Archbishop Lefebvre and the Vatican by Fr. François Laisney [1988]
May 30, 1988

Summary of the Situation

Here is the account of the situation written by the hand of Archbishop Lefebvre, which he gave to the superiors of traditional communities and to some priests with whom he met at the Society’s retreat house of Le Pointet, France. Present were Benedictine monks and nuns (including Dom Gérard), Dominican monks and nuns, Franciscan monks and nuns, Carmelite nuns, Fr. Coache, Fr. André, Fr. Lecareu....

Explanation of the Situation Concerning What Rome Calls “Reconciliation”
  • Fifteen years of opposition to the doctrinal deviations of the Council and the reforms issuing from this conciliar spirit, to remain faithful to the Faith and the sources of edifying grace.
  • To abide in this fidelity we undergo the persecution of Rome and conferences of bishops, and religious congregations.
  • Being involved in the same struggle, we have helped each other to consolidate and develop the works which Providence has put in our hands and which it has visibly blessed.
  • Providence has permitted us to have a bishop, thanks to which we have had the grace of ordinations and confirmations, an indispensable aid to our fidelity.
  • Fifteen years of traditional ecclesial life, 15 years of blessings, of life with the Eucharistic Sacrifice, prayers, reception of valid and fruitful sacraments, a bishop, priests, brothers, nuns, Christian families united in the Faith. Fervor, generosity, full spiritual and material growth in the midst of trials, crosses, scorn...etc.
  • The bishop formed the moral bond and even the ecclesial bond with the present Modernist Rome.71
  • It must be recognized that the efforts to correct the spirit and reforms of the Council were in vain, as well as requests to officially authorize the “experiment of Tradition.”
However, a vital problem is posed for fidelity to Tradition with the disappearance of the bishop. As Rome refuses to agree to the permanence of Tradition, the necessity of the salvation of souls becomes the (supreme) law.

On June 29, 1987, the decision to create some bishops to ensure the episcopal succession is announced.

On July 14, 1987, a final request is made of Rome, both by letter and in person.

On July 28, 1987, a serious hope of a solution appears. Rome seems frightened by the threat of episcopal consecrations.

The response does not reject the idea of an episcopal succession, but after legal recognition of the Society, the liturgy, the traditional seminaries are authorized. They no longer speak of a doctrinal document. They will return to that. An Apostolic Visitor is envisaged. What would we do?
  • The visit of Cardinal Gagnon is decided on and takes place from November 11 to December 9.
  • The report is given to the Pope on January 5.
  • A Commission is proposed on March 18.
  • A Commission of experts meets April 13-15. Signature of a proposal takes place on April 15.
  • Meeting of the Commission of experts, Archbishop Lefebvre and the Cardinal, May 3 and 4. Signing of the Protocol, May 5, Feast of St. Pius V.
  • Procedure for putting into application. Question of the date of the consecration? Put off sine die (indefinitely). Letter of His Grace to the Pope of May 5, 1988.
The difficulties of putting into application begin:
  • Letter of May 6 to the Cardinal. Threat to proceed with the consecrations on June 30.
  • Response of the Cardinal on May 6.
  • Project of the letter to the Pope asking pardon, the letter of May 5 being too administrative (brought by Fr. du Chalard).
  • Fr. du Chalard confirms to the Cardinal that I intend to consecrate on June 30. The Cardinal asks that I come to Rome.
  • Letter to the Pope and letter to the Cardinal on the subject of the date and number of bishops and membership of the Roman Commission, May 20 and May 24.
  • Meeting with the Cardinal and the secretaries on May 24.
  • The letters are delivered. Then the Cardinal mentions August 15 as the date for the consecration, but does not respond to the other problems. As for the secretaries, they allude to the other problems by saying that the requests can be looked into! The Cardinal gives me another project of a letter to the Pope.
  • On May 28, the Pope confirms the date of August 15.
The atmosphere of these contacts and talks, the reflections of both sides during the conversations, clearly manifests to us that the desire of the Holy See is to bring us back to the Council and to the reforms, also to place us back into the bosom of the Conciliar Church as a religious congregation:
  • The Bureau at Rome will be provisional. (Special note)
  • The Bishop is not necessary, and grudgingly conceded. Delays!
  • The Catholic Church is the Church of Vatican Council II.
  • Acceptance of the conciliar novelties. St. Nicolas! (Cardinal Ratzinger had asked for the celebration of a Mass of Paul VI each Sunday at St. Nicolas, in Paris.)
  • The religious congregations are to be returned to their respective orders, with a special statute!
  • We are given a doctrinal note to be signed.
  • Again we are expected to ask pardon for our faults.
Our reintegration seems to be a political, diplomatic “trump card” to offset the excesses of others.

This poses the following moral problem, in which I do not feel entitled to act without your counsel, since you are directly concerned. (Recall of Fr. Schmidberger from America.)

We must realize that a new situation will appear after the application of the accord.

Let us state the advantages:
  • Canonical normalization of our works. Renewal of relations with Rome for each one of our works.
  • At the same time we retain a certain independence, for the safeguarding of Tradition,
  •       i)  through the Liturgy.
  •     ii)  through the formation of our members and the faithful.
  •     iii)  by relations with the bishops, and the conciliar world.
  • suppression of apprehensions and reticences (to a certain extent).
  • facilitation of relations with certain civil administrations.
  • easier missionary contacts to convert priests and faithful to Tradition!
  • a flow of vocations and the faithful to our works.
  • a bishop consecrated with the approval of the Holy See.
Let us state the disadvantages:
  • a limited but definite dependence on modernist and conciliar Rome through the Roman Commission directed by Cardinal Ratzinger.
  • its principles are the same ones which alienated us from modern Rome.
  • disassociation of our moral unity created around my person, which disappears, partly in favor of Cardinal Ratzinger, and partly in favor of the different superiors general who report directly to Rome, but who can continue to have recourse to the bishop consecrated for Tradition. We risk having less unity and less strength.
  • Relations with the congregations and orders. They are to have a special statute, but in spite of everything a moral dependence, which Rome would like to see transformed as early as possible into a canonical dependence. Danger of contamination.
  • Relations with the conciliar bishops, faithful and clergy. In spite of the broad exemption, as the canonical barriers disappear, there will necessarily be courtesy contacts and perhaps offers of cooperation, for the student unions—superiors’ unions—priests’ meetings— regional ceremonies, etc...This whole world of the conciliar spirit— ecumenical and charismatic.
  • Only one bishop. Less protection, more danger.
Up until now we were naturally protected, the selection was assured by the necessity of a rupture with the conciliar world. From now on, continual caution is necessary, to keep us always on guard against the atmosphere in Rome, against the atmosphere in the dioceses.

This is why we want three or four bishops and the majority in the Roman Commission, but they turn a deaf ear. They have agreed to only one bishop, after continual threats, and delayed the date. They consider it inconceivable that we treat them as a contaminated atmosphere, after all they are granting us.

Thus, a moral problem is posed for all of us.
  • Must we run the risk of contacts with this modernist atmosphere in the hope of converting some souls, and with the hope of fortifying ourselves beforehand with the grace of God and the virtue of prudence, and thus remain legally united to Rome according to the letter, as we are in reality and in spirit?
  • Or must we, before all else, preserve the traditional family to maintain its cohesion and vigor in the Faith and in grace, considering that the purely formal tie with modernist Rome cannot be as important as the protection of this family, representing those who remain faithful to the Catholic Church?
  • What do God and the Holy Trinity, and Our Lady of Fatima ask of us in response to this question?
It is clear that four bishops will fortify us better than just one. The decision must be taken within 48 hours.

Reflect. Pray. Please give me your opinion, even in writing if you wish, and it will be my duty, with the help of the Holy Ghost, and Our Lady the Queen, to make a decision.

Msgr. de Castro Mayer has promised to come June 30, for the episcopal consecrations, with three priests of his diocese.

71. i.e., Rome occupied by modernists.
"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 2, 1988

Letter of Archbishop Lefebvre to Pope John Paul II

Most Holy Father,

The conversations and meetings with Cardinal Ratzinger and his collaborators, although they took place in an atmosphere of courtesy and charity, persuaded us that the moment for a frank and efficacious collaboration between us has not yet arrived.

For indeed, if the ordinary Christian is authorized to ask the competent Church authorities to preserve for him the Faith of his Baptism, how much more true is that for priests, religious and nuns?

It is to keep the Faith of our Baptism intact that we have had to resist the spirit of Vatican II and the reforms inspired by it.

The false ecumenism which is at the origin of all the Council’s innovations in the liturgy, in the new relationship between the Church and the world, in the conception of the Church itself, is leading the Church to its ruin and Catholics to apostasy.

Being radically opposed to this destruction of our Faith and determined to remain with the traditional doctrine and discipline of the Church, especially as far as the formation of priests and the religious life is concerned, we find ourselves in the absolute necessity of having ecclesiastical authorities who embrace our concerns and will help us to protect ourselves against the spirit of Vatican II and the spirit of Assisi.

That is why we are asking for several bishops chosen from within Catholic Tradition, and for a majority of the members on the projected Roman Commission for Tradition, in order to protect ourselves against all compromise.

Given the refusal to consider our requests, and it being evident that the purpose of this reconciliation is not at all the same in the eyes of the Holy See as it is in our eyes, we believe it preferable to wait for times more propitious for the return of Rome to Tradition.72

That is why we shall give ourselves the means to carry on the work which Providence has entrusted to us, being assured by His Eminence Cardinal Ratzinger’s letter of May 30, that the episcopal consecration is not contrary to the will of the Holy See, since it was granted for August 15.73

We shall continue to pray for modern Rome, infested with Modernism, to become once more Catholic Rome and to rediscover its 2,000 year-old tradition. Then the problem of our reconciliation will have no further reason to exist and the Church will experience a new youth.

Be so good, Most Holy Father, as to accept the expression of my most respectful and filially devoted sentiments in Jesus and Mary.

† Marcel Lefebvre

72. Note the expression. The Society of Saint Pius X never departed from the Church. It remains united with 20 centuries of popes and saints. Those who need to “return” are those who have engaged themselves in new paths of doctrines and practices.
73. L’Osservatore Romano and others have objected to this sentence. Archbishop Lefebvre does not say here that the Holy See agrees with all the particular circumstances of the consecrations, merely to its principle.
"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 9, 1988

Letter of Pope John Paul II to Archbishop Lefebvre


It is with intense and profound affliction that I have read your letter dated June 2.

Guided solely by concern for the unity of the Church in fidelity to the revealed Truth—an imperative duty imposed on the Successor of the Apostle Peter—I had arranged last year an Apostolic Visitation of the Saint Pius X Society and its work, which was carried out by Edward Cardinal Gagnon. Conversations followed, first with experts of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, then between yourself and Cardinal Ratzinger. In the course of these meetings solutions had been drawn up, accepted, and signed by you on May 5, 1988. They permitted the Saint Pius X Society to exist and work in the Church in full communion with the Sovereign Pontiff, the guardian of unity in the Truth. For its part, the Apostolic See pursued only one end in these conversations with you: to promote and safeguard this unity in obedience to divine Revelation, translated and interpreted by the Church’s magisterium, notably in the 21 Ecumenical Councils from Nicæa to Vatican II.

In the letter you sent me you appear to reject all that was agreed on in the previous conversations, since you clearly manifest your intention to “provide the means yourself to continue your work,” particularly by proceeding shortly and without apostolic mandate to one or several episcopal ordinations, and this in flagrant contradiction not only with the norms of Canon Law, but also with the Protocol signed on May 5 and the directions relevant to this problem contained in the letter which Cardinal Ratzinger wrote to you on my instructions on May 30.

With a paternal heart, but with all the gravity required by the present circumstances, I exhort you, Reverend Brother, not to embark upon a course which, if persisted in, cannot but appear as a schismatical act whose inevitable theological and canonical consequences are known to you. I earnestly invite you to return, in humility, to full obedience to Christ’s Vicar.

Not only do I invite you to do so, but I ask it of you through the wounds of Christ our Redeemer, in the name of Christ who, on the eve of His Passion, prayed for His disciples “that they may all be one” (Jn. 17:20).

To this request and to this invitation I unite my daily prayer to Mary, Mother of Christ.

Dear Brother, do not permit that the year dedicated in a very special way to the Mother of God should bring another wound to her Mother’s Heart!

Joannes Paulus PP. II
From the Vatican,
June 9, 1988.

Even after the letter of June 2, Archbishop Lefebvre and the Society of Saint Pius X were praying for a miracle. God could have changed the heart of the Pope and made him grant the requests of Archbishop Lefebvre. After this letter of the Pope, telegrams poured into Rome asking for this.
"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 17, 1988

Canonical Warning

Congregation for Bishops to His Excellency Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, Archbishop-Bishop Emeritus of Tulle

Since on June 15, 198874 you stated that you intended to ordain four priests to the episcopate without having obtained the mandate of the Supreme Pontiff as required by Canon 1013 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law, I myself convey to you this public canonical warning, confirming that if you should carry out your intention as stated above, you yourself and also the bishops ordained by you shall incur ipso facto excommunication latæ sententiæ reserved to the Apostolic See in accordance with Canon 1382. I therefore entreat and beseech you in the name of Jesus Christ to weigh carefully what you are about to undertake against the laws of sacred discipline, and the very grave consequences resulting therefrom for the communion of the Catholic Church, of which you are a bishop.

Given at Rome, from the Office of the Congregation for Bishops, June 17, 1988.

By Mandate of the Supreme Pontiff,

Bernardin Card. Gantin
Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops

74. At a press conference held at Ecône.
"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 23, 1988

Telegram of Keep the Faith to Pope John Paul II

This telegram was sent to His Holiness Pope John Paul II and to His Eminence Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. A copy was sent to Archbishop Lefebvre. Keep the Faith, Inc. (Fairfield, NJ), directed by Mr. Howard Walsh, is a leading US distributor of conservative Catholic media materials.

We at Keep the Faith, as with millions of American Catholics, were deeply saddened by the sudden break in negotiations between your commission and the Society of Saint Pius X. Hopes were high for certain reconciliation.

Keep the Faith is the largest media center in the US. We produce over 500,000 tapes a year and are unreservedly loyal to the Holy Father. Our program, The Pope Speaks, is listened to by thousands and our Catholic Newswire features the Vatican Report bimonthly. We mailed out millions of catalogs highlighting the Holy Father’s activities, and we have the largest customer base in the country. We reach thousands of priests, seminarians, and religious with tapes and books, and many of them are deeply disturbed by the turn of events.

We distributed over 70,000 videotapes on the Tridentine Mass narrated by Archbishop Sheen, which have reached countless homes and seminaries. The hunger for the Immemorial Mass is still very much present and growing. Are these millions to be denied fundamental pastoral care and consideration as their right?

We respectfully tell you this to indicate that we are keenly aware of the prevailing spirit in the Catholic community. It is presently one of shock and confusion over the break in negotiations. We speak for millions of souls who pray the negotiations will re-open.

Archbishop Lefebvre has become a symbol of orthodoxy and sanity to countless souls in a church now being denied by dissent and scandal. Those many will not understand his imminent excommunication.

For the good of the Church and the salvation of souls, this tragedy must not be permitted to happen. We implore you, Holy Father, to re-open negotiations with Ecône. Our prayers are with you in this most trying hour for Holy Mother Church and the faithful

Howard J. Walsh, Director
Keep the Faith, Inc.

Countless other telegrams and letters had been sent to the Vatican. This one was chosen just as a sample. Even a retired diocesan bishop from the United States wrote to the Pope asking him to grant at least one bishop on June 30, 1988 and guaranteeing others on pre-determined dates in the near future, but to no avail.
"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, 1988

Telegram of Cardinal Ratzinger to Archbishop Lefebvre

The Apostolic Nunciature was requested to deliver to Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, Bishop Emeritus of Tulle, the text of the following telegram addressed by His Eminence Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, in the name of the Holy Father:

Dated: Vatican June 29, 1988 at 2:00pm

For the love of Christ and His Church the Holy Father asks you with paternal firmness to leave today for Rome without proceeding to the episcopal consecrations on June 30 which you have announced. He prays the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul to inspire you not to betray the episcopate the care of which you have received, nor the oath you have pronounced to remain faithful to the Pope, successor of Peter. He asks God to keep you from leading astray and scattering those whom Christ Jesus came to gather in unity. He entrusts you to the intercession of the most Holy Virgin Mary Mother of the Church.

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

Archbishop Lefebvre was willing to see the Holy Father at any time before, but not to play the delaying game for ever. It belongs to the virtue of prudence to choose the right time for action. Archbishop Lefebvre had already delayed the Consecrations four times.75

If the Holy Father would have made a concrete proposal for a concrete date in the near future, he would have undoubtedly accepted. But this telegram only seems to hinder the possibility of such a concrete solution.

75. He had not made known which were the previous three dates he had fixed.
"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 30, 1988

Consecration Sermon of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre

Your Excellency, dear Bishop de Castro Mayer,
my most dear friends, my dear brethren,

Behold, here we are gathered for a ceremony which is certainly historic. Let me, first of all, give you some information.

The first might surprise you a little, as it did me. Yesterday evening, a visitor came, sent from the Nunciature in Berne, with an envelope containing an appeal from our Holy Father the Pope, who was putting at my disposal a car which was supposed to take me to Rome yesterday evening, so that I would not be able to perform these consecrations today. I was told neither for what reason, nor where I had to go! I leave you to judge for yourselves the timeliness and wisdom of such a request.

I went to Rome for many, many days during the past year, even for weeks; the Holy Father did not invite me to come and see him. I would certainly have been glad to see him if some agreement would have been finalized. So here you have the information. I give it to you simply, as I myself came to know it, through the letter from the Nunciature.

Now, some indications concerning the ceremony and some relevant documents regarding its significance.

The future bishops have already sworn in my hands the oath which you find in the little booklet on the ceremony of consecration which some of you have. Thus, this oath has already been pronounced, plus the Anti-Modernist Oath, as it was formerly prescribed for the consecration of bishops, plus the Profession of Faith. They have already taken these oaths and this profession in my hands after the retreat which took place at Sierre during these last days. Do not, therefore, be surprised if the ceremony begins with the interrogations on the Faith, the Faith which the Church asks from those to be consecrated.

I also want to let you know that, after the ceremony, you will be able to ask the blessing of the bishops and kiss their rings. It is not the custom in the Church to kiss the hands of a bishop, as one kisses the hands of a newly-ordained priest, as you did yesterday. But the faithful may ask for their blessing and kiss their ring.

Lastly, you have at your disposal at the bookstall some books and fliers which contain all the elements necessary to help you better understand why this ceremony, which is apparently done against the will of Rome, is in no way a schism. We are not schismatics! If an excommunication was pronounced against the bishops of China, who separated themselves from Rome and put themselves under the Chinese government, one very easily understands why Pope Pius XII excommunicated them.76

There is no question of us separating ourselves from Rome, nor of putting ourselves under a foreign government, nor of establishing a sort of parallel church as the Bishops of Palmar de Troya have done in Spain. They have even elected a pope, formed a college of cardinals....It is out of the question for us to do such things. Far from us be this miserable thought of separating ourselves from Rome!

On the contrary, it is in order to manifest our attachment to Rome that we are performing this ceremony. It is in order to manifest our attachment to the Eternal Rome, to the Pope, and to all those who have preceded these last Popes who, unfortunately since the Second Vatican Council, have thought it their duty to adhere to grievous errors which are demolishing the Church and the Catholic Priesthood.

Thus you will find among these fliers which are put at your disposal, an admirable study done by Professor Georg May, President of the Seminary of Canon Law in the University of Mayence in Germany, who marvelously explains why we are in a case of necessity:77 necessity to come and help your souls, to help you! Your applause a while ago was, I think, not a purely temporal manifestation; it was rather a spiritual manifestation, expressing your joy to have at last Catholic bishops and priests who are dedicated to the salvation of your souls, to giving to your souls the Life of Our Lord Jesus Christ, through good doctrine, through the Sacraments, through the Faith, through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. You need this Life of Our Lord Jesus Christ to go to heaven. This Life of Our Lord Jesus Christ is disappearing everywhere in the Conciliar Church. They are following roads which are not Catholic roads: they simply lead to apostasy.

This is why we do this ceremony. Far be it from me to set myself up as pope! I am simply a bishop of the Catholic Church who is continuing to transmit Catholic doctrine. I think, and this will certainly not be too far off, that you will be able to engrave on my tombstone these words of St. Paul: “Tradidi quod et accepi”—“I have transmitted to you what I have received,” nothing else. I am just the postman bringing you a letter. I did not write the letter, the message, this Word of God. God Himself wrote it; Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself gave it to us. As for us, we just handed it down, through these dear priests here present and through all those who have chosen to resist this wave of apostasy in the Church, by keeping the Eternal Faith and giving it to the faithful. We are just carriers of this Good News, of this Gospel which Our Lord Jesus Christ gave to us, as well as of the means of sanctification: the Holy Mass, the true Holy Mass, the true Sacraments which truly give the spiritual life.

It seems to me, my dear brethren, that I am hearing the voices of all these Popes—since Gregory XVI, Pius IX, Leo XIII, St. Pius X, Benedict XV, Pius XI, Pius XII—telling us: “Please, we beseech you, what are you going to do with our teachings, with our preaching, with the Catholic Faith? Are you going to abandon it? Are you going to let it disappear from this earth? Please, please, continue to keep this treasure which we have given you. Do not abandon the faithful, do not abandon the Church! Continue the Church! Indeed, since the Council, what we condemned in the past the present Roman authorities have embraced and are professing. How is it possible? We have condemned them: Liberalism, Communism, Socialism, Modernism, Sillonism.”78

“All the errors which we have condemned are now professed, adopted and supported by the authorities of the Church. Is it possible? Unless you do something to continue this Tradition of the Church which we have given to you, all of it shall disappear. Souls shall be lost.”

Thus, we find ourselves in a case of necessity. We have done all we could, trying to help Rome to understand that they had to come back to the attitudes of the holy Pius XII and of all his predecessors. Bishop de Castro Mayer and myself have gone to Rome, we have spoken, we have sent letters, several times to Rome. We have tried by these talks, by all these means, to succeed in making Rome understand that, since the Council and since aggiornamento, this change which has occurred in the Church is not Catholic, is not in conformity to the doctrine of all times. This ecumenism and all these errors, this collegiality—all this is contrary to the Faith of the Church, and is in the process of destroying the Church.

This is why we are convinced that, by the act of these consecrations today, we are obeying the call of these Popes and as a consequence the call of God, since they represent Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Church.

“And why, Archbishop, have you stopped these discussions which seemed to have had a certain degree of success?” Well, precisely because, at the same time that I gave my signature to the Protocol, the envoy of Cardinal Ratzinger gave me a note in which I was asked to beg pardon for my errors. But if I am in error, if I teach error, it is clear that I must be brought back to the truth in the minds of those who sent me this note to sign. “That I might recognize my errors” means that, “if you recognize your errors we will help you to return to the truth.” What is this truth for them, if not the truth of Vatican II, the truth of the Conciliar Church? Consequently, it is clear that the only truth that exists today for the Vatican is the conciliar truth, the spirit of the Council, the spirit of Assisi. That is the truth of today. But we will have nothing to do with this for anything in the world!

That is why, taking into account the strong will of the present Roman authorities to reduce Tradition to nought, to gather the world to the spirit of Vatican II and the spirit of Assisi, we have preferred to withdraw ourselves and to say that we could not continue. It was not possible. We would have evidently been under the authority of Cardinal Ratzinger, President of the Roman Commission, which would have directed us; we were putting ourselves into his hands, and consequently putting ourselves into the hands of those who wish to draw us into the spirit of the Council and the spirit of Assisi. This was simply not possible.

This is why I sent a letter to the Pope, saying to him very clearly: “We simply cannot [accept this spirit and proposals], despite all the desires which we have to be in full union with you. Given this new spirit which now rules in Rome and which you wish to communicate to us, we prefer to continue in Tradition; to keep Tradition while waiting for Tradition to regain its place at Rome, while waiting for Tradition to re-assume its place in the Roman authorities, in their minds.” This will last for as long as the Good Lord has foreseen.

It is not for me to know when Tradition will regain its rights at Rome, but I think it is my duty to provide the means of doing that which I shall call “Operation Survival,” operation survival for Tradition. Today, this day, is Operation Survival. If I had made this deal with Rome, by continuing with the agreements we had signed, and by putting them into practice, I would have performed “Operation Suicide.” There was no choice, we must live! That is why today, by consecrating these bishops, I am convinced that I am continuing to keep Tradition alive, that is to say, the Catholic Church.

You well know, my dear brethren, that there can be no priests without bishops. When God calls me—this will certainly not be long—from whom would these seminarians receive the Sacrament of Orders? >From conciliar bishops, who, due to their doubtful intentions, confer doubtful sacraments? This is not possible. Who are the bishops who have truly kept Tradition and the Sacraments such as the Church has conferred them for 20 centuries until Vatican II? They are Bishop de Castro Mayer and myself. I cannot change that. That is how it is. Hence, many seminarians have entrusted themselves to us, they sensed that here was the continuity of the Church, the continuity of Tradition. And they came to our seminaries, despite all the difficulties that they have encountered, in order to receive a true ordination to the Priesthood, to say the true Sacrifice of Calvary, the true Sacrifice of the Mass, and to give you the true Sacraments, true doctrine, the true catechism. This is the goal of these seminaries.

So I cannot, in good conscience, leave these seminarians orphaned. Neither can I leave you orphans by dying without providing for the future. That is not possible. It would be contrary to my duty.

This is why we have chosen, with the grace of God, priests from our Society who have seemed to us to be the most apt, whilst being in circumstances and in functions which permit them more easily to fulfil their episcopal ministry, to give Confirmation to your children, and to be able to confer ordinations in our various seminaries. Thus I believe that with the grace of God, we, Bishop de Castro Mayer and myself, by these consecrations, will have given to Tradition the means to continue, given the means to Catholics who desire to remain within the Church of their parents, their grandparents, of their ancestors. They built churches with beautiful altars, often destroyed and replaced by a table, thus manifesting the radical change which has come about since the Council regarding the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass which is the heart of the Church and the purpose of the priesthood. Thus we wish to thank you for having come in such numbers to support us in the accomplishment of this ceremony.

We turn to the Blessed Virgin Mary. You well know, my dear brethren, you must have been told of Leo XIII’s prophetic vision revealing that one day “the See of Peter would become the seat of iniquity.” He said it in one of his exorcisms, called “The Exorcism of Leo XIII.” Has it come about today? Is it tomorrow? I do not know. But in any case it has been foretold. Iniquity may quite simply be error. Error is iniquity: to no longer profess the Faith of all time, the Catholic Faith, is a grave error. If there ever was an iniquity, it is this. And I really believe that there has never been a greater iniquity in the Church than Assisi, which is contrary to the First Commandment of God and the First Article of the Creed. It is incredible that something like that could have ever taken place in the Church, in the eyes of the whole Church—how humiliating! We have never undergone such a humiliation! You will be able to find all of this in Fr. LeRoux’s booklet which has been especially published in order to give you information on the present situation in Rome.

It was not only the good Pope Leo XIII who said these things, but Our Lady prophesied them as well. Just recently, the priest who takes care of the Society priory in Bogota, Colombia, brought me a book concerning the apparition of Our Lady of “Buen Suceso,”—of “Good Fortune,” to whom a large church in Quito, Ecuador, was dedicated. They were received by a nun shortly after the Council of Trent, so you see, quite a few centuries ago. This apparition is thoroughly recognized by Rome and the ecclesiastical authorities; a magnificent church was built for the Blessed Virgin Mary wherein the faithful of Ecuador venerate with great devotion a picture of Our Lady, whose face was made miraculously. The artist was in the process of painting it when he found the face of the Holy Virgin miraculously formed. And Our Lady prophesied for the 20th century, saying explicitly that during the 19th century and most of the 20th century, errors would become more and more widespread in Holy Church, placing the Church in a catastrophic situation. Morals would become corrupt and the Faith would disappear. It seems impossible not to see it happening today.

I excuse myself for continuing this account of the apparition, but she speaks of a prelate who will absolutely oppose this wave of apostasy and impiety—saving the priesthood by forming good priests. I do not say that prophecy refers to me. You may draw your own conclusions. I was stupefied when reading these lines but I cannot deny them, since they are recorded and deposited in the archives of this apparition.

Of course, you well know the apparitions of Our Lady at La Salette, where she says that Rome will lose the Faith, that there will be an “eclipse” at Rome; an eclipse, see what Our Lady means by this.

And finally, closer to us, the Secret of Fatima. Without a doubt, the Third Secret of Fatima must have made an allusion to this darkness which has invaded Rome, this darkness which has invaded the world since the Council. And surely it is because of this, without a doubt, that John XXIII judged it better not to publish the Secret: it would have been necessary to take measures, such steps as he possibly felt himself incapable of doing, e.g., completely changing the orientations which he was beginning to take in view of the Council, and for the Council.

There are the facts upon which, I think, we can lean.

We place ourselves in God’s providence. We are convinced that God knows what He is doing. Cardinal Gagnon visited us 12 years after the suspension: after 12 years of being spoken of as outside of the communion of Rome, as rebels and dissenters against the Pope, his visit took place. He himself recognized that what we have been doing is just what is necessary for the reconstruction of the Church. The Cardinal even assisted pontifically at the Mass which I celebrated on December 8, 1987, for the renewal of the promises of our seminarians. I was supposedly suspended and, yet, after 12 years, I was practically given a clean slate. They said we have done well. Thus we did well to resist! I am convinced that we are in the same circumstances today. We are performing an act which apparently—and unfortunately the media will not assist us in the good sense. The headlines will, of course, be “Schism,” “Excommunication!” to their heart’s content—and, yet, we are convinced that all these accusations of which we are the object, all penalties of which we are the object, are null, absolutely null and void, and of which we will take no account. Just as I took no account of the suspension, and ended up by being congratulated by the Church and by progressive churchmen, so likewise in several years—I do not know how many, only the Good Lord knows how many years it will take for Tradition to find its rights in Rome—we will be embraced by the Roman authorities, who will thank us for having maintained the Faith in our seminaries, in our families, in civil societies, in our countries, and in our monasteries and our religious houses, for the greater glory of God and the salvation of souls.

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

76. The media and especially the Catholic diocesan papers all conveniently forgot this schism of the national Chinese Church, which was the occasion at which an excommunication was put for episcopal consecrations without papal mandate. They claimed that the so called schism of Archbishop Lefebvre was the first since the schism of Döllinger and the “Old Catholics” after Vatican I. This claim is inaccurate and their parallel does not stand in the face of history. However, comparing 1988 with the Chinese Church would have shown the dissimilarity, as Archbishop Lefebvre does here.
77. See p.175.
78. Please note that many reporters have misunderstood the Archbishop who did not say “Zionism,” but “Sillonism,” the error condemned by St. Pius X in 1910. (See Our Apostolic Mandate, by Pope St. Pius X, available from Angelus Press.)
"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 30, 1988


At the beginning of the rite of the consecration the following dialogue takes place between the consecrating bishops and the Archpriest who presents the bishops-elect for consecration:

–Do you have the Apostolic Mandate?

–We have it!

–Let it be read.

We have this Mandate from the Roman Church, always faithful to the Holy Tradition, which She has received from the Holy Apostles. This Holy Tradition is the Deposit of Faith which the Church orders us to faithfully transmit to all men for the salvation of their souls.

Since the Second Vatican Council until this day, the authorities of the Roman Church are animated by the spirit of modernism. They have acted contrary to the Holy Tradition, “they cannot bear sound doctrine, they turned their ears from the Truth and followed fables” as says St. Paul in his second Epistle to Timothy (4:3-5). This is why we reckon of no value all the penalties and all the censures inflicted by these authorities.

As for me, “I am offered up in sacrifice and the moment for my departure is arrived” (II Tim 4:6). I had the call of souls who ask for the Bread of Life, Who is Christ, to be broken for them. “I have pity upon the crowd” (Mk. 8:2). It is for me therefore a grave obligation to transmit the grace of my episcopacy to these dear priests here present, in order that in turn they may confer the grace of the priesthood on other numerous and holy clerics, instructed in the Holy Traditions of the Catholic Church

It is by this Mandate of the Holy Roman Catholic Church, semper fidelis (always faithful), then that we elect to the rank of Bishop in the Holy Roman Church the priests here present as auxiliaries of the Priestly Society of Saint Pius X:

Fr. Bernard Tissier de Mallerais
Fr. Richard Williamson
Fr. Alfonso de Galarreta
Fr. Bernard Fellay
"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 30, 1988

Declaration of Bishop Antonio de Castro Mayer

After the Consecration Sermon given by Archbishop Lefebvre, the co-consecrating bishop, Bishop Antonio de Castro Mayer, retired bishop of the Diocese of Campos, Brazil, gave a short allocution which was very warmly applauded. He read it in Portuguese and it was translated afterwards into French and then into German and English.

My presence here at this ceremony is caused by a duty of conscience: that of making a profession of Catholic Faith in front of the whole Church and more particularly in front of His Excellency Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and in front of all the priests, religious, seminarians and faithful here present.

St. Thomas Aquinas teaches that there is no obligation to make a profession of faith at every moment. But when the Faith is in danger it is urgent to profess it, even if it be at the risk of one’s own life.

Such is the situation in which we find ourselves. We live in an unprecedented crisis of the Church, a crisis that attacks her inner essence, in her very substance which is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the Catholic priesthood, two mysteries essentially united because without priesthood there is no sacrifice of the Mass and therefore no form of worship. It is also on this foundation that the social reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ is built.

For this reason, because the conservation of the priesthood and the Holy Mass is at stake, and in spite of the requests and pressures of many, I am here in order to accomplish my duty: to make a public profession of faith.

It is painful to witness the deplorable blindness of so many confrères in the episcopate and in the priesthood who do not see or do not want to see the present crisis nor the necessity to resist the reigning modernism in order to be faithful to the mission entrusted to us by God.

I want to manifest here my sincere and profound adherence to the position of His Excellency Archbishop Lefebvre, dictated by his fidelity to the Church of all centuries. Both of us, we have drunk at the same spring which is that of the Holy Catholic Apostolic and Roman Church.

May the Most Holy Virgin Our Mother, who at Fatima has warned us in her motherly love with regard to the gravity of the present situation, give us the grace to be able by our attitude to help and enlighten the faithful in such a way that they depart from these pernicious errors of which they are the victims, deceived by many persons who have received the fullness of the Holy Ghost.

May God bless Archbishop Lefebvre and his work!
"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 1, 1988


Note that the decree from Rome regarding the episcopal consecrations is not the sentence of a judge, but rather a declaration that Canons 1364 and 1382 (of the 1983 Code of Canon Law) apply. It does not add to the motives brought forth in these Canons. Thus, if these motives do not apply in the present case because of the necessity in which the modernists have put the Church, then this decree is insufficient to make these Canons apply, since it does not remove the state of necessity.

Monsignor Marcel Lefebvre, Archbishop-Bishop Emeritus of Tulle, notwithstanding the formal canonical warning of June 17 last and the repeated appeals to desist from his intention, has performed a schismatical act by the episcopal consecration of four priests, without pontifical mandate and contrary to the will of the Supreme Pontiff, and has therefore incurred the penalty envisaged by Canon 1364 §1, and Canon 1382 of the Code of Canon Law.

Having taken account of all the juridical effects, I declare that the above mentioned Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, and Bernard Fellay, Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, Richard Williamson, and Alfonso de Galarreta have incurred ipso facto excommunication latæ sententiæ reserved to the Apostolic See.

Moreover, I declare that Archbishop Antonio de Castro Mayer, Bishop Emeritus of Campos, since he took part directly in the liturgical celebration as co-consecrator and adhered publicly to the schismatical act, has incurred excommunication latæ sententiæ as envisaged by Canon 1364 §1.

The priests and faithful are warned not to support the schism of Archbishop Lefebvre, otherwise they shall incur ipso facto the very grave penalty of excommunication.

From the Office of the Congregation for Bishops, July 1, 1988.
Bernardinus Card. Gantin
Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops
"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

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)