The Church Laws & the Legal status of the SSPX

By Raymond Taouk

A brief introduction

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre was head of the Holy Ghost Fathers which was the largest missionary order serving the Roman Catholic Church in the Missionary areas of the world. Their numbers exceeded even those of the Society of Jesus in the mission field.

After his resignation as Superior General of the Holy Ghost Fathers in September 1968, Archbishop Lefebvre lived in Rome, in retirement.

At the French Seminary in Rome (and at others too) the traditional routine of priestly formation was discarded. For example; Daily attendance at Mass ceased to be obligatory, the Sacrifice of the Mass became merely a 'commemoration' of a 'supper' or a 'meal.' Scholastic philosophy was discarded in favor of the dangerous theories of Modernism and Liberalism. Protestant doctrine began to be taught. Traditional Catholic moral issues were determinedly obscured. The teaching of Latin ceased. Basically the truths of the Faith were being diluted if not actually denied.

Archbishop Lefebvre was approached by parents with sons in the seminary. They expressed serious dissatisfaction with the formation their sons were receiving for the holy Priesthood. They begged the Archbishop to do something for their seminarian sons. He was moved to decline for many good reasons: he was retired, perhaps they exaggerated, he had no buildings, no money, no staff to take on the training of new priests, etc. etc.

It was only when the seminarians themselves sought him out, first in their ones, twos, threes and then the many, that he found his worst fears confirmed. They were all asking him to help them by taking over their priestly formation and training. As the months went by the requests continued and showed no signs of ceasing. After much prayer and reflection and prompted by God the Holy Ghost, the Archbishop finally agreed to try to help.

Once the Divine Will had been made known to him he was not slow to act. He first rented a house in Fribourg, Switzerland. Bishop Charriere gave his permission and support. This soon proved too small to accommodate the vocations that came to him. The seminarians attended lectures in the then still Catholic Dominican University nearby. The Fribourg seminarians, next became alarmed at the changes taking place in their Dioceses under the modernist bishops. They feared having to return to such dioceses after their ordination. They pleaded with the Archbishop to establish a religious society that would bind them together and protect their priesthood,  as "the spirit of truth does not permit novelties of this kind to arize without opposition." (Bossuet, Oeuvres completes,ed.Vives 1867,Vol.IV, Col.526 ff.)

Rome and the SSPX

In September 1970, the first year started at Econe with the approval of Bishop Adam, and November 1, 1970 Bishop Charrière canonically erected the "Priestly Fraternity of Saint Puis X" and approved its Constitutions. . Thus the Society of Saint Pius X came into existence. The Society was later given added formal approbation by the Holy See, this being communicated by letter dated 18 February 1971, from His Eminence John J Cardinal Wright, Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of the Clergy.

The New Conciliar Mass of Pope Paul VI begun to be enforced in 1969-1970. This New Mass was gradually replacing the traditional Sacrifice of the Mass everywhere. In the University it was being exclusively said and taught to the students. It's non-Catholic elements, and therefore its dangers to the faith were also obvious. The Archbishop would have to found a Seminary of his own and operate it as seminaries were run at the time, and before, but without any of the new innovations. This is because "the true friends of the people are neither innovators, nor revolutionaries, but traditionalists" (St Puis X).

After founding the Society and opened his first seminary at the age of sixty-five (Most men retire at that age). As the years passed, it became increasingly difficult for him to travel around the world visiting the six Seminaries to perform the necessary ordinations as well as the innumerable necessary ceremonies of Confirmation. As he became older his health began to fail. It became essential that he had assistant bishops. Given the history of the general unreasonableness of Rome towards the Archbishop and his Society of St Pius X, it was unlikely that conciliar bishops would be minded to ordained his seminarists. This was due to their wish to stray from tradition unlike those who like the SSPX who wished only to hold to and defend the constant teachings of the Church. Further, those bishops were doctrinally unsound, and actively engaged in the concerted destruction of the Catholic Church. Pope Paul VI, who issued two startling statements to that effect, professed this:

"The Church finds herself in an hour of anxiety, a disturbed period of self-criticism, or what would even better be called self-demolition [auto-destruction]. It is an interior upheaval, acute and complicated, which nobody expected after the Council. It is almost as if the Church were attacking itself. We looked forward to a flowering, a serene expansion of conceptions which matured in the great sessions of the Council. But ... one must notice above all the sorrowful aspect. It is as if the Church were destroying herself. --Pope Paul VI, December 7, 1968, Address to the Lombard Seminary at Rome

It is also true to say that their are some in Rome, wanted Lefebvre to break with the Pope, desiring that the traditionalist theology Lefebvre preached would then be irredeemably stigmatized as schismatic, even heretical (Inside the Vatican October 1998, p.13,). Further "one could make an astonishing list for propositions taught yesterday, and the day before in Rome, as the only acceptable ones, and which were eliminated by the Conciliar Fathers" - Cardinal Suenens, interview I.C.I 15/5/69

Cardinal Ratzinger freely acknowledged that Abp. Lefebvre was fighting against ideological Liberalism and the making of truth relative (AD 2000 Sept. 1988). In other words their are those in Rome (priest, Bishops, Cardinals etc) who seek to destroy the Church and her teachings (the Mass, Catholic dogma, Catholic belief etc.) and have them all done away with in order to destroy the Church instituted by Christ and introduce their own theology. This however in itself is like taking on God, and thus impossible. In every age God raises up faithful men and woman to defend the Church in order prevent the destruction of our Holy faith.

From this we see why if there were no bishops then no priest could be ordained. The Archbishop was also confronted with his own mortality. Rome knew this! Should he die leaving no bishops the Society of St Pius X (SSPX) would eventually die out. Rome knew this! Rome also considered that time was on their side while Archbishop Lefebvre had almost none left. So the Holy See decided to procrastinate for as long as necessary on the question of the bishops, with the hope that death would claim the Archbishop and thus, in their eyes, the problem would be no more.

Then Divine Providence intervened. God the Holy Ghost, as at Pentecost, inspired Archbishop Lefebvre to proceed with the consecration of his auxiliary bishops given the state of necessity existing in the Catholic Church. However Rome had agreed in principle on the point of Episcopal consecration, but did not agree on the Archbishop's choice of candidates. He, nevertheless, went ahead with the consecrations, despite Rome's disapproval. And in obedience to the Divine Will the Archbishop consecrated four bishops on 30 June 1988 by reason of necessity.

To preserve the authentic teaching of the of the Catholic Church the Archbishop, trained priests in exactly the same way, he and many more before and after, were trained for decades. He trained them in exactly the same way priests were trained up to about 1962. He inculcated the same holy traditions he himself had received, and had taught during his distinguished career. He trained his priests to say the Catholic Mass, that was said by the Holy saints, martyrs and confessor and Church fathers throughout the ages. He did nothing new! He taught nothing new! He did not innovate!

In fact so true is it that Archbishop did not innovate that we see that Rome could not hold anything against him until the consecrations in 1988 and so we shall attempt to look at the question of the consecrations in the light of the Laws of the Church using the code of Canon Law and the Church's theological doctrine. 

The Church's Laws

Firstly it should be noted that the mere consecration of Bishops in no way creates a schism and no canon lawyer with any knowledge of canon law would say it does. For this reason Fr. Patrick Valdini , Dean of the Faculty of Canon Law at the Catholic Institute of Paris said that Archbishop Lefebvre did not commit a schismatic act by the consecrations, for he didn't deny the Pope's primacy. "It is not the consecration of a bishop which creates the schism. What makes the schism is to give the bishop an apostolic mission." Which is something Archbishop Lefebvre never did (Question de Droit ou de confiance, L'Homme Nouveau, Feb.17, 1988).

We read that the Code Canon Law of 1917 spoke of "necessity" in Canon 2205, §2 and §3; the Code of 1983 deals with it in Canons, 1323, sec.4 and 1324, para. 1, sec.5. It is clear from the context that necessity is a state wherein goods necessary for life are put in danger in such a way that to come out of this state the violation of certain laws is inevitable.

The Code recognizes necessity as a circumstance, which exempts from all penalties in case of violation of the law (New Code of 1983. Canon 1323, sec.4), provided that the action is not intrinsically evil or harmful to souls; in this latter case necessity would only mitigate the penalty. But no "latæ sententiæ" penalty can be incurred by anyone who has acted in this circumstance (CCL 1983 Canon 1324, para.3). Further schism as defined in Canon 751 means refusal of subjection to the supreme pontiff or refusal of communion with other members of the Church. A mere act of disobedience to a superior does not imply denial that the superior holds office or has authority.

Archbishop Lefebvre believed that such a state of necessity existed in the Catholic Church. . Popes Paul VI and John Paul II confirm both this fact in the following:

" We have the impression that through some cracks in the wall, the smoke of Satan has entered the temple of God: it is doubt, uncertainty, questioning, dissatisfaction, and confrontation.... We thought that after the Council a day of sunshine would have dawned for the history of the Church. What dawned, instead, was a day of clouds and storms, of darkness, of searching and uncertainties. -- Pope Paul VI, June 29, 1972, Homily during the Mass for Sts. Peter & Paul, On the occasion of the ninth anniversary of his coronation in his response to Vatican II

"There is need to admit realistically and with a deep and sober sensibility that Christians today, for the most part, are dismayed, confused, perplexed and even frustrated; ideas conflicting with revealed and constantly taught Truth have been scattered by handfuls; true and real heresies in the sphere of dogma and morals have been spread, creating doubts, confusions, rebellions; the liturgy has been violated; immersed in intellectual and moral "relativism" and therefore in permissiveness, Christians have been allured by atheism, by agnosticism, by a vaguely moralistic enlightenment, by socialistic Christianity, without defined dogma and without objective morals" - Pope John Paul II, L'Ossevatore Romano, Feb.7,1981.

Thus there can be no doubt (or denial) that we are living in a time of unprecedented crisis as "present day Catholicism is prey to a generalized apostasy; there no longer subsist within it any other than scattered groups of healthy supernatural cells, which in their turn, risk undergoing corruption if they are not warned of the peril in time (Preface to "Teilhard the Apostate" by Manuel de Corte the Proffessor & Philospher at the university of liege in Belgium, 1971).

A state of necessity thus justifies using the law of necessity. The law of necessity in the Church is the sum total of juridical rules which apply in case of a menace to the perpetuity or activity of the Church. This law of necessity can be resorted to only when one has used all possibilities of re-establishing a normal situation, relying on positive law. The Archbishop did all this. The law of necessity uniquely justifies the measures, which are necessary for a restoration of functions in the Church. The principle of proportionality is to be observed. In the History of the Church there are numerous cases of Bishops who, in extraordinary circumstance, when they found themselves in some of the same difficulties as those of the early centuries and, consequently, the necessity arose of using the Episcopal powers in all their fullness. However the case of whether or not many saints in the past acted directly or indirectly against the express will of the Pope is something that the adversaries of the SSPX have to prove, for in time of necessity when this is minor compared to the greater evil which is at stake.

This is because the preservation of the faith and the salvation of souls are the supreme law of the Church (Pope Pius XII, 2/10/1944 in an address to the Roman Rota, See also Can. 1752). Being the supreme law, all the others are subject to it.

In spite of the declaration made by Lefebvre explaining why he (and many other Catholic priests and bishops) believed it necessary to perform the Episcopal consecrations, the 1988 decree of Cardinal Gantin failed to take into account the above mentioned provisions of canon 1323 and 1324. Further if the Holy See really wanted to excommunicate Archbishop Lefebvre, it would have been necessary to proceed against him by imposing the penalty "senentia ferenda" after due process. The charge of schism would certainly have never have required the imposition of a lesser penalty at most, or possibly no penalty at all (Canon 1323 n.4) for the violation of canon 1382, if due process had been followed. It was obvious that the secretary of state did not want to run the risk of due process, and therefore the fraudulent procedure of issuing the incompetent decree of Cardinal Gantin was chosen instead.

For a Catholic excommunication to occur it must take place either positively by a special ceremony, or automatically by Church Law. Now Rome never performed any ceremony to excommunicate the Archbishop. It merely declared he had automatically excommunicated himself by Church law as never once did Pope John Paul II declare explicitly "I hereby excommunicate Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre." On July 2, the Pope merely declared that an "ipso facto" excommunication had taken place. It did not, according to Can. 1323 (1983 Code).

In order for one to be excommunicated he would have to break cannon Law. Much like in society one must first break the law in order to be lawfully arrested. However "it is not the consecration of a bishop which creates the schism. What makes the schism is to give the bishops an apostolic mission" this is something Archbishop Lefebvre never did.

One must not fail to realize that Schism means secession from the pope, separation for the Church, which is something Marcel Lefebvre & the SSPX have never done, as they continue to profess their Loyalty to the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church of Christ. The Society of St Pius X has remained faithful in the constant teaching of the Church, for it is the apostle St Paul himself who strongly commands us to "Stand firm in the teachings and traditions" of the Church " (2 Thess 2:14).

In the History of the Church there are any numerous cases of Bishops who, in extraordinary circumstance, when they found themselves in some of the same difficulties as those of the early centuries and, consequently, the necessity arose of using the Episcopal powers in all their fullness, consecrated Bishops without adhering to the disciplinary norms of the time; they did so by virtue of this "Law of supplying (Ecclesia supplet)" which exists in the Church, as it does in all organizations, when the functioning of necessary and indispensable organs become endangered. Thus in the 4th Century, "St. Eusebius of Samosata and other bishops, not only consecrated but even established other bishops in Episcopal sees" (V.Manlio Simonetti, la Crisi ariana nel IV Secolo, Institutum Patristicum Augustinainum, Via S., Uffizio 25, Roma), 1975) even while having no particular jurisdiction over them, (Theod. Hist.eccl'bookII, Chap XI, Action du college episcopal) and yet the Church has not hesitated to proclaim his sanctity. Further St. Melilus of Antioch incurred an excommunication for the consecration of a bishop in order to maintain the faith.

Further it is well known that both St. Athanasius and St. Eusebius consecrated priest without the "official" approval of Rome. This like wise was the case with St. Jerome who was excommunicated by Bishop John of Jerusalem for partaking in a so-called "illegal" ordination however such an excommunication was later vindicated! Such historical facts only serve to confirm the courageous actions of Archbishop Lefebvre.

Cardinal Billot writes that Our Lord instituted the primacy, but left in some way the limits of episcopal power undefined, precisely because "it would not have been fitting that those things that are subject to change would be unchangeably fixed by divine law. Some things are indeed subject to change because of the variety of circumstances and of the times and because of greater or lesser facility of recourse to the Apostolic See among other such like things (De Ecclesia Christi, Q.XV, §2, p.713).

Dom Grea, whose attachment to the pope is above all suspicion testifies (De L'Eglise et de sa divine constitution, vol. I) that not only at the beginning of Christianity did the "necessity of the Church and the Gospel" demand that the power of the episcopal order be exercised in all its fullness without jurisdictional limitations, but that in successive ages extraordinary circumstances required "even more exceptional and more extraordinary manifestations" of episcopal power (ibid, P.218) in order "to apply a remedy to the current necessity of the Christian people" for whom there was no hope of aid on the part of the legitimate pastors nor from the Pope. In such circumstances, in which the common good of the Church is at stake, the jurisdictional limitations vanish and "that which is universal" in Episcopal power" comes directly to the aid of souls" (ibid, p.218). It must be understood that in the exercise of the power of the keys, Christ remains always the "principle agent" and "no other man can exercise (the power of the keys) as principle agent" (St. Thomas, Supplement, Q.19, A.4).

Dom Grea further writes that the extraordinary manifestations of episcopal power do not call into question the doctrine on the primacy, because necessity, without hope of help from the legitimate pastors takes the "extraordinary action" of the episcopate back to "the essential laws of the hierarchy" which are not at all weakened by the ordinary jurisdictional Laws (see Catholic Encyclopedia, necessity, state of).

The keys of peter are also the "keys of ministry," and therefore not even Peter can use the power of the keys arbitrarily, but must be attentive to the divine order of things. The divine order is that jurisdiction flows to others by means of Peter, yes, but for the preservation of the faith" (St.Thomas, Contra Gentiles, Bk.4, c.72). Therefore, if peter prevented it from being supplied sufficiently for the need of souls, he would act against the divine order and would commit a most grave fault (St. Thomas, Supplement, Q.8, AA. 4-9).

From the above it is thus undeniable that the state of necessity extends not only to the duties of bishops, but also to their power of jurisdiction.

As for jurisdiction, the priests of the SSPX do not deny that they do not have ordinary jurisdiction. Nevertheless the New Code of Canon Law as promulgated by Pope John Paul II provides for the jurisdiction needed for the valid administration of the sacraments of confession, marriage and confirmation in Canon 144. This Canon explains how the law itself gives the necessary faculties when it says "In common error about fact or about law and also in positive and probable doubt law or fact, the Church supplies executive power of governance (jurisdiction) both for the external and internal forum. #2: "This same norm applies to the faculties mentioned in canon.883 (confirmation) canon 966 (confession) and canon 1111#1 (marriage). So Church Law itself can and does give a validly ordained priest the power to hear confessions, bless marriages and administer confirmations even without the permission of the local bishop "since necessity knows no law, in cases of necessity the ordinance of the Church does not hinder him from being able to absolve, since he has the keys sacramentaly" (St. Thomas, S.T. Suppl.,Q.8, A.6). This conforms to the law of "Epikeia" that allows one to follow the spirit of the law rather than the letter of the law in a given circumstance.

Pope Pius XII in taking up the common opinion of theologians held that an Episcopal consecration does not, in itself, confer any automatic Jurisdiction but only the fullness of power of order; as through Episcopal consecration, the bishops are potential recipients of jurisdiction and have the passive power to receive jurisdiction (Pius XII, Ad Sinarum Gentem, 7/101954). Episcopal dignity comes directly from God but as regard to jurisdiction it comes from the Apostolic See (Pius VI, The Letter Deesemus). The SSPX bishops do not claim jurisdiction and thus Archbishop Lefebvre's Episcopal consecrations in no way call into question the primacy of jurisdiction of the Holy See and so it does not constitute a schismatic act contrary to what is asserted by "ecclesia Dei Adflica" and so it does not apply.

The power, while wielded by Peter, is owned by Christ. It is to benefit souls, not its possessor. It is to save souls, not damn them. As for the machinery of Peter's control of the consecration of bishops, Christ left it flexible, so that Peter could, down the ages, tighten or loosen that machinery according as different historical circumstances would require for the good of the Church. Medieval popes tightened it, as did Pius XII because of a recurring problem in China, but the Church has approved of Eusebius of Samosate consecrating bishops without the Pope's permission in the 4th century. Therefore if a Pope were to tighten that control to the grave harm of souls, the Church would supply jurisdiction for a bishop to take that consecration into his own hands, as did Archbishop Lefebvre. For the manner of Episcopal consecrations is a matter not of divine law, but of human Church law, allowing for the exceptions possible in all human Church law. The real schism is with those who try and impose the false notion of "collegiality", as this challenge's the Pope's authority as Pope.

Further consensus amongst canonists is that Archbishop Lefebvre was NOT ex-communicated (i.e. Cardinal Lara , La Republica, October 7, 1988) as he was acting from a state of necessity for which canon law provides. After all the purpose of the law is the salvation of souls; and sometimes it is necessary to follow the spirit of the law and not the letter of the law. In speaking of the case of Archbishop Lefebvre, Cardinal Silvo Oddi, didn't hesitate to affirm that: "Marcel Lefebvre is the only case in the Church of being condemned because he was 'too faithful' to the Church. I am sorry for this." And what is more is that he adds, "In my opinion, the excommunication was a mistake. He was treated too harshly by the Church. I've said that to Cardinal Ratzinger. - Latin Mass Magazine, Vol. 3, No. 5, Sept-Oct 1994, pg. 24. 

Now, the "excommunication" was supposed to be due to abuse of Episcopal powers (canon 1382), and was not incurred because:

A person who violates a law out of necessity is not subject to a penalty (1983 CIC, canon 1323, §4), even if there is no state of necessity but the person inculpably thought there was. This is because no penalty is ever incurred without grave moral imputability (Canon 1323.7) thus even if he is ever judged as being mistaken it could still never amount to subjective mortal sin.

The "rule of Law" (Regula iuris 15) which gives the benefit of any doubt in cases of penal Law, points out that if there is a doubt whether a penalty has been incurred in a particular case, it means that it has not been incurred. One must also say that even if there were an erroneous and punishable supposition of an emergency, still there would be no automatic sanction, much less an excommunication (Canon1324, n.1,8,3).

It appears that there can be no question of a separation with Rome since Abp. Lefebvre acted according to the directives of Catholic theology since "it is legitimate to disobey a popes command and hinder the carrying out of his orders if he jeopardizes souls" (St. Robert Bellarmine, de Romane Pontife, 2,29). Thus the Archbishops decision to consecrate four bishops is in direct line with the saintly bishop and confessor Athanasius who at a time of similar general blindness when heresy prevailed was one of the few bishops who openly resisted it at the cost of even being excommunicated which was a measure understood to be just as invalid as the supposed excommunication of June 30, 1988.

It ought to be noted that popes in the past have also wrongly excommunicated faithful bishops. This is because "a Pope is not infallible in his laws, nor in his commands, nor in his acts of state, nor in his administration, nor in his public policy" (Cardinal Newman, Difficulties of Anglicans, London, 1876, p.256). Such was the case with Pope Liberius when he excommunicated St. Athanasius when he firmly resisted the Arian heretics of his day (Sarto Books, 1982, Originally Published 1844, P.180). The Catholic dictionary of Theology (1971) states that the excommunication of St. Athanasius was unjust. It must be asked who would now try and argue that St. Athanasius was actually separated from the Church by this unjust condemnation, or that God was bound by it?

Further during this same period St. Jerome tells us that 80% of the bishops were heretics and while at the same time "The entire world groaned and was astonished to find itself Arian" (Dialogus contra Luciferianos 19:ML 23,181). Thus during this period (the 4th Century) "In order to be safe from this contagious plague, the true faithful and disciples of Christ had to prefer the ancient beliefs rather than all these false novelties." (St.Vincent of Lerins Commonitorium). Pope Liberius even later signed the Sirmium creed of the Arians (New Catholic Encyclopedia, New York, 1967, VIII, 715,col.1) which was "a document reprehensible from the point of view of faith" (ibid. VIII, 715,col.1).

In further understand the present situation of the SSPX, we should be ever mindful that at times "Divine providence often allows even good men to be expelled from the Christian community.... By their patient endurance of such injury and disgrace for the peace of the Church..., they will give man a lesson in true affliction, in the really genuine charity, which God's service calls for. The object of such men is to return when the gale has blown itself out; but if this is not possible because the storm continues, or is more likely to break out more furiously than ever if they go back, they cling to their determination... and are prepared... to defend to the death the faith which they know is preached in the Catholic Church, and to support it by their loyal testimony. The Father sees these men in secret, and rewards them in secret." ---St. Augustine (354-430), De Vera Religione, sec. 6

Further Michael Davies writes that :

"During a time of apostasy, those who remain true to the Faith may have to worship outside the official churches, in order not to compromise that Faith... they may have to look for truly Catholic teaching not from the bishops of their country... not even to the Roman Pontiff... but to one heroic confessor whom the other bishops and even the Roman Pontiff may have repudiated or excommunicated."

From the above it seems clear that Archbishop Lefebvre (like St. Athanasius) was not condemned for being a heretic or schismatic of any sort but rather because he threatened the false "unity" among the modernists and liberals who like the Arians of the 4th Century were able to occupy high place and exert much influence on the Popes decision. However it must be maintained that no one in the Church has the right to require a unity of communion and / or of government which disregards the unity of Faith for "their is not in the Church a "unity of Communion" without a "unity of Faith." - Dz. 1821; Leo XIII, Satis cognitium (Dz.1969).

We must note that the SSPX existed long before any excommunication ever existed, Archbishop Lefebvre was always most highly regarded and praised for his character, before the Episcopal consecrations. His Character as a faithful servant of Christ, remained with him until his death. Their (the SSPX) claim to be fully within the Roman Catholic Church is thus truly justified, so long as they hold faithfully to their Constitutions as approved by the Church and do not act contrary to Christian doctrine or moral issues. However we do not have to worry about this as Archbishop Lefebvre made it clear in his letter to the future bishops imploring them:

The fact that the Church would betray the cause of Lord Jesus Christ was spelled out in clear and simple language by Our Lady of La Salette (1846 , An approved apparition) saying that " Rome will lose the faith and become the seat of Antichrist ". For this reason today “only, one offense is vigorously punished, an accurate observance of our fathers traditions” (St. Basil, Ep.243).  Nevertheless Archbishop Lefebvre expressly signifies his loyalty to the Holy See saying that "As for us, they say that we have distanced ourselves from the See of Peter and from the Church. Yet it is we who are the best defenders of both, we who are the most ready to defend the Holy See and the bishops in so far as they the successors of the apostles and the representatives of the church; but not the liberalism they profess." (Against the Heresies Pg. 120)

        “That is why, without any rebellion, bitterness, or resentment, we pursue our work of priestly formation under the guidance of the never changing Magisterium, convinced as we are that we cannot possibly render a greater service to the Holy Catholic Church, to the Sovereign Pontiff, and to posterity”-  Archbishop Lefebvre, Declaration of November 21, 1974