Apologia pro Marcel Lefebvre

Appendix III

(This appendix originally appeared as an editorial by Jean Madiran in Itinéraires for November 1975.)

The truth is out at last: "The Second Vatican Council has no less authority and in certain respects is even more important than that of Nicea."1 So speaks the new religion. Indeed it was a logical necessity that one day it should openly avow its ambition and its arrogance. This avowal is of great significance. The council of Nicea is the first General Council. It lasted from May to June 325, it condemned the heresy of Arius; that is to say, it affirmed dogmatically the divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. It also promulgated the Nicene Creed, the first part of the Credo of the Mass where the Son of God is proclaimed consubstantial with the Father.2

The Second Vatican Council promulgated no infallible and irreformable teaching. It was pastoral and not dogmatic. But we have seen clearly that in reality it has become the standard practice to impart to the pastoral novelties of Vatican II as much authority and more importance than the dogmatic definitions of previous councils. Here, then, we witness this practice of conferring prestige by sleight of hand and then announcing it in formal terms in a categorically affirmative text. No matter how exalted the man whose signature adorns this text it is still inadequate to transform falsehood into truth. But it provides incontrovertible proof that this idea truly represents the thinking of the party now holding power in the Church.

Those who cherish and propagate this arrogant idea are the promoters, authors, and actors of the Second Vatican Council. It is their own work that they place on a higher level than the work of Nicea. They consider themselves to have held a more important council! They are not simply smug in their illusion; they proclaim it with an absolute assurance. After all, we know how consistent their scheming has been. Before Vatican II they announced the modest intention of holding the most important council yet to take place. Evidently, if it is more important than Nicea it must be the most important council in history!

It was only possible to entertain the idea of organizing a council of greater importance than any yet held by totally eclipsing every vestige of filial piety towards the history of the Church. It is nothing less than an abuse of power, a public fault, a scandal, to persist in this delusion after the event, confident of having succeeded, and to seek to impose this idea on others under threat of excommunication.

The pastoral novelties of Vatican II having been declared more important than the dogmatic definitions of previous councils, it follows that henceforth it is more serious to dispute the most trivial of these reforms than to reject an irreformable dogma. The conciliar reforms are so transitory that they are constantly becoming obsolete, moving along with the current, with the course of evolution. But Mgr. Lefebvre is pronounced outside the communion of the Church if he so much as questions their value. At the same time those who deny the virginal conception of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and those who teach that the Mass is no more than a simple commemoration, are still very much part of that communion. It is a novelty to define communion with the Church on such a basis. This is no longer the Catholic communion and so it is inevitable that sooner or later true Catholics must be excluded from it.

Although you are free to "re-interpret" every revealed dogma you are now obliged to venerate as beyond criticism the human novelties introduced into the government of the Church by the conciliar spirit. Is this clear?

However, criticism of the Council and its spirit is not ruled out providing it is to the effect that Vatican II was not sufficiently revolutionary, too timid in its innovations, too conservative, too attached to the apostolic tradition. On the same principle, there has been no condemnation of the new "music-hall" Masses with erotic dancers and Marxist songs as a deviation from the Mass of Pope Paul VI. Mass can be celebrated in any way at all as long as it is not according to the Roman Missal. Similarly, it is permissible to deride the Council as long as this is done in the interests of innovation, with a progressive intention. For although the Second Vatican Council is more important than the Council of Nicea, on the other hand it is less important than the "conciliar-evolution " to which it has given birth.

We must not be duped by the apparent concession which permits Nicea to retain at least as much authority as Vatican II, if not as much importance. This concession of ''as much authority," now accepted at its face value, is in itself an insulting comparison. A pastoral council does not have as much authority as a dogmatic council. To recognize it as having as much is arbitrarily to grant the same authority to a transitory reform as to an irreformable dogma. It is subversive.

But it hasn't stopped there. We have been able to see where they would like to lead us since the years 1962-1966. When the review Itinéraires declared that it accepted the decisions of the latest council "in the context and living continuity of other councils" and "in conformity with preceding councils and all the teaching of the Magisterium," it was condemned by the French hierarchy on the grounds that this constituted a "rejection" of the Council. The review Itinéraires was condemned because, not having appreciated that Vatican II wished itself to be "more important than Nicea," it presumed that Vatican II must be interpreted according to the traditional Catholic rule of conformity to previous councils. This is the opposite of what the party in power intends to impose upon us. Nothing is to be retained from previous councils and the teaching of the Magisterium beyond what can be reconciled with the process of "conciliar evolution," the offspring of Vatican II.

We cannot go along with this.

Jean Madiran


1. A claim made by Pope Paul VI.

2. Since the Council of Nicea the word "consubstantial" has been a touchstone of orthodoxy. It has been removed from the translation of the Creed currently in use in English-speaking countries.

Appendix II

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