Correspondence between Fr. Lamerand (SSPX) and the Cardinal Archbishop of Lyons

Source: FSSPX News


Reply of the archbishopric to Fr. Lamerand’s letter to Cardinal Barbarin




Director of the Archbishopric’s Office


                                                            October 25 2005

                                                            Fr. Sylvain Lamerand,

                                                               56, rue d’Inkerman,

                                                                         69006 Lyons


Dear Fr. Lamerand,


Cardinal Barbarin has received your letter of September 8 concerning the 19th international meeting organized by the Sant’Egidio Community on the theme ‘The courage of a humanism of peace’.

 As you know, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI sent his apostolic benediction to the participants of this meeting in a message from His Eminence the Cardinal Secretary of State. On the Sunday morning, Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, archbishop of Lyons, celebrated Mass in the Basilica of Notre Dame de Fourvière, in the presence of his Holiness Karekin II, Patriarch of all the Armenians, and of many cardinals, metropolitans and leaders of Christian Churches from all over Europe. During these conferences, Cardinals Kasper, Etchergaray, Moussa Daoud and Poupard were welcomed, as well as the Primate of the Church of England and Metropolitan Philarète of Minsk, in Byelorussia.

 The opening ceremony took place in the Part-Dieu Auditorium in the presence of the Minister of the Interior in charge of religious affairs, the President of Mozambique, the ex-president Soarès of Portugal, the Prefect of the Region and leaders of local authorities who gave their financial support to these meetings; the President of the Regional Council of Rhone-Alpes, the President of the General Council of Rhone, the Mayor of Lyons. Their speeches at this ceremony, as at receptions at the city council and at the town hall of the department, have allowed the place which religions hold in the French public sphere, to be appreciated.

More than a thousand members of the community came to Lyons and more than three thousand people took part in 24 round tables discussions organized over this period, at the International Cultural Centre of Lyons, with a large media presence. On the Monday evening, in more than twenty places in the diocese, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, agnostics gathered together …to share and live moments of peace together. On the Tuesday, the Christians met in the Basilica of Fourvière: this was the occasion for representatives of the Christian Churches of Lyons to unveil a plaque recalling their painful history and their commitment to progressing on the road to unity. At the conclusion of this prayer, representatives of the Jewish, Christian and Muslim religions, who had converged together to meet other religions of the world, met in the square near the Roman Amphitheatre, where the final assembly was held. The final declaration for peace, a copy of which I enclose, was proclaimed and handed by the religious representatives to children who, in turn, took it to the political leaders who were present.

 Thus this meeting proved that secularity, as it is lived in our country, is a principle of harmony and a guarantee of peace, completely in line with the letter written by John Paul II on February 11 to all the bishops of France. He gave an emphatic reminder that men of religion must be spiritual men, bringers of peace, not war, agents of reconciliation, not division.

 The Cardinal well understands your arguments against such a gathering: without doubt, they constitute the reason for your separation from the Catholic Church. Irenaeus was the pastor who, firm in his convictions, remains forever for us a man of peace. It is in his footsteps that our pastor seeks to follow today.

 Thanking you for your sincerity, I assure you Father, of my entire devotion.


Georges Decourt.


After receiving this reply, Fr. Lamerand sent the following letter to all the priests in the archdiocese of Lyons



Letter addressed by Fr. Sylvain Lamerand to all the priests of the archdiocese of Lyons


                                                                                                Lyons, December 5, 2005


Dear Father,


On December 8, on the occasion of the 19th International Day of Peace organized by the Sant’Egidio Community and the diocese, I wrote in the name of the Society of St. Pius X to our archbishop, Mgr. Barbarin. The importance of this meeting “for a humanism of peace” was manifest. It concerned a first in France, in the capital of Gaul, and the event was well relayed to the people by the media.

 It is in this context that we wished to express to the Cardinal the serious reservations which we voiced in the face of these events: as much the spirit which motivates them, as the acts which they occasion, obliges us to condemn this relativization of Christian truth and this serious attack on the witness which the Church must bring to the world which is seeking the Light and Peace.

 The response of the archbishopric has deeply disappointed us. To the fundamental question which we asked, it gave no reply, merely quoting us figures which were supposed to prove the general approval of opinion, and stating that our arguments “without doubt constitute reasons which explain our separation from the Catholic Church.” These questions, we know, are not only ours, but those which other priests, religious and faithful are also asking themselves! How are they proof of our “separation” when Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, in charge of the dossier with our relations with Rome, declared recently on Italian television: “it cannot be said in correct, exact, and precise terms that there was a schism (…). They are within the Church . There is only the fact that a full, more perfect communion is lacking – as was stated during a meeting with Bishop Fellay – a fuller communion, because communion does exist.” (Channel 5, 11/13/2005)

 Who would deny that many people of the diocese have been scandalized, for example, by the participation of Simone Veil at these “humanist” discourses? When one considers the terrible consequences of the culture of death propagated throughout Europe, one is struck by such a contradiction. Would it be “morally incorrect” to react against this and to manifest a just indignation?

 Who would deny that these meetings have demonstrated the victory of Masonic thinking over that of the Church? The press – among whom La Croix has particularly distinguished itself – has commented extensively on the unanimous satisfaction of the Freemasons. During these conferences, the speech by Jean-Jack Queyranne illustrated very well, this Masonic hijacking of the Church for a “healthy secularity”…

 How could one not be disturbed on reading in the October diocesan bulletin, a quotation from this same speech? The sentence which preceded the one quoted by the cardinal said that “there is no absolute truth, no intangible dogma.” This maxim may be “politically correct” but it is not Catholic, and cannot bring to men the peace they need…

 We feel that the gravity of these facts and the principles which are called into question, imposes on us the duty to react, and that far from creating confusion, this letter is doing no more than stating the facts.

 We refuse to believe that in the Church, a “religiously correct” unique thinking may be imposed, when it places the Christian conscience before grave dogmatic and moral problems. Is it normal that these doctrinal questions raised by the Society of St. Pius X can be ignored or avoided when one speaks, moreover, of dialogue and respect for others?

 Fr. Luc-Thomas Somme, dean of the faculty of theology at Toulouse, wrote recently: “When Christians put forward an objection of a doctrinal nature, discussion should not be evaded, one must place oneself at that level; the love for, and the seeking of the truth. The response can not be simply disciplinary, whether it be to resolve the dispute or to claim to file it away and forget it.” (La Nef, October 2005 – quoted in DICI 122).

 It is in this spirit that we have sent this letter. Profoundly divergent ideas exist in the Church today, and we are suffering from this crisis: we think that a calm discussion, objective and without fear of the truth, will help to find once again, unity in charity which is ultimately, a gift from God.

 May I assure you that this intention of prayer is ours in a spirit of fraternal priesthood. May Our Blessed Lady, Mother of the Church, help every one of us in our ministry, to realize this desire of the Heart of Christ Our Savior.


                                                                                    Sylvain Lamerand +



Here are some extracts from the speech by Jean-Jack Queyranne, to which Fr. Lamerand refers in his letter to the priests of the Archdiocese of Lyons.


Speech given by Jean-Jack Queyranne, president of the Rhone-Alpes region (extracts)


                                                                                           September 11 2005


The 19th International Meeting for Peace, whose theme (is) “the courage of a humanism of peace” is particularly significant this year. The century which has just come to a close has been one of the most paradoxical in history. The progress of science and technology, such as that of medical genius, has showered us with its benefits, beyond the wildest dreams of our ancestors. But this progress certainly raises questions. Doubt has crept into our minds and hearts: can we steer the future of our world towards more justice and happiness? (…)

 On this September 11 2005 – while destiny continues to persecute the poorest, in the he crumbling apartment blocks of our cities, on the arid soil of Africa and on the South Coast of the United States - “the courage of a humanism of peace” resounds once more like a cry from the heart – from a heart which will not give up – an appeal to all humanity, to build together another world.

 What are the routes which are open to our resolution?

 There is no absolute truth, no intangible dogma, no solution which naturally seems obvious. There is no other alternative than a humble and pluralist search, than a quest founded on tolerance and respect for others.

 I believe deeply that one of the best assets for those who want to undertake this journey, is the work of the philosophers and writers who over the centuries have contributed to founding and enriching the Humanism of the strength of their thinking (…)

 I would like to evoke for you, some of these great luminaries (…), they are the most authentic contribution of our region of the “spirit of Assisi” which the Community of Sant’Egidio has chosen to embody.

 Sebastien Castellion, the Protestant profoundly shocked by the execution of Michel Servet at Geneva on the orders of John Calvin (…).

 Voltaire (and) his most famous texts in favor of tolerance – like the extraordinary Dictionnaire Philosophique – and for the rehabilitation of the victims of the fanaticism from Jean Calas down to the Chevalier de la Barre (…).

 Jean-Jacques Rousseau, great forerunner, visionary genius, inventor of rich utopias, proposed nothing less than a “Social Contract” in order to put an end to inequality and oppression…

 Why not dream today of a “world social contract”, of which humankind has so much need, in order to revive the flame of hope, to allow every one to attain dignity, justice freedom and peace?

 What a lesson bequeathed to humanity, is that of these two philosophers who, in our region only a few kilometers away, enlightened universal thinking (…).

 Antoine de Saint-Exupéry…Everyone knows the admirable definition which he gives of humanity in Terre de Hommes: “To be a man, is precisely, to be responsible. It is to know the shame in the face of a poverty which does not seem to depend on yourself (…). It is to feel that by placing your stone, you are making a contribution to the building of the world.” (…)

 I wish that the teachings of the great minds which I have evoked will help us to live together better.

 Each one of them, of course, has his own merit through his own personal works, but what touches us most is this unbroken dialogue down through the centuries, the courage of the passage of witness from one generation to the next, beyond the differences.

 This may be expressed in quite a lot of ways. Some of you believe in the Communion of Saints. Others enjoy the beautiful legend of the lamed-vav (“thirty-six” in Hebrew), the number of the Just thanks to whom the world lives on. Others put their hope in the Oumma, the brotherhood of believers. Others, finally, agnostics, free thinkers, atheists hope quite simply in the fraternity of mankind. (…)