Archbishop Lefebvre and the sedevacantists

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Archbishop Lefebvre and the sedevacantists
(a little known document)

Concerning the position of Archbishop Lefebvre on the “non una cum” sedevacantist position, after the Episcopal consecrations of 1988; here is an excerpt from a conference given by Archbishop Lefebvre during a retreat preached to the sisters of Saint-Michel en Brenne 1, France, on April 1st, 1989 (AUDIO excerpt attached).


« … And then, he (Dom Guillou O.S.B. 2) goes through all the prayers of the Canon, all the prayers of the Roman Canon. He goes through them one after the other and then he shows the difference, he gives translations, very good ones. He gives, for example, precisely this famous.. you know, this famous una cum.., una cum of the sedevacantists. And you, do you say una cum? (laughter of the nuns of St-Michel-en-Brenne). You say una cum in the Canon of the Mass! Then we cannot pray with you; then you’re not Catholic; you’re not this; you’re not that; you’re not.. Ridiculous! ridiculous! because they claim that when we say una cum summo Pontifice, the Pope, isn’t it, with the Pope, so therefore you embrace everything the Pope says. It’s ridiculous! It’s ridiculous! In fact, this is not the meaning of the prayer.
Te igitur clementissime Pater. This is the first prayer of the Canon. So here is how Dom Guillou translates it, a very accurate translation, indeed :

“We therefore pray Thee with profound humility, most merciful Father, and we beseech Thee, through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Our Lord, to accept and to bless these gifts, these presents, these sacrifices, pure and without blemish, which we offer Thee firstly for Thy Holy Catholic Church. May it please Thee to give Her peace, to keep Her, to maintain Her in unity, and to govern Her throughout the earth, and with Her, Thy servant our Holy Father the Pope.”
It is not said in this prayer that we embrace all ideas that the Pope may have or all the things he may do. With Her, your servant our Holy Father the Pope, our Bishop and all those who practice the Catholic and Apostolic Orthodox faith! So to the extent where, perhaps, unfortunately, the Popes would no longer have …, nor the bishops…, would be deficient in the Orthodox, Catholic and Apostolic Faith, well, we are not in union with them, we are not with them, of course. We pray for the Pope and all those who practice the Catholic and Apostolic Orthodox faith!

Then he (Dom Guillou) had a note about that to clarify a little:

“In the official translation, based on a critical review of Dom Botte O.S.B. 3, the UNA CUM or “in union with” of the sedevacantists of any shade is no longer equivalent but to the conjunction “and ” reinforced either by the need to restate the sentence, or to match the solemn style of the Roman canon. Anyway, every Catholic is always in union with the Pope in the precise area where the divine assistance is exercised, infallibility confirmed by the fact that as soon as there is a deviation from the dogmatic Tradition, the papal discourse contradicts itself.
Let us collect the good grain, knowing that for the rest, it is more necessary than ever to ask God, with the very ancient Major Litanies, that be “kept in the holy religion” the “holy orders” and the “Apostolic Lord” himself (that is to say the Pope): UT DOMINUM APOSTOLICUM AND OMNES ECCLESIASTICOS ORDINES IN SANCTA RELIGIONE CONSERVARE DIGNERIS, TE ROGAMUS, AUDI NOS.”
It is a request of the litanies of the Saints, right? WE ASK TO KEEP THE POPE IN THE TRUE RELIGION. We ask that in the Litanies of the Saints! This proves that sometimes it can happen that unfortunately, well, maybe sometimes it happens that… well there have been hesitations, there are false steps, there are errors that are possible. We have too easily believed since Vatican I, that every word that comes from the mouth of the Pope is infallible. That was never said in Vatican I! The Council never said such a thing. Very specific conditions are required for the infallibility; very, very strict conditions. The best proof is that throughout the Council, Pope Paul VI himself said “There is nothing in this Council which is under the sign of infallibility”. So, it is clear, he says it himself! He said it explicitly.

Then we must not keep this idea which is FALSE! which a number of Catholics, poorly instructed, poorly taught, believe! So obviously, people no longer understand anything, they are completely desperate, they do not know what to expect! We must keep the Catholic faith as the Church teaches it. »

Archbishop Lefebvre, retreat at Saint-Michel en Brenne, April 1st, 1989

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Regarding the "una cum", the confusion and mis-interpretation is driven by the sedevacantists themselves. They try to use ecclesiastical words and misnomers to build a footing where there is none.

In brief, the many discussions which have taken place over the past 50 years about the vacancy of the papal see since the time of the Vatican II popes, there has always been a line which occurs in the Te Igitur of the Mass, which is the first prayer of the Canon. It is the passage in this prayer which requires the priest to pray for the reigning pope and bishop of the diocese in which the Mass if offered.

If you pick up your missal, and turn to the Canon, you will see the phrase we are presently talking about: ...which in the first place we offer up to Thee for Thy holy Catholic Church, that it may please Thee to grant her peace, to protect, unite and govern throughout the world, in union with Thy servant N. our Pope, N. our Bishop, and all true believers and professors of the Catholic and Apostolic Faith. In Latin, the phrase in union with is rendered by una cum. Because the rubrics instruct the priest to leave out the name of the pope or bishop if the see is vacant, i.e., when a pope dies and the new pope is not elected, the mention or non-mention of the name by the priest is a litmus test for the priest's position about the present pope and the New Church. If he thinks that the pope is the true Pope, successor of Saint Peter, then he must place his name in the Canon. If, on the other hand, he does not hold him to be a true Pope, but a false one, then the priest must not mention his name in the Canon. So this little phrase in the Mass, una cum, says it all: is he or isn't he the Pope?

For Archbishop Lefebvre, he believed in the Catholic faith that God is the Head of His Church and the sole judge of the Supreme Pontiff. It is up to Him to bless him or denounce him like Holy Scripture gives to us many examples of this. King David when anointed in his youth by the prophet Samuel, and prior to himself going physically to receive the throne, he nonetheless continued to honor Saul as the present King until God had manifested his dethronement of him. (First Book Of Kings (1 Samuel)).

Same too in this situation after Vatican II. We as Catholics wait on God to manifest his will to guide us; until then, we bless what is catholic and resist what is not.

In the above article of the Dominicans, they were promoting ABL's thoughts that we must pray for the pope in the same measure as King David and the Catholics of old had done. We unite ourselves with the supremacy of the pope (una cum) because God put him there as a leader for our blessing or our chastisement.

That article also goes on to show that ABL described that: "It is not said in this (una cum) prayer that we embrace all ideas that the Pope may have or all the things he may do", instead, we pray for the pope as a pope and all that is catholic that he does in his commission and power to do.

 

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Regarding the "una cum", the confusion and mis-interpretation is driven by the sedevacantists themselves. They try to use ecclesiastical words and misnomers to build a footing where there is none.

It is so important to learn the true meaning of these words making it evident that we should keep our priests accountable as to their intentions.
 
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