Archbishop Lefebvre: 1976 Interview with José Hanu in 'Vatican Encounter'
Interview with José Hanu - On the Charismatics

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wrote further in that letter:

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

I also wrote:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

José Hanu:
Should we blame the bishops?

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

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

[Red font emphasis - The Catacombs]

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

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RE: Archbishop Lefebvre: 1976 Interview with José Hanu in 'Vatican Encounter' - by Stone - 12-09-2020, 09:43 AM

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