Break-Up of Agreement Protocol : May 5th, 1988



(Response to the article by Fr. Michel SIMOULIN in Le Seignadou on June 8, 2012)

"It is not because of a doctrinal issue, nor because of the status offered to the Society, but because of the date of the consecration of the granted bishop, that the process was stopped." (Fr. Simoulin)
It is true that the occasion of the break-up of the Agreement Protocol was the refusal by Cardinal Ratzinger to set a date for the consecration of the bishop. But it was not the deeper reason, which was a doctrinal one. The Cardinal’s procrastination made it clear for the Archbishop that the underlying intention of Rome was not to help the work of Tradition. He himself explained it on May 30th [1988] at the priory of Notre-Dame du Pointet:

"The atmosphere of the contacts and discussions, the comments made by people during the conversations, clearly showed to us that the Holy See wished to bring us closer to the Council and its reforms, and to bring us back into the bosom of the Conciliar Church." (Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, Marcel Lefebvre, Une Vie, Clovis. p. 586)
He said it even more clearly in his Press Conference on June 15th at Ecône:

"So one may think: 'You have a bishop, this is fine. You could have more members in the Roman Commission." But this is not what we were all about. It is the substance of the problem which is still behind us and scares us: We do not want to become accomplices of the destruction of the Church. "

"If, indeed, Archbishop Lefebvre had agreed that the Protocol of May 5th to be not followed by this episcopal consecration, then yes "with the Protocol of May 5th we would soon have be dead. We would not have lasted a year ..., since, without a bishop, we would have been at the mercy of the good (or bad) will of Rome and the bishops." (Fr. Simoulin)
Father Simoulin interprets the thought of Archbishop Lefebvre narrowly, though it is enough to read the text from which the quotation is taken:

"If we had accepted, we would have been dead! We would not have lasted a year. We would have had to live close to the Conciliar [clergy and faithful], whereas now we are together. If we had said yes, this would have meant division within the Society; everything would have divided us. New vocations would have come because we would be with Rome, so are we told. But these vocations would not have accepted any disagreement with Rome, any criticism: it would have meant division! Today our vocations are sorted out by themselves. (...) That is why we are protecting the Society and Tradition in prudently distancing ourselves from them. We made a fair test; we asked ourselves if we could pursue this attempt, while being protected: this proved to be impossible. They have not changed, only for worse.” (Recommendations to the four bishops on June 12th and 13th , 1988 in Le Sel de la Terre, No. 28, Spring 1999, p. 167)
We can see that even with a bishop granted by Rome, the Society would have been jeopardized in its own existence or its mission, due to: 1) the contact with the Modernists; 2) the intrusion of the Liberals in our seminaries and chapels.
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