A letter to Pope
John Paul II
From Archbishop Lefebvre
and Bishop de Castro Mayer
August 31, 1985
During the fifteen days preceding the Feast of
the Immaculate Conception, Your Holiness has decided to gather
together an Extraordinary Synod in Rome, with the purpose of
making the Second Vatican Council, which closed twenty years ago,
"an ever more living reality."
Bishop de Castro Mayer at Econe
On the occasion of this event, allow us, who
took an active part in the Council, to make known to you with all
due respect our apprehensions and our desires, for the good of the
Church, and for the salvation of the souls entrusted to us.
These twenty years, as the Prefect of the
Congregation for the Faith himself says, have provided sufficient
illustration of a situation resulting in a real self-destruction
of the Church, except in those areas where the millennial
Tradition of the Church has been maintained.
The change wrought within the Church in the
nineteen-sixties was given concrete form and expression in the
Council by the Declaration on Religious Liberty, which granted man
the natural right to be exempt from any restraint imposed on him
by divine law to adhere to the Catholic Faith in order to be
saved, a restraint necessarily embodied in ecclesiastical and
civil laws in subordination to the legislative authority of Our
Lord Jesus Christ.
This freedom from any restraint by divine law
or human laws in the matter of religion is inscribed among the
freedoms proclaimed in the Declaration of the Rights of Man,
an impious and sacrilegious declaration condemned by the popes and
in particular by Pope Pius VI in his encyclical Adeo nota
of April 23, 1791, and in his Consistory Allocution of June 17,
From this Declaration on Religious Liberty
the following consequences flow, as from a poisoned spring:
- Religious indifferentism of states, even Catholic states,
carried out over twenty years, at the instigation of the Holy
The ecumenism pursued unceasingly by
yourself and by the Vatican, an ecumenism condemned by the
Church's Magisterium, and in particular by the Encyclical
Mortalium Animos of Pius XI.
All the reforms carried out over twenty
years within the Church to please heretics, schismatics, false
religions and declared enemies of the Church, such as the Jews,
the Communists and the Freemasons.
This freedom from the restraint of
divine law in the matter of religion obviously encourages
freedom from restraint in all divine and human laws, and
destroys all authority in all areas, especially in the area of
We have never ceased protesting, both during
the Council and after the Council, at the incredible scandal of
this false religious liberty. We have protested in speech and in
writing, in private and in public, resting our protest upon the
most solemn documents of the Magisterium: among others, the
Athanasian Creed, the Fourth Lateran Council, the Syllabus
(No. 15), the First Vatican Council (DS 2008), and the
teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas concerning the Catholic Faith (IIa
IIae, Questions 8 to 16), a doctrine which has been that of
the Church for almost twenty centuries, confirmed by Canon Law and
That is why, if the coming Synod does not
return to the traditional Magisterium of the Church, in the
question of religious liberty, but instead confirms this serious
error from which heresies flow, we shall be forced to think that
the members of the Synod no longer profess the Catholic Faith.
For their actions are contrary to the immutable
principles of the First Vatican Council, which stated in the
fourth Chapter of the Fourth Session:
For the Holy Ghost was not promised to the
successors of Peter that by His revelation they might disclose
new doctrine, but that by His help they might guard the
revelation transmitted through the Apostles, or the Deposit of
Faith, and might faithfully expound it.
This being so, we can only persevere in the
Church's holy Tradition and take whatever decisions are necessary
for the Church to keep a clergy faithful to the Catholic religion
capable of repeating with St. Paul, "For I received of the Lord
what I also delivered unto you."
Holy Father, your responsibility is heavily
engaged in this new and false conception of the Church which is
drawing clergy and faithful into heresy and schism. If the Synod
under your authority perseveres in this direction, you will no
longer be the Good Shepherd.
We turn to our Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary,
rosary in hand, begging her to impart to you her Spirit of Wisdom,
as to all members of the Synod, in order to put an end to the
invasion of Modernism within the Church.
Holy Father, be so good as to forgive the
frankness of our approach to you, which has no other purpose than
to render unto our one and only Savior, Our Lord Jesus Christ, the
honor which is due to Him, as also to His one and only Church, and
deign to accept our homage as devoted sons in Jesus and Mary.
(Signature: Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre)
Archbishop-Bishop Emeritus of Tulle
(Signature: Bishop Antonio de Castro Mayer)
Antonio de Castro Mayer,
Bishop Emeritus of Campos