Post by Admin on Jan 26, 2018 14:38:08 GMT
The Credo Pilgrimage
On 25 May 1975, Mgr. Lefebvre, the Seminary professors, and the students of Ecône went to Rome to lead the Credo Holy Year Pilgrimage. The account of this Pilgrimage which follows was originally printed in The Remnant of 23 June 1975. It was entitled "Lauda Sion."
"The Pilgrimage to Rome in May, 1975, led by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, is of such historic significance in so many respects that it appears almost impossible to present any of them adequately. There are four major basilicas in Rome at which pilgrims for the Holy Year of 1975 can gain their indulgence - St. Peter's, St. John Lateran, St. Mary Major, and St. Paul's Without-the-Walls. During the weekend of 24-26 May, Holy Year pilgrims from all over the world were astounded to see an event which took place at each of these basilicas in almost identical circumstances. A venerable prelate in full episcopal robes, a prelate whose very being radiated holiness, serenity, and Christian joy, entered each basilica followed by a procession of a nature sufficient to convince any spectator that far from being in a process of self-destruction or 'auto-demolition' as Pope Paul has expressed it, the Church must be entering upon a period of renewed vigor, the kind of second Spring which Cardinal Newman had promised. The prelate, Archbishop Lefebvre, was followed by what seemed an endless double file of priests and seminarians. There were, in fact, about 120, but they seemed to be far more. Behind the seminarians came a group of nuns in an unfamiliar habit, the postulants of the new order founded by the Archbishop. Then came the faithful in their thousands, faithful Catholics from countries as far apart as Australia and Argentina - and as they entered the basilicas, they sang.
Lauda Sion Salvatorem,
lauda ducem et pastorem,
in hymnis et canticis.
lauda ducem et pastorem,
in hymnis et canticis.
This sublime hymn of praise to Christ our God, present in the Blessed Sacrament, surged up to the bright blue sky above the basilicas as the pilgrims filed in, and then filled the basilicas with praise after they entered. Pilgrims with other groups and the Roman clergy as well were quite overwhelmed by the scale and fervor of this Pilgrimage. Nothing like it had been seen before during this Holy Year, nothing like it will be seen again. It had not been the largest pilgrimage to come - although it would seem blasphemous to describe the group which had taken over St. Peter's exactly one week before as a pilgrimage. Indeed, the appearance in St. Peter's Basilica of about 9,000 charismatics, some of whom danced and some of whom gibbered, brings immediately to mind St. Matthew's warning concerning the 'abomination of desolation which was spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place.' Indeed, if the Mass concelebrated by Cardinal Suenens and five hundred Pentecostal priests was valid, then the passing of Hosts from hand to hand, to be broken in pieces by the congregation and offered even to tourists of any belief or none, was in truth an abomination!
Here then is one aspect of great significance: the Pentecostals received special papal authorization to use the Main Altar of the Confession of St. Peter; Cardinal Suenens was warmly embraced by the Pope; and the Pope addressed the charismatics - certainly with some words of caution and admonition, but also with a great deal of warmth and praise. There was, on the other hand, no papal welcome for Archbishop Lefebvre; he would not have been given the High Altar to celebrate Mass for his Pilgrimage, because the Mass he would have celebrated would have been the Mass codified by Pope Saint Pius V, Mass as it was said in Rome during his pontificate, virtually the only form of Mass to be celebrated in St. Peter's Basilica from the time it had been built. But such is the state of the Church today that it is this form of Mass, arguably the supreme achievement of Western Christianity, which is now regarded, practically speaking, as an abomination. The Pentecostals with their guitars, their dancing, their gibberish, are acceptable. The age-old Mass is not.
Thus the presence of the Archbishop and his pilgrims in Rome so soon after the Pentecostals both symbolized and manifested the two-centuries-old struggle between Liberal and traditional Catholicism, which reached its climax on the ninth of May in this Holy Year of 1975, when canonical approval was withdrawn from his Society of St. Pius X and the Seminary at Ecône.
Here, then, is the next aspect of great significance with regard to this Pilgrimage: it was remarked above that anyone seeing the great procession led by the Archbishop entering one of the Roman basilicas would have concluded that the Church could not be undergoing a process of self-destruction or 'auto-demolition.' When it is realized that those in authority in the Church at present are intent upon destroying the Seminary which is forming such holy and such fervent young priests, then self-destruction is the only term applicable. It is no wonder that, as the great procession entered St. Peter's Basilica, it sang the Parce Domine.
Traditional Catholic devotions took place in all the basilicas visited by the Credo pilgrims - and, in addition to the four major basilicas mentioned, these included St. Sebastian, St. Lawrence, and the ruins of Maxentius. The traditional Roman Mass was sung for huge congregations in St. Mary Major, Maxentius, and St. Lawrence. At least one hundred more must have been said during the course of the Pilgrimage by the many priests who took part, from both the Ecône Seminary and the groups which came from different countries. Some of these Masses were offered at side altars in St. Peter's, including that of St. Pius X. L'Osservatore Romano had published an expression of 'pained surprise' at the fact that all the Masses for the Credo pilgrims were to be Tridentine Masses and thought this inappropriate in a year of 'reconciliation.'
The fact of the matter is that precisely in this year of 'reconciliation' the prime aim of the Church ought to be to reconcile herself with her own traditions - the abandoning of which has caused nothing but disaster. Veneration for her traditions was once the prime characteristic of the Church of Rome, yet today the official Vatican newspaper can express regret at the celebration of the Mass of St. Pius V - the greatest of these traditions. However, with or without the approval of the Vatican, the Mass which had been the only Mass for Roman-rite pilgrims in the Holy Year 1950, and for its predecessors for centuries before, was celebrated with due ceremony and due honor once again in this Holy Year of 1975. It was the fervent prayer of all present that it will be the only Mass permitted for Roman-rite pilgrims in the year 2000.
Most of the pilgrims considered the Pontifical High Mass sung in the ruins of the ancient Basilica of Maxentius to have been the most memorable of the entire Pilgrimage. Loud speakers insured that the words and music of this ancient Mass echoed across Rome, the Mass whose origins reach back to the time of the martyrs with whom this basilica has such poignant associations, and so many of whom lie buried in its precincts. Many pilgrims and citizens who were not taking part in the Credo Pilgrimage were overjoyed to discover a celebration of the traditional Mass and swelled the ranks of a congregation which certainly exceeded three thousand in number. The Mass ended with the singing of the Te Deum, and all knelt on the stony ground while His Grace passed along giving his blessing.
The Mass which ended the 'official' Pilgrimage in the Basilica of St. Lawrence was equally impressive. The great basilica was literally packed to the doors and, despite the fact that a good number of priests helped to distribute Holy Communion, this still took almost twenty-five minutes, during which time the pilgrims waited with patience and sang with devotion. Archbishop Lefebvre preached very important sermons during Mass in the basilicas of Maxentius and St. Lawrence.
The all-night vigil for this Pilgrimage was held in the Church of San Girolamo della Carità. Some of those who had been on previous traditionalist pilgrimages regretted the fact that it was not held in St. Peter’s square, and indeed those who have had the grace to take part in these vigils had good reason for doing so. However, the fact that this Pilgrimage was led by the Archbishop made it necessary to make its essentially religious character clear throughout - anything which could give the appearance of a demonstration or a confrontation had to be avoided. It is likely that the timing for the withdrawal of canonical approbation from the Society of St. Pius X was designed to provoke some form of violent or intemperate reaction during the Pilgrimage. There was no such incident; the dignity and restraint shown by all present was as remarkable as their fervor. It would, of course, be argued by the Liberal establishment that the celebration of the traditional Mass was in itself an act of provocation, hence the admonition in L'Osservatore Romano. But any Catholic, whatever his position or rank, who would consider the celebration of the traditional Mass 'provocative' has reached a stage where we can only say, 'God help and forgive him', and breathe a prayer on his behalf.
During the all-night vigil, an unceasing stream of hymns and prayers was offered up to God, above all for the restoration to our altars of the traditional Mass, which was celebrated every two hours throughout the night by one of the priests present. One of the most impressive sights was the entry of the pilgrims into the indescribably beautiful Basilica of St. Paul's Without-the-Walls on Monday morning. The clergy of the Basilica gave their fullest cooperation and put every facility at the disposal of the pilgrims, including their loudspeaker equipment. As in all the basilicas, the three Paters, Aves, and Glorias necessary for gaining the indulgence were recited, and Credo was sung and the general atmosphere was such that it really did seem hard to believe that anything had changed since 1950 - that these fine young seminarians, who are the pride and joy of hundreds of thousands of the faithful, will never be ordained if the present 'parallel magisterium' has its way.
During the weekend innumerable prayers and acts of penitence were offered up by the pilgrims, in groups or as individuals. Some made the ascent of the Scala Santa on their knees on three or more occasions - not the least among them being the English-speaking pilgrims. It seems permissible to wonder whether, if the New Mass should be abolished and the old one restored, a single Catholic would ever get down on his knees and make the slow and painful journey up the Scala Santa in the interests of Archbishop Bugnini's Novus Ordo Missae.
The traditionalist Pilgrimage for the Holy Year of 1975 was, then, a great success in every way. It was a success for the honor and glory offered to Almighty God and the graces it brought down on the pilgrims; it was a success for the way in which the strength and resilience of the traditional Faith were made clear to the Vatican and, equally important, to the traditionalists themselves. There was not one who did not leave full of hope and encouragement."
The sermon which Mgr. Lefebvre preached in the Basilica of Maxentius on 25 May 1975 was published in The Remnant of 6 March 1976. It was entitled "The One True Religion."
The One True Religion
My dear brethren:
If there is one day on which the Church's liturgy affirms our Faith, that day is the Feast of the Blessed Trinity. This morning, in the breviary which the priest formerly had to recite, he had to add to the psalms of Prime the Creed of St. Athanasius. This is the creed which affirms clearly, serenely, but perfectly, what we are bound to believe concerning the Blessed Trinity, and also concerning the divinity and the humanity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Indeed, all our faith is summed up in our belief in the Most Holy Trinity and in Our Lord Jesus Christ, God made Man. The whole of our Creed, which we shall sing in a few minutes, is focused, as it were, on the very person of Our Lord Jesus Christ. He it is who is our God, He our Savior; it is through Him that we shall enter Heaven. He is the door of the sheep-fold, He is the Way, the Truth, the Life. There is no other name on earth by which we may be saved: the Gospels tell us all this.
Therefore, when our Faith is being attacked from all sides we must hold steadfastly and firmly to it. We must never accept that there can be any compromise in the affirmation of our Faith. Herein, I think, lies the drama through which we have lived for the last ten, perhaps fifteen years. This drama, this tragic situation we are going through, lies in seeing that our Faith is no longer affirmed with certainty: that through a false ecumenism we have, as it were, reached the point of putting all religions on the same footing, of granting what is called "equal rights" to all religions. This is a tragedy because it is all entirely contrary to the truth of the Church. We believe that Our Lord Jesus Christ is our God, our Savior, our Redeemer; we believe that the Catholic Church alone has the Truth, thus we draw the proper conclusions, by respecting in our personal lives the Religion which Our Lord Jesus Christ founded. For, if other religions are quite prepared to admit that there can be other beliefs and other religious groups, we cannot do so. Why do other religions admit this? Because their religions are religions which have been founded by men and not by God. Our holy and beloved Religion has been founded by God Himself, by Our Lord Jesus Christ.
He it is who has given us the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, He who died upon the Cross. Already on the day of the Last Supper He wished, in a certain manner, to enact in advance what was to take place on the Cross, commanding us to do likewise continually to the end of time, thus making priests of those to whom He gave the power to consecrate the Eucharist. He did this by His own Will, His Will as God, because Jesus Christ is God; He has, thus, given us the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which we love so much, which is our life, our hope, and our salvation. This Sacrifice of Calvary cannot be transformed, the Sacrifice of the Last Supper cannot be transformed - for there was a Sacrifice at the Last Supper - we cannot transform this Sacrifice into a simple commemorative meal, a simple repast at which a memory is recalled, this is not possible. To do such a thing would be to destroy the whole of our Religion, to destroy the most precious thing which Our Lord has given us here on earth, the immaculate and divine treasure which He put into the hands of His Church, which He made a priestly Church. The Church is essentially priestly because she offers the redemptive Sacrifice which Our Lord made on Calvary, and which she renews upon our altars. For a true Catholic, one who is truly faithful to Our Lord Jesus Christ, anything which touches what He Himself established moves him to the very depths of his heart, for he loves it as the apple of his eye. So, if it comes, in any way, to the point of destroying from within what Our Lord Jesus Christ gave to us as the source of life, as the source of grace, then we suffer, we suffer dreadfully, and we demand absolutely that this spring, this fountain of life, this fountain of eternal life, this fountain of Grace be preserved for us whole and entire.
And if such is true of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, it is also true of the Sacraments. It is not possible to make any considerable changes in the Sacraments without destroying them, without running the risk of rendering them invalid, and consequently without running the risk of drying up the grace, the supernatural and eternal life which they bring to us. It is again Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself who established the Sacraments; it is not for us, we are not the masters of the Sacraments: even the Sovereign Pontiff cannot change them. Without doubt he can make changes in the rites, in what is accidental in any Sacrament; but no Sovereign Pontiff can change the substance of a Sacrament, for that was established by Our Lord Jesus Christ. It is Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself who took such care in the founding of our holy Religion, Who left us directions as to what we must do, Who gave Himself to us in the Holy Eucharist through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. What more could we ask? What other religion can lay claim to possess such a thing? And why? Because the only true religion is that of the Catholic Church.
This is a matter of fundamental importance, fundamental for our behavior, fundamental for our religion, and fundamental also for the way we should behave towards those people who do not believe in our holy Religion. This is extremely important, because it is precisely towards those who do not believe, those who do not have our Faith, that we must have immense charity, the true charity. We must not deceive them by telling them that their religion is as good as ours - that is a lie, that is selfishness, that is not true charity. If we consider what profound riches have been given to us in this Religion of ours, then we should have the desire to make it known to others, and share these riches and not say to them: "But you already have all you need! There is no point in your joining us, your religion is as good as ours." See how this matter is one of paramount importance, for it is precisely such false ecumenism which makes the adherents of all the other religions believe that they have certain means of salvation. Now this is false. Only the Catholic Religion, and only the Mystical Body of Christ, possesses the means of salvation. We cannot be saved without Jesus, and we cannot be saved without grace. "He who does not believe," said Our Lord, "will be condemned." We must believe in Our Lord Jesus Christ in order to be saved. "He who believes shall be saved; he who obeys My commandments shall have eternal life; he who eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood shall have eternal life." Here is what Our Lord taught us. Therefore, we should have a tremendous desire, a really tremendous desire, to communicate our Faith to others. And this is exactly what made the missionary spirit of the Church. If the strength, the certainty, of our faith is weakened, then the missionary spirit of the Church also diminishes, since it is no longer necessary to cross the seas, to cross the oceans, to go and preach the Gospel, for what is the good of it? Let us leave each man to his own religion, if that religion is going to save him.
Therefore, we must hold fast to our Faith, we must adhere strictly to its affirmation, and we must not accept this false ecumenism which makes all religions into sister-religions of Christianity, for they are nothing of the kind. It is very important to state this nowadays, because it is precisely this false ecumenism which had too much influence after the Council. False ecumenism is the reason why the seminaries are empty. Why is this so? Why are there no more vocations for the missionary orders? Precisely because young men no longer feel the need to make the Truth known to the whole world. They no longer feel the need to give themselves completely to Our Lord Jesus Christ simply because Our Lord Jesus Christ is the only Truth, the only Way, the only Life. What attracts the young to preach the Gospel is that they know they have the Truth. If vocations are withering away, it is due to this false ecumenism. How we suffer at the thought that, in certain countries, people speak of "eucharistic hospitality," of "inter-communion" - as if one could give the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ to those who do not believe in the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, consequently to those who do not adore the Holy Eucharist, because they do not believe in it! Without sacrilege, without blasphemy, the Body and Blood of Our Savior cannot be given to a person who denies His Real Presence in the Eucharist. On this point, therefore, we must have a firm and solid faith, a faith which does not compromise. This is entirely in keeping with the tradition of the Church.
Thus the martyrs believed who lie buried everywhere in this basilica, and in all the churches of Rome, who suffered here in this forum of Augustus, who lived among pagans for three centuries and were persecuted as soon as they were known to be Christians. They were thrown into prison...our thoughts turn to the Mamertine prison, so close to us here, where Peter and Paul were put in chains because of their faith: And shall we be afraid to affirm our faith? We would not in that case be the true descendants of the martyrs, the true descendants of those Christians who shed their blood for Our Lord Jesus Christ in affirmation of their faith in Him. They, too, could indeed have said, "But, since all religions are of equal value, if I burn a little incense before an idol, what does that matter? My life will be saved." But they preferred to die, they preferred to be thrown to the beasts in the Colosseum, quite close to us here. So many, many martyrs were thrown to the beasts, rather than offer incense to pagan gods!
So, may our presence here in Rome be an occasion for us to strengthen our faith, to have, if necessary, the souls of martyrs, the souls of witnesses (for a martyr is a witness), the souls of witnesses of Our Lord Jesus Christ, witnesses of the Church. Here is what I wish you, my most dear brethren, and in this we must be unflinching, whatever happens. We must never agree to diminish our faith; and if by misfortune it were to happen that those who ought to defend our Faith came to tell us to lessen or diminish it, then we must say: "NO." Saint Paul put this very well: "Though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema." Well, that, I think, sums up clearly what I wanted to say to you, so that when you return to your homes you may have the courage, the strength, despite difficulties, despite trials, to remain true to your Faith, come what may, to uphold it for yourselves, your children and future generations, the Faith which Our Lord Jesus Christ gave to us; so that the pathway to heaven may still have many pilgrims, that it may still be crowded with people on their journey upwards, that it may not be a deserted byway, while on the other hand, the road leading to hell is filled with those who did not believe in Our Lord Jesus Christ, or who rejected Him. We must think on these things, because it is what Our Lord told us: "If we do not believe, we shall be condemned."