PART I: PRINCIPLES
Some texts as guiding principles in today's crisis
PART II: QUESTIONS
QUESTION 1: Who was Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre?
QUESTION 2: What is the Society of Saint Pius X?
QUESTION 3: Wasn't the Society of Saint Pius X lawfully suppressed?
QUESTION 4: Wasn't
Archbishop Lefebvre suspended from performing all sacred functions, along
with all the priests he
QUESTION 5: Why should Catholics have nothing to do with the Novus Ordo Missae?
QUESTION 6: What are Catholics to think of Vatican II?
QUESTION 7: But shouldn't we be following Pope John Paul II?
QUESTION 8: Shouldn't we accept the 1983 Code of Canon Law?
QUESTION 9: Do traditional priests have jurisdiction?
QUESTION 10: May we attend the Indult Mass?
QUESTION 11: Wasn't Archbishop Lefebvre excommunicated for consecrating bishops unlawfully?
QUESTION 12: Isn't the Society of Saint Pius X schismatic?
QUESTION 13: What are we to think of the Fraternity of Saint Peter?
QUESTION 14: .What are we to think of the new Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992)?
QUESTION 15: .What of the sedevacantists?
The Declaration of Archbishop Lefebvre (Nov. 21, 1974)
International Diary: A Short History of the Society of Saint Pius X
by Rev. Fr. Ramón Anglés (reprinted from The Angelus, January 1997)
Jubilee Sermon of Archbishop Lefebvre
Return To Main Menu
realize more or less acutely that the Church is passing through a period
of confusion, and they wonder whether
there are any simple guidelines for seeing them through it. This booklet tries to present principles, hopefully of solution but at
least of sanity (even if not perhaps the complete answers), to be these simple guidelines. Our Lord God, moreover, does not
ask us to solve what He has not given eminent theologians to solve. He asks that we save our souls, which we do, with His
grace, by living as well as we can as Catholics, as true sons of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.
The origins of
this period of confusion, lie in the whole "face-lift" of the Church since
the Second Vatican Council. The Church
has a "new look":
new liturgy-in new churches, around a table,
with communion in the hand, from lay ministers
aided by altar-girls, etc.,
new Bibles and Canon Law,
involvement with non-Catholics,
new orientations-world "justice," "peace," etc.,
laymen doing what priests did, etc.
And what happened to:
The traditional Latin Mass?
Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament?
regular individual confessions?
The Way of the Cross, Fast and Abstinence,
Prayers for the Holy Souls, etc?
Religious and priests in their habits, etc?
What has not changed in Catholic life? The question is: Is this truly just a "face-lift," or is it really an "about-face"?
The latter, answers
the Society of Saint Pius X. It is a turning away from God and a turning
to the world, to man. The world is
not converting to the Church; the "Church" has converted to the world. Are modern Catholics very different from non-Catholics
these days? Clearly not.
To judge rightly
these goings-on in the Church, let us look first at some general principles
that all Catholics accept (Part I), and
then we can evaluate better the Society of Saint Pius X's reaction to this crisis (Part II).
True to our aim
at simplicity, answers will be brief and even in note form. For fuller
answers, further reading and study will be
necessary (Appendix II). May this little work give to those who have no time or means for a longer look some answers to the
questions they are asking.
N.B.: The General
Principles will be referred to throughout this booklet by their number
given in Part I (so the second, for
example, will be called Principle 2); in like manner, the Questions in Part II will be referred to as QUESTION #.
Dz refers to Denzinger's The Sources of Catholic Dogma (translated by Roy
J. Deferrari from the Thirtieth
Edition of Henry Denzinger's Enchiridion Symbolorum).
PART I: PRINCIPLES
SOME TEXTS AS
IN TODAY'S CRISIS
1. The Catholic Church is divine.
Moreover, in order
that we may perform satisfactorily the duty of embracing the true faith
and of continuously persevering in it,
God, through His only-begotten Son, has instituted the Church and provided it with clear signs of His institution, so that it can be
recognized by all as the guardian and teacher of the revealed word (Vatican I, Dz 1793).
2. The Catholic Church is the unique ark of salvation.
The Catholic Church
firmly believes, professes, and proclaims that those not living within
Her, not only pagans, but also Jews,
heretics, and schismatics, cannot become participants in eternal life but will depart "into everlasting fire which was prepared for
the devil and his angels" (Mt. 25:41), unless before the end of life the same have been added to the flock...(Council of Florence,
3. The Catholic Church is visible and indefectible.
the Chief of pastors and the Great Pastor of sheep, the Lord Jesus, established
in the blessed Apostle Peter for
the perpetual salvation and perennial good of the Church, this by the same Author must endure always in the Church which was
founded upon a rock and will endure firm until the end of the ages (Vatican I, Dz 1824 [cf., Dz 1793 above]).
The one Church
of Christ is visible to all and will remain, according to the Will of its
Author, exactly the same as He instituted it
(Pius XI, Mortalium Animos, §15).
4. The Church
is founded upon
Peter and his successors forever.
If anyone then
says that it is not from the institution of Christ the Lord Himself or
by divine right that the blessed Peter has
perpetual successors in the primacy over the universal Church...let him be anathema....
If anyone thus
speaks, that the Roman Pontiff has only the office of inspection or direction
but not the full and supreme power of
jurisdiction over the universal Church, not only in things which pertain to faith and morals, but also in those which pertain to the
discipline and government of the Church spread over the whole world...let him be anathema (Vatican I, Dz 1825, 1831).
But it is opposed
to the truth and in evident contradiction with the divine constitution
of the Church to hold that, while each
bishop is individually bound to obey the authority of the Roman Pontiffs, taken collectively the bishops are not so bound (Leo
XIII, Satis Cognitum).
5. The Pope has
power only "unto edification and not unto destruction" (II Cor 13:10) of
For, the Holy
Spirit was not promised to the successors of Peter that by His revelation
they might disclose new doctrine, but
that by His help they might guard sacredly the revelation transmitted through the apostles and the deposit of faith, and might
faithfully set it forth (Vatican I, Dz 1836).
And for these
sacraments instituted by Christ the Lord, in the course of the ages the
Church has not and could not substitute
other sacraments, since, as the Council of Trent teaches, the seven sacraments of the New Law have all been instituted by Jesus
Christ our Lord and the Church has no power over the "substance of the sacraments," that is, over those things which, with the
sources of divine revelation as witnesses, Christ the Lord Himself decreed to be preserved in a sacramental sign... (Pius XII,
Sacramentum Ordinis, Dz 2301).
It is well known
unto all men...with what great care and pastoral vigilance our predecessors
the Roman Pontiffs have discharged
the office entrusted by Christ Our Lord to them in the person of the most blessed Peter, Prince of the Apostles, have
unremittingly discharged the duty of feeding the lambs and the sheep, and have diligently nourished the Lord's entire flock with
the words of faith, imbued it with salutary doctrine, and guarded it from poisoned pastures. And those our predecessors, who
were the assertors and champions of the august Catholic religion, of truth and justice, being as they were chiefly solicitous for
the salvation of souls, held nothing to be of so great importance as the duty of exposing and condemning, in their most wise
Letters and Constitutions, all heresies and errors which are hostile to moral honesty and to the eternal salvation of
mankind...(Pius IX, Quanta Cura §1).
6. Church teaching cannot change.
the object of Catholic faith, was not completed with the apostles (Condemned
by St. Pius X,
Lamentabili, Dz 2021).
Further, by divine
and Catholic faith, all those things must be believed which are contained
in the written word of God and in
Tradition, and which are proposed by the Church, either in a solemn pronouncement or in her ordinary and universal teaching
power, to be believed as divinely revealed...
Hence, also, that
understanding of its sacred dogmas must be perpetually retained, which
Holy Mother Church has once
declared; and there must never be recession from that meaning under the specious name of a deeper understanding...definitions
of the Roman Pontiff from himself, but not from the consensus of the Church, are unalterable (Vatican I, Dz 1792; 1800; 1839).
non-Catholics don't have the Faith.
Now it is manifest
that he who adheres to the teaching of the Church, as to an infallible
rule, assents to whatever the Church
teaches; otherwise, if, of the things taught by the Church, he holds what he chooses to hold, and rejects what he chooses to
reject, he no longer adheres to the teaching of the Church as to an infallible rule, but to his own will....Therefore it is clear that
such a heretic with regard to one article has no faith in the other articles, but only a kind of opinion in accordance with his own
will (St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, II II, Q.5, A.3).
8. Human law is ordained to divine law.
Likewise the liberty
of those who are in authority does not consist in the power to lay unreasonable
and capricious commands
upon their subjects...but the binding force of human laws is in this, that they are to be regarded as applications of the eternal law,
and incapable of sanctioning anything which is not contained in the eternal law, as in the principle of all law (Leo XIII, Libertas
9. Bad laws are no laws.
If, then, by any
one in authority, something be sanctioned out of conformity with the principles
of right reason, and consequently
hurtful to the commonwealth, such an enactment can have no binding force of law, as being no rule of justice, but certain to lead
men away from that good which is the very end of civil society....But where the power to command is wanting, or where a law
is enacted contrary to reason, or to the eternal law, or to some ordinance of God, obedience is unlawful, lest, while obeying
man, we become disobedient to God (Leo XIII, Libertas §§10, 13).
10. In certain
laws do not oblige.
a) WHEN DOUBTFUL-"When
there is a doubt of law, laws do not bind even if they be nullifying and
(1917 Code of Canon Law, canon 15; 1983 Code of Canon Law, canon 14).
b) WHEN RETROACTIVE-"A
law comes into existence when it is promulgated." (1917 Code of Canon Law,
canon 8, §1
[cf., canon 17, §2]; 1983 Code of Canon Law, canon 7, [cf., canon 16, §2]).
c) WHEN THEY CANNOT
BE OBSERVED (physically or morally)-"No positive law obliges where there
inconvenience" is a principle of moral theology (cf., 1917 Code of Canon Law, canon 2205, §2; 1983 Code of Canon Law,
canon 1323, 40). There certainly is such a grave inconvenience when observance would be detrimental to souls, for "the
salvation of souls must always be the supreme law of the Church" (1983 Code of Canon Law, canon 1752).
11. The Mass is not essentially a meal.
If anyone says
that in the Mass a true and real sacrifice is not offered to God, or that
the act of offering is nothing else than
Christ being given to us to eat, let him be anathema
(Council of Trent, Dz 948.).
12. The Mass is
the re-enactment of Calvary
(and not just a narrative of the Last Supper,
which was itself but a pre-enactment of Calvary).
our God and Lord, though He was about to offer Himself once to God the
Father upon the altar of the
Cross...nevertheless, that His sacerdotal office might not come to an end with His death, at the Last Supper, on the night He
was betrayed, so that He might leave to His beloved spouse the Church a visible sacrifice (as the nature of man demands),
whereby that bloody sacrifice once to be completed on the Cross might be represented, and the memory of it remain even to
the end of the world...offered to God the Father His own body and blood under the species of bread and wine....(Council of
Trent, Dz 950).
13. The Mass is not a community gathering.
If anyone says
that Masses in which the priest alone communicates sacramentally, are illicit
and are therefore to be abrogated,
let him be anathema (Council of Trent, Dz 955, cf., Principle 14).
14. The prayers
of the Mass are
not directed to the people but to God.
If anyone says
that the rite of the Roman Church, according to which a part of the canon
and the words of consecration are
pronounced in a low tone, is to be condemned..., let him be anathema (Council of Trent, Dz 956).
15. Holy Communion
species is not necessary for the laity.
If anyone denies
that the whole Christ is contained in the venerable sacrament of the Eucharist
under each species and under
every part of each species, when the separation has been made, let him be anathema (Council of Trent, Dz 885).
If anyone says
that the holy Catholic Church has not been influenced by just causes and
reasons to give communion under the
form of bread only to laymen and even to clerics when not consecrating, or that she has erred in this, let him be anathema
(Council of Trent, Dz 935).
16. The Blessed
Sacrament is Our Lord
and must be worshipped.
If anyone says
that in the holy sacrament of the Eucharist the only-begotten Son of God
is not to be adored even outwardly with
the worship of latria...let him be anathema (Council of Trent, Dz 888).
17. The Blessed
Sacrament contains the whole
Christ under the species of bread and wine.
If anyone denies
that in the sacrament of the most holy Eucharist there are truly, really,
and substantially contained the body and
blood together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and therefore the whole Christ, but shall say that He is in it as
by a sign or figure, or force, let him be anathema (Council of Trent, Dz 883).
18. The Catholic priesthood is of divine origin.
If anyone says
that by these words: "Do this for a commemoration of me," (Lk. 22:19; ICor.
11:24), Christ did not make the
Apostles priests, or did not ordain that they and other priests might offer His own body and blood: let him be anathema (Council
of Trent, Dz 949).
19. The traditional
Latin Mass is still in force
in virtue of Quo Primum:
By these present
(ordinances) and by virtue of Our Apostolic Authority, We give and grant
in perpetuity that for the singing or
reading of Mass in any church whatsoever this Missal may be followed absolutely, without any scruple of conscience or fear of
incurring any penalty, judgment or censure, and may be freely and lawfully used....We likewise order and declare that no one
whosoever shall be forced or coerced into altering this Missal; and that this present Constitution can never be revoked or
modified, but shall forever remain valid and have the force of law...(St. Pius V, Quo Primum).
AS IMMEMORIAL CUSTOM: "...unless it makes express mention of centenary
or immemorial customs, a law does
not revoke them..." (1917 Code of Canon Law, canon 30; 1983 Code of Canon Law, canon 28).
AND BECAUSE THE NOVUS ORDO MISSAE IS NOT TO BE REGARDED AS AN OPTION OPEN TO
1. The accompanying
Critical Study is the work of a select group of bishops, theologians, liturgists
and pastors of souls.
Despite its brevity, the study shows quite clearly that the Novus Ordo Missae-considering the new elements susceptible to
widely different interpretations which are implied or taken for granted-represents, both as a whole and in its details, a striking
departure from the Catholic theology of the Mass as it was formulated in Session 22 of the Council of Trent. The "canons" of
the rite definitively fixed at that time erected an insurmountable barrier against any heresy which might attack the integrity of the
Mystery (Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci, Short Critical Study of the New Order of Mass, p.27.)
To abandon a liturgical
tradition which for four centuries stood as a sign and pledge of unity
in worship, and to replace it with
another liturgy which, due to the countless liberties it implicitly authorizes, cannot but be a sign of division-a liturgy which teems
with insinuations or manifest errors against the integrity of the Catholic Faith-is, we feel bound in conscience to proclaim, an
incalculable error (Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci, Short Critical Study of the New Order of Mass, p.55.).
PART II: QUESTIONS
QUESTION 1: Return to top of page. Go to next Question.
Who was Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre?
Nov. 29, 1905: Birth of Marcel Lefebvre into a good Catholic family (five of the eight children would become priests or nuns).,
Sept. 21, 1929: Marcel Lefebvre is ordained a priest.
1932-1946: Having become a Holy Ghost Father, he becomes a missionary in Gabon, Africa.
Sept. 18, 1947: He is consecrated a Bishop and appointed Apostolic Vicar of Dakar, Senegal.
1948-1959: Bishop Lefebvre is Pius Pope XII's Apostolic Delegate for 18 African countries.
Sept. 14, 1955: He becomes the first Archbishop of Dakar.
1962: His Grace returns to France to be the Bishop of Tulle.
Lefebvre is elected and acts as Superior General of the Holy Ghost Fathers
1968: resigning before the changes his Congregation would force him to implement, and going into "retirement."
1969: The Archbishop founds the Priestly Society of Saint Pius X.
1970-1982: He acts as its first Superior General.
in view of his imminent death, he consecrates successors, Archbishop Lefebvre
does all he can to be faithful
to the grace of his episcopacy, traveling the world to encourage Catholics to hold fast to the faith and traditions of their fathers,
confirming their young and ordaining for them priests.
Mar. 25, 1991: Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre passes before his Eternal Judge.
Archbishop personally, a journalist asked recently what was my outstanding
memory of the man. I gave maybe
a surprising answer: his objectivity. He had, of course, a uniquely attractive personality because he was a saint-gentle, kind,
simple, humble, humorous, and so on, without a trace of sentimentality, but that was not the point. Underneath all that lay a great
intelligence and faith and firmness of character, but that was still not the point. Essentially he was a man empty of self and full of
God. To meet him, to talk to him, was to see-through him-the truth, Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Catholic Church. He was like a
window on the interest of God. Not he, but Christ, lived within him, and yet that was Marcel Lefebvre and nobody else. And
what a marvelous man he was!
QUESTION 2: Return to top of page. Go to next Question.
What is the Society of Saint Pius X?
1969:. A "retired"
archbishop, Mgr. Marcel Lefebvre, agrees to help a handful of young seminarians
who are disconcerted by
the direction being taken in post-Vatican II seminaries in their priestly formation. He does this, not only by undertaking their
training, but also by founding a Society aiming at fostering a priestly life according to the wise norms and customs of the Church
of previous days.
Nov. 1, 1970:.
The Society of Saint Pius X is officially recognized by the Bishop of Lausanne,
Geneva, and Fribourg, Bishop
Charri?re. It is therefore truly a new little branch pushed forth by the Church.
Feb. 18, 1971:.
Cardinal Wright, Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Clergy, issues
a decree praising the wisdom of the
June 10, 1971:.
Archbishop Lefebvre announces, together with the staff of the Seminary
of Saint Pius X at Ecône, the refusal to
adopt the Novus Ordo Missae (cf., QUESTION 5).
1971-1974:. Following on Cardinal Wright's letter are other sure signs of Rome's full acceptance of the Society of Saint Pius X:
its houses to be erected canonically in one Italian and two Swiss dioceses.
2.allowing three outside priests to join the Society and to be incardinated directly into it.
During the same
years the French Episcopal Conference was maneuvering to have the Society
and its seminary suppressed (cf.,
Nov. 1, 1980:. By its tenth anniversary, the Society of Saint Pius X has 40 houses on two continents.
Nov. 1, 1995:.
By its 25th Anniversary, the Society of Saint Pius X numbers four Bishops,
332 priests, 50 brothers, 120 sisters
and 53 oblate sisters, all living in 140 houses in 27 countries. Together they seek the goal of the priesthood: the glorification of
God, the continuation of Our Lord's redemptive work, the salvation of souls. They accomplish this by fidelity to Christ's
testament-the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass (see Appendix III).
QUESTION 3: Return to top of page. Go to next Question.
Wasn't the Society of Saint Pius X lawfully suppressed?
Nov. 1, 1970: The Society is lawfully and canonically founded (QUESTION 2).
the French bishops, balking at Ecône's pre-Vatican II ways, and notably
at its non-acceptance of the
Novus Ordo Missae (QUESTION 5), calumniate it as sauvage (outlaw, wildcat). One of them, Pope Paul VI's Secretary of
State, Cardinal Villot, deceives the Holy Father into believing Archbishop Lefebvre had his priests sign a declaration against the
1974: An Apostolic Visitation of the seminary at Ecône
takes place. This
is in itself normal procedure; its conclusions, though never published,
were "very favorable," according to
Cardinal Garonne, "except that you don't use the new liturgy, and there's a somewhat anti-conciliar spirit there." The Visitors,
however, scandalized everyone by their unorthodox views, prompting Archbishop Lefebvre's so-called Declaration (see
Feb. 13 and
Mar. 3, 1975: Archbishop Lefebvre meets with an improvised
three Cardinals, nominally to discuss the Apostolic Visitation but in fact
as a lone defendant before a tribunal
attacking his Declaration. Having been given no warning as to the nature of these "trials," he has no lawyer and is never allowed
a copy of the recorded meetings, though that at least is promised him.
May 6, 1975: The
irregular Commission of Cardinals condemns Archbishop Lefebvre, finding
his Declaration "unacceptable on
all points." They write to Bishop Mamie (successor of Bishop Charri?re at Fribourg) telling him to withdraw his predecessor's
approval of the Society of Saint Pius X-something quite beyond his power. (Once a Bishop has approved a Society, only the
Pope can suppress it.-cf., 1917 Code of Canon Law, canon 493)
June 5, 1975: Archbishop Lefebvre submits an appeal to the Apostolic Signature in Rome-in substance:
...it would be
for the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to determine
whether my Declaration were at fault.
Please provide evidence that this Commission of Cardinals had been expressly mandated by the Pope (who by his own
authority can bypass the Congregations) to decide as has been done. And if I be at fault, of course I can be censured, but not
the Society which was founded in due canonical form.
arranges that the appeal is not accepted. Cardinal Staffa is threatened
with dismissal if he dare to accept an
appeal from Archbishop Lefebvre.
June 29, 1975:
Pope Paul VI is convinced to write to Archbishop Lefebvre that he approved
of all the actions of the
Commission of Cardinals. (It is impossible that mere papal approbation in June could empower this Commission which had met
the previous February [Principle 10b].)
On this whole process, Archbishop Lefebvre observes:
...we have been
condemned, without trial, without opportunity to defend ourselves, without
due warning or written process and
Over and above
the canonical question, there remains that of natural law. Must one observe
a censure when no crime can be
pointed out or when the very authority not to mention the identity of the judge is unsure?
QUESTION 4: Return to top of page. Go to next Question.
from performing all sacred functions
along with all the priests he ordained?
Oct. 27, 1975:
Cardinal Villot writes to the hierarchies of the world to tell them no
longer to incardinate any priests from the
Society of Saint Pius X, as it has been suppressed.
June 12, 1976:
Mgr. Benelli writes Archbishop Lefebvre, telling him not to ordain priests
without their local Bishops'
June 29, 1976: Archbishop Lefebvre goes ahead with the foreseen ordinations.
July 1, 1976: The "suspension" of Archbishop Lefebvre and his newly ordained priests is declared.
A FIRST OBSERVATION
The Church, by
approving the Society of Saint Pius X, approved also that it live, i.e.,
that it have all the ordinary means to lead
its religious life and fulfill its aim. This is a fundamental consideration when taking into consideration the nullity of its suppression
(QUESTION 3). Moreover:
Then again, the Society of Saint Pius X not being lawfully suppressed,
it was unjust to try to stop candidates from joining
After Cardinal Wright's letter of praise, the Congregation for the Clergy allowing religious priests transferring to the
Society to be directly incardinated into it and Bishop Adam (of Sion) judging that the society, being inter-diocesan, could
generalize this procedure, Archbishop Lefebvre could reasonably presume this right of incardination. So the real problem
was more than canonical.
IT IS AN ATTACK
ON THE TRADITIONAL LATIN MASS
In the three weeks
before the ordinations to be held on June 29, 1976, Archbishop Lefebvre
was approached by Rome as
many as six times with the request that he establish normal relations with the Vatican and that he give proof of this by saying a
Mass according to the new rite. He was told that if the ordination Mass on the 29th would be with the Missal of Pope Paul VI,
then all opposition would be smoothed over. This offer was brought to the Archbishop on the vigil of the Feast. One Novus
Ordo Missae and all would be well. Herein we see most clearly the one fundamental reason for the campaign against
Archbishop Lefebvre and his Society: exclusive adhesion to the old Mass and refusal to say the new.
the Novus Ordo Missae cannot be said (cf. QUESTION 5)
and the Old always can (Principle 20).
Therefore, the suspensions are null:
canonically, because unjust,
fundamentally, because engineered to do away with the traditional Latin Mass.
But even if unjust, shouldn't censures be observed?
If only the one incurring them were to suffer, then YES, that is the more
perfect way to act.
If there is a question of depriving innumerable souls of the graces they need for salvation, then NO, one cannot.
Before such an unjust campaign of suppression, the Society could only continue.
has always tacitly recognized the Society of Saint Pius X's legitimate
continuation (for example, in May, 1988,
when Cardinal Ratzinger agreed to the principle of having a bishop consecrated from among the Society's priests) and the nullity
of the suspensions (for example, when in Dec. 1987, Cardinal Gagnon did not hesitate to attend as a prelate the Mass of the
QUESTION 5: Return to top of page. Go to next Question.
Why should Catholics
nothing to do with the Novus Ordo Missae?
A) PRELIMINARY REMARKS
(i) A criticism
of the "New Rite" cannot be a criticism of the Mass in itself, for this
is the very sacrifice of Our Lord bequeathed
to His Church, but it is an examination, whether it is a fit rite for embodying and enacting this august Sacrifice.
(ii) It is difficult
for those who have known nothing other than the Novus Ordo Missae to understand
of what they have been
deprived-and attending a "Latin Mass" often just seems alien. To see clearly what it is all about, it is necessary to have a clear
understanding of the defined truths of our Faith on the Mass (Principles 11-18 are some of them). Only in the light of these can
the "new rite" of Mass be evaluated.
B) WHAT IS THE NOVUS ORDO MISSAE?
Let us answer this by looking at its four causes, as the philosophers would say:
(i) What are the ELEMENTS that make up the New Rite?
Some are Catholic-a
priest, bread and wine, genuflections, signs of the Cross, etc., but some
are Protestant-a table,
common-place utensils, communion under both kinds and in the hand, etc.
(ii) Now, the
Novus Ordo Missae assumes these heterodox elements alongside the Catholic
ones to form a LITURGY FOR
A MODERNIST RELIGION which would marry the Church and the world, Catholicism and Protestantism, light and
darkness. Indeed, the Novus Ordo Missae presents itself as:
a meal (vs. Principle 11). This is shown by its use of a table around which
the people of God gather to offer bread and
wine (vs. Principle 18) and to communicate from rather common-place utensils, often under both kinds (vs. Principle 15),
and usually in the hand (vs. Principle 16). (Note too the almost complete deletion of references to sacrifice).
a narrative of a past event (vs. Principle 12). This told out loud by the
one presiding (vs. Principle 14), who recounts
Our Lord's words as read in Scripture (rather than pronouncing a sacramental formula) and who makes no pause until he
has shown the Host to the people.
a community gathering, (vs. Principle 13). Christ is perhaps considered
to be morally present but ignored in his
Sacramental Presence (vs. Principles 16 and 17).
(iii) Notice also
the numerous RUBRICAL CHANGES: the celebrant facing the people from where
the tabernacle was
Just after the consecration, all acclaim He "will come again."
Sacred vessels are no longer gilt.
Sacred particles are ignored (vs. Principle 15):
the priest no longer joins thumb and forefinger after the consecration,
the vessels are not purified as they used to be,
Communion is most frequently given in the hand.
Genuflections on the part of the priest and kneeling on the part of the faithful are much reduced.
The people take over much of what the priest formerly did.
Moreover, the Novus Ordo Missae defined itself this way:
The Lord's Supper,
or Mass, is a sacred synaxis, or assembly of the people of God gathered
together under the presidency of
the priest to celebrate the memorial of the Lord.
(iv) What is the AIM of this Novus Ordo Missae as a Rite?
of Pope Paul VI with regard to what is commonly called the Mass, was to
reform the Catholic liturgy in such a
way that it should almost coincide with the Protestant liturgy...there was with Pope Paul VI an ecumenical intention to
remove, or at least to correct, or at least to relax, what was too Catholic, in the traditional sense, in the Mass and, I repeat, to
get the Catholic Mass closer to the Calvinist mass....
When I began work
on this trilogy I was concerned at the extent to which the Catholic liturgy
was being Protestantized. The
more detailed my study of the Revolution, the more evident it has become that it has by-passed Protestantism and its final goal
This latter is
a fair evaluation when one considers the changes implemented, the results
achieved, and the tendency of modern
theology, even papal theology (cf. QUESTION 7).
(v) WHO made up the Novus Ordo Missae?
It is the invention
of a liturgical commission, the Consilium, whose guiding light was Fr.
Annibale Bugnini (made an archbishop in
1972 for his services), and which also included six Protestant experts. Fr. Bugnini (principal author of Vatican II's
Sacrosanctum Concilium) had his own ideas on popular involvement in the liturgy, and the Protestant advisors had their own
heretical ideas on the essence of the Mass.
But the one on
whose authority the Novus Ordo Missae was enforced was Pope Paul VI, who
"promulgated" it by his
constitution Missale Romanum (Apr. 3, 1969).
(vi) or did POPE PAUL VI really do so?
In the original version of Missale Romanum, signed by Pope Paul VI, no
mention was made either of anyone's being
obliged to use the Novus Ordo Missae or when such an obligation might begin.
Translators of the constitution mistranslate cogere et efficere (i.e., to sum up and draw a conclusion) as to give force
The version in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis has an added paragraph "enjoining" the New Missal, but it is in the wrong
tense, the past, and reads praescripsimus (i.e.., which we have ordered) thereby referring to a past obligation, and
nothing, moreover, in Missalae Romanum prescribes, but at most permits the use of the "New Rite."
Can it be true that Pope Paul VI wanted this Missal but that it was not properly imposed?
C) JUDGMENT ON THE NOVUS ORDO MISSAE
(i) Judging the Novus Ordo Missae in itself, in its official Latin form, Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci wrote to Pope Paul VI:
...the Novus Ordo
represents, both as a whole and in its details, a striking departure from
the Catholic theology of the Mass as
it was formulated in Session XXIII of the Council of Trent (Sept. 25, 1969).
And Archbishop Lefebvre definitely agreed with them when he wrote:
The Novus Ordo
Missae, even when said with piety and respect for the liturgical rules,...is
impregnated with the spirit of
Protestantism. It bears within it a poison harmful to the faith.
of Catholic elements and the pandering to Protestants which are evident
in the Novus Ordo Missae render it a
danger to our faith, and, as such, tends towards evil, given that it lacks the good which the sacred rite or Mass ought to have.
(ii) By their fruits you shall know them:
We were promised
the Novus Ordo Missae would renew Catholic fervor, inspire the young, draw
back the lapsed and attract
non-Catholics. Who today can pretend that these things are its fruits? Together with the Novus Ordo Missae did there not
instead come a dramatic decline in Mass attendance and vocations, an "identity crisis" among priests, a slowing in the rate of
conversions, and an acceleration of apostasies?
So, from the point of view of its fruits, the Novus Ordo Missae is not a rite conducive to the flourishing of the Church's mission.
(iii) Does it
follow from the apparent promulgation by the Popes that the Novus Ordo
Missae is fully Catholic?-No, for the
indefectibility of the Church does not prevent the Pope personally from promoting defective and modernist rites in the Latin rite
of the Church. Moreover, the Novus Ordo Missae;
is not forced upon the Church, as the Traditional Latin Mass can always
be said (Principle 19),
is not promulgated regularly (cf., (vi) above),
and does not engage the Church's infallibility.
D) THIS BEING
SO, CAN IT BE SAID THAT
THE NOVUS ORDO MISSAE IS INVALID?
This does not
necessarily follow from the above defects, as serious as they might be,
for only three things are required for
validity: matter, form, and intention.
However, the celebrant
must intend to do what the Church does. The Novus Ordo Missae will no longer
in and of itself
guarantee that the celebrant has this intention. That will depend on his personal faith (generally unknown to those assisting, but
more and more doubtful as the crisis in the Church is prolonged). Therefore, these Masses can be of doubtful validity, and more
so with time.
The words of consecration,
especially of the wine, have been tampered with. Has the "substance of
the sacrament" (cf., Pope
Pius XII quoted in Principle 5) been respected? This is even more of a problem in Masses in the vernacular, where pro multis
(for many) is deliberately mistranslated as for all. Some argue that this is of such importance as to render these Masses invalid.
Many deny it; but this change does add to the doubt.
If the Novus Ordo
Missae is not truly Catholic, then it cannot oblige for one's Sunday obligation.
Many Catholics who do
assist at it are unaware of its all pervasive degree of serious innovation and are exempt from guilt. However, any Catholic who is
aware of its harm, does not have the right to participate. He could only then assist at it by a mere physical presence without
positively taking part in it, and then and for major family reasons (weddings, funerals, etc).
QUESTION 6: Return to top of page. Go to next Question.
What are Catholics to think of Vatican II?
The Second Vatican
Council was a meeting of the world's bishops for four sessions between
Oct. 11, 1962, and Dec. 8, 1965.
Pope John XXIII, in his opening speech to the Council (Nov. 11, 1962), declared its aims to be the following:
that the Catholic faith should be kept and taught,
but taught in the language of modern man by a magisterium "which is predominantly pastoral in character,"
and this without resorting to any condemnations,
thus appealing to all peoples. (This Council was to be ecumenical, not only in the sense of being a general council of the
Church, but also in that of appealing to the religiosity of all people of whatever religion.)
Pope Paul VI agreed with his predecessor:
[Vatican II] was
the most important [event] because...above all it sought to meet pastoral
needs and, nourishing the flame of
charity, it has made a great effort to reach not only the Christians still separated from communion with the Holy See, but also the
whole human family (Closing Brief, Dec. 8, 1965).
With such ideals, it is little wonder to find Catholic teaching presented:
weakly (no definitions or condemnations),
confusedly (no technical, scholastic terminology),
and one-sidedly (so as to attract non-Catholics).
All such vague
and ambiguous teaching, already liberal in its method, would be interpreted
in its true liberal sense after the
Council. Consider, for example:
HOW INTERPRETED BY ROME
The New Mass
(cf. QUESTION 5)
(cf. QUESTION 8).
It is also in "separated Churches" (Ut Unum Sint, §11).
All the baptized are in Christ's Church (Ut Unum Sint, §42).
And so there is no need to convert, e.g., the Orthodox.
Annulments fiasco (cf. QUESTION 8).
no longer to
be the religion of any
States. Full support for UN
Face to face confessions
New matter, form
Any approved innovation, etc.
The liturgy of the word is stressed (Sacrosanctum Concilium, §9),
and the banquet aspect (§10),
as well as active participation (§§11,14),
and therefore the vernacular (§§36,54).
Catholics should pray with Protestants (Unitatis Redintegratio, §§4,8).
The Church of
Christ subsists in (not is) the Catholic Church (Lumen Gentium, §8),
which has separated brethren in separated "Churches"(Unitatis Redintegratio, §3),
which ought to be as sisters (Unitatis Redintegratio, §14).
Seminarians should take into account modern philosophy, progress in science(Optatam Totius, §15),
psychology, and sociology (§20).
Marriage and married love equated (Gaudium et Spes, §§48,50).
The Church renounces privileges civil authorities grant her (§76).
Wish for a World Authority (§82).
Rite and formulae of penance are to be revised (Sacrosanctum Concilium §72).
Extreme Unction should be an Anointing of the Sick (§§73,75)..
the Council was hijacked by the liberal elements within the Church, who
from the very beginning schemed to
have rejected the pre-Conciliar preparatory schemas and replaced by progressive ones prepared by their own "experts." The
liberals were also able to get their members onto the Council Commissions. The new schemas, passed as the Council's decrees,
constitutions, and declarations, contain, more or less explicitly, some of the same doctrinal errors for which liberals in the past
had been condemned. Let us take by way of example the following passages:
The Council itself
both encouraged liberal trends (and its encouragement became post-conciliar
Vatican policy) and departed
from traditional Catholic teaching, but it has no authority for either (Principle 5).
Our position must be:
follow the Rome of neo-Modernist and neo-Protestant tendencies which became
clearly manifest during the
Second Vatican Council and, after the Council, in all the reforms which issued from it.
And it is neo-Modernist tendencies that the Council is all about.
BUT WASN'T THE COUNCIL INFALLIBLE?
Not by reason of the extraordinary magisterium, for it refused to define
anything. Pope Paul VI himself, in an audience on
January 12, 1966, said that it"had avoided proclaiming in an extraordinary manner dogmas affected by the mark of
Nor by reason of the ordinary universal magisterium, because this is not a defining power, but one of passing on what
was always believed. The "universality" in question is not just one of place (all Bishops) but also of time (always) (cf.,
Vatican I and Principle 6).
Nor even by reason of the simply authentic magisterium, because the object of all magisterium is the deposit of faith to be
guarded sacredly and expounded faithfully (Vatican I, Dz 1836), and not to adopt as Catholic doctrine the "best
expressed values of two centuries of 'liberal culture,'" even if they are "purified."
QUESTION 7: Return to top of page. Go to next Question.
But shouldn't we be following Pope John Paul II?
This Pope arouses
various sympathies, some Catholics lauding his stand on moral issues or
that of women priests, others
scandalized at the encouragement he gives all "religions" and his preaching based on the dignity of man. How are we to
In the opening
address of his pontificate, Pope John Paul II declared that his first aim
would be to promote and implement the
decrees of VaticanII and to bring to light all it contained implicitly. He says the 1983 Code of Canon Law is an effort to put
conciliar doctrine, and especially its new ecclesiology, into canonical language. The Catechism of the Catholic Church is
likewise an effort to renew the life of the Church as desired and begun by Vatican II. Look at the references in any of his
encyclicals; see the preponderance of the Second Vatican Council and its teachings. The gravity of this situation lies in the fact
that Vatican II actually favors heresy (QUESTION6).
the prolongation of his reign and the prolificacy of his writings and discourses,
however, it has become ever
more clear that Pope John Paul II is preaching a new religion, a humanism, a gospel of the intrinsic goodness of man, thanks to
God's becoming man, with the implied consequence of the salvation of all men. His starting point is Vatican II (Gaudium et
by the very fact that it was assumed, not absorbed, in him, has been raised
in us also to a dignity beyond
compare. For, by his incarnation, he, the son of God, has in a certain way united himself with each man.
The Pope is constantly
basing his teaching on these lines of Vatican II using them to illustrate
this novel doctrine of universal
louder than words. Pope John Paul II preached in a Lutheran church (Dec.
11, 1983); recited psalms with Jews
while visiting the synagogue of Rome (Apr. 13, 1986); invited Catholics and Jews to prepare together for the coming of the
Messiah (June 24, 1986); engaged in dialogues with the high priests and witch doctors of Voodoo (Feb. 4, 1993); took part in
Animist rites in the "Sacred Forest" in Togo (Aug. 8, 1985); had the sacred Tilac put on his forehead by a priestess of Shiva in
Bombay (Feb.2, 1986); and invited representatives of the "main religions" (about 130 came) to Assisi to pray for peace (Oct.
27, 1986). Everywhere and with all he praises the "values" of these false religions but fails to tell them that they and their people
must convert if they want to be saved.
in word and deed, he is preaching that all men of whatever creed are acceptable
to God, which is contrary to
Catholic dogma (Principle 2).
In this we cannot follow this Pope's ideas but must hold fast to the doctrine constantly taught by the Church of all time.
BUT HOW ARE WE TO JUDGE HIM?
It is not for us to judge his culpability in the destruction of the Church,
more devastating now than in any previous
pontificate (with the probable exception of Pope Paul VI's). Only God can so judge him,
nor is it for us to judge him juridically-the Pope has no superior on earth-or to declare unquestionably null all his acts,
but we must make a judgment of his words and actions inasmuch as they affect our eternal salvation, as our Savior said:
Beware of false
prophets who come to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are
ravening wolves. By their fruits you
shall know them (Mt. 7:15).
We are not to
cooperate blindly in the destruction of the Church by tolerating the implementation
of a new religion or by not
doing what we can to defend our Catholic faith. Archbishop Lefebvre was surely our model here.
The Church is
in crisis. If the Pope really wants the aid of heaven, he has only to do
what God wants. A good first step would
be to take seriously all three parts of the secret of Our Lady of Fatima, and consecrate Russia as She has requested. But how
can he, when he pretends that the "fall of Communism" in the USSR is the fulfillment of Our Lady's promises and the hope of
BUT ISN'T HE INFALLIBLE
WHEN IMPOSING TEACHING ON THE CHURCH (e.g., the teaching understood by
the 1983 Code of Canon Law)?
The Pope is infallible
primarily in matters of faith and morals, and secondarily in matters of
discipline (legislation for the Universal
Church, canonizations, etc.) to the extent that these involve faith and morals (cf. Principle 4), and then only when imposing for
all time a definitive teaching.
means immutable and irreformable (Principle 6), but, the hallmark of the
conciliar Popes, like the Modernists, is
a spirit of evolution. To what extent can such minds want irreformably to define or absolutely to impose? They do not and, in
fact, "they cannot..." (Archbishop Lefebvre, Ecône, June 12, 1984). Cf. QUESTION 15, n.3.
For Pope John
Paul II, this is evident by his understanding of his own authority as presented
in Ut Unum Sint (May 25, 1995).
After summarizing the traditional teaching on the Petrine office (§§90-94) he goes on to wonder how to exercise the primacy in
the new situation of recognition of other Christians as being in partial communion with the Catholic Church (§95); how it may
"accomplish a service of love recognized by all" (ibid.), and whether we could get together with non-Catholics to learn from
them on this score (§96). This is confirmed by his acceptance of the new collegial understanding of authority (1983 Code of
Canon Law, canons 331, 336).
QUESTION 8: Return to top of page. Go to next Question.
Shouldn't we accept the 1983 Code of Canon Law?
A code is a collection
of laws, each one being an order of the competent authority: each canon
in the 1917 Code of Canon
Law was a law of Benedict XV, and each canon in the 1983 Code of Canon Law (commonly called the "New Code") is a law
of Pope John Paul II.
For Pope John
Paul II, the purpose of the 1983 Code of Canon Law is the expression of
the Second Vatican Council's new
ecclesiology (i.e., the new understanding that the Church has of her nature and mission) in canonical language, and it must be
understood always in the light of conciliar teaching.
But that particular Council adulterated Catholic teaching.
We must, therefore,
suspect the new legislation of codifying the same errors and so be ready
not to accept all its "laws," but
only those which do not evidently compromise Catholic teaching on faith or morals.
For the most part,
we may regret the loss of clarity, precision and integrity the 1917 Code
of Canon Law had, but that is
insufficient reason to reject these canons.
THERE ARE A FEW NOVELTIES, THOUGH, WHICH MUST BE REJECTED:
canon 844, §4 allows the administration of penance, anointing of the sick,
and even holy communion to non-Catholics
who manifest "Catholic faith" (vs. Principle 7) in these sacraments.
This used to be
considered a mortal sin and was gravely forbidden (1917 Code of Canon Law,
canon 731, §21) because it
implicitly denies the dogma, "Outside the Church, no salvation" (Principle 2).
This is an inadmissible surrender to modernist ecumenism.
canon 1055, §1 no longer defines marriage by its primary end, the procreation
of children, but mentions this only after a
secondary end, the good of the spouses. And this latter, as we can see in the light of annulments now given, has become
the essence of marriage: the partners give each other their whole selves (and not just "the exclusive and perpetual right
over the body of the partner as regards the acts capable in themselves of generating offspring," 1917 Code of Canon
Law, canon 1081, §2) for their self-fulfillment in wedlock (canon 1057, §2). There is considered to be no marriage
where one spouse cannot provide the other this help (canon 1095, 20 and 30, canon 1098, etc., cf. canon 1063, 40).
Whence today's annulments' fiasco: in the United States, for example, there were 338 annulments granted in 1968; there
were 59,030 in 1992.
Hence grave doubts are to be held concerning the annulments issued by Novus Ordo Tribunals.
Canon 336 codifies the collegiality of Vatican II. The "college of Bishops,"
a 20th century invention, is now made a
permanent subject, together with the Pope, of supreme and full power over the Universal Church. A bishop, moreover,
participates in this universal jurisdiction by the mere fact of his consecration (cf. canon 375, §2).
tampers with the divine constitution of the Church, derogates from the
Pope's powers, and hampers his
government of the Church (and that of the Bishops in their dioceses). "Episcopal Conferences" now assume authority, which
thus becomes impersonal and unanswerable.
These are but the most grave deficiencies; other defective points include the following:
mixed marriages (canons 1125, 1127),
diminution in censures (excommunication of freemasons, etc.),
the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas is no longer strictly enjoined in seminaries (canons 251ff), and
general absolutions are more readily available (canons 961-963, etc.).
In passing, it
is interesting to note that for Pope John Paul II the 1983 Code of Canon
Law has less weight than a conciliar
QUESTION 9: Return to top of page. Go to next Question.
Do traditional priests have jurisdiction?
In virtue of his
ordination, a priest can bless all things and even consecrate bread and
wine in such wise that they become the
very Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ. But whenever in his ministry he has to deal authoritatively with people, he
needs, over and above the power of Orders, that of Jurisdiction, which empowers him to judge and rule his flock. Jurisdiction
is, moreover, necessary for the validity itself of the sacraments of penance and matrimony.
Now, the sacraments
were given by Our Lord as the ordinary and principal means of salvation
and sanctification. The Church,
therefore, whose supreme law is the salvation of souls (1983 Code of Canon Law, canon 1752), wants the ready availability of
these sacraments, and especially penance (canon 968). The Church wants priests (canon 1026) and empowers them liberally to
hear confessions (canon 967, §2). This jurisdiction to hear confessions is to be revoked only for a grave reason (canon 974,
ordinarily given by mandate from the Pope or diocesan Bishop, or perhaps
delegated by the parish priest. The
priests of the Society of Saint Pius X do not have jurisdiction in this way. Extraordinarily, however, the Church supplies
jurisdiction without passing by the constituted authorities. This is foreseen in the 1983 Code of Canon Law:
when the faithful think the priest has a jurisdiction which he does not
have (canon 144) [common error],
when there is a probable and positive doubt that the priest has jurisdiction (canon 144),
when a priest inadvertently continues to hear confessions once his faculties have expired (canon 142, §2), and
when the penitent is in danger of death (and then even if the priest is laicised or an apostate, even though a Catholic priest
is at hand) (canons 976, 1335).
Church, wanting the ready availability of penance, extraordinarily supplies
jurisdiction in view of the needs of her
children, and it is granted all the more liberally the greater their need.
Now, the nature
of the present crisis in the Church is such that the faithful can on good
grounds feel it a moral impossibility to
approach priests having ordinary jurisdiction. And so, whenever the faithful need the graces of penance and want to receive
them from priests whose judgment and advice they can trust, they can do so, even if the priests do not ordinarily have
jurisdiction. Even a suspended priest can do this for the faithful who ask: "for any just cause whatsoever" (canon 1335). This is
even more the case if a faithful Catholic can foresee his being deprived of the true sacrament of penance from priests with
ordinary jurisdiction until he dies. Only God knows when this crisis will end.
form for marriages is foreseen in canon 1116, §1. If the couple cannot
approach their parish priest "without
serious inconvenience"-and they may consider as such his insistence on having the Novus Ordo Missae for the wedding, or their
apprehensions concerning his moral teaching in marriage instructions-and if they foresee these circumstances to last for at least a
month, then they can marry before witnesses alone, and another priest (e.g., of the Society of Saint Pius X) if possible (canon
Even if one were
to consider the above arguments as only probable, then jurisdiction would
still be certainly supplied by the
church (canon 144). And so we must answer affirmatively. Traditional priests do have a jurisdiction that is neither territorial nor
personal but supplied in view of the needs of the faithful.
QUESTION 10: Return to top of page. Go to next Question.
Can we attend the Indult Mass?
The Society of
Saint Pius X could never profit by Rome's Indult, first because of the
conditions attached to it, and, in particular,
that of acknowledging the "doctrinal and juridical" value of the Novus Ordo Missae which is impossible (see QUESTION 5);
and second, but more fundamentally, because such acceptance of the Indult would amount to saying that the Church had
lawfully suppressed the traditional Latin Mass, which is certainly not the case (cf. Principle 19).
But other priests
have profited by it, some jumping at the chance to say the traditional
Latin Mass, others only because
requested by their Bishop, and the odd one or two who would always say the traditional Latin Mass anyway but have accepted
to do so under the auspices of the Indult for "pastoral reasons."
CAN WE ATTEND THEIR MASSES?
If we have to
agree to the doctrinal and juridical value of the Novus Ordo, then NO,
for we cannot do evil that good may
This condition may not be presented explicitly, but by implication, such as:
by a priest who celebrates the Novus Ordo on other days of the week or
at other times,
using Hosts consecrated at a Novus Ordo Missae,
or with communion in the hand;
new lectionaries, Mass facing the people, etc.,
by a priest who was ordained in the New Rite,
by sermons that are modernist in inspiration (much to be feared if the celebrant habitually says the Novus Ordo Missae);
by offering only the revised forms of the other sacraments, e.g., penance.
This brings up the whole context of the Indult Mass. It is:
a ploy to keep people away from the Society of Saint Pius X (for many Bishops
allow it only where there is a Society of
Saint Pius X Mass center),
intended only for those who feel attached to the traditional Latin Mass but nevertheless accept the doctrinal rectitude and
juridical right of the Novus Ordo Missae, Vatican II, and all official orientations corresponding to these.
it because of the priest's words or fellow Mass-goers' pressure, or because
of the need to pander to the
local Bishop just to have it, inevitably pushes one to keep quiet on "divisive issues" and, distance oneself from those who do not
keep quiet i.e., it pushes one to join the ranks of those who are destroying the church. This one cannot do (cf., also
The Indult Mass, therefore, is not for traditional Catholics.
QUESTION 11: Return to top of page. Go to next Question.
for consecrating bishops unlawfully?
June 29, 1987:
Archbishop Lefebvre, experiencing failing health and seeing no other way
of assuring the continued ordination of
truly Catholic priests, decided to consecrate Bishops and announced that, if necessary, he will do so even without the Pope's
June 17, 1988:
Cardinal Gantin, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, officially warned
the Archbishop that, in virtue of
canon 1382 (1983 Code of Canon Law), he and the bishops consecrated by him would be excommunicated for proceeding
without pontifical mandate and thereby infringing the laws of sacred discipline.
June 30, 1988: Archbishop Lefebvre, together with Bishop de Castro Mayer, consecrated four bishops.
July 1, 1988:
Cardinal Gantin declared the threatened excommunication (according to canon
1382) to have been incurred. He
also called the consecrations a schismatic act and declared the corresponding excommunication (canon 1364 §1), as well as
threatening anyone supporting the consecrations with excommunication because of "schism."
July 2, 1988:
In Ecclesia Dei Afflicta, the Pope repeated Cardinal Gantin's accusation
of schismatic mentality and threatened
generalized excommunications. (See QUESTION 12.)
Now, the excommunication warned of on June 17, for abuse of episcopal powers (canon 1382), was not incurred because:
1) A person who
violates a law out of necessity is not subject to a penalty (1983 Code
of Canon Law, canon 1323, §4), even
if there is no state of necessity:
if one inculpably thought there was, he would not incur the penalty (canon
and if one culpably thought there was, he would still incur no automatic penalties (canon 1324, §3; §1, 80).
2) No penalty
is ever incurred without committing a subjective mortal sin (canons 1321
§1, 1323 70). Now, Archbishop
Lefebvre made it amply clear that he was bound in conscience to do what he could do to continue the Catholic priesthood and
that he was obeying God in going ahead with the consecrations. Hence, even if he had been wrong, there would be no
3) Most importantly,
positive law is at the service of the natural and eternal law and ecclesiastical
law is at that of the divine law
(Principle 8). No "authority," can force a bishop to compromise in his teaching of Catholic faith or administering of Catholic
sacraments. No "law," can force him to cooperate in the destruction of the Church. With Rome giving no guarantee of
preserving Catholic Tradition, Archbishop Lefebvre had to do what he could with his God-given episcopal powers to guarantee
its preservation. It was his duty as a bishop.
4) The Church's
approving the Society of Saint Pius X (QUESTION 2) allow it what it needs
for its own preservation. This
includes the service of bishops who will guarantee to maintain Catholic tradition.
QUESTION 12: Return to top of page. Go to next Question.
Isn't the Society of Saint Pius X schismatic?
Lefebvre (along with his co-consecrator and the four bishops whom he consecrated)
excommunicated also for
having done a "schismatic act"?
No. A first argument is that already given (QUESTION 11, 10).
constitutes a schismatic act?-Not the mere deed of consecrating bishops
without pontifical mandate. The
1983 Code of Canon Law itself lists this offense under Title 3 (abuse of ecclesiastical powers) and not under Title 1 (offenses
against religion and the unity of the Church) of its penal section (Book 6).
Nor would it be
a "schismatic act" to consecrate against the express wish of the Holy Father.
That could amount to
disobedience at most. But disobedience does not amount to schism; Schism requires that one not recognize the authority of the
pope to command; disobedience consists in not obeying a command, whilst still acknowledging the authority of the one
commanding. "The child who says 'I won't!' to his mother does not deny that she is his mother."
Lefebvre always recognized the Pope's authority (proved by his consultations
with Rome for a solution to the
current problems) and so does the Society of Saint Pius X. (See, for example, its support for Pope John Paul's Ordinatio
Sacerdotalis against women priests.)
bishop without pontifical mandate would be a schismatic act if one pretended
to confer not just the fullness of
the priesthood but also jurisdiction, a governing power over a particular flock. Only the Pope, who has universal jurisdiction
over the whole Church, can appoint a pastor to a flock and empower him to govern it. But Archbishop Lefebvre never
presumed to confer anything but the full priestly powers of Orders, and in no way did he grant any jurisdiction (which he himself
did not have personally to give).
As for the Faithful,
threatened by Pope John Paul II himself with excommunication if they adhere
formally to the schism
(Ecclesia Dei Afflicta, July 2, 1988), do they indeed incur any excommunication for going to Society of Saint Pius X priests for
Not at all. The
Society of Saint Pius X priests are neither excommunicated nor schismatics.
This being so, how could any of the
faithful who approach them incur these penalties? Besides:
Excommunication is a penalty for those who commit certain crimes with full moral guilt, not a contagious disease!
On May 1, 1991,
Bishop Ferrario of Hawaii "excommuni-cated" certain Catholics of his diocese
for attending Masses
celebrated by priests of the Society of Saint Pius X, and receiving a bishop of the Society of Saint Pius X to confer the
sacrament of Confirmation. Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, overturned this
From the examination
of the case...it did not result that the facts referred to in the above-mentioned
decree, are formal
schismatic acts in the strict sense, as they do not constitute the offense of schism; and therefore the Congregation holds that the
Decree of May 1, 1991, lacks foundation and hence validity (June 28, 1993).
QUESTION 13: Return to top of page. Go to next Question.
What are we to think of the Fraternity of Saint Peter?
Since the introduction
of the new sacramental rites, Rome had allowed no Society or Congregation
exclusive use of the older
rites. Then on June 30, 1988, Archbishop Lefebvre consecrated four bishops to ensure the survival of the traditional priesthood
and sacraments, and especially of the traditional Latin Mass. Suddenly, within two days, Pope John Paul II recognized the
"rightful aspirations" (for these things) of those who wouldn't support Archbishop Lefebvre's stance, and offered to give to them
what he had always refused the Archbishop. A dozen or so priests of the Society of Saint Pius X accepted this "good will" and
broke away to found the Society of Saint Peter.
The Society of Saint Peter is founded upon more than questionable principles, for the following reasons:
(i) It accepts that the conciliar Church has the power:
to take away the Mass of all time (for the Novus Ordo Missae is not another
form of this, QUESTION 5),
to grant it to those only who accept the same conciliar Church's novel orientations (in life, belief, structures),
to declare non-Catholic those who deny this by word or deed, and,
to professes itself in a certain way in communion with anyone calling himself "Christian," and yet to declare itself out of
communion with Catholics whose sole crime is wanting to remain Catholic.
(ii) In practice,
the priests of the Society of Saint Peter, having recourse to a Novus Ordo
bishop willing to permit the traditional
ritesand willing to ordain their candidates, they are forced to abandon the fight against the new religion which is being installed:
they reject the Novus Ordo Missae only because it is not their "spirituality"
and claim the traditional Latin Mass only in
virtue of their "charism" acknowledged them by the Pope,
they seek to ingratiate themselves with the local bishops, praising them for the least sign of Catholic spirit and keeping
quiet on their modernist deviations, even though by doing so they end up encouraging them along their wrong path, and
note, for example, the Society of Saint Peter's whole-hearted acceptance of the Catechism of the Catholic Church
(QUESTION 14), acceptance of Novus Ordo professors in their seminaries, and blanket acceptance of Vatican II's
orthodoxy (QUESTION 6).
They are therefore conciliar Catholics and not traditional Catholics.
This being so, attending their Mass is:
accepting the compromise on which they are based,
accepting the direction taken by the conciliar Church and the consequent destruction of the Catholic Faith and practices,
accepting, in particular, the lawfulness and doctrinal soundness of the Novus Ordo Missae and Vatican II.
That is why a Catholic ought not to attend their Masses.
QUESTION 14: Return to top of page. Go to next Question.
What are we to
think of the new
Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992)?
illustrates the fundamental differences between the Society of Saint Pius
X and the conciliar "traditionalists" or
conservatives. These latter are often seen defending both the traditional Latin Mass and the "new"Catechism but not openly
attacking either the Novus Ordo Missae or Vatican II. The Society of Saint Pius X on the other hand defends the traditional
catechisms and therefore the traditional Latin Mass, and so attacks the Novus Ordo Missae, Vatican II and the "new"
Catechism, all of which more or less undermine our unchangeable Catholic faith.
defend the Catechism of the Catholic Church for its re-affirmation of teachings
silenced or denied by outrightly
modernist catechisms; the Society of Saint Pius X rejects it though because it is an attempt to formalize and propagate the
teachings of Vatican II. Pope John Paul II agrees with this:
was also indispensable, in order that all the richness of the teaching
of the Church following the Second Vatican
Council could be preserved in a new synthesis and be given a new direction.
One need but consider
the 806 citations from Vatican II, a number which amounts on average to
one citation every
three-and-a-half paragraphs throughout the 2,865 paragraphs of the. Catechism
In particular, the novelties of Vatican II appear in the following paragraphs:
an infatuation with the dignity of man (§§225; 369; 1700; 1929...),
such that we may hope for the salvation of all the baptized (§§1682ff),
even non-Catholics (§818),
or those who commit suicide (§2283),
and of all the unbaptised, whether adults (§847),
or infants (§1261);
which is the basis of all rights (§§1738; 1930; 1935) including that of religious liberty (§§2106ff),
and the motive of all morality (§1706; 1881; 2354; 2402; 2407, etc.),
a commitment to ecumenism (§820f; 1399; 1401) because all religions are instruments of salvation (§§819; 838-843;
over-emphasis on the priesthood of the faithful (§§873; 1547; 1140ff, etc.).
Now, just as he
who denies but one article of Faith loses the Faith (cf., Principle 7),
so a teacher who errs on one point alone
proves himself fallible, and, renders all he teaches questionable.
Just as the Second
Vatican Council is not an authority to quote even where it propounds Catholic
teaching (it does not do so
infallibly and clearly), so this Catechism is not an authority of Catholic belief because of the modern deviations which it
Those who defend this catechism are supporting the innovations of Vatican II.
QUESTION 15: Return to top of page. Go to appendix 1:
What of the sedevacantists?
In the face of
the scandal of a Pope who can sign Dignitatis Humanae, radically change
the liturgy of the Mass, codify a new
ecclesiology, or make himself the protagonist for an aberrant ecumenism, etc., some have concluded that the last Popes cannot
have been true Popes, or else that they have lost the pontificate because of such scandals. They refer to the discussions of the
great counter-Reformation theologians on the loss of the pontificate (through abdication, insanity, heresy, etc.) and argue thus:
He who is not a member of the Church can't be its head.
but a heretic is not a member of the Church,
now, Pope John XXIII, Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul I and Pope John Paul II are heretics,
therefore, they are neither members nor head of the Church,
and so all their acts are to be completely ignored.
But then again,
the argument continues, the same scandals are true of all the world's diocesan
bishops, who are also
consequently non-members without authority; and the Catholic Church must be identified only with those who have not
compromised the Faith and who refuse communion with these "Popes" or "Bishops." A minority of these will elect their own
strength is in the real scandal of the conciliar authorities' impetus given
to the Church's "new direction"; its
weakness is in not being able to prove that any of these authorities are formal heretics.
You are a "material" heretic without knowing it if you objectively contradict
what God has said but through no fault of
you are a "formal" heretic if you do pertinaciously contradict what God has said, i.e., knowing that you're denying what
God has said and wanting to do this anyway.
Now, the ordinary
way for the Church to ascertain pertinacity and enforce the consequences
of one's heresy by either
excommunication and/or loss of office, is through authoritative monitions to the delinquent which he spurns (1983 Code of
Canon Law, canon 2314, §1). But nobody can authoritatively admonish the Pope (canon 1556), and the Bishops can only be
admonished by their superior, the Pope (canon 1557), who has not done so.
Therefore, pertinacity, and so formal heresy, cannot be proven.
But could pertinacity
not be presumed from the insistence of these Popes on the new ways, and
this in the face of all tradition
and its present-day witnesses? Perhaps; but not socially i.e., as regards loss of office, etc., which must not be presumed but
proven, otherwise societies would collapse.
The argument does
not prove its point, and becomes less probable when you consider that there
are other explanations for the
"material heretic" Pope [a)-see below], and it becomes quite improbable when you consider its dangers b) or consequences c).
a) The liberal
mind-set of a Pope Paul VI or a Pope John Paul II can be an explanation
of their wanting to be Catholics and
their simultaneous betrayal in practice of Catholicism. They accept contradictions; with a subjective and evolutive mentality, this
is to be expected. But such a frame of mind can be convinced of heresy only by way of authority....
(b) The Church
is indefectible (Principle 3) not only in her faith and means of sanctification,
but also in her monarchical
constitution (Principle 4), comprising governing power i.e., jurisdiction, hence Vatican I's profession that Peter will have
Now, we can understand a break in the line of Popes from the death of one to the election of the next, and that it may drag on.
But is indefectibility
preserved if there is no Pope since 1962 or if there is no one with ordinary
jurisdiction whom the
sedevacantists can point out as such?
The Church is
Visible (Principle 3) and not just a society composed of those who are
joined by interior bonds (state of grace,
same faith,...). A society is recognized and maintained as such by its authority (its efficient cause).
c) If the Church
has not had a Pope since the days of Vatican II, then there are no more
Cardinals legitimately created. But then
how is the Church to get a Pope again, as the current discipline grants only to Cardinals the power to elect a Pope?
The Church could
have ordained that non-Cardinal "electors of the Pope" be capable of doing
it, but we cannot go by any other
way than the current discipline which ordains that Cardinals elect him.
A few sedevacantists hold that he has been or will be directly designated by private revelation from heaven.
There are spiritual consequences of sedevacantism:
Sedevacantism is a theological opinion, and not a certitude. To treat it
as a certitude leads to condemning with temerity
traditional Catholics who disagree;
it leads to one's recognizing no spiritual superiors on earth. Each becomes,
in practice, his own little "pope," the
rule of faith and orthodoxy, the judge of the validity of sacraments.
This being so,
we ought not to associate with, or, receive the sacraments from them, most
especially if they set up
sedevacantism as a certitude which all have to accept.
APPENDIX I Return to top of page. Go to next addendix.
DECLARATION OF ARCHBISHOP LEFEBVRE
(Ecône, November 21, 1974)
We hold fast,
with all our heart and with all our soul, to Catholic Rome, Guardian of
the Catholic faith and of the traditions
necessary to preserve this faith, to Eternal Rome, Mistress of wisdom and truth.
We refuse, on
the other hand, and have always refused to follow the Rome of neo-Modernist
and neo-Protestant tendencies
which were clearly evident in the Second Vatican Council and, after the Council, in all the reforms which issued from it.
All these reforms,
indeed, have contributed and are still contributing to the destruction
of the Church, to the ruin of the
priesthood, to the abolition of the Sacrifice of the Mass and of the sacraments, to the disappearance of religious life, to a
naturalist and Teilhardian teaching in universities, seminaries and catechectics; a teaching derived from Liberalism and
Protestantism, many times condemned by the solemn Magisterium of the Church.
not even the highest in the hierarchy, can force us to abandon or diminish
our Catholic faith, so clearly expressed
and professed by the Church's Magisterium for nineteen centuries.
"But though we,"
says St. Paul, "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 it not this
that the Holy Father is repeating to us today? And if we can discern a
certain contradiction in his words and deeds,
as well as in those of the dicasteries, well we choose what was always taught and we turn a deaf ear to the novelties destroying
It is impossible
to modify profoundly the lex orandi without modifying the lex credendi.
To the Novus Ordo Missae
correspond a new catechism, a new priesthood, new seminaries, a charismatic Pentecostal Church-all things opposed to
orthodoxy and the perennial teaching of the Church.
born of Liberalism and Modernism, is poisoned through and through; it derives
from heresy and ends in
heresy, even if all its acts are not formally heretical. It is therefore impossible for any conscientious and faithful Catholic to
espouse this Reformation or to submit to it in any way whatsoever.
The only attitude
of faithfulness to the Church and Catholic doctrine, in view of our salvation,
is a categorical refusal to accept
That is why, without
any spirit of rebellion, bitterness or resentment, we pursue our work of
forming priests, with the timeless
Magisterium as our guide. We are persuaded that we can render no greater service to the Holy Catholic Church, to the
Sovereign Pontiff and to posterity.
That is why we
hold fast to all that has been believed and practiced in the faith, morals,
liturgy, teaching of the catechism,
formation of the priest and institution of the Church, by the Church of all time; to all these things as codified in those books
which saw day before the Modernist influence of the Council. This we shall do until such time that the true light of Tradition
dissipates the darkness obscuring the sky of Eternal Rome.
By doing this,
with the grace of God and the help of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and that
of St. Joseph and St. Pius X, we are
assured of remaining faithful to the Roman Catholic Church and to all the successors of Peter, and of being the fideles
dispensatores mysteriorum Domini Nostri Jesu Christi in Spiritu Sancto. Amen.
APPENDIX II Return to top of page. Go to next addendix.
CATHOLIC DOGMA IN GENERAL
Denzinger, Henry, The Sources of Catholic Dogma. Marion House, 1957.
Ott, Ludwigg, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma. TAN Books and Publishers, 1974.
Pope St. Pius X, The Catechism of Pope St. Pius X. Instauratio Press, 1993.
The Catechism of the Council of Trent. TAN Books and Publishers, 1982.
THE CRISIS IN THE CHURCH
Amerio, Romano, Iota Unum: A Study of Changes in the Catholic Church in the 20th Century. Sarto House, 1996.
De Proenca Sigaud, Bishop Gerald, What Vatican II Should Have Done. Angelus Press, 1996.
Lefebvre, Archbishop Marcel, A Bishop Speaks. Angelus Press, 1987.
Lefebvre, Archbishop Marcel, Against the Heresies. Angelus Press, 1997.
Lefebvre, Archbishop Marcel, Open Letter to Confused Catholics. Angelus Press, 1986.
Lefebvre, Archbishop Marcel, They Have Uncrowned Him. Angelus Press, 1988.
ARCHBISHOP LEFEBVRE AND SOCIETY OF SAINT PIUS X
Angelés, Fr. Ramón,
The Validity of Confessions and Marriages in the Chapels of the Society
of Saint Pius X. The
Society of Saint Pius X, 1997.
Davies, Michael, Apologia Pro Marcel Lefebvre, Part I. Angelus Press, 1979.
Hanu, Jose, Vatican Encounter. Sheed Andrews & McMeel, 1978.
Laisney, Fr. François, Archbishop Lefebvre and the Vatican. Angelus Press, 1988.
Nemeth, Charles P., The Case of Archbishop Lefebvre: Trial by Canon Law. Angelus Press, 1994.
Pivert, Fr. François, Schism or Not? The 1988 Episcopal Consecrations of Archbishop Lefebvre. Angelus Press, 1995.
Tissier de Mallerais, Bishop Bernard, Supplied Jurisdiction and Traditional Priests. Angelus Press, 1993.
Various authors, Is Tradition Excommunicated? Angelus Press, 1993.
THE SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL
Davies, Michael, Pope John's Council. Angelus Press, 1980.
Davies, Michael, The Second Vatican Council and Religious Liberty. Neumann Press, 1992.
Fr. Pierre-Marie, Religious Liberty: Is Dignitatis Humanae Compatible with Tradition? Pace Print, 1994.
Lefebvre, Archbishop Marcel, I Accuse the Council. Angelus Press, 1982.
Schillebeeckx, E., Vatican II: The Real Achievement. Sheed & Ward, 1967.
Schmidberger, Fr. Franz, The Catholic Church and Vatican II. Angelus Press, 1996.
Wiltgen, Ralph, The Rhine Flows into the Tiber. Hawthorn Books, 1967.
THE NEW ORDER OF MASS
Davies, Michael, Pope Paul's New Mass. Angelus Press, 1980.
Davies, Michael, The Barbarians Have Taken Over. Angelus Press, 1985.
Davies, Michael, The New Mass. Angelus Press, 1980.
Ottaviani and Baccii, Cardinals, Short Critical Study of the New Order of Mass. TAN Books and Publishers, 1992.
POPE JOHN PAUL II
Dörmann, Fr. Johannes,
Pope John Paul II's Theological Journey to the Prayer Meeting of Religions
in Assisi; Part I
(From the Second Vatican Council to the Papal Elections). Angelus Press, 1994
Dörmann, Fr. Johannes,
Pope John Paul II's Theological Journey to the Prayer Meeting of Religions
in Assisi; Part II,
Volume I (The "Trinitarian Trilogy"). Angelus Press, 1996.
Le Roux, Daniel, Peter, Lovest Thou Me? Instauratio Press, 1989.
Return To Main Menu
APPENDIX IV Return to top of page.
On the Occasion
of his Sacerdotal Jubilee
(September 23, 1979)
My dear brethren,
Allow me before
beginning the few words which I would like to address to you on the occasion
of this beautiful ceremony, to
thank all those who have contributed to its magnificent success,
had thought of celebrating my sacerdotal jubilee in a private, discreet
manner at the altar which is the heart of
Ecône, but the beloved clergy of St. Nicholas du Chardonnet and the beloved priests who surround me, invited me with such
insistence to permit all those who desired to unite themselves in my thanksgiving and my prayer on the occasion of this
sacerdotal jubilee, that I could not refuse and that is why we are gathered here today-so great in numbers, so diverse in
origin-having come from America, from all European countries which are yet free. Here we are united for the occasion of this
How then could
I define this gathering, this manifestation, this ceremony? homage, a homage
to your faith in the Catholic
priesthood, and in the holy Catholic Mass. I truly believe that it is for this reason that you have come, in order to manifest your
attachment to the Catholic Church and to the most beautiful treasure, to the most sublime gift which God has given to man: the
priesthood, and the priesthood for sacrifice, for the Sacrifice of Our Lord continued upon our altars.
This is why you
have come; this is why we are surrounded today by these beloved priests
who have come from everywhere and
many more would have come were it not a Sunday, for they are held, by their obligations to celebrate Holy Mass in their
parishes, and they have told us so.
I would like to
trace, if you will permit me, some scenes to which I have been a witness
during the course of this half century, in
order to show more clearly the importance which the Mass of the Catholic Church holds in our life, in the life of a priest, in the
life of a bishop, and in the life of the Church.
As a young seminarian
at Santa Chiara, the French Seminary in Rome, they used to teach us attachment
to liturgical ceremonies.
I had, during that time, the privilege of being a ceremoniaire, that which we call a "master of ceremonies," having been
preceded no less in this office by His Grace Msgr. Lebrune, the former Bishop of Autun, and by His Grace Msgr. Ancel, who is
still the Auxiliary Bishop of Lyons. I was therefore a master of ceremonies under the direction of the beloved Fr. Haegy, known
for his profound knowledge of the liturgy. We loved to prepare the altar; we loved to prepare the ceremonies and we were
already imbued with the spirit of the feast the eve of the day when a great ceremony was to take place upon our altars. We
understood therefore, as young seminarians, to love the altar.
decorem domus tuae et gloriam habitionis tuae. This is the verse which
we recite during the Lavabo at the
altar: "Lord I have loved Thy house and the glory of Thy dwelling."
This is what they
taught us at the French Seminary in Rome under the direction of the dear
and Reverend Fr. LeFloch, a well
loved Father, who taught us to see clearly the events of the time through his commentaries on the encyclicals of the popes.
I was ordained
a priest in the Chapel of the Sacred Heart de la rue Royale in Lille on
September 21, 1929, by the then
Archbishop Liénart. I left shortly afterwards-two years afterwards-for the missions to join my brother who was already there in
Gabon. There I began to learn what the Mass truly is.
Certainly I knew
by the studies which we had done, what this great mystery of our Faith
was, but I had not yet understood its
entire value, efficacy and depth. This I learned day by day, year by year, in Africa, and particularly in Gabon, where I spent 13
years of my missionary life, first at the seminary and then in the bush among the Africans, with the natives.
There I saw-yes,
I saw-what the grace of the Holy Mass could do. I saw it in the holy souls
of some of our catechists. I saw it
in those pagan souls transformed by the grace of baptism, transformed by assistance at Holy Mass, and by the Holy Eucharist.
These souls understood the mystery of the Sacrifice of the Cross and united themselves to Our Lord Jesus Christ in the
sufferings of His Cross, offering their sacrifices and their sufferings with Our Lord Jesus Christ, and living as Christians.
I can cite names:
Paul Ossima de Ndjolé, Eugene Ndonc de Lambaréné, Marcel Mable de Donguila,
and I will continue with a
name from Senegal, Mr. Forster, Treasurer-Paymaster in Senegal, chosen for this delicate and important function by his peers
and even by the Moslems due to his honesty and integrity. These are some of the men produced by the grace of the Mass. They
assisted at the Mass daily, communicating with great fervor and they have become models and the light of those about them.
This is just to list a few without counting the many Christians transformed by this grace.
I was able to
see these pagan villages become Christian, being transformed not only,
I would say, spiritually and supernaturally,
but also being transformed physically, socially, economically and politically. Because these people-pagans that they
were-became cognizant of the necessity of fulfilling their duties, in spite of trials, in spite of the sacrifices of maintaining their
commitments, particularly their commitment in marriage. Then the village began to be transformed little by little under the
influence of grace, under the influence of the grace of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Soon all the villages were wanting to have
one of the Fathers visit them. Oh, the visit of a missionary! They waited impatiently to assist at the Holy Mass in order to be
able to confess their sins and then to receive Holy Communion.
Some of these
souls also consecrated themselves to God: nuns, priests, brothers, giving
themselves to God, consecrating
themselves to God. There you have the fruit of the Holy Mass.
Why did all this happen?
It is necessary that we study somewhat the profound motive of this transformation: sacrifice.
The notion of
sacrifice is a profoundly Christian and a profoundly Catholic notion. Our
life cannot be spent without sacrifice,
since Our Lord Jesus Christ, God Himself, willed to take a body like our own and say to us: "Follow Me, take up thy cross and
follow Me if thou wilt be saved." And He has given us the example of His death upon the Cross; He has shed His Blood.
Would we then dare-we, His miserable creatures, sinners that we are-not to follow Our Lord in pursuit of His Sacrifice, in
pursuit of His Cross?
There is the entire
mystery of Christian civilization. There is that which is the root of Christian
civilization: the comprehension of
sacrifice in one's life, in daily life, the understanding of Christian suffering, no longer considering suffering as an evil, as an
unbearable sorrow, but sharing one's sufferings and one's sickness with the sufferings of Our Lord Jesus Christ, in looking upon
His Cross, in assisting at the Holy Mass, which is the continuation of the Passion of Our Lord upon Calvary.
suffering becomes a joy and a treasure because these sufferings, if united
to those of Our Lord, if united to
those of all the martyrs, of all Catholics, of all the faithful who suffer in this world, if. united to the Cross of Our Lord, they, then
become an inexpressible treasure, a treasure unutterable, and achieve an extraordinary capacity for the conversion of other
souls and the salvation of our own. Many holy souls, Christians, have even desired to suffer in order to unite themselves more
closely to the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ. There you have Christian civilization:
Blessed are those who suffer for righteousness sake.
Blessed are the poor.
Blessed are the meek.
Blessed are the merciful.
Blessed are the peace-makers.
These are the teachings of the Cross; it is this that Our Lord Jesus Christ teaches us by His Cross.
civilization, penetrating to the depths of nations only recently pagan,
has transformed them, and impelled them to
desire and thus to choose Catholic heads of state. I myself have known and aided the leaders of these Catholic countries. Their
Catholic peoples desired to have Catholic leaders so that even their governments and all the laws of their land might be
submissive to the laws of Our Lord Jesus Christ and to the Ten Commandments.
If, in the past,
France-said to be Catholic-had truly fulfilled the role of a Catholic power,
she would have supported these
colonized lands in their new-found Faith. Had she done so, their lands would not now be menaced by Communism, and Africa
would not be what it is today. The fault does not so much lie with the Africans themselves as with the colonial powers, which
did not understand how to avail themselves of this Christian faith which had rooted itself among the African peoples. With a
proper understanding they would have been able to exercise a brotherly influence among these nations by helping them to keep
the Faith and exclude Communism,
If we look back
through history, we see immediately that what I have been speaking of took
place in bur own countries in the
first centuries after Constantine. For we too, are, in our origins, converts. Our ancestors were converted, our kings were
converted, and down through the centuries they offered their nations to Our Lord Jesus Christ, and they submitted their
countries to the Cross of Jesus. They willed too that Mary should be the Queen of their lands.
One can read the
admirable writings of St. Edward, King of England, of St. Louis, King of
France, of the Holy Roman Emperor
St. Henry, of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, and of all the saints who were at the head of our Catholic nations and who thus helped
to make Christianity.
What faith they
had in the Holy Mass! King St. Louis of France served two Masses every
day. If he was traveling and
happened to hear church bells ringing to announce the consecration, he would dismount to adore on bended knee the miracle
being performed at that moment. There indeed was Catholic civilization! How far from such faith we are now, how far indeed!
There is another
event which we are bound to mention after these pictures of Christian civilization
in Africa, and in our own
history, that of France particularly. A recent event, an event in the life of the Church, and an important event: the Second
Vatican Council. We are obliged to declare that the enemies of the Church knew very well, perhaps better than we, what the
value of just one Mass is. There was a poem once written on this subject in which one finds words attributed to Satan showing
how he trembles each time a Mass, a true Catholic Mass, is celebrated because he is thus reminded of the memory of the
Cross, and he knows well that it was by the Cross that he was vanquished. The enemies of the Church who perform
sacrilegious masses in the well-known sects, and the Communists, too, know what value is to be had from one Mass, one true
I was recently
told that in Poland the Communist Party through their "Inspectors of Religion,"
keep under surveillance those
priests in Poland who say the Old Mass but leave alone those who say the New. They persecute those who say the Old Mass,
the Mass of All Time. A foreign priest visiting Poland may say what Mass he pleases in order to give the impression of freedom,
but the Polish priests who decide to hold firm to Tradition are persecuted.
I read recently
a document about the PAX movement which was communicated to us in June
of 1963 in the name of Card.
Wyszynski. This document told us:
You think we have
freedom, you are made to think that we have it, and it is the priests affiliated
with PAX, who are friends of
the Communist government, who spread these ideas abroad because they are propagandists for the government, as is even the
progressive French press. But it is not true; we are not free.
gave precise details. He said that in the youth camps organized by the
Communists the children were kept
behind barbed wire on Sundays to keep them from going to Mass. He told, too, how vacation hideaways organized by the
Catholic priests were surveilled from helicopters to see if the youth were going to Mass. Why, why this need to spy upon
children on their way to Mass? Because they know that the Mass is absolutely anti-Communist and, how indeed could it be
otherwise? For what is Communism if not "all for the Party and all for the Revolution"? The Mass, on the other hand, is "all for
God." Not at all the same thing is it?
All for God! This is the Catholic Mass, opposed as it is to the program of the Party, which is a Satanic program.
You know well
that we are all tested, that we are all beset with difficulties in our
lives, in our earthly existence. We all have the
need to know why we suffer, why these trials and sorrows, why these Catholics are lying sick in their beds; the hospitals are full
of sick people. Why?
responds: to unite my sufferings to those of Our Lord on the altar, to
unite them on the altar and through that act
to participate in the work of redemption, to merit for myself and for other souls the joy of heaven.
Now it was during
the Council that the enemies of the Church infiltrated Her, and their first
objective was to demolish and
destroy the Mass insofar as they could. You can read the books of Michael Davies, an English Catholic, who has written
magnificent works which demonstrate how the liturgical reform of Vatican II closely resembles that produced under Cranmer at
the birth of English Protestantism. If one reads the history of that liturgical transformation, made also by Luther, one sees that
now it is exactly the same procedure which is being slowly followed and to all appearances, still apparently good and Catholic.
But it is just that character of the Mass which is sacrificial and redemptive of sin, through the Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ,
which they have removed. They have made of the Mass a simple assembly, one among others, merely presided over by the
priest. That is not the Mass!
It is not surprising
that the Cross no longer triumphs, because the sacrifice no longer triumphs.
It is not surprising that men think
no longer of anything but raising their standard of living, that they seek only money, riches, pleasures, comfort, and the easy
ways of this world. They have lost the sense of sacrifice.
What does it remain
for us to do, my dear brethren, if in this manner we deepen our understanding
of the great mystery which is
the Mass? Well, I think I can say what we should have: a crusade! A crusade supported by the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, by
the Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, by that invincible rock, that inexhaustible source of grace, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
This we see every
day. You are here because you love the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. And
these young seminarians who are in
the seminary in Ecône, the United States, and Germany-why do they come into our seminaries? For the Holy Mass, for the
Holy Mass of All Time which is the source of grace, the source of the Holy Ghost, the source of Christian civilization; that is the
reason for the priest.
It is necessary
that we undertake a crusade, a crusade which is based precisely upon these
notions of immutability, of sacrifice,
in order to recreate Christianity, to reestablish a Christendom such as the Church desires, such as She has always done, with the
same principles, the same Sacrifice of the Mass, the same sacraments, the same catechism, the same Holy Scripture. We must
recreate this Christendom! It is to you, my dear brethren, you who are the salt of the earth and the light of the world, that our
Lord Jesus Christ addressed Himself in saying: "Do not lose the fruit of My Blood, do not abandon My Calvary, do not
abandon My Sacrifice." And the Virgin Mary who stands beneath the Cross, tells you the same thing as well. She, whose heart
is pierced, full of sufferings and sorrow, yet at the same time filled with the joy of uniting herself to the Sacrifice of her Divine
Son; she says to you as well: "Let us be Christians; let us be Catholics."
Let us not be
borne away by all these worldly ideas, by all these currents of thought
which are in the world, and which draw us
to sin and to hell. If we want to go to heaven we must follow Our Lord Jesus Christ. We must carry our cross and follow Our
Lord Jesus Christ, imitating Him in His Cross, in His suffering, in His Sacrifice.
Thus I ask the
youth, the young people who are here in this hall, to ask us to explain
to them these things that are so beautiful
and so great, so as to choose their vocations, whatever be the calling that they may elect-be they priests or religious men and
women, or married by the Sacrament of Matrimony, and, therefore, in the Cross of Jesus Christ, and in the Blood of Jesus
Christ, married in the grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Let them comprehend the greatness of matrimony, and let them prepare
themselves worthily for it-by purity and chastity, by prayer and reflection. Let them not be carried away by all the passions
which engulf the world. Thus let this be the crusade of the young who must aspire to the true ideal.
Let it be as well
a crusade for Christian families. You Christian families who are here,
consecrate yourselves to the Heart of
Jesus, to the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Oh, pray together in the family! I know that many
of those among you already do so, but may there always be more and more of you who do so with fervor. Let Our Lord truly
reign in your homes!
Cast away, I beg
of you, anything which impedes children from entering your family. There
is no greater gift that the Good God
can bestow upon your hearths than to have many children. Have big families. it is the glory of the Catholic Church-the large
family! It has been so in Canada, it has been so in Holland, it has been so in Switzerland and it has been so in
France-everywhere the large family was the joy and prosperity of the Church. There are that many more chosen souls for
heaven! Therefore do not limit, I beg you, the gifts of God; do not listen to these abominable slogans which destroy the family,
which ruin health, which ruin the household, and provoke divorce.
And I wish that,
in these troubled times, in this degenerate urban atmosphere in which we
are living, that you return to the land
whenever possible. The land is healthy; the land teaches one to know God; the land draws one to God; it calms temperaments,
characters, and encourages the children to work.
And if it is necessary,
yes, you yourselves will make the school for your children. If the schools
should corrupt your children,
what are you going to do? Deliver them to the corrupters? To those who teach these abominable sexual practices in the
schools? To the so-called "Catholic" schools run by religious men and women where they simply teach sin? In reality that is
what they are teaching to the children: they corrupt them from their tenderest youth. Are you to put up with that? It is
inconceivable! Rather that your children be poor-that they be removed from this apparent science that the world possesses-but
that they be good children, Christian children, Catholic children, who love their holy religion, who love to pray, and who love to
work; children who love the earth which the Good God has made.
Finally, a crusade
as well for heads of families. You who are the head of your household,
you have a grave responsibility in your
countries. You do not have the right to let your country be invaded by Socialism and Communism! You do not have the right, or
else you are no longer Catholic! You must fight at the time of elections in order that you may have Catholic mayors,, Catholic
deputies, so that France finally may become Catholic again. That is not mere politics, that is to wage a good, campaign, a
campaign such as was waged by the saints, such as was waged the popes who opposed Attila, such as was waged by St.
Remy who converted Clovis, such as was waged by Joan of Arc who saved France from Protestantism. If Joan of Arc had not
been raised up in France we would all be Protestants! It was in order to keep France Catholic that Our Lord raised up Joan of
Arc, that child of seventeen years, who drove the English out of France. That, too, is waging a political campaign.
Surely then this
is the sort of politics which we desire: the politics of the royalty of
Our Lord Jesus Christ. Just a few moments
ago you were heard to chant: Christus vincit, Christus regnat, Christus imperat. Are these but words, mere lyrics, mere
chants? No! It is necessary that they be a reality. You heads of the family, you are the ones responsible for such realization,
both for your children and for the generations which are to come. Thus you should organize yourselves now, conduct meetings
and hear yourselves out, with the object that France become once again Christian, once again Catholic, It is not impossible,
otherwise one would have to say that the grace of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is no longer grace, that God is no longer God,
that Our Lord Jesus Christ is no longer Our Lord Jesus Christ. One must have confidence in the grace of Our Lord Who is
all-powerful. I have seen this grace at work in Africa. There is no reason why it will not work as well here in these countries.
This is the message I wanted to tell you today.
And you, dear
priests, who hear me now, you too must make a profound sacerdotal union
to spread this crusade, to animate
this crusade in order that Jesus reign, that Our, Lord reign. And to do that you must be holy. You must seek after sanctity and
manifest it to others, this holiness, this grace which acts in your souls and in your hearts, this grace which you receive by the
Sacrament of Holy Eucharist and by the Holy Mass which you offer, which you alone are capable of offering.
I shall finish,
my dearly beloved brethren, by what I shall call my testament. Testament-that
is a very profound word-because I
want it to be the echo of the testament of Our Lord: Novi et aeterni testamenti.
Novi et aeterni
testamenti-it is the priest who recites these words at the consecration
of the Precious Blood-Hic est enim
calix Sanguinis mei: novi et aeterni testamenti. This inheritance which Jesus Christ gave to us, it is His Sacrifice, it is His
Blood, it is His Cross. the ferment of all Christian civilization and of all that is necessary for salvation.
And I say to you
as well: for the glory of the Most Blessed Trinity, for the love of Our
Lord Jesus Christ, for the devotion to the
Blessed Virgin Mary, for the love of the Church, for the love of the Pope, for the love of bishops, of priests, of all the faithful,
for the salvation of the world, for the salvation of souls, keep this testament of Our Lord Jesus Christ! Keep the Sacrifice of Our
Lord Jesus Christ. Keep the Mass of All Time!
And you will see
civilization reflourish, a civilization which is not of this world, but
a civilization which leads to the Catholic City
which is heaven. The Catholic city of this world is made for nothing else than for the Catholic City of heaven.
Thus by keeping
the Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, by keeping His Sacrifice, by keeping
this Mass-this Mass which has been
bequeathed to us by our predecessors, this Mass which has been transmitted from the time of the Apostles unto this day. In a
few moments I am going to pronounce these words above the chalice of my ordination, and how could you expect me to
pronounce above the chalice of my ordination any other words but those which I pronounced 50 years ago over this same
chalice-it is impossible! I cannot change the words! We shall therefore continue to pronounce the words of the consecration as
our predecessors have taught us, as the Pope, bishops and priests who have been our instructors, have taught us, so that Our
Lord Jesus Christ reign, and so that souls be saved through the intercession of our Good Mother in heaven.