Tridentine Nightmares
Lefebvre Still Speaking After Eighteen Years in the Grave

Michael J. Matt
Editor, The Remnant

The Council of Trent and the 'Christ-Killers'

(Posted 03/26/09 Eighteen years ago this month Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre went to his eternal reward. Given the mettle of the man it’s not surprising he continues to make front-page news nearly two decades after his passing. In life his defense of the Catholic Faith altered the course of the Barque of Peter. In death his legacy is threatening to change the course of history. No wonder the anti-Lefebvre propaganda machine remains well oiled to this day.

On March 26, 1991, the day after the Archbishop’s death, the New York Times got things rolling with a “eulogy” that included the following: “Lefebvre attended a seminary in Rome that was headed by a sympathizer with Action Francaise, a far-right anti-Semitic and anti-democratic movement that was condemned by Pope Pius XI.” 

Voila, Lefebvre the Anti-Semite was born.

Eighteen years later they’re still at it, though a rather amusing little setback occurred recently when it was revealed that Lefebvre’s own father, a member of the French resistance, had died in a Nazi death camp.  Oops!

Nevertheless, on the homepage of the increasingly anti-Catholic ADL (the Anti-Defamation League) three articles have been prominently posted for several weeks now: “Pope Condemns Holocaust Denial and Affirms Vatican II”, “ADL Disappointed in Pope’s Decision to Rehabilitate Holocaust Denier Bishop”, “The Society of St. Pius X: Mired in Anti-Semitism.”  The thrust of these is to warn that the rehabilitation of the SSPX would be cataclysmic for Vatican II.

Why would the secular Jewish, ultra-liberal ADL be so inordinately preoccupied with all things Traditional Catholic? It’s really quite simple: The Catholic Church was anti-Semitic for 1,965 years, you see. Thus, a Catholic harboring any sort of attachment to the pre-conciliar Church is by definition an anti-Semite.  Ergo, lives and limbs of Jewish people everywhere depend on Vatican II's ability to prevent the world's Catholics from reverting back into violent gangs of anti-Semitic thugs. Capiche?

Thus, when ADL director Abe Foxman weighs in on something like the Williamson debacle, for instance, he premises his comments with melodramatic expressions of unwavering appreciation for Vatican II.  After all, lives depend on it!  And God help the Pope who isn’t properly impressed. “We are stunned that the Vatican has ignored our concerns,” writes Foxman in a recent press release, “by welcoming back into the fold a bishop who denies the Holocaust and rejects the seminal reforms of Vatican II.”

Since the Williamson affair, the secular media—pro-abortion, pro gay marriage, anti-family, as they certainly are—would have their longsuffering readers believe that only an anti-Semite would pine for the old days and old ways of the Catholic Church. Symptomatic of the whole traditional Catholic disease, of course, is a delusional appreciation for the memory of Archbishop Lefebvre.

Isn’t he the one, after all, who lamented a beneficent French Revolution waged by those fraternal paragons of tolerance—the Freemasons? (Reign of TerrorWhat Reign of Terror!)

Didn’t Lefebvre’s own father once say something favorable about the Vichy Regime—Marshal Philippe Pétain’s government from 1940 to 1944 in sections of France occupied by the Wehrmacht? Surely, anyone failing to condemn Vichy must have been viciously anti-Semitic, right? 

Um, not quite—not unless the United States government was also viciously anti-Semitic. The United States granted the Vichy Regime full diplomatic recognition during World War II. President Roosevelt commissioned Admiral William D. Leahy to serve as America’s ambassador to Vichy throughout the War.  Canada, Russia, England and Australia were among the other allies to recognize Vichy.


Well, never mind!  The show must go on. One way or the other, Archbishop Lefebvre—the uber-Trad—must be branded an anti-Semite if there’s to be any hope of crushing the worldwide traditional Catholic restoration.  His critics can cite not one shred of evidence that he ever said or wrote even one anti-Semitic sentence, but that doesn’t stop them from trying to recast him as a rank anti-Semite.  

And since the Williamson affair, even the Roman Pontiff had better not get in the way of the Lefebvrist hunters! Any pope, it is insinuated, who would still welcome Lefebvre’s spiritual sons back into the fold simply must have his own “issues” with the Jews. After all, who but someone mixed up with the Hitler Youth as a child would even consider discussing problematic aspects of Vatican II with the “anti-Semitic” SSPX? Doesn’t the Holy Father know that questioning Vatican II is code for deep-seated resentment of Nostra Aetate’s repudiation of the centuries-old deicide charge against all Jews—the “Christ Killers”?

One problem with this, of course, is the Catholic basher’s worst Tridentine nightmare—that pesky prophet pope, St. Pius V, and his mighty Council of Trent.

Here’s the deal: Vatican II’s greatest contribution to peace and prosperity in the modern world was that “long overdue” repudiation of the deicide charge against all Jews—the sort of theological equivalent to Catholics resolving to stop beating their wives.  Through Nostra Aetate the Catholic Church finally became civilized, or so the woefully uninformed are cleverly misinformed.

In reality, Article IV of the Roman Catechism—The Catechism of the Council of Trent, published in 1566 with full dogmatic authority and intended for use by all Catholic priests in the instruction and formation of their flocks—teaches the following under the heading “Reasons Why He Suffered”:

Of this the Apostle reminds us in these words addressed to the Hebrews: Think diligently upon him that endured such opposition from sinners against himself; that you be not wearied, fainting in your minds. In this guilt are involved all those who fall frequently into sin; for, as our sins consigned Christ the Lord to the death of the cross, most certainly those who wallow in sin and iniquity crucify to themselves again the Son of God, as far as in them lies, and make a mockery of Him. This guilt seems more enormous in us than in the Jews, since according to the testimony of the same Apostle: If they had known it, they would never have crucified the Lord of glory; while we, on the contrary, professing to know Him, yet denying Him by our actions, seem in some sort to lay violent hands on him.


Under the heading “Bitterness of Christ’s Passion”, in the same Article IV, Catholics for 442 years and counting have been taught that:

Furthermore men of all ranks and conditions were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. Gentiles and Jews were the advisers, the authors, the ministers of His Passion: Judas betrayed Him, Peter denied Him, all the rest deserted Him.

No wonder the late, great Catholic historian William Thomas Walsh could write in his Peter the Apostle:  “All we know is that we, His friends, betray Him daily.  There is no excuse for us.  He died for our sins.  We are the Christ-killers.”

Our sins—the sins of all men back to Adam—put Christ on the Cross. For this He was born.  For this did He come into the world. This is what Catholic children were actually taught for a thousand years. This is the infallible teaching of that mother of all dogmatic councils—the Council of Trent.  And even a child can see that the compassionate directives of Holy Mother Church leave absolutely no room for anti-Semitism or hatred of any race or individual.

So much for Mr. Foxman’s theory!

Traditional Catholics must reject as nothing less than Christophobic slander the vile notion that for nearly 2000 years the Catholic Church was the Mystical Body of Hate, but that only Vatican II finally managed to purge the Church of her systemic anti-Semitism. This is crass bigotry. It is ignorance of history laced with religion-based hatemongering, and we will tolerate it no longer!

Archbishop Lefebvre, the traditional Catholic pioneer, is long dead. Not a single scrap of evidence has ever been produced to show that he was anti-Semitic in any sense of the word. The salvation of souls was this humble priest's sole motivation--not political movements, hatred, violence or retaliation against any people or any race. Concern for souls, sacraments, prayer, grace, Charity, the four last things, everlasting life—these fundamentally Catholic concepts consumed his every waking moment even if they were--and still are--utterly lost on the modern world. 

Twenty years later these are still the things that matter to Traditional Catholics, though our imminent persecution will likely be launched on the same old trumped-up charges of hate and anti-Semitism. No matter. “If I be asked what sign we may look for,” wrote England's most prolific writer of the early 20th century, Hilaire Belloc, in Survivals and New Arrivals, “to show that the advance of the Faith is at hand, I would answer by a word the modern world has forgotten: Persecution.  When that shall once more be at work it will be morning.”

In this early morning light, Tradition is the target and the trumped up charge of anti-Semitism is the ruse. On July 21, 1982, Archbishop Lefebvre wrote to Cardinal Ratzinger, asking a question that gets right to the nub of it: "Is the Church in a normal situation today?  Is there nothing to note with concern in matters in the Church's institutions, in seminaries, in religious orders, the Liturgy, ecumenism, etc.?  Have the Second Vatican Council and the post-conciliar reform given none but good fruits?"

To ask the question is to answer it. A scourged Catholic Church is answering it every day, in fact, on the front pages of newspapers all across the world. Archbishop Lefebvre is still speaking, but from the grave, and Peter is listening. Thus the gnashing of secularist teeth over the banging about of an old Catholic ghost, dead and buried nearly twenty years now, but refusing to remain silent even from the other side. His mission is not quite complete, but he’s working on it. Thank God, he's still working on it.

Thus the modernists' worst nightmare continues...

Requiescat in pace