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Taken from A Bishop Speaks:

Ecône, Switzerland
August 2, 1976
Where Is the Schism?

“Your Excellency, aren’t you heading towards schism?”

That is the question that very many Catholics are asking on reading about the latest sanctions adopted by Rome against us! Catholics for the most part define or imagine schism to mean a break with the pope. They don’t push their investigation any further. You are going to break with the pope or the pope is going to break with you, so you are heading towards schism.

Why does breaking with the pope cause a schism? Because where the pope is, there is the Catholic Church. In reality, it means separating oneself from the Catholic Church. But the Catholic Church is a mystical reality that exists not only in space, on the face of the earth, but also in time and eternity. For the pope to represent the Church and be its image, he must not only be united to it in space, but also in time, the Church being essentially a living tradition.

In the measure that the pope would distance himself from this tradition, he would become schismatic, he would break with the Church. Theologians like St. Robert Bellarmine, Cajetan, Cardinal Journet, and many others have studied this possibility. Thus it is not something inconceivable.

But what is of concern to us is the Vatican Council II and its reforms and official orientations, much more than the personal attitude of the Pope, which is more difficult to discover. The Council represents, as much to the eyes of the Roman authorities as to our own, a new Church, which in fact they themselves call the Conciliar Church.

We believe that we can affirm, by limiting ourselves to a critique of Vatican II, that is to say, by analyzing the documents and by studying the conduct of the Council, that, by turning its back on tradition and breaking with the Church’s past, it is a schismatic Council. A tree is judged by its fruits. At present, the mainstream press in Europe and America and even worldwide, recognizes that the Council is in the process of ruining the Catholic Church to such an extent that even unbelievers and secular States are worried.

A non-aggression pact was concluded between the Church and the Freemasons. That is the reality behind the words “aggiornamento–opening to the world,” and “ecumenism.”

Henceforth, the Church accepts being no longer the one true religion, the only way of eternal salvation. It recognizes the other religions as sister religions. It recognizes as a right derived from the nature of the human person that man is free to choose his religion, and consequently a Catholic State is no longer admissible.

Once this new principle is admitted, then all the doctrine of the Church must change: its worship, its priesthood, its institutions. For until now everything in the Church manifested that she alone possesses the Truth, the Way, and the Life in our Lord Jesus Christ, whom she possesses in person in the holy Eucharist present thanks to the continuation of His sacrifice. A complete overthrow of the entire tradition and teaching of the Church has been brought about since the Council by the Council. All those who co-operate in the implementation of this overthrow accept and adhere to this new “Conciliar Church,” as His Excellency Bishop Benelli designates it in the letter he addressed to me in the name of the Holy Father last June 25th, and enter into schism.

The adoption of liberal theses by a Council could not have occurred except in a non-infallible pastoral council, and cannot be explained without there having been a secret, detailed preparation which the historians will eventually uncover to the great stupefaction of Catholics who confuse the eternal Roman Catholic Church with the human Rome susceptible to infiltration by enemies robed in purple.

How could we, by a blind and servile obedience, go along with these schismatics who ask us to collaborate in their enterprise of demolishing the Church?

The authority delegated by our Lord to the pope, to the bishops, and to the priesthood in general is at the service of the faith in His divinity and the transmission of His own divine life. All the institutions, divine or ecclesiastical, are destined to serve this end. Each and every law has no other purpose. To make use of the Church’s law, institutions, and authority to destroy the Catholic Faith and to no longer transmit the life of grace is to practise spiritual abortion or contraception. Who will dare say that a Catholic worthy of the name can co-operate in a crime that is worse than physical abortion?

That is why we are submissive and ready to accept everything that is in conformity with our Catholic Faith such as it has been taught for two thousand years, but we reject everything that is against it.

The objection is made that we make ourselves the judge of the Catholic Faith. But is it not the gravest duty of every Catholic to judge the faith which is taught him by that which was taught and believed for twenty centuries and which is inscribed in the official catechisms, like that of Trent, of St. Pius X, and of every pre-Vatican II catechism? How have the true faithful always acted in the face of heresy? They have preferred to shed their blood rather than betray their faith.

No matter how exalted the dignity of the spokesmen of heresy may be, the problem for the salvation of our souls remains the same. And in connection with this, many Catholics are seriously ignorant about the nature and scope of the pope’s infallibility. Very many think that every word that comes from his mouth is infallible.

For the rest, it seems to us much more certain that the faith taught by the Church for twenty centuries cannot contain error than that it is absolutely certain that the Pope is pope. Heresy, schism, ipso facto excommunication, or the invalidity of the election are so many causes which, eventually, could make it such that a Pope was never pope or that he is so no longer. In such a case, obviously very exceptional, the Church would be in a situation similar to that which occurs after the death of a Sovereign Pontiff. For, ultimately, a serious problem has presented itself to the faith of all Catholics since the beginning of Pope Paul VI’s pontificate. How can a Pope who is a true successor to Peter, and hence is guaranteed the assistance of the Holy Ghost, preside over the most extensive devastation the Church has ever experienced in its history in such a short period of time, something no heresiarch has ever succeeded in doing? One day this question will have to be answered. But leaving this problem to theologians and historians, the reality constrains us to respond practically in accordance with the counsel given by St. Vincent of Lerins:
Quote:What, therefore, will the Catholic Christian do if some members of the Church have broken away from the communion of universal faith? What else, but prefer the sanity of the body universal to the pestilence of the corrupt member? What if a new contagion strives to infect not only a small part but the whole of the Church? Then, he will endeavor to adhere to the antiquity which is evidently beyond the danger of being seduced by the deceit of some novelty.

We are resolved to continue our work for the restoration of the Catholic priesthood come what may, persuaded that we can provide no greater service to the Church, the Pope, the bishops, and the faithful. Let us be permitted to carry out the experiment of Tradition.

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, A Bishop Speaks, Kansas City, MO: Angelus Press. E-Book

[Emphasis - The Catacombs]