"Pray and do penance"
This is the conclusion of a
pastoral letter written by Archbishop Lefebvre in 1964
denouncing the gravest errors of the Council. He had titled
"To Remain a
Good Catholic Must One Become a Protestant?"
We believe its conclusions
are still accurate and welcome today.
Pray and do
penance. Pray to the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, for
she is at the heart of all these disputes and she has always
defeated heresies. It is in her that the Council Fathers will
find themselves of one mind and heart as do children about
their mother. It is she who watches over the Successor of
Peter and will always ensure that Peter shall be he who
confirms his brethren in the faith, which was that of the
Apostles, especially Peter, and his successors.
If we are to
deserve the help of Our Lord's grace, we must do penance;
penance in carrying out the duties of our state with no
flinching, yielding nothing, undiscouraged. This we must do
despite the infernal background of license, immodesty, scorn
of authority, failure of respect for oneself and for one's
neighbor. Let us trust. God is all powerful and He has given
Our Lord all power in heaven and on earth. Is this omnipotence
less in nineteen hundred and sixty-four than in eighteen
hundred and seventy at the time of the last Council, or in the
time of all the other Councils? Our Lord will never break the
promises of everlastingness that He has made to the Holy Roman
ego sum, nolite temere.
October 11, 1964
Feast of the Motherhood of the Virgin Mary
The Obama Administration’s recent mandate that all
employers provide insurance coverage that pays for the costs
of abortion inducing drugs, contraception and sterilization
is a striking example of the new persecution of the Church.
the world has, for the moment, laid aside the physical
instruments of persecution, the beast of the Coliseum, the
scaffold and cauldron of the hanging, drawing and quartering,
or the Guillotine, persecution itself has not been laid aside.
Whereas, in the past the persecution focused primarily on
the physical level of the pain of sense, today’s persecution
focuses on the spiritual and moral aspect of Man’s nature.
Rather than demanding that he offer incense to a false god or
face death, today’s persecutors demand violation of the
Natural and Divine Law or face loss of government funds and
their largest weapon, fear of the loss of human respect.
These new persecutions are wrought by the point of a pen
rather than the point of a sword, but their intent is as sharp
as in centuries past. The desire is to force Catholics into
contradiction. They must be forced to betray basic principles
to be allowed to retain their little allotted space in the
public square. The root desire of this new persecution is to
force the Church and Catholics to abandon their tenacious
grasp of immutable moral principles. Abortion, contraception
and sterilization violate the Natural Law, as has always and
everywhere been taught by the Church. To maintain the right to
participate in the freedoms of American pluralistic public
life, Catholic institutions must compromise these immutable
truths. The nature of this compromise is most devious.
Catholics may still prattle on in their little corner of the
public square about their “private” belief that these
unnatural practices are immoral but they can do nothing more.
Their public hospitals and schools must comply with the public
choices that declare these immoral acts to be basic freedoms.
To stay in the public space, they must act contrary to their
“private” beliefs in public. They must pay (either directly
according to the administration’s original plan or indirectly
according to their latest “accommodation”) for their
employees’ violations of Natural Law.
Sadly, modern Church leaders have fashioned their own rod
of persecution. The premise of the new persecution can be
found in the Vatican II document, Digitatis Humani. One
of the essential flaws of the document is its underlying
treatment of religion as a private matter of conscience. DH
proclaims a private right to practice whatever religious
beliefs one’s private conscience might choose as long as in
public you leave everyone else alone to practice his own
choice. This novelty makes religion and religious belief
purely private. It gives credence to the lie that Men can live
double lives. They can have private religious beliefs but must
be willing to abandon them in their public life. Catholic
hospitals and schools can have their own private belief about
abortion, contraception and sterilization but the new
persecution demands that they respect the “religious freedom”
of everyone else to believe the opposite. They must therefore
provide access to these evils through the mandated insurance.
If some members of the American hierarchy are to be commended
for their strong words denouncing this regulation (and the
strong letter of Bishop Slattery of Tulsa, Oklahoma is
noteworthy), it must not be forgotten that it has been their
relentless preaching of this false dichotomy of public/private
religious belief through their embrace of religious freedom
that has resulted in the current crisis.
The chickens have come home to roost. The embrace of
religious freedom has fueled the consolidation of a godless
government and society which rejects an objective moral order.
Now the whimpering cries for their own religious freedom go
unheard in the bureaucracies of the new world order in
What are traditional Catholics to do in the face of such
flagrant flouting of the Natural and Divine Law? Our reaction
must be on three levels: spiritual, social and political.
Spiritually, we must offer prayer and penance to God first in
reparation for our leaders’ flouting of the moral law.
Secondly we must pray for the gift of fortitude for the
bishops of this country that they may echo the words of the
great popes “We have heard enough of the rights of Man and
need to hear more of the rights of God.” May they be
granted the fortitude to stay the course and continue to
operate Catholic hospitals and schools without complying with
the legal requirement, come what may.
Next, we have a social duty to our neighbor to live our
religion publicly and privately. We must maintain that all Men
are whole beings who cannot be divided into private and public
dimensions. We must live consistently our whole lives, in our
private homes and in our workplaces. We must not accept
technical rationalizations to join in the sins of others
through consent, assistance or encouragement.
Politically, we must boldly stand (hopefully behind the
hierarchy) before our political leaders, whose authority comes
from God, and defend the Truth. Like the martyrs of the past
we must make clear that an unjust law, as this one, is no law
at all. We must defend Catholic schools, hospitals and other
institutions and make clear to our governors that they shall
not close their public doors nor shall they compromise to buy
the peace of this world.
is an extract from the conclusion of Archbishop Lefebvre’s
last work, which is also his spiritual testament.
The providential choice of Rome as the Seat of Peter, and
the blessings of this choice for the growth of the Mystical
Body of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
I believe I
must add some words to draw the attention of our priests and
our seminarians to the indisputable fact of the Roman
influences on our spirituality, on our liturgy, and even on
deny that this is a providential fact. God, Who leads all
things, has in His infinite wisdom prepared Rome to become the
Seat of Peter and center for the radiation of the Gospel.
Hence the adage: Unde Christo e
Gueranger, in his Histoire de sainte
Cecile, recounts the great part which members of great
Roman families played in the foundation of the Church, giving
their goods and their blood for the victory and the reign of
Jesus Christ. Our Roman liturgy is the faithful witness of
not a vain word. The Latin language is an important example.
It has brought the expression of the Faith and of Catholic
worship to the ends of the world. And the converted people
were proud to sing their Faith in this language, a real symbol
of the unity of the Catholic Faith.
heresies are often begun by a rupture with Romanitas, a
rupture with the Roman liturgy, with Latin, with the theology
of the Latin and Roman Fathers and theologians.
It is this
force of the Catholic Faith rooted in Romanitas that
Freemasonry wished to eliminate by occupying the pontifical
States and enclosing Catholic Rome in Vatican City. This
occupation of Rome by the Masons permitted infiltration of the
Church by Modernism and the destruction of Catholic Rome by
Modernist clergy and popes who hasten to destroy every vestige
of "Romanitas": the Latin language, the Roman liturgy.
The Slavic Pope is the most determined to change the little
which was kept by the Lateran Treaty and the Concordat. Rome
is no longer a sacred city. He encourages the establishing of
false religions in Rome itself, accomplishing there scandalous
ecumenical meetings. He everywhere pushes for the
inculturation in the liturgy, destroying the last vestiges of
the Roman liturgy. He has modified in practice the status of
the Vatican State. He has renounced coronation, thus refusing
to be a Head of State. This relentlessness against "Romanitas"
is an infallible sign of rupture with the Catholic Faith that
he no longer defends.
pontifical universities have become chairs of Modernist
pestilence. The coeducation of the Gregorian is a perpetual
All must be
restored in Christo Domino¾"in
Christ the Lord," in Rome as elsewhere.
Let us love
to see how the ways of Divine Providence and Wisdom pass by
Rome. We will conclude that one cannot be Catholic without
being Roman. This applies also to Catholics who have neither
the Latin language nor the Roman liturgy. If they remain
Catholic, it is because they remain Roman like the Maronites,
for example, by the ties to the Catholic and Roman French
culture which formed them.
moreover, an error to speak of Roman culture as Western. The
converts from Judaism brought with them from the Orient all
that was Christian, all that which in the Old Testament was
preparation and could be a component of Christianity, all that
which Our Lord had assumed and that the Holy Ghost had
inspired the Apostles to adopt. How many times do the epistles
of St. Paul teach us on this subject!
that Christianity, cast in a certain way in the Roman mold,
receive from it a vigorous and exceptional expansion. All is
grace in the divine plan and Our Divine Savior disposes all as
the Romans are said to act, that is, "cum consilio
et patientia or suaviter et
counsel and patience, sweetly and mightily" (Wis 8:1).
Ours is the
duty to guard this Roman Tradition desired by Our Lord, as He
wished us to have Mary as our Mother.
of yesterday's Feast of the Purification of the Blessed
Virgin Mary (February 2) and the SSPX priestly ordination
that will take place tomorrow in St. Mary's, KS, we offer
some excerpts from an ordination sermon given by Archbishop
Lefebvre in 1981 at Econe.
priest truly participates in the mysteries of Our Lord in such
an intimate and profound manner it is easily understood why he
is called an alter Christus; "another Christ."
It is indeed true. If, therefore, he must be another Christ,
he must have in his soul the particular dispositions necessary
to receive these graces. In order to know what these
dispositions must be, these dispositions which must be in the
hearts of all priests in order that they be well disposed to
profit from the grace of the priesthood, let us address
ourselves to the Blessed Virgin Mary, for she also is
associated intimately with Our Lord Jesus Christ. She is
associated in a manner even more sublime than that of the
priest. Although she did not have the particular graces of the
priesthood she nevertheless participated greatly in the
Mission of God, for without her, God would not have descended
to earth. It was necessary that she pronounce her fiat
in order that the mission of God be accomplished here on
earth. She participated in an essential manner in the
salvation of the world and Our Lord is of course The
Savior, but if there is one person who greatly participated in
the salvation of the world, it is indeed the Blessed Virgin
Mary, and if there is one person who is the Co-Redemptrix and
who participated in the Redemption, it would also be the
Blessed Virgin Mary.
disposition of the Blessed Mother is that she remained a
Virgin. This is perhaps not the essential disposition for the
priest since exceptions have been made through the course of
the centuries; it is however, justice. It is a normal
consequence and required by the priesthood. The Church has
always considered the celibate state necessary for the priest
precisely because he approaches Our Lord in such an intimate
manner. He no longer must have concerns other than those of
and for Our Lord Jesus Christ. All of his thoughts, all of his
heart, all of his activities must be oriented towards Our Lord
just as the Blessed Virgin Mary, just as St. Joseph, just as
St. John. Those who were closest to Our Lord were all virgins.
quality which the Blessed Mother teaches us is humility; “respexit
humilitatem meam,” says the Blessed Virgin in her
Magnificat, "He has looked upon my humility and He
has exalted the humble." Twice she insists upon this
quality of humility which is especially required and she says
that it is due to her humility that she has been chosen. This
is precisely because humility is the disposition which best
enables us to see God, to comprehend God, to have the wisdom
of God, to be with God. Pride blinds, pride closes the heart,
closes the intellect, closes the mind; it limits them to
creatures. Humility, on the contrary, is as a great opening to
the omnipotence of God, to the greatness of God, to all the
attributes of God. The humble soul is filled with God and it
is for this reason that the Blessed Virgin Mary teaches us
humility: “Et exaltavit humiles.”
consideration to be made concerning the Blessed Mother is
taken as well from the Magnificat: “Esurientes
implevit bonis,” says she. “Esurientes.”
What does she mean by esurientesl Souls of desire,
souls which aspire to God: “Esurientes” those
who thirst for God, who desire God, who live of God, these
souls Almighty God has filled with good things, “et divites
dimisit manes”; "and the rich He has dismissed with
hearts are filled with things of this world, those who are
attached to things of this world, they also have their heart
closed, their heart hardened by all the goods of this world.
It is for this reason that the grace of God does not descend
upon them: “et dimisit inanes!” Almighty God has
sent them away with nothing. They are deprived of all.
Deprived of God, they will remain without God. Is this not
what we see all too often unfortunately, in the world: souls
so attached to things of this world that they have forgotten
God? The priest must therefore imitate the Blessed Virgin. He
must have a pure soul entirely attached to God. He must have a
soul entirely detached from things of this world in order that
his soul be filled with God. This is what the priest must be
in order that he be able to give God to others.