Excommunication: Archbishop Lefebvre & Bishop Pat Buckley… Spot the Difference!

As promised in our July Newsletter – which you can download from our website here –  we are launching a brief discussion on the matter of two prominent 20th century excommunications: that of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, Founder of the Society of St Pius X (SSPX) and Bishop Pat Buckley…  A brief overview of each situation follows: 

Archbishop Lefebvre…

From the SSPX website…

Following the repeated requests of several young men seeking a traditional priestly formation, Archbishop Lefebvre opened a new seminary in Econe, Switzerland. The local ordinary, Bishop Francois Charriere, gave his blessing for this work, and on November 1, 1970 the Priestly Society of St. Pius X was born with the approval of the Church.

A brief account of the history of the SSPX can be read here. One detail, however, should be added to that general account, as it pertains primarily to Archbishop Lefebvre’s involvement in the Coetus Internationalis Patrum. During the Second Vatican Council, an important friendship developed between Marcel Lefebvre and Antonio de Castro Mayer, bishop of Campos (Brazil). These two shared ideas at the various Coetus functions and kept in contact long after the close of the council. They both refused to implement the modernist teachings of Vatican II and in 1983 jointly authored an open letter to the pope lamenting the numerous errors which seemed to infect Rome. When Archbishop Lefebvre consecrated four new bishops in 1988, Bishop de Castro Mayer assisted as co-consecrator.  To read more, click here

From The Remnant website…

Sadly, in the current catastrophe that is the Post-Conciliar Church, some blinded men, instead of joining the fight against the heresy, apostasy, and de facto schism around us, insist on melodramatically condemning, with the most condescending and arrogant invective, the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. Although any excommunication that was previously levied against the living bishops of the SSPX has long since been remitted, some hardened Neo-Catholics insist that Abp. Lefebvre himself remains perpetually excommunicated, one Neo-Catholic priest even going so far as to presume his damnation. Thus the same Neo-Catholics who tell us that the Church’s perennial teachings on religious liberty, ecumenism, and collegiality are confined to past times and changeable, treat a 1988 letter from a pope as if its infallibility ranked somewhere between Dogma and Holy Writ.

The 1988 letter I am referring to, of course, is John Paul II’s Ecclesia Dei adflictaTwenty-six years later, Neo-Catholics cling to this letter as it represents, in their minds anyway, the one infallible document that ensures Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre can never be rehabilitated or declared a Saint in the future. As usual, the irony of the Neo-Catholics, on the one hand preaching the Mass of Pius V is changeable at the whim of future popes, while on the other hand preaching John Paul II’s excommunication is certainly valid and binding for all time, escapes them entirely.  To read the entire article on The Remnant website, click here

Bishop Pat Buckley…

Google Father or Bishop Pat Buckley and the description “rebel priest” comes up… Here, in his own words, is why he was dismissed from his parish

 

Later, Fr Buckley was consecrated a bishop, as reported in the Irish Times: 

“The rebel cleric, Bishop Pat Buckley, has excommunicated himself from the Catholic Church by being consecrated as a bishop, a Hierarchy spokesman has said.

The church spokesman said the ordination of Bishop Buckley by the Tridentine bishop, Dr Michael Cox, was “valid but unlawful” (under Canon law).”  To read rest of this report click  here

Comment: 

The adjective often used to describe both bishops is “rebel”.  Archbishop Lefebvre is well known for his work to preserve Catholic Tradition against the innovations following Vatican II, while Bishop Buckley is well known for his dissent from Catholic teachings, such as the prohibition on divorce and remarriage.  Archbishop Lefebvre fought to keep the Church within Catholic Tradition, while Bishop Buckley seeks to achieve changes in the Church which will meet the perceived needs of contemporary Catholics living in a “liberal” society.  

So, check out the headline – IS there any difference between the two excommunications?