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Here are some large extracts of a conference His Excellency Msgr. Lefebvre gave on 9 September 1988, during a priestly retreat. He answers the theological arguments that Dom Gérard developed in his public declaration for the Présent journal on 18 August 1988, and he points out their weakness.

Emphasis added by Tradidi

My dear friends,

I think that you, who have gone through the seminary, who are in active ministries and who have wanted to keep Tradition, I think that you have the will to be priests like priests have always been, like the holy priests of old, like all the priestly Saints and the holy priests whom we have been able to get to know ourselves in our parishes. You continue, and you truly represent the Church, the Catholic Church. I believe you have to convince yourself of this: you truly represent the Catholic Church.

Not that there is no Church outside of us; that is not what this is about. But lately, we've been told that Tradition needs to "enter the visible Church." I think this is a very, very serious mistake.

Where is the visible Church? The visible Church can be recognized by marks which have always been given for her visibility: she is One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic.

Let me ask you: where are the true marks of the Church? Are they more in the official Church (this is not the visible Church, this is the official Church) or in us, in what we represent, in what we are. It is clear that it is us who keep the unity of faith, which has disappeared from the official Church. One bishop believes in this, the other does not, the faith is diverse, their abominable catechisms have heresies. Where is the unity of faith in Rome?

Where is the unity of faith in the world? Surely it is us who have kept it.

Unity of faith throughout the world is [what is called] Catholicity. Now, this unity of faith in the whole world no longer exists, so there is practically no Catholicity. Soon there will be as many Catholic Churches as there are bishops and dioceses. Everyone has his own way of seeing, of thinking, of preaching, of teaching his catechism. There is no more Catholicity.

Apostolicity? They have broken with the past. If there is anything they did do, this is it. They want nothing to do anymore with what happened before the Second Vatican Council. Look at the Pope's Motu Proprio condemning us, he says: "Living Tradition, that is Vatican II". We must not refer to the time before Vatican II, that means nothing. The Church carries Tradition with her, from century to century. What happened happened, it's gone. All of Tradition is found in today's Church. So what is this Tradition? What is it attached to? How does it relate to the past?

This is what allows them to say the opposite of what was said in the past, while pretending that they are sticking with Tradition. This is what the Pope asks of us: to submit ourselves to the "living Tradition". We supposedly have a bad concept of Tradition, because it is alive and therefore evolving. But this is a modernist error: Pope Pius X, in the encyclical "Pascendi", condemns these terms of "living tradition, living Church, living faith", etc., in the [same] sense that the modernists understand it, that is, of an evolution that depends on historical circumstances. The truth of Revelation, the explanation of Revelation, would depend on historical circumstances.

Apostolicity: it is us, we are attached to the Apostles by authority. My priesthood comes to me from the Apostles, your priesthood comes to you from the Apostles. We are the sons of those who gave us the episcopate. Our episcopate descends from Pope Pius V and through him we go back to the Apostles. As for the Apostolicity of faith, we believe the same faith as the Apostles. We have not changed anything and we do not want to change anything.

What about Holiness? We're not going to compliment or praise ourselves. If we don't want to consider ourselves, let us consider others and consider the fruits of our apostolate, the fruits of vocations, of our religious, brother and sisters, and also our Christian families. Good and holy Christian families are sprouting up thanks to your apostolate. That is a fact, no one denies it. Even our progressivist visitors from Rome have noticed the good quality of our work. When Bishop Perl told the Sisters of Saint-Pré and the Sisters of Fanjeaux that it is on such bases as theirs that we must rebuild the Church, that is not a small compliment.

All this shows that we are the ones with the marks of the visible Church. If there is still a visibility of the Church today, it is thanks to you. These signs are no longer found in others. There is no longer unity of the law in them, and faith is the basis of all the visibility of the Church.

Catholicity is one faith in space.

Apostolicity is one faith in time.

And Holiness is the fruit of faith, which is formed in souls by the grace of God, through the grace of the sacraments.

It is absolutely wrong to consider ourselves as not being part of the visible Church. It is unbelievable. It is the official Church that rejects us, but not us who reject the Church, far from it. On the contrary, we are always united to the Roman Church, including to the Pope of course, to Peter's successor. I think we must have this conviction so that we do not fall into the errors that are now being spread.

Of course, one could object to us: "Isn't it a matter of necessity that we leave the visible Church in order not to lose our soul, and that we leave the society of the faithful united to the Pope?"

It is not us, but the modernists who leave the Church. As for using the term "to leave the visible Church", it is a mistake to equate the official Church with the visible Church.

We belong to the visible Church, to the society of the faithful under the Pope's authority, because we do not challenge the Pope's authority, but rather what he does [with it]. We recognize the Pope's authority, but when he uses it to do the opposite of what it was given to him for, it is obvious that we cannot follow him.

Leaving the official Church then? To some extent, yes, of course. Madiran's entire book "Heresy of the Twentieth Century" is the story of the heresy of the bishops. It is therefore necessary to get out of this milieu of bishops, if we do not want to lose our soul.

But this is not enough, for it is in Rome that heresy is installed. If bishops are heretics (without taking this term in the canonical sense and without it's canonical consequences), it is not without Rome's influence.

When we move away from these people, that is just like we do with people who have AIDS. We don't want to catch it ourselves. Now, they have spiritual AIDS, a contagious diseases. If we want to stay healthy, we must not go near them.

Yes, liberalism and modernism were introduced at the Council and brought inside the Church. These are revolutionary ideas and the Revolution, which we found in civil society, was brought into the Church. Cardinal Ratzinger is not hiding from this: they have adopted ideas, not of the Church, but of the world and they feel they must bring them into the Church.

However, the authorities have not changed one iota their ideas on the Council, liberalism and modernism. They are anti-Tradition, Tradition as we understand it and as the Church understands it. That does not enter into their concept. Since theirs is an evolving concept, they are therefore against this fixed Tradition in which we remain. We believe that everything that our catechism teaches us comes to us from Our Lord and the Apostles and that there is nothing to change. That's clear. All three parts of the catechism come to us from Our Lord. Why change it? We cannot change them. The Creed, God's commandments, the means to save us, the sacraments, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and prayer all come directly from Our Lord. All this is our catechism, which is generally given to us with our baptism, which is placed in our hands. This has been our charter since Our Lord wanted everyone to be baptized, everyone to adopt the Creed, the Decalogue, the sacraments He instituted, as well as the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and prayers. For them, no, all this is evolving and has evolved with Vatican II.  The current term for evolution is Vatican II. That is why we cannot attach ourselves to [Conciliar] Rome. We could have, if we had managed to protect ourselves completely as we had asked. But they wouldn't have it. They refused the members we were asking for in the Commission, they refused the number of bishops we were asking for, they refused the number of bishops I was presenting to them. It was clear: they didn't want us to be protected. They want to have us under their direct control and to be able to impose on us precisely this anti-Tradition policy which they are imbued with.

One example shows us that nothing has changed in the minds of the Romans: on 1 May, a very important congress on religious liberty in current political situations was held in Venice. It was directed by the Rector of the Lateran University, Mgr Pierre Rossano, renowned for his very liberal ideas and Mgr Pavan, who is the author of practically all the sociological documents published since Pope John XXIII, all the documents which concern society. The encyclicals of Popes John XXIII, Paul VI and John Paul II were practically written by him. He is full of Vatican ideas.

It was these two prelates who organized and directed this Venice meeting on religious liberty in political situations. It is very interesting to note what they say about religious liberty: "Changing the concept of religious liberty". They don't hide it from us. They talk about the influences of World War II. They look for distant motives: already under Pius XII an awareness of religious liberty was taking shape, as realized in the tragedy of the Second World War. This allowed, to use a stereotypical phrase: "a transfer of the right of Truth to the right of the person".

Let us look have a closer look at this. The "right of Truth" teaches us that there is freedom of the true religion, but that man does not have the freedom to choose his religion, to choose truth. We are made and created with an intelligence and a free will, no doubt, but this freedom must serve only to adhere to the truth and not to something else. For a fundamental, essential link unites freedom and truth. Breaking this link by saying that "from now on, we have understood that it is no longer a question of linking freedom to truth, but freedom to human nature", that is a fundamental error. Our nature itself, with our intelligence and will, is made to adhere to truth. Now, as the authors of the Venice Congress write in their report, the right to the truth is being abolished, this link which by nature unites the subject to the truth, to replace it with a human right, a completely independent right. This right would be based on nature, but considered in the dignity of a free subject, i.e. autonomous and without any link [to truth]. And the authors elaborate that this must be especially so in religious matters which deal with the orientation of life. That's scary. As if we could change things so profound in nature. God created us for the truth, He did not give us the freedom to embrace error. That's not possible. We have no right to error. In practice however, this is what the right to religious liberty is all about: allowing nature to freely choose its own truth is giving it the right to embrace error.

And all states should accept this, without opposing it within the limits of public order. But public order is very broad. These societies should accept ecumenism, the secularization of states, freedom of worship. They should recognize as guidelines all that man can dig out of his own depth, the ideas he may have, the religious concepts he forges for himself.

Since religious liberty was affirmed, they have reaffirmed this absolutely revolutionary principle of the Declaration of Human Rights. It really is a satanic principle: "non serviam, I don't want to serve." I don't want to be subject to the truth. But if God imposes a truth on us, that's how it is. "He who does not believe will be condemned". Let there be tolerance, because people make mistakes... but as a principle this liberty does not exist and cannot exist.

I just wanted to mention this so you could clearly see that Rome has changed nothing. This is not an empty accusation, but it is something that comes from the official report of the Venice meeting, most recently on 1 May. The rector of the Lateran University is the head of the entire university formation of the Church of Rome. They are official representatives of Rome. And this is what they reaffirm. Nothing has changed. We can't follow people like that. These are absolutely serious, profound errors.

Whatever happens, we must continue as we have done, and God shows us that by following this path we are doing our duty. We don't deny the Roman Church. We do not deny its existence, but we cannot follow its instructions. We cannot follow their principles of the Council. We cannot attach ourselves to them.

I realized that Rome wanted to impose their ideas and their views on us. Cardinal Ratzinger always said to me: "But Monsignor, there is only one Church, you must not start a parallel Church". But what is the Church for him? The Conciliar Church, obviously. When he told us explicitly: "Obviously, if we grant you this protocol, some privileges, you will also have to accept what we do; and consequently, in the church of Saint-Nicolas-du-Chardonnet it will be necessary to say a new Mass also every Sunday", you see clearly that he wanted to bring us back to the conciliar Church. This is not possible, because it is clear that they want to impose these novelties on us in order to put an end to Tradition.  They don't grant us anything out of an esteem for the Traditional liturgy, but simply to deceive those to whom they give it and to diminish our resistance, to drive a wedge into the Traditional block in order to destroy it. It's their policy, their conscious tactic. They're not joking and you all know the pressures they exert. Some of you have already been approached by the Bishop or by this or that person to leave Tradition. They are making considerable efforts everywhere.

The sisters of Saint-Pré were visited by Father Philippe who tried to indoctrinate them. But he was well received, I assure you! The Bishop of Carcassonne made offers of friendship and understanding to the sisters of Fanjeaux with our Father Pozzera. He was straightened out as well. But they keep coming. They'll be back. Father Innocent-Marie recently rang me up and told me that he had received pressure from the Bishop of Angers. They won't stop trying to get us now. It's really incredible this war with Tradition.

But God will not allow us to disappear. After the consecrations, I still expected a certain decrease in attendance in our parishes, maybe 25%, and that it would slowly increase again afterwards. But with the shock, with the headlines, "excommunication, schism, rupture, etc." (newspapers gain from this, it makes them sell), I said that some will be afraid and no longer follow us. But you see, God has shown that people have good sense and, on the contrary, we have never seen so many people in our parishes and in our centers. There is a huge influx everywhere. It's very encouraging.

Our vocations could have decreased, but they have rather increased. For example, our sisters of Saint-Michel-en Brenne, who for a few years had been a little sad to receive so few vocations, have ten this year, which they almost never had. We have evidence like that of the blessing of God, certainly the blessing of the sacraments. Mother Marie-Jude wrote to me: "This is the result of the consecrations, Your Excellency!".

I believe, and you know this better than I do since you are more in contact with the faithful people than I am, that a particular grace has been given, a new fervor, new desires to give oneself to Tradition, a consoling grace, and certainly an encouraging one. Let us thank God who blesses us and simply continue.

I think that we should perhaps be careful to avoid anything that might show, through expressions that are a little too harsh, our disapproval of those who are leaving us. Don't give them epithets that can be taken as offensive. It is of no use to us, on the contrary, I believe. Personally, I always have this attitude towards all those who have left us - and God knows that there have been in the history of the Society, the history of the Society is like the history of separations - I have always taken as a principle : without relationships it is finished. If they leave us and they go to other pastors, to other shepherds: more relationships. Both those who left as "sedevacantists", as well as those who left because we were not papist enough, all tried to drag us into a polemic. I never answered a word. I just pray for them.

That way, none of them can take a letter out of their drawer and say, "See how Monsignor treated me, see here what he told me". Because the mere fact of writing them can lead them to claim: "See, I agree with Archbishop Lefebvre, he already wrote me eight days ago". Then they should be denounced almost immediately: "I wrote, but I didn't say I agreed". And then we write another letter, and the polemics start. We can't put our fingers in this trap. Leave them to it ! I don't think there's anything better [than silence] to make them think and to eventually bring them back to us.... Not many have returned to us... but anyway, they cannot say that we have been unpleasant to them or that we have done them harm. I think that is the best method, except when they make absolutely false statements. Let a communiqué then be issued to rectify, as the Superior General did for Dom Gérard's Declaration. That's normal. But I can say that if we establish a correspondences, we can continue indefinitely and then we unfortunately easily get to the point where we say things that we regret having said, or that are not charitable.