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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Recalling Why They Resisted…Protestantism in the Church Since Vatican II Featured

By:   Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre
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Mgr Lefebvre

Publisher's Introduction

by Michael J. Matt

Back in 1976 when I was ten years old, I was confirmed by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. I remember a kind and saintly man, soft-spoken and truly humble. Even as children, my siblings and I understood that here was a true soldier of Christ who’d taken a courageous and lonely stand in defense of sacred Tradition at a time when there was nothing more “hip” than novelty and innovation. Our father was in his company, and these men were “traddies” long before “traddy” was cool.



Remember, the whole world was in the throes of revolution at the time—sexual, political, liturgical, cultural—and there was nothing more passé than the past. The lonely stand of the early traditionalists, then, might be compared in sheer absurdity (at least in the eyes of the world at the time) to a man standing in the mud at Woodstock, insisting that the hippies put their clothes back on and stop dropping acid and smoking pot. Nobody cared. They were laughed at, mocked and eventually told to get the hell out of the Church.

The times they were indeed a’changin’, and with precious few exceptions, the human element of Christ’s Church went along with the madness—indeed, some would say, led the way.

When we recall why these men resisted the madness of the 1960s, let us remember that they were not principally motivated by the idea of safeguarding their own situations. Archbishop Lefebvre, for example, was in retirement when the world found out who he was. He was coaxed out of retirement by seminarians who’d suddenly found themselves surrounded by wolves in sheep’s clothing right in the seminaries themselves. The Modernists were literally everywhere.

Lefebvre wasn’t trying to make a name for himself. He was a loyal son of the Church trying to do his duty before God and the Church he’d served all his life. It is important to remember that, and to leave him in the context of that time.

He wasn’t a blogger. He wasn’t running an Internet TV channel. He wasn’t looking for click bait. He was a serious prince of the Church—highly regarded by several popes and the head of a major religious order—who saw the Modernist rise to power as the fulfillment of a prophesy and a dire warning given to the Church a half-century earlier by Pope Saint Pius X. Thus the name of Lefebvre’s Society.

This article may help those Catholics who were not there, to better understand what it was that caused these great Catholic giants to stand against the revolution in the Church they loved more than anything, how it broke their hearts to have to resist even some inside the Vatican itself, how their beautiful Catholic world had come crashing down all around them, and how everything they did was all about defending the infallible teachings of Holy Mother Church and her ancient liturgy everywhere under attack.

Lefebvre was the Athanasius of the Church in our time, and will one day be canonized. Michael Davies thought so, and I have no doubt of it either. Pope Francis, more than any other pope, has inadvertently unmasked the true spirit of Vatican II, and thus makes it so terribly clear why those who resisted that spirit were right to do so.

Please, open your minds to the truth of what really happened…and read on. MJM

The Liturgical Reform and Ecumenism

To deny that the liturgical reform was conceived and executed for ecumenical reasons would be to deny the evidence. The presence of six Protestant delegates in the commission for the reform of the Mass is ample proof that it was so. That the photograph of these six Protestants was published on the front cover of “Documentation Catholique” is significant. (1)

What could have been the reason for such a Protestant presence if not to examine the prayers, and even the structure of the Mass in order to make possible a union in prayer with Protestants, and this, in the most important act of the Catholic Church. (2)

The definition of the Mass as given in the introduction of the Novus Ordo is a Protestant one, and this, in itself, is inadmissible and inconceivable. (3) Henceforth, the emphasis will be on the Supper, the Meal and no longer on the Sacrifice. This alone would suffice to justify our emphatic rejection of the Reform.

It is significant that we no longer find the term ‘Sacrifice’ in the new Mass booklets. This has been replaced by ‘Liturgy of the Eucharist’, ‘Supper Memorial’, ‘Celebration of the Eucharist’, all terms which are typically Protestant.

The logical consequence of this is that this part of the liturgy has taken on a narrative aspect, and the sacrificial action of the priest at the Consecration has disappeared. In the Ordo Romanum, on the other hand, all the gestures, postures, and attitudes of the priest, the words spoken in a low voice, demonstrated that a mystery was being enacted, and that the priestly function ‘par excellence’ was being exercised. But from now on, the priest ‘narrates’ that which happened long ago.

This also is unacceptable.

Everything in this reform concurs in deceiving and in fostering the belief that the Mass is essentially a meal; thus, the table replacing the Altar of Sacrifice; the permission to dispense with the relics of the martyrs who followed Our Lord Jesus Christ, in His Sacrifice; the priest facing the people as the president of a family meal, and no longer as the minister of a sacrifice offering a victim to God, face to face with the Cross which is the symbol of the Sacrifice being perpetuated on the Altar. Many more changes could be mentioned that all concur in this shift of emphasis introduced long ago by the Protestants.

This substitution, or shift of emphasis, must of necessity lead—and is already leading—to the destruction of Catholic Doctrine which rests upon the Sacrifice of the Cross continued on the Altar. It will lead to loss of faith in the Real Presence, and to the ruin of the Catholic priesthood.

This means that no compromise whatever can be consented to in this regard. It means also that those who have taken the Mass along that road bear a heavy burden of responsibility.

To support this new conception, it has been asserted that the Mass is above all the symbol of the “Caena”, and the “Caena” was essentially a meal. But both these claims are false.

The Mass refers essentially to the Sacrifice of the Cross as did the Caena on Holy Thursday, and the Caena was essentially a Sacrifice because its entire significance is bound to the Cross, and has no meaning but for the Cross. The lamb that was immolated and eaten is indeed the victim of the Sacrifice, as Our Lord will be on the Cross, and as signified by the separation of His Body and Blood under the species of bread and wine. It is therefore only in its exterior aspect that the Caena can be compared to a meal and, in doing so, fail to perceive the sublime and profound reality underlying this pre-signification of the Cross. (4)

The danger of losing the most holy reality of our lives—the source of all sanctification, the well-spring of all graces, the fount of every Sacrament, the backbone of the priesthood, and cornerstone of the Church—must needs make us wary of being taken in by deceptive appearances.

Now, the liturgical reform clearly steers us in a direction which is very dangerous to our faith. Facts are before us to show that the danger of losing faith in the Sacrifice, in the Real presence and in the priestly function, is very real. The cries of anguish from the true faithful and from priests whose faith is strong are rising from every side, yet, it must be conceded, with no apparent result up till now.

Such is the first cardinal point on which hinges the ecumenical orientation of the liturgical reform.

We must now mention a second point on which the Protestants who were present at the study of the Reform must certainly have insisted, namely, to reduce in the revised texts the propitiatory end of the Mass, which is the primary end of the Catholic Mass, of the Sacrifice taking place on the Altar, thereby perpetuating the Sacrifice of the Cross and applying its merits to those who participate and for whom it is being offered.

The Protestants claim that this is blasphemy and tantamount to denying the infinite value of Calvary, the One Sacrifice which atoned for the sins of all men. Faith in the Sacrifice of the Cross is sufficient to cleanse us from all our sins; sins are not really wiped out, but by our faith in Christ they are covered and will not be held against us. According to the same Protestant interpretation, the remission of sins through the Sacrifice of the Mass, the Sacrament of Penance, and Indulgences, is an insult to the Sacrifice of Calvary.

Accordingly, our modern reformers have thought fit to suppress the near totality of the traditional prayers which used to express clearly the propitiatory and expiatory end of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and in particular the beautiful Offertory prayers, the prayers at the foot of the Altar, the prayer to the Blessed Trinity at the end of the Mass, the Lavabo prayers, and two of the prayers before the priest’s communion. (5)

This is, therefore, yet another cardinal aspect of the Catholic Mass, and of our faith, which is being faded out and will eventually disappear from the consciousness of the priests and faithful.

We cannot accept such compromises; we must uphold the integrity of our faith in the basic truths of our holy religion. If there is no longer any propitiation for our sins, there is no longer any need either for the Victim to be present on the Altar, no reason for a Sacrifice offered by the priest; all these hold together.

Now, let us not forget that the presence of the Victim on the Altar and His offering, are the ‘raison d’etre’ of the priesthood that Our Lord instituted; the ‘raison d’etre’ also of priestly celibacy, of the existence of religious orders, and of those who receive the baptism of blood. The entire Catholic spirituality finds its justification in the presence of the Divine Victim on the Altar, and in His offering. Such is, indeed, the life of every Catholic: a life of offering in communion with Our Lord, and even more so as regards the religious life whose profession it is, and the priestly life whose function it is.

We cannot afford to go along with a brand of Ecumenism that puts at stake and supernatural truths which are the very essence of Christian life and of the whole life of the Church.

It is clear that this liturgical reform has been carried out so lightly and in such irresponsible manner by people not qualified whether in theology or pastoral work, that it is well-nigh unbelievable.

The haste with which the changes have been introduced in such vital matters, the very number of these changes, the impracticability of checking translations, the intrusion of the Reform into every domain of the liturgy, even into private devotions such as the Rosary, are all beyond comprehension, and are a denial of common sense.

Further, the frenzied insistence on implementation, combined with a phobia for the traditional forms, is such that it is impossible to see in all this the inspiration of the Holy Ghost.

They will not hesitate at pushing the reform to the extreme limit of what is permitted, and even beyond since the validity of some of the new Sacraments is now in doubt due to defect of matter and form. What benefit is there in a reform carried to such lengths?

These are not legitimate and beneficent reforms carried out by the Roman Catholic Church; we cannot recognize the usual marks of wisdom, moderation, concern for the faith and for pastoral needs. In circumstances such as these, our duty is to uphold tradition in order to protest our faith and safeguard the validity of our Sacraments.

·         What pastoral need could there by in altering the words of the Consecration, and in permitting erroneous translations of these alterations to appear?

·         What useful purpose could be served in allowing the aged to receive Extreme-Unction since they do not constitute the matter of the Sacrament of the sick?

·         What pastoral advantage is there in substituting olive oil for any other oil, when olive oil has always been considered by Tradition as necessary to the validity of the Sacrament of Confirmation, any other oil being a doubtful matter?

·         What is the pastoral advantage of suppressing two minor orders and the sub-deaconate, when the priest is so frequently called upon to exercise his functions of Exorcist in the Sacrament of Baptism and in all the blessing of the Ritual, and when he is more than ever in need of re-asserting his celibate state which the sub-deaconate so aptly denoted?

All these changes have put on justification, namely, and aberrant and senseless brand of Ecumenism which will not attract a single Protestant to the Faith, but will cause countless Catholics to lose their own, and will instill total confusion in the minds of many more who no longer will know what is true and what is false.

Obedience in such a case can only consist in a refusal to accept these reforms, and not in their acceptance. To accept this spurious Ecumenism is to precipitate oneself sooner or later into new Protestant or Pentecostalist sects. (6)

Obedience is a virtue intended to direct us towards good, not towards evil. To pretend not to see evil in order not to appear to be disobedient, is a betrayal of truth and a betrayal of our own selves.

It is time that bishops and priests opened their eyes and denounced the danger; time for them to safeguard the former Latin Mass from the Offertory to the Communion inclusive, and to maintain the form and matter of the sacraments integrally as they were, so that none may doubt their validity. It is the greatest service they could render to the Pope, to the Church, to the Faithful, and to themselves.

The criterion of Truth in the Church is Tradition. In doubtful cases, it is there that we must look. To pass on to us faithfully the truths contained in Revelation, such is the role of the infallibility of the Pope and of the Church.

Not by breaking this necessary continuity, shall we serve the Church, but by holding on to it at all costs, especially so at a time when all the efforts of the devil are directed towards breaking it, using the most deceitful pretexts or ‘Updating’, ‘progress’, and ‘opening to the world’.

Virgo fidelis ora pro nobis,

Marcel Lefebvre
Superior General of the SSPX
Melbourne, Feb. 20, 1973.

(Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X, Titular Archbishop of Synnada, Former Superior General of the Holy Ghost Fathers)


(Translated from the French by Yves Dupont)

(1) Also published in No.20 and No.34 of “World Trends”.

(2) The New Mass is now in use in some Protestant communities. (Ed.)

(3) Article 7 of “Institution Generalis” (Editio Typica), reads as follows: “The Lord’s supper is the assembly or gathering together of the people of God, with a priest presiding, to celebrate the memorial of the Lord. For this reason, the promise of Christ, is particularly true of a local congregation of the Church: ‘Where two or three are gathered in My Name, there am I in their midst’ (Mt. 18:20).”     –a) No mention is made of the Mass as a Sacrifice—its essential aspect (“Essential” in the etymological sense). b) The Supper and Memorial aspects are mentioned—which is in order. c) But the mass is further defined as a ‘gathering—which is need not be since a priest may celebrate it alone. d) The priest is described as a ‘President’—which may be acceptable in Latin but emphatically not in English. e) Finally, Holy Scripture is quoted out of context to foster the belief that Christ’s presence at Mass is solely spiritual, not physical—a rank heresy.

(4) Wherever the Archbishop used the word ‘Gene’ I have used the Latin ‘Caena’ rather than the common English rendering ‘Last Supper’. Indeed, it is hardly possible to say that the Last Supper was not a supper, a contradiction in terms, but not improper to suggest that the Caena was not quite the same as the Last Supper, that is did not consist of a supper only. As a matter of fact, some revelations, and those of Venerable Anna-Katarina Emmerick is particular (Some of which were later archeologically verified in the Holy Land), say that the institution of the Eucharist took place after the Last Supper, and in a different room, all doors being closed. The immolation and eating of the lamb in the first room was done merely in observance of the Jewish precept, and as a prefiguration of the real sacrifice of the New Covenant. But, according to this holy Augustinians Nun, the first Consecration of the Bread and Wine took place during an entirely separate ceremony in the second room. If this is correct, it certainly brings to naught the current heresy that describes the Mass as a Meal only! (Ed.)

(5) It is to be noted also that the so-called New Mass no longer has a separate Offertory and Canon proper; both have been merged, so to speak, to form the ‘Liturgy of the Eucharist’—a Protestant term. Likewise, the Foremass is now called ‘Liturgy of the Word’, with many readings added. This augmentation, with the suppression on the other hand of many prayers in the Mass proper, is making the ‘Liturgy of the Word’ appear more important than the ‘Eucharist’. In spite of the devilish cunning of the Reformers, their heretical intention is glaringly obvious. In fact, the so-called Eucharistic Prayer No. II, which is now used almost universally in preference to the other three, makes short shrift of the Mass once the so called ‘Liturgy of the Word’ is over. It is pointless to adduce that the New Mass was ratified by Pope Paul: a papal signature does not possess the magical power of turning heresy into orthodoxy, or a sin into a virtue. (Ed.)

(6) As explained a little further down, Tradition is the criterion of Truth, and, therefore, it determines the attitude we are to take. In order to remain obedient to what the Church has traditionally taught, it is sometimes necessary to be disobedient to those who abuse their God—given authority and teach novelties in contempt of the mandate they have. That is what the Archbishop actually means when he says: “Obedience can only consist in a refusal to accept these reforms.” ■

This article appears in our latest print edition. Another vintage Remnant article by Archbishop Lefebvre is scheduled to appear in our next issue. Subscribe today.

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Last modified on Thursday, April 21, 2016