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Was Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre a Freemason? - I
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What Is the Order of Our Lady of Sion?
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In reply to several questions from readers asking about the allegations against Archbishop Lefebvre, we at TIA have decided to open a public debate on the topic. We aim to collect all material relevant to the discussion. Although most material is taken directly from our website (like this article, copied here for our readers' convenience), we have also adapted material from other sources. We hope the ensemble of information presented will stimulate further investigation into an obviously important question.


Order of Our Lady of Sion

Dear TIA,

This group, catholicanswer.org, claims to have been "revitalized" under Archbishops Lefebvre and Thuc, backed by Ecclesia Dei, in service to the SSPX.

Their goals, however, clearly do not align with anything the SSPX publicly claims to stand for. I have requested all three groups to clarify this publicly, yet all seem reluctant.

Perhaps you can get a public response? Something with actual depth and clarity.

     Thank you.



TIA responds:

Dear M.F.,

According to a statement on its website, Catholicanswer presents itself as a part of a military order called either Our Lady of Sion or the Sovereign Religious Order of Jerusalem.

This double-named order pretends to be at the same time modernist, traditional and ecumenical (click here). On another page it endorses some landmark theses of progressivist ecclesiology such as the Church as universal sacrament of salvation, signs of the times that should orient a prophetic criticism within the Church, and the notion of a Church that must always be reformed (verify here).

On a page that deals with the sacramental character of the Bishops, the organization avoids defining itself as part of the Roman Catholic Church. It pretends to be equidistant from the West and the East and refers to itself as the One, Holy, Catholic, Orthodox and Apostolic Church, encompassing both Catholics and Eastern Schismatics.

Its homepage also pays tribute to Dorothy Day and her Catholic Worker movement, which is known for being Communist. These are its words: "Dedicated with Love to Dorothy Day and her splendid work with The Catholic Worker." (see it here)

Priory of Sion

There is no explanation why this organization - which calls itself "Chevaliers de Notre Dame de Sion, Sovereign Military Religious Order of Jerusalem" - pays a special tribute to Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre (they claim he was Grand Master at one point - see here). An Internet search shows him linked to the Knights of Our Lady of Sion, the Priory of Sion or Prieure de Sion.

In their book Holy Blood, Holy Grail (New York: Dell Publishing, 1983), authors Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln raise various hypotheses about the order, based on a large amount of documents that allegedly were found in the mid-1950s and given to the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris - a very reputable French scholarly institution. The authors viewed the documents there.

According to these documents and the authors' speculations, this order would have been founded by Gottfried of Bouillon in 1090 before the conquest of Jerusalem (see pp. 111-121). Later, it was said to have become somehow associated with the Rosicrucian order and would have endured in History as a secret society. Today it would be still alive conserving some Gnostic and occult characteristics.

John XXIII would have been a Grand Master of the Order before he was elected Pope (pp. 159-160). Fr. François Ducaud-Bourget would have been the Grand Master of France 1963-1981. Archbishop Lefebvre would have been one of its members (pp. 211-214, 224).

The theses of those authors appear to be no more than speculations. They also sustain incorrect theories, such as that Christ would have offspring. So, we may well be facing another Da Vinci Code, where the historical reality was deeply adulterated.

On the Internet one finds another author - anonymous as far as we could verify - who defends that Archbishop Lefebvre would have been the Grand Master of the Priory of Sion, instead of Fr. Ducaud-Bourget (check here).

The whole history of the Priory of Sion is open to discussion. Wikipedia, in its present day version, sustains that the documents in the Bibliotheque Nationale are false. Many people do not accept this version of its history, as you may follow here.

We do not have a formed opinion. We understand that Pierre Plantard, the man who actually found an organization called the Priory of Sion in 1956, could have falsified documents to give more prestige to his group. This is the main allegation against those documents. However, it is hard to believe that Plantard would have the ability to falsify these 900-year-old documents so perfectly that he could fool the highly competent professionals at the Bibliotheque Nationale. It is also difficult to believe that this scholarly institution would offer false documents to the public as authentic if they were even questionable. It is easier to believe that someone with his own agenda added these allegations to the Wikipedia page.

If the documents were true and if the alleged Order of the Knights of Sion (catholicanswer) would acknowledge their affiliation with the organization referred to in those documents, then we would have a clue as to why Archbishop Lefebvre is linked with such a progressivist association.

We are sorry for not being able to provide you a more definite answer, but this is as much as we could glean from this confused picture.

Nonetheless, we hope it will be of some help.


     TIA correspondence desk

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