Archbishop Lefebvre: Open Letter to Confused Catholics
Chapter 19. The Seminary of Ecône and Rome

You are perhaps, perplexed readers, among those who observe the course of events with sadness and anguish but are nevertheless afraid to attend a true Mass, in spite of the desire to do so, because they have been persuaded that this Mass is forbidden. You may be one of those who no longer follow the priests in anoraks but who view with some distrust the priests in cassocks as if they were under some kind of censure; is not the bishop who ordained them suspended a divinis? You are afraid of putting yourself out of the Church; this fear is of praiseworthy origin but it is uninformed. I want to tell you what the position is about these sanctions which have been given such prominence and caused such loud rejoicing among the Freemasons and the Marxists. To understand it properly a little history is needed.

When I was sent to Gabon as a missionary, my bishop immediately appointed me as Professor at the Seminary of Libreville, where for six years I formed seminarians, of whom some later received the grace of the episcopate. When I became a bishop in my turn, at Dakar, it seemed to me that my principal concern should be to look for vocations, to form the young men who responded to the call of God and to lead them to the priesthood. I had the joy of conferring the priesthood on one destined to be my successor at Dakar, Mgr. Thiandoum, and on Mgr. Dionne, the present Archbishop of Thiès in Senegal.

Returning to Europe to take up the position of Superior General of the Holy Ghost Fathers, I tried to maintain the essential values of priestly formation. I have to admit that already by then at the beginning of the Sixties, the pressure was such and the difficulties so considerable that I could not achieve the results I wanted. I could not keep the French Seminary in Rome, which was placed under the authority of our Congregation, on the same right lines as when we were there ourselves between 1920 and 1930. I resigned in 1968 in order not to endorse the reform undertaken by the General Chapter in a direction contrary to Catholic tradition. Already before that date I was getting numerous calls from families and from priests asking me where to send young men desiring to enter the priesthood. I admit that I was very hesitant. Freed from my responsibilities, and at a time when I was thinking of retirement, my mind turned to the University of Fribourg in Switzerland, still orientated toward Thomist doctrine. The Bishop, Mgr. Charrière, received me with open arms. I rented a house and we received nine seminarians who followed the University course and the rest of the time led the life of a real seminary. They very soon showed the desire to work together in the future and, after thinking it over, I went to ask Mgr. Charrière if he would agree to sign a decree for the foundation of a “Fraternity.” He approved its statutes and thus was born on November 1, 1970 the “Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X.” We were canonically instituted in the Diocese of Fribourg.

These details are important as you will see. A bishop has the right, canonically, to establish in his diocese associations which Rome recognizes ipso facto. It follows from this that if a succeeding bishop wishes to suppress an association or fraternity, he cannot do so without recourse to Rome. The authority of Rome protects what the first bishop has created so that associations are not subjected to an insecurity harmful to their development. This is how it is willed by the Law of the Church.16

The Priestly Society of St. Pius X is consequently recognized by Rome in a perfectly legal manner, although this is by diocesan and not by pontifical decree, the latter not being absolutely necessary. There exist hundreds of religious congregations founded on diocesan decrees which have houses throughout the world.

When the Church recognizes a foundation or diocesan association, she accepts that it will train its own members; if it is a religious congregation she accepts that there will be a noviciate or house of formation. For us, this means our seminaries. On February 18, 1971, Cardinal Wright, Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Clergy, sent me a letter of encouragement in which he expressed confidence that the Fraternity “would be well able to fit in with the objective sought by the Council in this holy Dicastery with a view to supplying clergy for the world.” However, in November 1972 at the Plenary Assembly of the French bishops at Lourdes, it was called a “rebel seminary”17 without protest from any bishops present, although they must certainly have known the juridical situation of the Ecône seminary.

Why did they consider us rebels? Because we did not give the key of the house to seminarians to go out in the evenings when they felt like it, because we did not let them watch television from 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., because they did not wear polo-necks and went to Mass every morning instead of staying in bed until the first lecture.

On the other hand Cardinal Garrone,18 whom I met at that time, said to me:
Quote:“You are not directly answerable to me and I have only one thing to say to you; follow the ratio fundamentalis that I have laid down for the foundation of seminaries, which all seminaries must follow.”

The ratio fundamentalis provides that Latin should still be taught in a seminary and that the studies should be pursued according to the doctrine of St. Thomas. I allowed myself to reply: “Your Eminence, I believe we are one of the few who do follow it.” This is even more true today and the ratio fundamentalis is still in force. So what are they reproaching us with?

When it became necessary to open a real seminary and I had rented the house at Ecône, a former rest house of the Great St. Bernard monks, I went to see Mgr. Adam, Bishop of Sion, who gave me his consent. This establishment was not the result of a long thought-out plan that I had made, it thrust itself upon me providentially. I had said:
Quote:“If the work expands world-wide, that will be the sign that God is with it.”

From year to year the number of seminarians increased; in 1970 there were eleven entrants and in 1974, forty. The innovators became increasingly worried. It was obvious that if we were training seminarians it was to ordain them, and that the future priests would be faithful to the Mass of the Church, the Mass of Tradition, the Mass of all time. There is no need to look any further for reasons for the attacks on us; one would not find any others. Ecône appeared as a danger for the Neo-modernist church and it was important to guard against it before it was too late.

So it was on November 11, 1974 there arrived at the seminary with the first snows two Apostolic Visitors sent by a commission appointed by Paul VI and consisting of three Cardinals, Garrone, Wright and Tabera, this last being Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for Religious. They (the Apostolic Visitors) questioned ten professors and twenty of the 104 students present, as well as myself, and departed two days later leaving a disagreeable impression behind them. They had made some scandalous remarks to the seminarians, considering the ordination of married men to be normal, declaring that they did not acknowledge an immutable Truth and expressed doubts about the traditional conception of Our Lord’s Resurrection. Of the seminary they said nothing and they left no formal statement. After which, angry at the remarks they had made, I published a declaration which began with these phrases:
Quote:“We adhere with all our heart and all our soul to Catholic Rome, guardian of the Catholic Faith and the traditions necessary to maintain it, and to Eternal Rome, mistress of wisdom and truth. On the other hand we refuse and have always refused to follow the Rome of the neo-Modernist and the new Protestant trend which was clearly evident in the Second Vatican Council and, after the Council in all the reforms which flowed from it.”

The words were no doubt rather sharp but they expressed and still express my thinking. It was on account of this text that the Commission of Cardinals decided to bring about our downfall, because they could not do so on account of the way the seminary was run. The Cardinals were to tell me two months later that the Apostolic Visitors had gained a good impression from their inquiry.

On the following February 13, I was invited (by the Commission) to a “discussion” in Rome to clarify certain points and I went there without suspecting that it was a trap. The discussion turned itself from the start into a close cross-examination of a judicial type. It was followed by a second on the 3rd March and two months later the Commission informed me, “with the complete approval of His Holiness,” of the decisions it had taken: Mgr. Mamie, the new Bishop of Fribourg, was acknowledged to have the right to withdraw the approval given to the Fraternity by his predecessor. Thereby the Fraternity and also the foundations, notably the Seminary of Ecône, lost the “right to exist.”

Without waiting for notification of these decisions, Mgr. Mamie wrote to me:
Quote:“I hereby inform you that I withdraw the acts and concessions effected by my predecessor with regard to the Priestly Fraternity of St. Plus X, in particular the decree of foundation dated November 1, 1970. This decision takes effect immediately.”

If you have followed me closely, you will be able to see that this suppression was made by the Bishop of Fribourg and not by the Holy See. By virtue of Canon 493, it is therefore completely void in law for lack of competence. Added to that there is a lack of sufficient cause. The decision can only be based on my declaration of November 21, 1974, judged by the Commission to be “unacceptable on all points,” because of the Commission’s own admission the results of the Apostolic Visitation were favorable. Yet my declaration has never been the subject of a condemnation by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (the former Holy Office) which alone is competent to judge whether it is opposed to the Catholic Faith. It has only been deemed “unacceptable on all points” by three cardinals in the course of what remains officially a discussion.

The juridical existence of the Commission itself has never been proved. By what pontifical act was it instituted? On what date? What form did it take? Who was notified of it? The fact that the Roman authorities refuse to produce any such act permits us to doubt its existence. If there is doubt about its validity a law is not binding, says the Code of Canon Law. Even less so when there is doubt about the competence or even the existence of the authority. The words “with the complete approval of His Holiness” are not legally sufficient; they cannot take the place of the decree which should have constituted the Commission of Cardinals and defined its powers.

There are procedural irregularities which render the suppression of the Fraternity a nullity. Nor must we forget that the Church is not a totalitarian society of the Nazi or Marxist type, and that the law even when it is properly observed--which was not the case in this instance is not an absolute. It has to be related to faith, truth and life. Canon Law is designed to make us live spiritually and thus to lead us to Eternal Life. If this law is used to prevent us from attaining it, or as it were to abort our spiritual life, we are obliged to disobey exactly in the same way that citizens are obliged to disobey the abortion laws of the State.

To return to the juridical aspect, I entered two successive appeals before the Apostolic Signatura, which is more or less the equivalent of a court of appeal in civil law. The Cardinal Secretary of State, Mgr. Villot, forbade this supreme tribunal of the Church to entertain them, which amounts to an interference by the executive in the judiciary.

16 Canon 493.

17 In French, “Séminaire sauvage”--ed.

18 Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education.
"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
Chapter 21. Neither Heretic Nor Schismatic

My statement of November 21, 1974, which triggered off the proceedings of which I have spoken, ended with these words:
Quote:“In doing so... we are convinced of remaining loyal to the Catholic and Roman Church and to all the successors of Peter, and of being faithful dispensers of the Mysteries of Our Lord Jesus Christ.”

When publishing the text, the L'Osservatore Romano omitted this paragraph. For ten years and more our opponents have been set on casting us out of the Church’s communion by presenting us as not accepting the Pope’s authority. It would be very convenient to turn us into a sect and declare us schismatics. How many times the word schism has been applied to us!

I have not ceased repeating that if anyone separates himself from the Pope, it will not be I. The question comes down to this: the power of the Pope within the Church is supreme, but not absolute and limitless, because it is subordinate to the Divine authority which is expressed in Tradition, Holy Scripture, and the definitions already promulgated by the Church’s magisterium. In fact, the limits of papal power are set by the ends for which it was given to Christ’s Vicar on earth, ends which Pius IX clearly defined in the Constitution Pastor aeternus of the First Vatican Council. So in saying this I am not expressing a personal theory.

Blind obedience is not Catholic; nobody is exempt from responsibility for having obeyed man rather than God if he accepts orders from a higher authority, even the Pope, when these are contrary to the Will of God as it is known with certainty from Tradition. It is true that one cannot envisage such an eventuality when the Papal infallibility is engaged; but this happens only in a limited number of cases. It is an error to think that every word uttered by the Pope is infallible.

Nevertheless, I am not among those who insist or insinuate that Paul VI was a heretic and therefore, by that very fact, no longer Pope. John Paul I and John Paul II would then not have been legitimately elected. This is the position of those called “sede-vacantists.”

It has to be admitted that Paul VI has posed a serious problem for the consciences of the faithful. This pontiff has done more harm to the Church than the French Revolution. There are definite acts of his, such as his signature to Article 7 of the Institutio Generalis of the new Mass, and likewise to the Council’s document on Religious Liberty, that are scandalous. But it is not a simple problem to know whether a Pope can be a heretic. A good many theologians think he can be as a private teacher but not as a teacher of the Universal Church. We have to consider the degree to which the Pope intended to involve his infallibility in cases such as those I have quoted.

Now, we have already been able to perceive that he behaved more like a liberal than as one attached to heresy. In fact, as soon as the danger he risked was brought to his attention, he rendered the text contradictory by adding a formula meaning the contrary of what was already in the draft. A well-known example is the explanatory foreword to the Council’s Constitution Lumen Gentium on collegiality.

Paul VI's liberalism, recognized by his friend Cardinal Daniélou, is sufficient to explain the disasters of his pontificate. The liberal Catholic is two-sided; he is in a state of continual contradiction. He would like to remain a Catholic but he is possessed by a desire to please the world. Can a Pope be a liberal and still remain a Pope? The Church has always severely reprimanded liberal Catholics, but has not always excommunicated them. Another argument put forward by the sede-vacantists is that the exclusion of Cardinals of eighty years and over, and the secret meetings which preceded and organized the last two conclaves render the election of those two Popes invalid. To assert that they were invalid is going too far; doubtful, perhaps. Nevertheless, the subsequent unanimous acceptance of the elections by the Cardinals and the Roman clergy suffices to validate them. That is the opinion of theologians.

The reasoning of those who deny that we have a Pope puts the Church in an inextricable situation. The visibility of the Church is too necessary for its existence for it to be possible that God would allow it to disappear for decades. Who would be able to tell us where the future Pope is? How can he be elected if there are no more Cardinals? We detect a schismatic spirit behind those reasonings, and our Society utterly refuses to follow them. While rejecting Paul VI’s liberalism, we wish to remain attached to Rome and the Successor of St. Peter out of fidelity to his predecessors.

It is obvious that in matters such as religious liberty, eucharistic hospitality as authorized by the new Canon Law, and collegiality considered as the affirmation of two supreme powers within the Church, it is the duty of every priest and every faithful Catholic to refuse obedience. This resistance must be made public if the evil is public and constitutes a cause of scandal for souls. This is the reason why, taking our line from St. Thomas Aquinas, Bishop de Castro Mayer and I on November 21, 1983 sent an open letter to Pope John Paul II begging him to denounce the principal causes of the dire situation which is dividing the Church. All the steps we have taken in private during the last fifteen years had proved unavailing; yet to remain silent would have seemed to make us accomplices in the unsettling of the faithful that is a fact throughout the world.

“Most Holy Father,” we wrote, “it is an urgent matter that this unrest be quieted, because the flock have scattered and the abandoned sheep are following hirelings. We urge you, for the well-being of the Catholic faith and the salvation of souls, to re-affirm the truths contrary to these errors.” Our cry of alarm was rendered even more urgent by the errors in the new Code of Canon Law, not to say its heresies, and by the ceremonies and speeches marking the fifth centenary of the birth of Martin Luther.

We have had no reply, but we have done what we ought to do. We must not despair as though it were a human undertaking. The present convulsion will pass away just as all heresies have passed away. One day a return will have to be made to Tradition: in the Papal authority the powers signified by the tiara must again re-appear; a tribunal for the protection of the truths of faith and morals must be restored permanently, and bishops must regain their powers and their personal initiative.

True apostolic work will have to be freed of all the impediments that now are paralyzing it by obscuring the essentials of the message. Seminaries must be brought back to their true function, religious orders revived, Catholic schools and universities restored by freeing them of secular State curricula. Support must be given to employers’ and workers’ organizations determined to collaborate in a fraternal manner, respecting the duties and rights of all, and renouncing that social scourge the strike, which is nothing better than a cold war within the nation. It will be necessary, too, to promote civil legislation that is in harmony with the laws of the Church, and to encourage the putting forward of Catholics for public office, who are actuated by the will to guide society towards the official recognition of the social rule of Christ the King.

For, after all, what do we say each day when we pray? “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” And in the Gloria of the Mass? “Thou alone art the Lord, Jesus Christ.” We sing that, but as soon as we get outside we say, “Oh no, these ideas are out of date: impossible to think of talking about the Kingdom of Christ in the world of today.” We are living a contradiction. Are we Christians or not?

Nations are struggling with insoluble difficulties. There is endless war in many areas, and all mankind trembles in contemplating the possibility of a nuclear catastrophe. Solutions are sought that will restore the economy, stabilize money, eliminate unemployment, and make industry prosperous. Well, even from the economic point of view, it is necessary that Christ should reign, because that means the reign of love and of the commandments of God, which ensure a balance in society and bring justice and peace. Is it a Christian attitude to set one's hopes on this or that politician, or combination of parties, in the hope that eventually one program or another will definitely and finally solve our problems, when the one and only Lord is deliberately excluded as if He had nothing to do with human affairs? What sort of a faith have people who live their lives in two compartments with a rigid barrier separating their religion from all their political, professional and other preoccupations? Is not God, who created heaven and earth, able to solve our wretched material and social problems? If you have ever prayed yourself in difficult moments of your life, you will know by experience that He does not give stones when His children ask Him for bread.

The Christian social order is at the opposite pole to the Marxist ideas which, in whatever part of the world they have been applied, have never brought anything but misery, oppression of the weakest, contempt for man, and death. Christian social order respects private property, protects the family against corrupting influences, and encourages large families and the presence of the mother in the home. It allows private enterprise a proper independence, and encourages medium and small businesses. It is in favor of a return to the land and appreciates agriculture as its true value. It supports professional associations, freedom of education, and the protection of the citizens against every form of subversion and revolution.

This Christian order is quite different also from those liberal systems based on the separation of Church and State, whose powerlessness to overcome crises becomes increasingly obvious. How could it be otherwise when they have deliberately cut themselves off from Him who is “the light of men?” How could they muster the energies of their citizens when they have no ideal to put to them beyond prosperity and comfort? They have been able to maintain an iilusion for some time because the people have retained Christian habits of thinking and their rulers have more or less consciously kept some values. But at a time when everything is being questioned, these implicit references to the Will of God fade away. Liberal systems, when they are left to themselves and are no longer motivated by any higher idea, become exhausted and fall an easy prey to subversive ideologies.

To speak, then, of the Christian social order is not to cling to an out-moded past. On the contrary, it is a standpoint for the future which you should not hesitate to adopt. You are not fighting a rear-guard action; you are among those who know what's what because they take their lessons from Him who said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” We have the advantage of possessing the truth. It is not our doing, we must not be conceited about it; but we must act accordingly. The possession of the truth is the advantage the Church has over error. It is up to her, helped by the grace of God, to spread it, and not timidly hide it under a bushel.

Still less should it be mingled with falsity, though this is what we are constantly witnessing. I read in L'Osservatore Romano (January 18, 1984) an interesting article by Paolo Befani about the favor shown to socialism by the Vatican. The author compares the situation in South America and that in Poland, and he writes:
Quote:“Leaving aside the situation in Europe, the Church finds herself confronted on the one hand by the situation in the Latin American countries and the influence over them of the U.S.A., and on the other hand by the situation of Poland in the orbit of the Soviet empire. Faced with these two frontiers the Church, which in Vatican II accepted and surpassed the liberal-democratic conquests of the French Revolution, and in her forward march proposes herself as the post-revolution to the Russian Marxist revolution, now offers a solution to the failure of Marxism of which the key idea is a post-Marxist, democratic, Christian-based, self-governing and non-totalitarian socialism.

“The Church's answer to the East is represented by Solidarity, raising the Cross in front of the Lenin ship-yards. Latin America's mistake is to seek the solution in Marxist communism, that is, in a socialism with anti-Christian roots.”

There we have a fine example of liberal illusions, associating contradictory words in the conviction of expressing the truth! It is to these adulterous dreamers obsessed with the idea of marrying the Church to the Revolution that we owe the present chaos in the Christian world which is opening the doors to Communism. Saint Pius X said of the Sillonists, “they hanker for socialism, their eyes fixed on a chimera.” Their successors are continuing to do so. After Christian Democracy comes Christian Socialism. We shall end up with Christian Atheism!

The solution that we seek must bring the answer not only to the failure of Marxism but also to the failure of Christian Democracy, which no longer needs proof. There has been more than enough of compromise and of unnatural unions. What is it we are fishing for in these muddy waters? The Catholic holds the real key-idea; and his duty is to work with all his might, either personally in politics or by his vote, to provide his country with representatives, both at the local and at the national level, who are resolved to re-establish a Christian social order, such as is alone capable of bringing peace, justice and true liberty. There is no other solution.
"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
Chapter 22. What Families Can Do

It is high time to react. When Gaudium et Spes speaks of the movement of history “becoming so rapid that everybody finds it hard to follow,” we can take this as meaning the headlong rush of liberal society into disaggregation and chaos. We must take care not to follow!

One cannot understand how the leaders can claim to be of the Christian religion whilst destroying all authority within the State. On the contrary, it is important to re-establish this authority which is prescribed by Providence in the two natural societies of divine right, the family and civil society, whose influence here below is fundamental. In recent times it is the family that has suffered the hardest blows. The changeover to Socialism in countries like France and Spain has only speeded up the process.

The ensuing legal measures demonstrate a great cohesion in their determination to ruin the institution of the family; the reducing of parental authority, easy divorce, the disappearance of responsibility in the procreative act, the legal recognition of irregular unions and even of homosexual couples, juvenile cohabitation, trial marriage, the reduction of financial and social assistance to large families, etc... The State itself in its own interests is beginning to see the effects of this in the declining birth rate, and wonders how in the near future the rising generations will be able to maintain the pensions of those who are no longer economically active. But the effects are considerably more serious in the spiritual field.

Catholics must not follow, but as citizens they must bring all their weight to bear to put right what is needed. This is why they may not remain aloof from politics. However, their endeavors will be most effective in the upbringing they give their children.

On the subject, authority is contested at its very source by those who declare, “Parents are not the owners of their children,” by which they mean that their education reverts to the State with its schools, its day nurseries and its kindergarten schools. They reproach parents with failing to respect the “freedom of conscience” of their children when they bring them up in accordance with their own religious convictions.

These ideas can be traced back to the seventeenth-century English philosophers who maintained that men are separate individuals, independent from birth, all equal and free from all authority. We know that to be false. The child receives everything from his father and his mother, all nourishment--bodily, intellectual, educational, moral and social. Parents are aided in this by teachers who in the children's minds share their authority, but whether it be from either or both of them, almost all the learning they obtain during their youth will be received and accepted, rather than gathered by observation and personal experience. A considerable part of knowledge comes from the authority who passes it on. The pupil has confidence in his parents, in his teachers and in his books and thereby his knowledge grows.

This is even more true of religious knowledge, of religious practice, of moral training in conformity with the faith, with tradition, and customs. Men generally live by following family traditions, as can be observed throughout the whole world. Conversion to another religion from that received during childhood presents serious difficulties.

This extraordinary influence of the family and background was intended by God. He willed that His blessings should first of all be passed on by the family. This is the reason why He gives to the father of a family such great authority and power over his family, his wife and his children. A child is born in such extreme weakness that we can appreciate the absolute need for the stability and indissolubility of the home.

To want to exalt a child’s personality and consciousness to the detriment of parental authority is ruinous for him, driving him to revolt and to despise his parents, whereas long life is promised to those who honor their parents. Saint Paul, in reminding us of this, makes it a duty for fathers not to exasperate their sons, but to bring them up in the discipline and fear of the Lord.

If we had to wait to receive an understanding of religious truth before believing and conversion, there would be very few Christians today. We believe the truths of religion because its witnesses are worthy of belief by their holiness, their unselfishness and their charity. As Saint Augustine says, faith gives understanding.

The role of parents has become very difficult. As we have seen, the majority of Catholic schools have in effect become secular. The true religion is no longer taught in them, nor even the natural sciences in the light of the faith. The catechisms spread Modernism. The hectic style of modern living leaves no spare time and professional obligations separate parents and children from the grandfathers and grandmothers who before used to help with their upbringing. Catholics are now not only confused but also defenseless.

Not to such an extent, however, that they cannot provide the essentials, the grace of God making up what lacks. What must be done? Truly Catholic schools do exist, though few in number. Send your children to them even if it is a financial burden. Open new schools, as others have already done. If you are only able to use schools where the teaching has been distorted, then you must complain and demonstrate against it; do not allow the teachers to cause your children to lose their faith.

Read and re-read as a family the Catechism of Trent, the finest, the soundest and the most complete. Organize “parallel catechism classes” under the spiritual direction of good priests, do not be afraid of being called, like us “rebel.” Moreover, there are already numerous groups operating who would welcome your children.

Throw out the books that carry Modernist poison. Seek advice. There are courageous publishers printing excellent works and re-printing those destroyed by the Modernists. Do not buy just any Bible; every Catholic family ought to have a faithful translation of the Vulgate, the Latin version made by Saint Jerome in the fourth century and canonized by the Church.

Hold on to the true interpretation of the Scriptures, keep to the true Mass and the Sacraments such as were formerly administered everywhere. At the present time the devil is assailing the Church: that is the fact of the matter. We are witnessing perhaps one of his last battles, an all-out battle. He is attacking on all fronts; and if Our Lady of Fatima said that one day he would penetrate to the highest positions of the Church, we must believe that could happen. Personally, I am alleging nothing, yet there are signs which could make us think that in the highest administrative bodies in Rome there are men who have lost their faith.

Urgent spiritual remedies must be applied. We must pray and do penance, as the Blessed Virgin has requested, and say the Rosary together in the family. As we have seen during each war, people begin to pray together when the bombs begin to fall. In exactly the same way, they are falling at this moment; we are on the brink of losing faith. Do you realize that that would surpass in seriousness every catastrophe feared by man, such as world economic crisis or atomic warfare?

Renewal is absolutely necessary; but you must not assume that you cannot count on the young for that. The whole of youth is not corrupted, as some try to convince us. Many of them hold an ideal; for many others it would be enough to offer them one. There are boundless examples of movements that have successfully appealed to their generosity; those monasteries faithful to Tradition are drawing them, and there is no lack of vocations from young seminarians or novices wanting to be accepted. There is a magnificent undertaking to be accomplished in conformity with the instructions given by the Apostles, Tenete traditiones. Permanete in iis quae didicistis.” “Keep the traditions. Stand fast in those things which you have learned” (II Thessalonions 2:14).

The old world called upon to disappear is the world advocating abortion. Families who are faithful to Tradition are also large families and their very faith ensures their posterity. “Increase and multiply!” By keeping to what the Church has always taught you will ensure the future.
"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
Chapter 23. Building Up Versus Pulling Down

Twenty years have gone by and one would have thought that the reactions raised by the Council reforms would have calmed down, that the Catholic people would have buried the religion in which they had been brought up, that the younger ones, not having known it, would have accepted the new one. That, at least, was the wager made by the Modernists. They were not unduly disturbed by the uproar, sure of themselves as they were in the early days. They were less so later on. The frequent and necessary concessions made to the spirit of the world did not produce the expected results. Nobody any longer wanted to be a priest of the new religion and the faithful turned away from their religious practice. The Church which tried to become a Church of the poor became a poor Church, obliged to resort to advertising to collect Peter’s Pence, and to sell off its properties.

During this time those faithful to Tradition drew together in all the Christian lands, and particularly in France, Switzerland, the United States and Latin America.

The fabricator of the new Mass, Mgr. Annibale Bugnini was himself obliged to recognize this world-wide resistance in his posthumous book,21 a resistance which is growing and organizing itself unceasingly and drawing support. No, the “traditionalist” movement is not “slowing-down” as the progressivist journalists write from time to time to reassure themselves. Where else are there as many people at Mass as at St. Nicholas-du-Chardonnet, and also as many Masses, as many Benedicitons of the Blessed Sacrament or as many beautiful ceremonies? The Society of Saint Pius X throughout the world owns seventy houses,22 each with at least one priest, churches like the one in Brussels and the one we have quite recently bought in London, or the one placed at our disposal in Marseilles; also schools, and four seminaries.

Carmelite convents are opening and already forming new communities. Religious communities of men and of women created fifteen or more years ago, who strictly apply the rule of the Orders from which they stem, are overflowing with vocations, and are continuously having to enlarge their premises and construct more buildings. The generosity of the Catholic faithful never ceases to amaze me, particularly in France.

The monasteries are centers of attraction, crowds of people go there often from far away; young people bewildered by the illusory seductions of pleasures and escape in every form, find in them their Road to Damascus. Here is a list of places where they have kept the true Catholic faith and for that reason draw people: Le Barroux, Flavigny-sur Ozerain, La Haye-aux-Bonshommes, the Benedictines of Alés, the Sisters of Fanjeaux, of Brignolles, of Pontcallec, and communities like that of Father Lecareux...

Travelling a great deal, I see everywhere at work the hand of Christ blessing His Church. In Mexico the ordinary people drove from the churches the reforming clergy who, won over by the so-called liberation theology, wanted to throw out the statues of the saints. “It’s not the statues who are going, it’s you.” Political circumstances have prevented us from opening a priory in Mexico; so faithful priests travel out from a center at El Paso near the frontier in the United States. The descendants of the Cristeros welcome them warmly and offer them their churches. I have administered 2500 confirmations there at the request of the people.

In the United States, young married couples with their numerous children flock to the Society’s priests. In 1982 in that country I ordained the first three priests trained entirely in our seminaries. Groups of traditionalists are on the increase whereas the parishes are declining. Ireland, which has remained refractory towards the novelties, has been subject to the reforms since 1980, altars having been cast into rivers or re-used as building material. Simultaneously, traditionalist groups have formed in Dublin and Belfast. In Brazil, in the diocese of Campos of which I have already spoken, the people have rallied around the priests evicted from their parishes by the new bishop, with processions of 5,000 and 10,000 people taking to the streets.

It is therefore the right road we are following; the proof is there, we recognize the tree by its fruits. What the clergy and the laity have achieved in spite of persecution by the liberal clergy (for, as Louis Veuillot says, “There is nobody more sectarian than a liberal.”) is almost miraculous. Do not let yourself be taken in, dear reader, by the term “traditionalist” which they would have people understand in a bad sense. In a way, it is a pleonasm because I cannot see who can be a Catholic without being a traditionalist. I think I have amply demonstrated in this book that the Church is a tradition. We are a tradition. They also speak of “integrism.” If by that we mean respect for the integrality of dogma, of the catechism, of Christian morality, of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, then yes, we are integrists. And I do not see how one can be a Catholic without being an integrist in that sense of the word.

It has also been said that after me, my work will disappear because there will be no bishop to replace me. I am certain of the contrary; I have no worries on that account. I may die tomorrow, but the good Lord answers all problems. Enough bishops will be found in the world to ordain our seminarians: this I know.

Even if at the moment he is keeping quiet, one or another of these bishops will receive from the Holy Ghost the courage needed to arise in his turn. If my work is of God, He will guard it and use it for the good of the Church. Our Lord has promised us, the gates of Hell shall not prevail against her.

This is why I persist, and if you wish to know the real reason for my persistence, it is this: At the hour of my death, when Our Lord asks me, “What have you done with your episcopate, what have you done with your episcopal and priestly grace?” I do not want to hear from His lips the terrible words, “You have helped to destroy the Church along with the rest of them.”

21 La Riforma Liturgica: Edizioni Liturgiche Rome.

22 At present, in the year 2000, there are 135 priories, 6 seminaries, 75 schools, 3 universities, 3 nursing homes, 4 retreat houses, 4 bishops and 401 priests--ed.

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"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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