Archbishop Lefebvre and the Vatican by Fr. François Laisney [1988]
From the archives of the 'traditional' SSPX before it became the 'Conciliar' SSPX:

Archbishop Lefebvre and the Vatican
by Fr. François Laisney

Preface to the First Edition

Much has been written by many people on the subject of the consecrations of bishops performed by their Excellencies Archbishop Lefebvre and Bishop de Castro Mayer on June 30, 1988. Many documents were not available in English at that time, which made it difficult for some to understand the reasons for this “Operation Survival” of Tradition.

We have made a great effort to collect all the relevant documents. We present the most complete dossier now available. A few documents have already been published in our special issue of The Angelus in July 19882, but are reprinted here for the sake of continuity in the events. We refer the reader to this issue for other excellent documents such as the Declaration of Bishop de Castro Mayer [included in the second edition], the canonical study of Fr. Rudolf Kaschewsky.

In Part II of this volume we have added a few other documents surrounding the relations between Archbishop Lefebvre and the Vatican. Unfortunately too many conservative Catholics do not want to face reality, or they dream of a better world than the one we live in. They may be conscious of the errors taught by the bishops in America, but do not want to see their source in Vatican II and their support in Rome. These documents may help them to realize the gravity of the crisis of the Church, and how this crisis is just the application of the false principles of Religious Liberty, Ecumenism and Collegiality introduced at the Second Vatican Council. They will also realize that, unfortunately, in Rome there is the will to abide with these false principles, and to impose them on Dom Gérard and those who want to go with the May 5th Protocol, thus introducing the poison into the apple.

My comments, boldfaced and in a different typestyle, have been added either before or after the text of the documents.

The first impression one receives in reading these documents, other newspapers, commentaries, declarations and private letters, is that the Vatican and Archbishop Lefebvre are not on the same wavelength. Right from the beginning Archbishop Lefebvre takes his stand on Faith: he wants the continuation of the transmission of the Deposit of Faith, in all its entirety and purity; he wants the continuation of the most perfect expression of the Catholic Faith which is in the traditional liturgy, most apt to give the graces needed by the faithful for the salvation of their souls; he did not blind himself, refusing to see the crisis of the Faith in so many souls poisoned by the conciliar reforms. He was convinced that the best service he could render to the Church and to the Pope himself was to fulfil his mission as a successor of the Apostles, transmitting the Faith to the next generation, without giving up under the pressures of the modernists who have infiltrated even the Roman Curia. This is why he asked to provide shepherds, successors of the Apostles, for the continuation of this mission; no request was more legitimate. The faithful could see this at the level of Faith; one wrote to me: “My Catholic sense tells me that Archbishop Lefebvre has done what had to be done in these strange and most serious times in the Church, and that he is not opposed to the Pope, but rather is more united to him than many others; his orthodoxy in doctrine and Liturgy is impeccable, his break is with Modernism...” This was a reaction of the sensus fidei.

On the other hand, many of those who have criticized him based themselves on Church politics. “Could he not have trusted God a little more and tested the agreement at least for a time? Then, if Rome did all the dire things that were predicted, it would have been time enough to risk excommunication.”3

This was not a reaction of Faith, but of Church politics. If there had been a risk of valid excommunication, Archbishop Lefebvre would never have done it; it is only because he was convinced that such an action was necessary from a motive of Faith, for a real necessity for the good of the Church, and therefore legitimate, that he did it. Convinced it was good, he did it publicly, not hiding as others who conferred episcopal consecrations in a completely different context. Those in the Roman Curia who wanted to please both Archbishop Lefebvre and the local bishops were at that level too.

Others, even after more than 20 years of being deceived “in the name of obedience,” still do not realize that “Satan’s masterstroke is to have succeeded in sowing disobedience to all Tradition through obedience.” They have not yet learned by experience what St. Peter, the first Pope, said: “We ought to obey God rather than men.” St. Thomas teaches that obedience is a moral virtue, thus in between a default (disobedience) and an excess (servility); in two simple questions of his Summa Theologica, he masterfully exposes the solution to the dilemma of these souls: IIa IIæ Q.104, A.4: “Should we obey God in everything? Yes.” A.5:

Should the subjects obey their superiors in everything? Sed contra is what is said in the Acts of the Apostles, “we ought to obey God rather than man.” But sometimes the precepts of the prelates (sic) are against God. Therefore one must not obey the prelates in everything….Therefore, one can distinguish three kinds of obedience: one sufficient to salvation, by which one obeys in the things he is obliged to; a second one which is perfect, by which one obeys in all lawful things; a third one that is indiscreet (therefore sinful), by which one obeys even in the unlawful things.

He also teaches that there are many other virtues more important than obedience, such as faith, hope, charity, religion...Some have come to realize that obedience to the local bishop is not a theological virtue, but they still consider that obedience to the pope is a theological virtue (one against which there cannot be an excess). The history of the Church and the lives of the saints show that this is not true. Since the supreme authority has been given by Our Lord to Peter in order to transmit the deposit of Faith, the best obedience to the pope is to do what is necessary for the transmission of the Faith, especially when so many strive to distort this Faith.

I hope that this book will help the reader to strengthen his Faith and fight the good fight as St. Paul, who said at the end of his life:

I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the Faith. As to the rest there is laid up for me a crown of justice which the Lord, the Just Judge, will render me in that day: and not only to me, but to them also that love His coming (II Tim. 4:7‑8).

May the Blessed Virgin Mary, Guardian of the Faith, “terrible as an army in array,” lead us in this good fight, knowing that “he who shall persevere until the end, this one shall be saved” (Mt. 24:13).

Fr. François Laisney

December 8, 1988

Feast of the Immaculate Conception

2. Available from Angelus Press, 2918 Tracy Avenue, Kansas City, MO 64109.
3. The Remnant, Aug. 15, 1988, p.7.

✠ ✠ ✠

Preface to the Second Edition

The fact that the first edition of this book was quickly exhausted manifests the demand for the full documentation regarding one of the most important moments of the 20th century for the Roman Catholic Church, the episcopal consecrations of four Bishops by Archbishop Lefebvre and Bishop de Castro Mayer on June 30, 1988.

This second edition adds in the first part some important documents not available at the time of the first edition, though none of these documents are essential. I mainly added the missing documents up to June 30, mostly letters between the Vatican and Archbishop Lefebvre. However I added some comments to the letter of May 6, and to the motu proprio Ecclesia Dei.

I restricted myself to add only two more documents after the Consecrations. First, the article of Fr. Paul Crane; being not in favor of the Consecrations, he cannot be accused of partiality, yet he points out very well one core element of the decision of Archbishop Lefebvre: Courage! Fortitude! Second, a letter from Fr. Bisig showing how the Society of St. Peter positively encourages people to go to the New Mass.

Many more documents could have been added concerning the implementation of the motu proprio Ecclesia Dei, but I think this should be the subject of a whole book. That would be beyond the scope of this one. Suffice to say here that those who had at first questioned the prudence of Archbishop Lefebvre’s decision have now come to see the wisdom of his decision.

It is easier to destroy than to build. Archbishop Lefebvre had been a builder when so many others were either destroying or letting destroy. He could not let the future of the spiritual edifice of so many souls who had kept Tradition or returned to it, in the hands of those destroyers. He had been a good shepherd who took care of the abandoned and wounded souls when so many bad shepherds were either mercenaries or wolves in shepherds’ clothes. He could not let the sheep in the care of these mercenaries or wolves. As a successor of the Apostles, his duty was to provide some good builders, some good shepherds for them; he asked for the Pope’s approval which was given to him theoretically on May 5, 1988, but with no date and no definite candidate to consecrate. When he asked for a concrete date, conciliar Rome screamed that he was breaking the negotiations. Conscious of his duty towards God and towards these souls, he provided these good shepherds. By their fruits you shall know them.

May their work be fruitful through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary for the glory of God and for the salvation of souls.

Fr. François Laisney

June 9, 1994

Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
"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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Archbishop Lefebvre and the Vatican by Fr. François Laisney [1988] - by Stone - 07-18-2022, 06:03 PM

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