- On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the episcopal consecrations, the bishops of the Society of Saint Pius X would like to express solemnly their gratitude to Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and Bishop Antonio de Castro Mayer for the heroic step they courageously took on June 30, 1988. Most especially they would like to express their filial gratitude towards their venerable founder who, after so many years spent serving the Church and the Sovereign Pontiff, so as to safeguard the Faith and the Catholic priesthood, did not hesitate to suffer the unjust accusation of disobedience.
- In his letter addressed to us before the consecrations, he wrote, “I beseech you to remain attached to the See of Peter, to the Roman Church, Mother and Mistress of all churches, in the integral Catholic Faith, as expressed in the Professions of Faith, in the catechism of the Council of Trent, in conformity with that which you have been taught in the seminary. Remain faithful to the transmission of this Faith so that the reign of Our Lord may come.” It is indeed this phrase which expresses the profound reason for the act which he was going to undertake “so that the reign of Our Lord might come,” adveniat regnum tuum!
- Following Archbishop Lefebvre, we affirm that the cause of the grave errors which are in the process of demolishing the Church does not reside in a bad interpretation of the conciliar texts – a “hermeneutic of rupture” which would be opposed to a “hermeneutic of reform in continuity” – but truly in the texts themselves, by virtue of the unheard of choice made by Vatican II. This choice is manifest in its documents and in its spirit; faced with “secular and profane humanism,” faced with the “religion (as indeed it is) of man who makes himself God,” the Church as unique custodian of Revelation “of God who became man” has wanted to make known its “new humanism” by saying to the modern world, “we too, we more than any other, have the cult of man.” (Paul VI, closing speech, 7th December 1965). But this coexistence of the cult of God and the cult of man is radically opposed to the Catholic Faith which teaches us to render the supreme cult and to give the primacy exclusively to the one true God and to only His Son, Jesus Christ, in whom “dwelleth all the fullness of the Divinity corporeally” (Col. 2:9).
- We are truly obliged to observe that this Council without comparison, which wanted to be merely pastoral and not dogmatic, inaugurated a new type of magisterium, hitherto unheard of in the Church, without roots in Tradition; a magisterium resolved to reconcile Catholic doctrine with liberal ideas; a magisterium imbued with the modernist ideas of subjectivism, of immanentism and of perpetual evolution according to the false concept of a living tradition, vitiating the nature, the content, the role and the exercise of ecclesiastical magisterium.
- Henceforth the reign of Christ is no longer the preoccupation of the ecclesiastical authorities, despite the fact that Christ’s words, “all power is given to me on earth and in heaven,” (Mt 28:18) remain an absolute truth and an absolute reality. To deny them in action is tantamount to no longer recognising in practice the divinity of Our Lord. Hence because of the Council, the sovereignty of Christ over human societies is simply ignored, and even combatted, and the Church is imbued with this liberal spirit which manifests itself especially in religious liberty, ecumenism, collegiality and the New Mass.
- Religious Liberty, as exposed by Dignitatis humanae and its practical application these last fifty years, logically leads to demanding God-made-Man to renounce His reign over man-who-makes-himself-God, which is equivalent to dissolving Christ. In the place of a conduct which is inspired by a solid faith in the real power of Our Lord Jesus Christ, we see the Church being shamefully guided by human prudence and with such self-doubt that she asks nothing other from the State than that which the Masonic Lodges wish to concede to her: the common law in the midst of, and on the same level as, other religions which she no longer dares call false.
- In the name of a ubiquitous ecumenism (Unitatis redintegratio) and of a vain inter-religious dialogue (Nostra Aetate), the truth about the one true Church is silenced; also, as a large part of the clergy and the faithful no longer see in Our Lord and the Catholic Church the unique way of salvation, they have renounced to convert the adepts of false religions, leaving them rather in ignorance of the unique Truth. This ecumenism has thus literally killed the missionary spirit through seeking a false unity, too often reducing the mission of the Church to that of delivering a message of a purely terrestrial peace and of a humanitarian role of lessening want in the world, placing it thereby in the wake of international organisations.
- The weakening of faith in Our Lord’s divinity favours a dissolution of the unity of authority in the Church, by introducing a collegial, egalitarian and democratic spirit, (see Lumen Gentium). Christ is no longer the head from which everything flows, in particular the exercise of authority. The Sovereign Pontiff who no longer exercises effectively the fullness of his authority, and the bishops who – contrary to the teaching of Vatican I – esteem that they can collegially and habitually share the fullness of the supreme power, commit themselves thereby, with the priests, to listen to and to follow ‘the people of God,’ the new sovereign. This represents the destruction of authority and in consequence the ruin of Christian institutions: families, seminaries, religious institutes.
- The New Mass, promulgated in 1969, diminishes the affirmation of the reign of Christ by the Cross (“regnavit a ligno Deus”). Indeed, the rite itself curtails and obscures the sacrificial and propitiatory nature of the Eucharistic Sacrifice. Underpinning this new rite is the new and false theology of the paschal mystery. Both one and the other destroy Catholic spirituality as founded upon the sacrifice of Our Lord on Calvary. This Mass is penetrated with an ecumenical and Protestant spirit, democratic and humanist, which empties out the sacrifice of the Cross. It illustrates the new concept of ‘the common priesthood of the baptised’ which undermines the sacramental priesthood of the priest.
- Fifty years on, the causes persist and still engender the same effects. Hence today the consecrations retain their full justification. It was love of the Church which guided Archbishop Lefebvre and which guides his sons. It is the same desire to “pass on the Catholic priesthood in all its doctrinal purity and its missionary charity” (Archbishop Lefebvre, Spiritual Journey) which animates the Society of Saint Pius X at the service of the Church, when it asks with insistence for the Roman authorities to regain the treasure of doctrinal, moral and liturgical Tradition.
- This love of the Church explains the rule that Archbishop Lefebvre always observed: to follow Providence in all circumstances, without ever allowing oneself to anticipate it. We mean to do the same: either when Rome returns to Tradition and to the Faith of all time – which would re-establish order in the Church; or when she explicitly acknowledges our right to profess integrally the Faith and to reject the errors which oppose it, with the right and the duty for us to oppose publicly the errors and the proponents of these errors, whoever they may be – which would allow the beginning of a re-establishing of order. Meanwhile, faced with this crisis which continues its ravages in the Church, we persevere in the defence of Catholic Tradition and our hope remains entire, as we know by the certitude of Faith that “the gates of hell will not prevail against her.” (Mt 16:18)
- We mean to follow well the injunction of our dear and venerable Father in the episcopacy: “Dear friends, be my consolation in Christ, remain strong in the Faith, faithful to the true sacrifice of the Mass, to the true and holy Priesthood of Our Lord, for the triumph and the glory of Jesus in heaven and on earth” (Letter to the bishops). May the Holy Trinity, by the intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, grant us the grace of fidelity to the episcopacy which we have received and which we want to exercise for the honour of God, the triumph of the Church and the salvation of souls.
Bishop Bernard Fellay
Bishop Bernard Tissier de Mallerais
Bishop Alfonso de Galarreta