Top Lefebvrist contradicts traditional Catholic doctrine

SSPX Superior General blasts Traditionis Custodes:
A Sedevacantist Critique

SSPX Superior General, Fr. Davide Pagliarani

Yesterday, on July 22, 2021, the headquarters of the Lefebvrist Society of Saint Pius X (FSSPX or SSPX) in Menzingen, Switzerland, released an official Letter from its Superior General, Fr. Davide Pagliarani, in response to the recent “Apostolic Letter” issued motu proprio by “Pope” Francis, Traditionis Custodes, which severely limits the use of the Roman Missal of 1962 (“Traditional Latin Mass”) and eventually phases it out completely. It can be found here:

Unlike the polemical article “From the Reserve to the Zoo” which the SSPX news team had released on July 17, this more formal reaction from the Superior General is quite different in tone, yet just as stern on the issues.

In what follows, we will provide a sedevacantist critique of Fr. Pagliarani’s reaction in light of traditional Roman Catholic theology, the very theology, we must never forget, the Lefebvrists claim to uphold and defend. We will not quote the entire letter here but focus only on the more significant claims the SSPX superior makes.

Before we do so, however, we will give a little bit of background on the SSPX for those who may not be so familiar with this organization.

The Society of St. Pius X was founded in 1970 by the French Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre (1905-91) to preserve the traditional Roman Catholic priesthood and Mass in the wake of the revolutionary Second Vatican Council (1962-65). Although the SSPX at first enjoyed the approval of the Novus Ordo hierarchy, the retired archbishop began to run into trouble when he continued to ordain priests without permission in defiance of what he recognized to be the lawful ecclesiastical authority.

Knowing that his work would not be able to continue without bishops, on June 30, 1988, after long but eventually unsuccessful negotiations with the “Holy See”, the 82-year-old Lefebvre took the bold step of consecrating four bishops without the necessary “papal” mandate, which canon law, both in its traditional form and in its Novus Ordo revision, punishes with automatic excommunication. On July 1, 1988, the Vatican declared that Abp. Lefebvre and his co-consecrator, the Brazilian Bp. Antonio de Castro-Mayer, as well as the four bishops consecrated — the French Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, the Spanish Alfonso de Galarreta, the English Richard Williamson, and the Swiss Bernard Fellay — had incurred the punishment of automatic excommunication, and that this act of defiance against the “Roman Pontiff” constituted a schismatic act. On Jan. 21, 2009, the excommunications against the still-living bishops were rescinded at the order of “Pope” Benedict XVI.

We will now examine what Fr. Pagliarani, the current SSPX superior, wrote in response to “Pope” Francis’ suppression of the Traditional Mass.

We begin with the third paragraph:

But why has the Mass become a sign of contradiction within the Church itself? The answer is simple and increasingly clear. After fifty years, the various elements that confirm the answer have become obvious to all well informed Catholics: the Tridentine Mass expresses and conveys a conception of Christian life – and consequently, a conception of the Catholic Church – that is absolutely incompatible with the ecclesiology that emerged from the Second Vatican Council. The problem is not simply liturgical, aesthetic or purely technical. The problem is simultaneously doctrinal, moral, spiritual, ecclesiological and liturgical. In a nutshell, it is a problem that affects all aspects of the Church’s life, without exception. It is a question of faith.

(Rev. Davide Pagliarani, “Letter from Father Pagliarani about the motu proprio ‘Traditionis custodes'”,, July 22, 2021)

We concur in essence with Fr. Pagliarani’s assessment, and have said more or less the same thing in our very informative podcast on the topic, TRADCAST EXPRESS 136. People who have not yet listened to it can do so here:

More of our podcasts can be found here

Having said that, it seems that Fr. Pagliarani is not quite aware of the implications and consequences of what he is saying, for he is preaching a defected Church, which is both blasphemy and heresy. We will return to this thought later.

Father continues:

On one side is the Mass of All Times. It is the standard of a Church that defies the world and is certain of victory, for its battle is nothing less that [sic] the continuation of the battle that Our Blessed Lord waged to destroy sin and to destroy the kingdom of Satan. It is by the Mass and through the Mass that Our Lord enlists Catholic souls into His ranks, by sharing with them both His Cross and His victory. From all this follows a fundamentally militant conception of Christian life that is characterised by two elements: a spirit of sacrifice and an unwavering supernatural hope.

So the SSPX superior here first speaks of “the Mass of All Times” in particular but then proceeds to speak about the Holy Mass in general. But the Holy Catholic Mass, which was instituted by our Blessed Lord and Savior Jesus Christ directly and passed on and safeguarded by His Holy Catholic Church, admits of various rites, not only of the Roman rite as codified by Pope St. Pius V in 1570. For example, there are numerous Eastern liturgical rites the Catholic Church recognizes, such as the Maronite, the Syro-Malabar, the Melkite, and the Byzantine rites. Even in the Latin branch of the Church, the Dominican rite is permitted for the Order of Preachers, approved by Popes Clement IV and Pius V.

Taking this into consideration, Fr. Pagliarani’s message reveals itself as rather confusing. Does he mean to include all approved liturgical rites before 1963 under the umbrella term “Mass of All Times”? Only then would it make sense for him to move from speaking about the “Mass of All Times” to the Mass in general. Yet, this does not seem to be the case, for in the preceding paragraph he speaks of the “Tridentine Mass” specifically, which is a moniker used exclusively for the Roman rite after the Council of Trent (hence “Tridentine”). Moreover, Abp. Lefebvre, who coined the term “Mass of All Time”, seems to have had only the Roman rite in mind, not any of the Eastern rites (see Abp. Marcel Lefebvre, The Mass of All Time [Kansas City, MO: Angelus Press, 2007], pp. 288-289).

It is incontrovertible that the Catholic theology regarding the Holy Mass applies not to any specific rite exclusively but pertains to all rites approved by the Holy See because it pertains to the Mass as such:

Whatever the difference of rites, unique is the flame of the faith that illuminates and guides all members of the Church of Jesus Christ: “One Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Eph 4:5). Truth has not two faces, even though presented in different ways. There is not one truth of the Latins and another for the Greeks; there is but one truth, which Jesus Christ announced for the world, that which all His Church, the “pillar and mainstay of the truth” (1 Tim 3:15) professes.

(Pope Pius XII, Address to Pilgrims of Byzantine Rite, Oct. 18, 1940; excerpted in Papal Teachings: The Liturgy, n. 424.)

Although Fr. Pagliarani and his SSPX would agree that the Eastern rites and the traditional Roman rite are equal in that regard, the Lefebvrists do not — cannot — admit the principle enunciated in Canon 1257 of the 1917 Code of Canon Law: “It belongs only to the Apostolic See to order [the] sacred liturgy and to approve liturgical books.” The reason is simple: The entity they believe to be the Apostolic See approved also Paul VI’s Novus Ordo Missae (“New Mass”) in 1969 and thereafter, the most recent example of which is Francis’ Traditionis Custodes.

We move on to Fr. Pagliarani’s next paragraph:

On the other side stands the Mass of Paul VI. It is an authentic expression of a Church that wants to live in harmony with the world and that lends an ear to the world’s demands. It represents a Church that, in the final analysis, no longer needs to fight against the world because it no longer has anything to reproach the world. Here is a Church that no longer has anything to teach the world because it listens to the powers of the world. It is a Church that no longer needs the Sacrifice of Our Blessed Lord because, having lost the notion of sin, it no longer has anything for which to atone. Here is a Church that no longer has the mission of restoring the universal kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ, because it wants to make its contribution to the creation on this earth of a better world that is freer, more egalitarian and more eco-responsible – and all this with purely human means. This humanist mission that the men of the Church have given themselves must necessarily be matched by a liturgy that is equally humanist and emptied of any notion of sacredness.

What the SSPX Superior General says here is spot on. There is only one slight problem for the Lefebvrists, and that is: They believe that this defected humanistic-secular church described in the above quote is the Roman Catholic Church. Since saying so openly in the given context would expose the preposterousness of the Lefebvrist position for all to see, Fr. Pagliarani leaves it unsaid.

This is the “defected church” thesis we touched upon earlier. For an exhaustive critique of the SSPX position in that regard, please see our response to Fr. Paul Robinson from 2017:

In addition, the encyclical letter Quartus Supra (1873) of Pope Pius IX is a veritable “Syllabus of Lefebvrist Errors”. Please see the following post about that:

We return to Fr. Pagliarani’s letter:

This battle that has been waged for the past fifty years, which has just seen a highly significant event on July 16th, is not a simple war between two rites: it is indeed a war between two different and opposing conceptions of the Catholic Church and of Christian life – conceptions that are absolutely irreducible and incompatible with each other. In paraphrasing Saint Augustin, one could say that the two Masses have built two cities: the Mass of All Times has built a Christian city; the New Mass seeks to build a humanist and secular city.

Again, Father is entirely right in his critique, but what throws a theological monkey wrench into it all is that he believes that the Roman Catholic Church can offer such a defective, heretical, blasphemous rite of Mass to her children — a rite that perverts their Faith and makes them lose their souls!

How does the SSPX Superior General think he can square this with the traditional doctrine he claims to adhere to?

The sacred liturgy is, consequently, the public worship which our Redeemer as Head of the Church renders to the Father, as well as the worship which the community of the faithful renders to its Founder, and through Him to the heavenly Father. It is, in short, the worship rendered by the Mystical Body of Christ in the entirety of its Head and members.

(Pope Pius XII, Encyclical Mediator Dei, n. 20)

As We have said in the encyclical Mediator Dei, the liturgy is a vital function of the Church as a whole, and not of a single group or “movement” only: “The sacred liturgy is the public worship of the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ in the entirety of its Head and members.” The Mystical Body of Christ lives on the truth of Christ and graces which are diffused in its members, giving them life and unity within themselves and with their Head. This is the thought of St. Paul when he says in his first epistle to the Corinthians: “All things belong to you, and you to Christ and Christ to God” (1 Cor. 3:23). Therefore everything is directed towards God, His service and His glory. The Church, filled with the gifts and the life of God, devotes itself with an interior and spontaneous movement to the adoration and praise of the infinite God, and through the liturgy, renders Him, as from a society, the worship that is due to Him.

(Pope Pius XII, Allocution to the International Congress on Pastoral Liturgy, Sep. 22, 1956)

Does our Blessed Lord and Savior Jesus Christ render false or defective worship to God the Father? Would anyone dare to utter — even just think — such a blasphemy?!

Perhaps Fr. Pagliarani should concern himself not only with the Tridentine Mass but also the Tridentine Council, which declared infallibly: “If anyone says that the ceremonies, vestments, and outward signs, which the Catholic Church uses in the celebration of Masses, are incentives to impiety rather than the services of piety: let him be anathema” (Council of Trent, Session 22, Canon 7; Denz. 954).

By acknowledging the Modernists in Rome as the lawful authorities of the Roman Catholic Church, the Lefebvrists are ensuring that their theological position receives the Tridentine anathema. Accepting a Modernist hierarchy as Catholic has consequences!

Returning to the letter of the head of the Lefebvrists:

This Mass – our Mass – must really be for us like the pearl of great price in the Gospel, for which we are ready to renounce everything, for which we are ready to sell everything. He who is not prepared to shed his blood for this Mass is not worthy to celebrate it! He who is not prepared to give up everything to protect it is not worthy to attend it!

How much the Roman Catholic Mass is “our Mass” — that is, that of the Society of St. Pius X — is a question that could be debated at length, but we shall gloss over it. What Fr. Pagliarani says here sounds extremely pious, yet it is quite dangerous.

The pearl of great price in the Holy Gospel is the Kingdom of Heaven, that is, salvation (see Mt 13:45-46). It is the salvation of our souls for which we are to give up anything that could be an obstacle to it. Now certainly, the Holy Catholic Mass is indeed of tremendous benefit to souls; however, even the Mass itself is only availing unto salvation if offered or attended inside the Catholic Church. One can attend valid Masses outside the Church, but those are not, objectively considered, to anyone’s spiritual benefit. They are, in fact, sinful to attend. This means that, yes, one can sin mortally by attending the Tridentine Mass!

The Holy Catholic Mass is not the be-all and end-all of Catholic existence in the sense implied by Fr. Pagliarani. Anyone who is validly ordained has the power to offer it, but only to those who offer it within the Roman Catholic Church — under the lawful hierarchy, and certainly not under a non-Catholic one — will it be of spiritual advantage. Schismatics, heretics, and apostes that offer it are only adding to their sins by doing so. Fr. Pagliarani ignores that inconvenient fact because he refuses submission to the man he recognizes as Pope, namely, Jorge Bergoglio (Francis). The Lefebvrists are a textbook case of schism (explained at greater length here and here).

Quoting St. Jerome, Pope Pius VIII taught that “he who eats the lamb [=Holy Eucharist] outside this house [=the Church] will perish as did those during the flood who were not with Noah in the ark” (Encyclical Traditi Humilitati, n. 4).

In the 15th century, the Council of Florence taught quite emphatically and infallibly that

…those not living within the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics cannot become participants in eternal life, but will depart “into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels” [Matt. 25:41], unless before the end of life the same have been added to the flock; and that the unity of the ecclesiastical body is so strong that only to those remaining in it are the sacraments of the Church of benefit for salvation, and do fastings, almsgiving, and other functions of piety and exercises of Christian service produce eternal reward, and that no one, whatever almsgiving he has practiced, even if he has shed blood for the name of Christ, can be saved, unless he has remained in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church.

(Council of Florence, Decree Cantate Domino; Denz. 714; underlining added.)

Thus, Fr. Pagliarani is giving not only the wrong but also quite a dangerous impression by claiming, in effect, that the Holy Mass is the greatest possible spiritual good, for which one ought to forsake even communion with (the man one believes to be) the Roman Pontiff and endanger one’s very salvation. WRONG!

Nor would such a step ever be necessary. He who has the Catholic Faith knows that the Roman Catholic Church is the ultimate custodian of the Holy Mass, and, by the promises of our Blessed Lord (see Mt 16:18-19; Lk 22:32; 1 Tim 3:15), it is she, the Church, who guarantees the Holy Mass, not some independent priestly society that has appointed itself to the task.

A bit further on, Fr. Pagliarani states:

The latest measures taken against the Mass will force these souls to draw all the consequences of what they have discovered: they must now choose – with all the elements of discernment that are at their disposal – what is necessary for every well-informed Catholic conscience. Many souls will find themselves faced with an important choice that will affect their faith, because – and let us say it once more – the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the supreme expression of a doctrinal and moral universe. It is therefore a question of choosing the Catholic faith in its entirety and through it, choosing Our Lord Jesus Christ, with His Cross, His Sacrifice and His universal kingship. It is a matter of choosing His Precious Blood, of imitating the Crucified One and of following Him to the end, by a complete, rigorous and coherent fidelity.

Given everything we have stated so far, it is ironic that it should be the head of the SSPX, of all people, who exhorts people to a “well-informed Catholic conscience.” Pagliarani’s comments in that letter are simply a scandal considered in light of all the Catholic teaching already quoted. He speaks of “choosing the Catholic faith in its entirety”, yet apparently forgets that part of that Catholic Faith is unswerving fidelity to the Roman Pontiff:

Indeed one simple way to keep men professing Catholic truth is to maintain their communion with and obedience to the Roman Pontiff. For it is impossible for a man ever to reject any portion of the Catholic faith without abandoning the authority of the Roman Church. In this authority, the unalterable teaching office of this faith lives on. It was set up by the divine Redeemer and, consequently, the tradition from the Apostles has always been preserved. So it has been a common characteristic both of the ancient heretics and of the more recent Protestants — whose disunity in all their other tenets is so great — to attack the authority of the Apostolic See. But never at any time were they able by any artifice or exertion to make this See tolerate even a single one of their errors.

(Pope Pius IX, Encyclical Nostis et Nobiscum, n. 17)

Let Us remind all that they must generously and faithfully obey their holy pastors who possess the right and duty of regulating the whole life, especially the spiritual life, of the Church. “Obey your prelates and be subject to them. For they watch as being to render an account of your souls; that they may do this with joy and not with grief” (Heb 13:17).

(Pope Pius XII, Encyclical Mediator Dei, n. 208)

And since the Roman Pontiff is at the head of the universal Church by the divine right of apostolic primacy, We teach and declare also that he is the supreme judge of the faithful, and that in all cases pertaining to ecclesiastical examination recourse can be had to his judgment; moreover, that the judgment of the Apostolic See, whose authority is not surpassed, is to be disclaimed by no one, nor is anyone permitted to pass judgment on its judgment. Therefore, they stray from the straight path of truth who affirm that it is permitted to appeal from the judgments of the Roman Pontiffs to an ecumenical Council, as to an authority higher than the Roman Pontiff.

If anyone thus speaks, that the Roman Pontiff has only the office of inspection or direction, but not the full and supreme power of jurisdiction over the universal Church, not only in things which pertain to faith and morals, but also in those which pertain to the discipline and government of the Church spread over the whole world; or, that he possesses only the more important parts, but not the whole plenitude of this supreme power; or that this power of his is not ordinary and immediate, or over the churches altogether and individually, and over the pastors and the faithful altogether and individually: let him be anathema.

(First Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Pastor Aeternus, Ch. 3; Denz. 1830-1831)

Does Fr. Pagliarani believe this? Do the other members of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X? And do they follow it? Hardly! So much for that “complete, rigorous and coherent fidelity”!

Father continues: “The Society of Saint Pius X has the duty to assist all those souls who are currently in dismay and are confused.” Oh, really? That’s not what their “Catholic hierarchy” has been saying all these years about the SSPX. It is, rather, the Lefebvrist opinion, or thesis, but nothing more.

Father continues further: “Firstly, we have the duty to offer them the certitude that the Tridentine Mass can never disappear from the face of the earth. This is an absolutely necessary sign of hope.” One wonders whether the SSPX Superior General is suggesting here that it is the Society of St. Pius X that establishes this certainty. At any rate, it must be some entity other than the (supposed) Pope, since the Modernist-occupied Vatican has long done all it could to suppress and eliminate the Traditional Latin Mass, especially between 1970 and 1984. However, it is to the Pope, to the lawful successor of St. Peter, and not to anyone else — not even Abp. Lefebvre — that Catholic dogma says Christ’s guarantees were promised:

Now you know well that the most deadly foes of the Catholic religion have always waged a fierce war, but without success, against this Chair [of St. Peter]; they are by no means ignorant of the fact that religion itself can never totter and fall while this Chair remains intact, the Chair which rests on the rock which the proud gates of hell cannot overthrow and in which there is the whole and perfect solidity of the Christian religion. Therefore, because of your special faith in the Church and special piety toward the same Chair of Peter, We exhort you to direct your constant efforts so that the faithful people of France may avoid the crafty deceptions and errors of these plotters and develop a more filial affection and obedience to this Apostolic See. Be vigilant in act and word, so that the faithful may grow in love for this Holy See, venerate it, and accept it with complete obedience; they should execute whatever the See itself teaches, determines, and decrees.

(Pope Pius IX, Encyclical Inter Multiplices, n. 7; underlining added.)

It is interesting, is it not, that Pope Pius IX not only underscores the promises Christ made to the Papacy, but also draws the consequences that follow from the special divine protection: Fidelity to the true religion of Jesus Christ is assured by means of strict obedience and fidelity to the Holy See, that is, to the Pope. There is no other way! Once again, we ask: Do the Lefebvrists believe this? Do they act accordingly?

Thus it can be seen how badly Fr. Pagliarani misrepresents the true traditional Catholic doctrine. He may think that by preserving the Traditional Catholic Roman Mass, he is guaranteed to be preserving also the Roman Catholic Faith, but that is not the case: “The sacred liturgy … does not decide or determine independently and of itself what is of Catholic faith”, Pope Pius XII says, adding that the liturgy is “subject, as such, to the supreme teaching authority of the Church…” (Encyclical Mediator Dei, n. 48).

Now if the SSPX were correct in its recognition of the Novus Ordo hierarchy (that is, in their acceptance of the false popes from John XXIII in 1958 to Francis in the present day), then the “revision” of the Roman Missal by Paul VI in 1969 would be guaranteed by God Himself to be legitimate, orthodox, holy, safe, and binding — for that is what Catholic doctrine requires and guarantees:

[T]he Sovereign Pontiff alone enjoys the right to recognize and establish any practice touching the worship of God, to introduce and approve new rites, as also to modify those he judges to require modification. Bishops, for their part, have the right and duty carefully to watch over the exact observance of the prescriptions of the sacred canons respecting divine worship. Private individuals, therefore, even though they be clerics, may not be left to decide for themselves in these holy and venerable matters, involving as they do the religious life of Christian society along with the exercise of the priesthood of Jesus Christ and worship of God; concerned as they are with the honor due to the Blessed Trinity, the Word Incarnate and His august mother and the other saints, and with the salvation of souls as well. For the same reason no private person has any authority to regulate external practices of this kind, which are intimately bound up with Church discipline and with the order, unity and concord of the Mystical Body and frequently even with the integrity of Catholic faith itself.

The Church is without question a living organism, and as an organism, in respect of the sacred liturgy also, she grows, matures, develops, adapts and accommodates herself to temporal needs and circumstances, provided only that the integrity of her doctrine be safeguarded. This notwithstanding, the temerity and daring of those who introduce novel liturgical practices, or call for the revival of obsolete rites out of harmony with prevailing laws and rubrics, deserve severe reproof.

…The liturgy of the early ages is most certainly worthy of all veneration. But ancient usage must not be esteemed more suitable and proper, either in its own right or in its significance for later times and new situations, on the simple ground that it carries the savor and aroma of antiquity. The more recent liturgical rites likewise deserve reverence and respect. They, too, owe their inspiration to the Holy Spirit, who assists the Church in every age even to the consummation of the world. They are equally the resources used by the majestic Spouse of Jesus Christ to promote and procure the sanctity of man.

(Pope Pius XII, Encyclical Mediator Dei, n. 58-59,61; underlining added.)

Certainly the loving Mother [the Church] is spotless in the Sacraments, by which she gives birth to and nourishes her children; in the faith which she has always preserved inviolate; in her sacred laws imposed on all; in the evangelical counsels which she recommends; in those heavenly gifts and extraordinary graces through which, with inexhaustible fecundity, she generates hosts of martyrs, virgins and confessors.

(Pope Pius XII, Encyclical Mystici Corporis, n. 66; underlining added.)

…[T]he discipline sanctioned by the Church must never be rejected or be branded as contrary to certain principles of natural law. It must never be called crippled, or imperfect or subject to civil authority. In this discipline the administration of sacred rites, standards of morality, and the reckoning of the rights of the Church and her ministers are embraced.

(Pope Gregory XVI, Encyclical Mirari Vos, n. 9)

…as if the Church which is ruled by the Spirit of God could have established discipline which is not only useless and burdensome for Christian liberty to endure, but which is even dangerous and harmful and leading to superstition and materialism.

(Pope Pius VI, Bull Auctorem Fidei, n. 78; Denz. 1578)

Game over, Fr. Pagaliarani. If Paul VI and his successors are true Popes, as you believe, your goose is cooked.

Shortly before his Novus Ordo missal became mandatory, the false pope Paul VI (r. 1963-78) said:

Nothing has been changed of the substance of our traditional Mass. Perhaps some may allow themselves to be carried away by the impression made by some particular ceremony or additional rubric, and thus think that they conceal some alteration or diminution of truths which were acquired by the Catholic faith for ever, and are sanctioned by it. They might come to believe that the equation between the law of prayer, lex orandi, and the law of faith, lex credendi, is compromised as a result.

It is not so. Absolutely not. Above all, because the rite and the relative rubric are not in themselves a dogmatic definition. Their theological qualification may vary in different degrees according to the liturgical context to which they refer. They are gestures and terms relating to a religious action—experienced and living—of an indescribable mystery of divine presence, not always expressed in a universal way. Only theological criticism can analyze this action and express it in logically satisfying doctrinal formulas. The Mass of the new rite is and remains the same Mass we have always had. If anything, its sameness has been brought out more clearly in some respects.

(Antipope Paul VI, Address at General Audience, Nov. 19, 1969, nn. 10-11; underlining added.)

Is this garbage? Of course it is. But the only possible conclusion, given the traditional Catholic doctrine, is that Paul VI was not a true Pope.

The fact that the Lefebvrists use all kinds of arguments to make the case that the New Mass of Paul VI is not legitimate and not binding, although it came from a true Pope, is irrelevant. For it is not up to the Society of St. Pius X to judge its own arguments, it is for the Holy See to do so. Yet the SSPX continually judges its own case. Although they may deny it in words, the fact of the matter is that the Lefebvrists are their own final authority: They determine what is and isn’t legitimate; what is and isn’t valid; what is and isn’t to be done or believed. In this they are not ashamed to contradict and overturn, as it were, even the judgments of the (supposed) Apostolic See, which, according to Catholic dogma, cannot be judged by anyone.

In the words of Pope St. Pius X, we can say that the Lefebvrists, not unlike the Modernists, “with a system of sophisms and errors … falsify the concept of obedience inculcated by the Church; they arrogate to themselves the right of judging the actions of authority even to the extent of ridiculing them; they attribute to themselves … a mission which they have received neither from God nor from any authority” (Address Con Vera Soddisfazione). How ironic that the SSPX’s own patron, St. Pius X, condemns them!

As the erstwhile SSPX member Fr. Anthony Cekada (1951-2020), himself ordained by Abp. Lefebvre in 1977, used to say in one of his sermons: “You can be saved without the Traditional Latin Mass. But you cannot be saved without the traditional Catholic Faith.”

The Lefebvrists under Fr. Pagliarani may have the Traditional Latin Mass, but they do not have the traditional Roman Catholic Faith.

That is a most serious matter, since without that Faith, “it is impossible to please God” (Heb 11:6).

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