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

Archbishop Lefebvre and the Vatican
by Fr. François Laisney

Preface to the First Edition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fr. François Laisney

December 8, 1988

Feast of the Immaculate Conception

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

✠ ✠ ✠

Preface to the Second Edition

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fr. François Laisney

June 9, 1994

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

November 21, 1974
The Declaration

Detractors say that Archbishop Lefebvre “upped the ante” in his later years prior to the consecration of bishops. We include the following document which is an evident proof to the contrary.

Let us recall the situation. Two Apostolic Visitors, sent from Rome to inspect the Society of Saint Pius X Seminary in Ecône on November 11‑13, 1974, created considerable scandal as a result of the opinions they expressed in the presence of His Grace’s seminarians and professors. These two Visitors from Rome considered it normal and inevitable that there should be married clergy; they did not believe there was an Immutable Truth and they also had doubts concerning the traditional concept of Our Lord’s Resurrection. In reaction to the scandal occasioned by these opinions of the Apostolic Visitors, Archbishop Lefebvre considered it necessary to make clear where he stood in relation to the Rome represented by this attitude of mind. His Grace rejected the views expressed by the Visitors, even if they were currently acceptable in the Rome which they represented in an official capacity.4

In the words of Archbishop Lefebvre: “After telling me of the favorable impression the Seminary had made on the Apostolic Visitors no further reference was made to the Society or to the Seminary, either on February 13, or March 3. It was exclusively a question of my Declaration of November 21, 1974, which had been made as a result of the Apostolic Visitation.”5

Thus, this document is at the very beginning of the clash between Rome and Archbishop Lefebvre and his work. The “stakes” have never changed!

The Declaration

We adhere with our whole heart, and with our whole soul to Catholic Rome, the Guardian of the Catholic Faith and of those traditions necessary for the maintenance of that Faith, to eternal Rome, Mistress of Wisdom and Truth.

Because of this adherence we refuse and have always refused to follow the Rome of neo‑Modernist and neo‑Protestant tendencies, such as were clearly manifested during the Second Vatican Council, and after the Council in all the resulting reforms.

All these reforms have, indeed, contributed and still contribute to the demolition of the Church, to the ruin of the priesthood, to the destruction of the Holy Sacrifice and the Sacraments, to the disappearance of religious life, and to naturalistic and Teilhardian teaching in universities, seminaries, and catechetics, a teaching born of Liberalism and Protestantism many times condemned by the solemn magisterium of the Church. No authority, even the very highest in the hierarchy, can constrain us to abandon or to diminish our Catholic Faith, such as it has been clearly expressed and professed by the Church’s magisterium for 19 centuries.

“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema” (Gal. 1:8).

Is this not what the Holy Father is repeating to us today? And if a certain contradiction is apparent in his words and actions, as well as in the acts of various Roman Congregations, then we choose what has always been taught, and we turn a deaf ear to the innovations which are destroying the Church.

The lex orandi (law of prayer) cannot be profoundly changed without changing the lex credendi (law of belief). The New Mass is in line with the new catechism, the new priesthood, new seminaries, new universities, and the charismatic or Pentecostal church, all of which are in opposition to orthodoxy and to the age‑old magisterium.

This reform, since it has issued from Liberalism and from Modernism, is entirely corrupt. It comes from heresy and results in heresy, even if all its acts are not formally heretical. It is thus impossible for any faithful Catholic who is aware of these things to adopt this reform, or to submit to it in any way at all. To ensure our salvation, the only attitude of fidelity to the Church and to Catholic doctrine, is a categorical refusal to accept the reform.

It is for this reason that, without any rebellion, bitterness or resentment, we pursue our work of the formation of priests under the star of the age‑old magisterium, in the conviction that we can thus do no greater service to the holy Catholic Church, to the Sovereign Pontiff, and to future generations.

For this reason we hold firmly to all that has been believed and practiced by the Church of all time, in her faith, morals, worship, catechetical instruction, priestly formation and her institutions, and codified in the books which appeared before the Modernist influence of the late Council. Meanwhile, we wait for the true Light of Tradition to dispel the darkness which obscures the sky of Eternal Rome.

By acting thus we are sure, with the grace of God, and the help of the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Joseph and St. Pius X, of remaining faithful to the Catholic and Roman Church, to all the successors of St. Peter, and of being fideles dispensatores mysteriorum Domini nostri Jesu Christi in Spiritu Sancto.

† Marcel Lefebvre

Rome on the Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Some conservative Catholics may object that it seems illegitimate to distinguish between two Romes, or rather, two tendencies in Rome. However, this distinction of an “eternal Rome, Mistress of Wisdom and Truth” versus a “neo‑Modernist Rome and neo‑Protestant tendencies,” can be put in parallel with a frightening passage of the discourse of Pope Paul VI to the Council Fathers, on the very last day of the Council, December 7, 1965:
Quote:“At the Council, the Church...dealt with man—with man as he presents himself in reality to the modern world: the living man, the man wholly occupied with self, with man not only making himself the center of all his occupations, but also daring to pretend to be the principle and the last end of all things. The whole phenomenal man, i.e., clad with his innumerable appearances, raised himself in front of the gathering of the Fathers of the Council….The lay and profane humanism at last appeared in its terrible stature, and, in a certain way, has defied the Council. The religion of God Who made Himself man encountered the religion (it is, indeed, one) of man making himself God. What happened? A shock, a fight, an anathema? That could have happened; it did not take place. The old story of the Samaritan was the model of the spirituality of the Council. A boundless sympathy filled it....At least, acknowledge its merit, you modern humanists, who renounce the transcendence of the Supreme Things, and recognize our new humanism: we, more than anyone, have the worship of man.”6

The “religion of God Who made Himself man” is what Archbishop Lefebvre calls the “eternal Rome, Mistress of Wisdom and Truth.” The Vatican’s “new humanism” that “more than anyone has the worship of man,” is what Archbishop Lefebvre calls the “neo-Modernist Rome and neo-Protestant tendencies.”

May I say that the Society of Saint Pius X does not have “the worship of man”! We adore the only One, True God, Father, Son and Holy Ghost! We adore Jesus Christ, God made man, but we do not adore man making himself God. With St. Paul, we reject the compromise with modern humanism: “Bear not the yoke with unbelievers. For what participation hath justice with injustice? Or what fellowship hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath the faithful with the unbeliever? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?” (II Cor. 6:14‑16). When the Pope returns to the spirit of St. Paul, there will be no need of a “Protocol” nor even the lifting of any penalty. He will see that all these were but a persecution waged by the worshippers of “man making himself God,” against the adorers of “God Who made Himself man.” A clash between these two different attitudes towards modern humanism was thus inevitable.

4. See Apologia Pro Marcel Lefebvre, Vol. I, p.37 (available from Angelus Press).
5. ibid., p.41.
6. Documentation Catholique, 1966, pp.63ff.
"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
June 29, 1987
Ordination Sermon of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre

Ecône, Switzerland7

My dear Brethren,

Let us give thanks to God, Who allows us to meet again here at Ecône to participate together in this magnificent ceremony of priestly ordination, which is the raison d’être [i.e., the reason for its being] and the crowning event of our seminaries.

Seminaries without ordinations would no longer be Catholic seminaries, seminaries of the Church. And this is why, having the joy of imposing our hands onto these new priests, we thank God, who has permitted our seminaries to continue to live and even to expand, since Ecône has spread to Flavigny and thus a larger number of young people who want to become true Catholic priests can find both the formation and the graces necessary to grow into true and holy priests.

My dear friends, I am first going to direct to you some words of edification and of encouragement. You are going to be ordained in the Catholic Mass. You are not going to be ordained in the neo-Protestant Mass. And this Catholic Mass has been, is still, and always will be the great priestly program, the great program of the Christian life. To modify this Mass is also to change the priestly ideal and the Christian ideal, the Catholic ideal. Indeed, this Holy Mass is, before all else, the Cross of Jesus, the continuation of the Cross of Jesus. The veil of the temple is torn because Jesus died on the Cross. The Old Testament disappeared in order to give place to the New Testament. Was everything then changed?Yes and no. Without a doubt all the rites of the ancient law and a certain conception of the law of God were changed; but the main point of the law of the Old Testament was transformed into a living vision of the law of love. What are the Ten Commandments, if not to love God and to love our neighbor?It is Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself who told us this. And this law of love from now on is no longer inscribed only on stones but in the Sacrifice of Our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the law of love and He has shown it on the Cross. What more beautiful manifestation of this law of love and of this charity could Our Lord give than dying on the Cross for the glory of His Father and for the salvation of souls?

It is then this law of love that Jesus preached to us on the Cross and that He preaches to us every day at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. It is this law of love that has been put into your hearts and into your souls, my dear friends, by the grace of baptism, which, indeed, has transformed and deeply united you to Our Lord Jesus Christ in order to bring into effect His law of love and of charity.

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which, as the Good Lord is going to give you the grace for it, you will celebrate—I hope—all the days of your life, will keep up this grace that you have received at your baptism, when your godfather and godmother said that they were devoting themselves to Our Lord Jesus Christ and renouncing all the temptations of this world. That is what you will repeat every day from now on: “My God, O Jesus, I devote myself to Thee forever. I want to be Thy priest, he who preaches the law of love by example and by word. Remove me from all of this world and from its temptations. Keep me from all the influences of this world, which is in the service of Satan, and from disobedience to God. ”

In this way your souls will be comforted before the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ, before His Blood, before His Body, which you will have in front of you on the altar and which you yourselves will make come down from Heaven by the words of consecration that you will pronounce. What a sublime mystery: God obedient to men to offer and continue His Sacrifice. That will be the design of your priestly life: to penetrate the souls who will come to you and who will take part in your Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, with these sentiments of love towards God, of love towards your neighbor, right up to the sacrifice of yourself. And God knows that Our Lord Jesus Christ gives us the example for this: up to the sacrifice of self, up to death if necessary, up to pouring out your blood to remain united to Our Lord Jesus Christ. May that be your resolution. That is why you must be attached to the life and death of Our Lord at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass that you are going to celebrate with me.

Do not let yourselves be seduced by the attractions of the world and by its appeal in order to transform this Holy Sacrifice of the Mass into a purely human assembly!

I desire ardently that these sentiments remain in you for all of your priestly life. Be apostles, as the older priests are, every place where they have been sent, like these dear priests who are present here, who are gathered around you and who are happy to lay their hands upon you. Priests of Our Lord Jesus Christ, priests of Love Crucified, of Jesus Crucified, and not priests of the world and for the world.

My very dear brethren, permit me to take advantage of these circumstances to point out to you the situation in which we find ourselves today, as we customarily do on the occasion of this ceremony of priestly ordinations.

It must be said. I cannot remain silent. I cannot hide it. This year has been a very serious year for the Catholic Church, for us Catholics, for us Catholic priests.

You know this, different writers have reported it, that I have had the occasion to say that I was waiting for signs from Providence to carry out the acts that seemed to me necessary for the continuation of the Catholic Church. I must acknowledge now that I am convinced that these signs have come.

What are they? There are two: Assisi, and the response that has been made to us from Rome to the objections that we had formulated with regard to religious liberty.

Assisi took place last October 27th, and the answer from Rome to our objections on the errors of Vatican II relating to religious liberty reached us at the beginning of March. In itself it is even more serious than Assisi. Assisi is an historical fact, an action. But the response to our objections on religious liberty is an affirmation of principles, and so that is very grave. It is one thing simply to perform a grave and scandalous act; it is something else to affirm false and erroneous principles, which as a consequence have disastrous conclusions in practice.

This is why Providence has willed that by a certain joining of circumstances we have drawn up a book that has just appeared, Ils L’ont Découronné—They Have Uncrowned Him. 8They have uncrowned Him! Who has uncrowned, and who has been uncrowned?

Who has been uncrowned? Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Who has uncrowned Him? The Roman authorities of today.

And this uncrowning was manifested in an obvious way at the time of the ceremony of Assisi.

Jesus Christ is uncrowned. He is no longer the King, the universal King, the King whom we proclaim from the Feast of Christmas right up to His Ascension. All the religious feasts proclaim the royalty of Our Lord Jesus Christ. All during the liturgical year, we sing: Rex regum, et Dominus dominantium—King of kings and Lord of lords!

And behold! Instead of magnifying the royalty of Our Lord Jesus Christ, a pantheon of all religions is instituted! Just as the pagan emperors of Rome had made that pantheon of all the religions, today it is the Roman authorities of the Church who are doing it!

This is a tremendous scandal for souls, for Catholics, to see thus cast into doubt the universal Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ. It is precisely that which is called Liberalism.

Liberalism is the institution of man’s freedom vis-à-vis God. As a consequence, the man who in his conscience believes, hopes, professes any religion becomes as respectable as the one who says that he is professing the true religion.

The State, civil society, is no longer capable of knowing what is the true religion. This is what has been stated to us in the document that we have received from Rome. The State is incompetent in religious matters and thus cannot decide which is the true or the false religion. By this fact itself, the State must let all religious errors, whatever they are, spread out in this “autonomous social space”—as they call it—which is, in practice, all the life of the State, because man is free to have his own religion.

We say, “No, no, and no!”

And the Holy Mass shows us this. There is a law, a law of love, that Our Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross claims, proclaims, and preaches to us. He says to us, “You must obey the law of love. Whoever does not obey the law of love is not worthy of eternal life. ”It is then an obligatory law. We are not free to choose our religion. There is only one! The one that Our Lord Jesus Christ proclaimed from the height of His Cross.

Liberalism has become the idol of our modern times, an idol that is now adored in most of the countries of the world, even in the Catholic countries. It is this liberty of man in regard to God, which defies God, which wants to make its own religion, of the rights of man, its own commandments, with its lay associations, with secular States, with a secular education, without God—that is Liberalism. How is it possible that the Roman authorities profess and encourage this Liberalism in the declaration of Vatican II on Religious Liberty? It is that which, in my view, is very serious. Rome is in darkness, in the darkness of error. It is impossible for us to deny it.

How can we tolerate, from our point of view as Catholics and so much the more from our viewpoint as priests, that spectacle that could be seen at Assisi: St. Peter’s Church, which was given to the Buddhists to celebrate their pagan worship there? Was it conceivable to see them perform their pagan ceremony in front of the tabernacle of Our Lord Jesus Christ—no doubt empty—but covered by their idol, by Buddha, and this in a Catholic church, a church of Our Lord Jesus Christ? There they are; the facts speak for themselves. It is impossible for us to conceive a more serious error.

How could that actually be done? Let us leave the answer to the Good Lord. It is He Who manages all things. It is Our Lord Jesus Christ Who is the master of events. It is He Who knows what will be the future of this hold of errors on Rome and the highest authorities, from the Pope and the Cardinals and passing through all the bishops of the world, for all the bishops of the world follow the false ideas of the Council on ecumenism and Liberalism.

God alone knows where that is going to lead; but, for us, if we want to remain Catholic and if we want to continue the Church, we have some indefeasible duties. We have serious obligations which oblige us, first of all, to multiply the priests who believe in Our Lord Jesus Christ, in His royalty, in His social Kingship according to the doctrine of the Church.

That is why I am happy that the book on Liberalism has appeared,9 so that everyone can be nourished by it and understand well the struggle we are carrying on.

This is not a human battle. We are in close combat with Satan. It is a struggle that demands all the supernatural forces which we need in order to fight against him who wants to destroy the Church radically, who wishes the destruction of the work of Our Lord Jesus Christ. He has wanted this ever since Our Lord was born, and he wants to go on abolishing and destroying His Mystical Body, wiping out His reign and all His institutions, whatever they may be. We have to be conscious of this dramatic, apocalyptic struggle in which we live and not minimize it. To the extent that we minimize it, our eagerness in the battle grows less. We become weaker and dare no more to proclaim the Truth. We no longer dare to proclaim the social Kingship of Our Lord, because that sounds bad to the ears of the secular and atheistic world. To say that Our Lord Jesus Christ should reign in society seems to be a folly to the world. We are taken for laggards, old-fashioned, frozen in the Middle Ages. “All of that belongs to the past. It is finished. That time has ended. It is no longer possible that Our Lord Jesus Christ can reign in society. ”We could perhaps suffer a little of the tendency to be afraid of this public opinion that is against us, because we affirm the Kingship of Our Lord. Let us not be surprised then that the demonstrations that we can hold in favor of the social Kingship of Our Lord raise up in front of us an army directed by Satan in order to impede our influence from growing and even to destroy it.

This is why we are happy today to do these priestly ordinations, and we sincerely think that it is not possible to abandon this work which the Good Lord has put into our hands. For, in truth, it was not I who founded it, but indeed Our Lord—and that in unbelievable circumstances. Now, after 15 years of existence, our Society has reached worldwide dimensions.

Thanks be to God, many other initiatives have also risen up with us, around us. All the men and women religious who are attending this ceremony have also risen up themselves to proclaim the royalty of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and they will not abandon Him.

Are we going to abandon Him, let Him be crucified a second time, and also leave the Church in the state of the Passion that she is living right now, and all that without our coming to her aid?

What will become of souls if no one any more proclaims the divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ? What will become of them if we do not give them the real grace which they need for their salvation?

It is a question of obvious necessity. We must be convinced of this. This is why it is likely that I will give myself some successors in order to be able to continue this work, because Rome is in darkness. For now, Rome is no longer listening to the voice of Truth.

What echo have our appeals received?

There you have 20 years that I have been going to Rome—writing, speaking, sending documents to say: “Follow Tradition. Come back to Tradition, or else the Church is going to her ruin. You who have been placed into the succession of those who have built up the Church, you must continue to build Her up, and not demolish Her. ”They are deaf to our appeals!

The last document that we have received proves this fully; they are closing themselves up in their errors. They are locking themselves into darkness. And they are going to lead souls into apostasy, very simply, to the ruin of the divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, to the destruction of the Catholic and Christian Faith.

This is why, if God asks it of us, we will not hesitate to give ourselves auxiliaries in order to continue this work; for we cannot think that God wants it to be destroyed, that He wills that souls be abandoned, and that by this fact itself the Church will have no more pastors. We are living in an age that is completely exceptional. We must realize this. The situation is no longer normal, quite particularly in Rome.

Read the newspaper, SiSiNoNo [available bi-monthly since 1993 in The Angelus magazine from Angelus Press], published by the dear sisters who have come to see Ecône, and to find here an encouragement to pursue the work that they are accomplishing. This newspaper gives some very precise indications about the Roman situation. A situation that is hard to believe, such that history has never known one like it. Never has history seen the Pope turning himself into some kind of guardian of the pantheon of all religions, as I have brought it to mind, making himself the Pontiff of Liberalism.

Let anyone tell me whether such a situation has ever existed in the Church. What should we do in the face of such a reality? Weep, without a doubt. Oh, we mourn and our heart is broken and sorrowful. We would give our life, our blood, for the situation to change. But the situation is such, the work which the Good Lord has put into our hands is such, that in face of this darkness of Rome, this stubbornness of the Roman authorities in their error, this refusal to return to the Truth and to Tradition, it seems to me that the Good Lord is asking that the Church continue. This is why it is likely that I should, before rendering an account of my life to the Good Lord, perform some episcopal consecrations.

My dear friends, my dear brethren, let us pray with all our heart. Let us pray to the Most Holy Virgin Mary. We are going to go to Fatima on August 22 to ask Our Lady of Fatima to help us.

They have not wanted to reveal her secret. They have buried the message of the Virgin Mary. Without a doubt this message was supposed to prevent what is happening today. If her message had been known, it is very probable that we would not have gone so far and that the situation in Rome would not be what it is today. The popes have refused to publish the message of the Most Holy Virgin. The punishments pronounced by the Virgin Mary are coming. The apostasy foretold in the Scriptures is arriving. The coming of the Antichrist approaches. This is clearly evident.

Faced by this completely exceptional situation, we must also take exceptional measures.

My very dear brethren, my very dear friends, during this Mass we are going to pray particularly to the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, guardians of the Church, so that they will enlighten us, so that they will help us, so that they will grant us the gift of Fortitude and of Wisdom, in order to pursue their work and that of all their successors.

Let us ask this above all of the Most Holy Virgin Mary, and let us consecrate our persons, our families, our cities, to the Hearts of Jesus and of Mary.

In the Name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

7. Reprint from The Angelus, July 1987 (available from Angelus Press).
8. They Have Uncrowned Him, published by the Angelus Press, in English, and by Edi­tions Fideliter in French.
9. They Have Uncrowned Him, by Archbishop Lefebvre.
"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
July 8, 1987
Letter of Archbishop Lefebvre to Cardinal Ratzinger


After a serious examination of the answer from the Sacred Congregation for the Faith to the Dubia10, as well as to the objections which we have submitted to it concerning the conciliar Declaration on Religious Liberty, would you please find enclosed our judgment on the matter, and our justification of this judgment. May I enclose documents which will manifest that this judgment is not a personal opinion, but rather that of authorized persons. Since it so happens that I have just published during these past few days a book on this subject called They Have Uncrowned Him, I consider it my duty to respectfully offer you a copy.

During the past few months, we have received several important studies which came from Roman universities and episcopal conferences. I send you a critique of the document of Fr. Cesboué, which was sent to us by the French episcopal conference.

I add a few other miscellaneous writings on the same subject in order to show that our refusal of the liberal principles of the conciliar Declaration is not founded on personal or sentimental opinions, but on the infallible magisterium of the Church. Therefore you will find:

1) thoughts of Cardinal Browne,

2) remarks of the Cœtus Internationalis, that is, the group of the Council Fathers opposed to Religious Liberty,

3) the critique of Msgr. Husseau of the Catholic University of Angers,

4) the critique of Fr. de Sainte Marie Salleron, former professor at Teresianum,

5) the letter of Bishop de Castro Mayer, then Bishop of Campos, Brazil, addressed to Pope Paul VI, with its enclosure.

It appears that we can conclude that the Liberal doctrine of Religious Liberty and the traditional doctrine are radically opposed. A choice had to be made between the draft of the schema of Cardinal Ottaviani and that of Cardinal Béa, on the same subject.

At the last meeting of the Central Commission preparatory to the Council there was a heated opposition between these two Cardinals. Cardinal Béa then affirmed that his thesis was absolutely opposed to that of Cardinal Ottaviani. Nothing has changed since. The traditional magisterium is opposed to the Liberal thesis founded on a false conception of human dignity and on an erroneous definition of civil society. The problem is to know who is right—Cardinal Ottaviani or Cardinal Béa.

The practical consequences of the Liberal thesis adopted by the Holy See after the Council are disastrous and anti Christian. It is the uncrowning of Our Lord Jesus Christ, with the reduction to an equal status before the law of all religions leading to an apostate ecumenism as that of Assisi.

In order to prevent the auto demolition of the Church we beg the Holy Father, through your mediation, to allow the free exercise of Tradition by procuring for Tradition the means to live and develop itself for the salvation of the Catholic Church and the salvation of souls: that the traditional foundations may be recognized, especially the seminaries; that His Excellency de Castro Mayer and myself may consecrate some auxiliaries of our choice in order to give to the Church the graces of Tradition, the only source of the renewal of the Church.

Eminence, after almost 20 years of pressing requests so that the experience of Tradition be encouraged and blessed, requests always left unanswered, this is probably the final appeal in the sight of God and of the Church. The Holy Father and yourself will bear the responsibility of a definitive rupture with the past of the Church and its magisterium.

The magisterium of today is not sufficient by itself to be called Catholic unless it is the transmission of the Deposit of Faith, that is, of Tradition.11 A new magisterium without roots in the past, and all the more if it is opposed to the magisterium of all times, can only be schismatic and heretical.

The permanent will to annihilate Tradition is a suicidal will, which justifies, by its very existence, true and faithful Catholics when they make the decisions necessary for the survival of the Church and the salvation of souls.

Our Lady of Fatima, I am sure, blesses this final appeal in this 70th anniversary of her apparitions and messages. May you not be for a second time deaf to her appeal.

I am, Your Eminence,

† Marcel Lefebvre
July 8, 1987

10. In 1985, Cardinal Ratzinger asked the Archbishop to write down his objections to the Declaration on Religious Liberty. In October 1985, a long study of 120 pages was sent to Rome, questioning many points of this Decree: this study is called the Dubia. An English translation will appear at some time in the future.
11. Emphasis added by Editor.
"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
July 28, 1987

Letter of Cardinal Ratzinger to Archbishop Lefebvre


I thank you sincerely for your letter of July 8, and for your recent book with its dedication; I will not fail to read it with interest. The file that you have sent me concerning the answer of the Sacred Congregation to the Dubia on Religious Liberty shall be studied with all the required attention and the results shall be sent to you in good time.

Your great desire to safeguard Tradition by procuring for it “the means to live and develop” manifests your attachment to the Faith of all times, but can only be realized in communion with the Vicar of Christ to whom the Deposit of Faith and the government of the Church are entrusted.

The Holy Father understands your cares and shares them. Therefore, in his name, I offer you a new proposal, thereby wishing to give you a final possibility for agreement on the problems that you bear at heart: the ca­nonical situation of the Society of Saint Pius X and the future of your sem­inaries. Here are its contents:

1)    The Holy See cannot give auxiliaries to the Society of Saint Pius X unless it possesses an adequate juridical structure and unless the relations with the Apostolic See are solved beforehand.

2)    The Holy See is disposed to nominate without delay and with­out previous conditions a Cardinal Visitor for the purpose of finding for the Society of Saint Pius X a juridical status in confor­mity with the rules of the present Canon Law.

3)    According to the divine institution of the Church, such a juridi­cal status necessarily includes reverence and obedience on the part of the superiors and members of the Society to the Successor of Peter, Vicar of Christ (see the norms indicated in Lumen Gen­tium, §25). Within the limits of this obedience and the frame­work of the canonical rules, the Holy See is disposed to concede to the Society a rightful autonomy and to guarantee:

a)the continuity of the liturgy according to the liturgical books as they were in the Church in 1962;

b)the right to train seminarians in its own seminaries accord­ing to the particular charisma of the Society;

c)the priestly ordination of candidates to the priesthood, under the responsibility which the Cardinal Visitor would assume, until further decision.

4)until the approbation of the final juridical status of the Society, the Cardinal Visitor shall guarantee the orthodoxy of the teach­ings in your seminaries, the ecclesial spirit and the unity with the Holy See. During this period the Cardinal Visitor shall make the decision concerning admission of seminarians to the priesthood, taking into account the recommendation of the competent supe­riors.

5)the juridical status that has to be found shall outline the modal­ities of positive and fitting relations between the Society and dif­ferent dioceses, according to the rules set by the Law in similar cases.

I ask you, Excellency, to consider attentively this proposal so that a positive and equitable solution may be found, assuring the continuity of your work in submission to the authority of the Church.

If, in spite of the multiple efforts of the Holy See towards a reconcilia­tion, you persist in your project of giving to yourself one or more auxilia­ries without the agreement of the Pope and against him, it will clearly ap­pear to everyone that the “final rupture,” which you mention in your letter, in no way could be attributed to the Church, but would exclusively depend upon your personal initiative. Its consequences would be grievous for the Church—that you say you love so much—for yourself and for your work.

Divinely instituted, the Church has the promises of the assistance of Christ until the end of time. The breaking of its unity by an act of grievous disobedience on your part would cause incalculable damage and would destroy the future of your work itself, since outside of unity with Peter it would have no future except the ruin of all that you have desired and un­dertaken. History has oftentimes witnessed the uselessness of an apostolate accomplished outside of the submission to the Church and to its head.

By giving a personal interpretation of the texts of the magisterium, you would paradoxically give an example of this Liberalism which you fight so strongly, and would act contrarily to the goal you pursue. Indeed, it is to Peter that the Lord has entrusted the government of His Church; the Pope is therefore the principal artisan of her unity. Assured of the promises of Christ, he will never be able to oppose in the Church the au­thentic magisterium and holy Tradition.

Excellency, do you find my words severe? I would have liked to express myself in another way, but the gravity of the matter at stake does not give me any other choice. Anyhow, I am sure you acknowledge the generosity of the proposal which is made to you in the name of the Holy Father, and which constitutes a real means to safeguard your work in the unity and catholicity of the Church.

At the beginning of this Marian Year, to the Virgin “Mater Ecclesiæ” I entrust the solution of this long disagreement which opposes us, confident that her powerful intercession will obtain the graces and light necessary for this. With the assurance of my prayer, please receive, Excellency, the ex­pression of my respectful devotion in the Lord.

Joseph Card. Ratzinger

✠ ✠ ✠

The accusation of personal interpretation of the magisterium is a false accusation; Archbishop Lefebvre has received and kept faithfully the interpretations of the Popes which were taught to him by Fr. Le Floch at the French Seminary in Rome. The documents which the Archbishop had attached to his letter of July 8, 1987 manifested it.

Archbishop Lefebvre hesitated a long time before answering this letter. He feared the extensive power of the Visitor. It is useful to make the reader aware that there was a precedent. An order of nuns called the Dominican Sisters of the Holy Name of Jesus, founded last century, had an excellent adviser in the 1950’s, Fr. Calmel, O.P., and an excellent Mother Superior, Mother Hélène Jamet. Under such guidance, the order revised their Rule before the Council, with the purpose to unify their religious life and their teaching life: they teach by the example of their religious life, and their teaching is offered to God as a part of their religious life. After the Second Vatican Council, every religious order was asked to update its Rule in order to conform it to the “spirit of the Council.” Since they had changed their Rule ten years before, they refused to again change it. Much pressure was exercised on them to change it. In 1974, in order to avoid constant tension within the community, the superior, Mother Anne Marie Simoulin, decided to send the sisters who wanted to keep the old Rule to make a foundation at Brignoles with Fr. Calmel who was faithful to the traditional Dominican Mass; she stayed with the others.

The bishop imposed a Visitor on the sisters who remained. This Visitor had extensive powers too. His actions were the cause of great upheaval; he supported the few sisters who wanted to modernize the Rule. Though the Dominican Mass had never been banned and many Dominican priests were still able to say it, Mother Simoulin had much difficulty in having it said. For instance, the Visitor proposed that the sisters would have the traditional Dominican Mass, while the students would have the Novus Ordo. Mother Simoulin explained that it was impossible for them to teach the students in such a situation. After a year of such controversy, Mother Simoulin decided to take with her the sisters who did not want such an impossible situation, and founded the second traditional Dominican school at Fanjeaux. There were 40 nuns in these two traditional foundations, while the rest of the Order, that is, about 160 nuns stayed with the Visitor.

Together now there are around 200 traditional Dominican nuns in 12 traditional Dominican schools in France. They already have 15 American-born sisters, and have founded a school in Post Falls, Idaho in 1991, their first foundation in the US. The rest of the original Order, because of lack of vocations and the death of the older sisters, has dwindled to around 60 nuns.
"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
October 1, 1987

Letter of Archbishop Lefebvre to Cardinal Ratzinger


Shall your letter of July 28 be the dawn of a solution? A few clues allow us to hope for it:
  • The absence of a declaration makes us think that, at last, we are recognized as perfectly Catholic.12
  • The extensive contacts with a Cardinal who would visit us answers our wishes oftentimes expressed.
  • The continuity of the liturgy according to the liturgical books as they were in the Church in 1962, deeply satisfies us.
  • The right to continue the formation of our seminarians as we are currently doing, according to the norms of the Sacred Congregation for the Seminaries, is also for us the assurance of perpetuity for our work.
In order to go further towards a solution it seems indispensable to meet with the Visitor, either by his coming to Ecône or Rickenbach, in Switzerland, or by our meeting him at Albano, in order to be able to study possible concrete means of this definitive solution.

It is out of the question to relinquish authority over our seminarians. It would be opposed to the very right that you intend to give us.

I will be in Albano between October 16 and 20. I dare hope that the wish expressed above shall be able to be realized at that date in order to open the way.

Fr. du Chalard shall carry this letter to you. He will be able to bring back your answer.

Thanking you in advance, I beg Your Eminence to accept my respectful and fraternal sentiments in Christo et Maria.

† Marcel Lefebvre

P.S. We strongly wish that the Cardinal Visitor be Cardinal Gagnon.

12. Note that Cardinal Ratzinger went back on this point and required a doctrinal declaration in the Protocol of Accord of May 5, 1988.
"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
October 29, 1987
Communiqué from Cardinal Ratzinger to the Bishops’ Synod

After meeting with Archbishop Lefebvre on October 18, 1987, the Cardinal agreed to send a Visitor who would observe and report his findings.

Concerning the present dialogue between the Holy See and Archbish­op Marcel Lefebvre, I am enabled to give to the Bishops’ Synod the following information:

As it has already been announced by the Press Office of the Holy See, a meeting with the prelate took place on October 18, at the end of which the prelate accepted the proposal concerning the nomination of an Apostolic Visitor whose mission would be to gather all the elements of information which would enable us to solve the canonical situation of “the Priestly Society of Saint Pius X.”

On this subject I can now add that the Holy Father has nominated the Apostolic Visitor in the person of His Eminence Edward Gagnon,13 who will give him directly an account of the progress of his mission.

It goes without saying that the hoped-for final solution relies on the necessary condition of the obedience due to the Sovereign Pontiff and of fidelity to the magisterium of the Church.

13. Born in Port-Daniel, in the diocese of Gaspé, Canada, on January 15, 1918, he began his theological studies in the Major Seminary of Montreal. He earned a B.A. degree in Theology in 1940, and a doctorate in 1941. Ordained on August 15, 1940, between 1941 and 1944 he attended courses in canon law at the University of Laval in Quebec. After 1945, he taught Moral Theology and Canon Law at the Major Seminary in the Laval Theology Department. From 1954 to 1960, he was head of the Major Seminary of Saint Boniface. He was a peritus during the Second Vatican Council. From 1966 to 1970 he was Father Provincial of the Sulpetians for Canada, Japan and Latin America. Named Bishop of St. Paul, Alberta on February 19, 1969, and Archbishop of Giustiniana on July 7, 1983, he was made a cardinal by Pope John Paul II during the Consistory of May 25, 1985. He has held several important posts in the Vatican Curia. Formerly president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, on January 3, 1991 he was named President of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses. (Inside the Vatican, June-July 1996, p.16.)
"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
November 21, 1987

Letter of Archbishop Lefebvre to Cardinal Gagnon

During the Visitation of the Society and of traditional institutions by Cardinal Gagnon, Archbishop Lefebvre wrote a letter to him to explain in what spirit he conceives of a normalization of the Society’s relationship with Rome.

† Ecône
November 21, 1987
Feast of the Presentation of the Most Holy Virgin Mary

Your Eminence,

You have been able to see and listen to the members of the Society, examine their formation, be present with them in their ministry, and listen to the faithful who rely on them for their sanctification.

You have conversed likewise with religious and with nuns who find in the Society either their origin, or their spiritual assistance, or the graces of their ordination and religious expression.

No doubt you may have noticed here and there some exaggeration, a little bitterness. But I cannot doubt that you have found a climate of Faith, of devotion, of zeal for truth and sanctity, which you once knew. This climate of Catholic Tradition is producing extraordinary fruits whose value you must recognize.

Thus we are forming a great family, living in this Catholic ambience and atmosphere, attached to the Roman Church, attached to Peter and his successors, but absolutely and radically allergic to the conciliar spirit of religious liberty, ecumenism, collegiality, and the spirit of Assisi—the fruits of Modernism and Liberalism condemned so many times by the Holy See.

The consequences of this spirit are disastrous, and we flee from them as from a disease pestilential to our minds and hearts; we are doing everything we can to protect ourselves from it, and protect also the young people of our Catholic households.

Compare us to Israel in the midst of the perverse nations, to the Maccabees, and again to all these holy reformers of the clergy: St. Charles Borromeo, St. Vincent de Paul, St. John Eudes, Monsieur Olier.

Here is the reality: we are forming an army intent on remaining Catholic no matter what the price, as we witness the de-Christianisation taking place both outside and inside the Church.

We willingly agree to being recognized by the Pope such as we are, and to having a seat in the Eternal City, to adding our collaboration in the renewal of the Church; we have never desired to break with the Successor of Peter, nor to consider the Holy See as vacant, in spite of the trials this has caused for us.

We submit to you a project of reintegration and normalization of our relations with Rome. Considering what you now know of us and our works, you will not be surprised at our demands, which are founded solely on zeal for the good of the Church, and the salvation of souls, for the glory of God. Only in this spirit and taking into account these considerations can a solution be valid and stable.

If, in these conditions, a solution is impossible, then we will continue on our way as at present, “persevering in prayer and the preaching of the word,” as we wait for more favorable circumstances.

No matter what happens, however, we will continue to have a profound gratitude for you, for your charity and kindness, your understanding and your patience. At this hour we pray Our Lady of Fatima to repay you in blessings for what you have done for us.

Deign to accept, Eminence, my respectful and fraternal salutations in Jesus and Mary.

† Marcel Lefebvre
Archbishop-Bishop Emeritus of Tulle
Founder of the Priestly Society of Saint Pius X

Proposal for an Arrangement Creating a Solution
to the Problem of Institutions Favoring the Traditional Liturgy in the Church

Archbishop Lefebvre established this project to present it to Cardinal Gagnon. Noteworthy are the two demands made by His Grace for the unity and identity of the works of Tradition, in which their power lies: on the one hand, aside from the Cardinal President, the members of the Roman Secretariat will all be members of the Society, or at least presented by it; and, on the other hand, three members of the Society will be enabled to receive episcopal consecration.

A comparison of this proposal with the Protocol of May 5 is very interesting. In his letter of May 24 to Cardinal Ratzinger, Archbishop Lefebvre did not ask for anything other than what was already asked for in this proposal to Cardinal Gagnon.


1) Referring ourselves to the suggestion of the Council in the text Presbyteriorum Ordinis, §10, which says the following:

Where a real apostolic spirit requires it, not only should a better distribution of priests be brought about but there should also be favored such particular pastoral works as are necessary in any region or nation anywhere on earth. To accomplish this purpose there should be set up international seminaries, special personal dioceses or prelatures (vicariates), and so forth, by means of which, and according to their particular statutes and always with respect for the rights of local Ordinaries.

—and referring also to the proposition of Cardinal Ratzinger in the letter of July 28, 1987, it appears that a solution can be found to the problem which preoccupies us.

2) In conformity with the proposition of Cardinal Ratzinger in the letter already quoted, a Visitor-Cardinal Gagnon accomplished a prolonged visit of the works of the Society from November 11 to December 7.


3) Without prejudging the conclusions of the Visit, but in the hope that they will be positive, it seems indispensable to us, before proceeding further in the talks with the Holy See, to express a condition sine qua non, in the name of all the priests and faithful attached to Tradition.

4) If the Holy See sincerely desires that we officially become efficacious collaborators for the renewal of the Church, under its authority, it is utterly necessary that we be received as we are, that we not be asked to modify our teaching or means of sanctification, which are those of the Church of all time.

5) Thus it seems absolutely necessary to us, if good relations are to be restored with the Holy See, that these relations be entrusted to persons who are respectful of and attached to the Holy See, but who are also convinced of the urgent necessity for the Church of favoring initiatives which maintain Tradition, and of doing nothing which would alienate them again.

6) Thus the Cardinal, the Secretary and the minutanti of the Roman Secretariat, if it is accepted, will have to be chosen according to the criteria expressed above, otherwise it will stifle the efforts of several months for an agreement.14


1. The Necessity of a Permanent Roman Organization

7) The rapid worldwide extension of the Priestly Society of Saint Pius X and the multiplication of similar works calls for an organization having its seat at Rome, patterned after a Secretariat or a Commission, for the maintenance and development of the Latin liturgy according to the prescriptions of John XXIII.

2. Composition of The Secretariat

8) Modeled after other secretariats and commissions of this nature, namely:
  • A Cardinal Prefect, named by the Pope with the consent of the Superior General of the Society of Saint Pius X.
  • An Archbishop or Bishop serving as secretary and president, and some minutanti, presented by the Superior General of the Society of Saint Pius X.

3. The Powers of This Secretariat

9) They would be similar to those of the Congregation of the Propagation of the Faith vis-à-vis mission territories, and the Congregation for the Eastern Church vis-à-vis the Eastern Rites.

4. Goal of These Powers

10) These powers would exist to normalize the works and initiatives in favor of Tradition and help them to fulfil their role in the Church in present circumstances, especially for the Priestly Society of Saint Pius X:
  • to see to their continuation by granting the episcopate to several priest-members
  • to see to their harmonious development, remaining at peace with the diocesan bishops
  • to get the local Ordinaries to see the advantage of collaboration, for example, with their seminaries.

5. Determination of Work and Initiatives by The Secretariat

11) Those which have always exclusively used the liturgical editions of John XXIII and prayed for the Pope, according to the public formulas of the Liturgy.
  • those which are in accordance with the spirit of the Law of the Church, in their constitutions, spirit of the founders and original constitutions, for the choice of subjects, preparation, spirituality, doctrine, habit, community life, etc….


Preliminary Note

12) Before proceeding to the study and normalization of all these societies and persons devoted to Tradition, which can take place over time, it is urgent to:

i.  Lift suspensions or condemnations.

ii. Recognize again the statutes of the Priestly Society of Saint Pius X, as was done before 1975.

iii. Modify some articles of its statutes to provide for the episcopal succession of Archbishop Lefebvre.

iv.  Canonically it seems that one could refer to what was decided on April 21, 1986, on the subject of Military Ordinariates.

13) The detailed application of these points could be left to a precise study undertaken by the Secretariat or the Cardinal Visitor and the Society.

The different stages to be followed might be the following:

14) 1.To consider the Society as the support of the Ordinariate for the Latin liturgy, stating in its Constitutions that the Superior General, if he is accepted by Rome through the Secretariat, will receive episcopal consecration, and will be able to designate two auxiliaries to assist him in his functions, and who could become auxiliary bishops.

15) By way of exception, however, for the first designation or presentation of names of those who are to become bishops, it will be done by Archbishop Lefebvre in accord with the Cardinal Visitor.

16)  2.Once this first stage is completed, a deeper study of the application of the general principles will be made, using the example of the Military Ordinariate in relation to the situation of the Society of Saint Pius X. Thus the application of cumulative jurisdiction seems very realistic and solves many problems.

17)  3. It does not seem that there is any disadvantage in the Superior General being a bishop; if he is not re-elected, he can become an auxiliary or be put in charge of a diocese, or be employed in other functions by the Roman Secretariat.

18)  4.The relations between the different works and initiatives on the one hand and the Society on the other would remain as they are now for ordinations, confirmations and other assistance: blessings, retreats, ceremonies of profession, etc… but, everything which concerns the canonical statute and the dispensations to be submitted to Rome would go directly to the Roman Secretariat.






There seem to be no major difficulties from the canonical point of view, or from the standpoint of those faithful to Tradition, if the above stipulations are followed exactly.

For the episcopal consecrations, we wish that they not be delayed past Good Shepherd Sunday, April 17, 1988.

14. Please note that this condition was put at the very beginning of the negotiations with Rome. On May 24, 1988, Archbishop Lefebvre will stress it again. On May 31, Cardinal Ratzinger refused to grant it.
15. Canon Law requires that each cleric in major orders be attached to a diocese or congregation; this is referred to as incardination. Thus Church forbids a cleric vagus, i.e., not attached to any legitimate superior (1917 Code of Canon Law, Canon 111 and 1983 Code of Canon Law, Canon 265).
16. On the Spiritual Care of the Soldiers, Constitution of April 21, 1986 concerning Military Chaplains, incardinated in the Military Ordinariates; see L’Osservatore Romano, May 5-6, 1986.
"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
December 8, 1987
Visit of Cardinal Gagnon

The visit started on November 11, at Ecône, and lasted for a whole month. Then Msgr. Perl went to our school in Eguelshardt, our priory in Saarbrucken, the Carmel in Quiévrain. On Saturday, November 21, he came to St. Nicolas du Chardonnet in Paris, and the Cardinal arrived the next day, though intentionally after the Mass; then together they visited the French Youth Group, (MJCF), our University (Institut Universitaire Saint Pie X), and met a large group of traditional priests of the region in Paris. On November 24, they arrived at our school in St. Michel of Niherne, then the Mother House of our Sisters at St. Michel en Brenne, and the nearby Carmel at Ruffec, the Fraternity of the Transfiguration of Fr. Lecareux. At Poitiers, he took part in a meeting with many traditional priests of the area, including Fr. Reynaud (the first chaplain of the MJCF), Fr. André (of the Association Noël Pinot), Fr. Coache, the Dominican foundation of Avrillé, the Benedictine foundation of nuns at Le Rafflay, the Little Sisters of St. Francis, etc. After this, they visited our retreat house at Le Pointet, our priory and school at Unieux, the Benedictine Monastery of Le Barroux, the Dominican school at St. Pré (Brignoles), and the other Dominican novitiate and school at Fanjeaux, our school at St. Joseph des Carmes, our church at Marseilles, our priory at Lyons and our main European publishing house (Fideliter). Then another priestly meeting at Dijon, the Dominican school of Pouilly, the seminary of the Holy Curé of Ars, and returned to Ecône for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

At the end of the visit, the following addresses were given.


Eminence, Monseigneur, my dear brethren,

Eminence, it is a duty for us to thank you wholeheartedly for the visit you have done in the houses of the Society and friendly communities.

We have admired much your patience, your objectivity during these past four weeks. We are convinced you have found everywhere a profound spirit of faith and the ardent desire to serve Holy Church.

Of course, today with this feast, the first stage is accomplished, that of your visit. There is still a second which will follow in Rome and which shall probably be more difficult, I do not know.

In any case, you can be sure that, when you shall leave tomorrow morning, our thoughts and especially our prayers shall accompany you. This is what you have asked us many times during this visit: prayers to the Blessed Virgin Mary. And we shall do this from our whole heart and our whole spirit, knowing that it is just three years since we consecrated the Society, here at Ecône on this same Feast of the Immaculate Conception, to the Immaculate and Sorrowful Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary, surrounded by all the superiors of the Society who signed this Act, which has been inserted in this altar upon which we celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass each morning.

Thus all our confidence is raised towards the Blessed Virgin Mary because she is the one who must prepare the words and who must still convert this or that heart, as you have said, so that we may come to a satisfying solution.

In any case, we have been very touched by and happy for this charity with which you have performed this visit. And I think that the Blessed Virgin shall reward you a hundredfold.

May I add, Eminence, a short word which is a personal testimony.

If I am a priest, it is thanks to Archbishop Lefebvre. It is he who has drawn us, Fr. Wodsack and myself especially, to enter Ecône, because we had found there the fidelity to the Tradition of the Church. This was what we wanted, this was what confirmed our vocation.

I would add that it was Archbishop Lefebvre who, during all these years, has confirmed our Faith, encouraged it and, through our priestly ordination, has truly become our father in Jesus Christ. And we have a somewhat infinite gratitude towards him. It is all our honor and dignity and our most profound joy to be able to work with him, to be in this little army of those who have but one desire: to spread day after day the Social Reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ, to be worthy dispensers of the grace of Jesus Christ in the whole world into the hearts who are so hungry and thirsty for the eternal truths.

Throughout all these years of apostolate, it was always Archbishop Lefebvre who has supported us, encouraged us, and who was by his own fidelity the model of our own fidelity to the priesthood. And I think he is the model of fidelity for many of the faithful and especially for those who are married.

You understand, Eminence, why we are so firmly convinced to remain strongly united with our Founder and to continue at all costs the work for which the Good Lord has raised him—we cannot see it otherwise—to fulfil this great mission for Holy Church which is also a great mission for the pope. We are absolutely convinced that one day it will be openly recognized that Archbishop Lefebvre has rendered very great service not only to the Church, but also to the pope, even though the evidence is often obscured and not readily acknowledged.

We have been able to witness the fruits of Tradition in our different houses. We have seen the work that has been undertaken. I dare then to express a desire, a wish: do all you can, Eminence, that we may have the concrete means to preserve these fruits, to continue this work and develop it. We do not want anything else than to be instruments in the hands of the Blessed Virgin to restore the reign of her Son, of His Cross, that He may reign thus through and by the Holy Mass in the world.

This is our desire and we would be happy if you could transmit this ardent desire to the Holy Father.

We thank you again wholeheartedly.

Fr. Schmidberger


Your Excellency and dear Friends,

I cannot let this occasion pass without first offering my respects and congratulations to the Superior General who celebrates today his 12th anniversary of priesthood, 12 years certainly well filled as he has just expressed all the gratitude he has for the one who led him to the priesthood.

I would also like with simplicity to thank you all for the charity and warmth with which we have been welcomed in all the houses of the Society and all the houses [with which] the priests of the Society exercise their apostolate, houses which are in the same “movement” as the Society, as the Abbot of Le Barroux has said.

Thus I thank you for all this and express also the admiration of Msgr. Perl, whom I must thank. We knew little of each other before this trip and had met but a few times; he has been for me an extraordinary support and help, as well as Fr. du Chalard, who has always been at our services.

Fr. du Chalard and the whole team of experienced drivers who are used to drive around the world this precious treasure which is Archbishop Lefebvre17 has treated us very well...always a little better than we had thought.

But, to return to more serious thoughts on this Feast of the Immaculate Conception, I want to say that we have been struck everywhere by and keep a great admiration for the piety of the persons, for the relevance and importance of the works, especially with regards to catechesis, education, and the administration of the sacraments. We certainly have in hand all that is necessary to make a very positive report.

Thus we continue to pray to the Virgin and to pray with the Virgin during this time of Advent, so that Christmas may be the occasion of a new birth of Jesus, in all the senses of the word, and for the Society too.
Thank you again.

Edward Cardinal Gagnon
President of the Pontifical Council for the Family
Apostolic Visitor


May the Immaculate Virgin hear our fervent prayers so that the work of formation marvelously accomplished in this house may find its full radiation for the life of the Church.

Edward Cardinal Gagnon
Msgr. Camile Perl


The visitation of the Society of Saint Pius X by His Eminence Cardinal Gagnon ended on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, December 8, 1987. The Cardinal attended the Pontifical Mass celebrated by Archbishop Lefebvre, during which 27 seminarians made their first Engagement into the Society. He shall return tomorrow to Rome, having already started writing his report, which he hopes to place before Christmas into the hands of the pope on the occasion of a private audience.

According to his own words, he has gathered an excellent impression of the seminaries, schools, priories, and friendly religious communities, as well as of the faithful who gather themselves around all these houses. We must now, in the weeks and months to come, accompany his efforts with our fervent prayers. There are indeed still many hearts to be converted by God before a satisfying solution can be found.

We sincerely thank all of you who, in the past days and in many ways, have given testimony to the fruitfulness of the tradition of the Catholic Church.

As He did for the Good Samaritan who showed compassion to the mortally wounded, so may God, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, reward you a hundredfold for your acts of charity toward the Church.

Fr. Schmidberger
Superior General
December 8, 198

17. Note this expression of Cardinal Gagnon himself.
"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
February 15, 1988

Letter of Cardinal Gagnon to Archbishop Lefebvre

Very Dear Monseigneur,

After a long wait I was able to ask the Holy Father what had been done with regard to the Society of Saint Pius X and the wider problem of Tradition.

He has confirmed that he had attentively read my long report and the propositions that you had given me.

As usual, he had been very busy with problems of world-wide dimensions. But he has already requested some canonists to suggest juridical forms that could be applied to the Society. He should be able to present some projects for this and for the doctrinal problems before the end of April.

He has asked me to give you this assurance and to invite you to patience18 He would also like you to request your collaborators to have a great discretion in public declarations, indeed those who do not desire the reconciliation are happy to take advantage of the least thing to raise up opposition.

No need to tell you how much I am near you, especially in prayer. May the Holy Virgin keep you in good health even long after this difficult period of a search for a solution.

Fraternally yours in Jesus and Mary,

Edward Cardinal Gagnon
President of the Pontifical Council for the Family

18. Patience, yes; interminable delays, no. They wanted to postpone a solution until Arch¬bishop Lefebvre would be dead.
"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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