New Website: Archbishop Lefebvre – Problem Or Prophet?

 

archbishop-marcel-lefebvre-i-have-never-changedAs the turmoil in the Church intensifies with every new report from the Vatican (think sacrilegious “climate change Light Show” at St Peter’s) it might help to pause for an edifying few moments, to take a trip around the new website on the life of Archbishop Lefebvre.  Click here to view, and then share your thoughts.   Was the Archbishop just one more problem member of the hierarchy, causing confusion courtesy of the Second Vatican Council, or did God send him to provide a “lifeboat” to see us through this dark period of the Church’s history?  animatedteacher

117 responses

  1. He did much good but also left much confusion. Many tradsmnow believe in a defectable church that we must resist. Many are convinced that being a Catholic is not a necessary condition for holding the office of Pope. Many live as though the question “is this man Pope?” is of no significant consequent.

    • Guest,

      Without specific examples, I am unable to comment on your claim that “many trads believe in a defectable church that we must resist” and your subsequent comments about the office of the papacy.

      I don’t know any Catholics who believe that the Church is defectable. The Church is perfect, the Spotless Bride of Christ, which, as the great Doctor of the Church, St Francis de Sales taught, is in no need of “reform” – cannot BE “reformed”. Only you and I, the members of the Church can be reformed and we have the Sacraments to enable us so to do. So the very basis on which Vatican II is built, is false. The world is in need of reform. Each of us is in need of reform. But not Christ or His Church – which are one and the same.

      What the Church has NEVER taught, however, is that popes are perfect. Under certain limited conditions, popes are infallible, but that gift of infallibility is such that it cannot be invoked to introduce new teachings – and it has not been to date, ever. Not even an outright Modernist like Pope Francis will try to impose, as coming from God, any of his false opinions. Against that folly, the Holy Spirit will protect the Church. That’s the only guarantee, really, that we are given.

      Right from the get-go, as Scripture reveals, popes have been rebuked, where necessary, by others and Canon Law provides that even the lowliest subject, the least of the laity, have a duty to speak out to correct error in the clergy and hierarchy. Read the letters of St Catherine of Siena to popes – she did not mince her words and rebuked them right, left and centre, for their weakness and refusal to apply their God-given authority to correct errors and “to rid the Church of priests who poison and rot the Church” – pretty strong stuff, more strong than pretty.

      This pope is so bad that a Catholic would have to be either truly dim-witted (stupid, in other words) or lacking in any proper education in the Faith, not to mention lacking a very basic Catholic sense, not to beware of this pope.

      And, as we are now witnessing, Archbishop Lefebvre is no longer the only prelate to decide “enough (of this attacking the Faith) is enough”. More and more prelates are speaking out; Cardinal Burke and Bishop Schneider spring to mind but there are others. I’ve just received a link to a Catholic Family News report about the former member of the Roman Curia who, in his Open Letter to Pope Francis, is laying his cards on the table, so to speak. The report begins:

      ‘Among some Catholic ecclesiastical dignitaries, indignation about Pope Francis is increasing. A former member of the Roman Curia speaks out sharply here in an Open Letter during this Advent Season. Click here to read the rest of the report and the Open Letter.

      So, I suspect your reservations about Archbishop Lefebvre stem from a (sadly) not uncommon flawed understanding of the nature and purpose both of the Church and of the papacy. Obedience to a pope who is damaging the Church and harming souls, is not true obedience but a form of idolatry. Our first obedience has to be to the Faith. Plain and simple. Which, also, as it happens, describes yours truly 😀

    • I agree with Guest that whilst Archbishop Lefebvre did an immense, even unspeakable amount of good in ensuring the survival of the Traditional Mass, pure and undiluted Catholicism and the Traditional Sacraments, the Society he founded has caused much confusion. I have met many Catholics who attend SSPX chapels who do NOT believe Francis is a validly ordained Priest, let alone Pope, and that the Novus Ordo Sacraments are entirely invalid. They believe that Pius XII, or possibly John XXIII, was the last true Pope. In this latter regard I accept that the Sacraments may on occasion be invalid per accidens due to the wrong matter (i.e. not using olive oil in Confirmation) or a defect of intention. We cannot presume upon the validity of a Sacrament until the Church decrees otherwise as that is an entirely Protestant error. They also believe the New Mass is invalid. I was confirmed with a young man who said that he never goes to Novus Ordo Priests for Confession as they are not valid Priests.

      These people are simply not Catholics, and they are sowing much confusion and discord. They evidently do not believe that the Church is infallible and indefectible and that the Church can officially enforce error or an invalid Sacrament, thus abdicating its primary duty of the Salvation of Souls and leading countless souls to eternal damnation. Just think of it, no valid Priests=no valid Mass, no valid Bishops, no valid Sacraments, which =people living in a state of Mortal Sin. Entire nations and communities cut off from the economy of grace and salvation. To them, the Church of Christ is in the hands of Satan. These people obviously believe that Christ was a liar when He said:

      ‘And Jesus answering, said to him: Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven. And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven’.

      The Church founded by Christ must have a visible hierarchy in order to teach and instruct the Faithful and to dispense the Sacraments, i.e. the means of grace.

      The SSPX leadership needs to issue a condemnation of the error of sedevacantism.

      • catholic convert, I am far too young to have known the Archbishop but I consider him one of the greats in Church history. If it weren’t for him where on earth would we be, I wonder?

        I hear what you (and guest) are saying and I have my own views on that score. I have met quite a few eccentric (to put it mildly) persons at the Society Masses and what I think is this: Any “different” group attracts its fair share of devotees who then distort what the group stands for. I’ve seen it time and time again. However, what one must realise is that this does not detract from the ethos of the group. What I am trying to say is that the SSPX priests, and most of their followers, are just ordinary Catholics. Yes, there are cranks and I’ve heard some serious sedevacantist comments.

        I go to Mass (Tridentine) where I can and I don’t worry about whether or not it’s a Society or an Indult one. The Mass is the Mass. I know people who would actually rather miss an available Mass than attend an Indult one. Now to me that’s simply plain daft!

        Perhaps you are correct when you say that the SSPX administration should do something about this.

      • CC1,

        By stating that the SSPX causes confusion, you yourself are confusing the attitudes of some of the faithful who attend SSPX Masses with what the Society itself teaches. Yes, there certainly are some strange folk among Society congregations, and some extreme opinions, but they are at complete variance with what our priests believe and teach, namely, that sedevacantism is an error originating in bitter zeal (and btw the Society has already refuted this error in its publications), that Francis is indeed the Pope (I’m sorry to say), and that Novus Ordo Masses – presumably, you mean the Consecrations – are indeed valid, PROVIDED that the conditions for validity are met, and that Novus Ordo priests are indeed validly ordained. To make such sweeping generalizations as you have made do not hold any water. For example, by your line of reasoning,t the Conciliar Church also causes confusion because some of its faithful (encouraged and fortified by various media talking heads) insist that everything that Pope Francis says and does is faithful to Tradition.

        • RCAV,

          You have completely twisted and misrepresented what I said. The Society is at fault for not condemning the errors of the sedevacantists strongly enough. I mentioned this problem to several Priests, and all I got was some flim-flamming answer from two of them saying ‘well, we don’t believe that’. Er…well, do something about it by denouncing it in a sermon. Another said he could not give a clear answer. Whilst the Society may not officially hold to these views, it is complicit in its silence. By not condemning this heresy unequivocally in the pulpit then the Society Priests are confirming these people in their errors. Sedevacantists are completely irrational. You can quote the words of Christ to them as I did above, but it won’t cut no ice. They are all blinkered, and as soon as you try to reason with them, the shutters go up.

          Regarding the Novus Ordo Masses, yes I meant the Consecration/ Words of Institution. I would have thought that was obvious.

          I am not making sweeping generalisations. I am quoting the erroneous sweeping generalisations made by attendees at SSPX chapels regarding the Popes since 1958, the Novus Ordo Mass/ Ordinations and all other Sacraments.

          Your last comment is risible. Of course the ‘Conciliar Church’ (there is but one Church, I think you mean the modernist leaders of the Catholic Church) causes confusion with its leaders insisting that what the Pope says is true Catholicism. Do you read this blog that often??

          This blog speaks of papolatry, but what about SSPXolatry? The SSPX leadership, like the modernist hierarchy, has serious faults, as do its Priests and Laity, but stop pretending that the SSPX is perfect. It ain’t.

          • When I moved to a bigger SSPX “parish” I ran into some people who had some strange ideas. Actually they ran into me on purpose after Mass every Sunday. They also liked to tell me all their family member’s sins asking me to pray for those members. This confused me because it seemed like detraction that ended in a prayer request! I think they looked for me on Sundays and honestly I got tired of standing there after Mass trying to change the subject for 45 minutes. I finally told the priest that I didn’t know what to do about this. He said, “Now you know why a lot of saints didn’t stay after Mass talking to people, they just went home.” I thought that was a novel idea! Then after that I always had to run to the bookstore, dodge around Mrs. X, run and get my free coffee and donut (hope they’re free) and get out and in the car before anyone had a chance to find me. Some people seem to need to socialize after Mass but I found I could do without it.

            • 3littleshepherds, I’m intrigued as to why on earth other Mass goers would want to run after you? Are you famous?

              Love your avatar!

              • Helen

                Thank you.
                I don’t know. I look like a good listener? I once stood for an hour at an SSPX church with a bowl of soup in one hand and my coke in the other while a gentleman told me the history of the wild west. He was still talking and I watched the ladies break down the table and put the food away and close up shop.
                My spouse is a bit famous, yes, so I guess maybe that might be a reason.

              • Helen

                What’s your experience? Do you get to talk to your friends after Mass or do you attract odd people? Or do you like talking to odd people?

              • ”In the olden days long ago”, Christina predictably interposed, “we never had any chat, piety stalls, coffee, tea, (or coke and doughnuts aka donuts), ‘cos if we hadn’t got off smartly we’d have been trampled underfoot by the crowds charging in for the next Mass”. Them were the days! I still do without the chat, etc., which is perhaps why I’ve never heard any of the daft opinions you have, CC, up here in the NW.

                • Christina and all the rest of your anti-social blighters!

                  Some of us welcome a cup of tea after a very early start, long drive, public transport blah blah, and some are unlikely to make it home without breaking the fast. So, for all those practical reasons, I think the tearooms are necessary.

                  Yes, Christina is correct, in them there good old days, we had to dash off before being trampled underfoot by those arriving for the next Mass (I remember our Mass times changing because there was the danger of an accident on the steps due to the crush – that’s a fact)

                  However, we lived a mere stone’s throw from the church so there was no hardship involved and there were always groups standing around having a chat outside in the car park or street, so we did speak to our fellow (and sister!) parishioners, even in them there good old days when there was no tea available in the hall afterwards.

                  I think it is especially important to be able to make newcomers feel at ease in the Society chapels so the tearoom serves as an opportunity to help the waverers and those who may be feeling isolated in the crisis. If all around you are saying to avoid the Society like the plague and then the Society congregation ignores you like you’ve GOT the plague, well, it can be a tad dispiriting.

                  And yes, 3LittleShepherds there may be “odd people” around but, as Someone once said, although I slightly paraphrase: what good does it do if we are nice to those who are like us (not “odd”!) – even the pagans do as much do they not?”

                  Staying for tea/coffee/donuts, any other kind of nuts, whatever, is not mandatory: there’s no commandment, no rule that says we must do so. However, it’s sometimes the only support certain people get, the only time they meet other like-minded Catholics, so hands off our tearoom. I’m making placards already 😯

                  • Bah! humbug! What about all those elderly people in our congregations who can no longer drive so need lifts from those who can, and either don’t want refreshments or can’t get up our steep stairs to get at ’em. You wait till you’ve got a Zimmer frame and all the car drivers are too busy guzzling cake to take you home 🎂 ☕ 🍰 🍺 🍕 ! Only kidding 😀!

                    • Christina,

                      I’d be telling those zimmer-crazy passengers to take a hike (so to speak!) – and, Year of Mercy or no Year of Mercy, I’m NOT kidding 😀

                • Christina,

                  Yes, it’s hard to imagine today that City churches once had three Masses on a Sunday, every one packed with people. They used to line up all the way down the street waiting for the other Mass to end so that they could enter the church. As you say: “Them were the days,” even if I was too young to notice.

                  I think the reason for coffee/tea and a chat in so many SSPX churches today is because of the distance people have to travel to get to Mass. They can’t just walk around the corner to their local parish any more. I know some people who travel 100 miles and more to get to Mass on Sunday. I think they deserve a wee refreshment before heading home.

                  CC,

                  I have been attending SSPX Masses for 27 years and I’ve only encountered a handful of the kind of people you speak of, mostly gone now to join “The Resistance”. The SSPX has always refuted sedevacantism and tried to encourage people to have nothing to do with it.

                  In this regard, the words of a wise Irish SSPX priest come to mind, who said: “To those who accuse the Church of being full of hypocrites I respond: well, there’s always room for one more”!

                  • I remember your first time at the Music Centre in Edinburgh Athanasius, Is it really 27 years since you started attending? I think I was 10 at the time.

                    As for churches with three Masses on a Sunday, many had five or six and they were all packed.

                    • Vianney,

                      Yes, it is that long. It’s hard to believe that so many years have passed so quickly. Life is truly the blink of an eye.

                      By the way, you missed a zero of your age!!

                • You didn’t have piety stalls Christina? Every parish in this city had a stall of some sort, even when the churches were only a couple of hundred yards apart, but then the Scots always were progressive. Lol.

                  • Vianney, I won’t contradict your last bit – I wouldn’t dare with Ed on the warpath, and I can attest to the splendiferousness of the piety stalls in Edinburgh and Glasgow. But no, I don’t remember a piety stall in my parish, though there was a rack hanging on a wall with CTS booklets on it.

          • CC,

            I’ve heard Society priests condemning sedevacantism, warning against it, so best not to universalise your own limited experience. As far as I know you are not attending a Society chapel every Sunday; my memory is that you can seldom get to an SSPX chapel due to distance/lack of transport etc, so you are obviously – if that IS the case – not hearing every sermon, by any stretch of the imagination. You probably missed the one about sedevacantism, as I missed the one about patience.

            As for SSPXolatry on this blog. Nonsense. I’ve never once exhorted people to attend Society chapels without warning them not to expect perfection. Nothing in this world is perfect, but if you want to be free of the Modernist influence in sermons, materials on sale to read etc. Society chapels are a safe haven.

            At this stage in the crisis, however, I feel less inclined to exhort anyone to attend a Society chapel. Frankly, with things so bad, anyone who is still dithering about the SSPX deserves all they get. Let them go, let them tarry, is my new motto. I used to sing that, as a girl. It was the quickest way to get the visitors to go home 😀

            • Editor,

              If it’s OK with you, I’d like to give CC1 a chance to explain this comment of his: “the Society he [Abp. Lefebvre] founded has caused much confusion.” Not that I’m suddenly magnanimous or anything, but…

              …let’s try this, CC1: what sort of “confusion,” precisely, are you referring to? I can think of 3 possibilities:

              1. Confusion caused in you personally. Was this caused by a statement(s) of a Society priest? By faithful at a Society chapel? What sort of confusion? Doctrinal? Why were you confused?

              2. Confusion you have witnessed being caused in others. Caused by whom and by what statements? And why did you categorize the reaction to these statements as “confusion”?

              3. Confusion in the “mainstream” Church caused by an SSPX position. While I think it is safe to say that the mainstream Church doesn’t care one whit about any SSPX position, I’d like to know how you have witnessed this, if indeed you have.

          • CC1,

            You don’t seem to understand any of my points, one of which is that the SSPX (which I have never claimed is perfect) has repeatedly condemned the error of sedevacantism. Apparently, though, not strongly enough for you. What would you consider a “strong enough” condemnation?

            • Regarding the type of confusion I was remarking on, I would have thought that was evident in my above posts. These lay people, quite a considerable number, who frequent the SSPX Chapel do hold sedevacantist views. They either learnt it themselves as a knee-jerk reaction to the crisis or as a result of a lacklustre response by SSPX clergy. Whilst Archbishop Lefebvre condemned sedevacantism, his followers and many Priests in the Society obviously ignored him. Look at the SSPV and Frs. Kelly, Dolan and Cekada. Sedevacantism was taught in an SSPX seminary in Ridgefield, Ct., by Fr Dolan. Read this:

              http://www.culturewars.com/CultureWars/Archives/Fidelity_archives/SSPX11.htm

              The rector at Ridgefield was Fr. Donald Sanborn, also a sedevacantist. All this happened in 1978. If sedevacantists had influence in one seminary, then it must, in an organisation such as the SSPX, existed in others.

              These are confused, either self-inflicted or by the Society. The Priests at Preston were lukewarm regarding my concerns. All I got was regarding the Novus Ordo Sacraments, ‘well, there is doubt’ or in the case of one, saying he couldn’t give a straight answer, but said that there is doubt and that its best to receive the Traditional Sacraments. Again Confusion. None of them have done nothing about sedevacantism. The Pope is an undoubted Modernist, but to say he is invalidly elected or not even ordained is idiotic and dangerous.

              Regarding your point 3, I’m not talking about the Mainstream Church. Most of NO Parishioners have never heard of the SSPX. I’m talking about confusion in the SSPX. These Priests who I know don’t have the fortitude to come down on either side. Either the sacraments are invalid or not.

              • CC1,

                Thank you for your reply. If I may, a few observations and questions regarding your latest post:

                1. The sources of sedevacantist confusion you cite occurred in the 1970s and 1980s, i.e. 30-40 years ago. How are these priests causing confusion in the present day?

                2. The sources of confusion you cite all either left or were removed from the Society – so how are priests who have not been part of the Society for the past 30-40 years causing confusion within the Society – again, in the present day?

                3. Now, if you’d like to claim that the Society’s screening of seminary candidates, in its infancy, was not very good, you might have a point, but I’ll leave that point for others who have been SSPX faithful far longer than I have.

                4. You claim to be familiar with “quite a considerable number” of faithful in the Chapel you frequent who hold sv views. How many people are you referring to, and how do you know they hold these views?

                5. In your post you’ve suddenly switched horses from sedevacantism to the Novus Ordo Sacraments. Presumably you frequent a Society Chapel at Preston, and you raised your concerns with more than one priest. What is it about the priests’ response you found confusing? Which of the Novus Ordo Sacraments were you inquiring about? Are you aware that “Well, there is doubt” [about the NO Sacraments] is actually an accurate response, considering the current formation of “mainstream” priests, the shambles of the Conciliar Church and the unknown factor of their intentions while performing the Consecration?

                6. Considering that same shambles, moreover, your priest’s concluding remark, “It is best to receive the Traditional Sacraments,” is also completely accurate. What is confusing about that?

                7. You say that “none of them have done nothing about sedevacantism” – so I repeat my question: since the SSPX has repeatedly condemned this error (see, for example, Gabriel Syme’s post below), what action(s) would be good enough to satisfy you?

                • RCAV,

                  Allow me to quote a selection of your points:

                  1. The sources of sedevacantist confusion you cite occurred in the 1970s and 1980s, i.e. 30-40 years ago. How are these priests causing confusion in the present day?

                  2. The sources of confusion you cite all either left or were removed from the Society – so how are priests who have not been part of the Society for the past 30-40 years causing confusion within the Society – again, in the present day?

                  3. Now, if you’d like to claim that the Society’s screening of seminary candidates, in its infancy, was not very good, you might have a point, but I’ll leave that point for others who have been SSPX faithful far longer than I have.

                  I was providing the examples of Frs. Kelly, Cekada, Sanborn et al to prove my point, that sedevacantism has been in the SSPX from the beginning. I didn’t say they personally were causing confusion in the SSPX today. Not all of the Priests with sedevacantist views left the SSPX. They are all still there. I have quoted them in my posts above. For an SSPX Priest to say that there is doubt regarding the Novus Ordo ordinations and consequentially the rest of the Sacraments, must surely mean that the Pope may not be a validly ordained Priest, so why the Dickens would you or any other Traditional Catholic pledge allegiance to him given the doubt regarding his ordination in 1969? I was told by two other SSPX Priests that the Novus Ordo ordinations may be invalid per accidens, but not per se, which reduces the Catholic Priesthood to the level of the Eastern Orthodox, the Oriental Orthodox and the Old Catholics. I was not given a coherent answer by another. I was conditionally baptised and confirmed by the SSPX. Not because I doubted the validity of my original Novus Ordo Confirmation, but because my Anglican baptism may have been invalid. If I had been conditionally baptised and then confirmed in the New Rite by my Parish Priest then I would not have received the Traditional Sacraments. Olive oil was used, the form was valid, so there is no doubt for me.

                  You either believe the Church is infallible and indefectible as I do, and could never enforce an invalid Sacrament as the Church’s mission is the salvation of souls, or you do not. If you believe the Sacraments may be invalid, and therefore the ordination of the Pope, most of the Bishops and clergy, you are in error.

                  • Catholic Convert 1,

                    Could I make a suggestion please? I get the impression that you go asking a lot of questions of different priests and they may be innocently giving you answers to try to cover all bases, but you maybe pick up on the most controversial. If I’m wrong, I am really sorry, but that’s just me hazarding a guess.

                    What I really want to suggest is that you don’t ask any individuals priests or people questions but find out what the official position is and stick with that.

                    I’ve never heard any SSPX priest say that the ordinations of priests are invalid. Some extremist lay people say that sort of thing but you just should ignore them. Some extremist lay people in the mainstream church think the SSPX are in schism! LOL!

                    It’s interesting to me that it’s not Bishop Fellay who is claiming that the election of Pope Francis may have been invalid due to the scheming around it, but highly placed cardinals. Read Edward Pentin – his sources are not SSPX

                    Those of us with no axe to grind, who may not (always, if ever) attend Society Masses can see through the attacks on that group. I’m surprised that you are questioning the Society because of what some individuals might say and not look at the policy of the group itself. I’ve frankly never read anything on the SSPX websites that I disagree with. They’ve not changed, but the modern hierarchy and that includes the popes have changed.

                    The Church is indefectible but that doesn’t mean the popes can’t do wrong, and the new Mass is wrong. Archbishop Lefebvre didn’t say it was always invalid per se, but the famous liturgist, Monsignor Klaus Gamber showed that it is prone to be invalid. He’s not SSPX.

                  • CC1,

                    In addition to injecting contradictory statements into your succeeding posts and failing to answer my question as to what would satisfy you regarding the SSPX position on sedevacantism, you keep making the same error in logic: you are trying to make a rule out of the exception. That is a logical fallacy called the “exception fallacy.” You also continue to make sweeping statements which you do not substantiate, like “Not all of the Priests with sedevacantist views left the SSPX. They are all still there.” (I also point out the obvious contradiction between “not all” and “they are all”).

                    At this point I suggest that you stop nit-picking and do two things: one, be grateful for the opportunity that the SSPX provides through its chapels instead of throwing manufactured problems in everyone’s faces, and two, find yourself a spiritual director and start over. You have stepped into a pool of a quicksand of theories and rumors, and you need to extricate yourself and focus on what’s important. Which is, as I’m sure you already know, your own sanctification through spiritual combat.

              • CC, the priests you mention at Ridgefield were expelled from the SSPX for their sedevacantist views and went on to found the SSPV. The SSPX has always attracted nutters, mainly because they had nowhere else to go, and a lady who attends the London church once said that there should be a notice at the church door saying “warning, contains nuts.” These people were far outnumbered by “normal” people and, as Athanasius has pointed out, most have gone over to the resistance and some have even left that to pursue the sedevacantist route.

          • Catholic Convert,

            With respect, you do not have any right to say what the SSPX has or has not done. You have been a Catholic for five minutes and can only have attended SSPX masses on a handful of occasions. When the SSPX was condemning sedevacantism you were having your nappy changed. It would be more prudent of you to keep quiet on these issues if you can’t exercise restraint. Opening your mouth and allowing your belly to rumble isn’t accurate.

            • I have every right to say what the SSPX is doing. What a bizarre comment. I have done a great deal of research and study into the SSPX standpoints on various issues. ‘With respect’ always means ‘no respect’, as evidence by your post. Before you start making personal comments, think before you open your mouth and put a bridle on your tongue. My belly isn’t rumbling. I’m speaking the truth. You should learn a lesson in manners from Athanasius and Gabriel Syme. You are one of the most patronising and sanctimonious people I’ve ever corresponded with. I voted in my first General Election in May. Does that mean I’m not allowed to express an opinion on politics, as I have only been able to vote for two minutes?

              The SSPX leadership may have condemned sedevacantism, but tell that to the SSPX Priests and Laity. If you went to Preston once in a while you’d know. The Priests there were less than forceful in their ‘condemnation’ and they tolerated it. I told a Priest that a woman said Francis was not a priest, the NO Sacraments are invalid and she said that I should get my Rosary, blessed by Francis, re-blessed. I told him this, and said ‘we don’t believe this’. Well, do something about it!!! It’s OK just shrugging your shoulders, but that’s tolerating people’s errors. Sedevacantism is a sin. If I had a devout Protestant or Muslim friend, and you were insisting I convert them, and I said, ‘oh well, they have a strong faith, they perform works of mercy and charity, he/ she is a good person’, you would think I was wrong. The same applies with the SSPX and sedevacantism. +Fellay et al may condemn it, but many SSPX priests seemingly ignore these proclamations.

      • CC,

        See this article below for what the SSPX says about sedevacantism (this paragraph is the conclusion):

        Sedevacantism is a theory that has not been proven speculatively, and that it is imprudent to hold practically (an imprudence that can have very serious consequences). That is why Archbishop Lefebvre never adopted this position, and even forbade the priests of the Society of St. Pius X to profess it. We should have confidence in his prudence and theological sense.

        Fr. Munoz points out that no saint in the Church’s history was ever a sedevacantist, while several openly and forcefully resisted a pope’s errors. Let us do likewise.

        http://archives.sspx.org/miscellaneous/sedevacantism/little_catechism_on_sedevacantism.htm

        In my experience the priests of the SSPX are very strict about not tolerating sedevacantist views in their Churches, lest the faithful be contaminated by their presence.

        But, yes, its true that sometimes you get odd people with erroneous or extreme views turning up at places (all places) and they generally cause great scandal when they eventually reveal these views.

        I am sure the SSPX has had its problems with such people hanging about some of their Churches – but then, so does the Novus Ordo Church.

        If you went into a Novus Ordo church and threw a snowball, odds on it would hit someone who rejects whole swathes of Catholic Doctrine and has replaced official teaching with their own erroneous views in many areas (especially where doctrine clashes with secular mores). And that “someone” hit with the snowball may well include the Parish Priest!

        The difference, in my experience, is that if someone were to promote sedevacantist (or other unnacceptable) views at an SSPX Church, they would be asked either to recant such views or not to return. In the Novus Ordo Church, such persons are allowed to remain and to propagate their views among others.

        (I think I am right to say that even Bishop Williamson has condemned sedevacantism.)

        And surely the SSPX condemns sedevacantism not only by words, but by actions – they pray for the Pope at every mass; Francis’ mug smiles down at us from every sacristy wall; they deal with the Pope routinely as part of efforts to resolve the canonical status question and the leadership present themselves in Rome every time they are asked to do so. These are not the action of clergymen who harbour even the slightest sympathy for sedevacantism.

      • No it doesn’t. …and you are [not speaking the truth] …I’ve been attending SSPX chapels since 1981….I’ve heard…and spoken a lot of critisism for modern Popes…but never met even one person who thinks the Pope is not the Pope

          • Morgana,

            I think Tecumseh is replying to CC.

            Tecumseh,

            In 27 years at the SSPX I’ve only ever heard one person speak in a sedevacantist manner regarding the Pope, and he has since left to join the so-called “Resistance”. So, you’re absolutely right in what you say.

  2. This is a fantastic website, a great new resource that will hopefully go some way to undoing the many calumnies and detractions hurled at Archbishop Lefebvre by his enemies, the enemies of the Catholic Faith.

    I was privileged to attend his Diamond Jubilee Mass in Paris in 1989, one of 30,000 other faithful, and I was honoured to receive his blessing in Manchestser the same year. He was a gentle, saintly man who oused sanctity. He was soft spoken, always smiling, yet fearless when the Faith was at stake.

    There is no doubt in my mind that this distinguished prelate, so falsely and wickedly accused by the enemies of Sacred Tradition, will one day be raised to the honour of our Catholic altars.

    Few People truly comprehend the standing of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in the Church, even in the estimation of Popes. “He is the best of my Apostolic Delegates,” said Pius XII. Archbishop of all French Africa, Suprior General of the Holy Ghost Fathers, he was no low ranking bishop looking to make a name for himself. He was one of six siblings who entered the priesthood and religious life, three of whom became superiors, which testifies to the graces bestowed by Our Lord on the Lefebvre family.

    What is engraved on Archbishop Lefebvre’s headstone perfectly sums up his priestly life: “I have handed on what I have received” Despite all the accusations of his enemies, they can never escape this truth that Archbishop Lefebvre merely passed the Faith on unaltered. He changed nothing.

    • Athanasius your description of the archbishop is too a tee.He truly was a man off great faith deeply holy and to be in his presence one could sense a truly good man.Restoring all things in Christ was his business and without him standing strong against all the changes we would not have the mass of old as Our Lord intended it to be.I am grateful that I had the privelege of attending his masses on more than one occassion and listening to his great sermons.

  3. Marcel,Marcel.

    Whilst the Saviour in His agony hung,
    Cried, “Woman, behold thy son”,
    “Mother”, could have pierced His gasping breath,
    Consoled our King in the grip of death.
    But no, “Mother” was not His call,
    His bursting Heart must give it’s all.

    And you Marcel, did you long to catch again your mother’s glance,
    As you ran with glee through the green fields of France,
    Or to serve once more at the Sacred Throne,
    That one day would claim you as It’s own?.
    No alas, such comforts flee,
    From thee, as He who hung upon a tree.

    To the Master’s call, you relinquished all,
    Eternal Rome, to Eternal Home.
    What must always and everywhere to be believed,
    “I have handed on what I have received”.
    You said it all, you said it well,
    Rest in peace, Marcel, Marcel.

    • Attono,

      That’s a lovely poem. I especially loved the last verse. I think the Archbishop will be declared a saint one day. He refused to keep silent when he saw the Council was taking the Church off the rails. That took courage.

  4. Our Lord’s Pope, Bishops, priests, and laity seem to no longer know Our Lord thus weakening or destroying their love and service toward Him. Archbishop Lefebvre continues to orient souls towards Christ the King keeping them safe from what Cardinal Ottaviani referred to as “a new paganism, worse than the first one because it is aggravated by apostasy”.
    My spouse and I were confirmed by Archbishop Lefebvre in 1986. He was old and traveled thousands of miles to confirm us because he loved Our Lord and he loved us. It is obvious that when Popes and priests lose their knowledge of Our Lord, turning towards the world, they no longer show love to God nor to us.

  5. I wholeheartedly agree with Athanasius’ assessment of this website, and about the spiritual destiny of Abp. Lefebvre. I am a relative latecomer to Tradition, but the more I learn about the Archbishop the more I am impressed and humbled by his fearless defense of the Faith, and his success in that endeavor against overwhelming odds. Also, it appears they have posted the excellent film “Apb. Lefebvre: A Documentary” on this site, in its entirety. There is one little nugget atop the “biography>conciliar father” page that made me smile: “John XXIII, who succeeded Pope Pius XII in 1958, did not understand Archbishop Lefebvre’s language.” One can read a whole world of meaning into that short sentence, esp. after having read Franco Bellegrandi’s book “NikitaRoncalli,” in which he asserts, among many other disheartening things, that Roncalli was initiated into Freemasonry while serving as Apostolic Delegate to Turkey during the 1930s. My only reservation about this website is rather petty: the use of all lower-case letters for header and side column links strikes me as faddish, as if the Society’s webmaster had been reading too much e.e. cummings….

  6. RCA Victor,

    I don’t personally believe the claim that Cardinal Roncalli was initiated into Freemasonry, and neither did Archbishop Lefebvre. What the Archbishop believed, which sounds much more plausible, is that the Popes of Vatican II, beginning with Roncalli, were of a mindset that suited Freemasonry and its ends. In fact, my understanding is that the Freemasons themselves never expected one of their number to end up on the Papal Throne, but were always hopeful of a Pope who shared their world view.

    John XXIII fulfilled that hope to an extent by his rehabilitation of so many previously censured heretical theologians to important positions in the Vatican II Preparatory Commissions. However, Paul VI was far more accomodating to them when he made Archbishop Bugnini the chief architect of a new liturgical construction. That was the clincher for Freemasonry. The Freemasons publicly lamented the passing of Paul VI, not John XXIII, which aptly demonstrates what they were able to achieve under Pope Montini. I do not, however, believe that either pope was a signed up member of that sect. Sadly, I can’t say the same about Archbishop Bugnini and some other senior figures of Vatican II.

    • Pope Paul’s mother’s grave is at least circumstantial evidence that his family had masonic connections. I sure don’t think it should be used as proof that the Pope was absolutely a mason because the details of how those symbols got on her tombstone are not known. If he was ignorant about her grave he must never have visited it.

    • Athansius,

      One of our (SSPX) priests, who has not read Bellegrandi’s book, also told me that Roncalli was a Mason. However, this same priest said that Montini was as well. I don’t know what his source was, and I didn’t pursue the matter, but I’d be very interested in your assessment of Bellegrandi’s book. It’s a PDF, you can Google it and download it. Unfortunately, it’s 240 pages, not exactly a quick read!

      • RCA Victor,

        To be honest, I wouldn’t trust Bellegrandi any more than other authors who have made these astounding claims. I always find that on examination their assertions doesn’t hold up with anything close to absolute certainty. And, since we are talking about deceased Popes who can no longer defend their reputation, I think we are obliged to give the benefit of the doubt in charity. Besides, this kind of speculation doesn’t help the Church or souls in the present crisis, although it can lead some to bitterness and dejection. I have witnessed this happen on many occasions. I could be wrong, but my experience over many years has been that the Masonic Pope theory is more or less unique to Sedevacantism.

        I’m not suggesting for a moment that you are Sedevacantist, just warning you that these accusations tend to emanate from within Sedevacantist circles. It’s their way of trying to justify their rejection of the validity of the post-Vatican II Popes.

        • Athanasius,

          I agree that there is no way, as far as I know (short of gaining access to lodge records) of confirming or refuting these claims, and that it is generally a waste of time to be distracted by them, and disheartening to the Faith as well. One thing I’ve found suspicious about such claims is that if Roncalli was a Mason, why would he dismiss Bugnini under suspicion of Freemasonry?

          • RCA Victor,

            Yes, Pope John did dismiss Bugnini for that reason, as ultimately did Paul VI. It’s also fair to state in defence of Paul VI that he upheld Holy Communion on the tongue while kneeling and refused to undermine the moral teaching of the Church when his Modernist confreres, and indeed the entire world at the time, expected him to do so. These were not the actions of a paid up Mason.

            He also quite genuinely lamented “the smoke of Satan in the Church,” not grasping of course that he and his predecessor were the ones who opened that “fissure in the walls”. Again, this tells us that he was not consciously attempting to destroy the Church from within.

            I have heard these rumours about Paul VI many times, as also the calumnious ones about His Holiness being an active homosexual. People who spread such rumours are generally embittered. They focus on entirely the wrong things, prefering to discourage souls rather than encourage them to hold fast to divine truth and charity in the midst of this supernatural Passion of the Mystical Body of Christ.

            • Athanasius,

              I meant to thank you for your (unspoken) reminder to stay focused on the prize, as it were – and I mean that sincerely. I’ve recently read Fr. DeLallo’s “Sword of Christendom,” followed by Bellegrandi’s book, both of which dwell on unsavory matters regarding the enemies of the Faith. It’s back to the writings of the Saints for me….

              • RCA Victor,

                I very much appreciate your kind words. I am always fearful of coming across as arrogant in my opinions, God forbid, so it’s comforting to know that I can contribute something every now and then that encourages others.

                As regards Fr. DeLallo’s “Sword of Christendom,” I would not put that in the category of those other types of works I referred to.

                Fr. DeLallo’s book is a well researched resource rich in Papal quotations, historical facts and even scientific brilliance that completely destroys, for example, the myth of evolution. Chronicling the origins and development of Freemasonry, as he does, is not the same as hurling accusations against individuals. No, hand on to that great book and lend it to others to read. There is also another book of Fr. DeLallo’s, not quite so well circulated (complicated story), entitled Catholic Action for Christ Our King. This is also a great and encouraging resource in the present crisis.

                • Athanasius,

                  Is Catholic Action… the book that was taken out of publication because of unspecified errors? Sword is also out of print, but I managed to buy a used copy. I don’t know which of these was deliberately shut down, or perhaps it was yet another book, but I found Sword to be completely riveting. In fact, because of that book I’ve floated the idea of starting up some trade guilds associated with our parish.

                  • RCA Victor,

                    Yes, I believe there was some resistance to Catholic Action… when it first appeared. It was at the time when certain individuals were pushing a wrong idea of ‘Catholic Action’ amongst Traditional Catholics, individuals who had a strong association with a certain future founder of “The Resistance,” if you catch my drift.

                    I wrote challenging them myself back in the day.

                    To cut a long story short, my suspicion is that Father’s book corrected those wrong ideas with the true teaching of the Church, though sadly for him and the rest of us it was at a time when said future founder of “The Resistance” still had great influence in the U.S.

                    It is a great pity that the injustice done at that time has not been redressed, especially since those negative elements are now largely expunged from the SSPX.

                    Since Father’s book was primarily a recounting of the traditional teaching of the Popes on Catholic Action, we can only speculate as to why any supposed errors in its pages remained unspecified. I’ve read the book and I can’t find a single questionable paragraph in it. So, as the Americans are wont to say: Go figure!

                    Still, these matters are in the distant past now and I guess there’s no point in raking them up again. I would, however, love to see that book on the shelves once more, if only for the wealth of sound Catholic teaching it contains.

        • Athanasius,

          I agree with your prudential approach. Freemasonry is by its very nature secret, and there is very little that can be known with certainty about the identity and activity of freemasons, past or present.

          • Prognosticum

            Absolutely! Our Lord will expose all of these secrets in due course. Our Part right now is to concentrate on our own sanctification, as well as that of our neighbour. I would much rather spend my spare time researching the Traditional doctrinal teaching of the Church, than searching in vain for evidence that one or more popes may have been Masons. The one thing we know for sure is that the Masonic mindset has infiltrated the Church. Naming and shaming potentially guilty individuals is not the answer to that infiltration. Sound Catholic doctrine is.

  7. 3littleshepherds,

    It’s not actually the grave of Paul VI’ mother that has Masonic symbols on it but rather a grave in the corner of the Verolavecchia cemetery, near Brescia, dedicated to the family Alghisi, which is the maternal family line of Pope Montini. Any member of that family could have had that insignia inscribed on the bas relief. It is a very old looking headstone and the symbols in question contain other elements which may refer to something quite distinct from Masonry, such as a particular trade. The presence of set square and compass amidst these other symbols is not conclusive.

    • How did you come by that info? Is it written up anywhere? Bishop Fellay said he sent a priest to take pics of it and it was masonic and Pope Paul’s mother’s grave. I looked at the different pictures online but they don’t acually say if her body is directly under that stone. So your info is that the stone is a marker and not really a headstone with a body?

      • 3LittleShepherds,

        I presume we are talking here about an Italian “tomb”, a structure above or below ground designed to accomodate the coffins of several deceased persons, usually of the same family. Such a structure is completely different from our cemetery “layers” in which bodies are lowered into the earth.

        Generally speaking, the design of the tomb would not be changed after its construction, so it is perfectly possible that some relative of the lady in question was a freemason.

  8. 3littleshepherds,

    Yes, I got the information from Fr. Luigi Villa’s book “Paul VI Beatified?” There are photos in the book with a description of the various Alghisi family tombs. The one in question is clearly described as “dedicated to Family Alghisi”. It mentions this name as the “maternal line of Paul VI,” but there is no claim that his mother is actually buried there. Besides this, as I said earlier, the tomb stone itself looks really dated, so could have been commissioned long before Paul VI’ mother was born, let alone died.

    I am surprised to hear that Bishop Fellay sent a priest to photograph this head stone. Are you absolutely sure about that? It doesn’t seem like the kind of thing Bishop Fellay would do.

    • Bishop Fellay spoke about it in the conference he gave December 28, 2012. He might have meant that she was buried in a masonic graveyard or that the area was marked as masonic. I try to remember that english is his third language or something! It’s around the 1 hour 24 minute mark in the audio. He says this: “…the tomb of the mother of Paul VI, this is verified so it’s not hearsay. I did send someone to verify what I tell you now, and we took photos. The tomb of the mother of Paul VI is a Masonic tomb, with all the Masonic symbols. It’s a fact. How can a Pope allow his mother to have a masonic tomb? Should help people to reflect.”

      • 3littleshepherds,

        From the pictures and explanations in the aforementioned book of Fr. Villa, it seems there are a number of rather large standing tomb stones grouped together in one corner of the cemetery, amongst which is one dedicated to “the Family Alghisi”, which is the maternal line of Paul VI. It does not, as far as I can tell, specify that the mother of Paul VI is buried underneath. Indeed, it doesn’t even specify how long that head stone has been standing. For all we know, it could have been there for a hundred years or more. But as I said before, it really doesn’t matter to us today what the truth of it is. In other words, it’s a distraction from the real issues facing us all in the present crisis.

  9. 3LITTLESHEPHERDS, I speak to anybody who speaks to me! Seriously though, I don’t mind people being a little odd as they probably have their reasons. I enjoy chatting after Mass and, as I sometimes have to travel a very long way to get to a tridentine Mass, I welcome the cup of tea and biscuit. My granny says that there was a Mass every hour in every parish when she was growing up, something I can hardly imagine!

      • Yes Helen – 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11a.m. in my parish – hence the crush as one Mass ended and the waiting queue began to come in. In the evening the ‘Rosary, sermon and Benediction’ was packed to the doors as well.

        • Christina

          And that’s not to mention the standing room only occasions when missions were preached. Even some Protestants went to hear the mission fathers preach.

          It is quite incredible how all that Catholicity has been destroyed in a mere fifty years since the Council.

          • Athanasius,

            I used to wonder, very disheartened to say the least, about such a rapid collapse of an allegedly healthy Church. But it seems to me that the tragic era of the past 50 years is actually the overt result of (a) many more years of pre-VII covert plotting and infiltration by the enemy (e.g. the initial election of an alleged Freemason in 1903, vetoed by the Emperor Franz Joseph) – that is, the present era is actually the rotten fruits of their long labors; (b) the Will of Our Lord that His Mystical Body must undergo a passion as He did – as confirmed, perhaps, by His response to Satan’s boast during the Pontificate of Leo XIII that he could destroy the Church in 100 years; (c) the shallow faith, typically expressed as false obedience, of entirely too many clergy and laity, who either simply shrugged their shoulders at the revolution and submitted, or even worse, applauded all the “simplification.” I was removed from the Church at age 5 during the 1950s, so I can’t speak from personal experience, but it seems to me that the conventional wisdom about a “pre-VII healthy Church” is a bit hollow.

            • RCA Victor,

              You are absolutely correct in your assessment that the crisis in the Church has its roots much further back in the twentieth century. St. Pius X’s Encyclical <Pascendi amply demonstrates this. The Modernist infiltrators were certainly active for half a century before a useful Pope appeared who would assure them of victory with a pastoral Council.

              However, I wouldn’t say that the health of the Church, particularly under Pius XII in the 1950s, was “hollow”. I think the situation was that too many Catholics took the Church and their faith for granted, and as a result really didn’t know either in any great depth. Hence when the revolution came they simply had no idea what to beleive or how to react and just went along under the misconception that they had to obey. It was the figure of the Pope at the head of the so-called reform that made many buckle under who otherwise may have resisted. Many others simply lost their faith and left the Church, unable to come to terms with previously condemned heretics and precepts now being in vogue. The sheep simply had the wool pulled over their eyes and followed shepherds who were volves.

              • That’s right, Athanasius, it was exactly thus. Diocesan parish priests and curates were generally equally ignorant about what had been a long time brewing, and could only invoke and enjoin ‘obedience’ in the confessional and from the pulpit. My own PP at the time made no attempt to do this, but said that he was glad he was retiring, and it was left to a young curate to swallow it all with some enthusiasm and bring on the guitars. The young, especially teenagers in the schools, were only too ready to bring the popular ‘culture’ of the sixties into the churches. People often claim to be surprised that older people who knew the old Mass in their youth are so firmly wedded to the NO, but it is wholly unsurprising when one considers that it was born when they were the youth of the ‘swinging sixties’ and in its banality and loss of the numinous, it was, in more modern parlance, ‘cool’.

                The sort of clergy who were nurturing the modernist poison were around all right, but their malice was largely unrecognised. One, whose name escapes me was chaplain in the grammar school in which I was teaching and most of us failed to see what he was. It all sounded so profoundly intellectual in those staff-room discussions. I remember him saying that all love was beautiful and pleasing to God, including homosexual love, and most of us thought ‘novel, but so profound’. He turned out to be an acolyte of the unspeakable Derek Worlock, Archbishop of Liverpool, and was one of the foremost movers and shakers in the 1980 Liverpool National Pastoral Congress which produced the ‘Easter People’ report.

        • Christina, if you look at the video of Mass from St. Nicholas du Chardonett on YouTube at the beginning you see the crush as people leave one Mass and others enter for the next. Brings back happy memories.

          • Vianney,

            When I went on retreat to the largest SSPX center in the US two years ago – St. Marys, Kansas – I was astounded to see the same phenomenon. Back-to-back-to-back-to-back Masses, each one standing room only, parking lots and streets filled to overflowing for each Mass. And this is in a small town in the middle of nowhere!

    • Helen

      I don’t remember ever having any Sede or anyone like that corner me except after Mass, never at parish picnics nor at pilgrimages. I think perhaps some of them use the occasion to spread their message. (Or if not Sede then a follower of a strange apparition)
      I bet you have life skills to know how to act in a situation like that. If I were in Glasgow and I ran into a resistance member, Sede, ranter I would ease over to where ever Editor was chatting and leave them with her.

  10. CC1,

    RE our exchange above (you can reply here, if you like, to my most recent post), I’ve just received in the post an invitation to purchase a new book being promoted and endorsed by the SSPX, True or False Pope? Refuting Sedevacantism and Other Modern Errors” by John Salza and Robert Siscoe. The authors have also created a website: http://www.trueorfalsepope.com/p/purchase-book.html

  11. Helen and Christina,

    I remember all the Masses every Sunday and the beautiful churches in the 50’s packed to the gunnels with standing room only down the side aisles and at the back. The priests were truly dedicated and visited the parishioners. We had yearly missions and weekly devotions to Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, Children of Mary, Holy angels, (and not so holy angels) groups and so much more.. Our whole lives revolved round the parish. There were about 6 priests living in the parish house.

    Now we have one priest serving several parishes and lots of lay workers trying to do the priests jobs.

    Yes 50 years devastation and loss of souls. The pope needs to consecrate Russia soon.

    • Clotide,

      That is a first class summary of the last fifty years. It’s so sad, especially since the priests (and Pope!) who were ordained after Vatican II have no idea what it was like before, the picture you describe. They believe the lies they were told.

  12. Prayer for the Intercession of Archbishop Lefebvre

    O Lord Jesus Christ, King of Kings, we implore Thee in Thy Divine Kindness to finally bring to light the holiness and justice of Thy humble servant, Marcel Lefebvre. His earthly life was met with ignominy and scorn, in pattern to Thee, and all for Thee, O Christ, for Whom he so valiantly fought, and Whose rights and Kingship he defended. We beg Thee to manifest his holy intercession for us by granting us the petition we ask in his name, (that of…) O Mary, Immaculate Queen and Mediatrix of all graces, please obtain for us from thy Divine Son that special grace by which thy servant Marcel may be honored and glorified with the title of Saint.
    Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.

    • 3LittleShepherds,

      That’s a really beautiful prayer. I’ve never seen that before. Thanks for sharing it. It would be great to have a miracle through his intercession. I think I’ll try!

  13. Editor,

    A small suggestion for the main website poll, if I may: instead of “problem for the Church,” may I suggest “problem for the Modernist Church,” or something equivalent? The % of people who have thus far selected “Problem” might thereby decrease somewhat….he said optimistically….

      • Prognosticum,

        We have, on average, 1,000 people visiting our website every week. Sometimes, our sitemeter has recorded 2,000.

        Yet only a few hundred (at most) vote in the polls. My pet theory is that the visitors imagine (wrongly) that I can identify voters, e.g. by email address or whatever, which is not the case. I haven’t a CLUE who is voting, but I suspect that may explain the difference in numbers between those visiting the site and those voting in the polls.

        Thus, it is heartening to discover that the majority of votes cast always (except very occasionally) favour the “correct” answer 😀

    • RCA Victor,

      I think everyone realises that by “the Church” the poll question refers to the senior (Modernist) hierarchy and clergy of the present time. I doubt, therefore, that the “problem” option would be less than it is – we have a lot of Modernists frequenting our site, and that’s one way we can tell!

  14. There have never been halcyon days in the Church, and, if we think about it, there never will be nor could be. The Holy Catholic Church of Christ is his ongoing incarnation. The Church is destined to be mocked, derided, tortured and suffer attempts on her very life in each generation, just as the Saviour was subject to the same.

    Causation in history is very difficult to understand and to prove. This is even more true of Church history. What we do know is that each one of us has an enormous part to play in this drama through his own fidelity.

    I dined recently with a very sound traditionalist priest who is learned in liturgical history. This man, who himself celebrates the old Mass exclusively, said to me that he is convinced–and I agree with him–that the changes in the liturgy would have come about even if there had never been a Second Vatican Council because the changes were very much the fruit of the prevailing cultural direction.

    Let us not over simplify matters which are extremely complex. Rather let us concentrate on ourselves remaining faithful notwithstanding the difficulties of the times. And make no mistake about it, no Christian generation has been able to live but in the midst of difficulties.

    • Prognosticum,

      “This [sound traditional priest] who himself celebrates the old Mass exclusively, said to me that he is convinced–and I agree with him–that the changes in the liturgy would have come about even if there had never been a Second Vatican Council because the changes were very much the fruit of the prevailing cultural direction.”

      Well, we’ll never know that, will we? That’s his (and your) opinion, which may, or may not, have some foundation in truth, but, what we DO know for sure is that the Second Vatican Council is the traceable proximate cause of the mentality that led to the introduction of an altogether new Mass, and the chaos that we suffer to this day, as a result.

      And, of course, you are correct to say that “no Christian generation has [been free] of difficulties.” That’s a given. But a little local difficulty is not quite on the same scale as the crisis in the Church in our times, and, believe me, “a little local difficulty” does, indeed, describe previous crises in the Church by comparison with what is going on now. Trust me. I speak with all the authority of someone who is about to settle down to watch Question Time* 😀

      *for our overseas readers, Question Time is a pseudo-discussion programme on BBC 1, where a panel of carefully selected politicians and politically correct friends (usually of “the earth”) answer pre-written/approved questions from an audience which will never include any “traditional” Catholic. So, why do I watch it? Makes me feel superior to these numpties, of course! What am I like? (Think “Pope Francis”… think “humble”!) 😀

      • Ah … If only life were quite so simple … Or should I say simplistic.

        Ecumenical Councils do not of themselves drive mentalities. Rather, the are conduits into which ideas flow and from which they may emerge with greater or lesser force. And in the contemporary era, so marked by the predominance of the mass media, the fate of any Council (or Synod, for that matter) in the eyes of the vast majority is going to be decided by the gloss the mass media put upon it. Thus the ‘Spirit of Vatican II’ which is essentially a media construct. Yes, I will keep banging on about the media and how, even (or should I say especially) in the Church, they are creating a false consciouness, something of which Holy Father Francis, with the late Princess of Wales, is tangible truth.

        Even if what you say is true–and it is a big if–proximate causes cannot be divorced from remote causes. Sacrosanctum Concilium is a meditation between the demands of the Liturgical Movement and Mediator Dei. The dumbing down of the liturgy in the Catholic Church is, I am most sorry to say, part and parcel of the process of the dumbing down of Western culture generally. To pretend otherwise is simply ludicrous.

        The Church cannot and has never lived in a vacuum. But she is called to discern what it is prudent to adopt from the surrounding culture and vice-versa.

        All of us here today would say that on the changes to the liturgy after Vatican II this discernment went awry. But hindsight is a truly wonderful thing and it is difficult for us in 2015 to judge the 1960s. When the prevailing wind is blowing in the direction of iconoclastic minimalism, it is very difficult for institutions or individuals to resist this, although, in the case in hand, some did to the point of heroism, and in this I would, as I think history will, include Archbishop Lefebvre.

    • Halcyon days? Maybe not, Prognosticum, but there are periods of calm, for example that which followed the emergence of J. H. Newman, G. M. Hopkins and many others from the Oxford Movement. Those born early enough to remember the tail-end of that particular calm know that they were privileged, and I think that it is right to remember and record their experience, not least to enable those born into a truly dark age to understand that there will come a calm again.

    • Prognosticum

      I think the priest you speak of is wrong, and I think you are wrong. The liturgical revolution was given a platform post Vatican II that it would never have been given without that Council. If you read Fr. Ralph Witgen’s book, and other reliable sources, documenting the twisting of Conciliar texts and the promotion of suspect individuals to high office in the name of Conciliar implimentation, you will readily see that none of this could have happened apart from Vatican II. That Council was the awaited, not to mention planned, vehicle for revolution. And even then, they were very fortunate to be able to push the liturgical changes through. For example, the New Mass, called Missa Normative was initially rejected by a significant number of bishops. Paul VI had to litterally force it on the Church, in the name of the Council of course. No, without that Council the ancient liturgy of the Church would not have undergone such a seismic shift to Protestantism.

      • Athanasius,

        Drat! I could have said that. I forgot about Fr Ralph Witgen’s book – and can’t think why… I’ve been surrounded by books for two days, trying to sort them out, and make my bookshelves look like there’s some semblance of order in my humble little “office”. So, let me put in my tuppence-worth – I’m about to swing round and name the first book I see on the nearest shelf, to support your position… Ah.. well…lemme see… Understanding Medjugorje… (does that help?) 😀

      • Athanasius,

        The dumbing down of the Roman liturgy goes hand in hand with the dumbing down of Western culture generally.

        Compare the liturgy to, say, to the fields of education, philosophy, politics (I would extend this also to the arts) and what you see is a grotesque iconoclastic minimalism sweeping all before it and the rise of an equally grotesque popular culture based on the thranny of a media controlled consensus.

        I am short of time, but I would add just one thing. It is providential that Vatican II took place when it did. Had it been called in the 1970s, i.e. post-1968, the result, I would contend, would have been very much worse.

  15. Prognosticum,

    There are a number of spelling errors in my last contribution. Please put these mistakes down to tiredness and rushing to post my comment before proof reading it.

  16. Well, perhaps it does, Editor. You see the liturgical revolution and Medjugorje emanate from the same spirit, which is definitely not the Holy Spirit.

  17. I agree with Athanasius that the liturgical revolution (not to mention the revolution in toto (not a reference to the Wizard of Oz, Editor) needed a platform in order to proceed, which was the Council. However, in Prognosticum’s favor, I seem to recall a passage in the Alta Vendita which said something like this: “We [Masons] will so saturate the culture with our liberal ideas that the clergy will not be able to avoid them, and will eventually adopt them.” Now if only I could find that book in my topically-organized, well-dusted bookshelf, I might be able to provide the exact quote….

    • You are right on that, I remember reading the Alta Vendita and it said that the Masons knew they wouldn’t get a pope who was a Lodge member but they could get one who would be marching under their banner. That’s what happened with the post-conciliar popes.

  18. While nobody here needs reminding that Archbishop Lefebvre, virtually alone, stood in front of the modernist tanks, his entire life is a truly remarkable example of Christian fidelity and fortitude.

    Concerning his defence of the Catholic faith that has been held “always, everywhere, and by everyone”, the following words merit repetition:

    “…Truth is not made by numbers: numbers do not make Truth. Even if I am alone, and even if all my seminarians leave me, even if I am abandoned by the whole of public opinion, it is all the same to me. I am attached to my catechism, attached to my Credo, attached to Tradition which sanctified all the saints in heaven. I am not concerned about others: they do as they wish: but I want to save my soul. Public opinion I know too well: it was public opinion which condemned Our Lord after acclaiming Him a few days before. First, Palm Sunday: then Good Friday. We know that. Public opinion is not to be trusted at all. Today it is for me, tomorrow it is against me. What matters is fidelity to our faith. We should have that conviction and stay calm.”
    Econe 18th September 1976. Itineraires No. 208, pp.136-154.

    Archbishop Lefebvre’s defence of Tradition was the vigorous reflection of the words of Chesterton in his classic work, Orthodoxy:

    “It is always simple to fall; there are an infinity of angles at which one falls, only one at which one stands.”

    By the grace of God, this new website dedicated to Archbishop Lefebvre should prove a great aid to those of goodwill with a genuine desire for the truth in navigating past disinformation and calumnies and learning more about the great post conciliar defender of Catholic truth. Indeed it should be a great benefit to all faithful Catholics, and all those mindful to follow the example of the late Bishop Lazo of the Philippines who was prepared to read, with an open mind, what the Archbishop and the priestly society he founded actually stood for, before publicly admitting that they were justified.

    Athanasius’ comments above (December 13, 2.18pm) brought to mind something that strikes me, for one, when looking at photographs or video clips of the Archbishop: the serenity, strength, calmness and “openness” of his expression, without trace of twisted anger or malice. Would others agree?

    I think mention must be made also of the superb biography of the Archbishop written by Bishop Tissier de Mallerais. While best known for his battle against the conciliar revolution from 1962 onwards, many are unfamiliar with the Archbishop’s 28 years of magnificent missionary toil in Africa, labours which were true examples of apostolic pastoral and evangelical endeavour, and which were blessed by God with abundant fruit. While the young priest in a white cassock and pith helmet could, with two doctorates, more than match the learning of the soft skinned and well fed modernist termites who burrowed into seminaries and Catholic seats of learning, he was no stranger to blisters and physical work, whether in building new missions, installing an electric generator, fixing a print machine, rigging up plumbing, carrying out car maintenance, supervising the building of bridges, travelling by dugout canoe, or cutting a path through jungle with a machete. Not to mention other physical challenges such as confronting local bigamists, and practitioners of false religions. All of this was, of course, for the single minded purpose of bringing souls to the truth of Christ, through the administering of the sacraments, the teaching of catechesis, and the sound instruction of local theology students. The dogma “Outside the Church, no salvation” was truly the raison d’etre of the priestly apostolate of the “bushman of Gabon”, an apostolate that was underpinned by a deep and solid spiritual life.

    Just one incident taken from the biography should give a vivid impression of the young missionary, his dedication and zeal for souls, and his character. It recalls the day when Father Lefebvre received a message that an old man was “at death’s door”.

    “The village was four hours away. Nonetheless, without saying a word Fr. Marcel soon prepared his things and set off in the dugout canoe. He rapidly covered the distance and arrived at the village: ’Where is the old man So-and-so who is at death’s door?’ Then the supposedly dying man came out: ‘Here I am, Father, but I am not ill; I just wanted to see you.’ Fr. Marcel didn’t turn a hair, but he was only able to offer this gentle reproach in his usual calm voice: ‘Albert! So it’s not serious…’” (p. 108)

    Four hours! Think about it.

    “Without good books and spiritual reading, it be morally impossible to save our souls” – Saint Alphonsus Liguori

    “Only God knows the good than can come about by reading one good Catholic book.” Saint John Bosco

    May I take this opportunity to thoroughly recommend a book available from Angelus Press entitled, The Spiritual Life, which is a wide ranging collection of extracts from sermons and addresses given by the Archbishop concerning the interior life. Apart from its magnificent, edifying content, the fact that the book’s layout allows it to be read one small section at a time, at any pace, should be a big plus to those who find it hard to find time for lengthy reading sessions.

    http://angeluspress.org/Books/Archbishop-Lefebvre/Spiritual-Life-Archbishop

    Comparisons between Archbishop Lefebvre and Saint Athanasius, defender of Catholic truth during the Arian heresy have been made throughout the present crisis. Perhaps there have been secret, or even begrudging, admirers of the Archbishop amongst the world’s episcopacy in recent decades, but can anyone name one single, solitary “regularised”, “full communion” bishop in the world today who has clearly, constantly, unambiguously, unashamedly, and unapologetically proclaimed the Social Kingship of Christ and the dogma of Outside the Church there is no salvation, and condemned false ecumenism and religious indifferentism for the evils that they are. Just one name, with examples.

    Amidst the ruins of five decades of triumphant neo-modernist mayhem, the words of another Father and Doctor of the Church merit recollection in any discussion of the Archbishop Lefebvre:

    “Often, too, Divine Providence permits even good men to be driven from the congregation of Christ by the turbulent seditions of carnal men. When for the sake of the peace of the Church, they patiently endure that insult or injury, and attempt no novelties in the way of heresy or schism. They will teach men how God is to be served with a true disposition and with great and sincere charity. The intention of such men is to return when the tumult has subsided. But if that is not permitted because the storm continues or because a fiercer one might be stirred up by their return, they hold fast to their purpose to look to the good even of those responsible for the tumults and commotions that drove them out. They form no separate sects of their own, but defend to the death and assist by their testimony the faith which they know is preached in the Catholic Church. These the Father who seeth in secret crowns secretly. It appears that this is a rare kind of Christian, but examples are not lacking. So Divine Providence uses all kinds of men as examples for the oversight of souls and for the building up of his spiritual people.”
    St. Augustine, Of True Religion, 6,11

  19. Leo

    Spot on! And I think since the election of Pope Francis, many more Catholics, clerical and lay, are begining to realise just what a prophetic, towering figure Archbishop Lefebvre was in the Church. He is for sure another St. Athanasius.

    • Thanks, Athanasius.

      I agree that this papacy has served as a definite attitude adjuster in relation to Archbishop Lefebvre and Tradition. The neo-Catholic papolators have to come up for air some time.

      It’s a case of clouds and silver linings, I suppose.

  20. Prognosticum

    I really have to take issue, with respect and amicably, with some of the statements of your posts of December 17, 8.30pm and December 18, 3.57am and 4.15am.

    My impression is that you are putting forward the unsustainable proposal that influence of the media (the “media gloss”) and the breakdown of Western Civilisation have rendered the crisis of apostasy and liturgical abomination (“dumbing down”) in the post Vatican II era virtually inevitable. While no rational person with knowledge of the subject is likely to honestly deny that the media have wielded immense influence on behalf of the enemies of Christ, or that Western Society’s rejection of divine law and conscious repudiation of its Christian roots have led, humanly speaking, to irreversible moral and social collapse, that is a very misleading explanation of the unprecedented post conciliar crisis and its causes. As for the suggestion that results “would have been very much worse” if the Council had been held in the seventies, the mind really does boggle.

    You are certainly in exalted company when talking about the influence of the media in determining the fruits of Vatican II. In his last public address as Pope, speaking to the clergy of Rome, Pope Benedict specifically named and blamed “the media”. To this day I find such an explanation both incredible and, with due respect to the papal office, delusional. As for the influence of the Society at large, the prefect of the CDF, Cardinal Mueller, and others, has blamed a “tsunami of secularism” for the crisis. Well both excuses smack of nothing so much as desperate denial and escape from reality: the undeniable reality of a revolutionary triumph of neo-modernism at a self-limited, “pastoral” council, which defined no dogma and produced documents which contain statements that are manifestly in contradiction of constant Church teaching and demonstrably lack infallibility.

    Please, let’s not blame the media or materialist hedonism directly for the New Mass, the New Sacraments, the New translations, the New rite of Exorcism, the New Catechism, the New canon law, the New Evangelisation, the emasculation of the Holy Office, the abolishing of the Index of Forbidden Books, the withdrawal of the Oath Against Modernism. We can safely eliminate the press barons, Elvis Presley, John Lennon, and Carnaby Street from enquiries when examining the destruction of priestly and religious life, with the resulting exodus to the lay state, the plunge in vocations, the demonically inspired formation that prevailed in many seminaries, the rejection of Thomism and metaphysics for an absurd, egological, irrational cocktail of philosophy based on the destructive thoughts of Kant, Hegel, and Heidegger, the deliberate rejection of prayers, sacramentals and devotions which sustained and sanctified centuries of Catholics and their replacement with sentiment driven religious entertainment, the destruction of tabernacles, sanctuaries and Churches to be replaced by sinister concrete barns and warehouses, the destruction of Catholic education at all levels, obscene sex education, and failure to teach and uphold the basic tenets of the Faith, understood perfectly by those who received the most rudimentary Catholic education up to the years of the Council.

    The fruits of the Council can be summarised as human respect “dogmatized”. The role of media and society can be put forward in that context, but they cannot be credibly used as an explanation or excuse for the undeniable neo-modernism driven dereliction of duty of the successors of the Apostles, mandated by Our Lord to teach all nations, and charged with leading, teaching and sanctifying the souls entrusted to their care.

    Heaven help us if “a very sound traditionalist priest who is learned in liturgical history” is of the opinion that the conciliar liturgical devastation was “very much the fruit of the prevailing cultural direction”. Bugnini and the other liturgical pyromaniacs were at work long before the swinging sixties. The line by line attack on the Mass was not the work of any form of happy clappy Catholic “focus groups”. Such an idea is pure fantasy. Read about the bodger rescue job done on the scandalous section 7 of Pope Paul’s General Instruction on the Roman Missal. The words of the liturgical vandals and fabricators, including members of the responsible committee, have been quoted often enough here to eliminate speculation and debate concerning intention, objectives and responsibility.

    Anyone proposing to place the blame for the post conciliar liturgical scandals on the state of society in general, is confronted with a very obvious question. Where is the historical precedent? The Mass is substantially unchanged from the time of Pope Gregory the Great, at the latest. So, can anyone point to examples of major, fundamental changes between then and Vatican II, brought about by changes in society? Of course not.

    The same point applies when discussing Church doctrine in general. The Church is, by its nature and mission, counter cultural, as Our Lord told his disciples it would be. The early Church didn’t take roots and grow because it engaged in “dialogue” and adopt the moral values and beliefs of the cultures in came in contact with. If it had, there wouldn’t be any martyrs to name in the Roman Canon. The same applies to the genuinely missionary endeavors of the Church ever since. Central and South America is a striking example. To be fair, Prognosticum, you did say that the Church is destined “to suffer attempts on her very life in each generation”.

    Without wishing to labour the point, the destruction of Western Civilisation has been ongoing for five centuries. It’s a matter of historical record that until Vatican II, and the “razing of the bastions”, the Church militantly opposed its enemies and treated with all due gravity its divine mandate to save souls.

    And just to maintain relevance with the subject of this thread, discussion of the conciliar nuclear devastation brings to mind one particular “information gathering” exercise conducted by Rome, namely the remarkably perceptive and prescient letter of 20 December 1966 from Archbishop Lefebvre to Cardinal Ottaviani, Prefect of the Holy Office. The point to be made is that within a year of the Council ending, the fire was evidently raging “within the walls”. The erosion and poisoning caused by antagonistic media and cultural forces work at a much slower pace. Here are a few lines from the Archbishop’s letter:

    “The seat of the evil lies chiefly in a literature which sows confusion in the mind by descriptions which are ambiguous and equivocal, but under the cloak of which one discovers a new religion.”

    “… I venture to say that the present evil appears to be much more serious than the denial or calling in question of some truth of our faith. In these times it shows itself in an extreme confusion of ideas, in the breaking up of the Church’s institutions, religious foundations, seminaries, Catholic schools – in short, of what has been the permanent support of the Church. It is nothing less than the logical continuation of the heresies and errors which have been undermining the Church in recent centuries, especially since the Liberalism of the last century which has striven at all costs to reconcile the Church with the ideas that led to the French Revolution.”

    “Now this preparation” (by the preliminary commissions) “was odiously rejected in order to make way for the gravest tragedy the Church has ever suffered. We have lived to see the marriage of the Catholic Church with Liberal ideas. It would be to deny the evidence, to be wilfully blind, not to state courageously that the Council has allowed those who profess the errors and tendencies condemned by the Popes named above” (Pius IX, Leo XIII, Saint Pius X, Pius XI, Pius XII), “ legitimately to believe that their doctrines were approved and sanctioned.”

    “…we can and we must unfortunately state that:
    In a more or less general way, when the Council has introduced innovations, it has unsettled the certainty of truths taught by the authentic Magisterium of the Church as unquestionably belonging to the treasure of Tradition.”
    “Doubts on the necessity of the Catholic Church as the only true religion, the sole source of salvation, emanating from the declarations on ecumenism and religious liberty, are destroying the authority of the Church’s Magisterium. In fact, Rome is no longer the unique and necessary Magistra Veritatis.”

    “Thus, driven to this by the facts, we are forced to conclude that the Council has encouraged, in an inconceivable manner, the spreading of Liberal errors. Faith, morals and ecclesiastical discipline are shaken to their foundations, fulfilling the predictions of all the Popes.”

    “The destruction of the Church is advancing at a rapid pace. By giving an exaggerated authority to the episcopal conferences, the Sovereign Pontiff has rendered himself powerless. What painful lessons in one single year! Yet the Successor of Peter and he alone can save the Church.”

    Here’s a link to the entire letter:
    http://archives.sspx.org/archbishop_lefebvre/arch_lefebvre_response_card_ottaviani_post_council.htm

    Finally, readers should consider the fact that in the late sixties Archbishop Lefebvre was at retirement age. He was due to take up a post as chaplain to a convent in Rome. If the crisis was not very much within the Church, as opposed to just being a matter of outside forces and culture, the Archbishop would have lived out his days in peaceful, secluded, oblivion.

    • Leo,

      You took the words out of my mouth. I was just about to correct Prognosticum on each and every point you have raised. I’ll need to be quicker off the mark in future, but, phew! what a lot of worked you’ve save me!

      Well said, every word, as usual.

  21. Thank you, Editor and Christina, for your kind words, as usual.

    I was thinking I’d laid it on a bit thick, but you know me. And I have to say that Waterside’s talent for poetry, on display on the general discussion thread, is much more deserving of compliments.

    It was good, though to take the opportunity to post Archbishop Lefebvre’s letter to Cardinal Ottaviani once more. I wanted to put something together to show that the Council and its poisoned fruits were very much the long-planned work of neo-modernist human hands, but that will have to wait.

    Anyway, I’ll have to start my Christmas shopping one of these days. You know the Irish version of that famous poster:

    “Keep calm, sure it’ll be grand”

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