From Bp. Tissier de Mallerais' bio of the Archbishop, pp. 570-572
The Psychology of “Ecclesia Dei”
The “Ecclesia Dei” Catholics are driven by various things. Fr. Bisig is the noblest with his faith in Rome; but his is an ill-formed faith that wishes to forget that Rome is occupied. He deals with a Rome that is happy to snatch a few followers from the “excommunicated” Archbishop and bring them back very gently to Vatican II. Archbishop Lefebvre commented: “It is obvious that by putting themselves in the hands of the present conciliar authorities, they implicitly accept the Council and the reforms that came from it, even if they receive privileges which remain exceptional and provisional. Their acceptance stops them saying anything. The bishops are watching them.” (Letter to Fr. Daniel Couture, March 18, 1989)
Occupied Rome is also happy to prove that the situation of necessity asserted by the Archbishop does not exist. You see, they say, we give you everything that we offered to Archbishop Lefebvre on May 5: the Mass, the seminaries, continuation of ordinations according to the 1962 rite, pontifical right. Everything...except for a bishop!
“Precisely,” as Archbishop Lefebvre emphasized, “what sort of bishop would it be if ever Rome granted one to ‘Ecclesia Dei’”?
“What bishop? A bishop who suits the Vatican. In this case they would have a bsihp who would lead them very gently back to the Council. It is obvious. They will never have a bishop who is fully traditional and opposed to the errors of the Council and the post-conciliar reforms. That is why they did not sign the same protocol as ours because they do not have a bishop.” (Interview “One Year after the Consecrations,” Fideliter, no. 70 (July-August 1989): 5. Equally the “ralliés” [those who have taken part in the Ecclesia Dei “Ralliement”: see Chapter 19, n. 15. Trans.] have no voice on the Ecclesia Dei commission.)
The last thing occupied Rome wants is a fully traditional bishop.
Other “Ecclesia Dei” Catholics consider that ecclesial unity is as important as the unity of faith. This is truth for times of peace but not for an epoch of heresy and schism from Tradition. Moreover, as Archbishop Lefebvre said, the unity of the Church is not merely horizontal in space but also vertical in time.
Dom Gérard, along with Jean Madiran, considered it”prejudicial to the very Tradition of the Church” to be “relegated outside of the offical visibile limits of the Church.” (Declaration of Dom Gérard, Présent, Aug. 18, 1988; Fideliter, no. 65: 18, 20) The Archbishop replied: “This business of the visibile Church according to Dom Gérard and Mr. Madiran is childish. It is unbelievable that they can speak of the Conciliar Church as the visible Church in opposition to the Catholic Church which we are trying to represent and continue. Mr. Madiran, who knows the situation very well, says that we are not in the visibile Church and that we are leaving the visible Church which has infallibility; these words do not express the reality of the situation.” (Fideliter, no. 70:6-8.)
“Ecclesia Dei” Catholics in general think they work more effectively “from inside the Church” than Archbishop Lefebvre who, they say, has placed himself “on the outside.” The Archbishop replied energetically to this objection:
What Church are we talking about? If it is the Conciliar Church it would supposedly have been necessary for us (who fought against her for twenty years and who want the Catholic Church) to re-enter the Conciliar Church to make it, as it were, Catholic. This is a complete illusion. Subjects do not make the superiors; it is the superiors who make the subjects. With all the Roman Curia and in the midst of all the bishops of the world who are progressives, my voice would have been completely drowned out. I would have been incapable of doing anything to protect the faithful and the seminarians. They would have said to us: “Well, we are going to give you this bishop to do the ordinations; your seminarians will have to accept these professors from such and such a diocese.” It is impossible! In the Society of St. Peter they have professors from the diocese of Augsburg. Who are these professors? What do they teach? (Fideliter, no. 70:6-8.)
Finally, other “Ecclesia Dei” Catholics are worried about the practical side of avoiding the harm inevitably caused to the development of the apostolate by the label of “excommunication,” (Cf. This topic is mentioned in the declaration of Dom Gérard quoted above.) especially in the middle classes, or “the smart set.” The priests who remained faithful to Archbishop Lefebvre’s fight —the immense majority—chose this risk rather than having to silence or diminish the truth. Above all they refused to see the traditional missal reduced to an “old-fashioned sensibility,” sidelined by conciliar pluralism, or ill-protected by a precarious indult.
Mr. Madiran, too, was of this opinion. Why did he not follow Archbishop Lefebvre? He is not a follower, and he has only ever understood the Society and the Archbishop as “priests for the catacombs and our Noah’s arks.” (Letter to Archbishop Lefebvre, Nov. 10, 1987) Organizing stable institutions based on supplied jurisdiction seems to him strange or optional. The consecrations of June 30 were for him a question to be freely discussed, and his friendship for Romain Marie (Criticized for the ill-defined doctrine of his “H. et A. Charlier Center” in a conference of the Archbishop to seminarians in Flavigny on June 11, he distanced himself from the Archbishop on June 23, 1988, National Hebdo) and Dom Gérard made him at first refrain from taking sides. The Archbishop was concerned, and on August 19, 1988, he asked the journalist to choose: “During our twenty year fight your opinion and judgment have been of immense importance in sustaining and guiding the troops; this time once again, make the right choice.” But it was too late. Jean Madiran did not understand that once the consecrations were done, the nature of the question changed; while the consecrations were once a matter for free discussion, on June 30 they became the result of a leader’s prudent decision, requiring genuine agreement and confident, loyal support. As a victim of his scientific mind (in the sense of science as the intellectual virtue of proving an argument), Madiran wanted to prove a point where it was necessary to give loyal support. (Joseph, op. cit. J. Madiran tried to justify his position in Itinéraires, no. 325-326: “My loyalty [to the Archbishop] was general, thought-out, fervent, long-standing, well-known, open and accompanied by deep and filial gratitude...until June 11, 1988.”) Unable to prove anthing, he doubted, and in his doubt he distanced and separated himself from the Archbishop.