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Friday, April 22, 2022

Rediscovering Archbishop Lefebvre’s Intolerance for Error Before There’s No Tolerance for Truth

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Rediscovering Archbishop Lefebvre’s Intolerance for Error Before There’s No Tolerance for Truth

“Nothing is done in the world that does not relate to our Lord; it is either for Him or against Him, with Him or without Him. Our Lord is the key to the solution of all the problems. There are none here below that are indifferent to our Lord. Men try in vain to work without reference to our Lord, but it is impossible because our Lord is everywhere. He created everything; therefore everything is in His hands. Everything belongs to Him, nothing is outside of Him. Men seek to evade Him, but they cannot because everything is His.”

 

With these words taken from his seminary conferences from the late 1970s (compiled in The Mystery of Jesus), Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre gave Catholics a simple and reliable way to evaluate the problems facing the Church and world. Indeed, we can see that the greatest problems in the Church and world today have resulted from the the guardians of these truths having discarded them, treating them as vestiges of a medieval world which no longer has relevance to our own.

We do not need to be theologians to understand the immense practical importance of the fact that our Lord Jesus Christ is God:

“To meditate upon the mystery of our Lord Jesus Christ and make it the object of our reflections may seem a little abstract and theoretical. And yet, upon closer examination, it is altogether pertinent and practical. . . For what is in jeopardy in the world in which we live is faith in the divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ. If our Lord is God, He is consequently the Master of all things, the elements, individuals, families and society. He is the Creator and the end of all things.”

If Jesus is not God, then of course the Catholic Faith is nonsense and unworthy of belief. But if He is God, then this fact must be the starting point and constant guide for all else. If He is God, then “He is consequently the Master of all things, the elements, individuals, families and society.”

The Church has always understood the mission our Lord gave it, even though it appears that the modernists occupying Rome have never heard of the mission.

As guardian of the truths entrusted to it by Christ, the Church has always understood the mission our Lord gave it, even though it appears that the modernists occupying Rome have never heard of the mission:

“Going therefore, teach ye all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20).

The concept is simple: God wants the Church to spread the truths which all people need to save their souls; thus the Church has the responsibility to teach souls that they must “observe all things whatsoever” Christ commanded. Many of the Church’s greatest saints have dedicated their lives to bringing these truths to people who were not initially inclined to welcome them. Others have given their lives to defend these truths. All have lived by them.

The progressives insisted that the Church could no longer be intolerant of error because such a position was inconsistent both with “human dignity”.

As a matter of common sense and historical fact, an essential component of the Church’s mission of faithfully transmitting the truths entrusted to it by Christ is combatting the errors opposed to the Faith. Because Jesus Christ is Truth, His Church cannot reconcile itself with errors that oppose truth. However, as Archbishop Lefebvre knew so well, Vatican II attempted to convince the world that the Church had made peace with errors opposed to Catholic truth:

“[B]ecause of religious liberty, which was affirmed in the texts of the Second Vatican Council and which is entirely opposed to the social reign of our Lord Jesus Christ because it places all religions on a par and accords to error the same rights as truth has, our Lord is no longer considered to be the one Truth and source of Truth.”

The progressives insisted that the Church could no longer be intolerant of error because such a position was inconsistent both with “human dignity” and the efforts to reunite all Christians through ecumenical outreach. Fr. Dominique Bourmaud wrote of the Vatican II battle on this issue in his One Hundred Years of Modernism:

“Religious liberty, treated in the Declaration Dignitatis Humanae, was the object of heated debate even before the opening of the Council. Cardinal Ottaviani, bulldog of the Faith, defended the freedom of the Catholic religion, which in certain circumstances may lead to the toleration of error. Cardinal Bea, on the contrary, spoke of the freedom of religions and granted freedom in principle to all faiths, as exercised in public as well as in private. Such a theory amounted to granting rights to error and vice, according to the American dream of Fr. John Courtney Murray, condemned by the Holy Office prior to his victory at the Council.”

As Fr. Bourmaud observed, the future John Paul II fought in favor of granting rights to anti-Catholic error:

“The absurd character of such a ‘right' is flagrant in the intervention of Archbishop Wojtyla: ‘It is necessary to accept the danger of error. One cannot embrace the truth without having a certain experience of error. It is therefore necessary to speak of the right to seek error and to err. I call out for liberty for the conquest of the truth.’”

It is stunning that progressives such as the future John Paul II were able to make such ludicrous statements at the Council with a straight face. And yet they did, and now the world (erroneously) thinks the Church accepts “the danger of error.” Even worse, because John Paul II believed that souls needed to have “a certain experience of error,” millions of Catholics have had a “certain experience” of losing their Faith; God knows how many of the false shepherd’s sheep now have a “certain experience" of hell.

The actual Church can never teach these errors, but thanks to men like John Paul II most people in the world now think otherwise.

Simply surveying the errors that proliferated throughout the Church since Vatican II, we can identify great harms that have resulted from “granting rights” to error:

  • Many Catholics now believe the errors that the pre-Vatican II popes vigorously opposed.
  • Accordingly, many Catholics believe that truth can change to become something that contradicts what it once was.
  • Many others have concluded that any institution that teaches such nonsense must not be a truth-teller and they have therefore left the Church.
  • Throughout the world, this state of contradiction has seriously impaired the Church’s moral authority and ability to fulfill its God-given mission.
  • And now we find ourselves in a situation in which the Church apparently supports the anti-Catholic errors of the Great Reset.

In reality, the actual Church can never teach these errors, but thanks to men like John Paul II most people in the world now think otherwise.

The notion that “error has no rights” never meant that the Catholic Church (as distinct from individual Catholics) taught that “people who are in error” have no rights.

Given such a grave situation, it is worth recalling Archbishop Lefebvre’s healthy intolerance for error:

“Make no mistake. It is completely erroneous to think that if someone thinks otherwise than I do, if he has another religion than mine, he is free to do so. No, he is not free, and we must tell him, however sorry we may be, that he is wrong, that he is not in possession of the truth. One day you will be judged on your thoughts, your behavior, and your attitude: you had better convert. And this holds, not only for ideas, but also for morals, for everything.”

Francis and his collaborators would presumably blast this attitude as hateful and destructive but the archbishop’s intolerance for error was the logical consequence of his great love for God and souls. As Archbishop Lefebvre saw it, we should tolerate error that cannot be changed, but we must always do all we can to spread the unadulterated truth, which honors God and saves souls:

“Yes, we seem to be intolerant! Let’s be clear: We tolerate error that cannot be suppressed, but truth cannot tolerate error. By its very nature, the truth casts out error as the light dispels darkness. We cannot help it. Truth does not tolerate error; good does not tolerate vice. This does not mean, in practice, that one does not tolerate what is impossible to change, or what cannot be converted. But we should strive to bring an end to darkness, and to eliminate vice and error. And this is done by converting people by the grace of God.”

Despite the lies of the progressives, the notion that “error has no rights” never meant that the Catholic Church (as distinct from individual Catholics) taught that “people who are in error” have no rights — at most it led to the practical step of forbidding the public profession of anti-Catholic errors in Catholic societies. This is simply a logical extension of the idea that we must do all we can to promote the salvific truths of the Faith without which souls will be condemned. Those who are ultimately damned will have little gratitude for those who encouraged them to persist in their anti-Catholic errors.

Tragically, the spirit of the Synod is one that Archbishop Lefebvre recognized in Protestants.

Moreover, the failure of individuals and societies to acknowledge a particular truth does not render such truth any less true or important. Those who wish to “liberate themselves” from truth and its implications will face consequences that grow more dire in proportion to the importance of the truth in question; and no truths can be more important than those relating to our Lord and what He expects of us:

“This idea of liberty — which is really licentiousness and not true liberty — which is to be given to all the ideologies results in slow self-destruction and in the corruption of truth. And this truth is in fact our Lord Jesus Christ. Either one acknowledges it or not. If one refuses to acknowledge that our Lord Jesus Christ is the Truth, by the very fact there is no more law and no more morality. Everything gives way little by little. Of course, it takes time. Christian civilization cannot be destroyed in the course of just a few years. But once the principle of liberty is granted, then slowly but surely the corruption advances.”

One might have argued against Archbishop Lefebvre’s prognosis a few decades ago but it is now painfully obvious that he was correct. We see this collapse today, both within the Church and throughout society.

Perhaps worst of all, it is now apparent that we quickly approach a point at which error will have such sway over society that truth will not be tolerated. Is this not what we see in the Church when Francis rails against rigid Catholics?

We must insist on the reign of Christ the King in our own lives, in the Church, and, insofar as possible, throughout society.

Even the preparatory document for Francis’s Synod on Synodality explicitly rejects those Catholics who promote “religious rigor” and “moral injunction.” Tragically, the spirit of the Synod is one that Archbishop Lefebvre recognized in Protestants, although the promoters of the Synod have even less respect for actual Catholics:

“For the Protestants, liberty is first: everyone does and thinks what he likes. Having fought against the Catholics and having tried to suppress Catholicism, they know very well that Catholics hold that they possess the truth. Jesus Christ whom we possess in the Catholic Church is the Truth. There is no other. This is what the Protestants cannot bear, knowing quite well that that is indeed what Catholics believe. . . [T]hey are afraid, for they know that we are intolerant. ‘You are intolerant,’ they accuse us.”

This liberty of thought now espoused by Francis and his collaborators is of course anti-Catholic and therefore repugnant to God, so who benefits from it? It is mere coincidence that Francis’s Synod on Synodality offends God but pleases Satan and the globalists?

Now is the time to rediscover Archbishop Lefebvre’s intolerance for error before there is no tolerance for truth, or for those who love it.

While we still have time, we must reclaim the Catholic fidelity to truth that excludes the acceptance of error. It is not enough to beg the “Catholic” modernists in Rome to grant truth just a little more rights, or to allow God’s Church to have just a little more prominence than the false religions. No, as Archbishop Lefebvre wrote, we must insist on the reign of Christ the King in our own lives, in the Church, and, insofar as possible, throughout society:

“The only remedy is to reflect, meditate, and be convinced of the necessity of the social reign of our Lord Jesus Christ, of His reign over us not only as persons, but also in society. Be assured that if you tell yourself that you want to live according to the law and the morality that our Lord taught us, and by His grace, love and sacraments, but that out in the world you must accept the freedom of morals and free-thinking, then sooner or later you will be contaminated. The mere fact of conceding that it is a human right to be able to think whatever you like, as is done in the declaration on religious liberty, leads to the abandonment of the missionary spirit.”

Ultimately God’s truth will triumph over the errors we see today, but we need to seriously consider that He may not intervene to spare us the hellish consequences of our failure to reject the errors opposed to His reign. Now is the time to rediscover Archbishop Lefebvre’s intolerance for error before there is no tolerance for truth, or for those who love it. May the Blessed Virgin Mary, destroyer of all heresies, help us resist all those who seek to attack our immutable Catholic Faith!

Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us! Sancte Michael Archangele, defende nos in praelio!

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Last modified on Saturday, April 23, 2022
Robert Morrison | Remnant Columnist

Robert Morrison is a Catholic, husband and father. He is the author of A Tale Told Softly: Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale and Hidden Catholic England. 

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