Archbishop Lefebvre: On the Occasion of his 60th Anniversary of Ordination [1989]
Sermon of His Excellency Archbishop Lefebvre on the Occasion of his 60th Anniversary of Ordination
Le Bourget, Paris
November 18, 1989
[The titles are of the translator.]

Your Excellencies, My very dear Confreres, Dear Seminarians, My dear Brethren,

It is not without a deep emotion that I see you in such great numbers gathered here for this anniversary of ordination. Many of you have undergone the difficulties of traveling; some come from far away continents. But I think this ceremony was worth the effort.

Indeed why did we come here together? To honor the Catholic Priesthood. I think that is the deep motive for which you came today.

Let us thank God

We shall never thank enough the Most Holy Trinity, and Our Lord Jesus Christ God made man, for having instituted the Eternal Priesthood. Yes, Our Lord is essentially The Mediator, The Priest. It is He who became priest for us, for the offering of His Holy Sacrifice to His Father. In His divine Wisdom, He willed to make some men, chosen by Him, share His priesthood. What a great mystery of the Divine Charity, of the Love of God for us! How unworthy do we feel to have this immense grace of the priesthood. Blessed be God! Blessed be Our Lord Jesus Christ! Blessed be also the Virgin Mary; for without Mary, we would not have had the High Priest, whose priesthood we share. Mary, Mother of the priests, Mother of the priesthood, yes, she is indeed our Mother, especially for us priests. May God be thanked and blessed for the priesthood which He deigned to bestow upon me, for these sixty priestly years, these forty two years of episcopate, during which, by His holy grace, unworthy as I am, I have been able to confer these episcopal consecrations and many priestly ordinations, - around five hundred - I was able to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass daily, I was able to give Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself to the souls, through the Sacraments, and especially the Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist. How many graces! How many gifts!

To this hymn of thanksgiving, to which you unite yourselves, my dear brethren, I would like to add the translation of the words of a prayer of the Offertory, which seem to be most appropriate to this circumstance and which the priest recites every day: "Receive, Most Holy Father, Almighty and Eternal God, this immaculate victim which I, thy most unworthy servant, offer to Thee, my God, living and true, for my innumerable sins, offenses and negligences, for all those who are here present, for the Christian faithful, living and dead, that this oblation may be useful for my salvation and theirs, unto eternal life! Amen." This is the prayer of oblation, which the priest recites every day at the Altar. What a magnificent prayer! In front of this sublime mystery of the priesthood, we cannot not feel ourselves so unworthy and so poor.

Prepare, discern and teach many holy priests

My dear confreres in the priesthood, it is to you that I address myself, especially to those of you who are in charge of the formation of the future priests. Prepare for us many priests, many holy priests, many Catholic priests, with a deep Faith, with the longing for holiness, a desire to be missionaries. This is what you are doing, and I thank you for this in the name of all the faithful who understand well the necessity to have truly Catholic priests, true other Christs.

I turn myself also to you, dear confreres, who are in the pastoral field. It is your duty to discern the germ of vocations in the hearts of young men around you, and also vocations to the religious life. To you therefore God gives the grace to take care and look after the souls He chose for Himself to become priests or to participate in a different way in His priesthood through the religious life.

And you, my dear brethren, you Catholic parents, you are the sanctuary where priestly or religious vocations are formed. Without you, what would we do? Where would we find vocations of priests, monks and nuns? Therefore I beseech you, keep this sanctuary far from the corrosive and evil influences of the world. Do not let the spirit of the world enter into your homes. Let them be true extensions of the parish, of the church. Let your children have only edifying images to behold, not those that could stain their souls for their whole life. Keep away from their eyes what can corrupt their hearts, so that the Good Lord may choose from your homes some elite souls. There is nothing more beautiful than a priestly vocation in a family, than a vocation to the monastery or convent. What a protection for the whole family, for the brothers and sisters! Be sure of this.

Therefore during this Holy Mass, we shall all pray together so that the Good Lord may make the Catholic Priesthood continue, religious vocations continue in spite of the attacks of the world and of hell against good vocations, against the Catholic Priesthood. What would a church be without priests? The modern church shall soon have only Sunday services without priests: what can such services be? It is no longer the Sacrifice of Our Lord reenacted on the Altar, in which you take part, in which we take part. No, the Catholic Church is not a church of such services: the Catholic Church is a Church of Catholic Priests: without Catholic priests, there is no longer the Catholic Church.

To have Catholic priests, we need Catholic bishops

And there can be no Catholic priests without Catholic bishops. We could have had, as you know, after the conversations with Rome, one bishop. But what would this bishop have been? They demanded that he have the "profile desired by the Vatican". What does that mean? That he have the spirit of the Council, the spirit of Vatican II. It is precisely to protect ourselves from that spirit which is not the Spirit of God, which is not the Catholic Spirit, that we decided to make these dear four Catholic bishops, and to transmit to the coming generations of seminarians the Catholic Priesthood. This way, you are assured that some priests shall continue to teach you and your children the True Catholic Faith and to transmit the grace through true Sacraments and the true Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

The source of evil: the Secretariat for the Unity of Christians!

I would like also, my dear brethren, to tell you a few words about the present situation within the Church.

If one would ask me: "But how has it been possible that the Catholic Church of up to Pope Pius XII became the liberal modernist church?" I would answer: you are sufficiently aware of the history of the Council, it has been sufficiently explained to you, you have read many books on these sorrowful subjects, so sad for our Catholic hearts. We felt a break, a departure from the past, a departure from Tradition, a departure from the Popes previous to the Council.

Among the many facts which marked the history of the Council, I would only like to underline the following one: what has weighed upon the disorientation of the Church, upon the complete change of direction of the spirit animating the Church into a liberal spirit, what has weighed before, during and after the Council, is the Secretariat for the Unity of Christians.

Three very instructive books have been recently published:
- the life of Mgr. Bugnini, an enormous autobiography, published after his death.
- a book on Cardinal Bea, a huge book also, showing all his influence before, during and after the Council.
- and lastly a life of Cardinal Villot, showing his orientations and the influences he exercised during and after the Council.

All these show that there has been a definite and firm will to change the spirit of the Church, to make this "aggiornamento", this update of the Church, opening its doors to all those who do not share our Faith, giving them the impression that there are no differences between them and us. This is a radical change in the position of the Church.

Before the Council - and personally I have indeed this experience - we were sent to missions beyond the seas. I spent thirty years in Africa - the faithful from Gabon here present can testify to it! - Thirty years to do what? To convert souls through Baptism into the Catholic Church! What did St. Peter do after his first sermon at Jerusalem? He baptized four thousand people. He knew that, by Baptism, he was edifying the Church and that henceforth all those who wanted to enter the Church, to enter the way of salvation, to follow Our Lord Jesus Christ and share of the redeeming Blood of the Saving God, ought to be baptized in the Catholic Church. This is what the Church did throughout twenty centuries.

Suddenly, we were told: No! You ought now to dialogue. You ought not to convert. You ought to respect the opinion of everyone. You must not give them the impression that they are in error.

But then, where is the mission of the Church?

This radical change was obtained by the pressures of groups of people who were precisely members of the Secretariat for the Unity of Christians.

Indeed let us reflect a few moments: why a Secretariat for the Unity of Christians? Wasn't already the Congregation of the Propaganda, i.e. the propagation of the Faith, in charge of bringing the Faith to all those who did not yet have it? It was the Congregation of the Propaganda who sent missionaries all over the world to convert all souls, whether pagans, animists, atheists, Buddhist, Moslems, Protestants... The Propagation of the Faith was in charge of sending missionaries to bring into the Church, through Catholic Baptism, all these wandering souls.

Why then, besides the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, establish a new congregation, which would merely make contacts, "friendly" contacts with all false religions and false ideologies? The Church is now precisely suffering from this. She cannot die, of course: you are the witnesses and agents of her continuation, you are the Church, you continue the Church, through the Faith, which you maintain, through the holiness of the Church, which you continue. Otherwise, we could wonder where our Holy Church is going!

Cardinal Bea, before the Council, went throughout the whole world, gathering the episcopates and asking them to make of the Council an ecumenistic council. I do not say, ecumenical. A council is always ecumenical. I say, ecumenistic, that is, making a bond between all religions.

This is not possible. It is contrary to the Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. This is the reason why it is impossible for us to get along with Rome as long as this "Secretariat" shall be supported and encouraged by the Sovereign Pontiff. In the present situation, the members of this Secretariat can continue their action of destroying the Church and the social reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

The name of Cardinal Willebrands is sufficiently well known to be aware of the fact that it is precisely his function to go everywhere and make contacts with anyone, as if no one else were in charge of the doctrine of the Church, of the Faith of the Church.

Msgr. De Smedt, secretary of the Secretariat for the Unity of Christians, was the one who defended during the Council the schema on Religious Freedom. Msgr. Bugnini was a member of the Secretariat for the Unity of Christians; he was the one who destroyed the Liturgy of the Holy Mass and of the Sacraments and replaced it with a new liturgy, and who knows where its evolution shall end? It is always changing.

Faced with this situation, without a doubt, we cannot have regular contacts with Rome, because up to now Rome was asking that, for any concession whatsoever, either an Indult for the Holy Mass, for the liturgy, for the seminaries, we would have to sign the new profession of Faith drawn up by Cardinal Ratzinger last February, which contains explicitly the acceptance of the Council and of its consequences.

We must know what we want! It was the Council, which destroyed the Holy Mass, which destroyed the Faith, the Catechisms and the social reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the civil societies. How then could we accept it?

We must keep and protect our Catholic Faith!

Faced with this situation, my dear brethren, what can we do? We must keep the Catholic Faith and protect it by all means!

Among the many books available on the tables in the back, you will find many books that can be of help to deepen your insight on the crisis we suffer and to keep the Faith.

Two new books have just been published: the book of Father Marziac and that of Dom Guillou. The book of Dom Guillou in particular deals with the Roman Canon of the Mass and of the difference between the Canon of all times and that of the new liturgy. This is a very valuable and very instructive book.

The Society has also reprinted some very interesting books such as "Jesus Christ, King of Nations" by the Reverend Father Philippe, a Redemptorist of the beginning of this century. He wrote this wonderful little book as a catechism. It is full of quotations from the Encyclicals of the Popes showing that this is the Faith of our ancestors, the Faith of the Popes before the Council. It is incompatible with what we are taught now in the Church: the laicization of the states and of the civil societies. They say: "This is inadmissible. Our Lord can no longer reign over the societies; He is no longer the Master of society." Isn't He the Creator? Has He no longer the right to reign?

Protect and feed your Faith by good readings. I cannot quote all the publications, all the magazines, all that, through the grace of God, has been done by fervent and intelligent souls who have understood the necessity to help the faithful to keep the Catholic Faith. But you know them. I will quote only, if you allow me, "Monde et Vie" which remained firm in its position on the Consecrations of bishops. And I think that through "Radio-Courtoisie" we can get our message through, the message of Tradition. These are valuable means, without mentioning the publishers such as "Fideliter", Chir-en-Montreuil, and "Dismas" in Belgium. I cannot quote everyone. But we ought to profit from this blessed multiplication of the means to help us to remain Catholic.

Moreover, we must not only defend our Faith we ought to profess it. Here is the ending of the Anti-modernist Oath of St. Pius X. May we often repeat these words:

"I firmly hold, and shall hold to my dying breath the belief of the Fathers in the charism of truth, which certainly is, was, and always will be in the succession of the episcopacy from the Apostles. The purpose of this (charism) is, then, not that dogma may be tailored according to what seems better and more suited to the culture of each age; rather, that the absolute and immutable truth preached by the Apostles from the beginning may never be believed to be different, may never be understood in any other way."

This is the oath, which St. Pius X required all priests to swear on the Gospels, in order to keep the Faith of all times, the Faith of the Apostles. We have no other Faith; this is the Faith we profess. This is the Faith you profess in your little catechisms, and that you transmit to your children. Keep carefully these old Catechisms and if it happens that some families live too far away to be taken care of by one of our priests, let them write to our Sisters at St. Michel en Brenne: they make a catechism by correspondence and thus can teach the true Catechism to families. They now have 800 subscriptions. I hope that they shall have more and more in order to help those who are far from our priests to keep and continue the Faith.

Lastly we ought to keep the Holiness, the grace of the Good Lord, and we cannot do this without Jesus Christ. Indeed it is through His Sacrifice, through His Cross, through the sharing of His Blood that we receive the grace of the Good Lord; this we receive in all sacraments and especially in the Holy Eucharist. Therefore let us be faithful to the Mass of all times. Thus we shall keep in our hearts the grace of God and our souls shall be transformed and ready to meet the Good Lord, ready for Eternal Life.

International situation

May I tell you now a few words on the international situation? It seems to me that there is food for thought there and a conclusion to be drawn for us from the events we are now living, events with a truly apocalyptic character.

You know what is happening: the invasion of false religions, especially by Islam, not only in France, but also in England, Belgium, in Germany, threatens us. Two years ago, 100,000 Turks marched in the streets of Munich, shouting mottos against Germany and Christianity. These facts are a warning. This is what we can expect if our governments take no care and let Christendom be invaded by Moslems. It is not without reason that Pope St. Pius V and other Popes wanted to stop the tidal wave of Islam; otherwise Christendom would have already disappeared.

Another remarkable event: those movements, which, we must acknowledge, we do not always understand fully, those exceptional movements behind and now through the iron curtain. On the occasion of these movements, we must not forget the Masonic plans published by Pope Pius IX. More than a century ago, they spoke of a world government imposing the Masonic ideas. They were made public by Jacques Crtineau-Joly upon orders of Pope Pius IX.

We must not forget also the prophecies of the most holy Virgin Mary. She warned us: without the Conversion of Russia, without conversion of the world, without prayer and penance, communism shall invade the whole world. What does that mean? We know very well that the goal of the secret societies is a world government, with Masonic ideals, i.e. the rights of men, equality, fraternity and liberty, understood in an anti-christian sense, against Our Lord. These ideals would be promoted by a world government, which would establish a kind of socialism for all countries and then a congress of religions, encompassing all religions, including the Catholic Religion, in the service of this world government, as the Russian Orthodox are in the service of the soviets. There would be two congresses: a universal political congress, which would control the whole world, and this Congress of religions, which would support this world government, in a mercenary way.

These things threaten us. We must prepare ourselves. Faced with this, what should we do?

In his encyclical on Free-Masons, Pope Leo XIII said: "They want to utterly destroy all Christian institutions. This is their goal." They are getting close!

And we, we must build them again! We must stand up against this destruction. This is what you are doing, and I congratulate you. I shall never congratulate you enough. I am sure of telling you what God, what Our Lord, what the most Blessed Virgin want to tell you: continue, continue to do what you are doing.

Everywhere schools, priories are springing up. Parishes are multiplying in many countries. Everywhere churches are being acquired for Tradition. We must build again the Social Reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ in this Christian world, which is disappearing.

You shall tell me: "But, Monseigneur, this is the fight of David against Goliath!" yes, indeed, I know. But in his fight against Goliath, David won the victory! How did he win the victory? By a little pebble which he took from the torrent. What is this little stone, which we have? Jesus Christ! Our Lord Jesus Christ! We shall say with our ancestors from Vende: "We have no other honor than the honor of Jesus Christ. We have no other fear in the world than to offend Jesus Christ!" They went to their death to defend their God singing this! We also, let us sing with courage, wholeheartedly: "We have no other love than Our Lord Jesus Christ, no other fear than to offend Him!"

We shall pray to the most Blessed Virgin to help us in this fight. For this purpose, in a few moments, after the Holy Mass, we, the five Bishops here present, shall get together and renew the consecration of the world and of Russia to her Immaculate Heart.

We are convinced that the most Blessed Virgin, our good Mother who is always in the heart of the fight, encourages us. She came on earth to request that we fight, fearlessly, because she is with us.

Consecrating our families, our persons, our cities, our countries, our homelands, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, we are convinced that she shall come to our help and that she will manage to make us come with her one day in Eternal Life.

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre

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