Has the Time Come to Listen to Lefebvre?

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It has been 26 years since Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre died on March 25, 1991. To this day the founder of the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) is still a figure of great controversy within the Church. That Archbishop Lefebvre was a man of great influence in the twentieth century cannot be disputed:

  • Ordained to the priesthood in France in 1929.
  • Missionary priest of the Holy Ghost Fathers in Gabon, Africa.
  • Consecrated in 1947 and appointed bishop in Dakar, Senegal by Pope Pius XII.
  • One year later he was named as the Holy See’s Apostolic Delegate for French-speaking Africa.
  • In 1962 he was elected Superior General of the 5,000-member Holy Ghost Fathers.
  • Pope John XXIII made him an Assistant to the Papal Throne and a member of the Preparatory Commission for the Second Vatican Council.
  • In 1970, he founded the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) as a small community of seminarians in the village of Écône, Switzerland, with the permission of Bishop François Charrière of Fribourg.
  • In May 1975 the Society was officially suppressed by Bishop Mamie of Sion with the authorization of the Holy See.
  • In 1988 Archbishop Lefebvre consecrated four bishops to continue his work with the SSPX. Pope John Paul II declared that he and the other bishops who had participated in the ceremony immediately incurred automatic excommunication under Canon Law.
  • In 2009, 18 years after Lefebvre’s death, Pope Benedict XVI lifted the excommunication of the four surviving bishops, but not that of Lefebvre.

Due to the archbishop’s excommunication, as well as the Society’s current status with Rome (one that is as complicated as it is controversial), many Catholics bristle at the mere mention of Marcel Lefebvre’s name. By simply quoting him in a recent blog post I was labeled a heretic by one of my readers.

However, I believe the time has come for Catholics to revisit Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and to acquaint themselves with his writings.

No longer should all of his words be dismissed outright due to his excommunication or because of the canonical questions surrounding the Society today. I say this as someone who has never been inside a Society chapel. While I attend the Traditional Mass weekly, I do so at a diocesan parish which offers both forms  of the Roman Rite.

In 1986 Archbishop Lefebvre penned a brief but compelling treatise on the post-conciliar crisis in the Church, Open Letter to Confused Catholics. This particular work (published two years before the illicit consecrations) had been recommended to me in the past, both by diocesan Catholics as well as those attending Society chapels, but I have only just recently read it.

For years many of the faithful have been asking the simple question:

“What has happened to the Church-to the Catholic faith itself-in the years since Vatican 2?”

It is my contention that we can not attempt to answer this question honestly without at least including the late archbishop’s voice in the conversation.

Doing so in no way diminishes the seriousness of the 1988 consecrations; nor does it dismiss the complicated nature of the current negotiations between Rome and the Society. It also doesn’t require us to “take sides”. By simply listening to Lefebvre all we are doing is expanding the discussion as we fearlessly seek answers.

Please note that I do not ask if the time has come to agree with Archbishop Lefebvre. Nor do I ask if the time has come to respond to the crisis exactly as he did. But we should listen to what he had to say.

Of course Catholics can always choose to ignore Marcel Lefebvre, or to label him in ways that Rome itself has refused to do (heretic, schismatic, etc.), but that is intellectually lazy and it is calumny. It often represents a kind of virtue-signaling (based on loyalty and obedience it is claimed) which is blind to the complicated reality of the post-conciliar landscape.

The following quotes, all taken from Archbishop Lefebvre’s Open Letter to Confused Catholics, illustrate why his insight should at least be one part of this ongoing conversation.

On the Eucharist

“Is it fitting that when we go to receive Christ, before whom, says St. Paul, every knee shall bow, in heaven, on earth and under the earth, we should do so without the least sign of respect or allegiance? Many priests no longer genuflect before the Holy Eucharist; the new rite of Mass encourages this. I can see only two possible reasons: either an immense pride which makes us treat God as if we were His equals, or else the certitude that He is not really present in the Eucharist.”

On the Traditional Mass

“I owe it to truth to say and affirm without fear of error that the Mass codified by St. Pius V—and not invented by him, as some often say—expresses clearly these three realities: sacrifice, Real Presence, and the priesthood of the clergy. It takes into account also, as the Council of Trent has pointed out, the nature of mankind, which needs outside help to raise itself to meditation upon divine things. The established customs have not been made at random, they cannot be overthrown or abruptly abolished with impunity.”

On the Visible Presence of the Priest

“The great boast of the new Church is dialogue. But how can this begin if we hide from the eyes of our prospective dialogue partners? In Communist countries the first act of the dictators is to forbid the cassock; this is part of a program to stamp out religion. And we must believe the reverse to be true too. The priest who declares his identity by his exterior appearance is a living sermon. The absence of recognizable priests in a large city is a serious step backward in the preaching of the Gospel…”

On the Error of Religious Indifferentism

“This Anti-Modernist Oath is no longer required before becoming a priest or a bishop. If it were, there would be even fewer ordinations than there are. In effect, the concept of faith has been falsified and many people without any wrong intention let themselves be influenced by modernism. That is why they are ready to believe that all religions save. If each man’s faith is according to his conscience—if it is conscience that produces faith—then there is no reason to believe that one faith saves any better than another, so long as the conscience is directed towards God.”

On Tradition and Trent

“All the dogmatic councils have given us the exact expression of Tradition, the exact expression of what the Apostles taught. Tradition is irreformable. One can never change the decrees of the Council of Trent, because they are infallible, written and published by an official act of the Church, unlike those of Vatican II, which pronouncements are not infallible because the Popes did not wish to commit their infallibility. Therefore nobody can say to you, “You are clinging to the past, you have stayed with the Council of Trent.” For the Council of Trent is not the past. Tradition is clothed with a timeless character, adapted to all times and all places.”

On Timeless Truth

“The argument that is pressed upon the terrorized faithful is this: “You are clinging to the past, you are being nostalgic; live in your own time!” Some are abashed and do not know what to reply. Nevertheless, the answer is easy: In this there is no past or present or future. Truth belongs to all times, it is eternal.”

This Question Will have to be Answered

“For the fact is that a grave problem confronted the conscience and the faith of all Catholics during the pontificate of Paul VI. How could a Pope, true successor of Peter, assured of the assistance of the Holy Ghost, preside over the most vast and extensive destruction of the Church in her history within so short a space of time, something that no heresiarch has ever succeeded in doing? One day this question will have to be answered.”

Alone Among the Bishops

“My personal experience never ceases to amaze me. These bishops for the most part were fellow students with me in Rome, trained in the same manner. And then, all of a sudden, I found myself alone. But I have invented nothing new; I was (simply) carrying on.”

 

Posted on March 26, 2017, in liturgy and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 41 Comments.

  1. On all the points where the SSPX differs from the mainstream, the mainstream is wrong and the SSPX is right.
    Except one.
    How can it be denied that the collapse of the Church in the west is predominantly the result of changes made following, but despite, Vatican II?
    But quitting the Barque of Peter can never be the right answer.

    • We never quitted Rome and the seat of Peter, we simply could not support him in his destruction. I am South African, and trust me I do not support my president in killing people, just like most countries in the world today. It is time to wake up, those who lead us are leading us to destruction. Just because I don’t agree with the current Pope, it does not mean that I don’t pray for him, this I’m afraid is a shallow accusation of yours.

      • I have long been tempted to follow in your direction, and I can only see the temptation growing stronger. I’m not accusing you. But we must call a spade a spade.

    • How have they quit the barque of Peter? Did St. Athansius? St. Joan of Arc?

      As Paul says below, “those who lead us are leading us to destruction.” There’s no longer any room for debate on this. Like our host, I am not a member of the SSPX nor have I ever attended an SSPX chapel, but I have learned a great deal from their books and publications and am in their debt. Add to this the very specific revelations of Our Lady of Good Success about what would happen in our times (in short, a great apostasy and the abandonment of the flock by its shepherds), it seems that the SSPX stands on a lot firmer ground than what we’ve been led to believe.

      • Enlightening is the case of the “Hawaii 6” and the Vatican’s official response saying that attending Mass or receiving the sacraments at an SSPX chapel is not a schismatic act.

      • We know that the SSPX has left the Barque of Peter because there is currently talk of their reintegration.
        St Athanasius never rejected the authority of the Pope, never cut himself off from the Church.
        As GKC points out, when the going gets tough, it is easy and cowardly to disobey, but difficult to stay loyal.

  2. “How could a Pope, true successor of Peter, assured of the assistance of the Holy Ghost, preside over the most vast and extensive destruction of the Church in her history within so short a space of time, something that no heresiarch has ever succeeded in doing? ”

    It’s a good question.

  3. I’ve always looked upon this man as an apostate from the Church that Jesus God Almighty founded. I just cannot fathom the warmth and good feelings that have been bestowed on him.

    • I looked upon him the same way, Franklin. But then I began to read what he wrote and listen to what he said rather than what others said about him. You may change your opinion of him, as I did mine.

    • Let’s be fair: Even John Paul II and Benedict XVI did not call Lefebvre an apostate – or even a heretic.

    • And yet I’m sure you have wonderful warm feelings for people like Paul VI who literally cratered the Church by any measurable statistic.
      1965 vs Current
      Priests 58,000
      (doubled from 1930-1965) 45,000
      (only 31,000 projected for 2020; more than half will be over 70)
      New ordinations 1,575 450
      Parishes without priests 1% 15%
      Seminarians 49,000 4,700
      (down by 90%)
      Seminaries 600 200
      Sisters 180,000 75,000
      (aver. age: 68)
      Teaching Sisters 104,000 8,200
      (down by 94%)
      Jesuit seminarians 3,559 389
      Christians Brothers candidates 912 7
      Franciscan and Redemptorist
      seminarians 3,379 84
      Catholic high school population 700,000 386,000
      Catholic elementary school population 4.5 million below 2 million
      Annulments* 338 50,000
      Attendance at Mass (in 1958) 3 out of 4 1 out of 4

      Looking at this devastated vineyard you get what? Warm and fuzzies?

      • Don’t worry, just throw some beatification at the problem and it will go away. If not, just canonization Paul VI, that will fix everything.

      • Those are astounding numbers. Is this world-wide I assume?

    • Doghouse Riley

      I’ve always looked upon you as a pompous ass.

  4. Some day he will be revered as a very great Saint. His heroic virtue in upholding the truth publicly against so many enemies is beyond compare! He provided us with Bishops who insured us of holy priests for time and the times

    If you think he is ‘bad’ … please do yourself a favor and read his writings. You will find food for your soul and it is badly needed right now. Immerse yourself in truth by reading the encyclicals of Pius X, XI, XII … and Bishop Lefebvre. Just look at the video of his life. It will win you over and fill you with a sort of joy …

    • Absolutely, agree 100%, a great sain, he marched right to the gates of hell to save and propagate the mass and traditions. There would be no TLM today without him, forget it, it would not exist.

  5. How could Marcel Lefebvre be considered a heroic Catholic when he doesn’t even understand the Basic Faith in the Holy Trinity? Holy Ghost alone isn’t complete without the Father and The Son. John 15,16,17. Shame on you guys who revered this misguided man. Close this blog down and your life will be much better for yourself and all your blind followers.

    • From the blog post:

      “Please note that I do not ask if the time has come to agree with Archbishop Lefebvre. Nor do I ask if the time has come to respond to the crisis exactly as he did. But we should listen to what he had to say.

      Of course Catholics can always choose to ignore Marcel Lefebvre, or to label him in ways that Rome itself has refused to do (heretic, schismatic, etc.), but that is intellectually lazy and it is calumny. It often represents a kind of virtue-signaling (based on loyalty and obedience it is claimed) which is blind to the complicated reality of the post-conciliar landscape.”

      Feel free to move along Joshua.

    • “How could Marcel Lefebvre be considered a heroic Catholic when he doesn’t even understand the Basic Faith in the Holy Trinity?”

      I’m confused, Joshua. Whatever other mistakes he may have made, how did Archbishop Lefebvre not “even understand the Basic Faith in the Holy Trinity?” I don’t understand where you’re getting this from, or what it has to do with the Trinity.

  6. I always find it curious that the people that say they go to the “traditional” latin mass refuse to call it what the Church calls it: the extraordinary form. Seeking to rename a form to make it seem like it is more in line with Tradition seems to set up a false premise of “holier than thou”.

    I recently attended a EF mass where the priest did not come out and say that the NO was inferior but came awfully close. Also, he stated that good church members would be completely at one with the priest and should pray quietly so that, should the priest stop, they would stop immediately with him.

    I find that certain people that attend the EF to have an air of “Sister Mary-Mother-better-than-you”, deride the bishops openly as well as people who prefer the NO mass.

    Onto the main assumption of this article: Before the Second Vatican Council, the Catholic Church was absolutely perfect and there weren’t problems requiring remedy prior to the council. While I respect being intellectually open, I find this assumption to be unbelievably disingenuous because this calls into question all of the documents of the Second Vatican Council (an ecumenical council that produced two dogmatic constitutions) by suggesting that the Council is illegitimate because of the willful misinterpretation of the Documents promulgated by the Pope. This is an intellectually lazy argument. Interpret the documents in accord with Scripture, Tradition & the Magisterium and, voila, the documents of the Council are not the issue but the interpretation by the wealthy church that caused the chaos. Apologies but I could not agree with Archbishop Lefebvre’s romanticism of the past. Attacking the Church’s authority is never wise. He who rejects you, rejects Me.

    • I’m not sure what article you read, but based on your comment it wasn’t mine. Also, your anecdote is nice but really has little bearing on this topic. No one is arguing that the pre-conciliar Church was perfect; sinful man will always pr vent that from being the case. As to verbiage: the term “Extraordinary Form” never existed before 2007. “Traditional Mass”, “Tridentine Mass”, “Latin Mass”, “Mass of Pius V”…all are perfectly acceptable and have been in use for decades.

    • 1. While Pope Benedict employs the term “Forma extraordinaria” in his motu proprio (and the instruction Universae ecclesia picks it up from there), there was not an intent to employ this as the exclusive label for the 1962 Roman Missal. Its chief value is as descriptor of its juridical relationship with the Pauline missal, aka the Novus Ordo, aka the Forma Ordinaria (Ordinary Form). There’s no proscription on using other terms of art – the Traditional Latin Mass, the Tridentine Mass (don’t care for that one myself), the Usus Antiquior, etc.

      I think the main reason why “Extraordinary Form” never caught on is that it simply doesn’t roll off the tongue very easily, and isn’t as obviously descriptive as Traditional Latin Mass is. Also, old habits die hard. In our Juventutem chapter, we do frequently use “Extraordinary Form” in our social media advertising.

      2. I will be candid with you: I do think that the 1962 missal is superior to the modern missal. I think so most importantly because I think this is so because the missal text and rubrics, calendar and lectionary more clearly and fully reflect Catholic doctrine, which I think is the one objective standard we can use. This does *not* mean that by attending or assisting at it, I am superior in any sense, let alone spiritually, to any Catholic who attends the Ordinary Form exclusively. If there are those who give off such a sense, that is very regrettable (but perhaps a natural human failing).

      I also think the 1962 missal as we have it is somewhat damaged, as a result of the various (very regrettable) major changes undertaken by Popes Pius XII and John XXIII in 1942-1962. I would prefer the “unreformed” Roman Missal (no later than 1939), but 1962 is the one Church law specifies, alas. All of which is another way of observing that not all was hunky dory with the Roman liturgy in 1962 (which doesn’t even speak to the frequently indifferent ars celebrandi which prevailed then – the prevalent Low Mass Culture, lack of public celebration of the Office, etc.). If the Latin Rite Church ever had a golden liturgical age, it would have to be the late Middle Ages – which, obvious, was certainly *not* a golden age for the Church in many other respects. At any rate, as Brian says, it does not seem to me that he meant to suggest that all was perfect with the liturgy before the Council.

    • “Before the Second Vatican Council, the Catholic Church was absolutely perfect and there weren’t problems requiring remedy prior to the council.”

      Straw. Man.

      Anyone familiar with Church history of the mid-late 1800s and early 1900s (and I would count our host as one) knows that there was very great turmoil within the Church, most notably regarding theology and the liturgy. The popes of that time repeatedly warned Catholics that the Church’s enemies — The Modernists — as they were called by Pius X, were already in the bosom of the Church. While there was some success in suppressing them, they simply went underground, patiently biding their time until the time was ripe for them to reemerge. And reemerge they did: Vatican 2 was their great and long fought victory. They are now running the Church.

    • Oh! I want to play this game too.

      “I always find it curious that the people that say they go to the “traditional” latin mass refuse to call it what the Church calls it: the extraordinary form. Seeking to rename a form to make it seem like it is more in line with Tradition seems to set up a false premise of ‘holier than thou.’”

      Bravo! Paul VI was wrong to call the 1970 missal the NEW Order of Mass. As if many parts of it were strung together or invented. Perhaps even something like Eucharistic Prayer II, adopted from Syrian liturgical texts, erroneously thinking it was Roman in origin, and modified overnight in a coffee shop in Rome. No! Nothing like that!

      “I find that certain people that attend the EF to have an air of “Sister Mary-Mother-better-than-you”, deride the bishops openly as well as people who prefer the NO mass.”

      What brilliance! No one has EVER attended a Novus Ordo and seen heresy from the pulpit, abuse, sacrilege of Our Lord, and lax attitudes. Nope, never! And if we did, we should follow your logic and intrinsically associate the form of Mass to the attitudes of the priest and people who attend them. Am I right??

      Oh and you just called it the NO i.e. Novus Ordo, i.e. “NEW.” It’s as if the other is… traditional?!?! Be careful! You must conflate ancient prayers tracing back over 1500 years with those invented “on the spot,” mind you now.

      “Onto the main assumption of this article: Before the Second Vatican Council, the Catholic Church was absolutely perfect and there weren’t problems requiring remedy prior to the council.”

      Hmm yes, I see. Brian does state this. It’s a pity that Brian missed the changes to the TLM (opps, I mean super-extraordinary-candy-coated-mega-extremely-chocolaty-awesome Form of the Mass) that were done in the 1950s and which Levefbre and the SSPX appear to adhere to. How could he possibly miss this? How could traditionalists not know about the fight against Modernism that St. Pius X underwent well before the era of the Vatican II (#DivineCouncil)? Oh man, that’s the same Pope that the SSPX take in their name. What madness that they forgot all about those pre-Vatican II problems!

      “While I respect being intellectually open,”

      Wait………………….. okay, my brain had to restart.

      “I find this assumption to be unbelievably disingenuous because this calls into question all of the documents of the Second Vatican Council (an ecumenical council that produced two dogmatic constitutions)”

      Yeah, that’s more than one. They are super-infallible you see. Just like the council of Florence on Holy Orders. Hmmmmmm………..

      “…by suggesting that the Council is illegitimate because of the willful misinterpretation of the Documents promulgated by the Pope.”

      “This is an intellectually lazy argument.”

      Are we in Alinsky territory here or something?

      “Interpret the documents in accord with Scripture, Tradition & the Magisterium and, voila, the documents of the Council are not the issue”

      Oh geez, well! A council that is called to re-word Catholicism to talk to modern man needs to interpreted by reading those other things that are hard for modern man to understand.

      It’s a beautiful thing you see.

      A council that is supposed to pastorally guide and direct the current world cannot stand on its own but needs to be cross-referenced with other material.

      HMMM, it’s as if it’s lacking something… inadequate… or even a failure?

      “…but the interpretation by the wealthy church that caused the chaos.”

      OH! Those bishops and theologians who knew Scripture, tradition, and other Papal encyclicals interpreted the council wrong?!?! BUT WHAT ABOUT THE MAGICAL VOILA YOU SPEAK OF?

      Oh, you mean “willful” misinterpretation.

      It’s not as if the Council should have adopted negative pronouncements, oh let’s say something like “anathemas,” in order to be clear so that these same men could not wiggle their way around as much. Nope none of that.

      For you see, Vatican I and Trent are as misinterpreted at Vatican II, right??? Oh…. wait….

      “Attacking the Church’s authority is never wise. He who rejects you, rejects Me.”

      Actually, I agree. He should have never disobeyed the Pope… twice.

  7. The NO Mass is a protestant version of the true Mass. Simply refer to the changes brought in after the Reformation – Latin abolished, Altars replaced by tables brought into the nave, kneeling for communion ended, communion given in the hand – all innovations brought in since VAT 2 and all dating from the 16 century eventually introduced to subvert The Faith. None of these actions are Catholic yet they are present in 99% of our churches – why?

    God Bless all,

    Patrick.

    • “Since Vatican II” but despite Vatican II. How many of the changes you allude to are mandated by Sacrosanctum Concilium?
      Look to the bishops in their national conferences, not the Council.

      • Not mandated, but permitted. Much (if not all) of the good language in Sacrosanctum Concilium is immediately undermined and undone by the typically vague and slippery language that grants permissions to the local ordinary to do what he wants. This is not a bug; it’s a feature.

      • So you are advocating iron control from the centre? That is unrealistic. I grieve over all that has gone so wrong over the past 50 years, but I don’t see how the local leadership which was determined to bring in the changes could have been policed by the Holy See.
        Just like the parent of a teenager going off the rails, it’s awful, but you can’t solve the problem by locking them in their room.

      • No question. The N.O. missal goes well, well beyond what SC called for, and very arguably defies it in several respects. And the actual *praxis* of the modern rite in so many cases goes well beyond *that*.

        But even Sacrosanctum Concilium on the most conservative reading is a liturgical reform of unprecedented scope in the history of the Latin Rite Church. It *does* call, for example, for a multi-year lectionary (SC 51), which is unprecedented in Church history – and a terrible idea to boot.

      • “This is not a bug; it’s a feature.” All too true.

      • kentgoerdie: How is sticking to clear and plain language about what is permitted in the liturgy “advocating iron control from the centre?”

        If my teenager keeps getting drunk, I’m certainly not going to give him the keys to the car. Remember: the bad guys had great influence over the documents of V2. They were able to discard all the solid, orthodox preparatory schema and very cleverly insert amidst the orthodox language that did remain their own deceptive language that they purposed to use to their own ends. Whether through naivete, stupidity, wickedness, or all three together, the Holy See allowed — even facilitated — all these things to happen.

        Would renegade prelates have been curtailed by clear, plain, orthodox language? No: they already were abusing the liturgy for decades prior to Vatican 2. However, now they actually can APPEAL to the very documents of the council to do whatever they wish, because, in practice, everything is permitted.

      • (Forgive me for misspelling your name.)

  8. He is a saint and I made a pilgrimage to his tomb in Econe in 2011. Also, I’m not even a SSPX’er, they’re two hours plus (depending) away from me. I came out of the Novus Ordo and to tradition and quickly realized this man was/is a saint.

  9. Recalcitrant schsmstic if you ask most fsithful Catholics..

  10. One should keep in mind that the laity who attend SSPX chapels are NOT members of the Society. They can’t be. However, as a convert (21 years ago) who quickly found tradition via the old “Indult mass” in San Diego, I have since attended Society chapels (and FSSP & ICKSP when traveling). I do hope that Rome and the SSPX reach an agreement that gives the Society a canonical Personal Prelature. Accepting them as they are will open the doors to thousands of Catholics to join them in their fight to restore Catholicism. I thank God every day for Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, the man who saved Tradition, and who saved the True Mass. May he, some day, be raised to the Altar as the saint he is.

  11. Michael F Poulin

    On at least four points, the teachings of the Second Vatican Council are obviously in logical contradiction to the pronouncements of the previous traditional Magisterium, so that it is impossible to interpret them in keeping with the other teachings already contained in the earlier documents of the Church’s Magisterium. Vatican II has thus broken the unity of the Magisterium, to the same extent to which it has broken the unity of its object.

    These four points are as follows. The doctrine on religious liberty, as it is expressed in no. 2 of the Declaration Dignitatis humanae, contradicts the teachings of Gregory XVI in Mirari vos and of Pius IX in Quanta cura as well as those of Pope Leo XIII in Immortale Dei and those of Pope Pius XI in Quas primas. The doctrine on the Church, as it is expressed in no. 8 of the Constitution Lumen gentium, contradicts the teachings of Pope Pius XII in Mystici corporis and Humani generis. The doctrine on ecumenism, as it is expressed in no. 8 of Lumen gentium and no. 3 of the Decree Unitatis redintegratio, contradicts the teachings of Pope Pius IX in propositions 16 and 17 of the Syllabus, those of Leo XIII in Satis cognitum, and those of Pope Pius XI in Mortalium animos. The doctrine on collegiality, as it is expressed in no. 22 of the Constitution Lumen gentium, including no. 3 of the Nota praevia [Explanatory Note], contradicts the teachings of the First Vatican Council on the uniqueness of the subject of supreme power in the Church, in the Constitution Pastor aeternus.

  12. “In 2009, 18 years after Lefebvre’s death, Pope Benedict XVI lifted the excommunication of the four surviving bishops, but not that of Lefebvre.”

    That’s because excommunication is automatically removed upon death.

  13. You’ve left out all of the nice things he had to say about Marshal Petain.

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