Paul VI be judged by the Church of the future?
Obviously, the Church will one day judge
this council and these popes. How will Paul VI, in particular, fare?
Some call him heretic, schismatic, and apostate; others believe
themselves to have proved that he could not have acted for the good of
the Church, and that therefore he was not in fact pope - the theory
held by Sedevacantists. I do not deny that these opinions have some
arguments in their favor. Perhaps, you will say, in 30 years secrets
will have been revealed, or elements that should have been obvious to
contemporary observers will stand out, statements made by this pope in
complete contradiction to the traditions of the Church, etc. Perhaps.
But I do not believe that such hypotheses are necessary; in fact, I
think it would be a mistake to espouse them.
Others think, simplistically, that
there were two popes: one, the true pope, imprisoned in the cellars of
the Vatican, and the other, an imposter, his double, seated on the
throne of Peter, working for the destruction of the Church. Books have
been published about the two popes, based on the ‘revelations’ of a
possessed person and on supposedly scientific arguments that state,
for instance, that the double’s voice is not the same as that of the
real Paul VI…!
your own explanation of Paul VI’s pontificate?
The real solution seems entirely
different to me, much more complex, more difficult, and more painful.
It is given us by a friend of Paul VI, Cardinal Danielou. In his
Memoirs, published by a member of his family, the cardinal
clearly states, “It is clear that Paul VI is a liberal
Such is the solution that seems the
most historically likely, because this pope was himself a fruit of
liberalism. His whole life was permeated with the influence of the men
he chose to surround him or to rule him, and they were liberals.
Paul VI did not hide his liberal
leanings; at the Council, the men he chose as moderators to replace
the presidents appointed by John XXIII, were Cardinal Agagianian, a
cardinal of colorless personality from the Curia, and Cardinals
Lercaro, Suenens and Dopfner, all three liberals and the pope’s
friends. The presidents were sidelined at the head table, and these
three liberals directed the conciliar debates. In the same way, Paul
VI supported the liberal faction that opposed the tradition of the
Church throughout the entire Council. This is a recognized fact. Paul
VI repeated – I quoted it to you - the exact words of Lammenais at the
end of the Council: “L’Eglise ne demande que la liberte” –
the Church only seeks freedom - a doctrine condemned by Gregory XVI
and Pius IX.
Paul VI was undeniably very strongly
influenced by liberalism. This explains the historic evolution
experienced by the Church over the last few decades, and it describes
Paul VI’s personal behavior very well. The liberal, as I have told
you, is a man who lives in constant contradiction. He states the
principles, and does the opposite; he is perpetually incoherent.
you provide some examples
in support of your analysis?
Here are a few examples of the
thesis-antithesis conundrums that Paul VI loved to present as so many
insoluble problems, mirroring his anxious and conflicted mind. The
encyclical Ecclesiam suam, (August 6, 1964), provides an
If, as We said, the Church realizes
what is God’s will in its regard, it will gain for itself a great
store of energy, and in addition will conceive the need for pouring
out this energy in the service of all men. It will have a clear
awareness of a mission received from God, of a message to be spread
far and wide. Here lies the source of our evangelical duty, our
mandate to teach all nations, and our apostolic endeavor to strive
for the eternal salvation of all men. (…) The very nature of
the gifts which Christ has given the Church demands that they be
extended to others and shared with others. This must be obvious from
the words: “Going, therefore, teach ye all nations,”
Christ’s final command to His apostles. The word apostle implies a
mission from which there is no escaping.
That is the thesis, and the
antithesis follows immediately:
To this internal drive of charity
which seeks expression in the external gift of charity, We will
apply the word ‘dialogue.’ The Church must enter into
dialogue with the world in which it lives. It has something to say,
a message to give, a communication to make.
And finally he attempts a synthesis,
which only reinforces the antithesis:
Before we can convert the world -
as the very condition of converting the world - we must approach it
and speak to it.
you another example?
Of greater gravity are the words with
which Paul VI suppressed Latin in the liturgy after the Council, and
they are even more characteristic of his liberal psychology. After
restating all the advantages of Latin: a sacred language, an
unchanging language, a universal language, he calls, in the name of
adaptation, for the “sacrifice” of Latin, admitting at the same time
that it will be a great loss for the Church. Here are his very words,
reported by Louis Salleron in his book La nouvelle messe [The
New Mass] (Nouvelles Editions Latines, 2nd ed., 1976, p. 83)
On March 7, 1965, he said to the
faithful gathered in St. Peter’s square,
It is a sacrifice that the Church
makes in renouncing Latin, a sacred language, beautiful, expressive,
and elegant. The Church sacrifices centuries of tradition and unity
of language in the name of an ever-growing desire for universality.
The ‘sacrifice’ of which he spoke
became a reality with the Instruction Tres abhinc annos (May
4, 1967) which established the use of the vernacular for
reciting the Canon of the Mass aloud.
This ‘sacrifice,’ in Paul VI’s mind,
seems to have been final. He explained it once again on November 26,
1969, when he presented the new rite of the Mass:
The principal language of the Mass
will no longer be Latin, but the vernacular. For anyone familiar
with the beauty and power of Latin, its aptness for expression of
the sacred, it will certainly be a great sacrifice to see it
replaced by the vernacular. We are losing the language of centuries
of Christianity, we become as intruders, reduced to the profane in
the literary domain of expressing the sacred. We lose, too, the
greater part of the admirable, incomparable wealth of art and
spirituality contained in Gregorian chant. It is with good reason,
then, that we experience regret and even distress.
Everything therefore should have
dissuaded Paul VI from imposing this ‘sacrifice’ and persuaded him to
maintain the use of Latin. On the contrary, deriving a singularly
masochistic pleasure from his ‘distress,’ he chose to act against the
principles he had just set forth, and decreed the ‘sacrifice’ in the
name of promoting understanding of prayer, a specious argument that
was only a modernist pretext.
Never has liturgical Latin been an
obstacle to the conversion of infidels or to their education as
Christians. Quite the opposite: the simple peoples of Africa and Asia
loved Gregorian chant and the one sacred language, the sign of their
affiliation to Catholicism. And experience shows that where Latin was
not imposed by missionaries of the Latin Church, there the seeds of
future schism were planted.
Paul VI followed these remarks with
this contradictory pronouncement:
The solution seems banal and
prosaic, but it is good, because it is human and apostolic. The
understanding of prayer is more precious than the dilapidated
silks in which it has been royally clad. More precious is the
participation of the people, the people of today who want us to
speak clearly, intelligibly, in words that can be
translated into their secular tongue. If the noble Latin language
cuts us off from children, from youth, from the world of work and
business, if it is an opaque screen instead of a transparent
crystal, would we fishers of men do well to maintain its exclusive
use in the language of prayer and religion?
Alas, what mental confusion. Who
prevents me from praying in my own tongue? But liturgical prayer is
not private prayer; it is the prayer of the whole Church. Moreover,
another lamentable lack of distinction is present: the liturgy is not
a teaching addressed to the faithful, but the worship the
Christian people address to God. Catechism is one thing, and the
liturgy is another. The point is not that we “speak clearly” to
the people assembled in the church, but rather that these people may
praise God in the most beautiful, most sacred, and most solemn manner
possible. “Praying to God with beauty” was St. Pius X’s
liturgical maxim. How right he was!
would you describe a liberal?
You see, the liberal mind is
conflicted and confused, anguished and contradictory. Such a mind was
Paul VI’s. Louis Salleron explained it very well when he described
Paul VI’s physical countenance, saying “he was two-faced.” Not
duplicitous—this word expresses a malicious intent to deceive which
was not present in Paul VI. No, he had a double personality, and the
contrast between the sides of face expressed this: traditionalist in
words, then modernist in action; Catholic in his premises and
principles, and then progressive in his conclusions; not condemning
what he should have, and then condemning what he ought to have
This psychological weakness afforded
an ideal opportunity for the enemies of the Church. While maintaining
a Catholic face (or half-face, if you like) he contradicted tradition
without hesitation, he encouraged change, baptized mutation and
progress, and followed the lead of the enemies of the Church, who
egged him on.
Did not the Izvestia,
official newspaper of the Communist Soviet party, demand from Paul VI
my condemnation and that of Econe in the name of Vatican II? And the
Italian Communist paper L’Unita followed suit after the
sermon I gave in Lille on August 29, 1976; furious because of my
attack on Communism, they devoted an entire page to their demand. “Be
aware,” they wrote, addressing Paul VI, “be aware of the danger
Lefebvre represents, and continue the magnificent approach initiated
through the ecumenism of Vatican II.” With friends like these, who
needs enemies? This is a sad illustration of a rule we have already
established: liberalism leads from compromise to treason.
should priests and faithful who are attached to tradition act under a
The psychology of a liberal pope is
easy enough to imagine, but difficult to bear! Indeed, such a
leader—be it Paul VI or John Paul II—puts us in a very delicate
In practice, our attitude must base
itself on a preliminary distinction, made necessary by the
extraordinary circumstances of a pope won over by liberalism. This is
the distinction we must make: when the pope says something in keeping
with tradition, we follow him; when he opposes the Faith, or
encourages opposition of the Faith, or allows something to be done
that attacks the Faith, then we cannot follow him. The fundamental
reason for this is that the Church, the pope, and the hierarchy must
serve the Faith. They do not make the Faith, they must serve
it. The Faith cannot be made; it is immutable, and must be
This is why papal teachings intended
to validate actions opposed to tradition cannot be followed. In
following, we would participate in the self-destruction of the Church,
in the destruction of our Faith.
It is clear that what is unceasingly
demanded of us—complete submission to the pope, complete submission to
the Council, acceptance of the entire liturgical reform—is in
opposition to tradition, in the sense that the pope, the Council and
the reforms lead us far from tradition, as the facts show more
overwhelmingly every year. Therefore, to demand these things is to
require us to participate in the downfall of the Faith. Impossible!
The martyrs died to defend the Faith; we have the example of
Christians imprisoned, tortured, sent to concentration camps for the
Faith. One grain of incense offered to an idol, and their lives would
have been safe. I was advised once, “Sign, sign saying you accept
everything, and then you can continue as before!” No! One does not
play games with the Faith.
1 English translation taken from the
Vatican’s website, consulted Jan. 29, 2013.