On September 1, 2020, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò gave an interview to Catholic Family News, in which he clearly underlined the role in the fight for the faith of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, as well as that of the work he founded, the Society of Saint Pius X. A new affirmation which has the virtue of clarity.
Archbishop Viganò’s stance provides an opportunity to remember the bishops who have supported the good fight since the Second Vatican Council, opposing destructive novelties and teaching the Faith without compromise.
Working from 1963 to 1965, the members of the Cœtus Internationalis Patrum (CIP) are the first to be recognized. This group of conservative bishops came together to fight against the liberal doctrines that were permeating most of the Council’s documents. The president was Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. A recent book has been published that collects the documents written by these men of faith during the Council.
After the Council, Archbishop Lefebvre, through his writings, his lectures, and the founding of the priestly Fraternity, occupied a central place which he had not sought, but which he fully assumed.
Bishop Antonio de Castro Mayer (1904-1991), who was vice-president of the CIP, continued the fight in his diocese of Campos, Brazil. With Archbishop Lefebvre, he would publish an Episcopal Manifesto denouncing the main post-conciliar errors. He was present in Ecône as co-consecrator bishop during the episcopal consecrations of 1988.
It would be negligent to fail to mention Mgr. Salvador Lazo (1918-2000), bishop of the diocese of San Fernando de La Union, in the Philippines. Retired at the age of 75 in 1993, he began to celebrate the Tridentine Mass exclusively starting in 1995 and supported the work of the Society of Saint Pius X in the Philippines.
Scandalized by the interfaith meeting organized on May 8, 1998 by Cardinal Sin, Archbishop of Manila, inviting Buddhists, Muslims, Protestants, Taoists, as well as indigenous cults to pray in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, on May 24, 1998, Mgr. Lazo published a vigorous profession of faith addressed to Pope John Paul II. He died with these words: “I offer my sufferings for the conversion of bishops.”
For several years now, two other bishops have joined this phalanx: Mgr. Athanasius Schneider, auxiliary bishop of Karaganda, and Archbishop Viganò. In his September 1st interview, the latter acknowledged Archbishop Lefebvre’s struggle: “I consider Archbishop Lefebvre as an exemplary confessor of the Faith, and I think that it is now obvious that his denunciation of the Council and of the modernist apostasy is more relevant than ever.” He also strongly emphasized the work of the society that the steadfast bishop founded, the Society of Saint Pius X.
Obviously everyone should be delighted to see bishops thus gradually investing themselves in the fight for the faith, and hope that they will soon be more numerous.