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   Letter to friends and benefactors #26

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Abbot Franz Schmidberger, Superior General of the FSSPX
March 1984


Events over the last few months show the decline in the Church. As the cult of man advances we need to hold on to Tradition. The rebuilding and renewal of the whole Church is being achieved a little at a time: new churches are opened and many seminarians to be ordained. Society to be consecrated to the Immaculate and Sorrowful Heart of Mary.

Dear Friends and Benefactors,

vents over the last few months show the decline in the Church

The decline in the Church and in society continues in its broad lines. This is seen clearly by a glance over the events of the last few months:

  • The new Canon Law, the putting into juridical form of the revolutionary spirit of the Council, was brought into force on the First Sunday of Advent by the progressive party, despite all the reservations and objections of prudent theologians. To give just one example, there is no doubt that by the new canon 204's unfortunate adoption of the conciliar expression, whereby the Church of God subsists in the Catholic Church (and that, therefore, the Church of God is not identical with the Catholic Church), there is at least an implicit denial of the necessity of the Catholic Church for salvation; thus, other religions are declared to be means of salvation. This is how one passes from a missionary Church to a worldwide ecumenical church, the next step being the synarchy; this is how the identity of the Mystical Body of Christ is undermined in its very foundation.
  • The Concordat between Italy and the Holy See has been abrogated. Italy thus becomes a secularized state; the teaching of religion to school children is no longer obligatory.
  • In a significant move, the Vatican breaks off diplomatic relations with Nationalist China in order to be able to enter into dialogue with Red China, and thus sells out one of the last strongholds of freedom.
  • The Pope, on the Third Sunday of Advent, preaches in a Protestant church in Rome, and on March 2nd, he again refers to the possibility of union between Catholics and Lutherans.
  • In Holland—where as long ago as 1970 the Synod desired that the Pope be no more than the secretary of the united churches, that celibacy as well as the priesthood be abolished, and that women be ordained—an important group of theology professors and priests now call for the blessing of the Church on the remarriage of divorcees, on homosexuality and on euthanasia.
  • In Germany, the new chant book no. 2, the tendency of which is wholly socialist and marxist, some of its songs being blasphemous, is being placed in the hands of 130,000 young Catholics.
  • The persecution of those who hold firm to the two-thousand-year-old Tradition of the Church continues: in South Africa a priest friendly to us was suspended in January; as was another in Germany just recently.

Advance of the cult of man

It is not surprising if everywhere theology is being transformed into a social theology with a leftist orientation; if liturgy and prayer are being transformed according to the cult of man; and if the apostolate is sinking into exhaustion!

Hold on to Tradition

"What will the Christian Catholic then do, if a new epidemic tries to contaminate not only a small part, but the whole Church at the same time? He will strive to attach himself to antiquity, which can no longer in any way be corrupted by any deceitful novelty. He will seek first and foremost to hold firmly to that which has been believed everywhere, always, and by everyone" (St. Vincent de Lerins).

Rebuilding and renewal of the whole Church achieved a little at a time

Thus, even while the overall collapse continues, nevertheless here and there, in humble initiatives, in the battle to gain a number of isolated souls, in the support being given to a number of families, in the gathering of scattered priests and nuns, in the founding of new seminaries and convents, there is being achieved the rebuilding and renewal of the whole Church, a task in which the Society of St. Pius X sees itself wholly given over to the guarding of the sacred fire in which Our Lord Himself cast upon the earth for it to burn. In accordance with its statutes, its members as Apostles of Jesus and Mary, strive only to make of their lives a Mass lived daily, with the soul of a priest, in a permanent act of self-offering, in a redemptive spirit of prayer, suffering and charity.

New churches opened and many seminarians to be ordained

Thanks to your prayers, dear Friends and Benefactors, to your affectionate support and to your generous gifts, we have in the course of the last half-year been able to consolidate and build up our work considerably: on December 8, 1983, the new church in Sydney (Australia) was solemnly inaugurated; on January 8, 1984, Msgr. Lefebvre consecrated the new church in Marseilles, and on the same day I blessed the first church in Holland, at Helmond, dedicated to the Holy Family. By the grace of God, Msgr. Lefebvre will this year be able to ordain twenty-nine priests for the Society alone: four in Ridgefield, USA, on May 13; nineteen in Ecône, Switzerland, on June 29; and six in Zaitzkofen, Germany, on July 1st. This will enable us considerably to extend our apostolate in France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, the United States and Canada, and to envisage new starting points in Holland, Portugal, Colombia, Mexico and South Africa.

French Catholics fight for freedom in education

The protests of French Catholics against the suppression of freedom of teaching and education are a new stimulus for us to consecrate an ever growing attention to the apostolate of youth, according to the words of Our Lord: "Let the little children come unto Me; for of such is the kingdom of heaven."

And that is why I appeal to you, not with a haughty or demanding spirit but with the attitude of a humble beggar: continue to aid us by your fervent prayers and your generous sacrifices, as you have done up to now. The efficacious support of your apostolate, by your fidelity to the Faith and your fighting spirit, by your kind sympathy and unselfish charity is a vital necessity for our work. "God loveth the cheerful giver," says the Apostle.

Society to be consecrated to the Immaculate and Sorrowful Heart of Mary

In order that our activity may be situated ever more within God's plan of salvation, and that our Society may always grow in fruitfulness, merit and importance, we have decided to consecrate it to the Immaculate and Sorrowful Heart of Mary this year on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Could I ask you to prepare yourselves with us from today for that important day? Just as St. Maximilian Kolbe placed himself without reserve in the service of the Immaculate Conception, we desire to be consumed in the sanctuary of her Divine Son, in the service of her apostolate.

May Our Lady of Sorrows, full of compassion for the one and only Savior of the world, along with St. Joseph, deign to lead us in her mercy through this Lent, through the Passion and Death of Jesus Christ, to His resurrection on the morning of Easter Sunday.

"Rejoice, O Virgin Mary, thou alone hast destroyed all heresies throughout the world."

Reverend Father Franz Schmidberger,
Superior General
Rickenbach, 10 March 1984


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