Archbishop Lefebvre - On the “Sede Vacante” Thesis

- An Address to Seminarians, March 30 and April 18, 1986

EVER SINCE the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, society has revolted more and more against God. The apostasy is growing year by year, and slowly, slowly, all society has been coming under the influence of the freemasonic principles of liberty and independence from God - no more law, no more authority, freedom of conscience, freedom of religion. At the beginning of the 20th century, Pius X warned that these errors were penetrating inside the Church, into the clergy. At Vatican II we saw a conspiracy between churchmen and freemasons, and now the Pope, Cardinals and nearly all Bishops accept man's independence of conscience, the principle of religious liberty and its consequence, the ecumenism whereby all religions are good. This is absolutely against Jesus Christ Who taught us He is the door of heaven, and there is no other way to get into heaven.

For twenty years since the Council, we have waited for the Vatican to realize the error of its ways. The Society has waited for the Pope to realize that the result of these false principles is the self-destruction of the Church. However, we are bound to recognize that the situation is only getting worse, that the false ecumenism is escalating, that since last year's Synod in particular the crisis is merely advancing faster and faster towards the total destruction of the Church.

Since the Council we have been seeing the situation get graver and graver, year by year, but the Synod was gravest of all because there they said, "We are continuing! Despite all difficulties, the Council was the work of the Holy Ghost, a second Pentecost. We must continue in the spirit of the Council. There will be no restrictions, no reprimands, no return to Tradition." So now we see them saying, "Let's go even faster!" Naturally, since there were no objections at the Synod to the spirit of the Council put into practice over 20 years, and since all agreed with the changes in the Church, then there is no reason not to continue even faster, and we are arriving at the total destruction of the Church!

The escalation of this Church-destroying ecumenism is taking place in broad daylight. In Morocco last year the Pope told a crowd of Mohammedans that they pray to the same God as Catholics do. But it is not true. Mohammedans teach that to kill a Christian is good because he is an idolater, worshipping the man Jesus Christ as God. Also last year, in Togo, the Pope poured out on the ground a pagan sacrifice to the god of the animists or African spirit-worshippers. Early this year, in India, he let some Hindu "priestess" mark him on the forehead with the sign of her sect!

Incredible! "All gods of the pagans are devils," says Scripture (Ps.95,5). How can the Pope receive the sign of the devil? Whatever god is not Jesus Christ is not the one and only true God. And most recently, the Pope has been into the synagogue of the Jews in Rome. How can the Pope pray with the enemies of Jesus Christ? These Jews know and say and believe that they are the successors of the Jews that killed Jesus Christ, and they continue to fight against Jesus Christ everywhere in the world. At the end of the Pope's visit, the Jews sang a "hymn" that included the line "I believe with all my heart in the coming of the Messiah," meaning they refuse Jesus as the Messiah, and the Pope had given permission for this denial of Christ to be sung in his presence, and he listened, with head bowed! And the Holy See announces that in the near future he will visit Taize to pray with the Protestants, and he himself said in public at St. Paul Outside of the Walls that later this year he will hold a ceremony gathering all religions of the world together to pray for peace at Assisi in Italy, on the occasion of the Feast of Peace proclaimed by the United Nations due to take place on October 24.

Now all these facts are public, you have seen them in the newspapers and the media. What are we to think? What is the reaction of our Catholic Faith? That is what matters. It is not our personal feelings, a sort of impression or admission of some kind. It is a question of knowing what our Faith tells us, faced with these facts. Let me quote a few words - not my words - from Canon Naz's Dictionary of Canon Law, a wholly official and approved commentary on what has been the Catholic Church's body of law for nineteen centuries. On the subject of sharing in the worship of non-Catholics (after all, this is what we now see Pope and bishops doing), the Church says, in Canon 1258-1: "It is absolutely forbidden for Catholics to attend or take any active part in the worship of non-Catholics in any way whatsoever." On this Canon the quasi-official Naz Commentary says, and I quote, "A Catholic takes active part when he joins in heterodox; i.e., non-Catholic worship with the intention of honouring God by this means in the way non-Catholics do. It is forbidden to pray, to sing or to play the organ in a heretical or schismatic temple, in association with the people worshipping there, even if the words of the hymn or the song or the prayer are orthodox." The reason for this prohibition is that any participation in non-Catholic worship implies profession of a false religion and hence denial of the Catholic Faith. By such participation Catholics are presumed to be adhering to the beliefs of the non- Catholics, and that is why Canon 2316 declares them "suspect of heresy, and if they persevere, they are to be treated as being in reality heretics."

Now these recent acts of the Pope and bishops, with Protestants, animists and Jews, are they not an active participation in non-Catholic worship as explained by Canon Naz on Canon 1258-1? In which case, I cannot see how it is possible to say that the Pope is not suspect of heresy, and if he continues, he is a heretic, a public heretic. That is the teaching of the Church.

Now I don't know if the time has come to say that the Pope is a heretic; I don't know if it is the time to say that. You know, for some time many people, the sedevacantists, have been saying "there is no more Pope," but I think that for me it was not yet the time to say that, because it was not sure, it was not evident, it was very difficult to say that the Pope is a heretic, the Pope is apostate. But I recognize that slowly, very slowly, by the deeds and acts of the Pope himself we begin to be very anxious.
I am not inventing this situation; I do not want it. I would gladly give my life to bring it to an end, but this is the situation we face, unfolding before our eyes like a film in the cinema. I don't think it has ever happened in the history of the Church, the man seated in the chair of Peter partaking in the worship of false gods.

What conclusion must we draw in a few months if we are confronted by these repeated acts of partaking in false worship? I don't know. I wonder. But I think the Pope can do nothing worse than call together a meeting of all religions, when we know there is only one true religion and all other religions belong to the devil. So perhaps after this famous meeting of Assisi, perhaps we must say that the Pope is a heretic, is apostate. Now I don't wish yet to say it formally and solemnly, but it seems at first sight that it is impossible for a Pope to be publicly and formally heretical. Our Lord has promised to be with him, to keep his faith, to keep him in the Faith - how can he at the same time be a public heretic and virtually apostatise? So it is possible we may be obliged to believe this pope is not pope.

For twenty years, Msgr. de Castro-Mayer and I preferred to wait; we said it was more prudent and more in conformity with Providence to wait because it is so important, so tragic, when it is not just a bishop, archbishop or cardinal, but the man in the chair of Peter. It is so important, so grave, so sad, that we prefer to wait until Providence gives us such evidence, that it is no longer possible to refuse to say that the Pope is a heretic. So, to say that I think we are waiting for the famous meeting in Assisi, if God allows it! Maybe war will break out, and here I take the opportunity to congratulate America and its President on their resolute action in Libya against an enemy of all civilization. In Europe they are all afraid, afraid, afraid of the Communists. Why? Until the Communists occupy all Europe. But President Reagan's action may have delayed war by making the Communists afraid; we don't know, because they are fanatics and could start war any time just to take power.

Now some priests (even some priests in the Society) say that we Catholics need not worry about what is happening in the Vatican; we have the true sacraments, the true Mass, the true doctrine, so why worry about whether the Pope is a heretic or an impostor or whatever; it is of no importance to us. But I think that is not true. If any man is important in the Church, it is the Pope. He is the centre of the Church and has a great influence on all Catholics by his attitudes, his words and his acts. All men read in the newspapers the Pope's words and on television they see his travels. And so, slowly, slowly, many Catholics are losing the Catholic Faith by the scandal of the Pope's partaking in false religions. This ecumenism is a scandal in the true sense of the word, an encouragement to sin. Catholics are losing faith in the Catholic Church. They think all religions are good because the Pope in this way befriends men of all religions. When the scandal comes from so high in the Church, from the man in the chair of Peter and from almost all the bishops, then poor Catholics who are thrown back on their own resources and who do not know their Faith well enough to keep it despite all, or who do not have priests by their side to help them to keep the Faith, these Catholics are completely at a loss what to do. They are no longer practicing their Faith, or they give up praying, or they are losing the Faith altogether and are joining some sect or other. I ask, what people are keeping the Faith? Where are they? Where are they? And I ask even the Traditionalists!

For I think that many Traditional Catholics enjoy the traditions; they like the old Mass, they like the old sacraments, they like the old teaching of the Church, but they do not really believe in Jesus Christ as the one and only Saviour, God and Creator. That is the bad influence of all the modern errors coming through television and the media - they are so bad, so pagan, so opposed to Jesus Christ and the Catholic Faith that few people remain true Catholics wholly faithful to Jesus Christ. That is why we can't be indifferent to these scandalous events in Rome, we must judge them in the light of our Faith and help Catholics, traditional Catholics, to see that this bad example of the Pope is a great scandal, very dangerous for their souls.

It is very sad. Never in my life did I think I could be saying, the scandal of the Pope, but it is true. What can I do about it? I think we must pray, and pray, morning, noon and night and study our Catholic doctrine very deeply to stay true Catholics and keep the Faith.

Someone may say, I am on the way to saying the Pope is not Pope, in order to consecrate a bishop. That is not true. They are two different problems. Ever since the Council, year after year, I have been praying to God that Providence by the facts and the unfolding of events should show us what we must do. I pray for it to be clear beyond doubt, wholly evident. And I think that now we are in this time, I think that it is the answer of God. I would much prefer Providence to be showing us the Vatican returning to Tradition, but instead we see the Vatican plunging into darkness and error. And so it is sure that now it is not as difficult to see as it was one or two years ago, it is more clear and evident that they are no longer truly Catholic. No persecution or revolution in all history has so destroyed the Church as these years since the Council, because today the Faith is being destroyed by men of the Church, by the Pope himself, by Cardinals, by bishops, priests and nuns. It is the wholesale, worldwide and radical destruction of the Faith.

Yet it is a great grace for us to live in this time. From before the destruction, we were chosen by God to continue the Catholic Church. Even if we are condemned by Rome, even if we are persecuted by the bishops, that is not important. What is important is to stay Catholic, to keep the grace we received at baptism, to save our souls. Nobody can say we are heretics or schismatics for believing as the Popes, Saints and Church of old believed for twenty centuries. It is a great grace of God to have been chosen to continue the Faith and the Church, but it is a great responsibility ,and we must pray and remain very humble in order to be faithful to the grace that we receive.

You seminarians especially, future priests, must study the true Faith to become true missionaries of Our Lord, even if you have to shed your blood, as the martyrs did in olden times. Then young girls would suffer heroic deaths rather than make one sacrifice or breathe one prayer to the pagan gods of ancient Rome, but now, no problem! You want me to say a prayer to your god? Sure! And so they are abandoning Jesus Christ and the true Faith in order to be friends with the enemies of the Church!

We refuse. Instead we resolve to follow the non-ecumenical martyrs, the Saints. Tomorrow at Ridgefield the Church will have three more priests. That is very important. It is not a question of numbers, it is a question of quality, it is a question of true priests. Jesus Christ began with twelve apostles so we need not feel bad that we are so few. Our work is really nothing compared with the world's needs. But that is not our problem, it is God's problem. He asked us to work and to believe in Him and to have confidence in Jesus Christ and in the grace of Jesus Christ. Success lies in God's hands. You know we have much to suffer, many, many sufferings, even in the Society. But we must carry the Cross of Jesus Christ and with the courage and resolution He gives us, we must have a great hope that one day the kingdom of Jesus Christ will return to this world.


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