Archbishop Lefebvre: 1976 Interview with José Hanu in 'Vatican Encounter'
Vatican Encounter

A three-part series of excerpts from the book by José Hanu, Vatican Encounter.

From a book review:
Quote:It is a long interview between the Archbishop and a Dutch journalist, a concerned Catholic voicing the worries of many about the crisis in the Church. Much of the talk deals with the year 1976, the “hot summer” for the seminary of Ecône and for its founder, during the titanic tug of war with Pope Paul VI, which culminated in the meeting of the two protagonists by the end of the year. The interview was thus conducted only weeks after these events, right hot off the plate!


With this first installment, The Angelus [un-dated] begins a series of excerpts from "Vatican Encounter: Conversations with Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre" by José Hanu, with permission from the Publisher.

[Archbishop Lefebvre:]
The present work is a book of conversations. The initiative was taken by José Hanu, who wanted to serve as the voice of many Catholics concerned about the crisis in the Church.

Since he asked my agreement, I did not think I should refuse. After all, do I not have to profit from any occasion to preach the truth?

Like any other literary form, that of conversations has its limitations and its drawbacks. The questions cannot help but influence the answers, since they have to set up the framework for them. Besides, the one who asks them is led to choose one particular fact over another, not because it is more important, not even because it is closer to the truth, but because it fits the general direction of the conversation better than another.

In this book, the overall direction was dictated by José Hanu. Had I wanted to talk about my life myself, I would probably not have cited the same facts, nor insisted upon the same points. But, within this limit, I am nevertheless assuming all the responsibility for my replies. I hope that in this way I might contribute to the establishment of the social kingdom of Our Lord Jesus Christ, which is my only aim.

On the Feast of the Immaculate Conception Ecône, December 8, 1976

[Interview takes place at] Ecône

José Hanu: Well, here we are, your Excellency, in the seminary of Ecône which has been the subject of so much talk. Let me first have a good look around.

How lovely and peaceful it is with its modern but modest buildings and the great stone house which once was the property of the Canons of the Great St. Bernard! It seems to be exactly right for its purpose. Besides, it is surrounded by symbols. The snowcapped Alps so close by shout out their purity and strength and the vineyards all around, planted by the monks and cultivated in the same way and always yielding a fine crop, show how effective thousand-year-old rules are.

The highpower lines which extend above the vines in no way bother them, as if to demonstrate that there is no incompatibility between adherence to the past and the demands of modern life.

I take a look at your seminarians, Excellency. They are a fine group of handsome, well-adjusted young men. Their eyes show no trace of disappointment, no anxiety, no fanaticism. They seem so much at ease within themselves and they are wearing the cassock with a kind of natural nobility.

In short, these young men look happy.

I take a look at you, yourself, Excellency, and I am really astonished. You are a seventy-one-year-old bishop who all his life was loyal to the Pope and the Vatican - and whom the Pope and the Vatican have severely punished in the full glare of publicity. You should be prostrate or in revolt. You are, however, serene. Even better than that, you are the embodiment of calm certainty, so rare in these hectic times.

When I look at your seminary, which has been called "wild," and when I see your seminarians whom your opponents have called "visionaries," I tell myself that there must be a tragic error somewhere, that the hullabaloo about your case has prevented Catholics from understanding the essentials, especially the essence of what you, yourself, Excellency, are. This will be the topic of our conversation.

First of all, let me say that my heart is heavy when I think of all those "progressive" Catholics, our brethren, who have slandered you; of the bishops who have mistaken the wind of a politico-religious mood, which too often is destructive, for the breath of the Holy Spirit; and of the Pope himself to whom the wind of this mood undoubtedly has brought incomplete information, either false or distorted.

But the noise of the mass media, their multitude of words, their rash judgments have hidden the core of the questions raised by your actions. These questions are serious and troubling for every Catholic who is attached to the Church.

My heart is heavy when I think of the possible consequences, for a bishop is, after all, also a man with his faults and foibles.

The tug of war between you and the Vatican, after your surprising audience with the Pope, has left an impression of uneasiness.

Then too, your homily at Lille has upset and shaken me. Your detractors were able to start a whole folklore about you and it came off reeking as triumphalism. It allowed certain people to exclaim: "He has finally dropped the mask: this is an archbishop of the extreme right! "

The trouble is that the right - and that includes the racist right - is trying to claim you; you have only to read the newspapers to be enlightened on this count! Now, as much as I deplore and distrust the faithful and the priests who read the gospel according to Marx, I also fear and reproach those who justify their ideas by pointing to the Cross.

I assume that your language has not expressed your convictions accurately and your enemies, as well as those who are "claiming" you, have lost no time in altering your thought even more.

Have you been, at this critical hour, the victim of Satan's trap? Or was it the Holy Spirit himself who pushed you too far, in order to prove to everybody that a man of the Church­ -no matter what his origins, his opinions, or his rank—should purge from his vocabulary political considerations which could drive a wedge between him and his brethren? I must admit that this latter explanation would not displease me at all. But I want to state it once and for all: regrettable or not, your sermon at Lille raised a question of capital importance that of the role of religion in society.

It will be with these matters that our dialogue will concern itself. Some of my questions may well seem sacrilegious to you.

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre:
Sacrilege? No question is sacrilegious, unless it implies statements which hurt God!

But don't expect too many shades of meaning on my part. I come from the North, where Flemish blood pulses through the veins of most of the inhabitants and the Flemish, as you well know, are famous for their bluntness. It would be difficult to say as much about the Italians and herein perhaps lie the reasons for some of my difficulties with the Vatican.

I refuse to admit, however, that a cause such as that of Our Lord Jesus Christ can be subject to the ups and downs of human thought.

We are beginning our dialogue on Christmas Eve, the feast which is the most hopeful feast of the entire year.

Therefore I wish with all my heart that the coming year will finally bring the solution to the crisis which has shaken the Church and which has caused us such painful problems. Our young priests will then be able to exercise their apostolate with the blessings and encouragement which are their due.

And how can one call "faithful" those who find it right to reject those rules and even the laws, or who tolerate - through weakness, if not by demagoguery - such shameful dismantling?

Or how can one designate as "faithful" those who refer respectfully to the Council but come to doubt the divinity of Christ, arguing the point even before the cameras of national television? And "rebels" those who, grounded in their faith, think that the Council Fathers, in their eagerness for an "opening to the world," have edited the texts which, with their imprecision, have opened the door to all sorts of fantasies, to put it kindly?

This was certainly not the intention of the bishops who were assembled at the Council, but the facts speak for themselves. I could quote them by the thousands and I am going to quote you a few right away, if you want me to.

In any case, believe me that I can well understand that Catholics of good faith could let themselves be carried away by baneful ideas and that they fight me they who constantly use the word “love.” - Indeed, if one measures the formidable pressures of the modern world, the hostility aimed at me seems natural and even logical.

Unfortunately, what has been lacking, what is always lacking, is firmness, courage, self-denial by those whose mission it is to be firm as rocks, whatever the price.

Consider the dismay of seminarians, for example, whose director of conscience, after having urged over many long years the supreme sacrifice of celibacy, reneges on his vows and marries a divorcee in the nearby chapel. After letting such an "accident" pass without an indignant outcry, can any bishop dare reproach a Catholic couple for breaking the marriage vow?

Still, I can understand the priests who - immerse themselves in the world, and the couple whose home life shifts grounds. What I really fail to comprehend is the pretense of judging us, a right which those responsible for such delinquency claim for themselves. Maybe in their heart of hearts they are ashamed of this false example of fidelity? Is it that they hope their conscience will be quieted when such an example is "justified"?

I shall make mine the famous motto: "I shall endure." And I say aloud what Catholics who may have been brain­washed, but whose heart is in the right place, feel in the depth of their souls.

So - don't be mistaken: I am not, I never want to be, I never shall be "the head of the traditionalists," as they want people to believe. As if I would enlist troops to attack the Vatican! This is ridiculous!

I have never "corralled" anybody. It happened simply that the day when I regretted that true vocations might not be able to find true seminaries, vocations presented themselves and many of the faithful and various priests gave us help.

Other faithful and other priests, sometimes huddled together in small places, have asked me to come and comfort them in their despair. Should I refuse to support them in their Catholic faith?

In addition, the suspension clamped on me has provided a publicity which I certainly have not desired.

It has alerted unhappy Catholics all over the world who before did not even know of my existence. They, in turn, are calling me. Whenever I can, I accept their invitation. But I do not direct them at all, I don't regroup them, and even less do I arm them against the Vatican: I simply recommend that they keep the faith in Our Lord Jesus Christ, in the Holy Spirit, and in the Virgin Mary, who - as I hope with all my heart - will make it possible for me to continue my mission within the bosom of the Church.

Therefore, I am not the head of a rebellion. I am only trying to be the shepherd who tries to tend a disoriented flock in the spirit of the first pastor and those who followed him.

This shepherd is now ready to answer your questions.

When I read articles in the press both of the left and of the right, or when I listen to the commentators on the radio, I often ask myself if I am dreaming, or if they talk in Chinese - for it is Greek to me. Well, as Beaumarchais said: "Slander, slander! Something can always be found to slander! " That is why slander is one of the best weapons in Satan's arsenal. About his existence I have no doubt - as you may have guessed, I take it?

Nor has there ever been any doubt about Satan's existence by His Holiness, Paul VI, who on February 29, 1972, declared:
Quote:"We have the impression that through some cracks in the wall the smoke of Satan has entered the temple of God: It is doubt, uncertainty, questioning, dissatisfaction, confrontation."

[Red-font emphasis - The Catacombs]

"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
Interview with José Hanu - On the Charismatics

This month's excerpt from the book "Vatican Encounter: Conversations with Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre" by José Hanu continues with Archbishop Lefebvre’s review of the bad fruits of Vatican II as well as his comments about the wearing of the cassock.


José Hanu:
We'll never finish reviewing what you call “the bad fruits of the Council.” The integrist and traditionalist newspapers and weeklies have used tons and tons of paper and ink to review them and castigate them.

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre:
Don't you think that those we have mentioned are enough cause for Catholics sometimes to use strong language in defense of their faith, against all those abominations?

José Hanu:
Above all, what strikes me most personally is the flight of so many faithful toward "others," as they would say today. Many are attracted by religious sects - and the Pentecostals are one of them, it seems. Moon's seductions still tempt many youngsters. And, finally, we have to talk about the "farthest out" of all, Monsignor Menie Gregoire and his "radio confessional."

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre:
I think everything has already been about this and can be lumped together with what was said about the new catechesis. Far from holding the faithful, the demagogues of the Conciliar Church discourage them and make them quit.

The phenomenon of Menie Gregoire, appointed counselor of the married life of others, is certainly the most symptomatic. He probably owes his origin to the fact that the Church has let the Sacrament of Penance fall into disuse, and that it, therefore, no longer fulfills its function as a guide of conscience.

The success of the Moon sect shows how easily one can deceive the young under the guise of an ideal, even a very austere one. Here, again, a sect replaces the void left by the absence of the true teachings of the doctrine revealed by Our Lord.

José Hanu: But what about the Pentecostals, sometimes also called Charismatics? That is a truly remarkable phenomenon.

Cardinal Suenens, the primate of Belgium, has written a quite extraordinary book about it. The cardinal actually believes that the Catholics who unite to pray by chanting, dancing and expressing themselves without restraint find themselves in the company of the Holy Spirit. The cardinal also firmly believes that these Catholics then start to "speak in tongues" like the apostles on the day of "Pentecost; that they may have prophetic visions and heal by the laying on of hands. He writes:
Quote:"Some Charismatics express themselves by totally unknown idioms, doubtless of people who have forever vanished and are forgotten."

The view of the primate of Belgium is not unique. A Dominican, for instance, Father Albert de Mauleon, who also has studied the question, shows a similar enthusiasm. In a rather surprising manner, he wrote:
Quote:"All they have to do [the Charismatics] is to ask: Spirit, are you here? And he responds by the most improbable feat, to restore the old and most moth-eaten Christendom!"

In this, the priest joins the cardinal, who, after stating that the Holy Spirit is not a phantom, continues:
Quote:“What is so striking about the experiences of the Charismatics is not the novelty, but the resurgence of the original tradition and the rediscovery of our own point of departure.”

The Holy Father, himself, seems convinced; since he received in the Basilica of St. Peter - I think it was last year - more than 10,000 Charismatics, who assured him they represent a million Catholics, 20,000 of them from France.

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre: This return, so to say, to the past is nothing but a bad caricature of the past.

That Christianity, in the beginning, needed particular graces, mostly the blood of martyrs, to take hold and expand, that I can well believe. But those graces depended on the reception of the Sacraments, and not on a sort of initiation rite, which resembles a diabolic rite. Some Charismatic sects need a laying off of hands, which means abandonment of self to the Holy Spirit.
71101d]This seems to me like a diabolic alienation, for the "Spirit" does not come through the Sacraments but by the laying on of hands outside them. This leads to contempt for the Sacraments and also for authority since the "Spirit" is received outside the Church, outside his sacred ministry and outside the sacrament. One can easily wind up by exchanging faith for hysteria.[/color]


José Hanu: Now, Excellency, we must talk about today's priests whom Cardinal Marty has defended so brilliantly. I can understand them. Having met a number of clergy and having known them well, I am convinced that the majority of them are saintly men who are pure and courageous and unusually dedicated.

The problem for most of them is that they are between the devil and the deep blue sea, so to speak. On the one hand, they see where these excesses are leading; on the other, they do not want to cut themselves off from the world. The temptations to which they are subjected are numerous and strong. Some of them are terribly troubled and unhappy.

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre:
Since one was searching for a "new type priest," as it were, adaptable to the ways of the world this was to be expected.

Look at the chain of events: The first objective is obliterate the image of the priest, as he was once recognizable immediately by the cassock. "The priest," they say, "is a man like any other." Once this is recognized as a principle, everything else follows inexorably. For these were the ideas, which governed the world: change the ideas and you change the world. The weak and the naive then say: "The world changes and we have to change with it." This is a triumph of perversion.

José Hanu: You are talking about giving up the cassock, but these clothes were not adopted so far back. Does one really have to ask priests and religious of 1977 to hamper themselves by what is really, I think, a highly impractical garment?

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre: Under certain circumstances, I admit that the cassock is a very impractical garment. On a ship, for instance, or in a high wind; but it has so many advantages that it was really ridiculous to give it up.

Some time ago, when I was a missionary, when I had to walk on foot for entire weeks through the equatorial forests, I had my white robe in my luggage. One day, the bush Africans remarked to me: "Father, you should wear your cassock, for the wild tribes would otherwise take you for a Protestant minister and would be scandalized." Since then, I have always traveled in my cassock, in riverboats or on airplanes, and I have noticed that everywhere the priest is greatly esteemed and respected, except in the Anglo-Saxon countries.

Far from being an obstacle, the priestly garment reassures traveling companions and draws out confidences, as I have never failed to observe during my 6,000 hours of flying time all over the world. How many priests would be able to testify, like the priest of a great city, who told me:
Quote:"Since most of the Catholics who live in the new district have no telephone, and since a highway leads around these quarters, I always make my daily rounds by bicycle, wearing the cassock. The people know this. Those who want me come to their window. They can recognize me far off by the cassock, and they call me."

During an audience on November 22, 1972, Pope Paul VI declared: "The habit does not only identify who wears it but it, gives the wearer an internal confidence of what he is supposed to be." How true!

On that occasion, Paul VI commented favorably on a decision by the Sacred Congregation for Religious, which did not make it obligatory to wear the habit, but which stated explicitly: "Except for special occasions, priests must wear a gray suit with a Roman collar." Actually, this decision was made to stem the "fashion" which led an ever-increasing number of priests to "laicize" their dress. It was hoped that by proposing a middle way, that is, the habit of the Protestant clergyman, things would fall back in line. Of course, they did nothing of the kind. Since we could throw the cassock to the winds, why not do the same with the gray suit and the Roman collar?

In the month following, the Conference of Bishops of Quebec stated, in contrast to the decision of the Congregation of Religious, and the opinion of Holy Father:
Quote:"The documents of the Sacred Congregation of Religious do not concern the clergy of Quebec, who are authorized to wear civilian clothes of their choice."

Those bishops of Quebec: have they been admonished as they deserve? This was not according to the Council spirit. Exchanging the cassock for civilian clothes has now brought us some long-haired priests, dressed in jeans and T-shirts.

At that time, I was Superior General of the Congregation of the Fathers of the Holy Ghost and I saw where this would lead to. That is why I addressed a letter to them:
Quote:"The wearing of the habit characterizes the religious. It goes without saying that this means a sense of modesty, discretion and poverty. It is evident that this particular garment should call for respect and make people think of detachment from the vanity of the things of the world ....

"... But we have to recognize that the wearing of civilian clothes has made enormous progress in spite of the enactment .... It is, therefore, important to ask ourselves: Is it desirable, yes or no, that the priest be recognized and distinguished by faithful and laymen, or, on the other hand, is it desirable today - to make the apostolate more effective - that the priest does not distinguish himself from the layman?

"We answer this question with the idea of the priest according to Our Lord Jesus Christ and the apostles. St. John said: 'You are not of the world, since my choice has brought you out of the world .... And you will be a witness because you have been with me since the beginning.' Our Lord said: 'You will be my witnesses.'

"Everybody can understand this testimony without difficulty: 'Men do not light a candle and put it under a bushel, but upon a candlestick that it may shine to all that are in the house.' So says Matthew.

"The priest's habit fulfills these two requirements in a clear and definite manner. The priest is in the world without being of the world; he distinguishes himself by living there. He is also protected against evil. Says St. John, 'I don't demand that you take them from the world, but that you shield them from the evil for they are not of this world, just as I am not of it.'

I wrote further in that letter:

"The testimony of the word, which for a priest is certainly more important than the testimony of his habit, is made much easier by the clear manifestation of his priesthood, which the wearing of the cassock indicates. Civilian clothes obliterate all distinctions and recognition, and make protection from evil much less effective. This disappearance of testimony by habit clearly appears as a lack of faith in the priesthood, a disdain of the religious sense in your neighbor, and above all a laxity, a lack of courage, in your convictions."

I also wrote:

"We have to recognize that a great many Catholics and also a great many priests no longer have a exact idea about the place of religion in society, and all its activities. Laicism has invaded everything, even our primary schools and the secondary schools for seminarians. The priest who lives in such surroundings has an ever-growing sense of alienation from this society, and thinks he is a witness to a past, which is definitely out of focus. His presence is barely tolerated. These, at least, are the impressions many young priests carry away. And so we have this craving to fall in line with the laicized, de-Christianized world, which reveals itself by the abandonment of the habit.

"These priests do not have a clear idea of the place of priests in the world, and in regard to the world. They have not been around much, and they judge these ideas only superficially. If they had spent some time in the less atheistic countries, they would have been edified, finding that faith in the priesthood is still alive and, thank God, very much so in most countries of the world.

"To fall in line with laicism and atheism means to capitulate and remove the last obstacles to their spread.

"The priest is a walking sermon through his habit and his faith. The apparent absence of a visible priest, especially in the great cities, is a great disadvantage to the preaching of the Gospel.

"The priest is the salt of the earth. And St. Matthew says: 'But if the salt loses its strength, what should it be salted with? It is no longer of any use but to be thrown out and trodden under foot by men.' Well, is it not this, which is in store for the priests who do not want to appear as such? The world will not love but despise them. The faithful will be sadly affected by not knowing with whom they are dealing. The habit is an authentic guarantee of priesthood."

José Hanu:
Your Excellency, that was a very courageous letter. Above all, the phrase "The world will not love them for it but despise them," was prophetic. It called forth the invectives which, among others, Maurice Clavel (author of Dieu est Dieu, Nom de Dieu!), to name only one - hurls against those first "lifted the seams," then threw away all cassocks. But were the Fathers of the Holy Ghost guided by your exhortations?

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre: Some were, some were not. The worm of liberalism was in the apple, and it was late. The anti-traditional wind was already blowing. Often seized by the disastrous ideas of the modern world, my colleagues fancied that a religious congregation should become a democratic society. Once more, everything falls in place.

[Image: CharismaticsB.jpg]
A Family Reunion in Gabon
March 1951: Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, then Apostolic delegate for French-speaking Africa, meets with his brother, Father René, and his sister Bernadette (in religion Mary Gabriel), all members of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost, the Lefebvres during their many years as missionaries in Africa were sometimes able to meet together. This picture was taken at Yaoundé in the French colony of Cameroon.

José Hanu:
You are right, Excellency. But there is an old proverb: "The habit does not make the monk." If it is true that the habit is responsible for establishing the identity of the priest in the eyes of the faithful, it would be a very weak character and a frail vocation that depends on this kind of protection. With or without the habit, a good priest is a good priest.

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre: Yes - but it is a mistake to believe that character, even a strong one, and a vocation, even a solid one, are without fault. Those who believe themselves best armed against temptations can succumb just as well as others, and often after a struggle, which used to be victorious. There is no lack of examples for that. But the habit is a barrier against ambiguous situations in uncertain issues.

The reason I have dwelt on this topic is the fact that giving up the habit or the cassock is a concrete and visible sign, a symbol for many other things, which are given up. All this is done as if certain members of the clergy want to get rid of the habit to prepare the way for other disavowals, in which, unfortunately, they drag a great number of faithful with them.

I might cite here a number of deplorable or scandalous instances, but it is always the same. Wherever one puts down precise places and dates, it is a direct and easily recognizable attack on a person. If facts are reported without dates and places, then one is suspected of calumny.

But, since it is necessary to support one's contentions, an incident of some significance will serve as an example.

In November of 1972, Archbishop Guyot of Toulouse suspended one of his young priests in an important parish. It was a decision, which was self-explanatory: this young man lived openly with a young girl and did not show any remorse about it.

The next Sunday, this young priest, and five others who were on duty at the parish, distributed leaflets in which they declared that they were all leaving the parish together. They wrote: "The gesture of the Archbishop reveals the injustice and the oppression by persons who, at the moment, dominate the Church."

Can you imagine such a thing? Yet it happened. Six priests from the same parish, signing this tract insulting the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ, which they elected to serve of their own free will, knowing well what it was all about, and who had promised to serve according to the rule of the celibate!

And why, after all? Because they wore civilian clothes better to mingle with the people; because, once put in the world, they wanted to submerge themselves in it. They worked in it; they made a living in it.

A good article was published about the time of this incident:
Quote:Instead of administering the sacraments, they worked, and in consequence of living in an environment that is not chaste (why should it be chaste?) they succumbed to temptation. What they should reproach the hierarchy for is that it did nothing to prevent them from giving themselves up to the joys of love, but permitted them to be put into a situation where it became psychologically and physically impossible for them to respect celibacy."

José Hanu:
Should we blame the bishops?

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre:
What must be blamed is the spirit of change, the false discovery which questions everything, to such an extent that there is neither conviction nor firmness in one's faith.

In this sense, the bishops, whose task it is to preserve the faith with firmness, have failed in their duty by omission, by cowardice before public opinion.

[Red font emphasis - The Catacombs]

"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
Part II

                With this second installment, The Angelus continues its series of excerpts from "Vatican Encounter: Conversations with Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre" by José Hanu.


José Hanu: Some of your enemies continue to repeat that you are the son of a textile industrialist from Tourcoing.

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre: I could have been the son of a farmer, a lawyer, a miner, a deep-sea fisherman, etc. Do I owe my parents to accident, as you might term it, or to Providence, as I prefer to see it? In any case, these are the facts: I belong to an industrial family from the North. Is this a taint?

José Hanu:
A socio-political taint! Many "progressive" Catholics who believe that the family environment conditions the individual seem to think so anyhow. I have even heard one of them say that, given your origins, you are "congenitally and therefore irreparably reactionary." ln short, unredeemable. To buttress his case the man brandished all sorts of clichés which contain some truth and which you know so well.

The industrialists from the region of Lille, Roubaix and Tourcoing built their fortune on the labour of twelve-year-old children who have to work in their factories bare-chested and bare-footed in the stifling and humid atmosphere of the textile mills. Those industrialists take out insurance against Hell by obliging their workmen to arrive five minutes early for work so that they can recite a "Hail Mary" and protect themselves against revolutionary atheism by regularly exacting what they call "letters of confession" from their workers, which are proof that they are being taken in hand by a clergy devoted to capitalism.

Those are the industrialists who had children by the dozen, and whose wealth, amassed from the toil of poor people, was so great that they could give a "chimney" - that is, a plant, to every one of their sons, and a "brick," that is, a million francs, to each of their daughters.

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre: Let's be serious! Somewhere in the past, this picture may have had the semblance of truth. But to be rightly understood, it has to be put into historical context and completed. Even if some of the industrialists from Lille-Roubaix-Tourcoing have behaved in this manner, many others had displayed remarkable social concern. There are many witnesses to this.

Besides, the profession of woolweaver, as my father's was, has always been hazardous because it is closely related to the fluctuations of the market. And how many men, some of them most competent and most prudent, have not fallen by the wayside in this venture? I know what I am talking about because my own father found that be was ruined in 1929, the year of my ordination. My young brothers still remember how our parents tried to protect from seizure their furniture and other family possessions. During those trying times, my father and mother behaved admirably.

I take great pride also in insisting that they led exemplary lives in every way, especially religious, civic and social. They could not have been like that, if their ideas had not been diametrically opposed to what you have just described.

José Hanu: It is true, Excellency, your parents were quite unusual Catholics. That is why I wanted to learn their views before I questioned you. From many points of view, theirs were saintly lives. I am not going to ask you to tell me about yourself. On the one hand, family modesty will prevent you from telling everything and on the other hand, one might believe that your love for your father and mother might transfigure them. However, because I think that character or action or a vocation are determined to a certain extent by the family environment, I find it necessary to speak of your parents. I shall therefore tell you what I learned. Please correct me, if my information is wrong.

It was easy for me to learn the memory your parents left with their fellow citizens, for they were typical of certain Catholic couples of the past (I am a child of such myself), for whom the idea of duty dominated everything: religious duty, patriotic duty, duty toward the state, duty toward the family. And it must be stated here that this sense of duty was common to Northern families, workers and middle class alike. Naturally, the lives of your father and mother were tied together inseparably, but for greater clarity I shall recall them separately.

I can easily picture your father. I am not at all surprised to hear that he, the head of an enterprise, got up early in the morning to attend the six o'clock Mass, receive Holy Communion and recite a decade of the rosary, and went to work ahead of any of his employees: he was far from being the only one to behave like that.

It was normal, too, that he should be the last to leave the workshop and the office and that he would lead the evening family prayer, kneeling before a crucifix, just before the younger children were sent to bed. There was no scarcity of small children: your father gave your mother eight of them. With many other Catholic families in the North in those days, they considered a large family a gift from God.

To your father's religious profile, already quite pronounced I should say, two other traits must be added.

At age eighteen, your father had joined the stretcher-bearers of Notre Dame de Lourdes, and never abandoned this helpful mission. He also joined the Third Order of St. Francis, and thus wore a scapular to recall the hard rules of that order which he had vowed to follow in part. He wanted to be "one of the best Children of Mary" and he certainly imposed great sacrifices upon himself  "to merit Heaven." Today this seems like a dream, but it was a fact. I have to repeat, furthermore, that the case of your father was not an isolated one. When World War I broke out in 1914, he was only thirty-five years old but he already had six children, which brought him exemption from frontline duty. He should have been glad about it but, instead, he felt ashamed.

After the first battle in nearby Belgium, he joined a society for injured war veterans. At the wheel of his own automobile, he crossed the French and German lines several times to collect, under fire, the most seriously wounded French and Allied soldiers and to transport them to the military hospital at Tourcoing. After the Germans occupied Tourcoing, he organized the evacuation of English prisoners and helped the Belgian secret service. Finally, in January of 1915, when he heard that his exhausted country was mobilizing new recruits, he went to Paris, hoping that he could enlist in the regiment in which he had served once before. It was in vain: in the eyes of the recruiters six children were reason enough to stay out of battle.

Since he spoke English and German fluently (as, by the way, most of the Northern industrialists did), he presented himself to the secret service. For the rest of the war, he was one of their most active liaison agents for the Intelligence branch. He had taken the name of Lefort, constantly scurrying between England and France, Belgium and Holland, and, of course, constantly in danger of his life.Such a valiant man was not going to give in when, eleven years later, misfortune struck. He repeated with Job: "God has given me everything, God has taken everything, praised be the name of God," but he also professed: "Help yourself and God will help you.” He succeeded in reestablishing himself, with "the help of Providence," as he used to say regularly.

At the end of the second war there was another occupation. He was sixty-two years old, but where would he be found? In the service of France, of course. But his patriotism proved to be fatal for him. The Germans, who had put him under surveillance, distrusted him more than anyone else: arrest, trial and deportation to Sonnenburg followed, and finally death. His comrades in captivity reported his extraordinary courage in the midst of indescribable privations, under the fists of his jailers and, even, of his male nurses, in a repugnant cell. They told, above all, how his unshakeable faith was of immense help to all those around him.

Sometimes your father was allowed to write from prison to his family. Your family was good enough to let me see the text of a letter he wrote on September 9, 1941. This document in some way constitutes his testament. Here are the most moving passages:
Quote:"I am awaiting the hour of Providence. What is certain is that here we are gaining some small merits and getting a good foretaste of Purgatory. I am sorry for those who are in my circumstances but lack the comfort of religion. There were terrible moments, but I have felt God's help. I could see that I was helped in the moments when I felt the lowest. For all this, I thank God. Suffering purifies. It will be a great sacrifice not to be able to see my children before I die. I bless them with all my heart and confide them to Our Lady, the Virgin Mary, who was so good to me. She loves my family, who will always remain consecrated to her and who will always seek through her the extension of the reign of her Divine Son."

The life of your father, Excellency, was thus an exemplary one for a Christian and a patriot. I cannot help thinking that his example had far-reaching effects on you. For there are many similarities between you and this scrupulous and ardent Catholic; that fighter that Resistance man who never gave in to the enemy not even when the enemy seemed to triumph - that obstinate man who accepted adversity without bowing his head.

Knowing your devotion to the Virgin Mary and to what you mystically seem to call the reign of Christ, one has the impression that this last message still lives in you as vibrant and as clear as when you received it thirty-five years ago. However, as the members of your family have confided to me without prodding, the extreme moral strictness of your father was often very difficult for the young people. His severity may have been excessive.

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre: Why talk about strictness and severity? We should rather call it "austerity." But an austerity which was mellowed and - oh, how much - refined by a perfect family life! It was a perfect union which the family members still remember - all the brothers and sisters who are still living - across the abyss of fifty years!

José Hanu:
That severity of your father, it is true, did not lead the children to rebellion, not to a nervous breakdown, nor to vice.

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre:
Look at this family photo: Five of the children became priests or nuns, all happy in their lives consecrated to God, whereas a "modern" psychiatrist, looking at a person of such background and education, would probably have sworn that they all left the house, slamming the door behind them, to embrace drugs and prostitution!

As for the others, established in the world, you have been able to assume yourself that they are not alienated. When we were young, all Catholic children were educated in the same manner, whereas, today, families who still have the courage to have their offspring so educated find themselves pitched into a climate so permissive that it often undermines their efforts or even nullifies them.

It can therefore happen that the son of a Catholic who is "rigid" finds himself encouraged by his friends, or by a teacher in high school, or by modern Catholic literature, to revolt, and that this revolt leads him to the worst degradation. But the environment, not the parent; is to blame for this.

On purpose, I referred to certain high school teachers and modern Catholic literature, for the spectacle of our times is that the teaching clergy, whose mission is to put backbone into characters and souls, have permitted themselves to be led astray or have even gone halfway to perversion. Today, "authority" is always wrong, especially when vested in a person. And the atmosphere, since we are, above all, people steeped in Christianity, is gravely affected by this situation. You will now understand why I bless the "rigorism" - the severity of the home where I first saw the light of the world.

José Hanu:
But your father was a dyed-in-the-wool monarchist, wasn't he? The letter I cited does not make any bones about it:
Quote:"Be of good courage and patience, for the situation will clear up and we shall have good days for Our Dear Country, returned to its beautiful traditions, which the disorder will have reduced to ruin. You know that I am dying a Catholic, a Frenchman and a monarchist. For I think that it is only with the establishment of Christian monarchies that Europe and the world can retain their stability and true peace."

Maybe it is here, in the piety of the son or in the piety of the family, that one could find an explanation of some of the passages of your sermon at Lille, which has astonished so many people? I have an exact transcript of that sermon. May I quote some excerpts?

Quote:"By now the theses and the principles of liberal Catholicism are officially accepted. And what did the liberal Catholics desire for the last century and a half, if not the marriage of the Church to the Revolution? This is the reason why, for a century and a half, the Supreme Pontiffs have condemned liberal Catholicism: they have refused to bless the marriage with those who worship Reason, who sent priests to the scaffold and persecuted nuns. Remember the prison ships of Nantes, where the faithful priests were crammed together to send them to the bottom!

"Now this is what the Revolution did. But let me tell you, my dear brethren, what the Revolution did was nothing compared to what Vatican II did by espousing liberalism. It would have been much better if the 40,000 or 50,000 priests who abandoned the cassock all over the world, who have gone back on their vows before God, would have died as martyrs, had gone to the gallows. At least they would have gained their souls! Now they risk losing them.

"The union of Church and Revolution is adulterous. And from such an adulterous union, nothing but bastards can come forth. And who or what are the bastards? Our rites. The rite of the Mass is a bastard rite! . . . "
I have to admit that your choice of words - "bastard" ­ seemed bold to me, but it also struck me as very well chosen. It gives me a certain exhilaration. But there is this spectre of liberalism. M. Giscard d'Estaing speaks of "advanced literalism," that spectre, above all, of the Revolution. Are you too a royalist? A belated royalist? Because the Revolution has done a lot of damage, but it has permitted the breakup of feudalism, and feudalism, especially in the social field, had few elements that were Christian.

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre: Yes, my father was a monarchist but I do not think that this constitutes a blemish. As far as I am concerned, I have never lent my name to any kind of political party whatever. Besides, the example of so many monarchs who betrayed their mission, as have so many bishops, certainly does not encourage one to be a monarchist! In the meantime this is the fact and we cannot deny it: the Church is a monarchy.

As far as my sermon at Lille is concerned, it was an echo of what all the Sovereign Pontiffs have always alleged, and that which they always have condemned, except since Vatican II. That's why the sermon was Catholic, not political.

There were certainly abuses to be reformed in 1889, but there is a wide abyss between those reforms and destroying religion itself and, furthermore, tearing down kings because they upheld religion. The last Council has acted in nearly the same fashion, but in order to put through some useful reforms it has gone in search of the leading principles of liberalism. And these principles, logically enough, have given the deathblow to the Church.

To get back to my father, do you think he asked, while he was risking his life in 1914 to save the wounded, "Are you a royalist?" And that he abandoned those who were not? Many of the people who testified with great emotion to the physical and moral help he gave them in the German Sonnenburg Prison held political opinions, which were diametrically opposed to his.

Besides, there is one fact, which is of special significance for his social ideas: In 1920 he entered the city council of Tourcoing, where he remained to the day of his arrest in 1941. Would one have had confidence in him for so many years, especially during the major social trouble which marked that period, if he were not a just man and profoundly human? In fact - and all opinions tend to agree on this point - he was a moderate and tender man. Considering himself a brother in Jesus Christ to his fellowmen, he thought that he had to set an example to his brethren, whatever the cost. This is undoubtedly the most beautiful lesson he could give me and I shall remember it to my dying days in my heart and in my spirit.

José Hanu: Here is an interesting question: Did your father conform at the time of the Vatican's censure of Action Française?

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre: Look how history is written! My father had monarchist convictions but he was far too levelheaded to get involved in the Action Française! What a pity for my enemies!
"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

The First Years

In this month's excerpt from the book "Vatican Encounter: Conversations with Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre" by Jose Hanu, the Archbishop speaks about the beginnings of the Society of Saint Pius X.

Continued ...

José Hanu: And so, judging the Council by its fruits, you wanted to found a seminary with your own means, one that, if I may say so, would be "anti-conciliar," in order to maintain "solid doctrine"?

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre: I did not want anything of the kind! I found myself in Rome, where I had just resigned as Superior General of the Congregation of the Fathers of the Holy Ghost. They, too, had been infected by the virus of collegiality. They had called a special chapter, which was to turn everything upside down. They needed "a direction-giving team," commissions, and, of course, debates, lobbies, negotiations, votes, etc.

And these were the same men who, only a few years before, had implored me to take the head post. But I did not want to preside over the ruin of our own congregation, where I had spent so many years. I left them to their "collegiality."

I had a very small pension, which barely permitted me to live, but I did not care; I welcomed that retreat which permitted me to pray and work.

It was then that many young people, either recommended or led to me by saintly priests or laymen, began to seek me out. Those young men felt a vocation, felt they were destined to the priesthood, but they found it impossible to prepare for the priesthood in one of the "new" seminaries. They were young people of very high calibre. They did not only seek advice; they also sought spiritual direction. They hoped that I would accept them.

What was I to do? Did I have the right to disappoint them? I always was of the opinion that one has to accept the things the way God sends. I told them:
Quote:"I did not call you here. I don't even know you. You came on your own, by your own free will. If you really want to, you will follow a very serious and profound course of studies, you will have a life of prayer and sacrifice, which will sustain your vocation and will permit you, I hope, later to attain a fruitful apostolate.

I am still saying the same things to the young men who feel that they were chosen by Our Lord Jesus Christ, and who come to see me. I have never "called" anybody. I have never held anybody back. God is the master of souls, especially those of future priests. If he sends them to me, all I do is try to point out the right way.

I have them first study in Rome. Unfortunately, it was difficult to get all these young men together and to find the financial wherewithal. There was, of course, the French Seminary, but there I met many difficulties.

I talked to Bishop Charriere, bishop of Lausanne, Geneva and Fribourg. I knew him well. He had come to Senegal in May of 1958 to bless the new church of Fatick, built partly from contributions from his diocese. It was certainly providential that Bishop Charriere should remember his visit to Dakar and Senegal. He suggested that I assemble my young seminarians at the Catholic University of Fribourg. That is how the "Zealots" were founded and later the International Confraternity of Priests of St. Pius X, for which Bishop Charriere was good enough to sign the founding documents.

But, unfortunately, though I had thought that I would find in a university of such standing and repute excellent Catholic teachings, I regretfully had to state the contrary. This university, like the others, had been contaminated by the new ideas. Future priests went there, their hair long and their pants in tatters. And the professors of moral theology held views, as I told you, that were contrary to orthodoxy. My seminarians were quite upset about it. It was not in order to receive that kind of teaching that they had turned to me!

How Ecône Came Into Being

Thanks to the goodwill of some fine Catholics of Valais, (the Swiss canton where Ecône is located) I placed my first-year seminarians in a house, which they had bought in Ecône. I decided, with their permission, to add on to it and make it a true seminary with professors who would be able to form true priests, according to tradition.

José Hanu:
You enlarged an old house and put up a new modern building, flanked by other buildings. The entire structure would accommodate, in individual rooms, 140 professors and seminarians, and would contain a chapel, refectory, class and study rooms, kitchens, common rooms, and a religious community, which took over the services. That must have cost a small fortune!

Where did the money come from? Where is it still coming from? Because now you have other houses: in Germany, in Italy, in England, in the U.S.A., without counting the priories which you just bought to permit the priests whom you ordained to fulfill their ministry.

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre:
I thank Providence and the intercession of St. Joseph. It was with us as it was with the Little Sisters of the Poor. And, as with them, neither Providence nor St. Joseph has ever abandoned us. Hadn't I already built, in Senegal, churches, schools, welfare centers, youth hostels? Providence has always helped me and never let my hands be empty.

José Hanu:
But Excellency, we are talking here about enormous sums! People talk about billions of old francs, of very rich Americans who built "a bridge of gold" for you, of European capitalists who subsidized you.

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre: That's completely untrue, pure imagination. People talk without rhyme or reason. As you know, the old house at Ecône, with its little chapel, belonged to the Canons of the Great St. Bernard. The canons wanted to sell the house. The buyer wanted to transform it into a hotel, and possibly a hotel of doubtful character. Catholics of the village and of the district were so upset about it that they formed a group to buy it themselves, so that it could remain a house of faith. And we have come to an agreement with them concerning its use.

When I wanted to add on to the house, to make it bigger, I asked myself: "Where will I find so much money?" But confident in St. Joseph, I had great hopes.

At that time, I was about to leave Paris for Rome. A lady called me: she wanted to see me right away. You see, the number of people who want to see me is important. In most cases, it means considerable loss of time. So I tried to avoid seeing that lady. But she was so anxious to meet me, if only for a few moments, that I gave in. She meant to tell me how pleased she was with what I had said at the Council and to promise that she would help me in the battle I was fighting – and that she did most generously.

The new buildings at Ecône will be paid for! Always Providence. Providence is here every day and appears in the thousands of Catholics who help us, penny by penny. Actually, big gifts appear and the growing work makes for growing expenses. It is all right to buy old properties but often you have to spend more to salvage them than if you buy new houses! But it is the small gifts of the modest, even poor Catholics that count, and it is thanks to these contributions that we are living. They make it possible for the penniless seminarians to continue their studies. Whatever people say, the majority of our seminarians come from modest, even very modest, backgrounds. Their families cannot afford the cost of room and board, which amounts to 30 francs a day, 28,000 old francs a month.

Thus, millions of Catholics - children that save five francs from their allowance, the households of small pensioners who send us ten francs per month - all make it possible that about fifty vocations can blossom at Ecône. Providence!


José Hanu:
Providence, I am told, also takes care of transportation. Everybody at Ecône and roundabout knows the "chauffeurs of the Bishop." There are four of them. They are men from the country, neither rich nor poor, who are completely devoted to you. A phone call, and one of the four is here - to take you to Italy, France or Germany, ready to deliver your reply to the Pope, to the Vatican, ready to drive one of the priests of Ecône to one of the priories. Quick, reliable and, above all, often free transportation. When you went to Canada, one of them went with you all the way.

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre: True, Providence has willed that there would be such faithful. And for Ecône, it is a blessing from Heaven. Thanks to them, I can travel thousands of kilometers, without getting too tired, without having to trouble myself with trains, flights, taxis. This system has another advantage: by often changing my means of transport, I can elude the journalists easier. But what is inconvenient are the conclusions certain people are drawing. They think we have unlimited wealth. Didn't I get to Lille in a "sumptuous white Mercedes" and to the Vatican a few days later in a "prestigious blue S.D.S."? Well, after having driven myself for 47 years, I don't even have a car anymore.

José Hanu:
The attitude of your seminarians strikes me, Excellency, as having a certain family-like background. This seems to contrast with the fact that half of them are unable to assume the expenses of their studies.

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre: That is the grace, which shines in their faces and also the custom of wearing the cassock. When they arrive in their civilian clothes, it is easy to recognize the sons of the middle classes and those of working classes. But as soon as they wear the habit, they all have the same appearance. The seminary quickly takes care of all social differences. They are all brothers. It is nothing like when the GFU and GFO get together.

José Hanu:
In general, it seems to me they are no longer very young men.

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre:
Some of them enter at seventeen or eighteen years, some of them later. God calls them in His own time. But I am happy with the average age, which is about twenty-three. These are young men who have already finished their studies and sometimes they are very highly educated; they come from great schools, have master's degrees, even doctorates. They have thought deeply and they know what they want.

José Hanu:
But the life at Ecône really is not very attractive. Here is a schedule:

6:00 Rising
6:30 Prime
6:45 Prayer
7:15 Community Mass
(first-class and second class feast days, High Mass is sung at 7am, as well as on First Fridays and First Saturdays)
8:00 Breakfast
9:00 Class
10:00 Class
12:15 Sext
12:30 Meal
1:00-2:00 Recreation (Wednesday afternoon, free from 1:00-5:30)
2:15 Class or study
3:10 Class or study
4:00-4:10 Snack
4:10-4:30 Study
4:30 Spiritual lecture
7:00 Community prayer (Rosary, Way of the Cross, etc.)
7:30 Meal
8:00-8:45 Recreation
8:45 Compline and the "Grand Silence"
10:00 Lights out

That's a very hard life, Excellency!

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre:
That was the kind of life led in all the seminaries fifteen or twenty years ago. It seems hard at the beginning, but one gets accustomed quickly and time passes incredibly fast.

Should this house not be a house of formation for regularity and silence, for the mastery of self, and all the natural virtues, which are the necessary complement to supernatural virtues? But it does not mean that the life is sad. On the contrary. As you saw yourself, all these young men look happy. They have fun. Last April Fool's Day, they played a little joke on me. The main course for lunch was in a small bowl, with a tight lid. When I lifted the lid, I found clear water with two little fish in it.

José Hanu:
The enemies of Ecône - and God knows there are many - say that the course of study is mediocre, for the simple reason that "no intelligent Catholic can follow you" and that thus the level of your professors leaves much to be desired.

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre:
People say so many things! For instance, after a visit of inspection in the name of the Vatican here at Ecône, Monsignor Descamps, honorary president of the Catholic University of Louvain and secretary of the Episcopal Biblical Commission, declared in an interview with La Libre Belgique that we were of "incredible fanaticism."

But he was unable to justify this accusation. Speaking of Ecône he said:
Quote:"The style of this seminary was absolutely in line with tradition and in this sense it was an edifying seminary, with a very sympathetic community, with much order and discipline, a great sense of silence and religious exercises, great faithfulness to all the rules of seminaries such as we have known them."

If this is "fanaticism," we must change the definition of the word in the dictionaries. As to the level of our professors, I can vouch that it is altogether excellent, even remarkable.

The superior of the seminary and director of studies is Canon Berthod, who has a Ph.D. in theology. Before coming here, he was head of the famous Catholic College at Champitet, and has been superior of the novitiate of the Great St. Bernard order. Among the young chair holders, one comes from Central, another has a master's degree in biology, another a master's degree in history from the Sorbonne. Among the other professors or lecturers, one holds an important chair in a great French Catholic university and is an official member of the household of several dioceses.

Pastoral formation is guaranteed by priests who have had much experience with parish work. Canon law is taught by a great Roman specialist, author of several first-class works. I can therefore say very firmly that the training dispensed here is at least equal in every respect to that in other seminaries. The study lasts six years - as long as medical studies. It does not leave untouched anything a priest should know for his own sanctification, as well as for the happy accomplishment of his ministry among the faithful, in the parish or elsewhere.

José Hanu:
But, Excellency, what will become of these young priests, since all the dioceses obstinately refuse them? Sometimes, I have to admit, even very nastily. Two of your seminarians told me that when they were on vacation with their parents, they wanted to visit their respective parish priests and that these two pastors closed the door in their faces! Seems that the sight of a cassock alone was insufferable for them. One observation, though - the same seminarians were easily comforted by the fact that, for example, in the bus, which they boarded, many people stood up and said: "Please, sit down." They gave their seats to them and greeted them as priests.

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre:
Yes, well, at the moment, it is true, the dioceses and the bishops refuse these young priests. But the faithful call them. That is why I have no worries in this regard. Our priests will live by two and three in our priories. They will be able to fulfill their apostolate from there. Those who are already installed there are beloved and respected and have many faithful who watch over them.

José Hanu: But what about the worldly temptations which they were spared so far? How will they face them? And how can they advise the adolescents and Catholic couples?

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre: I was waiting for that question! Our seminarians each year have three months of vacation. They have ample leisure with their families or in the youth camps which they take care of, or otherwise, to be confronted by temptation. But be assured that our seminarians receive all the instruction necessary about problems of morals.

The advice to the young and to Catholic couples has two sides, a technical one, so to say, and a religious one. The first one is not our concern but that of laymen: physicians, professors, parents of good will who have received the necessary educational preparation. It is different with the moral and religious aspect, which is the priest's concern. Is it necessary to be married, as some pretend, to be able to give counsel and guidance in this field? That means that a physician would be looked upon askance, treating a diabetic, if he never had been a diabetic himself. It is precisely because the seminarians at Ecône and the priests we have formed have their bodies under control, thanks to a life of work, prayer and asceticism, and thanks also to their courage and their faith. They have credibility in the eyes of Christians who are troubled about a perverted world. The example they are giving enables them to exhort single or married Catholics to obey the law of the Church. Their own experience of chastity allows them to do spiritual counseling.

May it please Heaven that the seminarians who "are questing" in the Conciliar Church be of the same calibre!

"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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