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Underestimating the Crisis and the Fear of Schism

Spiritual Conference, Econe, 20 May, 1986

Basilica - Crack

In this spiritual conference of 20 May 1986, the Archbishop reflects on the many hemorrhages the SSPX has suffered in it's short history, and especially on the underlying mistake of underestimating the crisis in the Church, which causes many Traditionalists, through a fear of schism, to seek the approval of Conciliar Rome and to peacefully cohabitate with these modernists.


Dear friends,

I spoke to you on Sunday about the fruits of the Holy Ghost. I don’t know if the Good Lord has given me much, but in any case I have a great need for them. Maybe, as a Holy Ghost Father, I may have received a little bit more than those who are not Holy Ghost Fathers, since this Congregation was devoted to the Holy Ghost. And so it is said that the Holy Ghost consists in patience, benignity, goodness, long-suffering, sweetness… We must have that in this life! If we do not have that, we are lost!

You will say to me: “Monsignor, what do you think of what has happened in the seminary these days?” I would say that unfortunately it is not the first time. This is at least the fourth time, if not the fifth time. You get the impression that every three years there is a haemorrhage.

See, we are in a situation in the Church that is very trying, very painful, very unhappy of course. You undergo it, you suffer the consequences. And then, inevitably, there are some tendencies, extreme tendencies on the one hand, of sedevacantism, of those who would practically cut all ties with Rome. Others who, on the contrary - I speak of the traditionalists, of those who call themselves traditionalists - there is also a fringe of those who are afraid of thinking that we would have difficulties with authority : “Having difficulties with authority, but it is not possible ! It is not possible to have difficulties with the pope, the bishops…”

Then you may notice, you know enough about the history of Ecône, you know enough about the history of the seminary, the Society, you will notice that those who have this sedevacantist tendency have left us, generally priests. There were also some seminarians who had to be dismissed because they showed dispositions that were not in conformity with those of the Society - but they left us mostly after receiving the priesthood. And this happened a bit in all countries : France, Italy, America, even Germany, priests who have left us! It’s sad, very sad, but it’s like that.

On the other hand, those who are afraid of the question of authority, of being at odds with authority, are much more numerous in the traditionalist milieu, among those who call themselves traditionalists. There are very many of them. Many want to be traditionalists, but because they fear that this traditionalism leads them into difficulties with authority, they prefer to yield to authority, to keep a traditional aspect, to keep something of Tradition. But they submit to authority, and finally accept the reforms, the Second Vatican Council, the liturgy, the breviary … They put up some limits, they try to keep something of Tradition, but they prefer to submit.

This was the case, for example, with the Abbot of Fontgombault, Dom Roy, Dom Roy who was very traditional, very firm for quite a long time. Suddenly he persuaded himself that the bishops of France were forbidding to say the Mass of Saint Pius V. And faced with this decree, or what he believed to be a decree by the bishops of France, he submitted. He said: “I can not disobey all the bishops of France, it is impossible. I submit.” I saw him often, we were two friends, we were intimate ! It’s like that ! And they stuck with the new liturgy until now, even after the decree. They did not want to give it to them.

So, there’s this mass of compromised traditionalists out there, frightened of authority, mingling the infallibility of the Holy Father with everything he says, everything he does, without putting limits, and so on … this group of traditionalists to which we are more or less related, you are more or less related. You know some of these priests, you know some of those faithful who are a little on the fringe. There’s the case of “Una Voce”, it needs to be said, and of “Le Pensée Catholique”, and “l’Homme Nouveau”. One finds movements of this kind all over the world, these Latin Mass societies. You have this world that would like to be in Tradition, but who is so afraid to separate from the authorities…

So if they see that we, we are firm and we say “No !” Whatever happens to the authorities, we want the Faith. We want to defend the Catholic Faith and we want to keep the Catholic Faith, no matter what the authorities will say, no matter what the authorities will do against us. Because everything in the Christian life, everything in the history of the Church, everything in the institution of the Church is subordinate to the Faith ! Again, this is the first thing we asked of the Church, when we came to the Church, children, borne by our godfather and godmother :

“What do you ask the Church of God ? The Faith. Why ? Because faith gives us eternal life.”​

Well, we will not move, that’s all.

“Ah! But you are causing a schism, you are going to go into schism!”​

Faith, that’s all !

Then suddenly Fr Masson, the first rector of the seminary :

“Ah! Monsignor, I have the impression that here, our seminaries, you know, I have the impression that we are going into schism, we are going to cause a schism …”​

I don’t see it ! We keep the Faith, we keep Tradition, we keep the liturgy of all time. That was well before 1975, so long before Rome hit us.

“No, no, I can not stay.”​

Fine. He left and went to Rome and took with him all those he knew, and who were his little disciples when he was in the diocese of Maux. He took them with him, about seven or eight. That was a big hemorrhage for the seminary at the time, which already had fewer members than we have now. It was enormous, and even the rector of the seminary itself, that it is not nothing! So, the first hemorrhage, they left, and we carried on.

Then, the second hemorrhage which was much more serious, much more important, and which almost put the seminary and the Society into jeopardy. It was obviously when I was hit by Rome :

“Oh ! Monsignor was struck by Rome… Rome will excommunicate us… No, no, no… we can not stay, it is impossible ! We must close the seminary…”​

It was not nothing : the rector of the seminary, and four professors and I do not know how many seminarians, and all that … A real haemorrhage! They left and said :

“Monsignor, your seminary, it is over. Your seminary, you can close it … Your Society, it is completely over, you can close your house. They will take two-thirds of your seminarians, don’t fool yourself. We are going to found a seminary and you will only have a small third of the seminarians, you can close up ! …”​

I said : “I’m not running the seminary for myself ! If God wants it to close, it will close! I didn’t start the seminary for myself personally, it leaves me completely indifferent. We’ll leave the key under the seminary [mat], and then that’s it. I continue in Tradition, I will continue my Mass, I will continue to keep the Faith. If no one wants to join me, I don’t care. I don’t do this work for myself, for myself personally, for my own personal pleasure. I would have been much more at ease staying in a quiet little house, to say Mass every day, and then to continue with Tradition, and then to quietly die. I should have been much more at ease! It wasn’t for myself that I did this !”

So we continued with Fr. Tissier de Mallerais, who took over. And then, we went on, we carried on.

One fine day, three years later, a professor came to me and said,

“I can not stay here, I feel that the seminary is going to go into schism, for sure. It’s not possible, I can not stay here …”​

It was Fr Cantoni. He had come to me in my office. Really, schism ? We’ll carry on with Tradition. We will see what will happen, but we stick to Tradition. You came here, glad to have this Traditional environment, you were settled in.

“Oh ! I did not know that Mass for you was such an important thing!”​

So, if you did not know that Mass was such an important thing for the seminary, well it is better that you go, indeed !

Then he left and took with him seven or eight Italian seminarians. Lamentable … good seminarians, I assure you, who would have made very good priests, they allowed themselves to be influenced by their professor of Italian origin whom they had known for a long time. Obviously, Cantoni, an Italian name, he was the one who resisted the movement quite hard, who resisted a little politically even, and all that … Then they left. It was very sad once again!

And this time, I did not know what was going on, what was going on in the seminary. I did not think I was going to be witnessing this again, a fourth, or a fifth hemorrhage. Because there’s another one which I forgot … If I had the memory of a Fr The Boulch, I could give you the names, the hours … the exact number of seminarians who left … but I cannot. Anyway, I learned that from the rector two days ago. He told me :

“But you do not know what is going on in the seminary, do you ?”​

Again, under pressure from outside priests, not to give names. Fr Bordelais who wrote to the rector : “Leave this galley!”

That’s nice of the director of the “Opus Sacerdotale” of France, who is one of our friends! Leave this galley! So I do not know whether he sent some seminarians here for that purpose, young people, or whether he had an influence on certain seminarians, on certain seminarians whom he knew here … and with this instruction, the same thing, it was the same process exactly … and always with a certain relationship with Rome. There is always something, a link, a thread, that connects to Rome. So the same thing here again : two of them went to Rome to check out how we could start a seminary over there, etc, removing as many seminarians as possible from here. Fourth edition ! The same spirit : “Ah! We are going into schism, we are going into schism !”

So, you see, I think these are normal things for the period in which we find ourselves. But there is a whole milieu, precisely, that would like to be Traditional, that sees that there is something that is not quite right in the Church, and that wants to keep Tradition. But they do not have the courage to oppose the authority which destroys the Church, which is the cause, which is at the origin of the subversion in the Church. What do you want me to do ? It’s like that ! The situation of the Church, the destruction of the Church, comes from Rome. It was Pope Paul VI who said it himself. He witnessed the self-demolition of the Church, but he was also an agent ! It is indeed he who has accepted all the reforms of the Council, it is he who has made this Council in which there are principles which are contrary to the doctrine of the Church.

In this regard, I recommend to you, if you can read and translate it, the article of “Si Si No No” in the last issue that has just appeared : “Where does the fidelity of John Paul to the Council lead to ?” And I can assure you, it’s a well-written article and well argued. But it shows very clearly, as he quotes from the words of Cardinal Ratzinger, the Council or the devastation of the Church, Syllabus against counter-Syllabus. Because Cardinal Ratzinger said : “Yes, indeed, the Second Vatican Council was a counter-Syllabus !” He explicitly said it, he does not hide it ! It’s 89, that’s it. He says it, a counter-Syllabus, insofar as it represents an attempt to formally reconcile the Church with the world, as it has become since 1789! If that is not very clear, I don’t know what is !

So what will they do with all these seminarians who are leaving ? They’ll get into the wolf’s den. Quite simply. All those who have gone, all the groups that have gone since Fr Masson, the priests who have left us, the professors who have left us since, with all the seminarians who have left us, and Cantoni and his Italian seminarians … all were swallowed by the post-Council of the Conciliar Church. And it’s over for them, there’s no resistance. It is finished, finished : they are aligned completely. They were swallowed up. And for others, it’s going to be the same. The same thing was promised to our seminarians already : “Come to Rome, we will give you the Mass of St. Pius V.” Six months later, the statue of Buddha was put on the altar ! Yes ! It was a priest from Montauban, I don’t know what his name was, the memory of the seminary ? Tell me about it ! Well he broke the statue, he threw it on the floor. That obviously made a stir !

So, that’s how they are treated. After a year or two of studying, during which they were left together, they were told : “Go now to your respective seminaries in Rome.” A French seminar, an English seminary… One no longer hears anything about you, it’s over … That’s it ! They do not want to believe what Rome is, they do not want to imagine it, they do not want to accept that ! It is sad. I would also like not to accept this, but I lived there during the Council, I have lived there since the Council, all the time, for twenty years, I cannot deny that Rome is under the influence of Masonry! Rome is under the influence of the mason s! Certainly, you see : to reconcile with the principles of 89, the Masonic principles ! This is what Cardinal Ratzinger said, he does not hide it ! Vatican II is an effort to reconcile with 89. Do you realize that ? It’s frightening ! So it’s here in this article, it was not I who did it. If I had done it, I would still be accused of being a sedevacantist - but it is a man named Marcus, whom I don’t know. I do not know who writes as Marcus in “Si Si No No”, but I assure you, I recommend his article!

So, my dear friends, you have to know how to choose in life, faced with events … You have to see them as they are, you must not close your eyes by saying : “I don’t want to see this, it’s too hard, it’s too strong, it’s too dreadful.” It is appalling, but if the Good Lord wants it, if the Good God puts us before these circumstances, what are we going to do ? Are we going to abandon the Faith? Are we going to let ourselves drift away, like the others ?

No, we can’t. So I feel that the rector was inspired, I don’t know how he knew all that, but he acted perfectly by expelling these seminarians as soon as he knew all about it ! Otherwise, you would have forty leaving, little by little, by saying : “Look here, look here, you know in Rome, we will give you a seminary. Come, come, in Rome we’ll do this for you, we’ll do that for you. Come, for here they are going into a schism, here, you will see, they are going to be sedevacantists, here you will see…” So, gently, by putting on the pressure like this … they will sweep you away. He did very well to remove out of harms way those eight who met regularly over there. I never thought of that, I thought the seminary was perfectly calm, I never imagined that kind of thing would happen again. Well, yes, once again ! That’s it, it’s been the fourth time, it’s been the fifth time … What do you know ! And then this, guided from a distance by priests on the outside !

So we have to make a choice. We must learn what the crisis of the Church is. All these people do not know what the crisis of the Church is. They believe it to be benign, a little thing, a little hay fever, as Father Maritain used to say. But it is something else. It is our faith that is at stake. It is a reversal of values. They are no longer Catholic values, Catholic values are no longer taught. He is no longer a Christian, he is no longer a Catholic. It is Masonic, it is really a revolution within the Church. The devil made his masterpiece: he used the Church to destroy the Church! He used the authority of the Church to destroy the Church!

Archbishop Lefebvre