This is kind of confusing... We hope to comment more later this week on the conference of the Superior-General of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X, Bp. Bernard Fellay, in Denver last Sunday, but it is very hard to depend on reports of what may have been said. If there is an audio file available somewhere, please link to it in the comments below.
There are a few important points in the report so far available here, upon which we intend to comment later. But there are a couple of curiosities which must be highlighted:
This is curious. If there were no "secret" meetings, then why this mention of the September meeting, which had been unknown to all Catholic watchers (my guess is that this is a reference to the November 15 meeting)? And further, if there were no secret meetings, why did the Superior-General himself say in his Candlemas sermon in Flavigny that he had indeed met Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos in his apartment in November 15, 2005 (perhaps the reporter of the Denver conference heard "September" instead of November)? We count at least two previously "secret" meetings, "ridiculous rumors", unknown or dismissed as "mere rumors" confirmed by the Superior-General himself, at Candlemas (November meeting) and Denver (a previous September meeting, if the report is accurate) -- or, if the Denver report is inaccurate, at least one two-day-long meeting in November.
Thus, the 15th of September was the last time that there was communication between H.L. [Fellay] and Cardinal [Castrillón] Hoyos, or anyone officially associated with[The conference reporter inserts this comment:] This crushed numerous rumors of “secret phone calls” and “meetings” that have allegedly been happening between September 2005 and now, February 2006.
for that matter. It was a 2-day meeting, lasting 5 hours in toto. Rome
H.L. [Fellay] did mention that before the meeting of Cardinals the week prior Cardinal [Castrillón] Hoyos had called Menzingen (the SSPX world headquarters) to ask for “prayers” for the meeting.
Then, though the reporter dismisses as absurd the "secret phone calls", what was the character of the phone call made by Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos to the Superior-General? Wasn't it a call of an "extremely discrete" nature, as reported last Friday? It is true that in his article Tommaso Debenedetti mentioned rumors of possible calls between the Pope and Fellay, but (1) he made it clear that they were weak rumors; (2) he made it clear that what mattered was the spirit of great closeness of those in the Holy See who are responsible for these talks and the Fraternity (the Pope himself and his personal representative for all Traditionalist issues, Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos), closeness reflected in this personal rapport between the Cardinal and the Superior-General. Or does anyone doubt that any direct calls of Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos' to the Superior-General are made with the Pope's full knowledge and approval?
The rumors may have not been entirely confirmed, but anyone who usually follows this news must be amazed at how many rumors have been confirmed so far (this degree of "rumor-confirmation" is unparalleled for any kind of Catholic news). The August meeting, the November meeting, the talks of an Apostolic Administration, the talks of phone calls between the Vatican and the FSSPX, some kind of petition for the lifting of the censures (or excommunications, whatever one wishes to call the action -- see here), the Papal-Curial meeting of February 13 (of which there had been rumors at least since early January)-- each and every one of these were first "rumors", absurd rumors even, before being confirmed. Is there a pattern here? We report, you decide...
There are clearer and clearer indications that there will be no "reconciliation" in the near future (the last letter of the District Superior of France for the FSSPX is a surer sign of this than all conferences of the Superior-General put together), if anyone cares for this blogger's opinion. But if one wishes to dismiss all "rumors" as implausible, then one denies the very fact that so many of these rumors have ultimately been proven to be true.
*Thank you, Stephen Heiner, for this timely report.