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Doctrinal Problems

Spiritual Conference, Econe, 14 January, 1986

Sound Doctrine

[…] I told you yesterday that I would have liked to mention the questions that are being asked during trips like this, questions that are asked mostly by those who are not traditionalists, like most journalists. They represent a kind of public opinion, uninformed, but at the same time very direct. There are some who are quite well informed, sometimes people who seem well aware of the difficulties that Tradition has with Rome, of the Roman situation, who are not too bad informed. But on the whole, they are poorly informed. But what is certain is that as soon as one touches on the fundamental problems, that is to say questions, for example, regarding the French Revolution, Human Rights, Freemasonry, then they listen, but they do not pass it on ! It does not appear in their articles! All that relates to freemasonry, everything that would be unfavorable to the revolution, the ideological revolution that took place even before the French Revolution, as well as during the French Revolution, one is not allowed to touch ! It is sacred to them, you see. But on the other hand, obviously, they are familiar with the division with the Church :

“You are a rebel, your are a dissident, you divide the Church. Why did you not go and see the local bishop ? Why did you come to this country, who made you come to this country ? What are the motives of your visit ? Why are you in trouble with the pope ? Traditionalists say they are obedient, and yet your are disobedient to the pope. Explain that to me !”​

With these question, you know, they are always trying, in order to be able to put in their articles something sensational, something that shows this opposition with Rome, and which shows the opposition to the pope.

“Do you really consider yourself rebellious ?”​

So what do you say ? I say : “Yes, it is true, I am rebellious. I am rebellious against progressivism, communism and socialism. Yes, it is true, I am rebellious.”

“So do you believe that in Rome, they are modernists, communists, socialists?”​

Yes, to a certain extent, that’s true.

“So you really believe that the pope is a modernist ?”​

Well, yes, it is true, I also believe that, insofar as he diffuses the errors of Vatican II, he has a modernist influence.

Then, of course, they try to show the opposition between the Society and Rome, and so on.

These problems are well known, of course, but there are also problems among traditionalists, even those who are asking questions themselves. Because you have a whole spectrum among these traditionalists.

You have those who are attached to Tradition, much like one is attached to a folklore. For example regarding the Mass, “well, we like the Mass in Gregorian, we like the Mass in Latin”. Why ? “Because, when we were young, we used to have this mass, and besides, it [Latin] is still a universal language, and Gregorian chant is a song that raises…” Fine. So for them, if the problem of the Mass.., if the Mass is said in Latin, if it’s also the Mass of St. Pius V that is said.. but it is not so much the question of the Mass of St. Pius V. If the Mass is in Latin, and the Gregorian Mass, if there are Gregorian chants.. then all is well, all the problems are solved. There are no more problems. And this is how you have a number of traditionalists who are very happy with the solution of the Indult : The bishop now gives us a mass in some places, even every Sunday there is someone that is designated by the bishop… rarely in a parish, but in a chapel, a chapel of nuns or a college chapel - so there is a priest who is designated by the bishop to say the Mass of St. Pius V.

Only this poses some problems because in some places there are no priests who say the Mass of St. Pius V, or where the mass of St. Pius V is said once a month by one of our priests, or one of our priest friends who is passing by.

Then people ask themselves, when there is no Mass, and when our priests are not there : “What should we do ? Should we go or should we not go ? What do you advise? Go to this traditional Mass, it is the Mass of St. Pius V, so why would not we go to it ?”

What do you answer them ? A certain number of them are wise enough, when they say: “Yes, this priest, he says the Mass of Saint Pius V, but during the [rest of the] month he says the new Mass. He only says the Mass of St. Pius V once a month because the bishop has asked him to say it. He’s not convinced at all.”

Then there are some people who come, obviously since it [the Mass] is said by a priest of the diocese, people who are not even traditionalists, who are going to attend this Mass because they know that “There is a Mass over there”, but then they give communion in the hand.., and then the homily of the priest is more or less traditional.

Then there are some who are also wise and who say : “No, we cannot go to that Mass. We should not go.” But others, on the other hand, who do not understand when we tell them that we should not go, no ! “But why? It is a Mass of St. Pius V. Why should we not go ?” It is a delicate problem because, for them also, it seems that if the Mass of St. Pius V is granted, there are no more problems. They do not go beyond the problem of the Mass. The Mass of St. Pius V is said, materially, therefore the problem is solved. There is no more problem.

And then you have those who say : “Come on now, will you ever have a legal situation in the Church ? Can you not ask, or do something in order to obtain a legal status in the Church ? It ’s not normal, your situation. Because, after all, don’t you have the impression - and this is another question that journalists often ask me – of being a little bit outside of the Church, of being a little bit schismatic ? Don’t you have that impression ?”

These people are haunted by an official, legal status. So we tell them : “No, it is not us who are in schism. They are in schism. It is those who change something in the Church, who move away from Tradition, or from the doctrine of the Church, who are in schism. But not those who continue with Tradition.”

“Oh yes, but nevertheless … you are still opposed to the hierarchy, you are nevertheless opposed to the pope who represents the Church, and all this … You are therefore in a situation that is abnormal, which is not normal, so you should look for a legal situation.“​

So for example, there is a bishop who came to see me in San Francisco, Mgr. Mendez, who is retired, but who is a former bishop of Arecibo in Puerto Rico, whom I had met when I visited Puerto Rico because we had Holy Ghost Fathers on this island. And in his diocese I had the opportunity when I was visiting the Holy Ghost Fathers to visit the Bishop too, Mgr. Mendez. So he rang me up when I was there :

“Monsignor, I would like to see you. You remember, you visited me when you were in Arecibo.”​

“O, that’s right, I remember this visit.”​

“I would like to speak to you.”​

So he came, very nicely. It was Saturday a week ago. We talked at some length. Then he said to me :

“But Monsignor, make some efforts to find a legal situation for you, finally do something. It would only be normal for you to be recognized. Why would you not be recognized as you are, like for example Opus Dei ? Opus Dei has a prelature, so could you too not have a prelature inside the church? It would be much better. After that you would be in a situation that would be more normal.“​

These are compliments. He continued :

“You know, the current situation is frightening in our countries, as in the United States and here, it is appalling. There are no more seminaries, there are no more seminarians … It is lamentable. It is you, Monsignor, with your seminaries, it is you who are going to save the Church. It is you, that’s for sure. There is no other than your seminaries which train priests right now, Catholic priests. So it is an injustice that one does not recognize you. And I am ready to do anything I can for you. So do you know any bishops like me who would be eager to do something for you, for your fraternity ? In Rome we could write a letter to the pope, write him and even eventually go to see him, organize a meeting of bishops, even with some cardinals…”​

Oh ! I have known a few of them. But for the last 15 years I have been trying to have a legal situation - since always, since we were practically expelled, we were considered as a plague - to have relations and to put things in order, in place. But, you see, they demand that we sign that we agree with the Council, with the post-conciliar reforms, and that will not work …

“Oh no, no, they should no longer make you sign anything. Oh, if you can obtain that from them, that would already not be not bad ! Oh no, they should not have made you sign, no, no …”​

They’re pragmatics, you know, these Americans … ideas, questions of signatures, what does it all mean : They are Romans, ideologues …

No signatures, but that it is not enough. Even if there’s no signatures, even if they don’t make us sign, if they promise us a prelature, being directly dependent upon Rome, freedom for our seminaries to continue, even to multiply our seminaries, it is not enough. We, if we have taken the direction of Tradition so that we continue Tradition, both liturgically, theologically, philosophically, etc., in our seminary studies, we are obliged, and we can not do otherwise than to criticize and condemn what is not in conformity with Tradition, that which is not in conformity with the Magisterium of the Church, and consequently we can not remain silent about what they would have liked us to sign. They would have us sign that we should accept the reforms as well as all the decrees of the Council. Not only can we not sign that we accept them, but we are determined to continue to condemn and criticize them, and to destroy these ideas, you follow me, to oppose these ideas …

So, look, it was very nice of him, wasn’t it ? It was not I who invited him, he came of himself, he proposed to do something. He told me :

“Send me the names of the 450 who signed the petition for the condemnation of communism. Send this copy of all these bishops and I will search for all those who are still alive and I will write to them and I will ask them if they do not want to do something with me!”​

If you want, I can give you that list. You can photocopy it, it’s not difficult.

So, Bishop Mendez, is all ready to go to war for us. Obviously he does not realize, I believe, the situation in Rome. He was, moreover, very unacquainted with Roman things, very little acquainted with them. He does not even know the cardinals who are prefects of congregations. He can not imagine the corruption of ideas that exists in Rome. He can not believe that those who occupy the positions of authority in Rome really have these modernist ideas, and that they are, one can almost be sure, I would say, almost in the service of freemasons, because, I believe that, more and more, it is freemasonry that really sets the direction of Roman affairs. So it is very difficult for them to realize and to believe in that !

So here are some samples of those we meet, see, and who think about our problem and who think about the situation of Tradition in the Church.

So I think that in Rome, precisely, what they would probably ask us is to be silent. So we can not go along with that. It is not possible, because we are obliged to condemn error. We cannot not condemn the mistakes of Vatican II and not condemn the errors of the reforms. That is not possible.

Then there is also the whole attitude, I would say, with regards to the pope. So there too, we find all possible and unimaginable nuances. There are some who would tend to put images of the Pope everywhere. It is the Pope ! And then there are, of course, some who would rather be tempted to grossly insult the Pope and drag him through the mud. But, at the same time, we can say that there are a good number of people who understand the situation quite well and who realize that the Pope, in his manifestations and especially in his ecumenism, is not at all in conformity to the Traditions of the Church, nor to the Magisterium of the Church, nor to the truth of the Church. So there are still many who realize that. But I think we always have to insist on that.

In the lectures I have given, for example, I started with concrete facts. I said to them : After the Council, you saw the priests who changed, who no longer wore a cassock, who went to the pictures. They have become much more casual, they asked to be addressed informally [‘tu’ instead of ‘vous’]. They took on the appearance of lay people, and like all the others they went to the pub. They said : “After all, we are just like other men.” And then about some priests, you found out : “But my priest got married.” Unbelievable that ! The priest got married, and then he left. And then later you found out that he is not the only one, that there are ten, twenty, thirty. And now there are 70’000 in the world that are married !

O, this is impossible ! And then I went to church, the priest no longer genuflects. The Blessed Sacrament, we no longer know where it is. The crucifix, it has disappeared ! And there are no more statues. What have they done with them ? The communion rail, it’s gone, and the kneelers are gone. But what happened ? All this since the Council. The altar, which was such a beautiful altar, they still have it for now, but they put a table with a tablecloth in front of it, and then everything is in the vulgar, and then talk, and talk, and talk. What’s up with these stories ?

So you wrote to your bishop. There are many who have written to their bishops : “Come on, what is this, what is happening ? We’re changing our religion. Our priest is always in civilian clothes, he goes everywhere, we meet him everywhere. It’s really shameful, it’s no longer our religion. There’s nobody left in the confessional, and so on.”

And what did he answer you, the bishop ? He said : “Oh ! But we must realize that we had Vatican II. We are no longer in the days before Vatican II. We must understand, we must make an effort, isn’t it. We must adapt, like the Council decided. We must accept this adaptation.”

You were a bit stunned and then you found out : But the bishop, he sold the seminary ! Oh ! Really ! But what are we going to have now for our seminarians ? Where are they, the seminarians ? Oh, well, they are in apartments and so they take courses at the University. Yes, because, you see, opening up to the world. Now they have to be a little bit in touch with the world. In these seminaries, they were like a ghetto. They were locked up there, they had no contacts. While now they can invite young people, girls, and all that. It’s more normal. They should have contact with the world !

Ok, well, in the end, there are no ordinations, or there is one ordination… In Sydney, for example, last week there were five priests who got married !

So, that’s how it is. And so, well, you wrote to the Pope. And they wrote back : obey, obey the bishops and the episcopal conference.

[end of the tape, to be continued in the next tape/conference..]

Archbishop Lefebvre