The Archbishop’s Positions Abandoned
Perhaps the primary reason the Neo-SSPX is in its current condition is because it does not understand the mindset of Archbishop Lefebvre, or ignores certain quotes from him that contradict their own liberal positions. Allow me to give just a few examples of what certain Neo-SSPX priests and laity are arguing. I will then counter the objections with quotes from the Archbishop.
(These are just a few objections. For more, please see “Arguments of the Resistance”, an article which can be found in the February 2013 archives of this blog.)
“The only reason Archbishop Lefebvre did not reach an agreement with Rome in 1988 is because they would not present him with a date for Consecrations of Bishops”.
This is an absolute lie. Neo-SSPX priest Fr. Daniel Themann uses this argument in his propaganda-filled “The SSPX Falsely Accused: Resistance to what?”, a talk given in 2013 to attempt to “refute” the arguments of the Resistance. The problem with this erroneous claim is that he ignores what the Archbishop said to then-Cardinal Ratzinger in 1987:
“Eminence, even if you give us everything–a bishop, some autonomy from the bishops, the 1962 liturgy, allow us to continue our seminaries–we cannot work together because we are going in different directions. You are working to dechristianize society and the Church, and we are working to Christianize them.” (Archbishop Lefebvre to Cardinal Ratzinger, 1987)
Archbishop Lefebvre says clearly: “Even if you give us everything – a bishop…”. Clearly, even that would not have been enough to convince the Archbishop to sign.
“But the Archbishop nevertheless came close to signing an agreement in 1988! And Bishop Fellay’s 2012 Doctrinal Preamble is no different than the 1988 Protocol signed by Archbishop Lefebvre”.
The latter is a oft-repeated falsehood by many Neo-SSPXers, and was also used in Fr. Themann’s talk, while the former once again ignores the quotes the Archbishop.
Resistance priest Fr. Hewko does an excellent job answering this and other objections made by supporters of Bishop Fellay in his November 2013 writing “One Does Not Play with the Faith!”, and he does it by quoting the Archbishop himself:
“When asked what he thought about Dom Gerard accepting the proposals of the Pope, he said, “At our last meeting, he asked me if I could accept the Protocol [of May 5, 1988] THAT I MYSELF REFUSED!…We must no longer discuss with the Roman authorities. They only want to bring us back to the Council, we must not have a relationship with them!”(‘Controverses’ September 1988, Le Rocher No. 84).
“Regarding the May 5, 1988 Protocol… “If only you knew what a night I passed after signing that infamous agreement! Oh! How I wanted morning to come so that I could give Fr. du Chalard my letter of retraction which I had written dur- ing the night.” (‘Marcel Lefebvre’ Bp. Tissier de Mallerais p. 555).
“Our true believers – those who understand the problem – feared the steps I took with Rome. They told me it was dangerous and that I was wasting my time. Yes, of course, I hoped until the last minute that Rome has to show a little bit of loyalty. One cannot blame me for not doing the maximum. So now, to those who say to me, you must agree with Rome, I can safely say that I went even farther than I should have gone!” (Abp. Lefebrve, 1990, Fideliter, No. 79, p. 11)
“Someone once advised me, ‘Sign, sign [the May 5, 1988 Protocol] that you accept everything; and then you can continue as before!’ No! ONE DOES NOT PLAY WITH THE FAITH!”…To ask this of us is to ask us to collaborate in the disappearance of the Faith. Impossible!” (‘They Have Uncrowned Him’ Abp. Lefebvre, ch. 31, p. 230).
I highly recommend that you all read the rest of this great work from Fr. Hewko, because he absolutely destroys the arguments used by Fr. Themann and others. It simply is not possible to give a reasonable retort to what Fr. Hewko has written.
As far as Bishop Fellay’s preamble being no different than the Archbishop’s protocol, that is simply not true. The Archbishop did not say that Vatican II “enhances” certain aspects of the life of the Church. There are other differences which I pointed out in an article I wrote on the preamble last year.
“Even after the 1988 Consecrations at Econe, the Archbishop left the door open to a possible agreement in the future. The conversion of Rome was not a prerequisite for him.”
I have seen this argument used by many Neo-SSPXers, and it is very weak. It relies on taking several vague quotes from the Archbishop and twisting them in order for them to suit their own agenda. Take this quote, for instance, from 1990, which they use frequently:
“Someone was saying to me yesterday, “But what if Rome accepted your bishops and then you were completely exempted from the other bishops’ jurisdiction?” But firstly, they are a long way right now from accepting any such thing, and then, let them first make us such an offer!”
Not only does the above quote, however, not in any way prove their point, these people furthermore neglect to mention what he said in the same talk:
“And we must not waver for one moment either in not being with those who are in the process of betraying us. Some people are always admiring the grass in the neighbor’s field. Instead of looking to their friends, to the Church’s defenders, to those fighting on the battlefield, they look to our enemies on the other side. “After all, we must be charitable, we must be kind, we must not be divisive, after all, they are celebrating the Tridentine Mass, they are not as bad as everyone says” – but THEY ARE BETRAYING US – betraying us! They are shaking hands with the Church’s destroyers. They are shaking hands with people holding modernist and liberal ideas condemned by the Church. So they are doing the devil’s work.
Thus those who were with us and were working with us for the rights of Our Lord, for the salvation of souls, are now saying, “So long as they grant us the old Mass, we can shake hands with Rome, no problem.” But we are seeing how it works out. They are in an impossible situation. Impossible. One cannot both shake hands with modernists and keep following Tradition. Not possible. Not possible. Now, stay in touch with them to bring them back, to convert them to Tradition, yes, if you like, that’s the right kind of ecumenism! But give the impression that after all one almost regrets any break, that one likes talking to them? No way!”
So, as we see here, the Archbishop says that those who shake hands with modernist Rome are doing the devil’s work.
“Those who resist a deal with Rome until its ‘conversion’ display a practical sedevacantist mindset which was not shared by the Archbishop, as he was no friend of sedevacantism.”
Incorrect. Archbishop Lefebvre never embraced sedevacantism, and considered himself unqualified to judge whether the Chair of Peter was empty. Nevertheless, he did make the following statements which indicate that he always left the door open to the position:
“It is possible we may be obliged to believe this pope is not pope. For twenty years Mgr de Castro Mayer and I preferred to wait…I think we are waiting for the famous meeting in Assisi, if God allows it.” (Archbishop Lefebvre, Talk, March 30 and April 18, 1986, published in The Angelus, July 1986
“While we are certain that the faith the Church has taught for 20 centuries cannot contain error, we are much further from absolute certitude that the pope is truly pope.” (Archbishop Lefebvre, Le Figaro, August 4, 1976)
The Archbishop said those who shake hands with the church’s destroyers are “doing the devil’s work”. Would some accuse him of “practical sedevacantism”, then? Or was he just smart enough to know a deal with them would be dangerous?
“If we reject the Magisterium of Vatican II then we become sedevacantists.”
This outrageous remark was made recently by Neo-SSPX priest Fr. Pfluger. After a pathetic statement such as this, one wonders why Fr. Pfluger is even in the Society. After all, is he not aware of the following quotes from the SSPX’s founder?
“I never…I don’t accept the Council! Because you are destroying the Catholic State in the name of the Council! It is sure! It is evident!…This Council gives the same rights to error as to Truth! That is impossible…This new faith, it is a new religion. It is a protestant religion. That is a fact! How is it possible that the Pope gives the authorization to this change? How it is possible that the pope can sign this constitution (on liturgical change)? It is a deep mystery…If I take the position of the Council, I am betraying my Mother Church.” (Archbishop Lefebvre, 1976)
“We believe we can affirm, purely by internal and external criticism of Vatican II, i.e. by analyzing the texts and studying the Council’s ins and outs, that by turning its back on tradition and breaking with the Church of the past, it is a schismatic council.” (Archbishop Lefebvre, Le Figaro, August 4, 1976)
“We consider as null…all the post-conciliar reforms, and all the acts of Rome accomplished in this impiety.” (Archbishop Lefebvre, Joint Declaration with Bishop de Castro Mayer following Assisi, December 2, 1986)
Do not be deceived, dear readers. The Neo-SSPX can release all the Archbishop Lefebvre documentaries it wants, and can continue to speak highly of him in their letters and so forth. But despite however much they may deny it, they do not follow his principles any longer. The above makes that quite clear.