Many people who should be listening to Archbishop Lefebvre are no longer doing so, as though they know better, or as though at the end of his life, after he had bequeathed four bishops to the Society of St Pius X to ensure its survival, he had nothing more to say or to do of any importance. But in September of 1990 Providence granted him to give in Écône a retreat to his priests in which he could hand on to them – or at least to those that had ears to hear – his guidelines for their future. Let us quote again one of the most important passages, and sigh with sorrow that he was not listened to, or was not understood:—
This fight between the Church and liberal modernists is the same fight as that of Vatican II. It is not that complicated. And the effects are far-reaching. The more one analyses the documents of Vatican II together with the interpretation given them by the authorities of the Church after the Council , and the more one realises that the problem is not just certain errors like ecumenism, religious liberty, collegiality or a form of liberalism, it is a whole perversion of the mind. It is a new philosophy, based on the modern philosophy of modernism. The book which a German theologian Johannes Dörmann has just published, and which I hope can soon be in your hands, is very instructive in this regard. He is commenting on the thinking of Pope John-Paul II, in particular on a retreat which he preached in the Vatican while he was still just a bishop. Dörmann shows that the Pope’s thinking is entirely subjective. And on re-reading his speeches, one realises that that is the case. Despite the appearances, it is not Catholic.
The Pope’s understanding of God, of Our Lord, comes from the depths of man’s consciousness and not from any objective Revelation to which he adheres with his mind. Man constructs his own idea of God. Recently for instance the Pope said that the idea of the Trinity can only have arisen very lately, because man’s inner psychology had to be capable of rising to the Holy Trinity. Therefore the idea of the Trinity came not from any outer revelation but from the inner depths of man’s consciousness. Here is a totally different concept of Revelation, Faith and philosophy, and it is a total perversion. How do we get out of it? I have no idea, but in any case that is the reality. These are no small errors. We are running into a line of philosophy going back to Descartes and Kant, the whole line of modern philosophers who paved the way for the Revolution. ( . . . )
The Archbishop then quotes Pope John-Paul himself saying that the ecumenical movement is his “prime pastoral concern,” as we see put into practice by his constant receiving of delegations from all kinds of sects and religions, and yet, says the Archbishop, all this ecumenism has not made the Church advance one little bit, nor can it do so – all it has done is to confirm non-Catholics in their errors without trying to convert them. Finally the Archbishop quotes the Pope’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Casaroli, in a then recent address to the United Nations Commission for the Rights of Man, quoting in turn the Pope to the effect that religious liberty is like a corner-stone of the building of the rights of man. Man, and every man, is the central preoccupation of the Holy See, as he is undoubtedly also yours, concludes the Cardinal. And the Archbishop concludes, for the Society priests in front of him at the retreat –
All we can do is pull up the ladder (i.e. cut all contact) . There is nothing we can do with these people, because we have nothing in common with them.
This is the correct conclusion whenever one is faced by people who start out from a denial of reality outside the mind, or else of the mind’s ability to know that extra-mental objective reality. They are mentally sick, like swine in front of whom pearls should not be thrown, says Our Lord, “lest they trample them under foot and turn to attack you ” (Mt. VII, 6). For has Conciliar Rome over the last 20 years done anything other than turn to attack the Society in its striving by contacts to obtain official recognition?