Asked Questions About the Society of Saint Pius X
SERMON OF ARCHBISHOP LEFEBVRE
the Occasion of his Sacerdotal Jubilee (September 23, 1979)
My dear brethren,
me before beginning the few words which I would like to address
to you on the occasion of this beautiful ceremony, to thank all
those who have contributed to its magnificent success,
I had thought of celebrating my sacerdotal jubilee in a private,
discreet manner at the altar which is the heart of Ecône, but the
beloved clergy of St. Nicholas du Chardonnet and the beloved priests
who surround me, invited me with such insistence to permit all those
who desired to unite themselves in my thanksgiving and my prayer
on the occasion of this sacerdotal jubilee, that I could not refuse
and that is why we are gathered here today—so great in numbers,
so diverse in origin—having come from America, from all European
countries which are yet free. Here we are united for the occasion
of this sacerdotal jubilee.
then could I define this gathering, this manifestation, this ceremony?
homage, a homage to your faith in the Catholic priesthood, and in
the holy Catholic Mass. I truly believe that it is for this reason
that you have come, in order to manifest your attachment to the
Catholic Church and to the most beautiful treasure, to the most
sublime gift which God has given to man: the priesthood, and the
priesthood for sacrifice, for the Sacrifice of Our Lord continued
upon our altars.
is why you have come; this is why we are surrounded today by these
beloved priests who have come from everywhere and many more would
have come were it not a Sunday, for they are held, by their obligations
to celebrate Holy Mass in their parishes, and they have told us
would like to trace, if you will permit me, some scenes to which
I have been a witness during the course of this half century, in
order to show more clearly the importance which the Mass of the
Catholic Church holds in our life, in the life of a priest, in the
life of a bishop, and in the life of the Church.
a young seminarian at Santa Chiara, the French Seminary in Rome,
they used to teach us attachment to liturgical ceremonies. I had,
during that time, the privilege of being a ceremoniaire,
that which we call a “master of ceremonies,” having been
preceded no less in this office by His Grace Msgr. Lebrune, the
former Bishop of Autun, and by His Grace Msgr. Ancel, who is still
the Auxiliary Bishop of Lyons. I was therefore a master of ceremonies
under the direction of the beloved Fr. Haegy, known for his profound
knowledge of the liturgy. We loved to prepare the altar; we loved
to prepare the ceremonies and we were already imbued with the spirit
of the feast the eve of the day when a great ceremony was to take
place upon our altars. We understood therefore, as young seminarians,
to love the altar.
dilexi decorem domus tuae et gloriam habitionis tuae. This is
the verse which we recite during the Lavabo at the altar: “Lord
I have loved Thy house and the glory of Thy dwelling.”
is what they taught us at the French Seminary in Rome under the
direction of the dear and Reverend Fr. LeFloch, a well loved Father,
who taught us to see clearly the events of the time through his
commentaries on the encyclicals of the popes.
was ordained a priest in the Chapel of the Sacred Heart de la rue
Royale in Lille on September 21, 1929, by the then Archbishop Liénart.
I left shortly afterwards—two years afterwards—for the missions
to join my brother who was already there in Gabon. There I began
to learn what the Mass truly is.
Certainly I knew by the studies which
we had done, what this great mystery of our Faith was, but I had
not yet understood its entire value, efficacy and depth. This I
learned day by day, year by year, in Africa, and particularly in
Gabon, where I spent 13 years of my missionary life, first at the
seminary and then in the bush among the Africans, with the natives.
I saw—yes, I saw—what the grace of the Holy Mass could do. I saw
it in the holy souls of some of our catechists. I saw it in those
pagan souls transformed by the grace of baptism, transformed by
assistance at Holy Mass, and by the Holy Eucharist. These souls
understood the mystery of the Sacrifice of the Cross and united
themselves to Our Lord Jesus Christ in the sufferings of His Cross,
offering their sacrifices and their sufferings with Our Lord Jesus
Christ, and living as Christians.
can cite names: Paul Ossima de Ndjolé, Eugene Ndonc de Lambaréné,
Marcel Mable de Donguila, and I will continue with a name from Senegal,
Mr. Forster, Treasurer-Paymaster in Senegal, chosen for this delicate
and important function by his peers and even by the Moslems due
to his honesty and integrity. These are some of the men produced
by the grace of the Mass. They assisted at the Mass daily, communicating
with great fervor and they have become models and the light of those
about them. This is just to list a few without counting the many
Christians transformed by this grace.
was able to see these pagan villages become Christian, being transformed
not only, I would say, spiritually and supernaturally, but also
being transformed physically, socially, economically and politically.
Because these people—pagans that they were—became cognizant of the
necessity of fulfilling their duties, in spite of trials, in spite
of the sacrifices of maintaining their commitments, particularly
their commitment in marriage. Then the village began to be transformed
little by little under the influence of grace, under the influence
of the grace of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Soon all the villages
were wanting to have one of the Fathers visit them. Oh, the visit
of a missionary! They waited impatiently to assist at the Holy Mass
in order to be able to confess their sins and then to receive Holy
of these souls also consecrated themselves to God: nuns, priests,
brothers, giving themselves to God, consecrating themselves to God.
There you have the fruit of the Holy Mass.
did all this happen?
is necessary that we study somewhat the profound motive of this
The notion of sacrifice is a profoundly Christian and a profoundly
Catholic notion. Our life cannot be spent without sacrifice, since
Our Lord Jesus Christ, God Himself, willed to take a body like our
own and say to us: “Follow Me, take up thy cross and follow Me
if thou wilt be saved.” And He has given us the example of His
death upon the Cross; He has shed His Blood. Would we then dare—we,
His miserable creatures, sinners that we are—not to follow Our Lord
in pursuit of His Sacrifice, in pursuit of His Cross?
is the entire mystery of Christian civilization. There is that which
is the root of Christian civilization: the comprehension of sacrifice
in one’s life, in daily life, the understanding of Christian suffering,
no longer considering suffering as an evil, as an unbearable sorrow,
but sharing one’s sufferings and one’s sickness with the sufferings
of Our Lord Jesus Christ, in looking upon His Cross, in assisting
at the Holy Mass, which is the continuation of the Passion of Our
Lord upon Calvary.
understood, suffering becomes a joy and a treasure because these
sufferings, if united to those of Our Lord, if united to those of
all the martyrs, of all Catholics, of all the faithful who suffer
in this world, if. united to the Cross of Our Lord, they, then become
an inexpressible treasure, a treasure unutterable, and achieve an
extraordinary capacity for the conversion of other souls and the
salvation of our own. Many holy souls, Christians, have even desired
to suffer in order to unite themselves more closely to the Cross
of Our Lord Jesus Christ. There you have Christian civilization:
are those who suffer for righteousness sake.
Blessed are the poor.
Blessed are the meek.
Blessed are the merciful.
Blessed are the peace-makers.
are the teachings of the Cross; it is this that Our Lord Jesus Christ
teaches us by His Cross.
Christian civilization, penetrating to the depths of nations only
recently pagan, has transformed them, and impelled them to desire
and thus to choose Catholic heads of state. I myself have known
and aided the leaders of these Catholic countries. Their Catholic
peoples desired to have Catholic leaders so that even their governments
and all the laws of their land might be submissive to the laws of
Our Lord Jesus Christ and to the Ten Commandments.
in the past, France—said to be Catholic—had truly fulfilled the
role of a Catholic power, she would have supported these colonized
lands in their new-found Faith. Had she done so, their lands would
not now be menaced by Communism, and Africa would not be what it
is today. The fault does not so much lie with the Africans themselves
as with the colonial powers, which did not understand how to avail
themselves of this Christian faith which had rooted itself among
the African peoples. With a proper understanding they would have
been able to exercise a brotherly influence among these nations
by helping them to keep the Faith and exclude Communism,
we look back through history, we see immediately that what I have
been speaking of took place in bur own countries in the first centuries
after Constantine. For we too, are, in our origins, converts. Our
ancestors were converted, our kings were converted, and down through
the centuries they offered their nations to Our Lord Jesus Christ,
and they submitted their countries to the Cross of Jesus. They willed
too that Mary should be the Queen of their lands.
can read the admirable writings of St. Edward, King of England,
of St. Louis, King of France, of the Holy Roman Emperor St. Henry,
of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, and of all the saints who were at the
head of our Catholic nations and who thus helped to make Christianity.
faith they had in the Holy Mass! King St. Louis of France served
two Masses every day. If he was traveling and happened to hear church
bells ringing to announce the consecration, he would dismount to
adore on bended knee the miracle being performed at that moment.
There indeed was Catholic civilization! How far from such faith
we are now, how far indeed!
is another event which we are bound to mention after these pictures
of Christian civilization in Africa, and in our own history, that
of France particularly. A recent event, an event in the life of
the Church, and an important event: the Second Vatican Council.
We are obliged to declare that the enemies of the Church knew very
well, perhaps better than we, what the value of just one Mass is.
There was a poem once written on this subject in which one finds
words attributed to Satan showing how he trembles each time a Mass,
a true Catholic Mass, is celebrated because he is thus reminded
of the memory of the Cross, and he knows well that it was by the
Cross that he was vanquished. The enemies of the Church who perform
sacrilegious masses in the well-known sects, and the Communists,
too, know what value is to be had from one Mass, one true Catholic
was recently told that in Poland the Communist Party through their
“Inspectors of Religion,” keep under surveillance those priests
in Poland who say the Old Mass but leave alone those who say the
New. They persecute those who say the Old Mass, the Mass of All
Time. A foreign priest visiting Poland may say what Mass he pleases
in order to give the impression of freedom, but the Polish priests
who decide to hold firm to Tradition are persecuted.
read recently a document about the PAX movement which was
communicated to us in June of 1963 in the name of Card. Wyszynski.
This document told us:
we have freedom, you are made to think that we have it, and it
is the priests affiliated with PAX, who are friends of the Communist
government, who spread these ideas abroad because they are propagandists
for the government, as is even the progressive French press. But
it is not true; we are not free.
Wyszynski gave precise details. He said that in the youth camps
organized by the Communists the children were kept behind barbed
wire on Sundays to keep them from going to Mass. He told, too, how
vacation hideaways organized by the Catholic priests were surveyed
from helicopters to see if the youth were going to Mass. Why, why
this need to spy upon children on their way to Mass? Because they
know that the Mass is absolutely anti-Communist and, how indeed
could it be otherwise? For what is Communism if not “all for the
Party and all for the Revolution”? The Mass, on the other hand,
is “all for God.” Not at all the same thing is it?
for God! This is the Catholic Mass, opposed as it is to the program
of the Party, which is a Satanic program.
know well that we are all tested, that we are all beset with difficulties
in our lives, in our earthly existence. We all have the need to
know why we suffer, why these trials and sorrows, why these Catholics
are lying sick in their beds; the hospitals are full of sick people.
Christian responds: to unite my sufferings to those of Our Lord
on the altar, to unite them on the altar and through that act to
participate in the work of redemption, to merit for myself and for
other souls the joy of heaven.
it was during the Council that the enemies of the Church infiltrated
Her, and their first objective was to demolish and destroy the Mass
insofar as they could. You can read the books of Michael Davies,
an English Catholic, who has written magnificent works which demonstrate
how the liturgical reform of Vatican II closely resembles that produced
under Cranmer at the birth of English Protestantism. If one reads
the history of that liturgical transformation, made also by Luther,
one sees that now it is exactly the same procedure which is being
slowly followed and to all appearances, still apparently good and
Catholic. But it is just that character of the Mass which is sacrificial
and redemptive of sin, through the Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ,
which they have removed. They have made of the Mass a simple assembly,
one among others, merely presided over by the priest. That is not
is not surprising that the Cross no longer triumphs, because the
sacrifice no longer triumphs. It is not surprising that men think
no longer of anything but raising their standard of living, that
they seek only money, riches, pleasures, comfort, and the easy ways
of this world. They have lost the sense of sacrifice.
does it remain for us to do, my dear brethren, if in this manner
we deepen our understanding of the great mystery which is the Mass?
Well, I think I can say what we should have: a crusade! A
crusade supported by the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, by the Blood
of Our Lord Jesus Christ, by that invincible rock, that inexhaustible
source of grace, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
we see every day. You are here because you love the Holy Sacrifice
of the Mass. And these young seminarians who are in the seminary
in Ecône, the United States, and Germany—why do they come into our
seminaries? For the Holy Mass, for the Holy Mass of All Time which
is the source of grace, the source of the Holy Ghost, the source
of Christian civilization; that is the reason for the priest.
is necessary that we undertake a crusade, a crusade which is based
precisely upon these notions of immutability, of sacrifice, in order
to recreate Christianity, to re-establish a Christendom such as
the Church desires, such as She has always done, with the same principles,
the same Sacrifice of the Mass, the same sacraments, the same catechism,
the same Holy Scripture. We must recreate this Christendom! It is
to you, my dear brethren, you who are the salt of the earth and
the light of the world, that our Lord Jesus Christ addressed Himself
in saying: “Do not lose the fruit of My Blood, do not abandon
My Calvary, do not abandon My Sacrifice.” And the Virgin Mary
who stands beneath the Cross, tells you the same thing as well.
She, whose heart is pierced, full of sufferings and sorrow, yet
at the same time filled with the joy of uniting herself to the Sacrifice
of her Divine Son; she says to you as well: “Let us be Christians;
let us be Catholics.”
us not be borne away by all these worldly ideas, by all these currents
of thought which are in the world, and which draw us to sin and
to hell. If we want to go to heaven we must follow Our Lord Jesus
Christ. We must carry our cross and follow Our Lord Jesus Christ,
imitating Him in His Cross, in His suffering, in His Sacrifice.
I ask the youth, the young people who are here in this hall, to
ask us to explain to them these things that are so beautiful and
so great, so as to choose their vocations, whatever be the calling
that they may elect—be they priests or religious men and women,
or married by the Sacrament of Matrimony, and, therefore, in the
Cross of Jesus Christ, and in the Blood of Jesus Christ, married
in the grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Let them comprehend the greatness
of matrimony, and let them prepare themselves worthily for it—by
purity and chastity, by prayer and reflection. Let them not be carried
away by all the passions which engulf the world. Thus let this be
the crusade of the young who must aspire to the true ideal.
it be as well a crusade for Christian families. You Christian families
who are here, consecrate yourselves to the Heart of Jesus, to the
Eucharistic Heart of Jesus and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Oh, pray together in the family! I know that many of those among
you already do so, but may there always be more and more of you
who do so with fervor. Let Our Lord truly reign in your homes!
away, I beg of you, anything which impedes children from entering
your family. There is no greater gift that the Good God can bestow
upon your hearths than to have many children. Have big families.
it is the glory of the Catholic Church—the large family! It has
been so in Canada, it has been so in Holland, it has been so in
Switzerland and it has been so in France—every-where the large family
was the joy and prosperity of the Church. There are that many more
chosen souls for heaven! Therefore do not limit, I beg you, the
gifts of God; do not listen to these abominable slogans which destroy
the family, which ruin health, which ruin the household, and provoke
I wish that, in these troubled times, in this degenerate urban atmosphere
in which we are living, that you return to the land whenever possible.
The land is healthy; the land teaches one to know God; the land
draws one to God; it calms temperaments, characters, and encourages
the children to work.
if it is necessary, yes, you yourselves will make the school for
your children. If the schools should corrupt your children, what
are you going to do? Deliver them to the corrupters? To those who
teach these abominable sexual practices in the schools? To the so-called
“Catholic” schools run by religious men and women where they simply
teach sin? In reality that is what they are teaching to the children:
they corrupt them from their tenderest youth. Are you to put up
with that? It is inconceivable! Rather that your children be poor—that
they be removed from this apparent science that the world possesses—but
that they be good children, Christian children, Catholic children,
who love their holy religion, who love to pray, and who love to
work; children who love the earth which the Good God has made.
a crusade as well for heads of families. You who are the head of
your household, you have a grave responsibility in your countries.
You do not have the right to let your country be invaded by Socialism
and Communism! You do not have the right, or else you are no longer
Catholic! You must fight at the time of elections in order that
you may have Catholic mayors, Catholic deputies, so that France
finally may become Catholic again. That is not mere politics, that
is to wage a good, campaign, a campaign such as was waged by the
saints, such as was waged the popes who opposed Attila, such as
was waged by St. Remy who converted Clovis, such as was waged by
Joan of Arc who saved France from Protestantism. If Joan of Arc
had not been raised up in France we would all be Protestants! It
was in order to keep France Catholic that Our Lord raised up Joan
of Arc, that child of seventeen years, who drove the English out
of France. That, too, is waging a political campaign.
then this is the sort of politics which we desire: the politics
of the royalty of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Just a few moments ago
you were heard to chant: Christus vincit, Christus regnat, Christus
imperat. Are these but words, mere lyrics, mere chants? No!
It is necessary that they be a reality. You heads of the family,
you are the ones responsible for such realization, both for your
children and for the generations which are to come. Thus you should
organize yourselves now, conduct meetings and hear yourselves out,
with the object that France become once again Christian, once again
Catholic, It is not impossible, otherwise one would have to say
that the grace of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is no longer grace,
that God is no longer God, that Our Lord Jesus Christ is no longer
Our Lord Jesus Christ. One must have confidence in the grace of
Our Lord Who is all-powerful. I have seen this grace at work in
Africa. There is no reason why it will not work as well here in
these countries. This is the message I wanted to tell you today.
you, dear priests, who hear me now, you too must make a profound
sacerdotal union to spread this crusade, to animate this crusade
in order that Jesus reign, that Our, Lord reign. And to do that
you must be holy. You must seek after sanctity and manifest it to
others, this holiness, this grace which acts in your souls and in
your hearts, this grace which you receive by the Sacrament of Holy
Eucharist and by the Holy Mass which you offer, which you alone
are capable of offering.
shall finish, my dearly beloved brethren, by what I shall call my
testament. Testament—that is a very profound word—because I want
it to be the echo of the testament of Our Lord: Novi et aeterni
et aeterni testamenti—it is the priest who recites these words
at the consecration of the Precious Blood—Hic est enim calix
Sanguinis mei: novi et aeterni testamenti. This inheritance
which Jesus Christ gave to us, it is His Sacrifice, it is His Blood,
it is His Cross. the ferment of all Christian civilization and of
all that is necessary for salvation.
I say to you as well: for the glory of the Most Blessed Trinity,
for the love of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the devotion to the Blessed
Virgin Mary, for the love of the Church, for the love of the Pope,
for the love of bishops, of priests, of all the faithful, for the
salvation of the world, for the salvation of souls, keep this testament
of Our Lord Jesus Christ! Keep the Sacrifice of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Keep the Mass of All Time!
you will see civilization reflourish, a civilization which is not
of this world, but a civilization which leads to the Catholic City
which is heaven. The Catholic city of this world is made for nothing
else than for the Catholic City of heaven.
by keeping the Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, by keeping His Sacrifice,
by keeping this Mass—this Mass which has been bequeathed to us by
our predecessors, this Mass which has been transmitted from the
time of the Apostles unto this day. In a few moments I am going
to pronounce these words above the chalice of my ordination, and
how could you expect me to pronounce above the chalice of my ordination
any other words but those which I pronounced 50 years ago over this
same chalice—it is impossible! I cannot change the words! We shall
therefore continue to pronounce the words of the consecration as
our predecessors have taught us, as the Pope, bishops and priests
who have been our instructors, have taught us, so that Our Lord
Jesus Christ reign, and so that souls be saved through the intercession
of our Good Mother in heaven.