What would Archbishop Lefebvre Do?
There is, amongst many faithful Traditional Catholics, a desire to arrive at an understanding of what Archibishop Lefebvre (+1991) would do today in response to the overtures and tricks of Rome as well as the antics of those in positions of authority within the Catholic Church.
In order to do so, they sift through the actions, writings, speeches, and sermons of the Archbishop. In their eagerness for guidance and consolation, they latch on to items that seem to confirm their own opinions and decisions.
For example, I have repeatedly encountered the statement that the Archbishop stated that there can be no canonical regularization without a doctrinal agreement.
This is a dream.
The Archbishop never issued these words. This principle was formulated by a General Chapter of the SSPX and was used early on to guide the discussions with Rome. When it became obvious that it would force the SSPX to contradict the Catholic Doctrine of obedience, it was abandoned.
So the reality is that the Archbishop never issued a statement that stated "no canonical regularization without a doctrinal agreement". This is an inference from a narrow selection of the statements made by the Archbishop.
How to know the mind of the Archbishop is, without examining and memorizing ALL of the statements he made from 1960 until his death is an insurmountable task.
The easier way is to seek to understand the principles that he applied in understanding and acting as a Catholic prelate in this crisis.
From my perspective, perhaps the key principle is obedience.
We have a perfect example of this in how the Archbishop reacted at one of the first 'resistance' movements that manifested itself within the SSPX when they disagreed with the path of the Superior General: The Sedevacantists. Here is an excerpt of the Archbishop's explanation:
The basic principle of the Society’s thinking and action in the painful crisis the Church is going through is the principle taught by St. Thomas Aquinas in the Summa Theologica (II, II, q. 33, a.4). That one may not oppose the authority of the Church except in the case of imminent danger to the Faith. Now, there is no danger for the Faith in the liturgy of Pope Pius XII and Pope John XXIII, whereas there is great danger for the Faith in the liturgy of Pope Paul VI, which is unacceptable. (Tradicat)This principle is discussed in detail by St. Thomas in the Summa II, II, Q104, which I have examined in detail in the series Breaking down St. Thomas' teaching on obedience as well as other articles.
We live in an atmosphere the reeks of disobedience from the highest level of the Church to the lowest level of society. In practically all places, those who should be obedient to God's Law and His Church are disobeying, even the Pope.
So what do I believe Archbishop Lefebvre would do when witnessing:
- Some of his sons abandoning Catholic Dogma, Doctrine, Principles and Discipline.
- Orders that he fostered and sheltered turning and attacking the order he founded.
- The Pope's continuing their dereliction of duty and even worse fomenting confusion and the loss of souls.
I believe he would cry.
What he would do after crying will be the subject of another post.
Tradicat: DOCTRINAL PREAMBLE APRIL 15, 2012 VS PROTOCOL 1988
Tradicat: One and Two Years after the Consecrations
Tradicat: The SSPX and the Conversion of Rome - Fr. Robinson
Tradicat: A Look Back: The Nov/Dec Fideliter Interview
Tradicat: SSPX Declaration of 2006
Tradicat: Why the SSPX uses the 1962 missal
Tradicat: Articles on Obedience
Tradicat: Articles on Catholic Principles
Tradicat: The Principle of Obedience and the SSPX