Rorate Caeli

Not in an ivory tower

"What to do regarding current authorities? Lock ourselves in our resistance as if in an ivory tower? Or, rather, try to convince the Roman authorities? I have not taken the line of breaking off the dialogue with Rome." [Abp. Marcel Lefebvre, "Thought for the Day" of the SSPX French District.]


  1. What year did he say this? Anyone know?

  2. Hope Springs Eternal12:58 PM

    Archbishop Lefebvre had a great love for the Church - with love comes sacrifice. This "Rebel Bishop" made a conscious choice to pass along the True Faith to his sheep, not some watered down version.

    And since he wasn't aloof, hiding in an Ivory Tower was not an option.

  3. Anonymous1:30 PM

    Thank you, Rorate Caeli for this quotation. Archbishop Lefebvre was no schismatic.

    I was stunned to see a recent checklist of questions and doubts about the pope’s latest proposal to the FSSPX from John Vennari, listing all possible pitfalls of submission to the Pontiff.

    But Mr. Vennari never listed the pitfalls of disobeying the pope, and of schism. Not one sentence! It’s not an issue? Schism is not a sin?

    There’s a subtle Lutheran mentality lurking. We’re accustomed to saying no to the pope and dwelling in our own little cozy ghetto. But that’s not the Catholic Church, that’s the spirit of the sects!

    This isn’t a poker game where we only submit to the Pontiff if we’ve figured all the angles. Of course there are dangers - but have we no faith in Divine Providence? Are we Roman Catholics or not?

    Bishop Fellay: please end the schism and accept the pope’s offer to reconcile. The alternative is years more of a separatist mentality, of creeping Jansenism and the destructive pride that accompanies it. At this juncture we need the faith and humility to end the scandal of disobedience and the appearance of schism.

    A Pharisaic spirit has grown within the hearts of many FSSPX parishioners in recent years. How much better they imagine themselves to be compared with those Novus Ordo Publicans.

    Vincent Segni

  4. And this saying has become reality in Bishop Fellay.

  5. Joe B2:02 PM

    I believe Rome broke off the negotiations with their excommunication decree. Archbishop Lefebvre and his order have continued whatever informal contacts with Rome they could find.

  6. John McFarland2:13 PM

    Dear Shane,

    Probably any number of years; it was always his position.

    The thing to note is the word "convince." For the SSPX, the business at hand is religion, not deal-making.

    The Archbishop and his spiritual sons were and are, after all, missionaries; and Rome was and is one of their mission territories.

  7. Msgr. Lefebvre often referred to "sympathisers" within The Curia and elsewhere. The attack upon his initial seminary, by the local bishops, would not bear independent scrutiny.

    As an aside, but reflective on the SSPX situation, in 1982 JPII "blessed" the foundation stone for a Catholic/CofE joint church building at Hough Green in the Liverpool Archdiocese.

    So he was prepared to support such developments but supress SSPX!

  8. Anonymous2:27 PM

    If not done yesterday, today is a good day to start a Novena.

  9. this comment was made before the Consecrations of 1988. On multiple occasions after that point, Archbishop Lefebvre made it clear there would be nor could be any further talks with Rome nor could the SSPX ever regularize unless Rome had fully returned to the Faith and eliminated both the Novus Ordo and the offending Vatican II texts. That was the Monsignor's guidance to the SSPX he left behind. Quotes like this show that the SSPX presently is doing their best to pretend the post 1988 Monsignor Lefebvre never existed.

  10. Anonymous4:16 PM

    But have you seen the daily quotes posted on the US District website? Here's a recent sample (yikes!):

    Sept. 29:
    We have always refused to cooperate in the destruction of the Church.

    Sept. 28:
    If our priests had to abandon the true liturgy, the true Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the true sacraments, then it would not be worth continuing. We would commit suicide! [See what I mean?]

    Sept. 27:
    To save the fundamental laws of the Church, we are obliged to go against the laws.

    Sept. 26:
    We prefer the tradition of the Church to the work of a few popes who oppose their predecessors.

    Dueling quotes between France and the US, perchance?

  11. Vincent Segni said:

    "A Pharisaic spirit has grown within the hearts of many FSSPX parishioners in recent years. How much better they imagine themselves to be compared with those Novus Ordo Publicans."


    Such names they call us
    That's not what we are
    We are true Roman Catholics
    At the front of the war.

    Some just go AWOL
    Others defect
    Copying our stance
    Then say we’re a sect.

    A lot like in England
    Saint John Fisher's day
    When his brothers said, "yes"
    This Saint replied, "nay"

    All alone in the Fort
    St. John Fisher stood
    Preserving, defending
    For the whole all that's good.

    Not just for himself
    Those attached to what's old
    Or reformers, reforming
    Pretending they're bold.

    We're simply preserving
    Once again the True Fort
    While those with new orders
    Relinquish support.

    And with promises made
    To men hungry for power
    They mock stand and point
    From their approved-tower.

    Hoping for all
    Catholic democracy --
    When in fact they’re a collegial

  12. Henry5:03 PM

    If a person didn't know any better, these quotes might convince him that the U.S. SSPX considers itself to be in schism from the Roman Catholic Church. Let us all pray this is not the case, and that this view is not held by the SSPX as a whole.

  13. Anonymous5:44 PM

    Anon13:30-Where can I find a copy of "Mr.Vennari's proposal and list of 'pitfalls'?"

  14. Nobody ever mentions the Abbe de Nantes, who also kept the Faith without flirting with schism and tried to talk Lefebvre out of any action that would force Rome's hand.

    Who kept up with Fatima and did the research Father Gruner uses? The Abbe de Nantes!

    Who defended the Shroud when the bogus Carbon 14 results threatened its authenticity? The Abbe de Nantes!

    etc etc etc

  15. John McFarland12:03 AM

    Dear Steve,

    The Abbe de Nantes was a brilliant man, but he had his peculiarities.

    For present purposes, the one to note is that he simultaneously denounced the Archbishop as a schismatic and for not being more forceful in his criticisms of the Vatican.

    I'm also under the impression that he ultimately accepted the New Mass, or at least didn't denounce it.

  16. Hi John M,

    Thank you for your comments on the Abbe de Nantes. Please go to the CRC website and read the Abbes take on the Holy Mass.

  17. M. A.2:15 AM


    I have favorable mentioned the Abbe here before. Much of my formation in the Faith is due in great part to his newsletters, to which I subscribed for over 12 years.

    As to the NO, he never celebrated it, although he maintained that it was licit, valid.

    His exposition of the tactics and creeds and mindsets of liberals and of their VII 'child' are absolutely brilliant, as are his writings on Fatima and the shroud as Steve mentions.

    Papolator he was not!!

  18. John McFarland3:27 PM

    Dear Steve,

    Thank you for the cite.

    I have read it (or rather, as I realized, re-read it).

    It very much reflects what I would call the abstractness of the Abbe's view of the proper response to the conciliar revolution.

    His careful analysis effectively ignores the tremendous damage that the Novus Ordo has done -- and was intended to do -- to the traditional Faith.

    His position is thus perfectly consistent with reverent Novus Ordo liturgical conservatism, and I doubt that he would have denied this.

    Contrast Abp. Lefebvre's famous mot: "It is Protestant, and makes Protestants."

    One cannot stop with the validity and liceity of the Novus Ordo; but it seems that the Abbe did.

    You can also see this abstractness in his demand that Paul VI and then John Paul II read the Abbe's successive Libri Accusationis and then convict themselves of heresy.

    He just could not face up to the necessity of disobedience when the salvation of souls is at stake.

    Of course, he is not the only one.


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