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The Archbishop Speaks
Bishops to Save the Church
Archbishop Lefebvre’s Sermon at the Priestly ordinations in Ecône, June 29, 1987
Bishops to Save the Church
Archbishop Lefebvre’s Sermon at the Priestly ordinations in Ecône, June 29, 1987
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.
Dear Brethren, Let us give thanks to God who allows us once more to meet together again in Ecône to take part in the magnificent ceremony of priestly ordinations, ceremony which is the reason for our seminaries' existence and their crowning glory. Seminaries without ordinations would no longer be seminaries of the Church. nor Catholic seminaries. For this reason, having the joy of imposing hands on the new priests, we give thanks to God for letting our seminaries continue to live and even to expand, since Ecône has had to split in two to enable a larger number of young men desiring the true Catholic priesthood, to find at Ecône and Flavigny the training and graces needed for them to become true and holy priests.
MASS AND THE PRIEST
Dear Ordinands, I shall begin by addressing to you a few words of edification and encouragement. You are going to be ordained within the celebration of the Catholic Mass, not a neo-protestant Mass, and this Catholic Mass has been, is now, and will always be the great programme of the priestly life, the great programme of Christian life. To change this Mass is to change the ideal of the priest and Christian, the Catholic ideal. For above all else, Holy Mass is the Cross of Jesus, the continuation of the Cross of Jesus. The veil of the Temple was rent because Jesus died on the Cross, the Old Testament was giving way to the New - was everything changed? Yes and no. Undoubtedly the whole ritual of the old law and a certain concept of God's law was changed, but the essence of the Old Testament law was being transformed into a living vision of the law of love.
MASS AND THE LAW OF LOVE
What do the Ten Commandments say, other than to love God and to love one's neighbour? Our Lord Jesus Christ himself has told us so. And this law of love is henceforth inscribed not only on stone tablets, it is inscribed in Our Lord Jesus Christ's sacrifice, He is the law of love and He shows it upon His Cross. What more beautiful manifestation of the law of love and charity could Our Lord give us than to die upon the Cross for the glory of His Father and the salvation of our souls? Hence it is the law of love which Jesus preaches to us upon the Cross, and which He preaches to us every day at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass - the same law of love which was deposited in your hearts. my dear friends, and in your souls, through the grace of Baptism.
Indeed the grace of Baptism transformed you and united you deeply to Our Lord Jesus Christ for the realization of His law of love. His law of charity. And the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass celebrated - as I hope God will give you the grace to do - every day of your life, will maintain that baptismal grace. For just as your god-fathers and god-mothers said on your behalf at your baptism that they were cleaving to Our Lord Jesus Christ and shunning all the temptations of this world. so you too, every day you celebrate Mass, will say: "My God, O Jesus. I cleave to you forever, I wish to be your priest, one who preaches the law of love by example and by word. Keep me free of this world and all its temptations, shield me from all influences of this world which are in the service of Satan and of disobedience to God."
MASS, THE PROGRAMME OF THE PRIEST
In this way your souls will take strength in the presence of the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ, of His Body and Blood which you will have in front of you on the altar, and which you yourselves will draw down from heaven by pronouncing the words of consecration. What a sublime mystery! God obeying men so as to continue offering His sacrifice! Here will be the programme of your priestly life: to penetrate the souls coming to you, to penetrate the souls attending your Holy Sacrifice of Mass, with the sentiments of love of God and love of neighbour, even to the sacrifice of self - and God knows if Our Lord Jesus Christ gives us the example of that! -even to the sacrifice of self, even to death if need be, even to the shedding of one's blood, in order to remain united to Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Let that be your programme! And that is why you must cleave in life, in death, to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass that you are going to celebrate with me today. Do not let yourselves be seduced by the attractions and appeal of the world into transforming the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass into a purely human assembly. And it is my dearest wish that you remain in these sentiments all the days of your life, all the days of your priestly life, and that you be apostles like those who have gone before you, wherever they have been sent, like the dear priests surrounding us here today who are happy to impose hands on you -priests of Our Lord Jesus Christ, priests of crucified love, priests of Jesus crucified, and not priests of the world, nor priests for the world!
TWO SIGNS OF PROVIDENCE
My dear brethren, allow me also to make use of this occasion to bring you up-to-date with the situation in which we find ourselves today, as indeed is our custom on the occasion of this ceremony of priestly ordinations. Well, I must tell you, I cannot pass it over in silence and I cannot hide it: -this year has been serious, very serious, for the Catholic Church, for us Catholics, for Catholic priests. You are aware that in various writings appearing here and there I have had occasion to say that, yes, I was waiting for signs from Providence to carry out acts seeming to me necessary for the continuation of the Catholic Church. Well, I have to admit that I am convinced that the signs have come. What are they? There are two of them: -the ecumenical meeting held in Assisi last October, and the reply Rome has made to the objections we had sent them concerning religious liberty.
And I state further that this reply made to us after Assisi -since Assisi took place on October 27, whereas the reply reached us this January - I state that Rome's reply to the objections we made to the errors of Vatican II on religious liberty, is graver than Assisi. Assisi is a historical fact, an action; the reply to our objections on religious liberty is a stand taken on principles, a statement of principles, and hence graver! It is one thing to commit a grave and scandalous action; it is quite another to state false and erroneous principles which work out in practice in utterly disastrous conclusions!
Hence it is providential that by a particular set of circumstances we wrote the book that appeared just a few days ago, entitled: "They Uncrowned Him." Who? Who did the uncrowning and who was uncrowned? Who was uncrowned? Our Lord Jesus Christ. Who uncrowned him? The authorities in Rome today. And the uncrowning shows in a very clear way in the Assisi ceremony. Jesus Christ is uncrowned. He is no longer King. Universal King, the King we proclaim in our liturgy from Christmas through to His Ascension. All the Liturgical feasts proclaim the kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ. . From end to end of the Liturgical year we chant:
"King of Kings, Lord of Lords," Our Lord Jesus Christ. But now instead of extolling the kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ, here they are instituting a pantheon of all religions. And just as it was the Roman authorities, or pagan emperors, who built the pagan Pantheon then, so too the pagan pantheon of today, the meeting-place of all religions, is being constructed by the church authorities of Rome! What an immense scandal for souls, for Catholics who already question the universal kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ!
This is exactly what is meant by liberalism. Liberalism means establishing the freedom of man from God; hence the man who believes in, hopes in, and professes any religion whatsoever is just as worthy of respect as the man who says he professes the true religion. According to Liberalism, the State, or civil society. is no longer capable of knowing which is the true religion. That much is stated in the document given us by Rome: the State is incompetent in matters of religion, and so cannot decide which is the true or false religion, and by that very fact is bound to allow within the "autonomous social area” -as they call it, autonomous social area meaning practically the entire life of the State - is bound to allow all religious errors to spread, whatever they be, because man is free to have his own religion. Well, we say no, no, no!
And Holy Mass proves it to us: there is one law, a law of love, and Our Lord Jesus Christ proclaims to us on the Cross this law of love. He preaches it to us. He tells us. "You must obey the law of love. Whosoever does not obey the law of love is not worthy of eternal life." Hence it is a binding law. We are not free. Our holy religion is not a matter of free choice, it is the only one, the one which Our Lord Jesus Christ proclaimed from His Cross.
And liberalism has become the idol of modern times, an idol now adored in most countries of the world, even the Catholic countries -this liberty of man from God, which defies God, which seeks to make its own religion, liberalism, with its own commandments, the rights of man, with its secular states, secular education, empty of God, godless - there is liberalism for you.
DARKNESS IN ROME
And how is it possible for the authorities in Rome to be encouraging liberalism and professing such liberalism in the Decree on Religious Liberty? That is what is so very serious, as I see it. Rome is in darkness, in the darkness of error. There is no denying it. Impossible to deny it. How can we as Catholics, and all the more as priests, bear to look on the spectacle placed before our eyes in Assisi, in St. Peter's Church given over for the practice of their pagan worship to the Buddhists who put their idol on the tabernacle of Jesus Christ, King of Kings, and performed their pagan ceremony in front of this tabernacle, empty no doubt, but capped with a Buddha, their idol. Is it conceivable? In a Catholic Church, a church of Our Lord Jesus Christ? These are facts which speak by themselves. We cannot conceive of an error more grave.
How is it possible? Let us leave the good Lord to answer. He guides all things, He is the master of events, Our Lord Jesus Christ, He knows what will come of this triumph of error over Rome and over the highest authorities, from the Pope to the cardinals and bishops of the entire world following these ideas; for indeed the bishops of the whole world are following the false ideas of the Council with their ecumenism and liberalism. God alone knows where it is all going to end.
WAR WITH SATAN
For our part, however, if we wish to remain Catholic and to continue the Church, we have the grave and imprescriptible duty binding us firstly to increase the number of priests, priests believing in Our Lord Jesus Christ, in His Kingship, in His kingship over society, according to the Church's doctrine. That is why I am happy that the book on liberalism has appeared today, my dear friends, so that you may nourish your minds on it and grasp in depth what our combat is all about. It is not a human combat! We are at grips with Satan! It is a combat requiring all the supernatural strength we need to fight against the adversary who means to destroy and uproot the Church, who means to destroy everything Our Lord Jesus Christ did. He meant to destroy Our Lord from the moment He was born, and now He means to continue destroying His Mystical Body, to destroy the reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ, to destroy all His institutions whatsoever.
So we must be aware of this dramatic and apocalyptic combat through which we are living, and not play it down, because the moment we play it down, we no longer wish to give battle, we become weaklings and we dare no longer proclaim the Truth; we no longer dare to proclaim the social kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ because our godless and atheistic world does not want to hear of it. To say that Our Lord Jesus Christ should reign over societies is folly as far as the world is concerned. "You are backward-looking, out-of-date fossils, stuck fast in the Middle Ages ", we hear, "that doctrine is over and done with, it belongs to the past! Let's hear no more of Our Lord Jesus Christ reigning over societies!"
And so we might tend to be afraid of this public opinion opposing us because we stand for the kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us in any case not be surprised to find that any demonstrations of ours in favour of the Social Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ come up against an army directed by Satan to destroy us, to hinder and nullify any influence we might have.
THE SOCIETY’S CONTINUATION
Hence we are happy today to be carrying out these priestly ordinations, and in all sincerity we think it is not possible to abandon the Society of St. Pius X placed in our hands by the good Lord. For it is not I that founded it, it is truly Our Lord who founded it, in unbelievable circumstances. And now, after some 17 years of existence, our Society has spread throughout the world, seconded by other initiatives which - thanks be to God - have arisen with us and around us: all the religious and nuns with us today, who have stood up like ourselves, to proclaim that Our Lord Jesus Christ is King, and not to desert Him. Are we going to desert Him? Are we going to let Him be crucified a second time? Are we going to quit the Church presently undergoing her Passion, and not come to her aid ? And what will become of souls if nobody dares any longer proclaim the divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ? And what will become of souls if we no longer provide them with the true grace they need? All this is cryingly obvious, and so let us be convinced of it.
MEANS OF CONTINUATION
And that is the reason why it is likely that I shall give myself some successors to be able to continue the work of our Society. Because Rome is in darkness, because Rome at present can no longer hear the voice of truth -Rome no longer hears the voice of truth. Then what are we to do? What answer has there been to our appeals? For 20 years now I have been going to Rome. I have been writing, I have been speaking, I have been sending documents to say to them: -"Follow Tradition, come back to Tradition, otherwise the Church will be ruined. You, the appointed successors of those who built the Church, you must continue to build and not to demolish!" They are deaf, stone deaf to our appeals.
And the last document we have just received from them proves it amply. They are shutting themselves up in their errors, they are shutting themselves up in darkness, and they are quite simply going to lead souls into apostasy, the ruination of the divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the ruination of the Catholic and Christian Faith. Well, if that is what God asks of us, we shall not hesitate to provide ourselves with auxiliaries to continue the work of the Society, for we cannot believe that God wishes this work to be destroyed, to come to an end, to continue no further, for souls to be abandoned and for the Church by that very fact to have no more pastors.
We are living in a quite unique age, we must realize that. The situation is not normal, least of all in Rome. Read the Italian journal "Si, si, no, no", edited by the dear Sisters who are here today, who have come to see Econe and to get some encouragement for the work they are doing. The journal "Si, si, no, no" gives us precise information on the situation in Rome, a perfectly incredible situation, unparallelled in all history! Never has there been anything like it!
Never! -The Pope making himself, as I was saying a little while ago, into a sort of guardian of the Pantheon of all religions, making himself the Pontiff of Liberalism! Tell me, tell me, pray - has such a situation ever existed in the Church? What are we to do, faced with such a reality? Weep, no doubt. Oh. weep, we do! Our heart is grieved, our heart is crushed by this situation! We would give our life, we would shed our blood to turn it around -but there it is.
CONSECRATIONS: GOD’S WILL
The situation is such, the work placed in our hands by the good Lord is such, that faced with this darkness in Rome, faced with the Roman authorities' pertinacity in error, faced with this refusal to return to Truth or Tradition on the part of those who occupy the seats of authority in Rome, faced with all these things, it seems to us that the good Lord is asking for the Church to continue. This is why it is likely that before I give account of my life to the good Lord, I shall have to consecrate some bishops.
APPEAL TO THE BLESSED VIRGIN
My dear friends, my dear brethren, let us pray. Let us pray with all our hearts, let us pray to the Blessed Virgin Mary! We shall go to Fatima on August 22nd to ask Our Lady of Fatima to help us. They would not reveal her Third Secret, they buried the message of the Virgin Mary. No doubt this message was meant to prevent what is happening today. Had her message been made known, most likely we would not be where we are today, the situation in Rome, would not be what it is today. The Pope refused to make public the Virgin Mary's message: well, the punishments foretold by Mary are coming: the apostasy announced in Scripture is on its way; the coming of the Anti-Christ draws near, as is perfectly obvious. So, faced with this quite exceptional situation, we too must take exceptional means.
There you have it, my dear brethren, my dear friends, during this Mass we shall pray, especially to the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, guardians of the Church: may they enlighten us! May they help us! May they obtain for us the Gift of Strength and the Gift of Wisdom to continue their work, to carry on the work of Peter and Paul and all their successors. Let us ask for this from the Blessed Virgin Mary above all, and let us consecrate our persons, our families, our cities to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary.
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.