Holy Cross Seminary


previous page  Short History Of The Society Of Saint Pius X


1971-1976

     The Archbishop expected to wait a long time before the second canonical step, the approval of Rome, was effected. Only four months elapse until February 18, 1971, when Card. Wright, prefect for the Sacred Congregation for the Clergy, officially approves and encourages the Society. The Roman document recognizes the Society's international character and the fact that many bishops from the world praise and approve it. The Cardinal is happy that the Society will contribute to the distribution of the Catholic clergy in the world.

 

John Cardinal Wright, then Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Clergy, congratualates Archbishop Lefebvre for the newly approved Society of Saint Pius X, praising "especially the wisdom of the norms that establish and govern this Association..." (Feb. 18, 1971).

 


Card. Wright joins his parents and a young Fr. Donald Wuerl on the day the former was made a cardinal (1969). He was appointed Prefect for the Sacred Congregation for the Clergy in Rome and made Fr. Wuerl-currently Bishop of Pittsburg-his secretary. Certainly Secretary Wuerl read this letter!

 
   
 

 

     Much to the surprise of our founder, his small work of faith receives a further encouragement. When a few priests from the outside wish to join him in the Society's work, the Archbishop submits the case to Rome, and the Roman Curia, anticipating his desires, detaches totally these priests from their bishops and even from their religious orders to make them depend exclusively from the Society of Saint Pius X. This official act of Rome recognizes the right of the Society of Saint Pius X to incardinate its members.

     In the vicissitudes of the years to come the Modernist Rome will publicly disapprove our Society, its fruits, and its spirit. It matters little when we know that the Rome faithful to tradition approved the Society and sent it in official mission to maintain the Catholic priesthood. Ultimately, this mandate of the Church constitutes the main reason and necessity for the episcopal consecrations of 1988.

Archbishop Annibal Bugnin

Archbishop Annibal Bugnini, architect of the Novus Ordo Missae.

 

     On April 3, 1969, the Apostolic Constitution Missale Romanum presented a new order of the Mass. Archbishop Lefebvre gathered together a group of 12 theologians who wrote under his direction the Brief Critical Examination of the Novus Ordo Missae often called the Ottaviani Intervention. Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci wrote indeed an introduction and presented the study to Paul VI. Since no response came from the Vatican, the Archbishop announces to his small group of seminarians, June 10, 1971, that he refuses to accept this new protestantized liturgy:

     How can I agree to abandon the Mass of all ages or to admit to place it at the same level as the Novus Ordo, created by Annibal Bugnini, with the participation of Protestants to make of it an equivocal supper that eliminates totally the Offertory, and touches the very words of the Consecration.

 

seminary of the Society of Saint Pius Xin Albano, near Rome

This site in Albano, near Rome, was at one time a seminary of the Society of Saint Pius X.

     In 1971, 24 candidates enter the seminary of Ecône. Thirty-two more will join them in October, 1972. But during the Christmas vacation, trouble starts. The French bishops, eager accomplices of the Modernist conspirators, are watching closely every step of the expansion of the young Society. Card. Lefebvre, his cousin, had already warned the Archbishop "the French episcopate will never forgive you for what you did in the Council." Jealous and worried by the unexpected success, they start a campaign of discredit. The Archbishop knew about those jealousies and he had already proposed Card. Marty to meet the bishops at the coming Episcopal Conference at Lourdes to explain to them the situation of Ecône. The Cardinal insisted that there was going to be no question of Ecône at this meeting. But the Episcopal Conference in Lourdes labels Ecône as "the wildcat seminary," as if they didn't know that its canonical situation was perfectly regular and that the seminary did not depend on their jurisdiction.

     In 1973 an ephemeral pre-seminary is opened in Fribourg, but only for a few months, to be closed because of the worsening conditions in the University.

     Society seminaries are opened at Armada, Michigan (1973), and Albano, Rome (1974). The plot to close Ecône continues and the French bishops put pressure on Rome to suppress the Society. They are afraid that traditional priests will return into their dioceses creating a traditional Catholic resistance. It is probably at this point that Card. Villot persuades Paul VI to believe that our seminarians must take an oath against the Pope. Villot will say to Card. Etchegaray who repeated it widely, "In six months Ecône will not exist."

St. Joseph's Priory

The first North American Seminary was located here, in Armada, MI.
It is now known as St. Joseph's Priory.

 

     November 11, 1974: After breakfast, the Archbishop assembles the community to announce the arrival the same day of two apostolic visitors from Rome. They speak to the seminarians and professors, maintaining scandalous opinions such as: the ordination of married men will soon be a normal thing, truth changes with the times, and the traditional conception of the Resurrection of our Lord is open to discussion. These remarks prompt Archbishop Lefebvre to write his famous Declaration of November 21. While Paul VI speaks openly about the auto-demolition of the Church, Archbishop Lefebvre proclaims his adhesion to the eternal Rome and his refusal of the neo-Modernist and neo-Protestant Rome of Vatican II:

     To insure our salvation the only attitude of fidelity to the Church and to Catholic doctrine is a categorical refusal to accept the Reformation. We will pursue our work of the formation of priests under the star of the age-old magisterium in the conviction that we can thus do no greater service to the Church, to the Pope, and to future generations.

Cardinal Etchegarayaddresses the Roman Curia

Roger Cardinal Etchegaray, head of the central comittee for the preparation of the celebration of the Year 2000,
addresses the Roman Curia and Pope john PaulII on June 8,1995. Card. Etchegaray is President of the Pontifical Commission
for Justice and Peace and of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum." He is responsible for managing the Balamand Statement
(June 23, 1993) which includes statements like Paragraph 22:

Pastoral activity in the Caholic Church, Latin as well as Eastern, no longer aims at proselytizing among the Orthodox.
It aims at answering the spiritual needs of its own faithful and it has no desire for expansion at the expense of the Orthodox Church.
Within these perspectives, so that there will no longer be room for mistrust and suspicion,
it is necessary that thee be reciprocal exchanges of information about various pastoral projects...

This is the same Car. Etchegaray who parroted Card. Villot's threat, "In six months Ecoône will not exist."

 

     1975 starts with a large-scale press campaign against the Archbishop. Vandalism thickens the atmosphere around the seminary; graffiti, nocturnal phone calls, shooting of the windows, night trespassing. On February 13, three cardinals interrogate Archbishop Lefebvre, and one of them, French Card. Garrone, calls him "a fool." Against the provisions of Canon Law, the Society is invalidly suppressed May 6, 1975. French Card. Villot, forces Card. Staffa to refuse the Archbishop's rightful canonical appeal to the Supreme Apostolic Signature, the higher instance tribunal in the Church. The Secretary of State writes all the bishops of the world, asking them to refuse incardination to the members of the Society. The trap is now set: Without incardination there will be no priestly work, and since the Society is supposedly suppressed Archbishop Lefebvre can no longer ordain priests for our institute. He answers this illegal condemnation with a pilgrimage to Rome of the whole Society to gain the indulgences of the Holy Year, 1975.

 

seminary of the Society of Saint Pius Xin Albano, near Rome

Fr. Coache (right) speaks with Fr. Schmidberger.
He was a canon lawyer expelled from his diocese for insisting on his parish's Christ the King procession.
He was a supporter of the Society of Saint Pius X from its earliest days. He attended the Credo Pilgrimage.

     Paul VI, in the consistory of May, 1976, denounces the Archbishop as "disobedient to the new liturgy." Card. Benelli asks the Archbishop to celebrate the New Mass at least once, promising in the name of the Pope that this gesture will suffice to solve the difficulties. The Archbishop refuses and, June 29, he ordains publicly in the field of Ecône 12 priests for the Society. The 23rd of July, a suspensio a divinis forbids him to celebrate the New Mass, as the Archbishop says with humor, and also to ordain priests because the Society doesn't exist any more.

     The weeks that follow the condemnation are the opportunity for thousands of faithful to manifest publicly their attachment to Archbishop Lefebvre. More than 10,000 assemble in Lille, in the middle of summer, to show their support. (See The Angelus, Nov., 1995-Ed.)

     Instead of the excommunication joyfully announced by the media, on September 11, Pope Paul VI receives the Archbishop privately at Castel Gandolfo. During this meeting it becomes obvious that the Pope is being deliberately misinformed by dishonest collaborators.

 

the Credo Pilgrimage to Rome

Led by Archbishop Lefebvre, the Credo Pilgrimage to Rome (May, 1975)
processes through St. Peter's Square.

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