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Between Jansenism and Modernism

Walking Tightrope

In July 1989, after yet another crisis in the SSPX, and yet another painful haemorrhage, Archbishop Lefebvre wrote a letter to bishop De Galeratta, who at the time was district superior of South America. In this letter the archbishop identifies and laments two ways in which the devil has managed to tempt Traditional Catholics, and especially the priests and faithful of the SSPX. He wrote :

On the occasion of a new division, provoked by Fr. Morello in South America, which puts our dear Society to the test, it seems to me timely to analyze how the devil works to weaken or nullify our work.

Do not the authors of the various divisions act according to two principal temptations, which then diversify after that ?1

We Cannot Work Together

In order to better understand and appreciate the first temptation, we must recall what the Archbishop told the then Prefect of the Holy Office, Cardinal Ratzinger, two years before, on July 14, 1987 :

Emminence, 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.2

Let us also recall what happened the following year, during the meeting at Le Pointet, just before the famous 1988 consecrations. Bishop Tissier describes the reason for this meeting as follows :

Everyone was touched by the Archbishop’s attentiveness, his concern to keep them informed, and his desire to find a consensus among the veterans as well as among the younger religious superiors. Everyone understood the importance of the meeting, which would ensure that when sanctions and calumny began raining down after the consecrations, Tradition would stand together united.3

Alas, even already during that meeting it became apparent that the veterans and younger religious superiors were divided amongst themselves. Among those who were in favor of pressing on with a practical agreement were Fr. Tissier de Mallerais and Dom Gerard, while those who were against such a practical agreement showed themselves clearly in agreement with the Archbishop’s position that we cannot work together with Conciliar Rome :

The Sisters were almost all categorical: “We cannot deal with bishops who have lost the Faith,” said the Dominicans of Fanjeux. The Sisters of Brignoles considered that depending on Rome would force them into having “contacts with their former congregations that are now modernist,” and “that is impossible.” The Society Sisters mentioned “the risk for the Faith and cohesion of Tradition.” Finally, the Carmelites said that it was “a Trojan horse within Tradition”.4

Despite the less than unanimous support for the Archbishop’s firm conviction that any cooperation with modernists is impossible, the balance finally tipped in favor of operation survival, and against the pursuing of a practical agreement :

Archbishop Lefebvre, who had objectively set out the advantages and disadvantages of the agreement, indicated finally which way the balance was now tilting. The principle invoked is enlightening: “The official link with modernist Rome is nothing against the preservation of the Faith.”5

And so, in order to preserve the Faith, the Archbishop gave up on the idea of trying to work out a practical agreement with Conciliar Rome, and went ahead with the now famous 1988 consecrations. One may ask, did the Archbishop really abandon the idea of working out a practical agreement, and if he did, why ? The answer to this question he gave a few years earlier at St. Nicholas du Chardonnet, Paris, when he said :

But as long as one is dealing with people who have made this agreement with the Devil, with liberal ideas, we cannot have any confidence. They will string us along little by little; they will try to catch us in their traps, as long as they have not let go of these false ideas. So, from my point of view, it is not a question of doing whatever one can. Those who would have a tendency to want to accept that will end up being recycled.6

No Practical Agreement without a Doctrinal Agreement

Does this mean that from then on the Archbishop refused any contact with Rome, as a matter of principle ? No, not at all. We see that from then on the Archbishop was unwilling to cooperate with Conciliar Rome on a merely practical level, unless and until they would accept the doctrine of their predecessors first, in other words, “no practical agreement without a doctrinal agreement.” In October 1988, a few months after the famous consecrations, in an interview given to Fideliter Magazine, Archbishop Lefebvre said :

I will place the discussion at the doctrinal level: “Do you agree with the great encyclicals of all the popes who preceded you? Do you agree with Quanta Cura of Pius IX, Immortale Dei and Libertas of Leo XIII, Pascendi Gregis of Pius X, Quas Primas of Pius XI, Humani Generis of Pius XII? Are you in full communion with these Popes and their teachings? Do you still accept the entire Anti-Modernist Oath? Are you in favor of the social reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ? If you do not accept the doctrine of your predecessors, it is useless to talk! As long as you do not accept the correction of the Council, in consideration of the doctrine of these Popes, your predecessors, no dialogue is possible. It is useless.7

This principle of “no practical agreement without a doctrinal agreement” was explicitly confirmed by the 2006 General Chapter as the principle upon which any future contact with Conciliar Rome would have to be based.

The First Temptation

So let us now look at the first temptation which the Archbishop identified as “a desire to maintain good relations with the pope or the current bishops”, despite their continued profession of the most serious errors, based on their liberal and modernist principles. He wrote :

The first temptation is to maintain good relations with the pope or the current bishops. Obviously, it is more normal and pleasant to be in harmony with the authorities than to be in conflict with them, especially when these difficulties can lead to sanctions.

Although Conciliar Rome’s lying has often been proven to be a fact, it is never useless [for them] to try, since they will always find some who will take the bait.

But the errors of the Second Vatican Council and its spirit are permanently and publicly confirmed by facts and assertions. Nothing changes in the liberal and modernist principles. Apostasy is spreading, the Catholic faith continues to disappear.

Most of our priests, seminarians and faithful do not delude themselves and are convinced that it is impossible to trust the authorities of the Conciliar Church for as long as they profess such errors.8

It is interesting to note that the Archbishop was well aware of the fact that not all of his priests, seminarians and faithful were of the same mind as himself. Most of them were, but some of them were already deceived into thinking they could strike a deal with Conciliar Rome without a doctrinal agreement as a basis upon which to build such a cooperation. This we see clearly illustrated in Dom Gerard, who very soon after the meeting in Le Pointet went to Rome to pursue his own agreement.

And it is a matter of history that those who secretly disagreed with the principle the Archbishop invoked at Le Pointet, i.e. no practical agreement without a doctrinal agreement, did not waste much time after the Archbishop’s death to start working towards a new direction. Among those was Fr. Aulagnier, who in 1992 already, even before the GREC was formed, initiated “new contacts with recognized ecclesiastical authorities”.9

A Principle Abandoned

Fast forward now to May 2012, when at Hattersheim, Hesse, Germany, Fr. Niklaus Pfluger, the First Assistant of the Superior General of the SSPX, gave a conference in which he confirmed what some of the more astute Traditionalists had already observed, ie that the former principle of ”no practical agreement without a doctrinal agreement”, as was defined by the Archbishop and confirmed by the General Chapter in 2006, was no longer the basis upon which the SSPX’s contacts with Rome were based. That principle was now clearly superseded by a new driving force : “the interest of the Pope to reach a canonical solution”.

“No practical agreement without a doctrinal agreement” – such was the principle upon which the Society had started the talks with the Holy See. But the negotiations of the past years have revealed that the different positions regarding central questions of doctrine cannot be bridged.

Recent weeks have revealed that the Pope is so much interested in a canonical solution for the Society that he is ready to seal a deal, even if the Society does not recognize the disputed texts of Vatican II and the New Mass. Would the Society, however, refuse an agreement even under these circumstances, then new excommunications are a possible outcome.

Under these circumstances the Superior General, Bishop Bernard Fellay, does not consider it possible to reject the Pope’s proposal. It would be tantamount to a lapse into Sedevacantism if one would still isolate oneself from the Pope’s wish, if this wish does not entail acknowledging false doctrine. It also is a matter of prudence/wisdom not to cut all connections with Rome. One should keep at least one door open, even if at this moment there seems to be no proximity in doctrinal matters.10

At least, we can appreciate the honesty of admitting the abandonment of the old principle, and the introduction of a new principle : “as long as we are not required to acknowledge a false doctrine, we are willing to grant the pope’s wish to work out a practical agreement”. In other words, we no longer need to agree on doctrine, we just ask them to tolerate our differences, which amounts to nothing else but a false ecumenism extended to Traditionalists. We can summarize this new principle as “a practical agreement based on false ecumenism”, or as we now often hear as the primary condition : “as long as they accept us as we are”.

So why did Rome not accept the SSPX “as they are” back in 1988, or in 2006 ? Why, of all the possible Vatican II popes, why does it have to be the worst of them all who will accept the SSPX “as they are” ? Could it be that instead of accepting the SSPX “as they are”, they are simply accepting the SSPX “as they have become” ? Given the long list of changes many Traditional Catholics inside as well as outside of the SSPX have observed over the last couple of years, the answer is not really rocket science. Just to name a few : the expulsion of bishop Williamson, the branding campaign, the scandalous 2015 doctrinal declaration, the refusal to distinguish any longer between the Conciliar Church and the Catholic Church, the various signs and forms of softening towards and collaboration with the Ecclesia Dei groups, the suppression of books deemed too traditional or critical by Menzingen, the suppression of the Archbishop’s own writings, the secretive GREC meetings, etc..11

The Method in Their Madness

Given that a temptation is defined as “the coaxing or inducing of a person into committing a certain act, either by manipulation or through curiosity, a desire or a fear of loss”, the Archbishop next identifies some of the methods through which Traditional Catholics are usually coaxed or induced into striking such a practical deal with unconverted Rome :

So the Society will be accused of exaggerating the mistakes of the Second Vatican Council, of criticizing abusively the writings and acts of the Pope and of the bishops, of excessively rigid attachment to traditional rites and, ultimately, sectarianism, which will one day lead it into schism.

Once the word schism is mentioned, it will be used as a scarecrow to scare the seminarians and their families, leading them to abandon the Society, all the more easily as priests, bishops and Rome herself claim to offer guarantees in favor of a certain Tradition.

We could establish a long list of those who have abandoned us for these reasons.​

So, in order to avoid being accused of “exaggerating the mistakes of the Second Vatican Council”, bishop Fellay assured the world that “the society accepts 95% of its teachings”12, that Vatican II’s religious liberty is “a very, very limited” religious liberty13, thereby insinuating that Traditional Catholics have exaggerated the errors of Vatican II.

With regards to the “schism scarecrow”, we are reminded by what bishop Fellay, Fr Pfluger and Fr Nely wrote in April 2012, in response to a letter bishop De Tissier, bishop Williamson and bishop De Galeretta wrote to the Superior General : “This is serious because such a caricature no longer corresponds to reality and logically it will in the future finish up in a true schism.”14 Similar comments haven been made by Fr Angles15 and the editor of the Remnant16.

And what about the carrot of “guarantees in favor of a certain Tradition” ? In January this year bishop Fellay gave a short interview in which he summed up the pending deal as follows : “We have told Rome, very clearly, that, just as Archbishop Lefebvre used to say in his day, we have a sine qua non condition: if this condition is not met, then we will not move. And this condition is for us to be able to remain as we are, to keep all the principles that have kept us alive, that have kept us Catholic.” When asked what then was still missing from the pending practical deal with Conciliar Rome, he replied : “The seal. And also the clear, straightforward statement that these guarantees will be respected.”17

Here we must note that even though bishop Fellay made a comparison with Archbishop Lefebvre, the comparison is rather superficial, because the Archbishop’s condition ‘sine qua non’ was that “Rome accept the doctrine of their predecessors”, while bishop Fellay’s condition ‘sine qua non’ was that “Rome accepts us as we are”. In other words, as the Archbishop called it “a guarantee in favor of a certain Tradition”, and certainly not an abandonment of Rome’s errors.

So what does the SSPX think of those who resist it’s giving in to this temptation ? This is how bishop Fellay put it : “Look at the caricature of Tradition that calls itself the “Resistance”, for example: it is a non-Catholic spirit that is almost sectarian.”18 Is this not what the Archbishop warned us they would call those who try to adhere to Tradition, sectarian ?

Almost every one of these tactics, mentioned by the Archbishop, to coax us into accepting a practical deal with those who work in the opposite direction has been used by the superiors of the SSPX. Can there be any doubt then that the SSPX is succumbing to this first temptation the Archbishop was talking about in 1989 ? Keep this in mind when we look at the second temptation.

Second Temptation

The second temptation, the Archbishop tells us, is caused by “a truly diabolical spirit” which leads some people “to seek proofs of every kind of defects and vices” and to “exploit and amplify the most insignificant facts to the point of becoming true calumnies”, so that they can deceive the faithful in abandoning their fellow Catholics and to become followers of their “own party”. One particular phrase the Archbishop mentioned stands out, because today we hear almost the exact same words spoken : “We are the pure ones, the others are impure”.

Listen to the Archbishop :

The second temptation which the devil awakens in the minds of some of our priests and which provokes the present split within the Society can be summarized as follows: “We had confidence in the early Society, in its principles and in its action; however, we see now that its mind is changing and that is why, in fidelity to yesterday’s Society, we abandon today’s Society.”

In order to justify this attitude it is necessary to show us the evidence of these changes. And so the most insignificant facts will be exploited and amplified to the point of becoming true calumnies. (…) Accusations were also leveled against myself.

Some people, Fr Bouchacourt for one19, may now be tempted to use the Archbishop’s words against the Resistance, since they too have abandoned today’s Society in order to remain faithful to yesterday’s Society. But that comparison is only skin deep, since, as we have already seen just before, the Society has indeed changed and has already been condemned for it by the Archbishop himself. And the Archbishop did not claim that “leaving the Society” is in itself a mistake, but rather the fact that some people base this decision upon “insignificant facts”, which are “exploited and amplified to the point of becoming true calumnies”.

It is the underlying insincerity and even outright lies which are the issue :

It likewise became necessary for them to deceive the faithful, that they might follow them. An action truly based on lies.​

What the Archbishop mentions next about Fr Morello, will sound very familiar today with regard to another vagus priest :

In the case of Fr. Morello, the principle is the same, but the alleged changes that he claims to have noticed would rather be at the spiritual and moral level. This attitude of Fr. Morello is rooted in a particular state of mind, a natural need to have personal, exclusive disciples, for he is convinced that he has a special charism to sanctify souls.​

As the saying goes, “there is nothing new under the Sun”, the Archbishop now explains to us how these people present their case to their followers :

The decision to transfer Fr. Morello caused the separation of this group from the seminary. It was necessary to find reasons to justify the departure from the Society. Which was not difficult: “We are the pure ones, the others are impure.“​

Does this ring a bell ? “We are the pure ones, the others are impure.”

And if there was still any doubt as to the real problem here, the Archbishop tells us once again what is wrong and how to recognize what he calls this ‘diabolical spirit’ :

Henceforth, the spirit which seizes them is truly diabolical and leads them to seek proofs of every kind of defects and vices.

I make myself no illusions. Soon I myself will be slandered as I have already been slandered by all those who have separated from the Society.

The process is always the same. It is a matter of justifying at all costs the scandalous act of hijacking a group of priests, seminarians and faithful.​

So now we have a very clear and concise summary of this diabolical spirit : in their desire to gather around them a little flock they can call “their own”, they “seek proofs of every kind of defects and vices” in order to entice their victims “to abandon today’s Society in order to remain faithful to yesterday’s Society”.

It is interesting to note that the Archbishop recognized in this attitude “an erroneous concept of spiritual formation”, which “reeks of Jansenism” :

In this current case, we are dealing with an erroneous concept of spiritual formation, which reeks of Jansenism. May God preserve us from this spirit!​

For those who are not familiar with the heresy of Jansenism, this is what the New Advent encyclopedia concludes at the end of it’s detailed entry on Jansenius and Jansenism :

It is evident that, besides its attachment to the “Augustinus” and its rigorism in morals, it is distinguished among heresies for crafty proceedings, chicane and lack of frankness on the part of its adherents, especially their pretence of remaining Catholics without renouncing their errors, of staying in the Church despite the Church itself, by skilfully eluding or braving with impunity the decisions of the supreme authority. Such conduct is beyond doubt without a parallel in the annals of Christianity previous to the outbreak of Jansenism in fact, it would be incredible if we did not in our own day find in certain groups of Modernists examples of this astonishing and absurd duplicity. The deplorable consequences, both theoretical and practical, of the Jansenist system, and of the polemics to which it gave rise, may readily be gathered from what has been said, and from the history of the last few centuries.20

From this we can easily see that when the Archbishop mentioned the stench of Jansenism, it was because of the “crafty proceedings”, “pretences”, “skillfull eluding”, “braving with impunity the authorities”, “astonishing and absurd duplicity” and the never ending “polemics”.

Seeking proofs of every kind of defect and vices

Having already shown how the superiors of the SSPX have fallen for the first temptation of pursuing a purely practical deal without a prior and underlying doctrinal agreement, let us now look at a few examples, to find out whether any Traditional Catholics succumbed to this second temptation, and ended up with this ‘diabolical spirit’ of “seeking proofs of every kind of defect and vices”, going even as far as using “deceit and lies”, all in order to encourage others “to abandon today’s Society in order to remain faithful to yesterday’s Society”.

In April 2016, bishop Williamson, after having consecrated bishop Thomas Aquinas, made a few observations about this significant and joyful event for the Resistance. The bishop simply commented on the number of attendants, the number of journalists present, the relative silence of the media, and finally he noted that he doesn’t really care about the media’s opinion anyway. But one very bright bulb on a very bright tree managed to find some serious fault with the bishop’s observations, and explained to his audience how these observations are proof that bishop Williamson “uses communist tactics” (problem, reaction, solution). His loyal followers rewarded him with a “brilliant analysis” decoration.

A few weeks ago, on a certain forum, Fr Chazal was criticized because on one of the pictures someone had spotted what looked like door handles on his altar. It reminded me of the Pharizees with their wide phylacteries and enlarged tassels, whom Our Lord called “whitened sepulchers”. As expected, this particular thread took only two more posts to devolve into the usual list of slogans and absurd accusations, which accompany just about every post made by most of their members.

Last year Fr Picot and Fr Chazal were put on the “to be shunned” list, simply because Fr Chazal had decided to accommodate Fr Kramer in his little jungle mission, which they considered a crime on account of Fr Kramer’s so called “sedealterist” opinions. Guilt by association. But the icing on the cake was the fact that at the same time the ones throwing this stone were in full and open support of a public sedevacantist, whom they invited to give conferences, catechism classes, sermons, say Mass and they even allowed him to preach against their own bishop. And to this day, these same grand inquisitors are openly supporting sedevacantist priests, yet still accuse others for not coming down hard enough on sedevacantists. Hypocrisy and duplicity indeed !

And of course there are the many lies about our three bishops, but mainly about bishop Williamson, which have been repeated so often that by now even good priests are starting to believe these lies and are being tempted to accuse their own bishops of everything nasty under the sun, and to refuse communion with them.

And so we see these people use gross exaggerations, quote mining, outright lies, dramatic and emotional language and all forms of deceit in order to convince others that they only are the “pure ones, the others impure”. Or to use their own words : they are “the true Resistance, and the others are the false Resistance”. Such is the stench of Jansenism.

Conclusion

Let us avoid these two temptations, one which tempts us to underestimate modernism and the crisis in the Church and to get too close to unconverted Rome, and the other which exaggerates the “defects and vices” in our fellow Catholics and causes us to separate ourselves from other Traditional Catholics, in a spirit which “reeks of Jansenism”. Let us keep the balance between these two extremes, and quietly stay the course the Archbishop, and the Church plotted out for us.

On a practical level, the Archbishop gives his advice as follows :

Prudence requires that we have absolutely no contact with those who leave us, even by writing, except in the event that one of them shows serious signs of repentance. Let us pray for them: such is the true charity we can exercise towards them.

Let these separations be the occasion for us to make an examination of conscience, in order to be courageously vigilant not to weaken in doctrinal, moral, spiritual and disciplinary matters. Vigilate et orate (Watch and pray).​

Amen.

Appendix A - Archbishop Lefebvre’s July 1989 letter to bishop De Galeretta.

In French :

LETTRE DE JUILLET 1989 À MONSEIGNEUR DE GALARRETA ET AUX PRÊTRES, SÉMINARISTES ET FIDÈLES DU DISTRICT D’AMÉRIQUE DE SUD

 

Chers prêtres, chers séminaristes, chers fidèles,

A l’occasion de la nouvelle division, provoquée par l’Abbé Morello en Amérique du Sud, qui éprouve notre chère Fraternité, il me semble opportun d’analyser l’action du démon pour affaiblir ou réduire à néant notre œuvre.

Les auteurs des diverses scissions n’agissent-ils pas selon deux principales tentations, qui se diversifient par la suite ?

La première tentation consiste à maintenir de bons rapports avec le pape ou les évêques actuels. Evidemment, il est plus normal et agréable d’être en harmonie avec les autorités que d’être en conflit avec elles, surtout quand ces difficultés peuvent aboutir à des sanctions.

La Fraternité sera alors accusée d’exagérer les erreurs du Concile Vatican II, de critiquer abusivement les écrits et les actes du pape et des évêques, de s’attacher avec une rigidité excessive aux rites traditionnels et, en définitive, de présenter une tendance au sectarisme, qui la conduira un jour au schisme.

Une fois mentionné le mot schisme, on s’en servira comme d’un épouvantail pour faire peur aux séminaristes et à leur famille, les conduisant à abandonner la Fraternité, d’autant plus facilement que les prêtres, les évêques et Rome elle-même prétendent offrir des garanties en faveur d’une certaine Tradition.

Nous pourrions établir une longue liste de ceux qui nous ont abandonnés pour ces raisons.

Il était clair que les consécrations épiscopales et l’excommunication seraient considérées comme des motifs plus que suffisants pour quitter la Fraternité, surtout au regard des garanties offertes par la Rome conciliaire en faveur de la tradition liturgique.

Malgré que les mensonges de la Rome conciliaire se soient de nombreuses fois vérifiés dans les faits, il n’est jamais inutile d’essayer, puisqu’il s’en trouvera toujours certains pour mordre à l’hameçon.

Mais les erreurs du Concile Vatican II et son esprit sont, en permanence et publiquement, confirmés par les faits et les affirmations. Rien ne change au niveau des principes libéraux et modernistes. L’apostasie se répand, la foi catholique continue à disparaître.

La plupart de nos prêtres, séminaristes et fidèles ne s’illusionnent pas et sont convaincus qu’il est impossible d’avoir confiance dans les autorités de l’Eglise conciliaire, tant qu’elles professent de telles erreurs.

La deuxième tentation, que le diable éveille dans l’esprit de certains de nos prêtres et qui provoque la présente scission au sein de la Fraternité, peut se résumer de la manière suivante : « Nous avons eu confiance dans la Fraternité des débuts, dans ses principes et dans son action ; cependant nous voyons que son esprit change et c’est pourquoi, par fidélité a la Fraternité d’autrefois, nous quittons la Fraternité d’aujourd’hui ».

Pour justifier cette attitude il sera nécessaire de manifester l’évidence des changements. De là, les faits les plus insignifiants seront exploités et amplifiés jusqu’à devenir de véritables calomnies. (…) L’accusation me touchait moi-même.

Il leur devenait nécessaire, également, de tromper les fidèles, afin qu’ils les suivent. Une action véritablement basée sur le mensonge.

Dans le passé, ceux qui cherchaient à opposer la Fraternité d’aujourd’hui à celle d’hier étaient « sédévacantistes » et refusaient de prier publiquement pour le Pape.

Dans le cas de l’abbé Morello, le principe est le même, mais les présumés changements qu’il dit avoir perçus se situeraient plutôt au niveau spirituel et moral. Cette attitude de l’abbé Morello trouve son origine dans un état d’esprit particulier, un besoin naturel d’avoir des disciples personnels, exclusifs, car il est persuadé qu’il est doté d’un charisme spécial pour sanctifier les âmes.

Cette attitude s’était déjà manifestée, vis-à-vis des religieuses, par la volonté de fonder se propre congrégation, selon ses idées personnelles. Malheureusement les séminaristes ont été victimes de cette tendance possessive et une partie d’entre eux s’est transformé en « son parti ».

La décision de la mutation de l’abbé Morello a provoqué la séparation de ce groupe d’avec le séminaire. Il fallut trouver des motifs pour justifier le départ de la Fraternité. Ce ne fut pas difficile: « nous sommes les purs, les autres sont impurs ».

Dès lors, l’esprit qui s’empare d’eux est véritablement diabolique et les conduit à rechercher des preuves en tout genre de défauts et de vices.

Je ne me fais pas d’illusions. Bientôt je serai moi-même calomnié comme je l’ai déjà été par tous ceux qui ont déchiré la Fraternité.

Le processus est toujours le même. Il s’agit de justifier à tout prix l’acte scandaleux qu’est le détournement d’un groupe de prêtres, de séminaristes et de fidèles.

Efforçons-nous d’éclairer ceux qui nous laissent quant au grave préjudice qu’ils causent à l’œuvre de la Tradition, mais ne nous laissons pas troubler. Au sein de l’épreuve, gardons la paix. L’histoire de la Fraternité ressemble à celle de l’Eglise, et la continue : « Oportet hæreses esse » (il est nécessaire qu’il y ait des hérétiques). La Providence permet ces purifications afin d’éviter la contamination de l’œuvre.

Dans le cas présent, il s’agit d’un concept erroné de la formation spirituelle, avec un relent de jansénisme. Que Dieu nous préserve de cet esprit! Nous nous en sommes rendu compte assez tard, et le mal avait déjà atteint certains jeunes prêtres et presque la moitié des séminaristes.

La prudence requiert que nous n’ayons absolument aucun contact avec ceux qui nous quittent, serait-ce épistolaire, hormis le cas où l’un d’entre eux manifesterait de sérieux signes de repentir. Prions pour eux : telle est la vraie charité que nous pouvons exercer vis-à-vis d’eux.

Que ces séparations nous soient l’occasion de faire un examen de conscience, afin de veiller courageusement à ne pas faiblir en matière doctrinale, morale, spirituelle et disciplinaire. Vigilate et orate (Veillez et priez).

Au sein de l’épreuve, Dieu bénira notre Fraternité ; mais il ne pourra le faire que si nous demeurons fidèles à nos Constitutions par la vie de prière, de sacrifice, en vivant du Saint Sacrifice de l’Autel dans notre vie tant intérieure qu’extérieure, comme la Très Sainte Vierge et tous les Saints.

Tout votre, en Jésus et Marie,

Marcel Lefebvre Ecône, 16 juillet 1989, en la fête de Notre Dame du Mont Carmel.​

In English :

Dear Fathers, dear seminarians, dear faithful,

On the occasion of a new division, provoked by Fr. Morello in South America, which puts our dear Society to the test, it seems to me timely to analyze how the devil works to weaken or nullify our work.

Do not the authors of the various divisions act according to two principal temptations, which then diversify after that ?

The first temptation is to maintain good relations with the pope or the current bishops. Obviously, it is more normal and pleasant to be in harmony with the authorities than to be in conflict with them, especially when these difficulties can lead to sanctions.

So the Society will be accused of exaggerating the mistakes of the Second Vatican Council, of criticizing abusively the writings and acts of the Pope and of the bishops, of excessively rigid attachment to traditional rites and, ultimately, sectarianism, which will one day lead it into schism.

Once the word schism is mentioned, it will be used as a scarecrow to scare the seminarians and their families, leading them to abandon the Society, all the more easily as priests, bishops and Rome herself claim to offer guarantees in favor of a certain Tradition.

We could establish a long list of those who have abandoned us for these reasons.

It was clear that the episcopal consecrations and the [subsequent] excommunication would be considered as more than sufficient grounds for leaving the Society, especially in view of the guarantees offered by Conciliar Rome in favor of liturgical tradition.

Although Conciliar Rome’s lying has often been proven to be a fact, it is never useless [for them] to try, since they will always find some who will take the bait.

But the errors of the Second Vatican Council and its spirit are permanently and publicly confirmed by facts and assertions. Nothing changes in the liberal and modernist principles. Apostasy is spreading, the Catholic faith continues to disappear.

Most of our priests, seminarians and faithful do not delude themselves and are convinced that it is impossible to trust the authorities of the Conciliar Church for as long as they profess such errors.

The second temptation which the devil awakens in the minds of some of our priests and which provokes the present split within the Society can be summarized as follows: “We had confidence in the early Society, in its principles and in its action; however, we see now that its mind is changing and that is why, in fidelity to yesterday’s Society, we abandon today’s Society. “

In order to justify this attitude it is necessary to show us the evidence of these changes. And so the most insignificant facts will be exploited and amplified to the point of becoming true calumnies. (…) Accusations were also leveled against myself.

It likewise became necessary for them to deceive the faithful, that they might follow them. An action truly based on lies.

In the past, it was the “sedevacantists” and those who refused to pray publicly for the Pope who sought to put today’s Society in opposition to yesterday’s Society.

In the case of Fr. Morello, the principle is the same, but the alleged changes that he claims to have noticed would rather be at the spiritual and moral level. This attitude of Fr. Morello is rooted in a particular state of mind, a natural need to have personal, exclusive disciples, for he is convinced that he has a special charism to sanctify souls.

This attitude had already been manifested, towards religious, by the desire to found a proper congregation, according to his own ideas. Unfortunately the seminarians were victims of this possessive tendency and some of them turned into “his party”.

The decision to transfer Fr. Morello caused the separation of this group from the seminary. It was necessary to find reasons to justify the departure from the Society. Which was not difficult: “We are the pure ones, the others are impure.”

Henceforth, the spirit which seizes them is truly diabolical and leads them to seek proofs of every kind of defects and vices.

I make myself no illusions. Soon I myself will be slandered as I have already been slandered by all those who have separated from the Society.

The process is always the same. It is a matter of justifying at all costs the scandalous act of hijacking a group of priests, seminarians and faithful.

Let us try to enlighten those who leave us as to the serious prejudice they cause to the work of Tradition, but let us not be disturbed. In these things, let us keep our peace. The history of the Society resembles that of the Church, as She carries on : “Oportet hæreses esse” (It must be that there are heresies). Providence allows these purifications to avoid contamination of our work.

In this current case, we are dealing with an erroneous concept of spiritual formation, which reeks of Jansenism. May God preserve us from this spirit! We realized it quite late, and the evil had already reached some young priests and almost half of the seminarians.

Prudence requires that we have absolutely no contact with those who leave us, even by writing, except in the event that one of them shows serious signs of repentance. Let us pray for them: such is the true charity we can exercise towards them.

Let these separations be the occasion for us to make an examination of conscience, in order to be courageously vigilant not to weaken in doctrinal, moral, spiritual and disciplinary matters. Vigilate et orate (Watch and pray).

In this trial, God will bless our Society; but He can do so only if we remain faithful to our Constitutions through the life of prayer and sacrifice, living the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar in our life, interiorly as well as outwardly, like the Blessed Virgin and all the Saints .

All yours, in Jesus and Mary,

Marcel Lefebvre Ecône, 16 July 1989, On the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.​