May 1998 - Superior General's Letter #54
It has been ten years since Archbishop Lefebvre consecrated four bishops. Time has proven how necessary these consecrations were as the crisis in the Church progressively worsens. Although Ecumenism continues to ravage the Church and the situation seems hopeless, let us renew our faith and fight the good fight. Well-formed priests are benefiting souls around the world as the SSPX's apostolate expands.
Dear Friends and Benefactors,
Ten years since the consecrations of the Society's four bishops
On June 30, 1988, ten years ago, Archbishop Lefebvre found himself “obliged by Divine Providence to pass on the grace of the Catholic bishop” to four priests, including your servant. In a letter he wrote to them, the Archbishop laid out the reasons which had finally decided him to perform this act of such grave import in the face of the whole Church.
Reminder of the reasons for the consecrations
“The corruption of the Holy Mass has brought with it the corruption of the priesthood and the universal decadence of faith in the divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ”, accompanied by the resolute intention, clearly shown by the Roman authorities, to continue with “their work of destroying the reign of Our Lord, as proved by Assisi, and by Rome’s confirmation of the liberal theses of Vatican II on religious liberty”.
The situation was so grave that it demanded such a step be taken. Hard and fast action was needed to give the Church and the Catholic priesthood a chance of surviving. Anybody taking too natural or superficial a view of the Church could not understand the Archbishop’s action, and to this day we are accused of monstrous pride for daring to claim that the act of consecrating bishops was justified.
A progressively worsening situation
Even today, ten years later, although the situation has become markedly worse, how many people are still letting themselves be deceived by what remains of the appearance and structure of the Church? And certain societies that Rome raised up at that time to deceive people, societies enjoying the privilege of celebrating the Traditional Mass at the price of keeping a guilty silence on the reality of the drama being played out before our eyes, prove that our vision of things is correct.
Church's apparent unity
Beneath a show of apparent unity, the Church is being torn apart; a special effort is being made to tear out its soul, its spiritual treasure, that which distinguishes it from all other religions and all other societies: its supernatural truth, its deposit, the deposit of Revelation of which it is the one and only guardian, its charity, its grace, its sacrifice, its priesthood.
If these things are still spoken of at all they are emptied of any meaning they had prior to Vatican II, and the daily practice of ecumenism shows how little the liberals care for all those values of the past. Even if in theory they still profess the same Creed, in practice they are far from it. In many seminaries, as in the majority of churches still operating, it is the abomination of desolation and a mockery of the truth which have replaced the Holy of Holies… if only it were an exaggeration to say so!
The objection will be made that in Rome there are nevertheless voices rebuking the excesses and the abuses of the progressives, and calling for a renewal of discipline: but are these voices heeded? For example, what effect did the recent call to order have on the ministry of the laity? Resistance and indifference… everything goes on just like before, and Rome takes no action.
Let me tell you what really happened just recently with two Dutchmen. They wondered how it was possible that “the eternal Church could be so dramatically destroyed in their country”. They wrote a number of letters to Rome, but never received a reply. So they decided to go down to Rome and tackle several cardinals, prelates, bishops… In the course of their discussions, these cardinals and bishops asked them to take action themselves, to promote the Catholic Tridentine Mass, and to put an end to eucharistic picnics, the “tablemeal-shows”. The cardinals and bishops themselves could do nothing, they said. It is the Catholic laity that must act to save the Church… The Dutch remained a few days in Rome after which the message was clear: “Rome could not help in any way” (letter to the Superior General of March 7, 1998).
Should we despair? No, let us renew our faith
Should we lose heart, give up the fight, play deaf and dumb? On the contrary: more than ever we must shake off the sloth lying in wait for us, we must re-activate our faith, faith in Our Lord, faith in his promises for His Church. The enemy is powerful, but Our Lord more so, infinitely more so.
And we have the proof of this in the way in which He is watching over this little Society of the Church, tossed about in the heart of the storm, yet being protected at the same time, and which is producing those gentle flowers of grace and sanctity which the Church has always produced, even while the storm rages all around.
Fruits of a solid priestly formation
Whereas the teaching is rotten in official seminaries and universities (cf. Fideliter March 1988), we are consoled to see priests of ours so formed as to be able to travel throughout the world bringing to souls the comfort of God’s forgiveness and the Bread of Angels. Amidst a world going steadily more crazy these priests provide souls with the meaning of life and the means of pleasing Almighty God by fulfilling one’s daily duty of state. These priests remind people how they need to carry their cross following Christ Crucified to attain eternal happiness. The harvest is abundant as ever, only there are too few workers to gather it in. Ask the master of the harvest with tears and sacrifices for what the Superior General, dearly as he would love to, cannot yet give you… By penance and perseverance in prayer, by a family life arranged to please the Sacred Heart,’by the daily practice of justice and charity, let us show Our Lord that we are ready to pay the price, because it is something we truly value, of receiving priests from Him according to His Heart, other Christs.
We count on your prayers, dear benefactors, even more than on your gifts, in return for which we ask God to richly bless you, console you and protect you. Thanks to you the church of the seminary in Ecône is almost finished and we are planning for its blessing next October 10. A good third of the cost is already covered, and we are now turning towards two new important projects: all that is lacking for building to start on the church of our Seminary of Our Lady Co-redemptrix in the Argentine is the financial resources. Also we want to build a seminary in the Philippines, a country where the Society of St. Pius X is developing in almost miraculous fashion. The mayor of Quezon City, a city of more than 2,000,000 inhabitants, has just consecrated his city to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in our church, in the presence of Bishop Lazo and our priests, while medical missions for the relief, church, the poor and the sick are multiplying with the help of our 19 doctors… to say nothing of the pre-seminary and a pre-novitiate for the Sisters…
All of these undertakings, as you well know, are impossible without material support and can only develop to the extent of your fraternal charity. May your alms and sacrifices, for which we are so grateful to you, and which cover a multitude of sins, be one day, accompanied by the prayers of our priests and seminarians, your best allies to help you into Heaven!
May St. Joseph, protector of Holy Church, guard yourselves and your families,
† Bernard Fellay
May 30, 1998