July 2004 - District Superior's Letter
Let us thank God for the recent priestly ordinations. Let us reflect on the fruits of the SSPX founded by Archbishop Lefebvre.
The month of July brings the good tidings of more priestly ordinations from our seminaries. Indeed, Providence has given our Society 15 new priests. On June 19, at St Thomas Aquinas Seminary in Winona, H. L. Bishop Williamson ordained 4 priests and 3 deacons. The ceremony was very well attended and Our Lord provided perfect weather. A week later, on June 26, H. L. Bishop Tissier de Mallerais ordained 3 priests at Sacred Heart Seminary in Zaitzkofen, Germany. Finally Bishop de Galarreta ordained 10 priests: 8 for the SSPX and 2 for the Capuchin order of Morgon, France. Three deacons were also ordained.
Let us thank God for these ordinations
It is a good time to thank our Lord, who has not abandoned His Church, and remind ourselves of the importance of the work of Archbishop Lefebvre which is primarily the training of priests. This is what is necessary to renew the Church, because the present Church crisis is a crisis of the priesthood.
Crisis of the priesthood
This crisis was foretold in an approved apparition of Our Lady of Good Success on February 2, 1634, to Mother Mariana in Quito Ecuador. In it She said that Our Lord would “bring an end to this terrible scourge by sending to the Church a prelate to renew the spirit of His priests… He will, with a divine gentleness, lead into the convents and monasteries souls consecrated to God for the service of God without making the yoke of the Lord heavy upon them.” It is indeed difficult not to see in Archbishop Lefebvre the prelate foretold by the Mother of God who single-handedly, not only stopped the hemorrhaging but also began the restoration.
Criticism of the Archbishop Lefebvre and the SSPX
There is of course plenty of criticism directed towards the Archbishop and the SSPX. There are many self-declared “Doctors in Israel” out there who know better. From “conservatives” who say he was too hard, that he should have remained in the Church to fight from within, who support and spread the lie of schism and excommunication, to the hard-liners or sedevacantists, who say he was too weak and illogical in recognizing John Paul II as Pope. I guess St Athanasius must have had similar critics in his day even if today he is acclaimed as the greatest defender of the Incarnation of the Son of God. I have no doubt one day Archbishop Lefebvre will be likewise recognized as one of the greatest defender of the rights of the Church and especially the priesthood and the Mass. To get a better idea of the man chosen by God, I recommend the reading of the newly released: MARCEL LEFEBVRE THE BIOGRAPHY by Bishop Bernard Tissier de Mallerais published by Angelus Press.
A tree is judged by its fruits
Since Our Lord told us to judge the tree by its fruits, the best answer we can give our critics are the fruits produced. I don’t think the Archbishop envisioned all the consequences, which would come from his firm stand for Tradition when he began the SSPX in 1970 with the few seminarians who came to him for help.
Fruits of the Society
What are the fruits of the Archbishop and his Society? First the preservation of the priesthood, in all its doctrinal purity, in all its missionary charity and with it the preservation of the Catholic Church’s greatest treasure: the holy sacrifice of the Mass. True priests who are dedicated to the salvation of souls who are sent to all parts of the world to bring the Mass, the sacraments, the true teaching of the Church to souls who are abandoned by their pastors.
Without Archbishop Lefebvre, and those who followed him in his resistance, the Tridentine Mass, humanly speaking, would have disappeared. Where do the majority of traditional priests come from? From the SSPX, this is a fact. But some will object: What about the indult granted by Pope John Paul II? What about it? In order to benefit from it priest and faithful must “in no way share the position of those who call in question the legitimacy and doctrinal exactitude of the Roman Missal promulgated by Paul VI… (Quattuor Abhinc Annos, October 3 1984) This is why we cannot request such an indult. It is a compromise because the new Mass “represents as a whole and in detail, a striking departure from the Catholic theology of the Holy Mass as it was formulated by the Council of Trent in its XXII session.” (Ottaviani Intervention, presented to Paul VI, September 3, 1969)
The FSSPX exists because of the SSPX
Besides, everyone knows it is only because of the Archbishop and in order to draw the faithful away from the SSPX that Rome granted this useless indult of 1984 and its extension to the Fraternity of St Peter. It is certainly not out of love for the Tridentine Mass. They are perfectly happy with their new Mass. However, the indult and the Fraternity failed to make the “traditional movement” disappear. No matter what they have done or said the SSPX has not gone away but has continued to be the proverbial thorn in their side reminding them of the true doctrine. This is why they now want at all costs to come to some agreement with us also: to make us go away, to make us enter the new church by accepting not only the new Mass but also the spirit of Vatican II and of Assisi, like the Fraternity of St Peter, like the Fraternity of St John Vianney of Campos. This is impossible!
Purpose of the seminaries of the SSPX
To give these young men the true priestly spirit, seminaries were opened around the world. How many owe the discovery and ability to fulfill their priestly vocation to Archbishop Lefebvre and the SSPX. Without them they would either have gone to Novus Ordo seminaries receiving a non-Catholic formation, thus joining the ranks of the destroyers of the Church, or they would have abandoned their vocation as many have done being disgusted with what they found in modern seminaries. It is also important to point out that many priests around the world have re-discovered their priesthood by re-discovering the Mass of all times thanks to Archbishop Lefebvre. Read the testimonies of 17 such priests in the newly published book from Angelus Press: “PRIEST WHERE IS THY MASS? MASS WHERE IS THY PRIEST?”
This is not all. After churches and chapels come schools, true Catholic schools where children learn not only the religious but also the natural truths. Retreat houses have also sprung up where men and women can consider their life from the eternal standpoint. Both are part of the work of restoration.
His work was not however confined to the formation of priests. As predicted by Our Lady of Good Success concerning the God sent prelate: he has led into the convents and monasteries souls consecrated to God for the service of God. Archbishop Lefebvre has been the instrument used by Divine Providence to rekindle the true religious life, founded on the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience, which is a sign of the holiness of the Church. The true Church cannot not be without the religious life. He has helped and supported existing male orders in their attempt of restoration in the spirit of fidelity to the rules of their founders: Dominicans, Franciscans, Benedictines, Redemptorists, by training and ordaining their priests. He has encouraged female orders like the Carmelites, Benedictines, Dominicans, both teaching and contemplative by giving them chaplains which would help them preserve their rule, not destroy it. He also founded the SSPX sisters and brothers as well as the Oblates. He has also supported new orders, which have sprung up to meet the needs of the times. We can very well ask ourselves if there would be any religious life left in the Church without Archbishop Lefebvre. All we need to do is look around us at the disappearance of religious congregations; convents and monasteries being sold to land developers; religious artifacts and masterpieces ending up in antique stores to see the fruits of Vatican II and the new Mass.
And also very importantly we see our families, who inspired by this prelate’s courage and firmness, have remained faithful to the laws of God in marriage, who make heroic sacrifices for the Catholic education of their children. Families who peacefully practice the faith of all times.
Easy to criticize but what has their criticism produced?
It is always easy to criticize, especially when one has nothing else to do while someone else is doing the work. But as for our critics what fruits have they produced except bitterness, division, confusion. So we are not too worried about what they say. We just continue doing our work for the glory of God and the salvation of souls.
Be assured of our gratitude for your continued support, which is expressed by our daily prayers and the monthly Mass offered for all our friends and benefactors. Certainly the work continues through your generosity. May Our Lord and His holy Mother reward you a hundredfold.
With my blessing,
Father Jean Violette