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"Tear-off calendar of the summer 2004" - Abbé Philippe Laguérie 

This article was written sometime during the month of September 2004.

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“Justice couldn’t be strengthened
so force was justified.” (Pascal)

Within two months and even one (august), Father Laguérie became a pest to be driven out by all means even legal, happy elder priest he is. This burning summer makes (us) shudder!

In the letter of June 28th 2004, Bishop Fellay congratulates warmly Father Laguérie for his priestly jubilee : “how not to consider a great grace this fidelity to Our Lord Sovereign Priest during a quarter century. And what a century! (...). I make a point of being united with this act of our mother the Church (the Jubilee : NDLR) and of telling you again that I am glad to share your joy in this beautiful anniversary.”

In the letter of September 3rd (feast day of Saint Pius X), the same Bishop Fellay gives the same Father Laguérie notice by way of bailiff to quit “the city of Bordeaux” before Saturday September 4th at noon “otherwise, you won’t be considered a part of the Society anymore.” Gosh! What happened?

At the beginning of July, whereas he is in the Limousin Region for three days, Father Laguérie receives half a dozen messages of Father Alain Lorans : “our superiors, Father de Cacqueray in particular, start to understand and admit some very serious difficulties in the seminary of Ecône. During the meeting of school principals, all of the priests, fifteen of them (everyone of them) expressed this concern. It’s a good time, Father Lorans goes on, your position is known (sermon in Paris the 4th of July and Mascaret of July) : therefore, make us a note for the superiors and I will act on my side.”

Father Laguérie doesn’t believe in it too much, especially regarding the General House. Actually, May 15th 2003, he wrote a letter of 6 pages to Bishop Fellay about the situation of the seminary of Ecône, saying very respectfully the quantitative and qualitative deterioration of the training and the emergency to find a remedy for it. The answer of Bishop Fellay was very kind (May 30th 2003) but don’t grant anything ; the analysis of Father Laguérie “doesn’t correspond to reality.” “I think you go too far in your judgement.” Sometime during the year, Father Laguérie will have a long interview with Bishop Fellay on the same subject (and with the same results. Other fellow-priests will try the same steps without any better success. It means that Father Laguérie doesn’t really long to mind the matter at the beginning of July. But Father Lorans’ entreaty, the glimmers of hope coming from Suresnes (French Society district office in suburban Paris), brutal announcement of three new dismissals on June 30th (of which two are 5th-year seminarians!) and the setting aside of two other ones, phone calls and letters from numerous colleagues and seminarians (impossible to name them... !), the sadness of the ordinations of 2004 with 3 deacons of whom only one is French from the 15 entries in 1999 etc.

The 21st of July, 35 colleagues and our 4 bishops are mailed the “famous” statistical report on the seminaries. There is no doubt to anybody that Father Laguérie is not the author of it but he signs it by adding his Bristol board. This document entails its limits, some inaccuracies too : there is no question about it. If it didn’t mean anything, why causing so much alarm then? It proves, it demonstrates, it shouts towards the superiors that at that rate, there will be no - or much less - ordination in Ecône, as it’s already the case in Germany. Nevertheless, the shapes of this document admit and call for a few remarks.

It was said and even written (we don’t dare to say by whom) that Father Laguérie didn’t read this document before signing it! Who could make up such a ridiculous thing? It’s the first lie of the summer, but it won’t be the last one unfortunately.

Many fellow-priests of the district of France, some other and not the least ones supported Father Laguérie, whether they had the document in hand or not, on this situation of Ecône, even if the succession of events obliges them to the biggest discreetness : we understand them.

Good intentions of Father Laguérie were attested by all of them, from the beginning by Father de Cacqueray, by Bishop Fellay himself, by many fellow-priests. At the beginning of August, everybody agrees about this point ; Only the series of events will make some people invent doubtful prospects like the elections of 2006 or the problem of the Saint-Eloi Church. These “pious” ecclesiastical digressions affect only but the brains which charitably gave them.

As for the major accusation, the proceeding, that is to say the sending of a confidential document to thirty elder fellow-priests supposed to be addressed only to certain superiors, we come to this point. To those who don’t see any crisis in Ecône and therefore in the Society in general, it’s obviously unjustifiable. And we can make a point of understanding them. We don’t warn the elder priests (and not all the priests or even all the faithful : second lie of the summer, we will see it) for a peccadillo. But for those who see the common good of the Society involved in this polemic, the “famous” proceeding is possible, desirable, necessary. And here is the only true quarrel of the summer we could have resolved in 8 days as Archbishop Lefebvre or Father Aulagnier would have done it. We refer the readers of the Mascaret Journal to the Gospel of Saint Matthew 18.15-16 on fraternal correction. It’s not a question of sin here but it’s about a graduating in the resolve of a serious difficulty : a) take him alone : it’s already done. b) take with you some witnesses : it’s the “famous” document. c) tell that to the Church. This initiative doesn’t come from Father Laguérie but from Father de Cacqueray by his public talk about the transfer of Father Laguérie in the Saint-Eloi Church August 22nd 2004. Though on this point he didn’t say the truth, it was a punishment dismissal. Before his intervention, the affair is still private therefore retrievable.

For those who didn’t understand the stakes of the common good, Father Laguérie offered a public apology to Bishop Fellay on the proceeding of the document, willing to preserve the right authority of Bishop Fellay. A first time at Sierre August 13th 2004, orally. A second time at the end of his letter dated August 26th, a third time in the attempt of reconciliation, with the help of Father de Cacqueray September 3rd in the morning. None of these offers were taken into account by Bishop Fellay.

On the contrary, these offers of Father Laguérie were used as a pretext against him : “if Father Laguérie agrees to offer an apology, it means he recognizes that he is wrong.” Not answering simply the excuses of Father Laguérie, distorting them totally (transfer of the form to the substance) and concluding simultaneously from his arguments that he is wrong : this proceeding is simply dishonest. From the end of July, the head of Father Laguérie is programmed and nothing will be able to stop this ever-seen increase which, from a jubilee elder priest of July makes an outlaw of September.

For, it is necessary to say it and write it : the document on seminaries doesn’t create a scandal, it’s the punishment transfer of Father Laguérie. It’s the only one which sparked off this crisis at the beginning of August. This conscious and orchestrated displacement of the Ecône crisis to Bordeaux reveals the devil’s work. In July, the crisis is in Ecône and there is none in Bordeaux. In September, there is a grave one in Bordeaux and there is no crisis in Ecône anymore!

Here are the facts :

July 28th 2004 : fax of Father Sélégny to Father Laguérie : “Bishop Fellay entrusted me with transmitting you his wish to see you here in Menzingen next Friday July 30th.” Known by Father Laguérie on the evening, he has 24 hours to travel 680 miles.

He calls Father Sélégny in the morning of the 29th and lets him know about his impossibility : alone in the Priory for masses, confessions of Carmelite nuns the 30th. The secretary seems to understand and offers other dates. Father Laguérie doesn’t refuse to meet Bishop Fellay, as it will be spread out everywhere, third lie of the summer. He seeks a solution easier for his ministry, that’s all. We know that these summonses 1200 miles round-trip two days before the appointment are parts of the American management. Well, really! Putting off the date of an appointment is not refusing this interview. The following events will prove it.

For, the registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt and special carrier, received from Bishop Fellay August 2nd by Father Laguérie, is dated the 29th of July, the very same day of his call to Father Sélégny. Then, two things are well established, whatever was said everywhere : never Father Laguérie refused to meet Bishop Fellay. The letter of the punishment transfer was clearly written, sent and received before they saw each other, without any explanation or a possibility for an arrangement.

Father Laguérie is sent to Mexico within 13 days without any assignment or place of residence, fourth lie of the summer. Father Laguérie will find out only the13th in Sierre that he became prior in Mexico, motive obviously added on the way to disguise a penal sanction in an administrative transfer. In fact, extradition of Father Laguérie had been already decided before the fax of Father Sélégny in a general Council : it was only a question of notifying the person concerned, it’s obvious.

Moreover, suppose that Father Laguérie left everything July 29th to see Bishop Fellay, he would have heard exactly what the letter means since here are the first words of it: “Seeing that your concerns prevent you from going easily to Menzingen, I convey to you in writing what I wanted to communicate to you orally...” Therefore don’t seek any admonition, warnings, demand for explanation, information or other precautions for the decision of a so terrible punishment : there hasn’t been any, there couldn’t be any. It’s the big misfortune of this summer 2004.

At least, Father Laguérie mentioned the presence of Father de Jorna, rector of Ecône, in this general Council. Bishop Fellay acknowledged it in front of him in Sierre August 13th : “Who told you that!” states that he (Father de Jorna) didn’t take part in the decision. Alright... But he was there and Father Laguérie was not. They are not members of it, both of them but why does one attend the condemnation of the other one in a dispute which is about the seminary?

During all the month of August, some people will make the faithful and the priests believe that it’s only about a simple administrative transfer to which Father Laguérie must obey naturally, as he has always done it, fifth lie of the summer. The letter of Bishop Fellay (July 29 - August 2nd) is clear enough about this : “Such a deed (file NDLR) requires not only reprobation but the atonement and an exemplary sanction too.” People who thought about telling him to obey even if the punishment was unfair, Father Laguérie answers them that it’s to obey a transfer and not to an unfair punishment. Form here is punishment, transfer is the matter... I thank these counselors for willing to explain an elder disciple of Archbishop Lefebvre that it’s always necessary to obey and that the chief is always right! And not only Faith allows him to disobey but the common good too. Founding whatever priory without permission of the person in charge of the place isn’t a question of Faith... And everybody knows how our founder used it.

We know that Father Laguérie appealed towards two authorities against this decision (ref : judicial note of his colleague). One appeal towards Bishop Fellay himself, the other one towards a lawyer of the Roman Rota, in care of appointing the competent court. The first one was systematically refused by Bishop Fellay. The second one is in progress. But both of them are suspensive and banditry of the Sainte-Marie Priory, of the Our-Lady-Of-Good-Counsel and of Sainte-Colombe Chapels are some illegal and strictly inadmissible proceedings, orchestrated by the district superior of France.

Previously, considering the rumor which continues to go around and according to which Father Laguérie doesn’t want to meet Bishop Fellay, himself (Father Laguérie) sends a fax August 11th for His Excellency to ask him an appointment. Fax the 12th of Father Sélégny, calling Father Laguérie for August 13th of the summer 2004 (two days before the 15th, as we know it) in Sierre. 1200 miles round-trip : still the “famous” management. Father Laguérie leaves with the naive hope of an agreement. The interview will last 45 minutes. Father Laguérie is called a “monster” (the letter of August 2nd compared him already to Judas “Amice quid Fecisti?”). After a statement of the facts, Father Laguérie offers an apology (on the proceeding) : he is not answered anything. He demands the re-examination of the files of dismissed seminarians : it’s no. He asks to review the sanction which will cause fire in Bordeaux and in all France : that’s no. The only concession : not necessarily in Mexico, but outside... Europe! And 1200 miles for that!

The report of DICI about the appointment of Sierre deceives simply the readers. Here takes place a strange episode : the gathering of conciliation in Pointet (close to Lyon) with the elder priests, accepted in principle by Father Laguérie and Bishop Fellay. Father Laguérie gave some names that Bishop Fellay accepted : Father Cottard, Father Ramon Anglés, Father Faure... will this gathering take place? No, Father de Cacqueray demands that Father Laguérie withdraw all appeal process beforehand (therefore renounce all his rights). On this point also : DICI deceives its readers : never Father Laguérie has asked this Council of elder priests to replace the court he claims for. Nevertheless, for this reason, Bishop Fellay refuses this simply amicable conciliation. Father Laguérie would have to renounce all his rights beforehand. Such an action is called (in French) some blackmail.

From August 15th to August 22nd, there are epistolary exchanges (ref : file). Nothing is publicly known yet. But on August 22nd Father de Cacqueray decides to have things known publicly. The Saint-Eloi Church full to bursting, he reads the communiqué of Bishop Fellay. With great dignity, without confusion or co-ordination, one third of the audience withdraws to show its disapproval. At the end of the mass, Father Héry reads a communiqué of the Saint-Eloi Church Association which stipulates only that Father Laguérie appealed against this decision which is therefore suspended. Nothing revolutionary here ; honor to Father Héry who defends his fellow-priest persecuted for one month. Father de Cacqueray comes out of the church and after a second reading of the flyer, protests against a mutiny, without any reason. He settles a true order of terror in the Priory. The sisters (but to whom do they obey?) refuse to cook for the priests and to wash their clothes, except for Father de Cacqueray. In possession of a cellular phone, Sister Marie Lucie so discreet but even more efficient so far, undertakes a campaign of a universal disparaging of the three mutineers (it’s necessary to be excommunicated “vitandus” to undergo such reprisals... Never mind that, from the beginning of the summer, we don’t mince our words in Canon Law).

From August 23rd to August 29th, it will be punchy. The Duvergers, on the order of the French district, have all the locks of the Sainte-Colombe Church broken and have this church kept by some watchmen, seconded by a dog. Mr de Lapasse, without even asking the advice of the Administrative Council of the Saint Pius X Association of Guyenne and Gascogne,  does the same thing at Our-Lady-Of-Good-Counsel Chapel, where the watchman is there still by now with a mastiff in the trunk of his car that would be able if it escaped to kill the children of the middle school Pacelli.

From August 30th to September 4th, it will be terrible and terrifying. In the priory, Father Radier sent by Suresnes on the (same) place calls the police to drive out the young people who keep the propriety (Wednesday September 1st). The same day at noon, Father Pierre Duverger arrives (against all law because of the suspensive appeal) flanked by a bailiff  holding a paper with the heading of Mister Anne-Claude Roissard (her again and always : now she thinks she is a district attorney!)

The worst is not reached yet. All the day Father de Cacqueray calls Father Laguérie for the withdrawal of the young people. At about 5:00 PM, he notifies him of this order. Father Laguérie demands the word of the superior in order to avoid the forcing of the Priory locks the third time by Father Duverger or some other people. The word given, Father Laguérie, more naive than his fellow-priest, orders Father Héry to withdraw the young ones. Suspecting danger, Father Héry keeps them in. Half an hour goes on when a commando of five private watchmen arrives, still mandated by Mister Roissard and who pretend to change the lock of Father Radier’s bedroom (lie...). In fact, out of the five men, there are two locksmiths, both from the company TOP SECURITE. It was the final blow to expel us from the Priory. The due respect to priesthood forbids us any other comment.

And the first and last negotiations will start in this situation (total length : 16 hours including night, from 5:00 pm to 9:00 am). Thursday in the evening (September 2nd), Father de Cacqueray, tired and grieved - we understand him - entreats Father Laguérie to find one or several solutions and to submit them directly to Bishop Fellay. Father Laguérie works until midnight with his two fellow-priests (both Father Héry and Father Guelfucci) on two proposals. Was it to call Bishop Fellay at that time? Father Laguérie will be reproached it. This very night, Father Pierre Duverger will break into the Priory by a fence of the propriety and a window of the Priory. He will be politely driven out of the Priory in the afternoon by the superintendent of downtown-Bordeaux. Nevertheless at 8:30 am, Father Laguérie calls Father de Cacqueray, and conveys him the two proposals drafted during the night. Father de Cacqueray, without any hope, transmits it to Bishop Fellay. The reply phone call rings already the end of this negotiation barely started. Father de Cacqueray gives notice at 10:00 am of the fax expelling Father Laguérie from the Society.

The fax comes up (September 3rd Saint Pius X). If Father Laguérie is still in Bordeaux SIC even at some friends’, in a restaurant, in a square saying his breviary, at noon he won’t be “considered a part of the Society anymore.” By now, Father Laguérie hasn’t been expelled from the Society. Anyhow, this ultimate punishment wouldn’t be more valid than the other ones, because of the invalidity of the previous ones. Father Laguérie is and stays a member of the Society that he has been serving for 25 years. Even if this terrible summer lets everybody know that it’s an illegal and arbitrary area. It’s necessary to love the works of Archbishop Lefebvre as we love the Church in spite of the limits of its authorities.

Abbé Philippe Laguérie