Because of his Declaration dated November 21, 1974, Archbishop Lefebvre saw the suppression of his Society of St. Pius X on May 6, 1975. His canonical appeal of that decision was rejected.
To not collaborate in the destruction of the Church
He got over it and explained:
This sanction is only one episode in the immense struggle over two centuries between the Roman Church and liberal Catholics who want to wed the Church to a Christless society and who are winning one victory after the other. To submit would be for me to collaborate in the destruction of the Church. The law is for the purpose of life; these sanctions are lethal measures, spiritual abortion.
Media figure unintentionally
Cardinal Jean Villot, Secretary of State to Paul VI, soon forbade all bishops to enroll Archbishop Lefebvre’s seminarians in their diocese. On June 29, 1976, by ordaining 13 priests who were not incardinated, the archbishop incurred a suspensio a divinis. At first very upset, the archbishop reacted with this witticism: “This suspension forbids me to say the New Mass!” Finally these measures, which were supposed to put an end to Archbishop Lefebvre’s activity, made him world famous and gave his work an unexpected boost.
To ensure the unchanging spirit of the Catholic priesthood
From then on he performed his duty to the very end. In order to safeguard the Catholic priesthood and the true Sacrifice of the Mass, he proceeded on June 30, 1988, to consecrate four bishops in order to continue his work. He wrote to his successors:
Since the Chair of Peter and the positions of authority in Rome are occupied by antichrists, the destruction of the Reign of Our Lord is being pursued rapidly within the Mystical Body here on earth, especially by the corruption of Holy Mass, the splendid expression of the triumph of Our Lord on the Cross.... I adjure you to remain loyal to the See of Peter, to the Roman Church, the Mother and Mistress of all the Churches, in the integral Catholic Faith.
- 1. Letter to the future bishops, August, 29, 1987; reprinted in Tissier de Mallerais, op. cit., pp. 625-626.