Saturday, 4 February 2023

Apologia Pro Marcel Lefebvre - Vol. III - Letter of Mgr. Lefebvre to Cardinal Ratzinger

21 July 1982

Your Eminence,

You were able in the conversation which you accorded me yesterday to note my deep disappointment on receiving your second letter dated 23 June last.

Indeed, it is clearly apparent from it that the Cardinals who you consulted wished to harshen your first answer in a spirit of defense of the Second Vatican Council and the liturgical reforms which have followed it.

As I had the occasion to say to you yesterday, we are in an impasse from which we must find some way out.

So as to judge calmly and justly our attitude towards the Second Vatican Council, the post conciliar reforms and especially the liturgical reforms, it is absolutely necessary to reply to two vital preliminary questions.
The first is this:

Is the Church in a normal situation today? Is there nothing to note with concern in matters of Faith and morals in the Church's institutions, in seminaries, in religious orders, the Liturgy, ecumenism, etc.?

The second is this:

Have the Second Vatican Council and the post conciliar reform given none but good fruits? Could these be described?

The answers to these two questions will show whether we are right or wrong.

You yourself have recognized the seriousness of the situation in which the Church finds itself today, replying to the first question in the way in which all those who have retained their common sense and a sense of what constitutes the Catholic Faith would reply.

As to the second question, Our Lord gave the answer in the Gospel: "A good tree does not give bad fruit, and a bad tree does not give good fruit. A tree is known by its fruit."

The passing years confirm with constantly increasing evidence that the Council and the reforms are producing ever more bitter fruit.
There was no need to be a prophet to realize this from the Council onwards, and this is why I published, even during the Council, in 1964, an article entitled "To Remain a Catholic, Must One Become a Protestant?"1

Our attitude must be judged in the light of these sad findings, which are accelerating the self destruction of the Church, denounced by Pope Paul VI. This easily explains:

1. The necessity of judging the Second Vatican Council in the light of Tradition and the unchanging

Magisterium of the Church, so as to correct the texts that are either incompatible with Tradition or equivocal.

No polemics are involved, rather defense of the Truth and of the Catholic Faith clearly expressed in pontifical documents.

2. The liturgical reforms having been conceived to an ecumenical end (see L'Osservatore Romano of 19 March 1965, an article by Bugnini) they are dangerous for the faith of Catholics, who are becoming unable, little by little, to draw a distinction between Catholics and heretics, and the Catholic faithful in public to the moral law, and the public sinner.

If this Reform is scandalous for the Catholic Faith, what must be the attitude of every good Catholic towards this Reform? Moral theology and Canon Law answer this question in the way in which I have answered it in Le coup de Maitre de Satan, p. 44.

We do not doubt that many priests say the Novus Ordo Missae in a devout fashion. This does not, however, compensate for the grave structural defects of the Novus Ordo Missae, pointed out in particular by Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci in the Breve esame critieo.

3. As to the contravention of Canon Law mentioned in your letter: given the desperate position of many souls, every pastor is bound to go to their aid, according to the fundamental principles of Canon Law itself.

As to the canonical penalties, they were imposed illegally and without trial, and by men who wished to condemn all those opposed to the self destruction of the Church, by those who wished to turn the Council away from its true goal and who gave a disastrous ecumenical direction to the reforms.

Now everything would be simple if we thought only of the Kingdom of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the salvation of souls. However, everything has been perverted by false ecumenism, which has become the rule of churchmen's conduct. So Tradition is presented as an obstacle which must be swept away. The history of the Church begins with Vatican II.

For so long as this spirit continues to reign in the Curia over the majority of Cardinals, it is unlikely that a solution can be found. Will it be necessary to wait for the complete ruin of the Catholic Church in most so called Catholic countries for the voice of Wisdom to be heard in a return to healthy Tradition?

You have given me some hope by announcing a projected document concerning the free use of the old rite of the Mass. The conditions to which you have alluded, however, make me fear that the result of this decree may be disappointing and only increase confusion.

I dearly wish that this decree should be a way to a solution for the Society and its supporters. The contrary would be very sad.

It is now almost four years since I met the Holy Father.Would not a further meeting be profitable in arriving at a happy solution?

I remain at your disposition and am grateful to you for your brotherly welcome. Please accept, Your Eminence, my sentiments of respect and devotion in Christo et Maria.

+Marcel Lefebvre

Attached are some documents which will be informative, in particular the beautiful Profession of Faith of the priests of Campos.2

1. See A Bishop Speaks, (English edition), pp. T3 84.
2. This Profession of Faith is included as Appendix II.

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