March 1981 - Superior General's Letter #20
The Society's expansion requires a greater organisation. The work of the Society must be a work of faith and trust in Providence. The Society working amidst the shambles must continue its work of restoration especially in Mexico and elsewhere. The Seminary at Ridgefield is being enlarged and the Seminary at Ecône will need to be divided as it is too small.
Dear Friends and Benefactors,
We must maintain and develop Catholic institutions
Sadly recognizing that the consequences of the conciliar revolution seem to be intent on becoming institutionalized and supplanting the true Catholic institutions with the risk of arriving at the same results as in political society, which is sinking into a state of permanent revolution, our resolution to maintain and develop the divine institutions of the Church should be more firm than ever, for if political institutions can disappear, this can never happen to the Church.
The Society`s expansion
On the other hand, it is with joy, and with thanks to God that we see traditional enterprises such as the Society of St. Pius X, and other societies, expanding in a way which is, humanly speaking, inexplicable. Another consolation and source of encouragement is the strengthening of the links between all the brave initiatives within the Society.This expanision requires greater organization
As you know, we have never wished to be considered as the leaders of the groups involved in this renewal of the Church, and in this resistance to the revolution in the Church. However, according to the measure of the increase in the number of our seminaries, houses, schools, and retreat houses, and since the number of our priests is increasing and will increase, especially from 1983 onwards, it is normal that the great hope which these young priests represent, inspires the confidence of all the traditionalist initiatives. Active, and contemplative religious, and secular priests feel the need to join themselves to this vigorous root which is filled with faith, truth and grace and deeply rooted in the Tradition of twenty centuries of the Church.
The work of the apostolate must be intimately linked with Faith
These close links in the faith and in the apostolate seem to me to be very important for the future of the Church. For we wish to work in absolute confidence that Providence will permit that one day, decided by, and known to itself, the Sovereign Pontiff will recognize the incomparable benefit of all of these enterprises, and will give thanks to God for them. There is no justifiable argument which obliges us to cut ourselves off from the Pope. On the contrary, innumerable irrefutable motives oblige us to remain united to him as the Successor of Peter and this will render our protestations and our refusals the more efficacious and justified. That does not in any way diminish our attachment to Tradition. It is through esteem for the successor of Peter that we cannot conceive any contradiction with the Magisterium of Peter as being possible.
The Society must continue its work of restoration amidst the shambles
In the midst of this great torment which calls down the malediction of God on humanity, let us go on with serenity and confidence in God in our work of restoration of the Church which is expanding by the multiplication of auspicious initiatives of reconstruction, but especially by the work of holiness which is that bonus odor Christi, that “sweet odor of Christ,” which rises straight up to God like the sacrifice of Abel, and which draws down upon us the blessings of God.
During our visit to Mexico, both I and those who accompanied me were able to see the. tragic situation of the people who number almost seventy-seven million souls and who are almost all Catholics. The shepherds have abandoned their people to give themselves over to politics and the Revolution, pushing the government, which is already linked with Fidel Castro, further to the Left. A certain number of the faithful have thrown progressive priests out of their parishes and are begging us to replace them. At Cordoba a young curate, dressed in a way that has nothing clerical about it, came to see me to make known his feelings to me in these term: “My Lord, you are right, and you have the grace of the Holy Ghost with you. We have nothing more than a religious mask, behind which there is nothing. I wanted to say this to you as you were passing through here. My Lord, bless me.”
Then he went away. I was stupified, but once again confirmed by the necessity to continue our actions for the salvation of souls. By the grace of God we already have fourteen Mexican seminarians, while there were only two young priests ordained last year for the whole of Mexico. May Our Lady of Guadalupe protect her beloved people!
Once again we recommend our enterprises to your prayers and to your generosity. At the moment we are building a seminary at Buenos Aires, we are enlarging the seminary at Ridgefield in the U.S.A., and soon we will be obliged to divide Ecône, which has become too small. We must start something in France. May St. Joseph come to our aid. We owe him our immense gratitude for all that he has helped us to achieve.
Wishing you a good Holy Week and a Happy Easter we implore Jesus, Mary and Joseph to fill you with blessings.
† Marcel Lefebvre
Feast of St. Joseph
March 19, 1981