issue of The Angelus presents an excellent article,
The Validity of Holy
Orders, written by Fr. Douglas Laudenschlager. It follows exactly the teachings of the Church on the subject of
the validity of [holy] orders, which is in essence the requirement for the validity of
This article was written for the
benefit of those who have been misled by rumors directed against Archbishop
Marcel Lefebvre from sources which are by all means disreputable.
Why should these sources spend
so much of their time attacking Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, the man who through
his unselfish efforts founded the Society that for more than a quarter of a
century has been publicly defending the Holy Mother Church?
Catholics have over and again heard the rumor that Cardinal Lienart was a Mason,
and this rumor is presented to them as a fact. However, there is not even one
piece of evidence which will back such assertion.
cardinals of the period were Freemasons, among them Cardinal Bugnini, whose
liaison to Freemasonry has been proved and documented, and Cardinal Dearden,
whose Vatican bureau openly admitted that he was a Freemason.
These two cases were the nucleus
of a number of Roman Catholic Church leaders who either gave personal acceptance
to the fact or did not care to leave around them documented evidence of their
is not the case of Cardinal Lienart. The rumors started in the United Sates and
in Europe, and can be traced to personal foes of Archbishop Lefebvre and of the
most likely beginning is probably a "List of Masons in the Vatican"
which first appeared in Italy and France. The early issues of this List do
not have Cardinal Lienartís name.
He was added much later, after
Archbishop Lefebvre had firmly opposed the pleas of churchmen, who dissatisfied
with Vatican policies had approached Archbishop Lefebvre with the surprising
request that the Archbishop should proclaim himself to be the pope, becoming
thus the tool of their private vendettas. This kind of pressure took place both
in Europe and in the United States.
by one, this group of churchmen made the trek to Econe or sought-after the
Archbishop on his visits to America, each presenting him his own peculiar
Declare yourself pope
Proclaim Paul VI as the
Set the date of the end of the
And such ad
one particular case, an American churchman who later became one of the leaders
of the anti-Lefebvre movement, approached the Archbishop and demanded that he
declared himself pope. This demand was preceded by half an hour of glowing
tribute, addressing Archbishop Lefebvre as "Defender of the Faith",
"Hope of the Church", "Second Athanasius", and more.
the Archbishop answered that he had no such intentions, that he had quite enough
to do with his duties as director of his religious order and with the formation
of the young seminarians who would become priests at Econe, his interlocutor
Oh, Your Grace will have
nothing to do! As his Secretary of State, I will take care of
surprisingly, after a final "No!" from the Archbishop, the same
churchman took his leave and made haste to start writing in a fit of anger words
of intense hostility, of obscure hatred against the same Archbishop he had
proclaimed to be a second Athanasius. In a matter of hours, the "Defender
of the Faith" had become a loathsome "Persecutor of the
was not by accident that the attacks of a handful of self-proclaimed "defenders
of the Church", among which men and women were equally represented,
were simultaneously thrown, using the same verbiage, the same phrases, the same
deceptive reasoning and argumentation.
Every move was prepared, aimed at their goal: Archbishop Lefebvre. Efforts were
coordinated. The Archbishop had firmly dismissed them. The Archbishop had
destroyed their vain hopes. Alas, now they will destroy his name, his
reputation. The Archbishop had unveiled the evil under their flattering
messages. The Archbishop had discovered their manipulative moves, their plots... Therefore, Archbishop Lefebvre was now the target of the wrath of these
obtuse and self-proclaimed "leaders of the Church".
far would they go? Each one had cut his or her niche deep. All of them had set
their pedestals high. Their aim was not to save the Church but to usurp the
authority of the Church for their own unconfessable purposes: personal
aggrandizement and an overpowering desire of enrichment.
It is easy to see why the
humility, the selflessness, the complete and total, unreserved dedication to God
an to the Church of a man like Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre should be so abhorrent
to them. Indeed, the Archbishop had seen the only course leading to the
salvation of the Holy Mother Church, and this according to canon law and sound theology.
Canon law and sound theology?
Well, his detractors would also cite canon law and conveniently quote theology
and philosophy too, appointing themselves experts in these fields.
Thus, their own words put them in
jeopardy. Their lack of a basic knowledge of these challenging, difficult
subjects came to light. Their writings are frequently plagued with errors and
contradictions, some of these so blatant that the reader puts into question
whether or not the authors have even the basic, rudimentary knowledge of the
The fact is that this group of
detractors is attempting to do something they are neither prepared nor qualified
to do. Somehow they are certainly aware of this, and when it suits their
purposes they do not hesitate to mention the good name of the Archbishop in
laudatory approaches. They may even go farther, and associate their self-given
name to the name of the Society founded by Archbishop Lefebvre. Do they thus
hope to add some halo of respectability to their own irregular origins?
of their tactics has been aimed at the goal of obtaining a response to their
attacks. During the life time of the Archbishop, they hoped that either the same
Archbishop or his priests would answer their violent but ridiculous charges.
During the lifetime of His Grace, they cried over and again: "Why doesnít the
Archbishop answer these charges? Why?"
idea was to lend an air of credibility to their deceitful words. But then every
righteous man knows that the best way to deal with liars and detractors is to
ignore them and let them drink the bitter juice of their ignored false judgments.
Our Lord Jesus Christ gave the
example when He stood silent before the Sanhedrin and Pilate. He knew the evil
of their hearts and the intention of their minds. And because He knew, He
refused to give an answer.
Archbishop Lefebvre also knew
that his detractors were moving in the hopes that if repeated often enough their
falsities as unbelievable as they were would finally gain terrain, that their
false statements would be believed to be true.
Nothing would be gained by giving an answer to his detractors. Can one really
relish or take comfort from the fact that in the course of a disputation he
obtains victory upon an unworthy adversary? Detractors have no interest in the
truth. They will not look for facts, unless they can accommodate those facts to
their purposes. As a rule, they follow double standards.
the time of their early accusations, their reasoning was: "Oh, after all, the
charges we did make up against Archbishop Lefebvre must be true, because he is
afraid to refute them". Nonetheless, if those accusations
had been answered, they would have replied: "There must be some truth to our
charges; else, he would have ignored them altogether and do not bothered to give
us an answer!"
Constant repetition of false
rumors is an old trick, perhaps the oldest trick, to destroy the good name and
reputation of an adversary.
Cardinal Lienart a Mason? Nobody knows for sure. However, while it would be
interesting to clear this issue for the sake of History, whatever could be
disclosed would have no effect on the validity of Archbishop Lefebvre sacred
Orders, nor would make any difference regarding the falsehood of the
attack of the detractors was aimed not at Cardinal Lienart but at Archbishop
If one falsehood against His
Grace failed, they would come with a new one, at their convenience. How far they
will go? Will they dare to spread the rumor that His Excellency himself was a
Were they ever aware that the
same rumors could be spread against them? What if someone let the world know
that in fact the detractors themselves were not even Catholics because the
priest who had baptized them was a secret member of a Masonic Lodge? And what
about those married by the same priest? Were they living in sin?
could they prove otherwise if as in the case of Cardinal Lienart the priest was
The cunningness of the Devil
knows no boundaries! Catholics, true Catholics, must flee from rumors.
Nonetheless, the accusers should come forward with concrete proof, if they had
any: signed documents; veritable witnesses that might back their charges.
At the right moment, they were
asked to do this, and then they either refused or failed to do so.
the other hand, there is evidence to proof the mischievousness, the falsehood of
their rumors. One concrete example of this is a much-talked photo published in Veritas.
In this fake photo Archbishop Lefebvre appears kneeling at the feet of Pope Paul
VI. However, the testimony of expert, professional photographers has explained
beyond doubt how this photo was made superimposing two different photos to
achieve the calumnious result.
wording accompanying the photo as well as other articles printed by Veritas have been equally proven to be mere wishful thinking of whomever was the
writer. Thus, this publication has entirely lost credibility.
Some members of this peculiar
group have muttered, recognizing their serious errs against the Archbishop; but
none of them has ever come into the open to correct slurs, to publicly admit the
slanders of the group. They give the impression that, disregarding the claims of
the conscience of at least some of them, as a group they have chosen to follow
commitments of falsehood.
Looking for sensationalism at all
costs, some European "gossip-newspapers" of disreputable credibility had taken
their information from this source. Europe fears this kind of shoddy press,
which lacks ethics. Is it that it is a kind of journalism that knowingly
us leave all of them, source and newspapers, alone. And let us take now more
than ever sides with those who rightly defend the saint memory of Archbishop
Lefebvre, true Son of the Church, who devoted his life to the greater honor and
glory of God.