Today, as well as being the day when the Theotokos by her fiat became Co-Redemptrix, is the obitus of Marcel Lefebvre. I was once quite critical of this French Archbishop.
As the years have passed, it has become increasingly clear to me what a very great man he was ... I should say is.
Why? Not because he got every detail right. I am not convinced that he was right to make the 1962 rite normative in his foundations. And I note that he changed the Rite he used whenever the Vatican changed. He adopted the ritual changes made in the mid-1960s. There is evidence that he concelebrated versus populum.
Nor did he refuse to subscribe to the Decrees of Vatican II. He signed them all. Without exception.
The fine biography of him by Bishop Tissier evidentially establishes all these points.
So how should we estimate his greatness?
He was a man of the Church. And this meant that he was not quick to realise it when other churchmen told him lies. Honest himself, he was slow to recognise the warm, if synthetic, sincerity on the face of a crook who is just about to tell you a pack of lies.
Gradually, however, he did come to understand the mendacity which characterised the post-Conciliar years. And, discovering this, he reacted accordingly. Realising the fact that he was surrounded by liars had the effect, I believe, of putting him in a place of glorious liberty in which he was free to live in his life the Biblical duty of PARRHESIA.
Parrhesia is his message and his sacred bequest.
We, too, have lived through a time of lies and of liars. A liturgical and then a doctrinal example: we have been constantly told that the post-Conciliar liturgical revolution as it emerged was mandated by the Council. It wasn't. In important respects, it contradicted the Council.
People have asserted that we ought to consider ourselves obliged to refrain from preaching Christ to Jews, because Nostra Aetate condemned Supersessionism and declared them still to have their own separate and saving dispensation. This is not true. The Council did nothing remotely of this sort.
And we are still living in a time of lies: lies galore; lies proliferating; lies shameless; lies Roman. A document from the Prefect of the Worship dicastery assured us that the Authentic Form of the Roman Rite was "abrogated by S Paul VI". In fact, it has never been abrogated. But the convenient but blatant lie is now made the basis of a world-wide campaign of persecution.
Lefebvre learned by his own lived experience about the generous mendacity of the ecclesial culture that surrounded him; and he reacted courageously.
This is God's message to us, also. It is our duty ... quite a simple obligation ... to declare THAT IS A LIE, when pompous and elevated bullies summon us to submit to their untruths.