Arch. Léfèbvre Was Not a Mason
TIA has received several replies to the invitation we directed to the followers of Msgr. Léfèbvre politely requesting that they disprove what we presented as proofs or circumstantial evidence speaking in favor of him being a Freemason. (
To make it easier for the reader to follow the controversy, we summarized what was presented as proofs and what was offered as circumstantial evidence.
An eye-witness, Mr. Christopher Sparks Shannon, signed a document on January 29, 1997, declaring that as a seminarian of the SSPX he participated in at least one procession between the twin-towns of Sion-Écône, Switzerland, where the procession was preceded by a Masonic band. (
He added that he asked some unidentified participants of that procession why a Catholic procession was headed by a Masonic band, and received as a response: “Léfèbvre is a Mason, It’s OK.” (
He wrote that on another occasion “people told me” that Sion was “a major European center of Freemasonry.” (
A website called catholicanswer.com presents itself as an organ of the Chivalric Order of Our Lady of Sion. It also presents itself as linked to the SSPX and alleges that Msgr. Léfèbvre is the Grand Master of this Order. This website has been active on the Internet for at least 10 years. During this time, to our knowledge the official SSPX has done nothing to prevent this website from continuing to display this information about Msgr. Léfèbvre. There is, therefore, a decade-long tacit consent of the superiors of the SSPX with the mentioned content of catholicanswer.com. (
This omission of the SSPX is all the more difficult to understand as its officials are normally very rigorous with anyone who uses the name of Msgr. Léfèbvre without the approval of the SSPX Superior. The case of a French priest who was obliged to withdraw sermons of Msgr. Léfèbvre he had posted was presented as evidence of this habitual procedure. Thus, the omission speaks in favor of the veracity of the affirmations of catholicanswer.com regarding Msgr. Léfèbvre as the Grand Master of that Order. (
Holy Blood, Holy Grail,
which has been available for decades for anyone to purchase, presents Msgr. Léfèbvre as linked to the French Priory of Sion and the Masonic group
Héron du Val d’Or.
The Internet study
Priory of Sion: The Facts, the Theory, the Mystery
also presents Msgr. Léfèbvre as linked to this organization and possibly being its Grand Master. (
French author Jean Delaunde affirms in the article “The Circle of Ulysses,” in the collection
Les Mystères de Rennes-le-Château
, that Msgr. Léfèbvre was a very powerful member of the Priory of Sion and quotes some words attributed to him. (
In parallel TIA presented other circumstantial evidence when it mentioned that the SSPX could be lying about this matter of Freemasonry since it had previously spread other lies about the past of Msgr. Léfèbvre, to wit:
That he had not accepted Council Vatican II. TIA
of two letters to John Paul II and Cardinal Franjo Seper, published in
magazine, in which he affirms he accepts the Vatican II documents interpreted in the light of tradition. (
That he had not signed the documents of Vatican II. The Vatican has made public the actual signatures of Msgr. Léfèbvre in each of the documents of the Council. We reproduced a photo of a group of these signatures. (
That he had never said the New Mass. TIA posted an article by Fr. Gérard de Lauriers, at that time professor of theology at the Seminary of Écône, who affirmed he witnessed, along with many other persons, that Msgr. Léfèbvre
for several months. (
This is the ensemble of proofs and circumstantial evidences that we invited the followers of Msgr. Léfèbvre to refute.
Method adopted in this posting
We will adopt in this posting the following method:
Since the opponents of TIA are looking for any excuse to invalidate this discussion, they may allege that the e-mails we received are invented or were misinterpreted. So, in this posting, we will quote the objections by readers, reproducing on a parallel page the entire e-mail of each of our objectors with his name and address for easy verification of its authenticity. Doing this, we open an exception to our normal rule of only publishing the initials of our opponents.
In the original e-mails, we will indicate in red the parts that we used as a refutation of the proofs and circumstantial evidences presented.
If necessary, we will refer to the number and letters above in our answers for the sake of precision.
Each objection will be immediately followed by TIA's answer to allow the reader an easy reading.
The objections will be presented divided by the opponents who made them.
Objections & Answers
First opponent: Mr. Martin Blackshaw
“You present a series of wild assertions, some of them regurgitated lies long corrected such as the Archbishop's signing of the 16 documents of the Council, insisting that the burden of proof of innocence lies with the Archbishop, his successors and others who hold his memory in the highest esteem.“ (First e-mail
We said that Msgr. Léfèbvre signed the 16 documents and reproduced a photo provided by the Vatican
showing his signature
on one set of documents (proof 9A). Therefore, there is photographic evidence that he did sign those documents provided by a very credible source. We could have added other proofs affirming the same, such as the text of a book by Bishop Tissiers de Malerais where he affirms that Msgr. Léfèbvre signed the documents; we will gladly do this if Mr. Blackshaw persists in his denial.
If Mr. Blackshaw wants to sustain that Msgr. Léfèbvre did not sign them, he should come forth with some proof that destroys the one presented. To simply call this a lie is to reveal that he does not understand the value of evidence and, perhaps, that he refuses to understand it because it goes against his sentiments. This last behavior is what scholars point to as characteristic of a member of a sect who follows orders and repeats slogans without understanding them.
“Your star witness against the Archbishop, let's say the basis upon which you build your case, is a former seminarian of the SSPX from the 1970s whose 22-year-old account appears on a linked sedevacantist website. The same site openly rejects every Pope since John XXIII, claiming that Cardinal Siri was elected Gregory XVII upon the death of Pius XII but then forced by Freemasons to relinquish the Papacy in favor of one of their brotherhood. Even more suspicious is the fact that this website does not have the standard ‘About Us’ tab revealing names of owners and/or moderators. Indeed all the websites you link to in support of your case against the Archbishop similarly operate in the dark, not revealing their author/moderators. Are you catching my drift?”
Mr. Blackshaw seems to believe that when he points to real or imaginary flaws in the website that published the report of Mr. Christopher Sparks Shannon, he invalidates that report. This is not true. The vehicle used to post the report was just a frame. The proof (1A) has a value
. If Mr. Blackshaw can prove that there was no such eyewitness or that the content of the report is not true, then he destroys the proof. If he cannot do this, then the observations he made do not apply to this case; they would be valid only in the case that the mentioned website would claim to have written the report. This is not the case in point.
“It did not occur to you that malice is more likely at the root of this former seminarian's account?”
This is not an argument. It is Mr. Blackshaw’s opinion. He is entitled to have it, and we respect it. But this does not invalidate a written and signed document.
“Are there other supporting eye witness testimonies from the time, given that hundreds would have been present? Have you made any effort to check the dates and "facts" (?) this lone accuser provides in his account of events?”
Mr. Blackshaw seems to be applying here the aphorism
testis unus, testis nullus
(only one witness is not enough to ascertain a story). If no one else were to affirm that Msgr. Léfèbvre was a Mason, Mr. Blackshaw certainly could benefit from the aphorism, since it would be the word of the accuser against the word of the accused or his defenders. However, as seen above, there is other proof and many circumstantial evidences that point in the same direction.
When this amount of evidence exists, it falls to the accused, or his representatives, to defend himself. Not the other way around, as he supposes.
On three different occasions, Msgr. Léfèbvre is quoted as attacking Freemasonry. This does not seem to be the speech of a Masonic Grand Master.
Different segments of the Traditionalist movement all quote Msgr. Léfèbvre as defending their different theses:
Msgr. Fellay quotes words of Léfèbvre defending an agreement with Rome and follows this orientation;
Msgr. Williamson quotes words of Léfèbvre defending a position of resistance to Rome and follows this orientation;
Sede-vacantist leaders, such as Fr. Cekada, quote words from Léfèbvre defending their position and follow this orientation.
So, the diversity of positions of Léfèbvre’s disciples and the very probable objective quotations they all take from his words show clearly that the Archbishop was not consistent in his teaching. Instead, it seems that he would say whatever this or that type of disciple desired to hear.
With this presupposition, any argument of probability based on his attacks against Freemasonry loses its force. In other words, he could have attacked Masonry for some audiences and then agreed with it with others, just as he attacked progressivist Rome for some audiences and then agreed with it for others.
These are the answers to the objections of Mr. Blackshaw.
After three days he sent us another e-mail, imagining that we were running from his “irrefutable logic.” He resorted to personal offenses as the reader may read
. It is sad to see that a man who pretends to belong to a “civilized nation” forgot some of the rules that pertain to a public debate.
Second opponent: Mr. Robert Kobylinski
The website catholicanswer.COM is not reliable because it redirects the reader catholicanswer.ORG which is not Catholic. It is an
are notorious for claiming fictional relationships with the Catholic Church. I highly doubt that catholicanswer.org is a credible website. (e-mail
It seems that Mr. Kobylinski did not grasp our argument regarding catholicanswer.com. The case in point here is why the SSPX has allowed this website – be it reliable or not – to state for more than 10 years that Msgr. Léfèbvre was the Grand Master of the Chivalric Order of Our Lady of Sion, which they pretend to represent.
This inexplicable silence can only mean that either the claim is objective or, even should it be unfounded, the SSPX for some reason was/is unable to remove from that site the allegation that Léfèbvre is its Grand Master.
Why would SSPX be unable to silence catholicanswer.com? Why have its superiors not at least publicly responded to those serious allegation? Do the editors of this site have some other evidence regarding Msgr. Léfèbvre belonging to that Order of Sion that would make it more prudent for the SSPX not to touch that wasp nest? These are legitimate questions we can ask.
So, in conclusion, we thank Mr. Kobylinski for his investigation regarding the reliability of catholicanswer.com/catholicanswer.org, but this research does not change the core of the problem we presented. His argument is parallel to ours. The core is: The inaction of the SSPX regarding the fact catholicanswer.com states that Léfèbvre was the Grand Master of the Chivalric Order of Sion is proof in favor of the objectivity of this affirmation.
Third opponent: Dr. Stephen Redle
“Why don’t you read his sermon against FreeMasons in December 23, 1986, and use some logic.” (e-mail
This first objection repeats the fifth argument of the first opponent. Dr. Redle may read our answer there.
“Instead you spread rumors by one ‘eyewitness who 1) may not have even been there, 2) May hate the SSPX (like so many others today) and 3) so he was the Only one who reported the Masonic band being there?? Don’t you think that would have been reported all over websites and the news and have more than just one eye witness??”
Item 3 of this paragraph repeats the fourth argument of the first opponent and was duly answered there.
Dr. Redle’s supposition that the witness might not have been at the event he describes (item 1) is unaccompanied by any evidence and, therefore, cannot be taken seriously. That report with all its credible details has the appearance of truth. Besides, the ensemble of proofs and circumstantial evidences coming from five other different sources concur with the same conclusion of the report: Msgr. Léfèbvre was a Mason.
So, to simply disregard the report under the pretext that it was invented really comes down to the simple fact that Dr. Redle did not like it and has no other valid argument to oppose it.
The accusations that the witness hated the SSPX and that we hate the SSPX does not enter the merit of the discussion. It is a parallel opinion that can be considered nothing more than a personal offense.
These are the more significant objections to the proofs and circumstantial evidences presented in the
at the beginning of this article.
None of them decisively refutes the arguments speaking in favor of the idea that Msgr. was a Mason.
We sincerely hope that more efficient defenders will end this discussion by definitively proving that he was not a Mason. We at TIA would be relieved if this would happen.
TIA correspondence desk
Posted July 25, 2019
Related Topics of Interest
Was Msgr. Lefèbvre a Freemason?
TIA Clarification of a Previous Post on Arch. Lefebvre
‘I Tried to Investigate Lefebvre & Was Banned’
Msgr. Lefebvre & the Priory of Sion
Lefebvre Said the New Mass under the Body of St. Pius V
Lefebvre: 'I Accept Vatican II in the Light of Tradition'
Arch. Lefebvre’s Proposal to Merge with Rome
Servitudo ex Caritate
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