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TRADITION



By His Excellency Bishop Thomas Aquinas, O.S.B.


17th February 2024

 

One must hold a very sure doctrine to understand and make others understand the true meaning of the word Tradition, especially during this crisis that has befallen the Church since Vatican II.

 

Archbishop Lefebvre’s fight against the errors of Vatican II has taken the name of Tradition: “Tradidi quod et accepi.” This fight is not, strictly speaking, Archbishop Lefebvre’s own fight, of course. It is the fight of the Church. It is particularly the operation survival of 1988, the survival of the whole Church.

 

Archbishop Lefebvre did not want to be called the leader of the traditionalists. He simply named himself a bishop who resists, which led Dom Gérard to accuse him of “resistentialism”. To resist out of Fidelity (a name chosen in France to denote the opposition to the accordism of Bishop Fellay). We can say the same thing today. There are faithful who resist and who want to continue Archbishop Lefebvre’s fight as he led it. But it is not so easy to have the wisdom of Archbishop Lefebvre. What shall we do, if not beg the God of armies to have mercy on us? Let Him make us fight according to the rules of prudence. He not only defended the deposit of the faith but also denounced who the enemies of this deposit were.

 

There is in the Archbishop a superior prudence, a gift of counsel to discern the true way to fight. The true way was not that of Dom Gérard nor that of Father Bisig, the founder of the Fraternity of Saint Peter, nor that of any of the Ecclesia Dei communities (the first words of the document that excommunicated Archbishop Lefebvre), nor that of all those who have adhered to the invitations of Rome.

 

What about Dom Gérard’s way displeased Archbishop Lefebvre? It displeased him because it delivered to the enemies the true Catholics, the chosen part of the flock. He was surprised that there had not been more resistance to Dom Gérard at Barroux; there should have been more fighting. To deliver the souls of the monks, his priests, almost all ordained by Archbishop Lefebvre, and the Benedictines sisters as well… yes, Dom Gérard merited to be deposed. Archbishop Lefebvre let me know. He wanted me to go to Barroux for that. I confess that I lacked the courage, the strength, and the capacity to do so. But that is the proper conduct of the true bishops and also of the real saints, like Saint Pius V, who freed the English from obedience to Queen Elizabeth. In the case of Dom Gérard, it was not directly about heresy, but his conduct was leading the monks to the modern errors of Vatican II.

 

Let’s return to the traditionalists. Let’s try a definition: those who, in the current battle, have followed Archbishop Lefebvre and still follow him. That is the movement of Tradition. Doctrinal tradition and prudential tradition. This is the Tradition that we have learned to love beside the Archbishop, where he has fought the error, rekindled courage, clarified doubts and communicated abundantly the graces of the sacraments. Let us follow him still. With him, more than with anyone else, we have the Tradition. He remains even today the man capable of the only true reconciliation (ralliement) that can unite all the traditionalists in true fidelity.

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