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The Crisis in the Church
Spiritual Conference, Econe, 28 October, 1985
by Abp. Marcel Lefebvre
Spiritual Conference, Econe, 28 October, 1985
by Abp. Marcel Lefebvre
The rector asked me to give you a lecture on what is going on in the Church and what is being prepared especially for the Synod which will take place at the end of November until the 8th December.
And at the same time I’d like to take advantage of this opportunity to clarify some of the current orientations. One of the motives that motivated, and was expressed by our colleagues who have left us, our unfortunate American colleagues, runs like this : “Monsignor has changed his ideas. He is not now as he once was.” My Faith.., I all truth, I do not believe that I have changed anything in my attitude towards everything that has happened in the Church ever since, say 1960. Since before 1962, being part of the central preparatory committee for the Council, I had the opportunity to work already at the preparation of the Council and to already perceive trends that existed among a certain number of cardinals, Archbishops and superiors of orders forming part of the central committee, and I was already on my guard.
A few days ago, in Vienna, we wanted to celebrate my 80th birthday. I don’t know what there is to celebrate at 80 years, but anyway. I had the opportunity to say a few words, after the other few very kind words of Fr Pfluger. Then there was a little agreeable Viennese music session, a short film about the different stations and chapels of Austria, traditional chapels. And so I had the opportunity to tell those people present at this agreeable event, I told them :
“I have been through three wars, the war of 14-18 - Why do you look at me like that? I am still alive! - the war of 14- 18, I was not mobilized of course, but I still suffered harshly and I saw, after this war, the collapse of Christian Europe, Catholic Europe. This war which ran from 1914 to 1918 has resulted in the annihilation of the Catholic states especially of the center of Europe, is it not, the dismantling, especially of Austria. The second war ran from 1939 to 1945. It was the confirmation of world communism, publicly accepted now by all the nations of the world who recognized the fact that communism existed, and who shared the world by sharing a large part to communism. So it was once again a triumph for anti-Christianity, for those who are fighting against the Church and against Our Lord. The third war ran from 1962 to 1965. Yes! And it is the worst, it is the most serious one, because this one really affects Christianity, Catholicism in it’s most intimate, it’s deepest … in the Church Herself. This time it is no longer the Catholic states, it is no longer the domination of an atheistic and socialist power that dominates the world. Henceforth it is within the Church Herself that the liberal virus will settle and will corrupt the Church from within. Which is what Saint Pius X had already foreseen at the beginning of the century. We find this clearly in his first encyclical.
So why did I think I had to fight against this invasion of liberalism within the Catholic Church? Well, during the Council, fortunately, I was not the only one. There were, nevertheless, 250 bishops, 250 Council Fathers who formed this Coetus Internationalis Patrum, of which they appointed me president and who fought against the invasion of liberalism, which was condemned by the popes, and which was inside the Church, because that was really the worst that could happen to the Church. This liberalism has its source in Masonic principles and is simply the penetration of Masonic ideas within the Church. For this freedom which becomes an absolute, this freedom which is focused on itself, and which is no longer limited by anything, is indeed the destruction of the law of God, the ruin of all that guarantees order in society, order in the family, order in the Church.
I recommend to you, especially those who have just arrived at the seminary, I highly recommend Fr. Roussel’s book on liberal Catholicism. It is a synthesis of liberalism that is easy to read, according to lectures by Fr. Roussel, between 20 and 30, lectures on liberalism and at the same time a very important bibliography of all anti-liberal books. And you can find in this little book, which I think is still available, a whole list of anti-liberal books. And if you can get hold of these books that fought against liberalism, such as that of Bishop Delassus, make use of them, because this is truly the great evil of the Church today !
So we struggled and, luckily, I made a small review of the various acts by which I expressed the desire to put up a fight, and to not let these abominable errors pass. And I realize that these statements were made in 1964, 1974 and 1984. I did not look for it, that’s just how it is !
In 1964… you can find this in “A Bishop Speaks”. I do not know if it is an interesting book, but anyway, you can still find this text today. It wasn’t me who wanted this book. It was a brave Roman woman, who is dead now. She made such a fuss about editing the few speeches or conferences I had made, that I ended up agreeing to do it, and so it was published.
And here is the title of this document which I had drawn up against the Council : “To remain a good Catholic, should he become a Protestant ?” Yes, it caught the attention during the Council. We were wondering if we were really all becoming Protestants and whether we were being encouraged to become Protestants in order to be true Catholics. This is how I put it :
This text was composed in October '64, when few of the schemas of the Council had been approved yet. For reasons totally unrelated to the text itself, it has not been published. We believe that this cry of alarm of 1964 remains more than ever present. It also proves that from this moment on we could foresee the consequences of the neo-modernist spirit which reigned in the Council, consequences of which we are witnesses today.
I said this in 1970, but the text was put together in 1964.
The second text that you know quite well, which is a little better known, is the one of 1974. This is the statement that I thought I should make after the affirmations that were made after these two visitors who came from Rome, these two Monsignors, one of whom was a bishop, who came from Rome and who made statements during some conversations they had with seminarians or with myself, that are simply unbelievable, unimaginable ! For them, the question of priestly celibacy is an almost outdated question. Rome, very soon, was about to suppress priestly celibacy. On the resurrection of Our Lord : “We are not certain, it is a probability, but we are not certain that Our Lord is risen with the body He had when He died” And similar things.
So I confess that I could not stand this way of coming to visit us, to be officially sent by Rome to see whether we are orthodox, whether we have the true faith, whether we profess the truth, while openly spreading errors and doubts on fundamental truths of our faith ! So I said to them : “This Rome, we do not recognize ! This modernist Rome that comes to question us, this liberal Rome, we do not recognize! We recognize the eternal Rome, yes, the Rome which teaches truth, which is the mistress of truth, but not the Rome which is the master of errors. That is not possible.”
Then obviously I wrote a letter, which was very, very firm and which obviously did not try to please the gentlemen in Rome ! And that is why I was hated. They lost sight of what they had come for and what they had investigated, or at least they found it a great opportunity to have this text to condemn us ! This text, I would say, had nothing to do, in a way, with the seminary itself. If one wanted to condemn the seminary and condemn the Society, one must examine the seminary and the Society and see if we teach in the seminary and in the Fraternity things that are contrary to the faith. That is what one had to do. But no ! So they took advantage of this protest against the Council, obviously …
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 of 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.
So there you have it. That is what we continue to say, and that is the whole truth.
And then you have the 1984 text, the open letter that we wrote, Bishop de Castro Meyer and myself, which repeats nothing but the same thing :
We reject the errors of Vatican II and we refuse the reforms that flow from these errors.
I don’t say that we refuse all of Vatican II, I never said that. “Oh ! You are against the pope, you are against the Council !” We are not against the pope, on the contrary, precisely because we want Tradition. And Tradition is all for respect for the pope and recognition of the Pope. But if the pope is himself a liberal and favors the errors of the Council, then we cannot approve of him and we can not follow him. It is clear, it is obvious, it is not complicated to understand. I repeat it all the time.
It is like a father who encourages his children to go and steal in supermarkets. Must the children accept this? Well no, of course not. It’s the same thing. Here we are asked to diminish our faith, to corrupt it, to change it, and we don’t accept that. So there, that’s the most essential and dangerous point of the Council, which was the ultimate object of the Council, the object of this Council which was wanted by the modernists, such as Cardinal Béa, Cardinal Willibrandt and all the “Secretariat for the Unity of Christians” which was founded just before the Council so as not to be embarrassed by the other Congregations of Rome that were still traditional.
So they founded this “Secretariat for the Unity of Christians” in order to pass to the Council the text on religious freedom. For this was the essential thing that was requested by the Freemasons, officially, and by the B’nai B’right of New York who are at the root of communism in Russia. Let us not forget that. Read again the books of Poncins that are here in the library and you find that it was the B’nai B’right who at the last moment financed the Russian revolution, the Soviet revolution, in 1917, and massacred the Tsar and all those who were representing the Orthodox faith and the Christian faith, in order to suppress the state which was Christian, no doubt schismatic, but still … out of hatred for Christianity.
And that’s the B’nai B’rinth! Well, it is the same B’nai B’ribth, a Jewish Masonic sect, reserved for the Jews; only the Jews can be part of this sect! And M. Leon de Poncins said that they numbered at that time 120,000. Recently I saw, I do not know in what publication, they said they number now half a million! They are everywhere and they are the ones who command in the world, for it is these Jews who have all the banks in their hands, these Jews who have all the important affairs in their hands. They are in command both in Russia and America, as everywhere else in the world. They are the ones who distribute the medals of religious freedom. They have a decoration of religious freedom. President Alfonsin of Argentina, who was officially received a few months ago by the White House in America and by the B’naï B’rinth in New York, was decorated with the decoration of religious freedom by these Freemasons of New York, because he instituted a regime of freedom of religion, freedom of religion.
So they’re the ones with whom Cardinal Béa had official relations. It is no secret, I did not invent this, it is in the New York newspapers : Cardinal Béa arrived and was received by the B’nai B’right in such a place, such a hotel. There have been meetings. And all this for religious freedom. Why ? Because Freemasons can not bear that the Catholic Church speaks the only truth, as the only true religion. They never accepted that, they cannot accept that, and they will accept that ! So long as the Church proclaims that it is the only true Church, that everyone has to be converted to the Catholic Church in order to be saved, it’s war to the death against the Catholic Church !
But once religious freedom is accepted, and therefore all religions become possible means of salvation, there won’t be a problem anymore ! And that they promised. The “Secretariat of Christian Unity” promised this to the Freemasons, and they had it ! They got it. It was five times, five times that the schema was rejected. Five times they tried again and they passed what they wanted to pass ! At the last moment there were 250 Fathers who were against it, isn’t it, it was precisely those of Coetus Internationalis who were against it. The Pope was annoyed to see that there were 250 Fathers who were against the acceptance of the schema of the declaration on religious liberty. Then he added a few words :
“This text in no way contradicts Catholic Tradition. We must seek truth in the Catholic Church,”
or some phrase like that! The truth of the Catholic Church was compromised. He added these two little sentences, which are in contradiction with the whole text on religious liberty. It is a contradictory text, this text of the declaration on religious liberty. But he did this to try to bend those who opposed this decree on religious freedom. Then, unfortunately, indeed, a good number of those who were against it said: “Ah! Now, since the pope says there is nothing contrary to Tradition in this decree, then we can vote for it.” I said : “But we do not vote for a contradictory decree, it is absurd, absurd !” “Oh ! It does not matter, since the pope said that, so then it’s good !”. Then there was only, I think, if I remember correctly, between 70 and 80 signatures left against it. See, this has eliminated the opposition considerably !
So this is where the serious problem lies. Because it is from this religious freedom that ecumenism emerged and ecumenism poisoned the whole life of the Church. They wanted to change everything in the light of ecumenism : the liturgy, even the constitution of the Church, in a certain way, with all these episcopal assemblies, to democratize the Church, change, I would say, even the priestly statutes, to allow priests more freedom, allow the priests to marry, and what not ! All these things have been done to get closer to the Protestants, so as not to have any more difficulties with the enemies of the Church.
And that is why, on this subject, we can not yield. Then why have relations with Rome, if there is no reason to agree ? Well, because one always hopes, at least one hopes always, to be able to get an influence on Rome and make then come back to reason, and to the sense of faith, those who have responsibilities in Rome, and to say to them :
You are wrong. Since the Council you have been on the wrong track. Return to Tradition and you will see that the Church will resume its normal course and that the vocations will flourish and that the seminaries will flourish again and religious congregations will also develop … But it won’t happen with all the reforms you have made, reforms of religious congregations, reforms of all the constitutions of all religious congregations in a liberal sense, in a sense of diminished authority, decreased religious life, more freedom, it all had a disastrous influence … hence no more vocations, hence the contemplative congregations diminished considerably.
And it was on this occasion, the occasion of the change of our constitution of the Holy Ghost Fathers, that I gave my resignation from being superior general. I should have been superior general until 1974. I had been elected in 62 for twelve years, so only in 74 I would have had to leave the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers if they did not elect me again. But when I saw the way in which we were changing our constitutions, at the instigation of Rome, at the instigation of the Roman authorities, at the order of the religious congregation… there was a complete upheaval of our constitutions. There was nothing left of the spirit of our constitutions, so I refused to sign such a thing !
And when I went to see the religious congregation to ask what had to be done, I was told: “Go on a trip to America, go for a walk in America … During this time let your Fathers do their Constitutions, and make their changes! … And I was supposedly superior general! Well, well … I went back to the Mother House, I took my pen, I wrote a great letter to the pope saying :
My resignation was immediately accepted ! Nevertheless, our poor congregation is practically finished, practically disappeared, no more vocations, nothing more, finished !
“I resign. I do not want to be responsible for the destruction of the congregation in the history of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers. I do not want to put my signature to the bottom of a radical change of my whole society.”
So this influence of religious liberty, of ecumenism, in all the parts of the Church, all this continues. The Pope continues to practice his ecumenism in an unbelievable way. He continues to say that he is in favor of religious liberty. This religious liberty being inscribed in human rights, he is also in favor of the rights of man. He made a great speech here in Berne before the Federal Government, on the Declaration of the rights of man and the need to defend human rights, and so on.
[end of the tape]
Adapted from here.