Archbishop Lefebvre: 1978 Ordination Sermon
1978 Ordination Sermon of Archbishop Lefebvre
Given at Econe, Switzerland on June 29, 1978.

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My dear friends, my dear brothers:

Let us thank God who has blessed us with such a beautiful day. Let us thank Him for all the graces that He gives us and, in particular today, for having granted us the grace to be able to ordain eighteen priests and twenty-two subdeacons. Let us thank God, each one of us, that He has preserved us in the Catholic Faith. Let us thank God…let us thank Him that we have remained faithful to the Church, faithful to Our Lord Jesus Christ, faithful to all those in the Church who protect the Faith.

What joy to see all of you gathered here today, my dear brothers, coming – we can say – from the four corners of the world, from Australia to the borders of California, from Canada to Buenos Aires, and, yesterday, I received a letter from the Catholics in South Africa who said they would be united with us on this day-and from all points in Europe. Let us thank God to be gathered together here solely because we are Catholics, because we are members of the Church and because we want to continue what Our Lord has instituted, and what Our Lord wanted us to believe. I would like, for a few moments, to speak on what precisely the priesthood is.

Why a priest? one asks oneself today. We think it suffices for us to open the Gospels to know what a priest is. It suffices for us to know what Our Lord Jesus Christ is, Who is the High Priest, Who is the Priest par excellence, in order to know what priests are today. Our Lord tells us in words so short and so simple, "Sicut misit me Pater, et ego mitto vos – As the Father has sent Me, so I also send you." And, if we only reflect a few moments on the first part of Our Lord's words, "Sicut misit me Pater…” but, is this mission of Our Lord not His eternal mission? In the Blessed Trinity the Son is always sent by the Father because He comes from the Father, because He is born of the Father. In eternity Our Lord is always sent by the Father and this is why He is the Word of God. Just as the Holy Ghost is sent by the Father and the Son; and this is why He is the Holy Ghost. Well, this eternal mission of Our Lord Jesus Christ is continued in His temporal mission. And we need to remind ourselves that the mission that Our Lord has accomplished here below is the mission for which the world was created!

We were all created and put down here on this earth, and all of the world which surrounds us, the splendors which Almighty God has made in nature, all these things – the stars and all creation, spiritual creatures, the angels of heaven, the elect of heaven – all were created for the mission of Our Lord Jesus Christ: in order that one day Our Lord might sum up in Himself all of creation and be made man. And that making Himself man, He would sing God's glory, that all creation might sing God's glory, by Our Lord Jesus Christ, in Our Lord Jesus Christ. There is the reason for the world's existence. There is the reason for our existence. There is the mission of Our Lord – to sing His Father's glory – in His body and in His human soul and thus summing up by His divinity all that there could ever be of the most beautiful, of the greatest and of the most sublime things here below – the song of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

And at what moment? At the most sublime moment of His life, of His existence here below, Our Lord expressed this glory, this charity that He had for His Father. This infinite charity. He was His Son, His own Son.

When did He express it? He said it Himself. He expressed it during His sublime hour: on the Cross. It was at the moment when Our Lord exhaled His last breath that He manifested the greatest glory to His Father. "It is consummated," He said…all is consummated. Indeed, all is consummated – the entire reason for the existence of creation, all of our reason for being, all of the reason for heaven's existence and that of the elect, is consummated in Our Lord Jesus Christ's death. When He said, "Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit," and He exhaled His last sigh. This was the greatest act of charity that could exist. None of our acts of charity are anything compared to Our Lord’s.

God the Father found His glory in this Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ and in His last sigh, in His death. By His death, life came again into the world, the way of heaven was opened, the way of salvation was opened for all of us. And there is the way, my dear friends, in which we are invited to walk. "Sicut misit me Pater, et ego mitto vos." I am sending you. I am sending you to continue My mission. I am sending you to continue My mission which is none other than the one which I am doing Myself, which I have begun. And because He concluded in an act of infinite love on Calvary, on the Cross: there is the way you must follow. You must go up to the altar, offer the sacrifice of Our Lord. Continue to offer this act of infinite love that God offered to His Father. This is what you are going to do. You are going to unite yourselves to this. What grace! What grace! Are you worthy? Are we worthy to be priests? Are we worthy to go up to the altar? Indeed, if we consider ourselves – NO! We can’t lay claim to such sublimity, to such glory, to such a participation in Christ Who is the Priest – the Priest for Eternity – Who is the High Priest. But by God’s Grace, by the grace that you are going to receive in a few moments, my dear friends, yes, you will be worthy, worthy before God, before the angels, to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

And so this is the power that the bishop is going to give you in a few moments. This is the mission of Our Lord which is carried on and which must continue until the end of time.

Thus, the Church is Missionary. It could not be other than missionary. A church that would no longer be missionary, that would no longer be sent, would no longer correspond to the Most Holy Trinity – would no longer correspond to what the Most Holy Trinity is – would no longer correspond to what Our Lord Jesus Christ is Himself, Who is the One sent by God. You are apostles; you are essentially sent to accomplish the mission that Our Lord Jesus Christ accomplished here below, to carry it on. "Hoc facite in meam commemorationem …remittite peccatis eis…accipite Spiritum Sanctum…quorum remiseritis peccata, remittuntur eis: et quorum retinueritis, retenta sunt…euntes…baptizate eos in nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti."

This is what Our Lord Jesus Christ told us: This is what we must do in the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ. What a noble mission, my dear friends!
How the faithful people must await this of you! They are waiting for the grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ to be brought down into their souls in order that they also might unite themselves to Our Lord Jesus Christ in His Cross and to His love in this infinite charity. This, my dear friends, is what the Church is. It is great because it unites us to Our Lord Jesus Christ. Without Our Lord Jesus Christ we are nothing. With Our Lord Jesus Christ we can do all things. My dear friends, let us unite our lives to Our Lord.

But, He also told us, "Ego mitto vos sicut oves inter lupos – I am sending you forth as lambs amongst the wolves.” Yes, we are all – faithful Christians, priests, future priests, seminarians – we are all sent by Our Lord Jesus Christ, as it were, into the midst of wolves. These wolves… Our Lord has pointed them out. He indicated them to be mercenaries for whom the sheep do not count. They are not interested in the sheep and they abandon the sheep for the least reason.

And so, unhappily, we are obliged to state that today there are wolves-not only outside the Church, but there are mercenaries inside the Church. We are obliged to state this. And precisely what I would like – that on which I would like to insist – is that if the Catholic church is Missionary, it is not Ecumenical! The Catholic Church is not ecumenical! Now, today, the Church is besieged by these mercenaries, these wolves who wish to lead us astray. The enemy is in the Church. Already, St. Pius X told us this.

Well, this enemy wants to leads us on to the way of perdition. By what path? By the way of ecumenism! And these enemies are not hidden. And what is ecumenism, if not the betrayal of truth? A betrayal of Our Lord Jesus Christ. A truth that is adulterated…that is mixed with error. The law of Our Lord Jesus Christ is no longer upheld: the Ten Commandments. The moral teaching that Our Lord Jesus Christ taught us is no longer upheld on the pretext of being on good terms with modem man…with the men of this world. This is why we have been given an ecumenical Mass; we have been given an ecumenical catechism; we have been given an ecumenical Bible. And it is desired that henceforth nations should be ecumenical societies. That is, societies that compromise with error, that compromise with evil – with vice. And thus, states that are not Catholic!

We must not accept these things which contain poison and we are not afraid to say this ecumenism comes straight from the secret dens of iniquity of masonry. And also, St. Pius X says: read the letter of St. Pius X of 1910 to the Bishops of France condemning the Sillon. We have lived through the Sillon, which was nothing other than a kind of ecumenism, which prepared today's ecumenism. The Great Sillon, as he called it, was precisely a veritable ecumenism. Well, our Holy Father, Pope St. Pius X, after having examined “Sillon,” and having condemned it, said, "We know well where these ideas come from: they come from secret dens of iniquity. The winds of the revolution have passed by there."

Well, we can also say that with ecumenism, the winds of revolution have passed by! This is why we absolutely refuse ecumenism! And I could show you texts that come, for example, from a high leader of Masonry, Mr. Friedsell, ex-Grandmaster of the Grand Orient of France, who recent months wrote an article, "Three points in all," in which he said formally, "The Council will take a long time to reveal its true signification. But the faithful understand that something has come to pass which is entirely contained in the word 'ecumenism'." "And this signifies," he said, "that the Church must reconcile herself with all religions and, likewise, as a consequence, with Masonry.”

There you have what this Grandmaster of Masonry said two or three months ago. And then, again more recently, in Civilta Cattolica, the major review of the Jesuits of Rome, the largest Roman review, the most important review, and which has been considered as the most serious – two Jesuit Fathers have an article on the Intégristes,1 which we are, obviously, and in which my name appeared. Well, they only reproach us with this: that we still consider socialism, communism, and Freemasonry to be enemies of the Church. This is what they reproach us for. This written by two Jesuit Fathers last February in the large Catholic, Roman review!

Well, then, we understand. We now know with whom we have to deal. We know perfectly well that we are dealing with a “diabolical hand” which is located at Rome, and which is demanding, by obedience, the destruction of the Church! And this is why we have the right and the duty to refuse this obedience. For, when they convoke me back to Rome in perhaps a few months – indeed, I have just received a letter from the Vatican talking about a mutual discourse in the future, and which, at the same time, asks me not to perform these ordinations today – in order to be able to continue these mutual discourses – well, then, with whom will I be having these mutual discourses? I believe that I have the right to ask these gentlemen who present themselves in offices which were occupied by Cardinals (who were indeed saintly persons and who were defenders of the Church and of the Catholic Faith) it seems to me that I would have the right to ask them, “Are you with the Catholic Church?” “Are you the Catholic Church?" "With whom am I dealing?" If I am dealing with someone who has a pact with Masonry, have I the right to speak with such a person? Have I the duty to listen to them and to obey them?

My dear friends, we have been betrayed. Betrayed by all of those who ought to be giving us the truth, who ought to be teaching the Ten Commandments, who ought to be teaching us the true catechism, who ought to be giving us the true Mass – the one that the Church has always loved; the one that was said by the Saints; the one that has sanctified generations and generations!

Likewise, they must give us all the sacraments, without any doubt concerning their validity, sacraments which are certainly valid. It is a duty for us to ask them for these things and they have a duty to give them to us.

Now, I have just told you things that are found in the Gospel. Our Lord Jesus Christ's mission was to go up to the Cross. This was His mission, given to Him by the Father. It was His hour. And this is the mission that He wants to give to priests. "Hoc tacite in meam commemorationem – Do this in memory of Me." This is what we must do. Not in any of the reviews that have recently spoken about vocations is there a mention of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

What, then, is the priest's mission? They no longer know! This is what we have come to!

So, my dear brothers, whoever we may be, if we want to remain Catholic, if we want the Catholic Church to continue, we have a duty not to obey those who wish to lead us into the Church's destruction. We have the duty not to collaborate in the Church's destruction. But, on the contrary, to work – to work ardently, calmly, serenely, for the Church's construction, for the re-construction of the Church, for the preservation of the Church.
Each one of you can do your duty in this regard-in your villages, in your parishes, in your institutions, in your professions – wherever you are. Set up true parishes, Catholic parishes. And let these Catholic parishes be confided to true priests. And see how true priests are numerous. Look at them all around us today. There are many who think as they do. Try to lead them back to the truth in order that they may give you the sacraments that you desire and the Holy Mass that you desire.

Organize yourselves in order that the priests who come may become parish priests, quite simply. Let the parishes be re-established as they once were. This is a duty, a strict duty. And we congratulate wholeheartedly those in religious life who are present and the priests who are here, who are persecuted, having unbelievable, inconceivable difficulties - who are asked to abandon their religious habit. So, let sisters be firm in their faith. May they remain firm in the constitutions that were given to them by their holy founders.

And we have the joy of thinking that these religious congregations will be multiplied. We are assured that soon there will be other religious who want to preserve the traditions, the holy traditions of their congregations and of their founders.

This is what we must do. And you, my dear friends, who are soon going to take up your responsibilities in your respective assignments; well, ask the Blessed Virgin Mary, ask the Apostles Saint Peter and Saint Paul, who, today, ask nothing other than to give you blessings – beg them for abundant graces in order that you may realize the apostolate in preparation for which you have been here at this seminary…or at the Monastery of Bédoin, to prepare yourself for this great day of the priesthood.

My dear brothers, I conclude. We appear to be weak and we appear to be strong. We appear to be weak because, what are a few thousand people gathered here when one thinks of the entire word – of all humanity who ought to adore Our Lord Jesus Christ – who ought to throng around the altars of Our Lord Jesus Christ, to receive His Precious Body, His Blood, His Soul, His Divinity, in order to be transformed into Our Lord Jesus Christ. What sorrow to think that millions of souls are estranged from Our Lord Jesus Christ!

But at the same time that we are weak, because we are few in number in relation to the mission that Almighty God asks us to accomplish, at the same time, we are strong. We are strong with the word of Our Lord Jesus Christ Who said, “I will be with you unto the consummation of the ages.” We are strong, precisely because we ourselves want to carry on the mission of Our Lord Jesus Christ – to continue the Church. And this is what makes us strong – strong in this essential bond with tradition, with all that Our Lord has taught us, with the institution of the Church and with all Our Lord has bequeathed to His Church, strong in these things, strong in being with all the elect of heaven.

Strong in being with all the Catholics of the earth who want to preserve their Catholic Faith. Strong – in this we are assured – in victory! Not that we are seeking to cry our victory against those who are ill-willed towards us – against those who persecute us. I speak of Our Lord’s victory over Satan which He won by His Cross. We are convinced that this victory will carry on, it could not do otherwise than continue because the Church must carry on and must persevere. As a consequence, if sometimes, you are overcome by feelings of discouragement, by feelings of being rent inside – nearly of despair at the sight of the Church torn and suffering, struck from all sides; if these feelings invade your soul, know that Our Lord is with you, provided that you keep the words that Our Lord gave us, that Our Lord Jesus Christ taught us.

And it is by these sacrifices that one day the enemy will be driven away from the Church and that the Church will again discover her splendor. It will no longer be undermined by persons who desire its disappearance, or who desire its destruction.

And so today we must all pray together. We must pray, in particular, that God will drive away the enemies from the Church in order that the church may again give the graces which the faithful need and which the world needs for its salvation.
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

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

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