Archbishop Lefebvre revisited : Mass at Lille : 1976

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An introduction to Archbishop Lefebvre's famous 1976 Sermon at Lille, France:


Listen to this Prince of the Church. Listen to this soldier who fights for Our Lord Jesus Christ; who loves His Bride, the Holy Roman Catholic Church!
Listen, in this sermon, to the wrath of a “second Moses,” angry at seeing the Holy Faith profaned and the Sacraments desecrated!

Listen carefully to a Bishop whose manly heart bleeds, as all of ours, to see this hijacking of our Catholic Church by the conciliar sect, violently oppressing her!

This is the REAL Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre defending the flock of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd; defending the Faith of All-Time; defending the Mass of All-Time!

No question here, of settling for a comfortable “Personal Prelature” and phony “compromises” to get recognized “as we are” by the Modernist destroyers of the Church, strangling Catholic Rome.

No burning of incense to the abomination of desolation in our sanctuaries, as if New-Mass miracles were authentic and the New Rites give graces to souls...NO!

Let the Declaration of 1974 of Archbishop Lefebvre be our banner held up high! Rosaries, like shining weapons in hand, gripped for Battle! Let the banner of Christ the King; of Catholic Tradition and the Mass of All-Time, flutter triumphantly against all the winds of the raging Dragon! ... And the beautiful Woman of the Apocalypse; the “12-Star Generalissima,” will destroy even him!

“IPSA CONTERET” (Gen. 3:15)
“SHE SHALL CRUSH HIS HEAD!”

LONG LIVE CHRIST THE KING!

LONG LIVE OUR LADY OF FATIMA AND HER VICTORY!

LONG LIVE ARCHBISHOP LEFEBVRE AND HIS CLEAR STAND FOR TRADITION!

LONG LIVE THE FAITHFUL CATHOLICS OF TRADITION READY TO FIGHT, AND RESISTING TO THE END; EAGER TO BLEED FOR THE CAUSE OF ALL CAUSES! ... EVEN MARTYRDOM! -Father David Hewko


Note from the SSPX-Marian Corp channel:

"English subtitles have been added. Push your CC option (closed captioned) on the bottom right of the video IF the English subtitles are not showing. Thank you, Fr Hewko, a true son of Archbishop Lefebvre, for promoting the production of this video."

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SERMON AT LILLE
August 29, 1976
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ARCHBISHOP MARCEL LEFEBVRE

Before addressing a few words of exhortation to you, I should first like to dispel some misunderstandings, and to begin with, about this very gathering.

You can see from the simplicity of this ceremony that we made no preparations for a ceremony which would have gathered a crowd like this one in this hall. I thought I should be saying Holy Mass on the 29th of August as it had been arranged, before a few hundred of the faithful of the Lille region, as I have often done in France, Europe, and even America, with no fuss.

Yet all of a sudden this date, 29 August, through press, radio, and television, has become a kind of demonstration, resembling, so they say, a challenge. Not at all; this demonstration is not a challenge. This demonstration is what you wanted, dear Catholic brethren, who have come from long distances. Why? To manifest your Catholic Faith; to manifest your belief; to manifest your desire to pray and to sanctify yourselves as did your fathers in faith, as did generations and generations before you. That is the real object of this ceremony, during which we desire to pray, pray with all our heart, adore our Lord Jesus Christ, who in a few moments will come down on this altar and will renew the sacrifice of the Cross, which we so much need.

I should like also to dispel another misunderstanding. Here I beg your pardon, but I have to say it; it was not I who called myself head of the traditionalist. You know who did that not long ago in solemn and memorable circumstances in Rome. Archbishop Lefebvre was said to be the head of the traditionalists. I do not want to be head of the traditionalists, nor am I. Why? Because I also am a simple Catholic – a priest and a bishop, certainly; but in the very conditions which you find yourselves, reacting the same way to the destruction of the Church, to the destruction of our faith, to the ruins piling up before our eyes.

Having the same reaction, I thought it my duty to form priests, the true priests that the Church needs. I formed those priests in a “Saint Pius X Society,” which was recognized by the Church. All I was doing was what all bishops have done for centuries and centuries. That is all I did – something I have been doing for thirty years of my priestly life. It was on that account that I was made a bishop, an apostolic Delegate in Africa, a member of the central preconciliar commission, an assistant at the papal throne. What better proof could I have wanted that Rome considered my work profitable for the Church and for the good of souls? And now when I am doing the same thing, a work exactly like what I have been doing for thirty years, all of a sudden I am suspended a divinis, and perhaps I shall soon be excommunicated, separated from the Church, a renegade, or what have you! How can that be? Is what I have been doing for thirty years liable also to suspension a divinis?

I think, on the contrary, that if then I had been forming seminarians as they are being formed now in the new seminaries, I should have been excommunicated. If then I had taught the catechism which is being taught in the schools I should have been called a heretic. And if I had said Mass as it is now said I should have been called suspect of heresy and out of the Church. It is beyond my understanding. It means something has changed in the Church and it is about that that I wish to speak.

I add a parenthesis for dear Monsignor Ducaud-Bourget, who is here present. He asked me, and I well understand why, to say that it is absolutely false that he was suspended a divinis and that he was expelled from the Order of Malta. Many fabrications are to be found in the Press that do not correspond at all to reality. For instance, it was said of me that I was going to go to the Bishop's meeting at Lourdes, while I never had any intention of going.

An extremely serious attitude, I admit. To oppose the highest authorities in the Church, be suspended a divinis, is for a bishop, an extremely grave matter, a very painful state. How could one bear such a state of things, if not for excessively grave reasons. Indeed! The reasons for our attitude, and for your attitude, are very grave reasons: it concerns the defense of our faith. The defense of our faith! Is it possible, then, that the authorities at Rome should be a danger to our faith? I do not judge these authorities, I do not want to judge them personally. I would, so to speak, judge them like the Holy Office used to judge a book and put it on the Index. It sufficed to study what was contained in the statements that had been written. And if these propositions were contrary to the doctrine of the Church, the book was condemned and placed on the Index, without it being necessary to summon the author.

At the Council, certain bishops spoke out against this procedure, insisting that it was inadmissible to put a book on the Index without hearing from the author. But one has no need to see the person who wrote a book, if one has in one's hands a text that is absolutely contrary to the doctrine of the Church. It is the book which is condemned, because the words are contrary to Catholic doctrine, and not the person who wrote it. It is in this way that we must judge things, we must judge them by deeds. As our Lord Jesus Christ said very well in the Gospel that we heard a short time ago, quite apropos, wolves in sheep's clothing. “You will recognize the tree by its fruit.” The fruits are before us, evident, clear. The fruits which come from the Second Vatican Council and the postconciliar reforms are bitter fruits, fruits that destroy the Church. When someone tells me, “Do not touch the Council; speak rather of the postconciliar reforms,” I reply that those who made the reforms – it was not I who made the reforms – say themselves: “We are making them in the name of the Council.” And these are the Church's authorities. It is they, consequently, who legitimately interpret the Council.

Now, what happened at the Council? We can easily learn by reading the books of those, precisely, who have been the instruments of this change in the Church that has taken place before our eyes. Read, for example, Ecumenism as Seen by a Freemason, by Marsaudon. Read the book of the senator from the Doubs, Mr. Prelot, Liberal Catholicism, written in 1969. He will tell you that the Council is at the origin of this change; he, a liberal Catholic, says so in the first pages of his book: “We struggled for a century and a half to make our opinions prevail inside the Church, and we did not succeed. Then came the Second Vatican Council, and we triumphed. Ever since, the theses and principles of liberal Catholicism have been definitively and officially accepted by Holy Church.” If that is not a testimonial, what is? It is not I who say it. But he says it triumphantly, we say it weeping.

What have the liberal Catholics been seeking for a century and a half? To wed the Church and the Revolution, wed the Church and subversion, wed the Church and the forces that destroy society, all societies – familial, civil, and religious. This wedding of the Church is inscribed in the Council. Take the schema Gaudium et Spes, and you will find this: “It is necessary to marry the principles of the Church with the conceptions of modern man.” What does that mean? That means that it is necessary to wed the Church, the Catholic Church, the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ, with principles that are contrary to this Church, that undermine it, and which have always been against the Church.

Precisely, it is this marriage that was attempted in the Council by men of the Church, and not the Church, for the Church can never permit such a thing. For a century and a half all the sovereign pontiffs have condemned liberal Catholicism, have refused this marriage with the ideas of the Revolution, of those who adored the goddess Reason. The popes have never been able to accept such things. And during this Revolution, priests were sent to the scaffold; nuns were persecuted and also executed. Remember the pontoons of Nantes; the faithful priests were assembled on the boats, which were then sunk. That is what the Revolution did. Well, dear brethren, what the Revolution did is nothing as compared to what the Second Vatican Council is doing, nothing! It would have been better for the thirty, forty, or fifty thousand priests who have left their cassocks and violated their oaths made before God to have been martyred or sent to the scaffold; at least they would have saved their souls. Now they run the risk of losing them.

We are told that among these poor married priests many are already divorced, many have sought annulments in Rome. What does all this signify? How many nuns – twenty thousand in the United States – have left their religious congregations and their vows, which were perpetual, broken this bond which they had contracted with our Lord Jesus Christ, to run into marriage. It would have been better for them to be sent to the scaffold; at least they would have witnessed to their faith.

At least when the French Revolution made martyrs it accomplished the adage of the first centuries: Sanguis martyrum, semen christianorum (the blood of the martyrs is the seed of Christians). And those who persecute the Christians know it quite well: they are afraid of making martyrs. They do not want to make martyrs. It was the height of the devil's victory to destroy the Church by means of obedience. Destroy the Church by obedience. We see it destroyed every day: empty seminaries – the beautiful seminary of Lille was once filled with seminarians: where are they? Who are the seminarians? Do they know that they are going to be priests? Do they know what they are going to do when they are priests?

And all this is precisely because the union desired by these liberal Catholics, a unions between the Church and the Revolution and subversion is, for the Church, an adulterous union, adulterous. And that adulterous union can produce only bastards. And who are those bastards? They are our rites: the rite of the Mass is a bastard rite, the sacraments are bastard sacraments – we no longer know if they are sacraments which give grace or which do not give grace. We no longer know if this Mass gives the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ or if it does not give them. The priests coming out of the seminaries do not themselves know what they are. In Rome it was the Archbishop of Cincinnati who said, “Why are there no more vocations? Because the Church no longer knows what a priest is.” How then can she still form priests if she does not know what a priest is? The priests coming out of the seminaries are bastard priests. They do not know what they are. They do not know that they were made to go up to the altar to offer the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give Jesus Christ to souls, and to call souls to Jesus Christ. That is what a priest is. Our young men here know that very well. Their whole life is going to be consecrated to that, to love, adore, and serve our Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist, because they believe in the Real Presence of our Lord in the Holy Eucharist.

The adulterous union of the Church with the Revolution is consolidated with dialogue. When the Church entered into dialogue it was to convert. Our Lord said: “Go, teach all nations, convert them.” But He did not say to hold dialogue with them so as not to convert them, so as to try to put us on the same footing with them. Error and truth are not compatible. We must see if we have charity towards others, as the Gospel says: he who has charity is one who serves others. But those who have charity should give our Lord, they should give the riches they possess to others and not just converse with them and enter into dialogue on an equal footing. Truth and error are not on the same footing. That would be putting God and the devil on the same footing, for the devil is the Father of Lies, the Father of Error.

We must therefore be missionaries. We must preach the Gospel, convert souls to Jesus Christ, and not engage in dialogue with them in an effort to adopt their principles. That is what this bastard Mass and these bastard rites are doing to us, for we wanted dialogue wit the Protestants and the Protestants said to us: “We will not have your Mass; we will not have it because it contains things incompatible with our Protestant faith. So change the Mass and we shall be able to pray with you. We can have intercommunication. We can receive your sacraments. You can come to our churches and we can come to yours; then it will be all finished and we shall have unity.” We shall have unity in confusion, in bastardy. That we do not want. The Church has never wanted it. We love the Protestants; we want to convert them. But it is not loving them to let them think they have the same religion as the Catholic religion.

It is the same with the Freemasons. Now they want to dialogue with Freemasons, and not only dialogue, but permit Catholics to become members of Freemasonry. This is another abominable dialogue. We know perfectly well that the people who direct Freemasonry, at least those in charge, are fundamentally against our Lord Jesus Christ. And the black masses they do, are parodies of the Mass of our Lord; and they want consecrated hosts for their black masses. They know that our Lord Jesus Christ is in the Eucharist. They don't want the hosts that come from Masses in which they do not know whether the Body of our Lord is there or not. Shall we dialogue, then, with these people who want the death of our Lord Jesus Christ a second time, in the person of His members, in the person of the Church? We cannot admit it. We know what the first dialogue with the devil brought about, the first dialogue with Eve with the devil. We were were lost; she put us in a state of sin because she dialogued with the devil. One does not dialogue with the devil. One preaches to all those who are under the devil's influence, so that they convert and come to our Lord Jesus Christ.

One does not dialogue with the Communists. One dialogues with persons, but one does not dialogue with error…

But precisely, why are we firmly resolved not to accept this adulterous union of the Church and the Revolution? Because we affirm the divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ. Why was Peter made Peter? Recall the Gospel. Peter became Peter because he professed the divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ. And all the Apostles proclaimed this faith publicly after Pentecost, and immediately they were persecuted. The Sanhedrin said to them, “Do not mention this name any more, we do not want to hear the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” And the Apostles answered, “Non possumus, we cannot not speak of our Lord Jesus Christ, our King.” You will say to me, “Is it possible? You seem to be accusing Rome of not believing in the divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Liberalism always has two faces. It affirms the truth, which it calls the thesis, and then in practice, (the hypothesis, they say), it acts as the enemies do, and with the principles of the enemies of the Church, and in such a manner that one is always incoherent.

What does the divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ signify? That our Lord is the only person in the world, the only human being who could say, “I am God.” And by the fact that He could say “I am God,” He was the unique Savior of the human race, He was the sole Priest of humanity, and its only King – by nature, and not by privilege or title; by His own nature, because He was the Son of God.

But now what do they say? That there is not salvation in Jesus Christ alone. There is salvation outside our Lord Jesus Christ. That there is not only the priesthood in our Lord Jesus Christ. All the faithful are priests, everyone is a priest, whereas it is necessary to participate sacramentally in the priesthood of our Lord Jesus Christ in order to offer the holy sacrifice of the Mass.

Finally, a third error, they reject the social reign of our Lord Jesus Christ under the pretext that it is no longer feasible. I have heard this from the mouth of the Nuncio of Berne; I have heard it from the mouth of the Vatican ambassador Fr. Dhanis, former Rector of the Gregorian University, who came in the name of the Holy See to ask me not to perform the ordinations of 29 June. It was 27 June at Flavigny, and I was preaching the retreat to the seminarians. He said to me, “Why are you preaching against the Council?” I answered, “Is it possible to accept the Council, while in the name of the Council you say that all the Catholic States must be destroyed, that there must be no Catholic States left, and thus no more States where our Lord Jesus Christ reigns? Such a state is no longer possible.” But it is one thing for a thing to be no longer possible, and another to accept that as a principle, and consequently, no longer seek the social reign of our Lord Jesus Christ. But what do we say each day in the Our Father? “Thy kingdom come, They will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” What is this reign? A little while ago you sang in the Gloria “You alone are Lord, You alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ.” And are we to sing these words, and then go out and say, “No, Jesus Christ must not reign over us any longer.” Are we living illogically? Are we Catholics or not?

There will be no peace on earth except in the reign of our Lord Jesus Christ. The nations are in conflict – every day we have page after page of the newspapers about it, we have it on radio and television; and now with the change of the prime minister: What are we going to do to improve the economy? What are we going to do to improve the currency? What are we going to do so that manufacturing prospers, etc. All the newspapers in the world are full of such questions. Well, even from an economic standpoint, our Lord Jesus Christ is the reign of the principles of love and of the commandments of God, which establishes equilibrium in society, and which make justice and peace reign. It is only with order, justice, and peace in society that economy can thrive.

We see this very clearly. Take, for example, the Argentine Republic. What a state of anarchy it was in just a few months ago; complete anarchy, with bandits killing left and right, industries in ruins, the factory owners locked up or taken hostage. It was an unbelievable revolution, and in a country as beautiful, balanced, and agreeable as the Argentine Republic, a republic that could enjoy incredible prosperity with extraordinary riches. Now there is a government with principles, that has an authority that puts some order in things, that prevents the bandits from killing people, and lo and behold the economy is reviving, the workers have work, and they can go home knowing that they won't be assaulted by someone who wants them to go on strike when they do not wish to go on strike.

It is the reign of our Lord Jesus Christ that we want; and we profess our faith, saying that our Lord Jesus Christ is God.

And that is why we want the Mass of St. Pius V, because this Mass is the proclamation of the royalty of our Lord Jesus Christ. The New Mass is a sort of hybrid Mass, which is no longer hierarchical; it is democratic, where the assembly takes the place of the priest, and so it is no longer a veritable Mass that affirms the royalty of our Lord. For how did our Lord Jesus Christ become King? He affirmed His royalty by the Cross. “Regnavit a ligno Deus.” Jesus Christ reigned by the wood of the Cross. Because He vanquished sin, He vanquished the devil, and He vanquished death by the Cross: three magnificent victories of our Lord. One will say that this is triumphalism. Well, if so then yes, we do want the triumphalism of our Lord Jesus Christ.

That is why our ancestors built these magnificent cathedrals. Why did they expend so much wealth, when they were so much poorer than we? Why did they spend so much time to build these magnificent cathedrals, which we still admire, even unbelievers? Why? Because of our Lord Jesus Christ. To commemorate the triumph of the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Mass. And that is why we kneel, we love to kneel before the Blessed Sacrament. If we had the time, if we did not want to detain you too long, we would have circulated among you with the Blessed Sacrament so that you could show our Lord that you adore Him. “Lord, thou art our God! O, Jesus Christ, we adore Thee, we know that it is thanks to Thee that we were born, that by Thee we were made Christians, by Thee we were redeemed, and that it is Thou who wilt judge us at the hour of our death. It is Thou who wilt give us the glory of heaven if we have merited it.”

For our Lord Jesus Christ is present in the Holy Eucharist as He was upon the cross. That is what we must do, that is what we must ask. We are against no one. We are not commandos. We wish nobody harm. All we want is to be allowed to profess our faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

So, for that reason, we are driven from our churches. The poor priests are driven out for saying the old Mass by which all our saints were sanctified: St. Joan of Arc, the holy Cure d'Ars, the little Theresa of the Child Jesus were sanctified by this Mass; and now priests are driven brutally, cruelly, from their parishes because they say the Mass which has sanctified saints for centuries. It is crazy. I would almost say it is a story of madmen. I ask myself if I am dreaming. How can this Mass have become some kind of horror for our bishops and for those who should preserve our faith? But we will keep the Mass of St. Pius V because the Mass of St. Pius V is the Mass of twenty centuries. It is the Mass of all time, not just the Mass of St. Pius V; and it represents our faith, it is a bulwark of our faith, and we need that bulwark.

We shall be told that we are making it a question of Latin and cassocks. Obviously, it is easy that way to discredit those you disagree with. But Latin has its importance; and when I was in Africa it was marvelous to see those crowds of Africans of different languages – we sometimes had five or six different tribes who did not understand one another – who could assist at Mass in our churches and sing the Latin chants with extraordinary fervor. Go and see them now; they quarrel in the churches because Mass is being said in a language other than theirs, so they are displeased and they want a Mass in their own language. The confusion is total, where before there was perfect unity. That is just one example. You have just heard the Epistle and Gospel read in French – I see no difficulty in that; and if more prayers in French were added, to be said all together, I still see no difficulty. But it still seems to me that the body of the Mass, which runs from the Offertory to the priest's Communion, should remain in a unique language so that all men of all nations can assist together at Mass and can feel united in that unity of faith, in that unity of prayer.

So we ask, indeed we address an appeal to the bishops and to Rome: will they, please, take into consideration our desire to pray as our ancestors did, our desire to keep the Catholic Faith, our desire to adore our Lord Jesus Christ and to want His reign. That is what I said in my last letter to the Holy Father – and I thought it really was the last, because I did not think the Holy Father would write to me again. I said to him: “Most Holy Father, give us back the pubic rights of the Church, that is to say, the reign of our Lord Jesus Christ; give us back the true Bible instead of an ecumenical Bible, the true Bible such as was the Vulgate before and which had been blessed time and time again by councils and popes. Give us back the true Mass, a dogmatic Mass that defends our faith, and which was the Mass of so many centuries, and which sanctified so many Catholics. Lastly, give us back our catechism following the model of the Catechism of the Council of Trent, for without such a precise catechism, what will become of our children tomorrow, what will become of future generations? They will no longer know the Catholic Faith; we are seeing that already.

Alas, I received no reply, except for the suspension a divinis. And that is why I do not consider the penalties as valid, either canonically or theologically. I believe in all sincerity, in peace, in all serenity, that I must not contribute to the destruction of the Catholic Church by these suspensions, by the penalties imposed against me, by the closing of my seminaries, by refusing to ordain priests. At the hour of my death, when our Lord will ask me, What have you done with the graces of your priesthood, I do not want to hear from the mouth of the Lord, You have contributed to destroying the Church with the others.

My dear brethren, I close by considering what you should do. So many groups ask us to give them priests, true priests. They say, “We need priests. We have a place to lodge them. We shall build a little chapel, they will stay with us and teach our children the true catechism, according to the true faith. We want to keep the true faith, like the Japanese for three centuries when they had no priests. Give us priests!”

Well, dear brethren, I will do all that I can to prepare them for you; and I can say that my great consolation is to feel in the seminarians a profound faith. They have understood who our Lord Jesus Christ is. They have understood what are the Mass and the sacraments. The faith is deeply rooted in their hearts. They are, if I may say, better than what we could have been fifty years ago in our seminaries, because, precisely, they live in a difficult situation. Many of them have, in fact, been to the universities. And still they throw in our face the accusation that these young men are not well adapted and will not know how to speak to the modern generations. But here are young men who have completed three, four, even five years of the university; and they do not understand their generation?

Why have they come to Econe to become priest? Precisely, in order to address their own generation. They know it will, better than we, much better than our critics. They will be quite able to speak the language necessary to convert souls. And that is why – and I am very happy to say so- we have twenty-five new recruits at the seminary of Econe, despite the difficulties. And we will have ten new seminary in the United States, and four in our German-language seminary in Switzerland.

So you see, despite the harassment, the young men understand quite well that we form true Catholic priests. And that is why we are not is schism, it is we who continue the Catholic Church. It is the innovators who are drifting into schism. As for us, we continue the tradition, and that is why we should have confidence, we should not despair even in the current crisis. We must hold fast, keep the faith, the sacraments upheld by twenty centuries of the holiness of the Church, of the faith of the Church. We have nothing to fear.

Sometimes certain journalists have asked me, “Your Excellency, don't you feel isolated?” “Not at all, I do not feel at all isolated. I am with twenty centuries of the Church; I have on my side all the saints of heaven.” Why? Because they prayed like us, they sanctified themselves as we try to do, with the same means. And so I am persuaded that they rejoice over today's assembly. They are saying, “At least here are some Catholics who pray, who pray truly, who truly have in their hearts the desire to pray and to honor our Lord Jesus Christ.” The saints of heaven rejoice. Thus, let us not be distressed, but let us pray and strive for holiness.

Now there is some advice that I wish to give you. It must not be said of the Catholics that we are – I do not like the term traditionalist Catholics, for I cannot imagine what a Catholic could be without being a traditionalist, since the Church is a Tradition, and, moreover, what would men be without some tradition? They couldn't live. We have received life from our parents, we have received the education of those who came before us, we have a tradition. The good God wanted it that way. The good God wanted that traditions be passed from generation to generation, for temporal things as well as sacred things. Consequently, not being traditional, not being traditionalist, is destruction itself; it is suicide. That is why we are just Catholics, we continue to be Catholics. There mustn’t be divisions among you, as I was saying.

Precisely because we are Catholics we are in unity of the Church, which is in the faith. They tell us: “You should be with the Pope, the pope is the sign of faith in the Church.” Yes, insofar as the pope manifests that he is the successor of Peter, insofar as he makes himself the echo of the faith of all time, insofar as he transmits the treasure he should transmit. For, once again, what is a pope if not he who gives us the treasures of tradition, and the treasure of the deposit of the faith, and supernatural life by means of the sacraments and the holy sacrifice of the Mass. The bishop, the priest is none other than the one who transmits the truth, who transmits a life that does not belong to him. The Epistle read a little while ago...truth does not belong to us. It belongs to the Pope no more than it does to me. If it should happen that the Pope were no longer the servant of the truth, he would not longer be pope. I am not saying that is he no longer – mark my words well, do no make me say what I am not saying – but if happened that that were true, then we could not follow someone who would lead us into error. That is obvious.

They tell us: “You judge the Pope.” But what is the criterion of truth? Archbishop Benelli threw in my face: “It isn't you who made the truth.” Well, of course, it isn't I who make the truth, but it isn't the Pope either. It is our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Truth; and so we must refer to what our Lord Jesus Christ has taught us, to what the Fathers of the Church and the entire Church have taught in order to know the truth. It is not I who judge the Pope but Tradition. A child of five with his catechism can answer his bishop very well. If his bishop were to tell him, “Our Lord is not present in the Holy Eucharist. It is I who am the witness to the truth, and I tell you that our Lord is not present in the Holy Eucharist.” Well, this child, despite his five years, has his catechism. He answer, “Well, my catechism says the contrary.” Who is right? The bishop or the catechism? Obviously it is the catechism which presents the faith of all time. It is simple, childlike reasoning. But we have come to this point. If they tell us nowadays that it is acceptable to have intercommunion with the Protestants, that there is no difference between us and the Protestants, well, it isn't true. There is an immense difference.

That is why we are truly dumbfounded when we consider that the Archbishop of Canterbury is invited to give his blessing, for he is not even a priest (because Anglican ordinations are not valid, Pope Leo XIII officially and definitively declared; because he is a heretic, as are all the Anglicans. I am sorry, one doesn't like to use this term any more, but that is the fact; it is not to insult him, I only ask for his conversion), so he is not a priest, he is a heretic, and he is asked to bless the crowd of cardinals and bishops present in St. Peter's with the Holy Father. It seems to me that this is something absolutely unthinkable. Unthinkable.

I conclude by thanking you for having come so numerous, and for continuing to make this ceremony profoundly pious, profoundly Catholic. We will pray together, asking the good Lord to give the means to resolve our problems. It would be so simple if every bishop would place a church of his diocese at the disposition of faithful Catholics, telling them, This church is yours. And when you consider that the Bishop of Lille has given a church to the Moslems, I do not see why there would not be a church for faithful Catholics. Ultimately, the whole matter would be resolved. And this is what I shall ask the Holy Father, should he receive me: “Holy Father, let us make an experiment of Tradition. In the midst of all the experiments that are going on today, there should at least be the experiment of what was done for twenty centuries!”

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. A BISHOP SPEAKS. 2ND ed. KANSAS CITY: ANGELUS PRESS, 2007.

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The Mass at Lille
29 August 1976

From: Apologia pro Marcel Lefebvre
Volume 1, Chapter 13

The Mass at Lille was an event of considerable importance.

Firstly, it constituted in the most dramatic manner possible the response of the Archbishop to his suspenion, the terms of which forbade him to celebrate Mass. Secondly, it enabled him to put his case to an audience of millions around the world. Thirdly, it was clearly as a result of the impact made by this Mass that the Pope felt obliged to receive the Archbishop despite repeated Vatican claims that this would never be done until he made an act of submission to the "Conciliar Church." Fourthly, the reporting of this Mass and its background provides one of the clearest instances of the extent to which the Catholic and secular press is prepared to go to misrepresent the Archbishop. Fortunately, I was present at the Mass with some friends and can thus provide a first-hand account of what took place. I also have the complete text of the Archbishop's controversial sermon and have had access to a professionally made recording which includes every word.

Among the allegations made concerning the Mass at Lille is that it was intended by the Archbishop as an act of public defiance, a huge public demonstration against the authority of the Holy See. Nothing could be further from the truth. Lille is, of course, in the Archbishop's own native region of France. He had been asked by some of his friends and relations to offer Mass there on 29 August and had agreed. It was to be a semi-private occasion for two or three hundred people at the most. But the media got to learn of the proposed Mass and began building it up into an act of contestation, a trial of strength between the Archbishop and the Pope. Then, as a result of this publicity, traditionalists from further afield got to know about the Mass and began to make inquiries about its venue as they wished to attend. This posed the organizers and the Archbishop himself with a problem as they had not made arrangements to cope with a congregation of more than a few hundred. The Archbishop 's decision was unequivocal-the arrangements that had been made were to stand and those from further afield were to be discouraged from coming. That this was indeed the case is also something to which I can add my personal testimony. After learning of the proposed Mass I had thought it might be appropriate to arrange for a few hundred British Catholics to go to Lille as a gesture of solidarity with Mgr. Lefebvre in the face of the Vatican sanctions. But I did not want to do this without being certain that there would be a public Mass with sufficient space for everyone wishing to attend. I arranged for a phone call directly to the Archbishop at Ecône and his personal reply was quite definite: the Mass was to be private, he did not want anyone from outside Lille to come, and anyone planning to do so should be discouraged. This was only one week before the Mass was scheduled to take place.

During the week before the Mass it became clear to the organizers that several thousand of the faithful were going to arrive whether the Archbishop wanted them to or not and so, at the last minute, they decided to hire the vast auditorium of the International Fair in Lille. This, they reckoned, would be more than sufficient to cope with any number that might arrive. This was reported in the British secular press on Saturday, 28 August, and so I made a last-minute decision to attend and, just before midnight, I left London's Victoria Station on the boat train with just one friend.

We met a few more traditionalists on the boat and arrived at Lille early on Sunday morning. On our way to the International Fair we were most impressed by the zeal and organization of the Lille Catholics. Stewards with arm-bands were strategically posted along the route to indicate the way and coaches had been laid on for those who felt unable to walk. There were very few police in evidence -a dozen or so traffic police at the most. When we reached the perimeter of the large grounds in which the Fair is situated a steady stream of cars had already begun to arrive. However, when I entered the huge auditorium I feared that an error of judgment had been made. A local paper which I had bought at the station gave the seating capacity as 10,000 and there was clearly room for several thousand people to stand. Under the circumstances a congregation of 4,000 would have been a remarkable gesture of support for the Archbishop-but such a number would have appeared lost in this vast hall. I could already envisage the line the press-the Catholic press in particular-would take. The headlines would read: HALL ONLY HALF FULL FOR LEFEBVRE MASS. However, as the time for the Mass drew nearer the line of cars and procession of pedestrians grew more and more dense and, having waited outside for a friend coming by car, I found that at about 10:45 all the seats had been taken, the standing space was packed and it appeared that I would not be able to get into the auditorium. I managed to insert myself into a jam-packed mass of people which was literally inching its way along a corridor towards the auditorium. A number of young stewards did their best to persuade those inside to cram themselves up even more closely to allow a few more in. At least one report claimed that the stewards were Gestapo types wearing jackboots! I can testify that all those I saw were extremely inoffensive looking young men wearing leisure suits and that I did not notice a single jackboot anywhere in the congregation! A Soviet paper reported the presence of thousands of Italian fascists although, newspaper reporters apart, there did not appear to be a single Italian present.

The Archbishop's enemies have also spared no effort to publicize the fact that the journals of extreme right-wing political groups were being sold outside the auditorium; including Aspects de la France-the journal of Action franscaise. What the papers did not point out is that on at least three occasions before the Mass an announcement was made that the Archbishop did not want any literature sold outside the auditorium and that if this was done it would be in opposition to his wishes. 'When this matter was raised during a press conference given by the Archbishop on 15 September 1976 (the full text of which was published in ltineraires of December 1976) he made the following points: he was displeased at the fact that Aspects de la France had been sold outside the auditorium at Lille; he did not read this journal; he did not know those who produced it; he had never met Charles Maurras;1 he had not even read his works; and he was thus ignorant of his political philosophy.

It needs to be appreciated that political attitudes in France cannot be assessed on the basis of attitudes in English-speaking countries. In France political feeling tends to be more polarized, more extreme, and far more deeply felt than in England. It can only be understood in the light of the French Revolution and subsequent history -particularly the inter-war period and the German occupation. At the risk of a serious over-simplification, it is reasonable to state that up to the Second World War Catholicism in France tended to be identified with right-wing politics and anti-Catholicism with the left. Since the war, and especially since Vatican II, the official French Church has veered sharply to the left and has adopted all the postures identified with the Liberal consensus which is accepted throughout the West, e. g. on the virtues of the Viet Cong and the evils of capitalism. Thus, a large proportion of right-wing Catholics was predisposed to support any religious movement opposed to the policies of the French hierarchy. The political views of some of the French Catholics who support the Archbishop would certainly be odious to many English-speaking traditionalists - although such views are more understandable (if not acceptable) within the French context. However, if they wish to support the Archbishop (and not necessarily for the right reasons) there is nothing he can do about it. His own alleged right-wing political philosophy is nothing more than straight-forward Catholic social teaching as expounded by the Popes for a century or more. Those familiar with this teaching need only read his book A Bishop Speaks to see at once that his so-called "political" utterances are no more than paraphrases of teaching contained in papal encyclicals. The French hierarchy has replaced this social teaching with diluted Marxism to such an extent that anyone adopting the Catholic position is now automatically accused of fascism. Whenever the Archbishop is accused of intermingling the traditional faith and right-wing politics a demand should be made that chapter and verse be provided to substantiate the allegation. The almost invariable Liberal response will be to ignore such a demand but, if a reply is given, it will be found that what is being objected to is the consistent teaching of the Popes.

What should be quite obvious is that Mgr. Lefebvre cannot prevent anyone who wishes to support him from doing so.

It is quite certain that there is no formal link whatsoever between Mgr. Lefebvre and any political party in any country. He has a right to his own political views, so have his priests, so have those who support him. But support for the Archbishop does not involve adherence to any political standpoint, only to the traditional faith, the traditional liturgy, and the social teaching of the Popes.

The congregation at Lille certainly represented a balanced cross-section of French society. In its 31 August issue, Le Monde, which has never attempted to disguise its hostility towards the Archbishop, commented on the make-up of the congregation in terms which coincided exactly with my own impression. Contrary to reports that the atmosphere of the Mass was political rather than religious, the report affirmed that for the vast majority of those present it was "an act of piety, a gesture of solidarity with a bishop who was the object of sanctions, a gesture of fidelity to the traditional Church… Men were in a definite majority, there were large numbers of young people, and entire families with their children ...the general impression was of a normal parish congregation with a far from negligible proportion of workers."

The same report adds that everyone from Lille seemed to know what was going on. The duty clerk in the ticket office at the station told Le Monde 's reporter: "I'm broken-hearted at not being free to go to the Mass. I'm 100 per cent behind Mgr. Lefebvre. I haven't put a foot inside my parish church for ages because of the clowning that goes on there; they don't get so much as a sou (cent) out of me any more." On the way to the Mass his taxi driver also declared himself to be a strong supporter of Mgr. Lefebvre.

The extent of the Archbishop's support in France was made clear in an opinion poll published earlier in the month by the newspaper Progres de Lyon and reported in The Times on 14 August. It revealed that while 28 per cent of Catholics approved of the Archbishop's stand only 24 per cent opposed it, the rest being indifferent or unwilling to express an opinion. In typical fashion, the London Universe (England's largest-circulation Catholic weekly) withheld the figures from its readers and informed them that the poll had revealed that the great majority of French Catholics "are more concerned about matters other than Mgr. Lefebvre." Similarly, among the glaring inaccuracies in its report on the Mass at Lille it claimed that there were 200 riot police on duty at the Mass -there was not a riot policeman in sight and that the sermon carried hints of anti-semitism when, in fact, there was not a single phrase in the whole sermon referring to the Jews, even indirectly.

The Mass at Lille was celebrated with immense fervor and great dignity. A report in Le Monde remarked on Mgr. Lefebvre's serenity and tranquil dignity despite the strain he must have been undergoing since his suspension. The volume and quality of the congregational participation in the sung parts of the Mass -with more than twelve thousand Catholics from at least six countries singing una voce, with one voice, and broadcast to millions on TV and radio, provided the most effective possible rebuttal to the nonsensical claim that the traditional Mass provides an obstacle to congregational participation.

The complete text of the sermon will not be given here. Most of it is simply a restatement of points made in other sermons contained in this book and it is extremely long - about 8,500 words. Under the circumstances, particularly the overcrowding in the hall, a much shorter sermon might have been far more effective. But the Archbishop, clearly affected by the emotional nature of the occasion and the frequent applause from the congregation, probably went on for a much longer time than he had intended. He makes no secret of the fact that his sermons are not written before-hand. He begins with a few ideas of what he would like to say and carries on from there, with the result that he sometimes makes remarks which had not been planned and which, perhaps, he might rather not have made. However, lest it be alleged that this sermon has been omitted to cover up some of the controversial passages in it, these passages will be quoted in full, together with some other important passages.

The Archbishop began his sermon as follows:

My Dear Brethren,
Before addressing a few words of exhortation to you, I should like first to dispel some misunderstandings. And to begin with, about this very gathering.

You can see from the simplicity of this ceremony that we made no preparations for a ceremony which would have gathered a crowd like the one in this hall. I thought I should be saying Holy Mass on the 29 August as it had been arranged, before a few hundreds of the faithful of the Lille region, as I have done often in France, Europe, and even America, with no fuss.

Yet all of a sudden this date, 29 August, through press, radio and television, has become a kind of demonstration, resembling, so they say, a challenge. Not at an: this demonstration is not a challenge. This demonstration is what you wanted, dear Catholic brethren, who have come from long distances. Why? To manifest your Catholic faith; to manifest your belief; to manifest your desire to pray and to sanctify yourselves as did your fathers in faith, as did generations and generations before you. That is the real object of this ceremony, during which we desire to pray, pray with all our heart, adore Our Lord Jesus Christ Who in a few moments will come down on this altar and will renew the sacrifice of the Cross which we so much need.

I should like also to dispel another misunderstanding. Here I beg your pardon, but I have to say it: it was not I who called myself head of the traditionalists. You know who did that not long ago in solemn and memorable circumstances in Rome. Mgr. Lefebvre was said to be the head of the traditionalists. I do not want to be head of the traditionalists, nor am I. Why? Because I also am a simple Catholic. A priest and a bishop, certainly; but in the very conditions in which you find yourselves, reacting in the same way to the destruction of the Church, to the destruction of our faith, to the ruins piling up before our eyes.

Having the same reaction, I thought it my duty to form priests, the true priests that the Church needs. I formed those priests in a "Saint Pius X Society," which was recognized by the Church. All I was doing was what all bishops have done for centuries and centuries. That is all I did -something I have been doing for thirty years of my priestly life. It was on that account that I was made a bishop, an Apostolic Delegate in Africa, a member of the central pre-conciliar commission, an assistant at the papal throne. What better proof could I have wanted that Rome considered my work profitable for the Church and for the good of souls? And now when I am doing the same thing, a work exactly like what I have been doing for thirty years, all of a sudden I am suspended a divinis, and perhaps I shall soon be excommunicated, separated from the Church, a renegade, or what have you! How can that be? Is what I have been doing for thirty years liable also to suspension a divinis?

I think, on the contrary, that if then I had been forming seminarians as they are being formed now in the new seminaries I should have been excommunicated. If then I had taught the catechism which is being taught in the schools I should have been called a heretic.
And if I had said Mass as it is now said I should have been called suspect of heresy and out of the Church. It is beyond my understanding. It means something has changed in the Church; and it is about that that I wish to speak.
The next passage to be cited evoked a great deal of unfavorable comment, principally because of the use of the word "bastard," particularly with reference to priests emerging from the reformed seminaries. Liberals were quick to seize upon this passage to imply that the Archbishop had intended to be personally offensive to these young priests. Nothing could be further from the truth. A careful reading of the controversial passage will show that the Archbishop was making a valid analogy and using the word with great precision. Unfortunately the word "bastard " sounds far more offensive in English than in French and for this reason I could wish that the Archbishop had found some other term for making his point.

As the text will make clear, he first takes up an image met with frequently in the Old Testament, and often phrased in terms far more blunt than those of the Archbishop, that the infidelities of the Jewish people constituted adultery. Israel was the spouse of Yahweh; when the Jews strayed to the "high places" to participate in pagan cults this constituted an adulterous liaison. The great temptation facing Catholics since the French Revolution has been to enter into an adulterous liaison with Liberalism, the pervading spirit of our times. Since Vatican II, large sections of the Church have succumbed to this temptation, none more evidently than the French hierarchy. Similarly, an attempt has been made to unite (in a clearly adulterous manner) Catholic and Protestant worship and doctrine. Thus many of the young priests emerging from our seminaries today (and I have personal experience of this) are a confused mixture of Liberalism and Protestantism, with possibly some vestigial Catholicism. Such is their confusion that they could not name their spiritual ancestry if asked, and to term them doctrinal bastards is blunt but accurate. Anyone who has attended a typical celebration of the New Mass will hardly need to be told that to call it a bastard rite is, if anything, an understatement.

The controversial passage reads as follows:
The union desired by these Liberal Catholics, a union between the Church and the Revolution and subversion is, for the Church, an adulterous union, adulterous. And that adulterous union can produce only bastards. And who are those bastards? They are our rites: the rite of Mass is a bastard rite, the sacraments are bastard sacraments-we no longer know if they are sacraments which give grace or which do not give grace. We no longer know if this Mass gives the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ or if it does not give them. The priests coming out of the seminaries do not themselves know what they are. In Rome it was the Archbishop of Cincinnati who said: "Why are there no more vocations? Because the Church no longer knows what a priest is." How then can She still form priests if She does not know what a priest is? The priests coming out of the seminaries are bastard priests. They do not know what they are. They do not know that they were made to go up to the altar to offer the sacrifice of Our Lord Jesus Christ, to give Jesus Christ to souls, and to call souls to Jesus Christ. That is what a priest is. Our young men here know that very well. Their whole life is going to be consecrated to that, to love, adore, and serve Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist.

The adulterous union of the Church with the Revolution is consolidated with dialogue. When the Church entered into dialogue it was to convert. Our Lord said: "Go, teach all nations, convert them." But He did not say to hold dialogue with them so as not to convert them, so as to try to put us on the same footing with them.

Error and truth are not compatible. We must see if we have charity towards others, as the Gospel says: he who has charity is one who serves others. But those who have charity should give Our Lord, they should give the riches they possess to others and not just converse with them and enter into dialogue on an equal footing. Truth and error are not on the same footing. That would be putting God and the Devil on the same footing, for the Devil is the father of lies, the father of error.

We must therefore be missionaries.

We must preach the Gospel, convert souls to Jesus Christ and not engage in dialogue with them in an effort to adopt their principles. That is what this bastard Mass and these bastard rites are doing to us, for we wanted dialogue with the Protestants and the Protestants said to us: "We will not have your Mass; we will not have it because it contains things incompatible with our Protestant faith. So change the Mass and we shall be able to pray with you. We can have intercommunion. We can receive your sacraments. You can come to our churches and we can come to yours; then it will be all finished and we shall have unity." We shall have unity in confusion, in bastardy. That we do not want. The Church has never wanted it. We love the Protestants; we want to convert them. But it is not loving them to let them think they have the same religion as the Catholic religion.
The next passage to be quoted was the most controversial in the whole sermon. It contains a reference to Argentina, about 150 words long out of a sermon of about 8,500 words, and it is the passage which was seized upon by Liberals, secular and Catholic, to categorize the entire speech as political and even to go as far as to compare Mgr. Lefebvre with Hitler! This is what the Archbishop said:

There will be no peace on this earth except in the reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The nations are at war -every day we have page after page of the newspapers about it, we have it on radio and television. Now because of a change of Prime Minister they are asking what can be done to improve the economic situation, what will strengthen the currency, what will bring prosperity to industry, and so on. All the papers in the world are full of it. But even from an economic point of view Our Lord Jesus Christ must reign, because the reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ is the reign of the principles of love, indeed of the commandments of God which give society its balance, which make justice and peace reign in society .It is only when society has order, justice, and peace that the economy can prevail and revive. That is easily seen. Take the Argentine Republic as an example. What state was it in just two or three months ago? Complete anarchy, brigands killing right and left, industries totally ruined, factory owners seized and held to ransom, and so on. An incredible revolution, and that in a country so beautiful, so balanced, and so congenial as the Argentine Republic, a Republic which could be extraordinarily prosperous and enormously wealthy. Now there is a government of principle, with authority, which brings back order into life and stops the brigands murdering; and lo and behold! the economy is reviving, workers have employment, and they can return to their homes knowing that no one is going to knock them on the head because they will not strike when they do not wish to strike. That is the reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ that we want; and we profess our faith, saying that Our Lord Jesus Christ is God.
Before making any comment on this passage I will quote an explanation which the Archbishop gave himself when questioned upon it during a press conference on 15 September 1976.2 Let it be noted once again that the passage in question is one of about 150 words in a sermon of about 8,500 words. The following question was posed to the Archbishop:

"You have recently been reproached with your sympathy for regimes like that in Argentina. Is this true or false?"

The Archbishop's answer reads as follows:
I have just been talking to you about principles, I might say political principles, which one may have, the political principles of the Church. She has principles, political principles, principles for society, for She considers that society is created by God, like the family. The family has its laws: there are father, mother, and child; and each has a law and a position in the family. Similarly in civil society. The Church considers that it is a creature of God, and that this creature of God also has its laws so that it can develop normally and give all its members the fullest possibility for their own development. Of course we want governments to observe these laws. I took that example, but I might have taken another, for, as you know, I do not write my speeches -a pity, perhaps -but I do not think about them well in advance. So, trying to give an example of Christian order, of the notion people have of Christian order which brings things back to peace and justice, with the hierarchy which is necessary in a society, I quoted this example because it is recent and known to everybody, and also because the situation was really frightful, the Argentine being in a state of anarchy, with assassinations and abductions-a situation on the brink of the abyss, on the verge of total anarchy. A government then took over, but I think that, given the ideas of some of these men (I know some of the Argentinian bishops and I was there myself not long ago), I think that these men who took over the government did so in a Christian spirit. That they are not governing perfectly, that they exaggerate, that not everything is perfect, I do not doubt for a moment (I do not think that any government in the world has ever been perfect) ; but they did, I think, return to principles of justice, and that is why I gave that example. I said: you see that when Christian principles are restored a society is rediscovered which can live, which is livable, in which people can live, where they need not always be asking themselves if they are going to be assassinated at the street corner, or be robbed, or have a bomb in their garden, and so on. All I wanted to do was give an example: but that does not mean I am a supporter of the government of the Argentine or of the government of Chile. I might have used Chile as an example. I could perhaps have quoted governments which were in total anarchy and which then re-established order. Such an order might be tyrannical, and then it is a different matter: we are not talking of introducing slavery .I must say that I did not use that example so as to support the government in the Argentine or to play politics. I do not play politics.
I would not wish to make any detailed comments on the regimes in Argentina and Chile as I have made no detailed personal study of them. What is perfectly clear is that in both cases the military only took over the government because life had been made literally impossible by the previous regimes. Let British or American readers spend a few moments calculating the precise meaning of an 800 per cent inflation rate, let them calculate the cost of the basic necessities of life multiplied eightfold and decide just how tolerable they would have found regimes which had brought about such a state of affairs.

It must also be remembered that in both countries Marxist terrorists consider themselves bound by no ethical norms in achieving their aims. During my own military service I had personal experience of two terrorist campaigns, in Malaya and Cyprus, and, leaving aside the question as to whether right is on the side of the military or the terrorists, it is hard for the security forces to conform to the rule book when dealing with men who violate civilized standards of behavior. To take Northern Ireland as an example, there can be no doubt that the situation there has been caused by an unjust partition of Ireland and unjust treatment of the Catholic population. The Catholics have a legitimate grievance which they have been unable to rectify through the accepted political channels. Nonetheless, when a soldier or policeman has seen his comrades blown to pieces by a terrorist bomb, or seen the carnage in a bomb-blasted shop, with woman and children lying dead or bleeding from lost limbs, is not likely to think much about the historical background when he gets his hands on a gunman. He should - but doesn't. It is wrong but understandable.

It is thus quite unjust for Liberals, Catholic or otherwise, to sit in judgment on the regimes in Chile and Argentine when they have no first- and probably even little second- or even third-hand knowledge of the background to the current situation in these countries. It is also a fact that the governments of Chile and Argentina have been subjected to a campaign of systematic defamation in the secular and Catholic press. To take just one example, those who rely for their information on the British Catholic press would imagine that the prisons of Chile are bursting with political prisoners when, in fact, there is not a single political prisoner in the entire country.3

As regards Argentina, the far from right-wing French journal L 'Express admitted in its issue of 30 August, the day after the sermon at Lille, that :

General Videla, brought to power by a coup d'etat, has managed at the last moment to save the economic situation of the country .With an 800 per cent inflation during the last twelve months of Isabel Peron's presidency, with no means of paying off its debts abroad, the Argentine was on the verge of bankruptcy. By freezing prices and freezing salaries, inflation has been brought down by at least 3 per cent a month.... The Argentine can resume its development on a solid foundation.
As for the "coup d'etat" of the Argentinian armed forces, on their side there was neither ambition nor despotism. They would have preferred (like the Brazilian armed forces in 1964) not to have to intervene. But there was nobody else. The Courrier de Paul Deheme makes that clear in its No. 7,967 of 16 September 1976:

The Argentinian armed forces refused for a long time to act, and on 24 March 1976, when they made their decision, the chaos had reached such a pitch that they could no longer delay. I remind you, moreover, of what I wrote to you on 17 March, a week before their seizure of power: "The armed forces are going to have to make draconian decisions whether they like it or not.'
The major part of the Archbishop's sermon was concerned with an impassioned defense of the traditional faith and a scathing indictment of the "Conciliar Church "-a Church in which consecrated churches are put at the disposal of Muslims but withheld from faithful Catholics wishing to offer the traditional Mass. The Archbishop laid stress on the need for traditionalists to put their case in a restrained and unaggresive manner:

We are against no one. We are not commandos. We wish nobody harm.

All we want is to be allowed to profess our faith in Our Lord Jesus Christ.

So, for that reason, we are driven from our churches. The poor priests are driven out for saying the Old Mass by which all our saints were sanctified: Saint Jeanne d'Arc, the holy Cure of Ars, the little Therese of the Child Jesus were sanctified by this Mass; and now priests are driven brutally, cruelly, from their parishes because they say the Mass which has sanctified saints for centuries. It is crazy. I would almost say it is a story of madmen. I ask myself if I am dreaming. How can this Mass have become some kind of horror for our bishops and for those who should preserve our faith? But we will keep the Mass of Saint Pius V because the Mass of Saint Pius V is the Mass of twenty centuries. It is the Mass of all time, not just the Mass of Saint Pius V; and it represents our faith, it is a bulwark of our faith, and we need that bulwark.

We shall be told that we are making it a question of Latin and soutanes. Obviously it is easy that way to discredit those you disagree with. But Latin has its importance; and when I was in Africa it was marvellous to see those crowds of Africans of different languages -we sometimes had five or six different tribes who did not understand one another - who could assist at Mass in our churches and sing the Latin chants with extraordinary fervor. Go and see them now : they quarrel in the churches because Mass is being said in a language other than theirs, so they are displeased and they want a Mass in their own language. The confusion is total, where before there was perfect unity. That is just one example, You have just heard the epistle and gospel read in French -I see no difficulty in that; and if more prayers in French were added, to be said all together, I still see no difficulty. But it still seems to me that the body of the Mass, which runs from the offertory to the priest's Communion, should remain in a unique language so that all men of all nations can assist together at Mass and can feel unity in that unity of faith, in that unity of prayer. So we ask, indeed we address an appeal to the bishops and to Rome: will they, please, take into consideration our desire to pray as our ancestors did, to keep the Catholic faith, our desire to adore Our Lord Jesus Christ and to want His reign. That is what I said in my last letter to the Holy Father-and I thought it really was the last, because I did not think the Holy Father would have written to me again.
The Archbishop also laid stress on the fact that while Communists and Freemasons were welcome in the Vatican, Catholic traditionalists were not. An audience of millions throughout the world was able to see at first hand the mask being torn from the face of the "Conciliar Church "- a Church characterized by harshness, hypocrisy, intolerance, and calculated cruelty to its most faithful children: a Church prepared to sacrifice its doctrinal and liturgical patrimony in the interests of an illusory ecumenical goal. There can be little doubt that it was the embarrassment resulting from this public exposure that resulted in the subsequent papal audience for the Archbishop.

It is also obvious that this massive demonstration of support for the Archbishop came as a great shock to the Vatican. Technically, after his suspension, not a single Catholic should have been present at the Mass, and the local bishops had reminded the faithful of this and warned that they should not be present even out of curiosity. It is also worth restating the fact that this Mass was in no way intended as a major public demonstration of support for the Archbishop and the traditional faith - it was made public only at the last minute. Had the Archbishop wished to arrange a demonstration of the massive support he enjoys and asked for this to be organized through the month of August it is doubtful whether there would have been a building in France large enough to accommodate the congregation.

The message which came from Lille was clear .The regime in the Vatican had insisted that the first, the only duty of Catholics was to accept all its directives without question. It wanted absolute and blind obedience. If it forbade today what it commanded yesterday it was not for the faithful to reason why but to obey. But the Catholics present at Lille showed, by their presence, that with Mgr. Lefebvre their commitment is to the traditional faith. In so far as the Vatican upholds that faith it will enjoy their support; where it fails to build up the Body of Christ but introduces measures which effectively undermine it then they will say "No," even to Pope himself.

1. Founder of Action francaise.

2. Itinéraires, No.208, December 1976, p. 127

3. The last political prisoner in Chile (the Communist ex-Senator Jorge Montes) was released on 17 June 1977 and allowed to travel to East Germany in exchange for eleven East German political prisoners, Chile today, No.33 (12 Devonshire Street, London, W1). For a factual background account of the Chilean situation read The Church of Silence in Chile, 450 pp., $7 postpaid from Lumen Mariae Publications, P. O. Box 99455, Erieview Station, Cleveland, Ohio 44199. Available in Britain from Augustine Publishing Co. Essential background reading on this topic is contained in two valuable Approaches supplements, “Dossier on Chile,” and “Hatred and Lies Against Latin America,” which prove, inter alia that Amnesty International had published false information, eg. alleging that people are missing who are not missing at all.

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