Archbishop Lefebvre On Sedevacantism
Below, an excerpt of a very interesting article, from the Great Man himself, on Sedevacantism. My emphases in red.
The New Mass and the Pope
By Msgr. Marcel Lefebvre
LET US PASS NOW to a second but no less important subject: does the Church have a true Pope or an imposter on the throne of St. Peter? Happy are those who have lived and died without having to pose such a question f One must indeed recognize that the pontificate of Paul VI poses and continues to pose a serious problem of conscience for the faithful. Without reference to his culpability for the terrible demolition of the Church which took place under his pontificate, one cannot but recognize that he hastened the causes of that decline in every domain. One can fairly ask oneself how it was possible that a successor of Peter can in so little time have caused more damage to the Church than the French Revolution.
Some precise facts, such as the signatures which he gave to Article VII in the Instruction concerning the New Mass and to the Declaration on Religious Liberty are indeed scandalous and have led certain traditionalists to affirm that Paul VI was heretical and thus no longer Pope. They argue further that, chosen by a heretical Pope, the great majority of the cardinals are not cardinals at all and thus lacked the authority to elect another Pope. Pope John Paul I and Pope John Paul II were thus, they say, illegitimately elected. They continue that it is inadmissable to pray for a Pope who is not Pope or to have any “conversations” (like mine of November 1978) with one who has no right to the Chair of Peter.
As with the question of the invalidity of the Novus Ordo, those who affirm that there is no Pope over simplify the problem. The reality is more complex. If one begins to study the question of whether or not a Pope can be heretical, one quickly discovers that the problem is not as simple as one might have thought. The very objective study of Xaverio de Silveira on this subject demonstrates that a good number of theologians teach that the Pope can be heretical as a private doctor or theologian, but not as a teacher of the Universal Church. One must then examine in what measure Pope Paul VI willed to engage his infallibility in the diverse cases where he signed texts close to heresy if not formally heretical.
But we can say that in the two cases cited above as in many another, Paul VI acted much more the liberal than as a man attached to heresy. For when one informed him of the danger that he ran in approving certain conciliar texts, he would proceed to render the text contradictory by adding a formula contrary in meaning to affirmations already in the text, or by drafting an equivocal formula. Now equivocation is the very mark of the liberal who is incoherent by nature.
The liberalism of Paul VI, recognized by his friend Cardinal Danielou, is thus sufficient to explain the disasters of his pontificate. Pope Pius IX in particular spoke often of the liberal Catholic, whom he considered a destroyer of the Church. The liberal Catholic is a two-sided being living in a world of continual self-contradiction. While he would like to remain Catholic, he is possessed by a thirst to appease the world. He affirms his faith weakly, fearing to appear too dogmatic, and as a result his actions are similar to those of the enemies of the Catholic Faith.
CAN A POPE BE LIBERAL and remain Pope? The Church has always severely reprimanded liberal Catholics, but She has not always excommunicated them. Here, too, we must continue in the spirit of the Church. We must refuse Liberalism from whatever source it comes because the Church has always condemned it. She has done so because it is contrary, in the social realm especially, to the Kingship of Our Lord.
Does not the exclusion of the cardinals of over eighty years of age, and the secret meetings which preceded and prepared the last two Conclaves render them invalid? Invalid: no, that is saying too much. Doubtful at the time: perhaps. But in any case the subsequent unanimous acceptance of the election by the Cardinals and the Roman clergy suffices to validate it. That is the teaching of the theologians.
The visibility of the Church is too necessary to its existence for it to be possible that God would allow that visibility to disappear for decades. The reasoning of those who deny that we have a Pope puts the Church in an extricable situation. Who will tell us who the future Pope is to be? How, as there are no cardinals, is he to be chosen? This spirit is a schismatical one for at least the majority of those who attach themselves to certainly schismatical sects like Palmar de Troya, the Eglise Latine de Toulouse, and others.
Thus, I have never refused to go to Rome at his request or that of his representatives. The Truth must be affirmed at Rome above all other places. It is of God, and He will assure its ultimate triumph.
Consequently, the Society of St. Pius X, its priests, brothers, sisters and oblates, cannot tolerate among its members those who refuse-to pray for the Pope or affirm that the Novus Ordo Missae is per se invalid. Certainly we suffer from this continual incoherence which consists in praising all the Liberal orientations of Vatican II and at the same time straining to mitigate its effects. But all of this must incite us to prayer and to the firm maintenance of Tradition rather than to the affirmation that the Pope is not the Pope.
In conclusion, we must have that missionary spirit which is the true spirit of the Church. We must do everything to bring about the reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to the words of our Holy Patron St. Pius X: “Instaurare omnia in Christo” We must restore all things in Christ, and we must submit to all as did Our Lord in His Passion for the salvation of souls and the triumph of Truth. “In hoc natus sum,” said Our Lord to Pilate, “ut testimonium perhibeam veritate.”
“I was born to give witness to the Truth.”