Lefebvre Group Attacks Pope's Ecumenical Vision

Society of St. Pius X Sends a Letter

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ROME, FEB. 2, 2004 (Zenit.org).- The Society of St. Pius X founded by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre claims the Church is in "crisis" because of the ecumenical dialogue promoted after the Second Vatican Council.



The priestly fraternity made that point in a letter dated Jan. 6 and sent to several cardinals. Signed by Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior general of the fraternity, and by four other bishops of the group, the letter was presented today during a press conference in Rome.

The letter presents a 47-page document entitled "From Ecumenism to Silent Apostasy: 25 Years of Pontificate" ("De l’oecuménisme à l’apostasie silencieuse, 25 ans de pontificat").

Even though John Paul II is keeping daily public engagements, the letter's signatories explain that "because of the aggravated state of health of the Holy Father, we have not written to him directly."

The document interprets the position of John Paul II and other Church figures on ecumenism as a sign of the loss of the Catholic Church's own identity by putting it on the same level with Christian denominations of other confessions.

No mention is made of the 2000 declaration "Dominus Iesus" on "The Uniqueness and Salvific Universality of Jesus Christ and the Church," or of John Paul II's repeated rejection of this faulty view of ecumenism.

In a letter sent to Bishop Fellay on April 5, 2002, by Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos, prefect of the Congregation for Clergy and president of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei," following contacts to overcome the fraternity's rupture with Rome, the cardinal referred to the "frontal attack" implied in the accusation addressed to the Pope of "having abandoned Tradition."

"It constitutes, in fact, a dangerous presumption to also judge the Supreme Authority" and, quoting Vatican Council I, the cardinal added that in these types of questions "we believe that no one can arrogate to himself the right to judge the Holy See."

In his 1988 apostolic letter "Ecclesia Dei," John Paul II stressed the "unlawful" ordination of bishops within the fraternity on the part of Archbishop Lefebvre, which constituted "a schismatic act." The archbishop died in 1991.