1. Who are the ralliers?
We call "ralliers" those communities, priests and faithful who first decided to defend Tradition, but who, after the 30 June 1988 episcopal consecrations which lead to the excommunication alleged against Archbishop Lefebvre, Bishop de Castro-Mayer and the four consecrated bishops, have chosen to place themselves under the effective dependence on the current hierarchy, all the while preserving the Traditional liturgy. So they rallied to the Conciliar Church.
By extension, the term "ralliers" refers to those communities, priests and faithful who preserve the traditional liturgy but [at the same time] accept the main Conciliar errors as well as the full validity and legitimacy of the Novus Ordo of Paul VI and the [other] sacraments that Paul VI tampered with and promulgated.
"Dom Gérard, in his declaration, refers to what is given to him and accepts to put himself under obedience to modernist Rome, which remains essentially anti-traditional"1.
2. Isn't the word "ralliers" pejorative?
Yes, the word "ralliers" is pejorative because it describes a betrayal of Tradition.
3. How did the ralliers betray Tradition?
The ralliers betrayed Tradition because many of them, after having started off by serving it, stopped defending it, then abandoned it, and little by little made an apology [defense] of Conciliar errors, and [thereby] opposed Tradition and its defenders,
"They betray us. Now they are shaking hands with those who are destroying the Church, with the liberals, with the modernists"2.
4. Why do you say that the ralliers have stopped defending Tradition?
We say that the ralliers have stopped defending Tradition because since 1988 they no longer denounce the Conciliar errors (the harmfulness of the New Mass, of the new Code of Canon Law, of interreligious dialogue, of religious liberty, etc.)3.
"When they say they didn't give up anything, they are wrong. They've given up on the possibility of opposing [Conciliar] Rome. They can't say anything any more. They must remain silent because of the favours they have been given. It is now impossible for them to denounce the errors of the Conciliar Church"4.
5. In what way have the ralliers gradually made an apology for conciliar errors?
The rallies have gradually made an apology [defense] of conciliar errors by unreservedly supporting the legitimacy and validity of the rite of the New Mass, by defending the doctrine of religious liberty, like Fr. Basil of Le Barroux who published a defence in six volumes, legitimizing the Assisi meetings and the interreligious dialogue, like the superior of the Fraternity of St. Peter, accepting to be ruled by the new code of canon law, by not publicly refusing the Pope's recent reforms on the annulment of marriages, by accepting the canonization of John Paul II who implemented the Conciliar reforms, or by concelebrating the New Mass, just like Dom Gérard (†), Bishop Wach or Bishop Rifan.
"From the point of view of ideas. They started off slowly but ended up admitting the Council's false ideas, because Rome had granted them some [gifts] in favour of Tradition. This is a very dangerous situation"5.
6. How did the ralliers condemn Tradition and its defenders?
The ralliers condemned Tradition in three ways: firstly by defending positions contrary to this Tradition, secondly by serving as a bait to attract the true faithful of Tradition into a position of compromise; thirdly by accusing its defenders - mainly the priests and faithful of the SSPX - of being excommunicated and schismatic6. Several marriages celebrated in the SSPX were thus annulled for lack of canonical form at the request of rallied priests.
"All that has been granted to them has been granted to them only with the aim of ensuring that all those who adhere to or are linked to the Society detach themselves from it and submit to Rome"7.
7. Is this not unfair to the young Ecclesia Dei communities or to the members who entered these communities after 1988?
It is not unfair to say that all the Ecclesia Dei communities (that is, the rallied communities8) betray Tradition because they officially portray themselves as traditional when they are not really so and thus they deceive the faithful as well as Tradition.
God alone judges the intentions of hearts and there are certainly many zealous and pious priests in these communities. But by adhering to these communities, they assume responsibility for the doctrinal positions of their own communities.
8. Don't the ralliers defend the Mass of all time?
The ralliers defend the Mass of all time but they defend it badly, because to defend the Mass of all time well, it is necessary: first, to celebrate and honour it - which they do; second, to refuse and denounce the new Mass which is opposed to the Mass of all times - which they do not do; third, to unite the traditional Mass to the full and entire doctrine of the Church - which they do not do.
At the end of the day, "the question of the liturgy and sacraments is very important, but it is not the most important. The most important is that of faith"9.
"Rome now seems agreeable to[the idea of] allowing us to say the old Mass, the Catholic Mass and therefore there should no longer be any problem for us. But this is to put ourselves in a contradiction, because at the same time as Rome gives, as they did for example with the Fraternity of St. Peter (...) the authorization to say the Mass of all time, at the same time they made them sign a profession of faith in which the Council is inscribed, in which the spirit of the Council must be admitted. (...) How can we want the Mass of all time, while [at the same time] accepting the spirit that destroys this Mass of all time? It is to place oneself in a complete contradiction"10.
9. How do the ralliers justify their rallying to modernist Rome?
The ralliers justify their rallying to modernist Rome by accepting the hand that Rome extended them, by [claiming] the obligation to obey the laws and legitimate authorities of the Church11, by [claiming] the need to belong to the visible Church12, by [claiming] the possibility of working better for Tradition within the Church and by [claiming] the 30 June 1988 consecrations was schismatic.
10. What should we think of Rome's extended hand?
The hand extended by Rome was not given for the true good of Tradition in the Church but to gradually lead the traditionalists to conciliar errors. It was a tactic.
"On reflection, it is clear to us that the purpose of these conferences and this reconciliation is to reintegrate us into the Conciliar Church, the only Church to which you make allusions in your catechisms. We thought that you would give us the means to continue and develop the works of Tradition."13.
"What Rome now grants in favour of tradition is only a purely political, diplomatic gesture to force the ralliement. But it is not a conviction to the benefit of Tradition.”
11. What should we think of the obligation to obey the laws and legitimate authorities of the Church?
Every Catholic is bound to obey the laws and legitimate authorities of the Church precisely in so far as these laws and authorities are legitimate, that is, in the service of the common good.
On the other hand, every Catholic is obliged to oppose illegitimate laws and orders, even those prescribed by legitimate authorities. However, while the SSPX does not question the legitimacy of the ecclesiastical authorities, it rejects [the legitimacy] of their laws and orders inspired by the Council, like for example the whole (in their not being integral) of the norms of the new code of canon law.
"There are those who are sick of thinking that we ought to oppose Rome. They disagree. Well, it's that they didn't really see the problem of the liberal invasion in Rome. (...) Perhaps they have only a sentimental faith, those who hesitate. They don’t grasp the doctrinal sense of the magisterium, of the Church of all time, of Tradition, of the Catholic faith. They say: "We don’t completely agree [with him], but we cannot separate ourselves from the Pope. We prefer a legal, canonical, regular union with ecclesiastical authorities. We cannot remain thus indefinitely separated from the Roman authorities and from the bishops. That's not possible. But, you will see, we will keep Tradition. We will do this, we will do that. We don't want to fall for that. Everyone who left us and said that, they all gave up. They could not bear being too separated from the ecclesiastical authorities"14.
12. Are the Society of Saint Pius X and their friendly communities outside the visible Church?
"This story of the visible Church of Dom Gérard and Mr. Madiran is childish. It is incredible that they talk to us about the visible Church instead of the Conciliar Church which is in opposition to the Catholic Church which we try to represent and continue.15
"Where is the visible Church? The visible Church is recognized by the marks she has always given for her visibility: she is One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic. (...) where are the true marks of the Church? Are they more in the official Church (it is not the visible Church, it is the official Church) or in us, in what we represent, and in what we are?16
If there is still any visibility of the Church today, it is thanks to you. These signs are no longer found in others. There is no longer any unity of faith among them, but it is faith which is the basis of all 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 realized in souls through the grace of the Good Lord, through the grace of the sacraments.
It is completely wrong to consider ourselves as if we are not part of the visible Church. It is a mistake to assimilate [equate] the official Church and the visible Church."17
13. Is it true that it is easier to work for Tradition from within the Church?
No, this is not true; first, because traditionalists are not outside the Church; second, because the defence of Tradition requires one to protect oneself from conciliar contagion; third, because the profession of faith demands a clear distinction from positions that would be weakened by an official collaboration.
“Would it not be (...) in the plan of Providence that the Church’s Catholic Tradition not be integrated into the pluralism of the Conciliar Church, as long as it defiles the honour of the Catholic Church and offends both its unity and its visibility?"18
"These are things that are easy to say. What does it mean to get inside the Church? And first of all, which church are we talking about? If it is the Conciliar Church, we who have fought against it for 20 years because we want the Catholic Church would have to enter this Conciliar Church in order to supposedly make it Catholic? That is a total illusion"19
"Renewal can now only be achieved by bishops who are free to revive Christian faith and virtue through the means Our Lord has entrusted to His Church for the sanctification of priests and the faithful. Only an environment completely free from modern errors and modern morals can allow this renewal. This is the environment that Cardinal Gagnon and Monsignor Perl visited, an environment formed by deeply Christian families, with many children, and from which many excellent vocations come.20
14. Is it true that the consecrations of 30 June 1988 were schismatic?
Schism is a refusal to obey in principle the authority of the Holy Father. However, the consecrations on 30 June 1988 do not contain this will. On the contrary, the consecrations of 1988 show the fidelity of the SSPX to the Apostolic See in spite of its erring. One of the greatest signs of fidelity to the Pope does not consist in following him by a false obedience in his errors but in turning him from these errors as much as possible.
15. Is it at least true that following the Society leads on to schism?
There is obviously a danger of tending towards schism by avoiding submission to the pontifical authority imbued with its errors, by getting into the habit of acting independently of the Pope.
"There would be a danger of schism if the bishops consecrated by Monsignor Lefebvre constituted themselves as autonomous (or autocephalous, as the Orthodox say) church leaders.”21 This is not the case.
However, this danger is much less than that of assimilating the Conciliar errors spread by the ecclesiastical authorities.
"We must absolutely convince the faithful (...) that it is a danger to put ourselves in the hands of the Conciliar bishops and of modernist Rome. It is the greatest danger that threatens them. If we have struggled for 20 years to avoid Conciliar errors, it is not to put ourselves now in the hands of those who profess them.”22
"It seems timely to analyse how the devil works to weaken or nullify our work.. The first temptation is to maintain good relations with the present Pope or Bishops. Obviously it is more normal to be in harmony with the authorities than to be in conflict with them. The Society will then be accused of exaggerating the errors of the Second Vatican Council, of abusively criticizing the writings and acts of the Pope and the Bishops, of attaching itself with excessive rigidity to Traditional rites and, ultimately, of presenting a tendency towards sectarianism which will one day lead it to schism. Once the word schism is mentioned, it will be used as a scarecrow to frighten seminarians and their families, leading them to abandon the Society all the more easily as priests, bishops and Rome itself claim to offer guarantees in favour of a certain Tradition. "23
16. Does the position of the ralliers lead to schism?
The position of the ralliers leads to schism. For the schism consists not just in refusing the primacy of the Pope but in refusing Tradition. But to participate in this demolition of Tradition is part of a schismatic attitude.
"This Conciliar Church is a schismatic church, because it breaks with the Catholic Church of all time. This Conciliar Church is schismatic because it has based itself on principles opposed to those of the Catholic Church. The Church that asserts such errors is at once both schismatic and heretical. This Conciliar Church is therefore not Catholic."24
"To the extent that the pope departs from this tradition, he would become schismatic, he would break with the Church. (...) All those who cooperate in the application of this subversion accept and adhere to this new Conciliar Church and enter into schism. "25
17. Are the sacraments of the rallied priests valid?
The sacraments of rallied priests are valid insofar as their ordinations are valid (for sacraments which require the priesthood in the minister). However, one may have doubts about the priesthood of rallied clerics who were ordained by bishops who were themselves doubtfully consecrated because of their ambiguous intentions and because of the new rite of episcopal consecrations (after 1968).
As for the confirmations given in the rallied communities, there are doubts as to the validity of the matter used for Holy Chrism. If the oil is not olive oil, as is currently authorised and practised, a doubt hangs over it.
"All these seminarians who are present here, if tomorrow the good Lord calls me, and it will undoubtedly be without much delay, well, these seminarians from whom will they receive the sacrament of [Holy] orders? Conciliar bishops, whose sacraments are all doubtful, because we don't know exactly what their intentions are? That's not possible! "26
18. Can we go to the Masses of the "ralliers"?
No, one cannot go to the Masses of the ralliers, first, because attendance at Mass is a public profession of faith and this profession of faith is altered by the ralliers, secondly because attendance at a rallied Mass leads to a relativization of doctrinal oppositions, thirdly because such attendance develops contacts which are dangerous to the faith.
"They also say: the Mass is good, so we go there. Yes, there's the Mass. And that is good, but there's also the sermon; there's the atmosphere, the conversations, the contacts before and after, which make you slowly change your mind. It is therefore a danger and that is why I generally believe that we have to look at the whole picture. We don't just go to Mass, we go to a while milieu.
There are obviously people who are attracted by the beautiful ceremonies that also go to Fontgombault, where the old Mass has been resumed. They find themselves in a climate of ambiguity which, in my opinion, is dangerous. As soon as one finds oneself in this atmosphere, submitted to the Vatican, and ultimately submitted to the Council, one ends up becoming an ecumenist"27.
19. What should be our attitude towards the ralliers?
"[Dom Gérard] would like at the same time to keep the friendship and support of the traditionalists, which is inconceivable. He accuses us of being "resistancialists"28.
"We will no longer have any relationship with Le Barroux and we will warn all our faithful to no longer support a work that is in the hands of our enemies, enemies of Our Lord and his Universal Reign"29.
"It is clear that all those who leave us or who have left us for sedevacantism or because they want to be subject to the current hierarchy of the Church while hoping to keep Tradition, we can no longer have a relationship with them. That's not possible. We say that we cannot be subject to this ecclesiastical authority and keep Tradition [at the same time]. They say otherwise. It's cheating the faithful. (...) we want to be absolutely free from compromise both with regard to the sedevacantists and with regard to those who want to be subjected to ecclesiastical authority"30. "Let us have contacts with them to bring them back to Tradition, to convert them, if necessary. That is the right ecumenism. But to give the impression that one almost regrets [being separated], and that after all one would do well to speak with them, that is not possible"31.
20. Shouldn't we, on the contrary, unite and form a common front?
An alliance had been in effect for 15 years. They [the rallied communities] only had to renew it on June 30  in doctrinal and prudential unanimity: for it was essential that we continue the fight for Christ the King. (...) But he [Dom Gérard] was the one who broke the sacred alliance and now calls for a new alliance.32
"I believe that what has contributed to the fall of Dom Gérard is his preoccupation with ‘opening himself to all those who are not with us and who can also benefit from the traditional liturgy’. We want to try, he said, to no longer have this critical, sterile, negative attitude. We will try to open our doors to all those who may not have our ideas, but who would like the liturgy, so that they too may enjoy the benefits of monastic life. At that time I was worried about what I considered to be a very dangerous operation. It was the Church's opening to the world and we can clearly see that in fact it was the world that converted the Church. Dom Gérard let himself be contaminated by this milieu that he received into his monastery"33.
21. Isn't that a little harsh?
Of course not. (...) It is not with pleasure in our heart that we had difficulties with Rome. We didn't have to fight for fun. We did it for principles, to keep the Catholic faith. And they agreed with us. They were working with us. And then all of a sudden they give up the real fight in order to ally themselves with the destroyers under the pretext that they grant them some privileges. That is unacceptable. They have practically abandoned the fight for the faith. They can no longer attack Rome"34.
- 1. Mgr Lefebvre, letter to Fr. Thomas Aquinas, 8 August 1988
- 2. Exclusive Interview with Mgr Marcel Lefebvre– Fideliter n° 79, January – February 1991
- 3. For more information, we can refer to the Fight of the Faith No. 176 "Ecclesia Dei? Danger!", March 2016 or to Fr. Gaudron, Catechism of the Catholic Crisis in the Church, Le Sel, last chapter.
- 4. Exclusive Interview with Mgr Marcel Lefebvre– Fideliter n° 79, January – February 1991
- 5. Exclusive Interview with Mgr Marcel Lefebvre– Fideliter n° 79, January – February 1991
- 6. In his letter to the Pope of 8 July 1988 Dom Gérard asked for his monks "the grace of being relieved of all censorship and irregularities that we could have incurred from the fact that most of our priests were ordained by His Excellency Monsignor Marcel Lefebvre, and then suspened", Fideliter No. 67 January - February 1989, p. 10. "This is an additional reason not to accept a schism and I said it publicly from the first threats made to Ecône, already one year ago." (R. P. Bruno de Blignières, Christian Family, July 21, 1988)
- 7. Exclusive Interview with Mgr Marcel Lefebvre– Fideliter n° 79, January – February 1991
- 8. In dependence on the Roman commission that was founded by the eponymous motu proprio condemning the 1988 consecrations
- 9. Exclusive Interview with Mgr Marcel Lefebvre– Fideliter n° 79, January – February 1991
- 10. Mgr Lefebvre, sermon on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Society, Fideliter n° 76 de July – August 1990, p. 11
- 11. Mgr Lefebvre, sermon on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Society, Fideliter n° 76 de July - August 1990, p. 11
- 12. "All other things being equal, that is, faith and the sacraments being saved, it is better to be in accord with the laws of the Church than to go against them" Declaration of Dom Gérard, Fideliter n° 65 September - October 1988, p. 18.
- 13. Mgr Lefebvre, letter to cardinal Ratzinger, 24 May 1988
- 14. Exclusive Interview with Mgr Marcel Lefebvre– Fideliter n° 79, January – February 1991
- 15. Mgr Marcel Lefebvre - Fideliter n° 68 of March - April 1989, p. 13-14
- 16. Exclusive Interview with Mgr Marcel Lefebvre– Fideliter n° 79, January – February 1991
- 17. Conference by Mgr Lefebvre, Ecône 9 September 1988
- 18. Fr. Schmidberger, Fideliter n° 65 September - October 1988, p. 20
- 19. Exclusive Interview with Mgr Marcel Lefebvre– Fideliter n° 79, January – February 1991
- 20. Mgr Lefebvre, letter to pope John Paul II, 20 May 1988
- 21. Dom Gérard, Sermon on 2 August 1987, Fideliter n° 67 January - February 1989, p. 5
- 22. Exclusive Interview with Mgr Marcel Lefebvre– Fideliter n° 79, January – February 1991
- 23. Mgr Lefebre, letter to Mgr de Galarreta, 1989
- 24. Reflections, 29 July 1976, Itinéraires, La Condamnation Sauvage, n°40.
- 25. Mgr Lefebvre, interview with Le Figaro, 2 August 1976
- 26. Mgr Lefebvre, sermon at the 1988 consecrations
- 27. Exclusive Interview with Mgr Marcel Lefebvre– Fideliter n° 79, January – February 1991
- 28. Mgr Lefebvre, letter to Fr. Thomas Aquinas, 8 August 1988
- 29. Mgr Lefebvre, letter to Fr. Thomas Aquinas, 8 August 1988
- 30. Conference in Flavigny, December 1988, Fideliter n° 68, p. 16.
- 31. The Church Infiltrated by Modernism, p. 139.
- 32. Conference in Flavigny, December 1988, Fideliter n° 68, p. 16.
- 33. Mgr Lefebvr, Fideliter n° 68, November – December 1988, p. 14-15.
- 34. Exclusive Interview with Mgr Marcel Lefebvre– Fideliter n° 79, January – February 1991