Bishop de Mallerais [1988]: The Conciliar Strategy to Marginalize Traditional Priests
The Strategy of "Rehabilitation" Unveiled by Cardinal Decourtray
An Analysis by Bishop Tissier de Mallerais [adapted]

In this text on of the four bishops consecrated by Archbishop Lefebvre, Bishop Tissier de Mallerais analyzed the Declaration of Cardinal Decourtray, President of the French Bishops' Conference, published in Documentation Catholique, No.1969, Oct. 1988. Bishop Tissier de Mallerais cites from Cardinal Decourtray and follows with his commentary.
The Cardinal's Declaration exposes a strategy by which a traditional priest is to be marginalized and made of no effect in a diocese.

Bishop de Mallerais: In a communique to the priestly council and to the diocesan pastoral council which met in an extraordinary session, the Cardinal Archbishop of Lyon did not hide the fact that the reception of the priests who leave Archbishop Lefebvre will be made with no gift attached; it will be, in fact, their rehabilitation into the Conciliar Church. Let us take up the interesting passage of the Cardinal's document. We emphasize below what should be emphasized:

Declaration of Cardinal Decourtray: Friends, From now on you will know a little better the conditions under which I was brought to welcome Fr._____, lately ordained by Archbishop Lefebvre and put in charge of the St. Pius X priory on the Rue de Marseille, and to entrust him, in urgency and in a provisional way, with the agreement of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, with the Chapel of Notre-Dame-des-Martyrs at the Place Saint-Irene. Obviously it is not a question of a parish but of a shrine open to the faithful who desire to follow the Tridentine Tradition of the Mass (according to the typical edition of the Roman Missal of 1962)....I have given a place of worship for the Tridentine celebration of the Mass.[/quote]

Bishop de Mallerais: Thus no parish apostolate, only the celebration of Mass. One is far from the activity of the priory: catechism classes, youth movements, conferences, etc.

Declaration: ...This priest is therefore right now in order with the Church and has received the necessary jurisdiction for the valid exercise of the ministry of Penance or Reconciliation. The questions relative to the other sacraments, notably to marriage, remain pending. It will be necessary to take one's time. While waiting, Father 'will see with the pastor of Saint-Irene how to respond, in a way that is pastoral and consistent with the present day law of the Church, to certain prompt and exceptional requests.

Bishop de Mallerais: Thus we have dependence with respect to an official parish and its pastor. The only autonomy is to be in the administration of the Sacrament of Penance.

Declaration: For the future, here is the text of the declaration that I will ask from the priests who, having recently manifested more or less explicitly, in word or in act, their approval of the actions and of the remarks of Archbishop Lefebvre, desire to exercise the priestly ministry in the Diocese of Lyon (jurisdiction for Confession and the cura animarum) and to obtain contingently the Indult permitting the use of the Roman Missal according to the typical edition of 1962.

Bishop de Mallerais: Thus it is not only the ex-members of the Priestly Society of Saint Pius X who will be compelled to sign a declaration but all 'suspect' priests, those who would hardly have manifested explicitly, even if only in words, their approval, even though only the utterances of Archbishop Lefebvre. And what is more, it is not certain that these suspect priests will be allowed to celebrate the Mass of all times.

Declaration: The diverse points of this declaration are nearly those of the protocol refused on May 6 by Archbishop Lefebvre. 

I promise always to be faithful to the Catholic Church and to the Roman Pontiff, its supreme Pastor, Vicar of Christ, successor of the blessed Peter in his primacy, and head of the body of bishops, in accordance with the First Council of the Vatican (Denzinger-Schenmetzer, 3059-3064), and with Vatican II (Lumen Gentium, n22), as well as to the bishop of Lyon, to whom I promise respect and obedience.

Bishop de Mallerais: To the text of the Protocol are thus added new requirements. First of all, obedience to the bishop of the place. Will it therefore be necessary to obey his 'pastoral of the Community,'139 and adopt the catechism, Pierres Vivantes?140

Declaration: I declare that I adhere to the teachings of the magisterium of the Pope and the bishops, in conformity with the doctrine of the First Vatican Council (Denzinger-Schonmetzer, 3065-3074) and of the Second Vatican Council (Lumen Gentium, n25).
Bishop de Mallerais: A demand that is new and without limits! This is not to adhere to the magisterium when it is truly a magisterium, that is to say, when it faithfully transmits the revealed deposit; but there is demanded the adherence to the teachings [of the magisterium] of the pope and the bishops of this time: therefore, to ecumenism, to religious liberty, to the rights of man, etc.

Declaration: I pledge myself to have a positive attitude, of studying the decrees of the Second Vatican Council, of the liturgical books, and of the Code of Canon Law promulgated following the Council by the Sovereign Pontiff.

Bishop de Mallerais: It is self-evident that Cardinal Decourtray erased from his text what Cardinal Ratzinger was conceding to Archbishop Lefebvre, namely, the right to consider that 'certain texts' of the Council are 'difficult to reconcile with Tradition.' It is on these texts that Archbishop Lefebvre promised to have a positive attitude of study, etc. Visibly, at Lyon and in the dioceses, no dispute of the conciliar documents will be permitted, not even a question mark. No, one must stick to everything and 'study' everything, as if he were culpably ignorant of these texts, as well as of those of the Mass of Paul VI and of the new Canon Law.

Declaration: I declare that I recognize the validity of the Sacrifice of the Mass and the Sacraments celebrated with the intention of doing what the Church does in communion with the Pope and according to the rites indicated in the typical editions and the translations of the missal and of the rituals, promulgated and approved by Popes Paul VI and John Paul II.

Bishop de Mallerais: You will notice the two added points that we have emphasized. Non-communion with the Pope does not affect, in any case, the validity of the Mass. On the other hand, the bad translations (such as 'pour la multitude' and, still more serious, the 'for all' of the English and German [and Italian] translation 'betrayals) do indeed affect the validity, or, at the least, place a doubt in their regard. Approved of or not by the present-day Roman bureaus, a translation that changes even only partially the meaning of the sacramental words can render the sacrament invalid. The creativity of the national centers of pastoral liturgical study and the frivolity of the Roman commissions are the cause of numerous erroneous vernacular versions, which are indeed bluntly whimsical ones that can bring about the invalidity of the sacrament. Even in Latin certain new sacramentary texts yield, by their ambiguity, to an interpretation that is Protestant in a sense, and that can exert influence on the celebrant by giving him a counter-intention which invalidates the sacrament.

Declaration: I promise to observe the common discipline of the Church and the ecclesiastical laws, particularly those contained in the Code of Canon Law promulgated by Pope John Paul II.

Bishop de Mallerais: Here there is no change in the text that Archbishop Lefebvre had judged on May 5 as being at the extreme limit of acceptability, with the restriction placed on No. 3, concerning the 'texts difficult to reconcile with Tradition.' Deprived of this restriction, the declaration demanded by Cardinal Decourtray asks for the acceptance of the entirely questionable passages from the new Canon Law. For example: the 'double subject of the supreme power in the Church'; the reversal of the two ends of marriage (the perfecting of the spouses put before the procreation and education of the children!); the suppression of the promises of the non-Catholic spouse in a mixed marriage, concerning the baptism and the Catholic education of all the children; and finally, intercommunion foreseen in certain cases.

Declaration: Thought must also be given to the pastoral accompaniment of the faithful attached to the Tridentine Mass but faithful to the pope and to the receive the confidence of the faithful attached to the liturgy and to the catechesis such as they knew them before the reforms, but also to help them progress in the living communion of the Catholic Church. For this I count very much on the movements of Catholic Action, in the strict or the broad sense.

Bishop de Mallerais: In this excerpt you have the purpose of the intended rehabilitation: ' help them to progress in the Living Communion of the Catholic Church...' How are we to interpret this except to mean that we must 'get into line,' to be 're-integrated' into the system, to accept the new ideology of the conciliar Church?... 'Let us not set foot in the opposing camp, because we would thus be giving the enemy a proof of our weakness, which the enemy would try to interpret as a sign of weakness and a mark of complicity.' - St. Pius X

Tissier de Mallerais

139. i.e., the Cardinal’s pastoral policy to develop base communities.
140. A heretical French catechism.
"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
Below is an except of The Recusant's Analysis of the 2012 Doctrinal Declaration signed by Bishop Fellay - which, to date, has never been retracted. 
Notice the striking similarities between the Declaration of Cardinal Decourtray of 1988 and Bishop Fellay's Declaration of 2012!
Keep in mind that the Cardinal's Declaration was recognized for it's 'strategy by which a traditional priest is to be marginalized and made of no effect in a diocese.' 

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Contents [of Bishop Fellay's Doctrinal Declaration of 2012]

We will deal with the paragraphs in the order in which they appear.

Paragraph I

We promise to be always faithful to the Catholic Church and to the Roman Pontiff, the Supreme Pastor, Vicar of Christ, Successor of Peter, and head of the body of bishops.

It might be objected that the SSPX has always been faithful to the Catholic Church and Roman Pontiff, and that to promise to do something in the future might imply that we were not doing so all along already. Furthermore, the distinction between conciliar church and Catholic Church (or “Eternal Rome” and “neo-modernist Rome” of Archbishop Lefebvre’s 1974 declaration) is conspicuous by its absence, leaving the phrase “Catholic Church” open to dangerous ambiguity, given that each side is known to understand it to mean something different. That said, in itself there is nothing actually erroneous or doctrinally unsound in this statement, even if it ought arguably to have been made in a clearer, less ambiguous language.

Paragraph II

We declare that we accept the teachings of the Magisterium of the Church in the substance of Faith and Morals, adhering to each doctrinal affirmation in the required degree, according to the doctrine contained in No.25 of the dogmatic constitution Lumen Gentium of the Second Vatican Council.(1)

Footnote (1) - Cf. the new formula for the Profession of Faith and the Oath of Fidelity for assuming a charge exercised in the name of the Church, 1989; cf. Code of Canon Law, canon 749,750, §2; 752; CCEO canon 597; 598, 1 & 2; 599.

As noted above with the phrase “Catholic Church,” there is likewise a dangerous ambiguity present in the phrase “Magisterium of the Church”, since we know that the writings and judgements of the modern Popes (John Paul II’s opposition to the death penalty, for example, or the new Code of Canon law’s permission for non Catholics to receive the sacraments) are understood to be “the Magisterium of the Church” by the modern conciliar churchmen.

But far worse than mere ambiguity, dangerous though that is, is this paragraph’s acceptance of Lumen Gentium 25 by Bishop Fellay on behalf of the SSPX. It is the first breach in the wall, so to speak, because one cannot reject Lumen Gentium if one accepts one of its paragraphs and makes it the basis for one’s own declaration of doctrine. Likewise, one cannot maintain an uncompromising rejection of Vatican II if one has accepted one of Vatican II’s documents and claimed it as a source for one’s own doctrine. This is not the only part of Lumen Gentium (or indeed of Vatican II) which the Doctrinal Declaration explicitly accepts, as we shall see, but even if it were, then this paragraph alone would still suffice to destroy any stance of rejecting Vatican II outright.

Amongst other things, Lumen Gentium is the document which states that the “Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church”, that the Muslims “together with us adore the one and merciful God”, that the Holy Ghost gives his gifts to, and is operative among, those in non-Catholic sects outside the Church (Protestants and others), that those same sects are joined to us “in some real way” in the Holy Ghost; and that “many elements of sanctification and truth are found outside” the Catholic Church.

Lumen Gentium 25 in particular seems to suggest an equivalence between papal infallibility and the authority of a local bishop (it is phrased in a way that tends to be more suggestive than explicit). It states that the faithful are to submit to the teaching of a local bishop with “religious submission of mind and will”. (Just think for a moment what the implications of that would be!)

The footnote attached to this part of the Doctrinal Declaration signifies the SSPX’s acceptance of the new Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity, composed by Cardinal Ratzinger in 1989, and was published with an introduction (available on the Vatican website in Italian, though not, interestingly enough, in English!) which states explicitly that its purpose was to take previous oaths and bring them into line with the Council.

As soon as it appeared, this very same Oath of Fidelity was condemned in the very strongest terms by Archbishop Lefebvre:

Quote:“What it means in practice is lining up on what the bishops of the world today think. In the preamble, besides, it is clearly indicated that this third section has been added because of the spirit of the Council. It refers to the Council and the so-called Magisterium of today, which, of course, is the Magisterium of the followers of the Council. . . .

As it stands this formula is dangerous. It demonstrates clearly the spirit of these people with whom it is impossible to come to an agreement. It is absolutely ridiculous and false, as certain people have done, to present this Oath of Fidelity as a renewal of the Anti-Modernist Oath suppressed in the wake of the Council. All the poison is in this third section which seems to have been made expressly in order to oblige those who have rallied to Rome to sign this profession of Faith and to state their full agreement with the bishops. . . .

No, I am not exaggerating. It is clearly expressed in the introduction. It is sheer trickery. One may ask oneself if in Rome they didn't mean in this way to correct the text of the [1988] protocol. Although that protocol is not satisfactory to us, it still seems too much in our favour in Article III, because it does not sufficiently express the need to submit to the Council. . . .

And so, I think now they are regaining lost ground. They are no doubt going to have these texts signed by the seminarians of the Fraternity of St. Peter before their ordination and by the priests of the Fraternity, who will then find themselves in the obligation of making an official act of joining the Conciliar Church.” (“One Year After The Consecrations”, Fideliter, 1989 See also: )

Finally, we note that the footnote also cites various canons from the new code of canon law, and is thus the first signal of the SSPX’s acceptance of that New Code (1983) over the old (1917) code.

Paragraph III, 1.

We declare that we accept the doctrine regarding the Roman Pontiff and regarding the college of bishops, with the Pope as its head, which is taught by the dogmatic constitution Pastor Aeternus of Vatican I and by the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium of Vatican II, chapter 3 (de constitutione hierarchica Ecclesiae et in specie de episcopatu), explained and interpreted by the nota explicativa praevia in this same chapter.”

The two sources cited here as being “acceptable” to the SSPX (“we”) are in fact rather different from one another. Pastor Aeternus from the First Vatican Council would have done fine on its own, but since Bishop Fellay says that “we” also accept Lumen Gentium Chapter 3, it is as well acquaint ourselves a little better with what that text says. Lumen Gentium Chapter 3 comprises Paragraphs 18 – 29 and is infamous for being more contradictory to Pastor Aeternus than supportive of it. It is where the modern conciliar phenomenon of so-called “collegiality” first raised its ugly head (paragraph 22). Whereas Archbishop Lefebvre and the SSPX of the past opposed collegiality, in this paragraph Bishop Fellay says explicitly that “we” accept it. Notice that even the paragraph’s first sentence begins by talking about: “the doctrine…regarding the college of bishops.”

So quasi-heretical was this part of Lumen Gentium that Paul VI himself had to have an explanatory note inserted into the final draft to the effect that the authority of the “college” of bishops is not equal to that of the Pope and cannot be used against him. This is the “nota explicativa” to which Bishop Fellay refers. That such a thing should have been thought necessary by even Paul VI ought to give us some sort of an idea as to the (un)orthodoxy of the rest of the document!

As it happens, Lumen Gentium Chapter 3 also calls for priests to act as quasi social workers in helping to bring in the New World Order:

“Because the human race today is joining more and more into a civic, economic and social unity, it is that much the more necessary that priests … wipe out every kind of separateness.”

Note, priests are to spend their time not just eradicating doctrinal “separateness” (as in, converting souls to the true doctrine of Christ’s Church) but every kind of difference, especially those which occur in the pursuit of “civic, economic and social unity.”

Paragraph III, 2.

We recognise the authority of the Magisterium to which alone is given the task of authentically interpreting the word of God, in written form or handed down (2) in fidelity to Tradition, recalling that ‘the Holy Ghost was not promised to the successors of Peter in order for them to make known, through revelation, a new doctrine, but so that with His assistance they may keep in a holy and expressly faithful manner the revelation transmitted by the Apostles, that is to say, the Faith.’(3)

Footnote (2) - Cf. Pius XII, Humani Generis encyclical.
Footnote (3) - Vatican I, Dogmatic Constitution, Pastor Aeternus, Dz. 3070.

Bishop Fellay would later claim that this paragraph, with its quote from Pastor Aeternus about not making known a new doctrine, is what saves the rest of the document from error or compromise. Quite apart from the implicit admission (that other parts of the document are unsound) entailed by such a claim, the claim itself is simply untrue. Firstly, it is the number of lies told, not the number of truths told, which determines a man’s (or a document’s) truthfulness. Secondly, stating that the Holy Ghost was promised to the successors of Peter so that they could pass on Tradition faithfully, while true, in no way automatically saves one from acceptance of novelty. Many modern Catholics, for example, who accept some forms of modernism might easily agree with the above quote from Pastor Aeternus and see no contradiction in their so doing. They would claim that they too accept only what is in line with Tradition - they just happen to regard Lumen Gentium, the new Code of Canon Law, the New Mass (or whatever else) as being in line with Tradition.

Paragraph III, 3.

Tradition is the living transmission of revelation "usque ad nos"(4) and the Church in its doctrine, in its life and in its liturgy perpetuates and transmits to all generations what this is and what She believes. Tradition progresses in the Church with the assistance of the Holy Ghost(5), not as a contrary novelty(6), but through a better understanding of the Deposit of the Faith(7).”

Footnote (4) - Council of Trent, Dz. 1501: “All saving truth and rules of conduct (Matt. 16:15) are contained in the written books and in the unwritten traditions, which, received by the Apostles from the mouth of Christ Himself, or from the Apostles themselves,[3] the Holy Ghost dictating, have come down to us, transmitted as it were from hand to hand.”

Footnote (5) - Cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Dei Verbum, 8 & 9, Denz. 4209-4210.

Footnote (6) - Vatican I, Dogmatic Constitution Dei Filius, Dz. 3020: “Hence, also, that understanding of its sacred dogmas must be perpetually retained, which Holy Mother Church has once declared; and there must never be recession from that meaning under the specious name of a deeper understanding "Therefore […] let the understanding, the knowledge, and wisdom of individuals as of all, of one man as of the whole Church, grow and progress strongly with the passage of the ages and the centuries; but let it be solely in its own genus, namely in the same dogma, with the same sense and the same understanding.'' [Vincent of Lerins, Commonitorium, 23, 3].”

Footnote (7) - Vatican I, Dogmatic Constitution Dei Filius, Dz. 3011; Anti-modernist Oath, no. 4; Pius XII, Encyclical Letter Humani Generis, Dz 3886; Vatican Council II, Dogmatic Constitution Dei Verbum, 10, Dz. 4213.

Of the four footnotes cited in this section, numbers 4 and 6 are unobjectionable - the other two are not! The second footnote indicates that the statement: “Tradition progresses within the Church” is a quote or paraphrase from another Vatican II document, Dei Verbum. It sounds harmless enough at first, but the more one pauses to consider it, the more modernist and heterodox it sounds. “Tradition progresses in the Church”? The original text of Dei Verbum 8 makes clear that this “progression” involves the laity coming to a better understanding through “contemplation and study” and through “the spiritual realities which they experience” (whatever that means!)

Finally, it need hardly be said that, once again, “we” have given “our” assent to another document of Vatican II, one shot-through with errors, heresies or, at best, modernist-sounding ambiguities. And that since we have made part of that document the basis of our profession of doctrine, we can hardly then go on to totally reject that same document.

Paragraph III, 4.

The entire tradition of Catholic Faith must be the criterion and guide in understanding the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, which, in turn, enlightens - in other words deepens and subsequently makes explicit - certain aspects of the life and doctrine of the Church implicitly present within itself or not yet conceptually formulated(8).”

Footnote (8) For example, like the teaching on the sacraments and the episcopacy in Lumen Gentium, no. 21.

This is the infamous paragraph which Fr. Pfluger let slip in 2012, a few months after the signing of this document. The idea that “the Second Vatican Council … enlightens” anything at all is, to put it charitably, highly problematic. This one sentence destroys any and all opposition to the Council, and thus it destroys the very purpose of existence for the SSPX and justification for its apostolate. Fr. Pfluger appears not to see that, however. Nor does Bishop Fellay, who signed his name to it in his official capacity as Superior General of the SSPX, on behalf of the SSPX, making this the official position of the SSPX.

Paragraph III, 5.

The affirmations of the Second Vatican Council and of the later Pontifical Magisterium relating to the relationship between the Church and the non-Catholic Christian confessions, as well as the social duty of religion and the right to religious liberty, whose formulation is with difficulty reconcilable with prior doctrinal affirmations from the Magisterium, must be understood in the light of the whole, uninterrupted Tradition, in a manner coherent with the truths previously taught by the Magisterium of the Church, without accepting any interpretation of these affirmations whatsoever that would expose Catholic doctrine to opposition or rupture with Tradition and with this Magisterium.”

This paragraph, at one fell swoop, accepts explicitly the “social gospel”/“liberation theology” nonsense, religious liberty and ecumenism as being reconcilable with Catholic teaching. It talks about “the truths previously taught by the Magisterium of the Church” instead of simply saying “Catholic teaching” (why?) and – perhaps most importantly – it says that there cannot be any “rupture” between Catholic Tradition and the modern conciliar teachings, which it refers to either as “Catholic doctrine” or “this Magisterium” (see if you can work out which it is!). This is classic Benedict XVI/Cardinal Ratzinger theology, the idea being that what came before the council and what came after have to be understood as being part of one, uninterrupted Tradition. If it turned out that the council contradicted Catholic teaching, you see, then a lot of important people would have some serious problems of conscience to face. So we resolve things by claiming, through a sophism and a suspension of reason, that the contradiction between pre– and post-conciliar is only apparent and not real. This is precisely what is meant by the “hermeneutic of continuity” - a dishonest rhetoric designed to mask a contradiction and to pretend that there is continuity when in fact there is none. Needless to say, this involves the mixing of truth and error (the result of which can only ever be new error!), and the jettisoning of objective truth, not least the principle of non-contradiction.

Finally, by talking about Catholic teaching in terms of what “interpretation[s]” one might make or accept, the paragraph does tend to relativise and trivialise Catholic teaching by implying, whether consciously or otherwise, that it is all a matter of interpretation anyway.

Paragraph III, 6.

That is why it is legitimate to promote through legitimate discussion the study and theological explanations of the expressions and formulations of Vatican II and of the Magisterium which followed it, in the case where they don't appear reconcilable with the previous Magisterium of the Church(9).

Footnote (9) - There is a parallel in history in the Decree for the Armenians of the Council of Florence, where the porrection of the instruments was indicated as the matter of the sacrament of Order. Nevertheless theologians legitimately discussed, even after this decree, the accuracy of such an assertion. Pope Pius XII finally resolved the issue in another way.

Following on from the previous talk of not allowing an appearance of rupture between post- and pre-conciliar, this paragraph posits the solution. We just need to “dialogue” more. The purpose of “theological discussions” is to explain how Vatican II is really traditional after all. Notice also that the phrase: “in the case where they don’t appear reconcilable” implies that any contradiction is a matter of appearances.

Paragraph III, 7.

We declare that we recognise the validity of the sacrifice of the Mass and the Sacraments celebrated with the intention to do what the Church does according to the rites indicated in the typical editions of the Roman Missal and the Sacramentary Rituals legitimately promulgated by Popes Paul VI and John-Paul II.”

With this paragraph Bishop Fellay declares that the SSPX accepts the legitimacy of the New Mass and other New Sacraments. Some, notably Fr. Daniel Themann, have tried to claim that it means only that the Pope has authority to promulgate, that the authority promulgating the New Mass is what is legitimate, and not the new Mass itself. But the text clearly says that the New Mass was “legitimately promulgated.” If I say that I am “legitimately married” it means that my marriage is legitimate and not merely that I have the authority or power to get married should I so choose.

The 1988 protocol given to Archbishop Lefebvre to sign shortly before the consecrations, contains a paragraph which says exactly the same, word for word, no more or less, with one difference: the word “legitimately” is missing. Why bother to add that one word, and given that it was deliberately added, how can anyone claim afterwards that that one word does not really signify? It is an exercise in obfuscation. At Lille in 1976, Archbishop Lefebvre condemned the New Mass as a “rite bâtard” (“bastard rite” or “illegitimate rite”). If on the other hand the new Mass was legitimately promulgated then its promulgation was legitimate, making it a legitimate rite of the Church. This would mean that we cannot refuse to attend it on principle.

Paragraph III, 8.

In following the guidelines laid out above (III,5), as well as Canon 21 of the Code of Canon Law, we promise to respect the common discipline of the Church and the ecclesiastical laws, especially those which are contained in the Code of Canon Law promulgated by John-Paul II (1983) and in the Code of Canon Law of the Oriental Churches promulgated by the same pontiff (1990), without prejudice to the discipline of the Society of Saint Pius X, by a special law.”

Not only do we accept the New Code of Canon Law, we promise to respect it, which in context must mean to abide by it. This would include, presumably, respecting the law which allows the giving of the sacraments to non-Catholics, and the law which reverses the ends of marriage. And even if we make sure that we in the SSPX are “special”, at the very least this would still mean that we are happy to watch the rest of the Church live by this new conciliar Code of Canon law, since we have our little side altar in the cathedral of pluralism. This will, of course, all be done “following the guidelines laid out” in paragraph III,5 - in other words, it will be done according to the idea that there can by definition be no contradiction between old and new, Catholic and modernist, and that wherever a contradiction presents itself, we side with the new, with the modernist, and tell ourselves that it is not modernist but Catholic after all.


Bishop Fellay, in the name of the SSPX, formally and officially, first in secret and then in public, accepts the documents of Vatican II, Collegiality, Ecumenism, Religious Liberty, the legitimacy of the New Mass and the New Code of Canon Law. He accepts that those things can be reconciled to Tradition, and that where they do not appear to be reconcilable, the solution is “discussions and study” to show that they are after all reconcilable.


The title of this document tells us a lot. “Doctrinal Declaration”. Its purpose is to declare doctrine. This is the doctrine which it declares. Bishop Fellay himself, through his actions (which speak louder than words!) has shown that he knew from the start that this would be unacceptable to a great many priests and faithful in 2012. That is why he kept it a secret for as long as possible (does it make any sense to have a “secret doctrine”? Has anyone but the Secret Societies ever taught a doctrine in secret?)

God blessed the SSPX only due to its fidelity to Tradition and its refusal to compromise with Vatican II. If we see now a loss of unity, of purpose, of holiness and of fruitfulness in the apostolates of the SSPX, this must surely be because that fidelity to Tradition is gone, and therefore God’s blessing is gone too. If God is Truth, then a denial of Catholic truth means separating ourselves from Almighty God. This is why the Holy Ghost is no longer making use of the Society which denied Him by denying His truth. Bishop Freppel’s words have come home to roost in the SSPX – it survived incompetence, immorality, bad priests, bad examples and bad decisions. It cannot and will not recover from its abandonment and diminution of the truth.

Practical Consequences

Catholics wishing to support Tradition need to realise that Tradition and the Council are simply incompatible. Vatican II is toxic: everything it touches, within a short time, withers and dies on the vine. It reduced the church of the 1950s and 1960s to her present state in little more than a generation. If we support Vatican II or give our approval to it in any way, then we cannot claim to be supporting Tradition, since the two are incompatible. If we are to totally and not just partially or symbolically support Tradition, then we must totally and not just partially or symbolically reject Vatican II.

This, far above any considerations of “validity”, “novus ordo hosts in the tabernacle” or “dubious sermons” is the real reason why Traditional Catholics knew that they ought to avoid the “approved” Masses of such groups as the Society of St. Peter, which accept Vatican II and which offer a “pre-conciliar taste” within a conciliar framework. For that very same reason, we ought to avoid the Society of St. Pius X. We want nothing to do with the council, therefore we will have nothing to do with the Society of St. Pius X which has accepted it. The sacrament of confession is something more personal, but the Mass is a public act of worship on behalf of the Church, and we cannot assist at the public act of worship offered by priests who officially accept the Council.

A public departure from, diminution of or undermining of the Faith requires a public response. Every priest of the Society of St. Pius X has a duty to make public where he stands in relation to this grave insult to Our Lord. It was written and handed over in his name: it is up to him to tell the world that this is not the case, to confess Our Lord “before men”. We are well aware that there are many priests remaining in the SSPX who privately disagree with the Doctrinal Declaration, but our confession of the Faith has to be public, not private, especially (as Cardinal Pie says) when the truth is attacked.

Archbishop Lefebvre gave the faithful Catholic Tradition, and the faithful were justified in more or less assuming that the priests united with him taught the same. Bishop Fellay’s Doctrinal Declaration is another doctrine than that which we received from him. To those who say that we err, that we go too far, we reply that we prefer to err on the side of being too zealous on behalf of Tradition, of opposing Vatican II and its novel doctrine too strongly, than the alternative. Our Lord warns us against being lukewarm, and experience teaches us to beware above all a slow, subtle danger to our faith.

In the meantime, whilst we await the ministrations of the far smaller number of priests who have declared themselves against this new doctrine, Almighty God will surely reward our sacrifices which are made out of love for Him and fidelity to Catholic Tradition.

St. Pius X, pray for us!
"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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