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Archbishop Lefebvre on the Schismatic Conciliar Church
We Cannot Through Servile Obedience Go Along With The Schismatics
Interview with Archbishop Lefebvre in Écône, of August 2nd, 1976 and published in the French magazine Le Figaro, August 4, 1976. It is important for us to read this text again, 26 years later.
Le Figaro: "After the suspension 'a divinis' which struck him (in 1976), Archbishop Lefebvre by no means considers to submit. He does not believe in the possibility of a reconciliation with Rome and risks the pronouncement of an excommunication against him and his disciples."
-"Your Excellency, are you not bordering on schism?"
-Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre: "That is the question that many Catholics ask after reading of the latest sanctions taken by Rome against us! Catholics, for the most part, define or imagine schism as a rupture with the Pope. They do not go any further in their investigation. You have ruptured with the Pope or the Pope has ruptured with you, therefore you are going into schism.
"Why does a rupture with the Pope cause schism? Because where the Pope is, there is the Catholic Church. Thus, in reality, it is to depart from the Catholic Church. Now the Catholic Church is a mystical reality that exists not only in space and on the surface of the earth, but also in time and in eternity. For the Pope to represent the Church and to be its image, he must not only be united to her in space but also in time (throughout History), as the Church is essentially a living tradition.
"To the degree that the Pope departs from this tradition, he becomes schismatic, he breaks with the Church. Theologians such as Saint Bellarmine, Cajetan, Cardinal Journet and many others have studied this possibility. It is not something inconceivable.
"But it is the Second Vatican Council and its reforms, its official orientations, which concern us more than the personal attitude of the Pope, which is difficult to discern.
"This Council represents, both in the opinion of the Roman authorities as in our own, A NEW CHURCH which they call themselves the "CONCILIAR CHURCH".
"We believe that we can affirm, taking into consideration the internal and external critique (review) on Vatican II, that is, in analysing the texts and in studying its circumstances and its consequences, that the Council, turning its back on Tradition and breaking with the Church of the past, is a SCHISMATIC COUNCIL. The tree is known by its fruits. Since the Council, all the larger newspapers throughout the world, American and European, recognise that it is destroying the Catholic Church to such a degree that even the unbelievers and the secular governments are worried. A non-aggressive agreement has been made between the Church and masonry. It was covered up by calling it aggiornamento, reaching out to the world, ecumenism. From the time of the Council, the Church has accepted to not be the only true religion, the only way to eternal salvation. She recognizes the other religions as sister religions. She recognizes the right granted to the nature of the human person to be free to choose its religion and that consequently, a Catholic state or government is no longer acceptable.
"Accepting this NEW PRINCIPLE, all the doctrine of the Church must change, as well as its cult, its priesthood, its institutions, because everything in the Church until the Council had demonstrated that she alone possessed the Way, the Truth and the Life in Our Lord Jesus Christ, Whom she kept in person in the Holy Eucharist, and Who is present thanks to the continuation of His sacrifice. Thus a total overturning of Tradition and of the teaching of the Church has occurred since the Council and through the Council.
"All those who cooperate in the application of this overturning accept and adhere to this new "Conciliar Church", as His Excellency Mgr. Benelli called it in the letter that he sent me in the name of the Holy Father last June 25, and they enter into the schism. The adoption of the liberal theses by a council could only have taken place in a pastoral council that was not infallible and cannot be explained except through a secret and meticulous preparation, that the historians will end up discovering to the great astonishment of the Catholics who confuse the eternal Roman Catholic Church with human Rome, susceptible of being invaded by enemies covered in scarlet.
"How could we, through a servile and blind obedience, go along with these schismatics who demand us to collaborate in their attempt at the DESTRUCTION OF THE CHURCH?
"The authority delegated by Our Lord to the Pope, to the bishops and to the priesthood in general is at the service of the faith in His divinity and of the transmission of His own divine life. All the divine or ecclesiastical institutions are meant for this end. All the rights, all the laws, have no other end but this. To use the laws, the institutions and the authority to annihilate the Catholic Faith and to no longer communicate life, is to practice spiritual abortion or contraception. Who would dare to say that a Catholic worthy of his name could cooperate in a crime worse than corporal abortion?
"That is why we submit ourselves and are willing to accept all that which is in conformity with our Catholic faith, such as has been taught by her for two thousand years, but we refuse all that which is opposed to it.
"They object: you are judging the Catholic faith. But is it not the most serious duty of all Catholics to judge the faith (the doctrine) that is being taught to them today by that which has been taught and believed for twenty centuries and which is written in the official catechisms such as that of Trent, of Saint Pius X and in all the catechisms before Vatican II? How have all the true faithful acted when faced with heresies? They have preferred to shed their blood rather than betray their faith.
"That the heresy come to us from someone that be as elevated in dignity as possible, the problem is the same for the salvation of our souls. In this regard many of the faithful are in grave ignorance as to the nature and the extension of the infallibility of the Pope. Many think that every word that comes from the mouth of the Pope is infallible.
"On the other hand, if it appears certain to us that the faith which was taught by the Church for twenty centuries cannot contain error, we have much less of an absolute certitude that the Pope be truly Pope. Heresy, schism, ipso facto excommunication, and invalid election are some causes which could make it happen that a Pope never was one or would cease to be one. In this obviously very exceptional case, the Church would be in a situation similar to that which occurs after the death of a sovereign pontiff.
"Because in fact a serious problem is being posed to the conscience and to the faith of all the Catholics since the beginning of the pontificate of Paul VI. How is it that a Pope, the true successor of Peter, assured of the assistance of the Holy Spirit, could preside at the destruction of the Church, the most profound and the most widespread in history to occur in so little space of time, that which no heretic has ever succeeded in doing?
"This question will have to be answered one day, but leaving this problem to the theologians and the historians, the reality forces us to a practical response, according to the counsel of Saint Vincent of Lerins: 'What should the Catholic Christian do if a part of the Church were to detach itself from communion with the universal law? What other side could he take but to prefer instead of the gangrenous and corrupted member, the body in its whole which is healthy? And if some new contagion would poison not only a small part of the Church but the entire Church all at the same time! Then again, his great concern would be TO STAY WITH THE ANTIQUITY, which, of course, can no longer be seduced by any lying novelty!'
"Therefore we have firmly decided to continue our work of restoring the Catholic priesthood no matter what happens, persuaded that we can render no greater service to the Church, to the Pope, to the bishops and to the faithful. May they let us to test or experience (as they say) Tradition."
Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, Écône, August 2, 1976.
In Christ our King.