1. What was your initial reaction when
you learned that Archbishop Lefebvre had chosen you to be one of
the priests to be consecrated?
My first reaction was to think there
must be others better than me; if possible, let this chalice
pass from me! My second reaction was for my fellow priests, my
brothers in the priesthood, "pro fratribus" because it is
obvious that it is a big cross. It is a question of dedication
for the others.
2. Can you recall your emotions and
state of mind on June 30, 1988, after having received
consecration from the hands of the Archbishop?
I don't recall much about my own
feelings or emotions. What I remember was how the whole
congregation was electrified. The atmosphere was absolutely
electric. I've never seen that in my whole life. This I do
remember. It was during the ceremony as well as after; a great
joy, nothing else. It was overwhelming.
3. In his
Archbishop Lefebvre describes a vision he had in the Cathedral
of Dakar. Can you discuss how the 1988 Consecrations would seem
to be a fulfillment of that vision?
Amazingly, I would say that I don't
even make the connection between both. In fact, I don't think
there is any. I don't think the measure of having bishops is
directly related to the work itself. It's only a survival
measure. It's not the essential of the work, which is to form
and build priests according to the heart of Jesus. This is the
It is true that without bishops, we
would not have priests, but it was definitely not the essential
element of the work. It is essential to survive but not for the
nature of the work. Of course with all the developments we had
in our apostolate and the situation of the Church the question
of the Bishops has to be seen in a new light!
4. Archbishop Lefebvre attempted to
underline the extraordinary nature of his decision to consecrate
as well as distinguishing it from a schismatic act by
emphasizing that he did not attempt to transmit any delegated
episcopal jurisdiction but only the power of ordination. Some
have over the past 25 years expressed disapproval of the
election of one of the bishops as Superior General, arguing that
such act suggests a jurisdictional claim as a bishop. Can you
explain how such an argument is incorrect and elaborate how
fulfilling the role of Superior General does not involve any
claim to delegated episcopal jurisdiction?
First, why did the Archbishop not, at
the time of the consecration, want a bishop to be Superior
General? It was expressly to make it easier to deal with Rome.
If the Superior General was a bishop, he would be under the
"penalty" of Rome, which would make discussions more difficult
than if it were, for instance, Fr. Schmidberger at the time.
This was clearly limited to the circumstances; it was not a
principle. It was a question of prudence. It was not a direct
exclusion of a bishop being Superior General in the future.
But we must distinguish two kinds of
jurisdiction. There is a normal, ordinary jurisdiction of a
Superior General over his members and there is ordinary
episcopal jurisdiction. As bishops, we have no ordinary
jurisdiction right now, but as Superior General, I do have the
other kind. They are not the same.
5. Do you have a particularly
important memory of the Archbishop you would be willing to
On the one hand, his simplicity and
common sense, and on the other hand, his very high vision of
things. It was always supernatural. He always looked at God. It
was clearly the case that he was guided by prayer, the Faith,
and union with God. For him it was normal and obvious that
someone had to be, in ordinary actions, always united with Our
6. How do you cultivate into your
seminaries and priests Archbishop Lefebvre’s unique spirit of
priestly piety, doctrinal soundness, and counter-revolutionary
First of all, we try to put the
seminarians in contact, as far as possible, with Archbishop
Lefebvre himself: his voice, his teaching, his books, etc. We
have tapes of his conferences to seminarians. The French here
have an advantage! But we are working on translating these so
that all seminarians may have them. In English, some have
already been collected in book form:
They Have Uncrowned Him,
The Mass of All Time.
Second, we try to fulfill and apply
the means he himself gave to us in the seminaries: the
organization, the plan of studies, and lectures prepared by him,
for instance. He determined their set up, and how they are
structured. For example, our philosophy and theology is based on
the teachings of St. Thomas, as the Church has recommended. The
Acts of the Magisterium is a class in particular desired by the
Archbishop, which teaches the encyclicals of the great Popes of
the 19th until Pius XII in their fight against the introduction
of Enlightenment principles into the Church and society. We
still follow this with great fruits.
7. What have been the most significant
changes, good and bad, for the Society since the 1988
I don't know whether there are so many
changes. We are getting a little bit older, although we are
still a young congregation. But we now have elderly priests,
which we did not have in 1988. This is an external change, you
may say. We had 4 bishops then and now we have 3. This is again
a change, but nothing major or essential. We have more houses in
more countries but this is not so much change as a normal
development of the work.
We remain faithful to the line
Archbishop Lefebvre gave. If we look at the last few years, in
fact, Archbishop Lefebvre said in 1988 that Rome would come to
us in 5 to 6 years after the consecrations. It lasted almost 24
or 25 years, and obviously things are not yet ripe. The changes
Archbishop Lefebvre expected in the Church, the coming back, are
not yet there. But obviously, if they continue the way they go,
the destruction will continue, and one day they will have to go
back. And that day they will come to us again.
On another hand, look at what has
happened in recent years: the
admission that the Old Mass is not abrogated,
the lifting of the
and the influence in the Church
that we have never had before! And this is not to mention the
growing critique of the Council, even in Rome, outside of
Society circles which is a relatively new phenomenon on this
8. Can you describe the works and
services that have occurred during the past 25 years that would
have been impossible without the Consecrations?
It's simple: since the consecrations,
the SSPX bishops have ordained more priests than were at the
consecrations in 1988. Therefore it is clear that the bishops
were necessary for the growth of the work of the Society. We
would be a dying Society without the bishops. It is vital for
the continuation of the work. There are also the confirmations,
the making of soldiers of Christ to fight for God and His
kingdom. Finally we cannot deny this influence on the whole
Church so that Tradition may regain its rights.
9. Some critics of the Society point
to Ecclesia Dei Communities none of which, with the
exception of the case of Campos, have bishops of their own. They
argue that the Consecrations were therefore unnecessary since
these communities have existed without their own bishops. How
does the contrast between the history of the Society and the
Ecclesia Dei Communities over the past 25 years demonstrate
even more clearly today than in 1988 the correct judgment of the
Archbishop that a bishop of and from the Society was necessary
not merely for her survival but for preservation of her complete
First of all, all the Ecclesia Dei
members understand that if we would not have had bishops, they
would not exist. Directly or indirectly, they depend on the
Society's life. That is very, very clear. And now the fruits of
their apostolates are totally subjected to the good will of the
local bishops. They drastically limit any solid desire to
establish traditional Catholic life by limiting the
possibilities of the apostolate in that direction. They are
obliged to mix with the novelties of Vatican II, the world, and
the Novus Ordo. This is the great difference between the
Society and Ecclesia Dei groups.
I do see that some Ecclesia Dei
groups are getting closer to us. This is definitely not all of
10. The Archbishop had exhausted
himself over the years prior to the Consecration by traveling
the world as the only traditional bishop (with the exception of
Bishop de Castro Mayer
who limited his sphere of activity mostly to his own diocese.)
As a result he chose to consecrate four bishops rather than
simply one. The number of traditional faithful has grown in the
past 25 years, yet sadly the number of bishops in the Society
has now been reduced to three. Are 3 bishops sufficient to carry
on the work of Tradition? Is it necessary to consecrate more
Since 2009, in fact, we have only been
working with 3 bishops. Obviously, it is working. Thus, it is
clear that with 3 it still works. So there is no urgency or
extreme need to consecrate another bishop.
We certainly do have to ask ourselves
the question concerning the future even if right now there is no
necessity. My answer is very simple: if and when the
circumstances which led the Archbishop to make such a decision
present themselves again, we will take the same means.
11. Although Archbishop Lefebvre
always maintained the desire to arrive at a peaceful
relationship with the Roman authorities, the consecrations
resulted in a new phase of hostile treatment and persecution of
the Society by the Roman authorities. You have tried over the
past decade, at least, to find a resolution of these hostilities
and persecutions in a manner which in no way compromises the
principles of the Society's mission. So far at least your
efforts have not succeeded in a resolution. Why do you think,
notwithstanding your good will, the efforts have not succeeded
First of all, I would point out that
the initiative of normalization came from Rome, not from us. I
did not make the first move. I tried to see if the situation was
such that we could go ahead while keeping our identity.
Obviously, it is not yet the case.
Why? The authorities still stick to
the dangerous and poisonous principles which were introduced in
the Church at the time of the Council. This is the reason we
cannot go along.
I have no idea how much time we will
need, or how many tribulations we will have to suffer through,
until then. Perhaps ten years; perhaps more, perhaps less. It is
in God's hands.
12. Do you remain open to receive
contacts from Rome and in particular the new Holy Father?
Of course, I do remain open! It is
God's Church. The Holy Ghost is still above to move beyond the
obstacles put in place after Vatican II in the Church. If Our
Lord wants to make things straight, He will. God knows when it
will happen, but we must be always ready for it. A complete and
true solution can only come when the authorities work again in
13. What signs can we watch for to
determine if a conversion to Tradition has occurred, or is
beginning, among the Roman authorities?
It is very difficult to say where it
will begin. We saw with Pope Benedict that it was primarily the
great sign of the liturgy and perhaps some other efforts which
were less strong. These happened in the face of strong
opposition. Obviously, it didn't make it through to what we see
now. But it will definitely have to come from the head.
Something may come from below, from
bishops, priests and faithful in the Novus Ordo who want
to come back. I think this tendency has already started, though
not yet very large. It's not yet the mainstream, but it is
definitely a sign. Profound change must come from above, from
the Pope. It could come from several sides, but definitely it
will mean to put God and Our Lord Jesus Christ in the right
place in the Church, in the center.
14. Assuming a conversion from the
top, in Rome, how could the work of restoring the entire Church
It's very difficult to say. Right now,
if things do not change, it could mean inner persecution and
large fights on the inside of the Church as it happened in the
time of Arianism. If something else happens, for instance, if
there was a persecution and then afterward, the Pope came back
to Tradition, the situation could be totally different. God
knows what kind of a blueprint He will follow to bring the
Church back on track.
15. What can be done to hasten such a
return to Tradition?
Prayer and sacrifice! Everyone should
follow one’s duty of state, encourage devotion to the Immaculate
Heart of Mary, and pray the Rosary. Concerning the Rosary, I am
open to a new Crusade.
16. What do you say to those who claim
you planned (or still plan) to compromise on the Council and
with the post-Conciliar Church?
That is pure propaganda from people
who wanted to split the Society. I don't know why they have
these ideas. Obviously they used the very delicate situation of
last year to accuse the Superior of things he never did or had
the intention to do. I never had the intention to compromise the
Nevertheless, ask yourself: to whom
does it profit to see the Society divided, if not to the
enemies? Those who divide the Society with their dialectic, they
should reflect on why they do what they do. With this, I mean
Bishop Williamson and the priests who follow him.
17. Looking back over the past year,
is there anything you would have done differently?
Oh, certainly. We are always wiser
after the battle. I would have emphasized more what I have
always said, though I didn't think it was necessary to
emphasize: in whatever kind of an agreement, there would always
be a condition sine qua non that we are not going to compromise.
There is no way. We stay as we are. This is what makes us
Catholics, and we want to remain Catholics.
I certainly would have, and in fact,
have already, improved communications. I was paralyzed by the
leaks. I would do it otherwise now.
18. Beyond relations with Rome, what
are your hopes for the next 25 years for the Society and the
That in these next 25 years, we will
see the return of the Church to her Tradition so that we may see
a new blossoming of the Church.
19. What would you recommend to both
clerics and lay faithful as appropriate means of honoring and
commemorating this 25th anniversary of the Consecrations?
To honor our dear Archbishop, to try
to imitate his virtues, his beautiful humility, his poverty, his
prudence, and his faith. Further, study the teaching of
Archbishop Lefebvre in order to understand the principles that
guide us: the love of Our Lord, the Church, Rome, the Mass, and
the Immaculate Heart of Mary