Archbishop Lefebvre's conference
What is the first principle
to know what we must do in this circumstance, in this crisis
in the Church? What is my principle?
principle of the Church, it is the principle of St. Thomas
Aquinas. It is not my choice; it’s not my favor; it is not my
personal desire... I am nothing... I merely follow the
doctrine of the Church. This doctrine is expounded by St.
does St. Thomas Aquinas say about the authority in the Church?
When can we refuse something from the authority of the Church?
Only when the Faith is in question.
this case. Not in other cases... only when the Faith is in
question... and that is found in the Summa Theologica
(II II Q.33, a.4, ad 2m): St. Thomas' answer is that we cannot
resist to the authority; we must obey:
tamen est quod ubi immineret periculum fidei."
Periculum fidei, i.e., the danger to our faith,..
publice essent praelate a subditis arguendi.", i.e.,
the subject can be opposed to the authority if the Faith is
in question ("periculum fidei");
et Paulus, qui erat subditus Petro, propter imminens
periculum scandali circa fidem, Petrum publice arguit,"
i.e., St. Paul opposed St. Peter because it was a
danger for the Faith (cf. Galatians 2:11).
That is the
principle (of St. Thomas), and I cannot harbor another motive
to resist the pope… it is very serious to be opposed to the
pope, and to the Church. It is very serious, and if we think
that we must do that, we must do it (resist the Holy Father)
only to preserve our Faith, and not for any other motive.
We must now
do an application of the principle. For me I think that the
liturgical reform of Pope John XXIII has nothing against the
Faith. You can take the Pontificale, the Rituale,
the Breviary, the Roman Missal, and… what is in these books of
Pope John XXIII that is against the Faith? Nothing! And so [in
an urgent tone]: ...I cannot refuse this book (of Pope John),
because he is the pope, and the pope gave me this book (and I
It is quite
another thing with the reform of Pope Paul VI… in this book of
reform of Pope Paul VI is a very grave danger to my Faith...
it is precisely "Periculum Fidei". So I refuse it,
because ecumenism is the idea and motive of this reform… and
this ecumenism...they say themselves, Pope Paul VI, Bugnini,
etc., all say the motive of their reform is ecumenism, and
this ecumenism takes away all (Catholic) things which are
displeasing to the Protestant.
people abandon the Society on the left (i.e., moving
towards the left), and some abandon her moving towards the
abandon the Society on the left, they now use the rite of the
New Mass... they are Progressivists... they are not against
Progressivism any more.
abandon us to the right, for them, there is no more any
relations with Rome, no more relation with the Church, and
they look (for a pope elsewhere)...as in the case of Fr. G--,
where he went to Spain to see if the famous Palmar De Troya [a
schismatic “traditionalist” cult in Spain who elected their
own “pope” - Ed.], i.e., Clemente… he went there to see
if Clemente is the true pope! Because such priests (who defect
to the right) they look for authority; (by nature) they cannot
remain without authority… because they have none... they have
This situation is very sad
because I thought that I was helping my priests, (since I gave
them) all my prayers, all my spirit, all my heart.
I gave all
this to these priests... [“The Nine” who were expelled - Ed.]
and they did good work… But it is a pity now… what will happen
to the faithful? ...the poor faithful, if they know that five
or six or seven priests are no more members of the Society of
St. Pius X?
happened? They will be bewildered to hear that it is true,
these priests are not members of the Society any more… [with
great distress & heartache]; ...it is very sad, very sad for
the faithful. I know these American faithful... they are very
good people... and now... what can I do?"
is my fault, because I waited too long... if I took this
decision three or four years ago, perhaps the situation would
not be as grave as now. But perhaps I am too lenient, too
tolerant, too good to them, because I do not like to go
against my brothers, my priests.
tolerated them... I thought perhaps next year, or some time,
things would change... but truly nothing has changed... it’s
not better... in fact things have gotten worse with time.
must pray... we must pray.
slowly, slowly, they can return in the good way, in the good
progress of the seminary... and I hope I can give you
ordination. We need priests... but we do not need priests that