Condoning Archbishop Lefebvre's Consecrations -- Isn't That Sinful?

I realize this thread topic will probably attract a lot of attention – good and bad alike (probably more bad than good ;)). At any rate, let me make it clear that the purpose of this thread is NOT to discuss whether or not the SSPX was ever in schism. Nor is it to discuss how, if it weren’t for Archbishop Lefebvre, we wouldn’t have Ecclesia Dei, Summorum Pontificum, etc.

My post has to do with a tendency I’ve seen on here of even some self-professed FSSP and diocesan TLM attendees to believe that Archbishop Lefebvre did a good thing by consecrating bishops without permission from Rome – despite the fact that canon law says such a thing is an excommunicable offense. Now, according to many catechisms and guides for confession, one of the ways we can be an accessory to another’s sin is defense of the wrong done. If we condone Lefebvre’s actions, doesn’t that make us an accessory to his sin?

Let me also make it clear that I’m well aware that canon law also says that in regard to consecrating bishops without permission, there’s no excommunication if the offender acted out of grave fear or felt there was an emergency. And who knows? Maybe Archbishop Lefebvre felt that way. But this thread is NOT to make judgments about his subjective guilt in the matter, which only God knows. Yet while we can’t judge his motives or intent, what he did was still objectively wrong, and so isn’t it gravely sinful to approve of objectively sinful actions?

That he sinned by so doing is quite a presumption. Perhaps he was obligated to do so.

What His Grace did was not sinful, so neither is supporting him for the act.

I never said he sinned. As I said in my original post, only God can know if he was actually guilty of sin or not. But that doesn’t erase the fact that what he did was OBJECTIVELY sinful in that it was disobedient.

I don’t claim to know the state of his soul in the matter, but he disobeyed lawful authority in a grave matter. So objectively speaking, it was indeed sinful. As a result, so would supporting his actions in the matter (as opposed to supporting Archbishop Lefebvre himself and his overall mission – one can agree with his concerns and his desire to keep the TLM alive without approving of how he went about things).

One can be obliged to do an act that is judged sinful, but the value-judgement is separable from the material action. One cannot be obliged to do evil - but one can one be obliged to do something that is not in itself evil, & may be evil in certain circumstances

The problem is, that while he may have done wrong, it is not clear that that what the Papacy was doing was not wrong. There are means of bringing criminal archbishops to book - but who can restrain or correct a criminal Pope :frowning: ? There is no machinery in the CC for doing so. In such circumnstances, what are the rest of us to do ? “The good of souls is the supreme law” - canon law or no canon law, he did what may well have been the only possible thing in the circumstances. The good of souls is too important to be sacrificed to the latest Papal or Roman fad; & what is the use of Tradition, if it cannot be used as a guide to what Catholics should believe ? The Church had condemned the sort of thing that happened at Assisi in 1986 - it was a novelty, thought up by one man: and what is one Pope, against 1900 years of Tradition ? So the attacks on the Archbishop for his doing what would have earned him a lot of trouble from earlier Popes, are without merit, for those earlier Popes did not sow confusion, indifferentism & scandal - unlike JP2. Why should an Archbishop disobey Tradition in order to obey one Pope who is disobedient to Tradition ? The problem is in the position of JP2 - this needs to be made clear as crystal.

Attacking the bishops ordained by the Archbishop does nothing at all to show the Vatican bishops are not as bad, or even worse. At least one can be confident that SSPX Masses are valid - they don’t use “cookies”, & never have. :mad: It is pointless to complain of the faults of the SSPX, when the swamp of iniquity presided over by Rome is so much deeper - let Rome put its own house in order, before nagging at others. :mad:

John Paul II sowed NO confusion, indifferentism, or scandal – except maybe in the minds of those who wanted to see such things. Does that mean that we as Catholics must agree with or approve of every little thing a pope says or does? Of course not! There were things Pope John Paul II did that, if I were pope, I probably wouldn’t have done. Same with Pope Benedict XVI. But while I don’t like the Assisi gatherings, it’s wrong to say he was promoting indifferentism there. Rather, folks like yourself have CHOSEN to believe that he was. Besides, John Paul II isn’t here to defend himself, so there’s really no reason to rehash all the “bad” that he allegedly did anyway.

Back to the topic of the thread. If anyone wants to discuss John Paul II and what all he did or didn’t do, start another thread please.

Attacking the bishops ordained by the Archbishop does nothing at all to show the Vatican bishops are not as bad, or even worse. At least one can be confident that SSPX Masses are valid - they don’t use “cookies”, & never have. :mad: It is pointless to complain of the faults of the SSPX, when the swamp of iniquity presided over by Rome is so much deeper - let Rome put its own house in order, before nagging at others. :mad:

He disobeyed a man to obey God. If a law is violated out of necessity, it is not unlawful. No excommunication was applied because of this.

Prove to me that His Excellency was obeying God and that he did what he did out of necessity. Did God say to you, “You’re right, Stuart, Lefebvre was obeying me by disobeying John Paul II”? Actually, the ONLY time we may disobey a lawful command is when the person giving the command orders us to commit sin. Pope John Paul II wanted Lefebvre to follow canon law and thus didn’t order anything sinful.

And you’re wrong about the excommunication. Pope John Paul II made it crystal clear that Lefebvre excommunicated himself by what he did.

A person who violates a law out of necessity* is not subject to a penalty (1983 Code of Canon Law, canon 1323, §4), even if there is no state of necessity1:

if one inculpably thought there was, he would not incur the penalty (canon 1323, 70),

and if one culpably thought there was, he would still incur no automatic penalties2 (canon 1324, §3; §1, 80).

But while the above implies that perhaps Archbishop Lefebvre may have indeed been acting out of perceived necessity, it doesn’t say that what he did was objectively good either.

Also, I believe the Church would have the final say on whether or not automatic penalties had already been incurred, not us layfolk. Thus, we should stand by the Church’s judgment in the matter, whatever it may turn out to be.

If he were acting out of perceived necessity, he would have incurred no excommunucation.

Well we can’t know that for sure because His Excellency isn’t alive to explain himself.

It’s a great shame that he is dead…or maybe he is more alive than we are in heaven (who knows). But he continually said that was his intention. I don’t think he was just wanting attention.

I have always said that I cant see how the Archbishop didnt sin(objectively) . I mean I know canon law says that in the case of emergency someone could consecrate a bishop without papal permission. I cant see how anyone would think the situation(in Lefebvre’s case) was an emergency. There wasnt a lack of bishops in Lefebvre’s area. There wasnt a lack of Bishops in the world. HOW THE HECK COULD IT HAVE BEEN AN EMERGENCY??? Keeping in mind traditional bishops arent necessary for the Catholic church to survive.(even thought it may very well be a good thing)


But the question is, would it be objectively sinful to condone what His Excellency did?

There were plenty of Arian bishops in the 4th centuries, along with many Arian priests and deacons. Just because bishops existed, it does not mean that it were a good thing. We need good, strong bishops who are faithful to Catholic Tradition, and not many who are liberals or indifferent.

One can understand why a given action was taken without condoning it.

There can be no doubt that Abp. Lefebvre, for reasons he considered proper, acted in direct defiance of the Holy See by performing these consecrations.

However, he has also long since answered for this to the only One Who can evaluate his acts with both justice and mercy.

Let us pray he received the same mercy we wish for ourselves.

If he was disobedient because he was doing something which he felt God wanted him to do…then the disobedience is justified…therefore the disobedience is not sinful. We are back to the original question, which we cannot answer, and only God can answer…that is, what was his intent and why did he do it.

In any case, those people who believe that he acted (as he said) because of an emergency to protect the Church… well, I don’t think that they have committed the sin of “agreement” that you suggest…because they are unaware that they have (and quite believe that they have not) sinned.

I could be completely wrong. I would like to hear what a priest has to say about this.

c’mon use you head—arianism is a heresy. which put those bishops outside the church. two totally different things here. YOU DONT NEED TRADITIONAL BISHOPS!!! SORRY IT ISNT NECESSARY!!! (traditional in the sense of favoring the traditional mass etc–not TRADITION AS FAR AS DOCTRINE GOES)

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