But a special course was added to the curriculum for the year of spirituality: the acts of the Magisterium. Faithful to the teaching of Fr. Le Floch, Archbishop Lefebvre had his seminarians study the encyclicals of the popes on Freemasonry, Liberalism, Modernism and Communism. That way they could make the same discovery that he did when he was at seminary in Rome.
The popes’ judgments on Liberalism, the secular State and modernity
They discovered the popes’ judgments on liberalism, the secular State and modernity. Even though the course featured anti-liberal authors—Louis Veuillot, Cardinal Pie, Bishop Freppel, etc. —the principal teachers were the popes: Gregory XVI, Pius IX, Leo XIII, and St. Pius X. The students attentively read the arguments of Pope Pius XI in his encyclical Quas primas on the social reign of Christ the King. The motto of St. Pius X, “To restore all things in Christ” was the fundamental axis of this course on the Magisterium of the Roman Pontiffs.
Three errors already condemned
In light of these papal teachings, the seminarians understood that the three main novelties of the Second Vatican Council correspond to errors that had already been condemned:
- The falsity of religious liberty was demonstrated 100 years earlier by Quanta cura by Pius IX: false religions have no natural right to prosper in society. Leo XIII explained that they can however be tolerated to keep the peace;
- Modern ecumenism is contradicted by Satis cognitum by Leo XIII: there is no other ark of salvation than the Catholic Church;
- Collegiality is opposed to the doctrine of the First Vatican Council: Christ gave supreme authority over the pastors and the sheep to Peter alone and to his successors.
The truth the Church has always taught
Immersed from the start in the constant teaching of the Magisterium, which echoes the divine constitution of the Church, the seminarians acquired the convictions that would be the soul of their apostolic zeal: “What you follow is not ‘Archbishop Lefebvre’s truth’,” their founder told them, “but rather the truth of the Church, what she has always taught.”