Marcel Lefebvre of France made headlines when he was excommunicated
from the Roman Catholic Church by Pope John Paul II for consecrating
bishops in contravention of orders from Rome. While much has been
written about the controversial churchman, very little has been
heard directly from him. As a consequence, many people are confused
about what is involved in his so-called rebellion and what motivates
interview with the archbishop was to have been published in 1978
by a leading American Catholic publication. However, the U.S. Conference
of Catholic Bishops threatened the publication's publisher with
excommunication and decreed virtual extinction for the publication
itself if the interview were run. In fact, the bishops ordered that
no Catholic publication could run this interview with Archbishop
An edited version
of the interview was finally published in The Spotlight, a
weekly newspaper in Washington, D.C., in its issue of July 18, 1988.
The complete and unedited interview is transcribed below.
makes no case for or against the doctrinal positions of Archbishop
Lefebvre. We printed the interview for we find his statements of
14 years ago, if read in the light of current events, to be extremely
The world itself
we find to be in a state of near collapse and the Catholic Church
an institution that was once regarded by friend and foe alike to
be changeless, now to be riddled with elements of moral relativism,
communism, homosexuality and gross uncertainty. Archbishop Lefebvre
speaks out in opposition to these trends. The questions asked of
the archbishop are in dark type; his responses in light type.
have debated and taken part in the deliberations of the second council
of the Vatican, have you not?
you not sign and agree to the resolutions of this council?
of all, I have not signed all the documents of Vatican II because
of the last two acts. The first, concerned with "Religion
and Freedom," I have not signed. The other one, that of “The
Church in the Modern World”, I also have not signed. This latter
is in my opinion the most oriented toward modernism and liberalism.
you on record for not only not signing the documents but also on
record to publicly oppose them?
Yes. In a
book, which I have published in France, I accuse the council of
error on these resolutions, and I have given all the documents
by which I attack the position of the council - principally, the
two resolutions concerning the issues of religion and freedom
and "The Church in the Modern World.”
were you against these decrees?
two resolutions are inspired by liberal ideology which former
popes described to us-that is to say, a religious license as understood
and promoted by the Freemasons, the humanists, the modernists
and the liberals.
do you object to them?
says that all the cultures are equal; all the religions are equal,
that there is not a one and only true faith. All this leads to
the abuse and perversion of freedom of thought. All these perversions
of freedom, which were condemned throughout the centuries by all
the popes, have now been accepted by the council of Vatican II.
placed these particular resolutions on the agenda?
there were a number of cardinals assisted by theological experts
who were in agreement with liberal ideas.
(Augustine) Bea (a German Jesuit), Cardinal (Leo) Suenens (from
Belgium), Cardinal (Joseph) Frings (from Germany), Cardinal (Franz)
Koenig (from Austria). These personalities had already gathered
and discussed these resolutions before the council and it was
their precise aim to make a compromise with the secular world,
to introduce Illuminist and modernist ideas in the church doctrines.
there any American cardinals supporting these ideas and resolutions?
I do not
recall their names at present, but there were some. However, a
leading force in favor of these resolutions was Father Murray.
you referring to Father John Courtney Murray (an American Jesuit)?
part has he played?
He has played
a very active part during all the deliberations and drafting of
you let the pope (Paul VI) know of your concern and disquiet regarding
I have talked
to the pope. I have talked to the council. I have made three public
interventions, two of which I have filed with the secretariat.
Therefore, there were five interventions against these resolutions
of Vatican II.
the opposition led against these resolutions was such that the
pope attempted to establish a commission with the aim of reconciling
the opposing parties within the council. There were to be three
members, of which I was one.
liberal cardinals learned that my name was on this commission,
they went to see the holy father (the pope) and told him bluntly
that they would not accept this commission and that they would
not accept my presence on this com- mission. The pressure on the
pope was such that he gave up the idea.
I have done
everything I could to stop these resolutions which I judge contrary
and destructive to the Catholic faith. The council was convened
legitimately, but it was for the purpose of putting all these
there other cardinals supporting you?
was Cardinal (Ernesto) Ruffini (of Palermo), Cardinal (Giuseppe)
Siri (of Genoa) and Cardinal (Antonio) Caggiano (of Buenos Aires).
there any bishops supporting you?
bishops supported my stand.
in excess of 250 bishops. They had even formed themselves into
a group for the purpose of defending the true Catholic faith.
happened to all of these supporters?
dead; some are dispersed throughout the world; many still support
me in their hearts but are frightened to lose the position, which
they feel may be useful at a later time.
anybody supporting you today (1978)?
instance, Bishop Pintinello from Italy; Bishop Castro de Mayer
from Brazil. Many other bishops and cardinals often contact me
to express their support but wish at this date to remain anonymous.
about those bishops who are not liberals but still oppose and criticize
is based on an inaccurate understanding of obedience to the pope.
It is, perhaps, a well-meant obedience, which could be traced
to the ultramontane obedience of the last century, which in those
days was good because the popes were good. However, today, it
is a blind obedience, which has little to do with a practice and
acceptance of true Catholic faith.
At this stage
it is relevant to remind Catholics allover the world that obedience
to the pope is not a primary virtue.
of virtues starts with the three theological virtues of faith,
hope and charity followed by the four cardinal virtues of justice,
temperance, prudence and fortitude. Obedience is a derivative
of the cardinal virtue of justice. Therefore it is far from ranking
first in the hierarchy of virtues.
do not wish to give the slightest impression that they are opposed
to the holy father. I understand how they feel. It is evidently
very unpleasant, if not very painful.
do not like to be in opposition to the holy father, but I have
no choice considering what is coming to us from Rome at present,
which is in opposition to the Catholic doctrine and is unacceptable
you suggest that the holy father accepts these particular ideas?
Yes. He does.
But it is not only the holy father. It is a whole trend. I have
mentioned to you some of the cardinals involved in these ideas.
More than a century ago, secret societies, Illuminati, humanist,
modernist and others, of which we have now all the texts and proofs,
were preparing for a Vatican council in which they would infiltrate
their own ideas for a humanist church.
you suggest that some cardinals could have been members of such
This is not
a very important matter at this stage whether they are or not.
What is very important and grave is that they, for all intents
and purposes, act just as if they were agents or servants of humanist
you suggest that these cardinals could have taken up such ideas
deliberately or were they given the wrong information or were they
duped or a combination of all?
I think that
humanist and liberal ideas spread throughout the 19th
and 20th centuries. These secular ideas were spread
everywhere, in government and churches alike.
have penetrated into the seminaries and throughout the church.
And today the church wakes up finding itself in a liberal straitjacket.
This is why
one meets liberal influence that has penetrated all strata of
secular life during the last two centuries, right inside the church.
Vatican Council II was engineered by liberals; it was a liberal
council; the pope is a liberal and those who surround him are
you suggesting that the pope is a liberal even if he has never declared
himself to be a liberal?
has never denied that he was (a liberal).
did the pope indicate that he was a liberal?
stated on many occasions that he was in favor of modernist ideas,
in favor of a compromise with the world. In his own words, it
was necessary.’to throw a bridge between the church and the secular
said that it was necessary to accept humanist ideas, that is was
necessary to discuss such ideas; that it was necessary to have
dialogs. At this stage, it is important to state that dialogs
are contrary to the doctrines of the Catholic faith. Dialogs presuppose
the coming together of two equal and opposing sides; therefore,
in no way could (dialog) have anything to do with the Catholic
and accept our faith as the only true faith in the world. All
this confusion ends up in compromises, which destroy the church's
doctrines, for the misfortune of mankind and the church alike.
have stated that you know the reason for the decline in church attendance
and lack of interest in the church today, which you reportedly attributed
to the resolutions of Vatican II. Is that correct?
I would not
say that Vatican II would have prevented what is happening in
the church today. Modernist ideas have penetrated everywhere for
a long time and that has not been good for the church. But the
fact that some members of the clergy have professed such ideas,
that is to say the ideas of perverted freedom, in that case-license.
that all truths are equal, all religions are the same, consequently,
all the moralities are the same, that everybody's conscience is
equal, that everybody can judge theologically what he can do -
these are really humanist ideas – (the idea) of total license
with no discipline of thought whatever which leads to the position
that anybody can do whatever he likes. All of this is absolutely
contrary to our Catholic faith.
have said that most of these theological counselors and experts
only pretend that they are representing the majority of the people,
that in fact the people are really not represented by these liberal
theologians. Could you explain?
of the people,' I mean all the people who honestly work for a
living. I mean the people on the land, people of common sense
in contact with the real world, the lasting world. These people
are the majority of the people, who prefer traditions and order
a movement of all these people throughout the world, who are slowly
coalescing in total opposition to all the changes that were made
in their name, of their religion.
of good will and good sense have been so traumatized by these
dramatic changes that they are now reluctant to attend church.
When they go into a modernist church, they do not meet what is
sacred-the mystical character of the church, all that which is
to God is divine and they no longer meet God in these churches.
Why should they come to a place where God is absent?
this very well and the liberal cardinals and their advisers have
seriously underestimated the loyalty of the majority to their
true faith. How (else) can you explain that as soon as we open
a traditional chapel or church, every-body rushes in from everywhere?
We have standing room only. The Masses go on all day to accommodate
they find once again what they need: the sacred, the mystical,
the respect for the sacred.
you would see at the airport different people coming to the priests
who were there to meet me, shaking their hands - total strangers.
Why? Because where people find a priest, a real priest, a priest
that behaves like a priest, who dresses like a priest, they are
attracted to him immediately and follow him.
here in the United States, it happens in Europe and everywhere
in the world. People in the street coming to greet a priest; they
come to congratulate him out of the blue and tell him how glad
they are to see a real priest, to tell him how glad they are that
there are still some priests.
you suggest that clothes and habit make a difference in the quality
of the priest?
clothing are, of course, only a symbol, but it is to what this
symbol represents that people are attracted, not, of course, the
do you appear to attach such importance to the rituals of the Tridentine
do not insist on rituals just for the sake of rituals but merely
as symbol of our faith. In that context, we do believe they are
important. However, it is the substance and not the rituals of
the Tridentine Mass that has been removed.
you be more specific?
The new Offertory
prayers do not express the Catholic notion of the sacrifice. They
simply express the concept of a mere partaking of bread and wine.
For instance, this Tridentine Mass addressed to God the prayer:
"Accept O Holy Father, heavenly and eternal God, this immaculate
victim which your unworthy servant offers to you, my living and
true God to atone for my numberless sins, offenses and negligences."
The New Mass says: 'We offer this bread as the bread of life.'
There is no mention of sacrifice or victim. This text is vague
and imprecise, lends itself to ambiguity and was meant to be acceptable
to Protestants. It is, however, unacceptable to the true Catholic
faith and doctrine. The substance has been changed in favor of
accommodation and compromise.
do you appear to attach such importance to the Latin Mass rather
than the vernacular Mass approved by Vatican Council II?
question of the Latin Mass is a secondary question under certain
circumstances. But under another aspect it is a very important
question. It is important because it is a way to fix the word
of our faith, the Catholic dogma and doctrines. It is a way of
not changing our faith because in translations affecting these
Latin words, one does not render exactly the truth of our faith
as it is expressed and embodied in Latin.
It is indeed
very dangerous because little by little one can lose faith itself.
These translations do not reflect the exact words of the Consecration.
These words are changed in the vernacular.
you give me an example?
instance, in the vernacular, it is said that "the Precious
Blood is for all." When in the Latin text (even the latest,
revised Latin text), the text says, "the Precious Blood is
for many" and not for all. All is certainly different from
many. This is only a minor example that illustrates the inaccuracies
of current translations.
you quote a translation, which would actually contradict Catholic
example, in the Latin text, the Virgin Mary is referred to as
“Semper Virgo," "always virgin.” In all the modern
translations, the word "always" has been deleted. This
is very serious because there is a great difference between "virgin"
and "always virgin." It is most dangerous to tamper
with translations of this kind.
also important to keep the unity of the Church because when one
travels - and people travel more and more in foreign countries
these days - it is important for them to find the same echoes
that they have heard from a priest at home, whether in the United
States, South America, Europe or any other part of the world.
They are at home in any church. It is their Catholic Mass, which
is being celebrated. They have always heard the Latin words since
childhood, their parents before them, and their grandparents before
them. It is an identifying mark of their faith.
they go into a foreign church, they don't understand a word. Foreigners
who come here don't understand a word. What is the good of going
to a Mass in English, Italian or Spanish when no one can understand
wouldn't most of these people understand Latin even less? What is
is that the Latin of the Catholic Mass has always been taught
through religious instruction since childhood. There have been
numerous books on the matter. It has been taught throughout the,
ages - it is not that difficult to remember.
an exact expression, which has been familiar to generations of
Catholics. Whenever Latin is found in another Church, it immediately
creates the proper atmosphere for the worship of God. It is the
distinctive tongue of the Catholic faith, which unites all the
Catholics throughout the world regardless of their national tongue.
not disoriented or baffled. They say: This is my Mass, it is the
Mass of my parents, it is the Mass to follow, it is the Mass of
our Lord Jesus Christ. It is the eternal and unchanging Mass.
Therefore from the point of view of unity, it is a very important
symbolic link; it is a mark of identity for all Catholics.
But it is
far more serious than simply a change of tongue. Under the spirit
of Ecumenism, it is an attempt to create a rapprochement with
proof do you have of this?
It is quite
evident because there were five Protestants who assisted in the
reform of our Liturgy. The archbishop of Cincinnati, who was present
during these deliberations, said that not only these five Protestants
were present but also they took a very active part in the debates
and participated directly in the reform of our Liturgy.
were these Protestants?
Protestant ministers representing different Protestant denominations
who were called by Rome to participate in the reform of our Liturgy
which shows clearly that there was a purpose to all this. They
were Dr. George, Canon Jasper, Dr. Sheperd, Dr. Smith, Dr. Koneth
and Dr. Thurian. Msgr. Bugnini did not hide this purpose. He spelled
it out very clearly. He said, “We are going to make an Ecumenical
Mass as we have made an Ecumenical Bible."
is very dangerous because it is our faith that is attacked. When
a Protestant celebrates the same Mass as we do, he interprets
the text in a different way because his faith is different. Therefore,
it is an ambiguous Mass. It is an equivocal Mass. It is no longer
a Catholic Mass.
Ecumenical Bible are you referring to?
an Ecumenical Bible made two or three years ago, which was recognized
by many bishops. I do not know whether the Vatican publicly endorsed
it, but it certainly did not suppress it because it is used in
many dioceses. For instance, two weeks ago, the Bishop of Fribourg
in Switzerland had Protestant pastors explaining this Ecumenical
Bible to all the children of Catholic schools. These lessons were
the same for Catholics and Protestants. And what has this Ecumenical
Bible to do with the Word of God?
Word of God cannot be changed, all this leads to more and more
confusion. When I think that the archbishop of Houston, Texas
will not allow Catholic children to be confirmed unless they go
with their parents to follow a 15-day instruction course from
the local rabbi and the local Protestant minister.
If the parents
refuse to send their children to such instructions, they (the
children) cannot get confirmed. They have to produce a signed
certificate from the rabbi and the Protestant minister that both
the parents and the children have duly attended the instruction
and only then can they (the children) be confirmed by the bishop.
the absurdities with which we end up when we follow the liberal
road. Not only this, but now we are even reaching the Buddhists
and the Moslems. Many bishops were embarrassed when the representative
of the pope was received in a shameful manner by the Moslems recently.
I do not
recall all the specific details, but this incident happened in
Tripoli, Libya, where the representative of the pope wanted to
pray with the Moslems. These Moslems refused and went about their
separate ways and prayed in their fashion, leaving the representative
high and dry, not knowing what to do. This illustrates the naiveté
of these liberal Catholics who feel that it is enough to go and
talk with these Moslems and for them to accept immediately a compromise
of their own religion.
fact of wanting to have a close relationship with the Moslems
for that purpose only attracts the contempt of the Moslems toward
us. It is a well-known fact that Moslems will never change anything
of their religion; it is absolutely out of the question.
If the Catholics
come to equate our religion with theirs, it only leads to confusion
and contempt, which they take as an attempt to discredit their
religion and not caring about our religion. They are far more
respectful of anyone who says that, “I am a Catholic; I cannot
pray with you because we do not have the same convictions.” This
person is more respected by the Moslems than the one who says
that all the religions are the same; that we all believe the same
things; we all have the same faith. They feel this person is insulting
doesn't the Koran display moving verses of praise toward Mary and
Jesus as a prophet and has great respect for Mary, and this certainly
places Islam nearer to our religion than say, for instance, Judaism,
which is far more distant from us. Islam was born in the 7th
century and it has benefited to some degree from the Christian
teachings of those days.
on the other hand, is the heir to the system, which crucified
our Lord. And the members of this religion, who have not converted
to Christ, are those who are radically opposed to our Lord Jesus
Christ. For them, there is no question whatever of recognizing
in opposition to the very foundation and existence of the Catholic
faith on this subject. However, we cannot both be right. Either
Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Lord and Savior or He is
not. This is one case where there cannot be the slightest compromise
without destroying the very foundation of Catholic faith. This
does not only apply to religions, which are directly opposed to
the divinity of Jesus Christ as the Son of God but also to religions,
which, without opposing Him, do not recognize Him, as such.
you are very sure and dogmatic on this point?
dogmatic. For example, the Moslems have a very different way to
conceive God than we have. Their conception of God is very materialistic.
It is not possible to say that their God is the same as our God.
isn't God the same God for all the people of the world?
Yes. I believe
that God is the same God for the whole universe according to the
faith of the Catholic Church. But the conception of God differs
greatly from religion to religion. Our Catholic faith is the one
and only true faith. If one does not believe in it absolutely,
one cannot claim to be a Catholic. Our faith is the one that in
the world we cannot compromise in any way. God as conceived by
the Moslems says: "When God says to His believers, 'When
you go to paradise, you will be a hundred times richer than you
are now on earth. This also applies to the number of wives that
you have here on earth'." This conception of God is hardly
what our Lord and Savior is about.
do you attach more importance to Pope St. Pius V than to Pope Paul
VI? After all, both are equally pope. Do you not accept the doctrine
of papal infallibility? Do you feel that this doctrine applies more
to one than the other?
I feel that
on the side that Pope St. Pius V wanted to engage his infallibility
because he used all the terms that all the popes traditionally
and generally used when they want(ed) to manifest their infallibility.
On the other hand, Pope Paul VI said himself that he didn't want
to use his infallibility.
did he indicate that?
this by not pronouncing his infallibility on any matter of faith
as other popes have done throughout history. None of the decrees
of Vatican II were issued with the weight of infallibility. Further,
he has never engaged his infallibility on the subject of the Mass.
He has never employed terms that have been employed by Pope St.
Pius V when he (Paul VI) decided to allow this new Mass to be
foisted on the faithful. I cannot compare the two acts of promulgation
because they are completely different.
Pope Paul VI ever said that he did not believe in papal infallibility?
No. He never
actually said this categorically. But Pope Paul VI is a liberal
and he does not believe in the fixity of dogmas. He does not believe
that a dogma must remain unchanged forever. He is for some evolution
according to the wishes of men. He is for changes that are originated
by humanist and modernist sources. And this is why he has so much
trouble in fixing a truth forever. In fact, he is loathe to do
so personally and he is very ill at ease whenever such cases have
arisen. This attitude reflects the spirit of modernism. The pope
has never employed his infallibility in the matter of faith and
morals to date.
the pope stated himself that he was a liberal or modernist?
pope has manifested this in the council, which is not a pastoral
council. He has also clearly stated so in his encyclical called
Ecclesiam Suam. He has stated that his encyclicals would
not define matters but he wished that they would be accepted as
advice and lead to a dialogue. In his Credo, he said that he did
not wish to employ his infallibility, which clearly shows where
his leanings are.
you feel that his evolution toward dialogue is what allows you not
to be in disagreement with the pope?
the liberal standpoint they should allow this dialogue. When the
pope does not use his infallibility on the subject of faith and
morals, one is very much freer to discuss his words and his acts.
From my point of view, I am bound to oppose what has taken place
because it subverts the infallible teachings of the popes over
2,000 years. I am, however, not in favor of such dialogues because
one cannot seriously dialogue about the truth of the Catholic
faith. So really this is an inverted dialogue, which is forced
would happen if the pope suddenly utilized his infallibility to
order you to obey him? What would you do?
In the measure
where the pope would employ his infallibility as the successor
of St. Peter in a solemn manner, I believe that the Holy Ghost
would not allow the pope to be in error at this very moment. Of
course, I would heed the pope then.
if the pope invoked his infallibility to back the changes you so
strongly object to now, what would your attitude be then?
does not even arise, because, fortunately, the Holy Ghost is always
there and the Holy Ghost would make sure that the pope would not
use his infallibility for something that would be contrary to
the doctrine of the Catholic Church. It is for this very reason
that the pope does not employ his infallibility because the Holy
Ghost would not allow such changes to take place under the imprimatur
if this should come to pass?
It is inconceivable,
but if it did, the church would cease to exist. That would mean
there would be no God, because God would be contradicting Himself,
which is impossible.
isn't the fact that Pope Paul VI occupies the seat of St. Peter
enough for you to heed whatever the pontiff as the vicar of Christ
on earth asks you to do, just as other Catholics do?
this is an error. It is a misconception of papal infallibility
because since the Council of Vatican I, when the dogma of infallibility
was proclaimed, the pope was already infallible. This was not
a sudden invention. Infallibility was then far better understood
than it is now because it was well known then that the pope was
not infallible on everything under the sun.
He was only
infallible in very specific matters of faith and morals. At that
time, many enemies of the church did all they could to ridicule
this dogma and propagate misconceptions. For example, the enemies
of the church often said to the unknowing and naive that if the
pope said a dog was a cat, it was the duty of Catholics blindly
to accept this position without any question.
this was an absurd interpretation and the Catholics knew that.
This time the same enemies of the church, now that it serves their
purpose, are working very hard to have whatever the pope says
accepted, without question, as infallible, almost as if his words
were uttered by our Lord Jesus Christ himself.
although widely promoted, is nevertheless utterly false.
is extremely limited, only bearing on very specific cases which
Vatican I has very well defined and detailed. It is not possible
to say that whenever the pope speaks he is infallible. The fact
is that the pope is a liberal, that all this liberal trend has
taken place at the Council of Vatican II, and created a direction
for the destruction of the church - a destruction which one expects
to happen any day.
of these liberal ideas have been infiltrated into the seminaries,
the catechisms and all the manifestations of the church, I am
now being asked to align myself with these liberal ideas. Because
I have not aligned myself with these liberal ideas that would
destroy the church, there are attempts to suppress my seminaries.
And it is for this reason that I am asked to stop ordaining priests.
pressure is being exerted on me to align myself and to accept
this orientation of destruction of the church, a path which I
cannot follow. I do not accept to be in contradiction with what
the popes have asserted for 20 centuries. Both myself and those
who support me obey all the popes who have preceded us, or we
obey the present pope. If we do (obey the present pope, i.e. Paul
VI), we then disobey all the popes that have preceded us. Finally
we end up disobeying the Catholic faith and God.
as the bishops (of old) obeyed the popes of their days, shouldn't
you obey the pope of your day?
do not have to obey the humanist orders that contradict Catholic
faith and doctrine as established by Jesus Christ and all the
various popes throughout the centuries.
then are you deliberately choosing to disobey the present pope?
It has been
a soul-searching and painful choice because events have really
made it a choice of whom you disobey rather than whom you obey.
I am making this choice without doubt or hesitation. I have chosen
to disobey the present pope so that I could be in communion with
262 (former) popes.
independence has been attributed by several observers to a tradition
On the contrary,
I'm completely Roman and not at all Gallican. I'm for the pope
as successor of St. Peter in Rome. All we ask is that the pope
be, in fact, St. Peter's successor, not the successor of J.J.
Rousseau, the Freemasons, the humanists, the modernists and (the)
you have said that these ideas have been widely spread and accepted
throughout the world, including within the church, do you not consider
you are taking on too much? How do you expect the Society of St.
Pius X to counteract such a trend against what would appear overwhelming
I trust our
Lord the Saviour. The priests of the Society of St. Pius X trust
our Lord and I have no doubt that God is inspiring us all. All
those who fight for the true faith have God's full support. Of
course, compared to the liberal machine, we are very small. I
could die tomorrow. But God is allowing me to live a little longer
so that I can help others in fighting for the true faith. It has
happened before in the church. True Catholics had to work for
the survival of the faith under general opprobrium and persecution
from those who pretended to be Catholics. It is a small price
to pay for being on the side of Jesus Christ.
did this happen?
with the very first pope. St. Peter was leading the faithful in
error by his bad example of following Mosaic Laws. St. Paul refused
to obey this order and led the opposition to it. Paul won out
and St. Peter rescinded his error.
In the fourth
century. St. Athanasius refused to obey Pope Liberius's orders.
At that time, the church had been infiltrated by the ideas of
the Arian heresy and the pope had been pressured to go along-
with them. St. Athanasius led the opposition against this departure
from church doctrine.
He was attacked
mercilessly by the hierarchy. He was suspended. When he refused
to submit, he was excommunicated. The opposition to the heresy
finally built up momentum and at the death of Pope Liberius, a
new pope occupied St. Peter's seat and recognized the church's
indebtedness to St. Athanasius. The excommunication was lifted.
He was recognized as a savior of the church and canonized.
In the seventh
century, Pope Honorius I favored the Monotheletism heresy - the
proposition that Jesus Christ did not possess a human will and
hence was not a true man. Many Catholics who knew the church doctrines
refused to accept this and did everything they could to stop the
spread of this heresy.
of Constantinople condemned Honorius I in 681 and anathematized
him. There are many more examples of this nature when true Catholics
stood up against apparent great odds, not to destroy or change
the church but to keep the true faith.
I do not
consider the odds overwhelming. One of the major aims of our society
is to ordain priests - real priests - so that the Sacrifice of
the Mass will continue; so that catechisms will continue; so that
the Catholic faith will continue. Of course some bishops attack
and criticize us. Some try to thwart our mission. But this is
only temporary because when all the seminaries will be empty –
they are almost empty now - what will the bishops do? Then there
will be no more priests.
do you think there will be no more priests?
seminaries of today are not teaching anything about the making
of a priest; they teach liberal psychology, sociology, humanism,
modernism and many other sciences and semi sciences that are either
contrary to Catholic doctrine or have nothing whatever to do with
church teachings or with what a priest should know. As for Catholic
teachings, they are hardly being taught in today's seminaries.
is being taught in the seminaries today?
in a New York seminary, theology professors are teaching seminarians
that, "Jesus did not necessarily see what the result of His
death on the Cross would be;" that: "No one is so thoroughly
consistent that he does not say something that disagrees with
what he said in the past. This even applies to Jesus;" that,
"Joseph may have been the natural father of Christ;” and
another professor teaches that: "One psychiatrist recommends
extramarital sexual relations as a cure for impotence - I am open
in this area and not closed to possibilities.”
these statements documented and on record?
they been brought to the attention of the hierarchy?
the hierarchy made any attempt to stop such similar teachings?
Not to my
you ever feel alone and isolated?
How can I
feel alone when I am in communion with 262 popes and the whole
of the Catholic faith? If you mean alone among other bishops,
the answer is no. Hardly a day goes by that I (do not) receive
some communication from some bishops, some priests, some laymen
from different parts of the world expressing support and encouragement.
do they not come out publicly and support you?
As I have
mentioned previously, many feel that they want to keep their positions
in order to be in a position to do something about it should the
your stand separate you further from other Christian denominations?
Not at all.
Only five days ago, some Orthodox heads came to see me to express
their support for our stand.
should they express support when in fact you say that you are right
and they are in error?
It is precisely
because my stand is unequivocal that they support me. Many other
Christian denominations have always looked at Rome as something
of a stabilizing anchor in a tumultuous world. Whatever happened,
they felt, Rome was always there, eternal, unchanging.
gave them comfort and confidence.
surprising are the Islamic leaders who have warmly congratulated
me on my stand even though they fully know that I do not accept
not Christian charity try to avoid solidifying differences and divisions
that could be healed?
and divisions are part of this world. The unity of the church
can only be gained by example and unswerving commitment to our
Catholic faith. Charity starts with loyalty to one's faith.
makes you believe that significant numbers of Orthodox, Protestants
or Moslems support you?
direct, frequent contact these people have made with me, there
was, for example, an extensive survey conducted by a reputable
newspaper in Paris and they have surveyed members of these various
denominations. The result was that far from finding our faith
offensive or threatening to them, they admired the unequivocal
stand, which we are taking.
On the other
hand, they show utter contempt for all those liberal Catholics
who were trying to make a mishmash of our Catholic faith as well
as their religion.
not the pope invited you to be reconciled? Have you accepted this
to see the pope last August. The pope refused unless I signed
a statement accepting unconditionally all the resolutions of Vatican
II. I would very much like to see the pope, but I cannot sign
resolutions paving the way for the destruction of the church.
can you be loyal to the church and disobedient to the pope?
understand the meaning of obedience and must distinguish between
blind obedience and the virtue of obedience. Indiscriminate obedience
is actually a sin against the virtue of obedience.
So if we
disobey in order to practice the virtue of obedience rather than
submit to unlawful commands contrary to Catholic moral teachings,
all one has to do is to consult any Catholic theology books to
realize we are not sinning against the virtue of obedience.
The followers of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre insist on preserving
the so-called Tridentine Mass. This was the Mass (and attendant
ritual) that followed upon the Council of Trent (Trento, Italy)
and that was pronounced as permanent and irrevocable by Pope St.
Pius V in 1570. This is the Mass that Latin Rite Roman Catholics
knew for 400 years until the service was rewritten after Vatican
Council II (1962-1965).
Gallicanism, associated with French Roman Catholicism, was a tradition
of resistance to papal authority. There were two aspects of Gallicanism,
royal and ecclesiastical. The first asserted the rights of French
monarchs over the French Roman Catholic Church; the second asserted
the rights of general councils over the pope. Both were condemned
as heresies at the First Vatican Council in 1870.
of the Angelus
Press, Regina Coeli House
2918 Tracy Avenue, Kansas City, MO 64109
V, No. 6, June 1982