mass’, under the title “Rumbles from France” and can be found here:

We do not agree with everything contained in the article, but the first part, below, is worth reading. Some readers will be familiar with its author, Mr Christopher Ferrara. For those who are not, it is worth noting that he is a lawyer, and that he was not and is not a faithful of the SSPX.]

The SSPX “Schism”: a non-SSPX Lawyer’s View


An article recently published in the French-language theological journal of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter contends, in essence, that all the priests and bishops of the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) are non-Catholic ministers whose ministrations Catholics should avoid under pain of sin. This claim goes well beyond any official Vatican pronouncement on the status of SSPX clergy and lay adherents.


In assessing the impact of this development, some background is necessary. John Paul II’s 1988 motu proprio Ecclesia Dei declared that the consecration of four bishops by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre for the SSPX without a papal mandate:


“...implies in practice the rejection of the Roman primacy [and] constitutes a schismatic act. In performing such an act… Mons. Lefebvre and the priests Bernard Fellay, Bernard Tisser de Mallerais, Richard Williamson, and Alfonso de Galarreta, have  incurred the grave penalty of excommunication envisaged by ecclesiastical law.”


(It is significant that the co-consecrator of the four bishops, Bishop Castro de Mayer of Campos, was not even mentioned.) Thus, Mons. Lefebvre and the four priests he consecrated bishops, but only these five, were declared to have been excommunicated latae sententiae as envisioned in canon 1382 - that is, automatically by their own act, rather than by a sentence following a canonical process.* These five clerics - but, again, only they - were also declared to have committed the offense of schism as envisioned in canon 751, even though neither canon 1382 nor the canonical warning issued to Archbishop Lefebvre before the consecrations states that an illicit episcopal consecration constitutes a schismatic act.


Adhering strictly to the letter of the motu proprio, various detractors of the SSPX declare the case closed. But it has never been that simple. For one thing, the Church is not constrained by the letter of her own law when justice or charity would indicate a different course. Indeed, given that the Vatican has effectively ceased applying the term schismatic to the Orthodox or even to the one hundred illicitly consecrated bishops of the communist-controlled Catholic Patriotic Association (CPA) in China, it would hardly be commensurate with justice or charity to treat SSPX adherents as rank schismatics, cast into outer darkness, and leave it at that.


This is all the more so when one considers that the actions of Catholics with respect to Church law are not judged by the legal standards applicable to such civil matters as traffic tickets or insider trading. Unlike civil law, Church law explicitly recognizes an excuse from the operation of penalties where subjective culpability can be shown to be lacking, just as God Himself would excuse an objectively wrongful action absent subjective guilt. Even a penalty of excommunication imposed in the external forum arguably does not operate where the   offender has acted out of what he believed in conscience to be grave necessity or to avoid grave inconvenience. Cf. canons 1321, 1323.


Where schism is concerned, there must be a subjective intention to refuse communion with the Roman Pontiff, not merely a single act of disobedience to a particular command (in this case the command that a papal mandate is required for consecration of bishops).


Moreover, there has never been any clear determination of the status of the priests and lay adherents of the SSPX who are not the subject of the penalties declared in the motu proprio. While the motu proprio speaks of “formal adherence to the schism” as grounds for incurring the same penalties as the five, the term “formal adherence” has never been defined in any universally binding pronouncement by a competent Vatican dicastery, which would appear to be either the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith or the Ecclesia Dei Commission.


[…] The recent Vatican approaches to the SSPX constitute a marked departure from the strange double standard which consigns the SSPX to oblivion while an earnest ecumenical courtship is pursued with militantly anti-Roman Orthodox bishops, and even communist-controlled CPA bishops handpicked by the bloody Jiang regime - which brutally persecutes the “underground” bishops, priests and laity who remain loyal to Rome. 


[…] What does the Church gain from yet another denunciation of the SSPX at the same time both Protestants and Orthodox of every stripe are being treated as “brothers in the Lord” and    invited to participate in joint liturgical ceremonies with Catholic prelates, including the Pope himself, without the least mention of the evil of schism or communicatio in sacris with non-Catholics?

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“You have at your disposal at the bookstall some books and flyers which contain all the elements necessary to help you better understand why this ceremony, which is apparently done against the will of Rome, is in no way a schism. We are not schismatics! If an excommunication was pronounced against the bishops of China, who separated themselves from Rome and put themselves under the Chinese government, one very easily understands why Pope Pius XII excommunicated them. There is no question of us separating ourselves from Rome, nor of putting ourselves under a foreign government, nor of establishing a sort of parallel church as the Bishops of Palmar de Troya have done in Spain. They have even elected a pope, formed a college of cardinals… It is out of the question for us to do such things. Far from us be this miserable thought of separating ourselves from Rome!


On the contrary, it is in order to manifest our attachment to Rome that we are performing this ceremony. It is in order to manifest our attachment to the Eternal Rome, to the pope, and to all those who have preceded these last popes who, unfortunately since the Second Vatican Council, have thought it their duty to adhere to grievous errors which are demolishing the Church and the Catholic priesthood.”


- Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, Consecrations Sermon, 30th June, 1988

Archbishop Lefebvre 1988.jpg

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Here is another example from the old SSPX. The following extract is taken from the book: ‘Most Asked Questions About the Society of St Pius X’ - also available here:


Question 11: Wasn’t Archbishop Lefebvre excommunicated for consecrating bishops unlawfully?


June 29, 1987: Archbishop Lefebvre, experiencing failing health and seeing no other way of assuring the continued ordination of truly Catholic priests, decided to consecrate Bishops and announced that, if necessary, he will do so even without the Pope’s permission.


June 17, 1988: Cardinal Gantin, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, officially warned the Archbishop that, in virtue of canon1382 (1983 Code of Canon Law), he and the bishops consecrated by him would be excommunicated for proceeding without pontifical mandate and thereby infringing the laws of sacred discipline.


June 30, 1988: Archbishop Lefebvre, together with Bishop de Castro Mayer, consecrated four bishops.


July 1, 1988: Cardinal Gantin declared the threatened excommunication (according to canon 1382) to have been incurred. He also called the consecrations a schismatic act and declared the corresponding excommunication (canon1364 §1), as well as threatening anyone supporting the consecrations with excommunication because of “schism.”


July 2, 1988: In ‘Ecclesia Dei Afflicta,’ the Pope repeated Cardinal Gantin’s accusation of schismatic mentality and threatened generalised excommunications.

Now, the excommunication warned of on June 17, for abuse of episcopal powers (canon 1382), was not incurred because:


1) A person who violates a law out of necessity is not subject to a penalty (1983 Code of Canon Law, canon 1323, §4), even if there is no state of necessity:


 • if one inculpably thought there was, he would not incur the penalty (canon 1323,70),


 • and if one culpably thought there was, he would still incur no automatic penalties
  (canon 1324, §3; §1,80).


2) No penalty is ever incurred without committing a subjective mortal sin (canons 1321 §1, 1323 70). Now, Archbishop Lefebvre made it amply clear that he was bound in conscience to do what he could do to continue the Catholic priesthood and that he was obeying God in going ahead with the consecrations. Hence, even if he had been wrong, there would be no subjective sin.


3) Most importantly, positive law is at the service of the natural and eternal law and     ecclesiastical law is at that of the divine law (Principle8). No “authority,” can force a   bishop to compromise in his teaching of Catholic faith or administering of Catholic      sacraments. No “law,” can force him to co-operate in the destruction of the Church. With Rome giving no guarantee of preserving Catholic Tradition, Archbishop Lefebvre had to do what he could with his God-given episcopal powers to guarantee its preservation. It was his duty as a bishop.


4) The Church’s approving the Society of Saint Pius X allows it what it needs for its own preservation. This includes the service of bishops who will guarantee to maintain Catholic tradition.

Question 12: Isn’t the Society of Saint Pius X schismatic?


Was Archbishop Lefebvre (along with his co-consecrator and the four bishops whom he consecrated) excommunicated also for having done a “schismatic act” as well as for consecrating without pontifical mandate, Question 11)?


No. A first argument is that already given (Question 11,1). What, moreover, constitutes a schismatic act? Not the mere deed of consecrating bishops without pontifical mandate. The 1983 Code of Canon Law itself lists this offence under Title 3 (abuse of ecclesiastical powers) and not under Title 1 (offences against religion and the unity of the Church) of its penal section (Book 6).


Nor would it be a “schismatic act” to consecrate against the express wish of the Holy Father. That could amount to disobedience at most.* But disobedience does not amount to schism; Schism requires that one not recognise the authority of the pope to command; disobedience consists in not obeying a command, whilst still acknowledging the authority of the one   commanding. “The child who says ‘I won’t!’ to his mother does not deny that she is his mother.” (Fr Glover)


Now, Archbishop Lefebvre always recognised the Pope’s authority (proved by his consultations with Rome for a solution to the current problems) and so does the Society of Saint Pius X. (See, for example, its support for Pope John Paul’s Ordinatio Sacerdotalis against women priests.)


Consecrating a bishop without pontifical mandate would be a schismatic act if one pretended to confer not just the fullness of the priesthood but also jurisdiction, a governing power over a particular flock. Only the Pope, who has universal jurisdiction over the whole Church, can appoint a pastor to a flock and empower him to govern it. But Archbishop Lefebvre never presumed to confer anything but the full priestly powers of holy orders, and in no way did he grant any jurisdiction (which he himself did not have personally to give).


As for the Faithful, threatened by Pope John Paul II himself with excommunication if they adhere formally to the schism (‘Ecclesia Dei Afflicta’, July 2, 1988), do they indeed incur any excommunication for going to Society of Saint Pius X priests for the sacraments?


Not at all. The Society of Saint Pius X priests are neither excommunicated nor schismatics. This being so, how could any of the faithful who approach them incur these penalties? Besides:


“Excommunication is a penalty for those who commit certain crimes with full moral guilt, not a contagious disease!” (Fr. Glover)


On May 1, 1991, Bishop Ferrario of Hawaii “excommunicated” certain Catholics of his     diocese for attending Masses celebrated by priests of the Society of Saint Pius X, and receiving a bishop of the Society of Saint Pius X to confer the sacrament of Confirmation. Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, overturned this decision:


“From the examination of the did not result that the facts referred to in the above-mentioned decree, are formal schismatic acts in the strict sense, as they do not constitute the offence of schism; and therefore the Congregation holds that the Decree of May 1,1991, lacks foundation and hence validity.” (June 28,1993).

* (But there is no disobedience, cf. ‘An Open Letter to Confused Catholics,’ pp. 129-136. cf. “The act of consecrating a bishop (without the pope's permission) is not itself a schismatic act” - Cardinal Lara, President of the Pontifical Commission for the Authentic Interpretation of Canon Law, in La Repubblica, October 7, 1988)

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Arguments from Common Sense

Legal arguments are important, but suppose you had no understanding of canon law and no one to explain it to you- would there be no way for you to know the truth? Not everyone can be expected to understand canon law, but they don’t need to. We all can apply common sense.


1. Archbishop Lefebvre was supposedly excommunicated by people who clearly don’t believe in excommunication.


How many priests and bishops since Vatican II have publicly promoted the foulest heresies and scandals? Freemasonic teachings such as a universal brotherhood of man, already condemned by the Church; Protestant teachings already condemned by the Council of Trent; the Dutch bishops with their blasphemous, heretical catechism? Jesuit priests leading communist guerrilla militias in armed uprisings and carrying out terrorist attacks; we could go on. How many of them were said to be excommunicated, treated as outcasts? Not one. Today Fr James Martin is going around teaching other priests how to bless sodomitical “unions” but neither he nor they are said to be “in schism” and neither Rome nor the local bishops warn people not to get involved.


Even the notorious Hans Kung was never excommunicated and there was never any talk of “schism” - he was merely forbidden to teach at university, something which he circumvented whilst everyone turned a blind eye and let him carry on. Genuine schismatics such as the CCP-controlled ‘Chinese Patriotic Association’ are given every encouragement and treated as fellow Catholics by modern Rome. The Rome of Pius XII, before Vatican II, excommunicated the CPA and declared them in schism, just as it praised and promoted Archbishop Lefebvre.


Look at some of these recent so-called “movements” in the modern church. Some of them are openly heretical and cult-like. Opus Dei don’t allow their lay members to confess to a non- Opus Dei priest. The Neo Catechumenal Way have only their own Masses which involve their own heretical, made-up “liturgy” and which are completely separate from whatever parish they are supposed to be in, behind closed doors, invitation only. Those are just two examples - there are many more. Can you imagine for one moment Archbishop Lefebvre or the SSPX being accused of such things? And yet these guys enjoy modernist Rome’s official approval; they aren’t called “schismatic” or “excommunicated” because they don’t oppose the Vatican II revolution. Archbishop Lefebvre and the SSPX did, so they were.


Just like the modernist-infested hierarchy don’t believe that you have to be in the Catholic Church to be saved, no, they’re ecumenical and tolerant and welcoming, “What unites us is stronger than what  divides us!” - but when it comes to Archbishop Lefebvre and the SSPX, they suddenly forget all that and become the most straight-laced, hard-line clericalist authoritarians of all time! In much the same way, they clearly don’t believe in excommunication, anything goes… except they suddenly discovered that they did believe in it after all when it came to Archbishop Lefebvre and “the Lefebvrists”!


This just isn’t something one can take seriously.


2. When push comes to shove, even the modernist Vatican never really believed in the “schism,” as they have shown repeatedly.


“Regarding your inquiry, I would point out at once that the Directory on Ecumenism is not concerned with the Society of St. Pius X. The situation of the members of this   Society is an internal matter of the Catholic Church. The Society is not another Church or Ecclesial Community in the meaning used in the Directory.”


 - Cardinal Edward Cassidy, replying to an enquiry about Rome’s “ecumenism” in relation to the SSPX - May, 1994


“The act of consecrating a bishop (without the pope's permission) is not itself a     schismatic act”


 - Cardinal Castillo Lara, President of the Pontifical Commission for the Authentic Interpretation of Canon Law, in La Repubblica, October 1988


“From the examination of the did not result that the facts referred to in the above-mentioned decree [i.e. founding a supposedly “schismatic” chapel against the wishes of the local bishop, inviting supposedly “schismatic priests to say Mass there and having one’s children confirmed by a supposedly “schismatic” and “excommunicated” bishop] are formal schismatic acts in the strict sense, as they do not constitute the offence of schism; and therefore the Congregation holds that the Decree of May 1,1991 [i.e. the charge of excommunication], lacks foundation and hence validity.”


 - Cardinal Josef Ratzinger, President of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, June, 1993.


“We are not dealing with a case of heresy. One cannot say in correct and exact terms that there is a schism. There is, in the act of ordaining bishops without papal approval, a schismatic attitude. They are within the confines of the Church.”


- Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, resident of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, November 2005


These are the most obvious examples, there are doubtless many more. Should anyone object, let us agree that the statements above may well have been “mistakes” which slipped out and were instantly regretted. Let us also agree that there are many other statements where the modernists in Rome said the contrary (“Archbishop Lefebvre and the SSPX are schismatics! Don’t go there, or you’ll catch a dose of the schism and become a schismatic too!” ...or something similar!) . Very well. What it does show, however, is that at the very least they weren’t consistent. It also shows that there is a difference between what they said when they were consciously towing the party line before the world and what they let slip when they thought no one was paying attention. And high ranking men who publicly represent a prominent institution - government ministers from a political party, for instance, or (as in this case) Cardinals in Rome - will often have a party line which they are expected to trot out but which they occasionally contradict in an unguarded moment, proving that they didn’t really believe it all along but were only saying it because that is what they felt expected to say. The quotations above are the equivalent of one of Mr Biden’s cabinet admitting that, in fact,   inflation is a problem and the economy isn’t in such great shape.


Since there is undeniable evidence that even the highest representatives of modernist Rome didn’t really believe in the fictitious schism, why should we?

3. Holiness and Catholicity. This is so obvious and so easy to spot that it often passes us by. Back in the day, before the SSPX went soft, every once in a while a Novus Ordo critic would warn people away from the “schismatic, excommunicated SSPX” by lecturing everyone in moralising tones about how “schism and heresies are proximate” or something like that, or how schism will always lead to a diminishing of holiness, virtue, piety and so forth. All of which are true. But what they never seemed to spot was that their own argument could be turned back on them. If schism leads to heresy (which is true, it invariably does) where was there ever an example of heresy taught by Archbishop Lefebvre or his SSPX? Name just one example. Not only is there none to be found there, in virtually any country across the globe your local SSPX chapel was about the only place in the diocese where you wouldn’t find heresies! The same goes for the argument about holiness. If the SSPX back then (and likewise the Resistance today) are so dangerous, “schismatic” and off limits to all good Catholics, why is there so much more piety and devotion and holiness apparent among priests and people there than  in any of the supposedly “non-schismatic,” officially-approved priests and faithful and “communities”? Why so much worldliness where one ought to see holiness and why so much holiness where one ought to see worldliness?


All of which are true. But what they never seemed to spot was that their own argument could be turned back on them. If schism leads to heresy (which is true, it invariably does) where was there ever an example of heresy taught by Archbishop Lefebvre or his SSPX? Name just one example. Not only is there none to be found there, in virtually any country across the globe your local SSPX chapel was about the only place in the diocese where you wouldn’t find   heresies! The same goes for the argument about holiness. If the SSPX back then (and likewise the Resistance today) are so dangerous, “schismatic” and off limits to all good Catholics, why is there so much more piety and devotion and holiness apparent among priests and people there than  in any of the supposedly “non-schismatic,” officially-approved priests and faithful and “communities”? Why so much worldliness where one ought to see holiness and why so much holiness where one ought to see worldliness?


The same is true of Catholicity, a word which really means that it transcends any human boundaries such as race, culture, language, social class and, importantly, time and era. Our ancestors in the Faith, if they were to be shown our own era, would they recognise Archbishop Lefebvre’s SSPX and today’s Resistance as believing and practicing what they believed and practiced? Would they look at a typical Novus Ordo layman and recognise him as being closer or further from what they think of as Catholic? Would a priest from past centuries, an Edmund Campion or a John Vianney, see himself more in the Novus Ordo priest of today, or in the “schismatic” “excommunicated,” “don’t-go-to-them-they-aren’t-in-good-standing” SSPX or Resistance priest? Which would they instantly recognise as a Catholic priest and which would they look on as an aberration belonging to another religion?


It just doesn’t add up, does it? None of it makes sense. The only way it all makes sense is if it was never Archbishop Lefebvre and his SSPX who were “schismatic,” “disobedient,” “dangerous” etc. all along, but rather the Novus Ordo modernists. Which brings us to:


4. The onus is on them to prove that they are in good standing! Fr. Glover made  this argument, and he was quite right to do so. In defending oneself from a particular charge, there is a danger of becoming self-obsessed when one’s focus should really be on attacking the modern errors and those pushing them. But it’s so obvious when you stop to think about it!


Not only John Paul II in 1988, but even continuing down to our own day, the very same churchmen who so cynically practiced upon the credulity of well-meaning Catholics, trying to make them think that Archbishop Lefebvre and the SSPX he founded were somehow “excommunicated,” “schismatic” or “not in good standing”, are themselves guilty of real    errors and offences. They are the ones who ought to be forced to defend themselves and their actions. They are the ones who should have their ecumenism and religious indifferentism thrown at them as an accusation; along with their “religious liberty,” their brotherhood-of-man talk, their Judaising, their “synodality”, their Protestant ‘New Mass’ which offends Our Lord and which was condemned by the Council of Trent and by Popes such as Pius VI long before it ever even existed.


John Paul II, the Pope who brought out Ecclesia Dei Adflicta in July 1988 to inform the world that Marcel Lefebvre had excommunicated himself (he hadn’t!) according to what the 1983 Code of Canon Law says (it doesn’t!), is the same man who had no problem consorting with and encouraging all sorts of enemies of God and of mankind during his life. Pro-abortion   politicians received communion at Mass during his various trips around the world, and it   didn’t end when he died: the godless mainstream media praised him to the skies and politicians such as the Blairs and the Clintons attended his funeral. Cherie Blair, nominally a Catholic, was by then well known as a pro-abortion feminist who had used her husband’s prominence to push causes such as “women’s ordination” in the mainstream media. She received communion at the funeral of John Paul II, as did Brother Roger of Taizé, a lifelong Protestant and the leader of an ecumenical sect (which John Paul II had praised while he was still alive), from the hands of soon-to-be Pope Benedict XVI. Poor old Archbishop Lefebvre. If only he had been an    ecumenical Protestant, if only he had publicly promoted feminism, abortion and women’s ordination, he would have found himself “in good standing” and not “excommunicated”! Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi... Even the infamous Robert Mugabe, a self-described Marxist who murdered legions of his own countrymen in Zimbabwe, was given communion at the Mass in St Peter’s where John Paul II was (supposedly) beatified. So he’s OK. Well, at least he wasn’t a Lefebvrist! Indeed, one is left with the  impression that there is no crime too great, there is nothing anyone can do which will earn an excommunication from the post-Vatican II Popes, except the crime of supposedly being too Traditional (as though such a thing were even possible!). With all those people who feel duty bound to stay away from the “Lefebvre schism,” does it ever occur to them to wonder whether it wasn’t Archbishop Lefebvre who was the problem?

That is the reality, the horrifying truth. Forget about make-believe, trumped-up “schisms” One only has to look at the Popes and the hierarchy since Vatican II to sense a real schism - there really is no better word to describe it. But it is all on their side, they are the ones guilty of it. They forget that the Church exists not just throughout space, horizontally, but also through time, vertically (like a cross). Where is their unity with their predecessors? Previous Popes condemned ecumenical prayer gatherings even if it was only with Protestants; these recent Popes, Cardinals and bishops have all been taking part in ecumenical prayer gatherings with Muslims, Jews, pagans and (from Benedict XVI onwards) non-believers. Previous Popes taught that the state has a duty to be officially Catholic, whereas they have spent time and energy making sure that as many states are officially secular and pluralist as possible. Previous Popes condemned the globalists and masonic revolutionaries, whereas these modern Vatican II Popes have embraced them. We could go on. It is not Traditionalists who need to defend themselves. We are guilty of being unwilling to abandon the beliefs and practices of our Catholic forefathers, nothing more. The irony is that, in talking of there being a “schism” between themselves and us, the modernists are in fact condemning themselves, whether they realise it or not. They need to repent, they need to return to the  Catholic Faith free from error and heresy, they need to return to Catholic practice, free of scandal and novelty and syncretism and paganism.

Archbishop Lefebvre famously said that it is the modern Popes who are disobedient to their predecessors, to all the Popes from nineteen centuries up to Vatican II, and who can doubt that he was and is right? He said “We are condemned by those who are themselves condemned.” I also recall hearing somewhere that when asked one time by a journalist about “the schism,” he replied simply “Schism from what?” That is about the neatest three-word summary one can imagine. Schism from what? From all your novus-bogus blasphemies? From your newfangled conciliar church, the church of the new advent, the church of the new springtime, the church of the global brotherhood of man, the church of religious pluralism and empty sentimentality, the church of B’nai B’rith -sponsored Religious Liberty? Fine. We never asked to be a part of that in the first place. But from the Catholic Church which Our Lord Himself founded? No, in that case it is the ones handing out condemnations who are in fact condemning themselves, since their talk of “schism” reveals a very real schism between themselves and their predecessors. It shouldn’t worry us in one sense, but it should spur us to greater zeal and charity in trying to convert them from their errors.




Common sense is a wonderful thing, it cuts to the heart of the matter and leaves no room for scruples. In order to believe in and take seriously the “excommunication” of Archbishop Lefebvre and the “schism” of all the priests and faithful who agree with him, you first of all need to be convinced that:

1. There is nothing wrong in the modern church. It isn’t carnage everywhere. Everything’s basically fine and not much different from how it was before the Council.


2. Authority is something totally arbitrary. It has no purpose in particular and can be used by the one who wields it for whatever end he sees fit, no matter how arbitrary or perverse. It is the mere plaything of whoever happens to be in office.


3. The Church’s law is not something which applies equally to all Catholics. It can be   totally ignored in 99.9% of cases, cases which are huge, stinking and indefensible and which richly deserve punishment, but then scrupulously and minutely applied with no  benefit of the doubt whatever in one particular case. Straining at gnats and swallowing camels comes to mind.


Whereas, any Catholic with common sense can see that:


1. Things are about as far from “fine” and “normal” as one can imagine. We have gone from the crisis in the Church to the zombie apocalypse in the Church. There has never been a time in all human history where the Church has suffered as she is suffering now. It is just about possible to think that things are more or less “normal” in the Church, but only from a position of virtual ignorance. To see that all is not well, one has only to look; and the closer one looks, the worse things are.


2. No authority is arbitrary, even that of the Pope (especially not that of the Pope!) It exists for a reason, for a purpose and that purpose will be fulfilled or thwarted depending on how the authority is used. Does the Pope’s authority exist to spread masonic ideas about brotherhood of man throughout the world, to spread the gospel of climate change, welfare state socialism, “tolerance and diversity” and so on? (And if you think those things are unique to Pope Francis, think again! John Paul II was guilty as sin when it came to that stuff too!) Or does it exist for the glory of God and the salvation of souls, to convert the sinner, to help the Holy Souls in Purgatory, to encourage virtue and help extinguish vice, and so forth?


The father of a family does not have authority over his wife and children just so that he can amuse himself or live a life of ease - his authority serves the responsibility which he carries of getting his family to heaven. The high court judge may not pass whatever    sentence he wishes however ridiculous, in order to amuse himself according to his own whim or fancy, but is himself bound to observe the law of the land, legal precedent, and so on. Likewise, a Pope does not have arbitrary authority, he only has authority in order to guard Christ’s flock and is himself bound by the law of God and Tradition, as the Papal Coronation Oath makes explicitly clear.


3. If all the Blairs, Bidens, Mugabes and “brother” Rogers (to name just four of literally hundreds) in the world, and all the Fr James Martins, Fr Pedro Arrupes and Hans Kungs (again: many, many more could be cited) are somehow not guilty, not worthy of excommunication, not worth warning people away from, but Archbishop Lefebvre is, along with Bishop de Castro Mayer and anyone who agrees with them; if the Neocatechumenal Way with their mystery religion -esque invitation only, Protestantised  “Mass” (which is Protestant and liberal even by the standards of the New Mass!) are not off limits to unsuspecting Catholics, but the SSPX with their Tridentine Mass are… then the law has been turned on its head: subverted, to use the proper term. Worse, it is not only not being used for purpose for which it exists, it is being used deliberately to thwart that same purpose. 


Archbishop Lefebvre was excommunicated by a Pope who clearly didn’t believe in excommunication. The SSPX was accused of being outside of the Catholic Church by men who clearly don’t believe in the Catholic Church. They were treated as somehow non-Catholic, by people who are busy trampling underfoot anything which is actually Catholic. SSPX and Resistance Masses are labelled “illicit” by people who themselves offer and assist at the New Mass. The Tridentine Mass requires permission from bishops who don’t believe in the need for permission when it comes to literally anything else, LGBT drag queen Masses come to mind, and other horrors. Who would want to be in good standing with people like that? Let the indult “extraordinary form” Mass goers take heed and think on it. Are you proud of being in the good books of such men? Why do you think they give you permission for your Traditional Mass when they hate Tradition so much, doesn’t that strike you as odd? Why might that be, do you think? It doesn’t take any great amount of intellectual book-learning to work out what is really going on; all that is really needed is a little bit of honesty.


A Final Word


The astute reader will notice that throughout all this we have been talking about the old SSPX, the SSPX of Archbishop Lefebvre, the one which ceaselessly warned about the errors of the  Second Vatican Council and took to task the Pope, the Cardinals and the bishops for their errors and scandals, for leading the sheep astray.


By contrast, the new SSPX of recent years seem to be becoming less “in schism” from the modernist hierarchy by the day, and one need hardly add that is not a good thing! They appear to have become ashamed of what should be their pride and glory: “When the world [and the modernist hierarchy] hates you for my sake…”


      St Pius X, ora pro nobis!

Cherie Blair.jpg

Early-2000s - Cherie Blair receives communion from Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, Archbishop of Westminster. Well, at least she wasn’t a Lefebvrist! Unlike Archbishop Lefebvre, she remains “in good standing” to this very day..!


Protestant sect leader “Brother” Roger of Taizé receives communion from Cardinal Ratzinger at John Paul II’s funeral (2005). But again, at least he wasn’t a Lefebvrist!


(2011) If only Archbishop Lefebvre had been a genocidal Marxist with the blood of tens-of-thousands on his hands!

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