Rorate Caeli

Fellay to visit the Pope at Castelgandolfo?

The month of August begins in a couple of days -- almost one year since the first and only meeting of Pope Benedict with the Superior-General of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX/SSPX), Bishop Bernard Fellay.

Paolo Luigi Rodari* suggests today, in an article on the summer "projects" of Pope Benedict, published in the Roman daily Il Tempo, that:

Castelgandolfo is also the place in which the Pontiff loves to receive, in a private fashion, many personalities whom he has not been able to meet during the year. [The possibility] that Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the Fraternity of Saint Pius X (the schismatic community of priests founded by Marcel Lefebvre), will arrive at the Roman hills is not excluded. In the month of August, Ratzinger could readmit the Fraternity to the bosom of the Church of Rome.

* Caveat : this is the same journalist who wrote, last Palm Sunday, that a document on the liberalization of the Traditional Mass would be signed or released during Holy Week.

The SSPX General Chapter Declaration

The news agency of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX/SSPX), DICI, has released a letter from the Superior General, to which a Declaration of the General Chapter on the relationship of the Fraternity with the Holy See is attached. For some unfathomable reason, the text has been released in French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Italian, and Dutch, but not in English...

The Declaration affirms that the position of the Fraternity is that expressed by its founder, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, in November 21, 1974: "We adhere with our whole heart, and with our whole soul to Catholic Rome, the Guardian of the Catholic Faith and of those traditions necessary for the maintenance of that Faith, to eternal Rome, Mistress of Wisdom and Truth. Because of this adherence, we refuse and have always refused to follow the Rome of Neo-Modernist and Neo-Protestant tendencies, such as were clearly manifested in the Second Vatican Council, and after the Council in all the resulting reforms."

The Declaration reaffirms the need for the two preconditions proposed long ago: the liberalisation of the Traditional Mass and the repeal of the decrees of excommunication of 1988. The Declaration also affirms that "the contacts which [the Fraternity] keeps at times with the Roman authorities have as their sole aim to aid them to regain the Tradition which the Church cannot deny without losing its own identity, and not the search for an advantage for [the Fraternity] itself, or to reach an impossible purely practical 'agreement'."

The Declaration also includes a reaffirmation of the one-two-three strategy, in which doctrinal differences could be resolved in future rounds of negotiations -- a strategy of which we have spoken before.


Update: Full English translation of the "Letter to the Faithful" and of the Declaration, as provided by DICI.

Dear faithful,

Allow me to begin this first letter of my new term by thanking you for your many prayers for our General Chapter. We indeed felt the spiritual support that you gave to us throughout the whole Chapter, in an atmosphere that was serene, but at the same time also intense.

I would like to explain to you some of the fruits of your prayers and of the Chapter.

First of all were the elections. The Chapter then decided to entrust to me once again, and this despite its length, a new term as Superior General. I come to request of you an increase of prayers in order that, with this precious help, I might better consecrate myself to the fulfillment of this task that is at the same time burdensome and magnificent.

The Chapter also elected two Assistants.

Father Niklaus Pfluger, who has two brothers and two nephews as priests with us, a third being a religious brother, without counting two religious sisters! He is Swiss, to whom was entrusted the responsibility of District Superior (in Switzerland and then in Germany) and Seminary Rector (Zaitzkofen). He has thus acquired a great deal of experience, both in the formation of priests, and also in the government of two districts.

Father Alain Nély, first of all teacher at the school of Saint Joseph des Carmes, then Prior in Marseilles, and finally District Superior in Italy, has also acquired a profound knowledge of youth and of priests, as well as the government of a district.

The two Assistants will both reside at Menzingen in Switzerland, where our General House has been since 1993. They will be invaluable collaborators for the Society’s good functioning, and will have the opportunity of traveling throughout the world, thus enabling the General Headquarters to keep in closer touch with the Society’s members, as well as with the faithful.

The Chapter is not just a question of elections. It is also the opportunity of assessing our situation, of analysing the weaknesses that ought to be improved, of establishing rules in order that our priests might always live their priesthood better according to our statutes, and thereby obtaining more effectively grace and Heaven’s gifts. We also, quite obviously, considered the state of our relationships with Rome. Out of a desire for the greatest clarity possible, and also with the intention of avoiding all false hope and every illusion, the Chapter unanimously decided to make the declaration that you will find as an annex.

Along the same lines, the Chapter asks me to communicate to you the following ambitious project: The Society has the intention of presenting a spiritual bouquet of a million Rosaries to the Sovereign Pontiff for the end of the month of October, month of the Rosary.

These Rosaries will be recited for the following intentions:

1. To obtain from Heaven for Pope Benedict XVI the strength required to completely free up the Mass of all time, called the Tridentine Mass.

2. For the return of the Social Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

3. For the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

We are calling you, therefore, to a true Crusade of the Rosary. This prayer has been so many times recommended by the Most Blessed Virgin Mary herself, and has been presented as the great means of support, of protection and of salvation for today’s Catholics in this time of crisis. For centuries, since the opposition between the world and the Church has become more and more clearly apparent, this prayer has appeared as the weapon given by Heaven for us to defend ourselves, to sanctify ourselves, and to vanquish.

We consequently request urgently that you begin without delay to bud forth the spiritual roses for our bouquet. Shortly, the priests will give you the directions required to put together this treasure.

By this obviously symbolic quantity, we desire also to make it clear to the authorities in Rome, as well as to Heaven, that we have the will and the determination “to pay the price”.

Confident that our good Mother in Heaven will hear the assiduous prayer of her children, and that she cannot but be touched by the harshness of the present time, as well as the spiritual misery that surrounds us, and that sooner or later she will hear our prayer and respond to our cry, we have entrusted all the Chapter’s decisions to the motherly kindness of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and to the protection of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in order that He might bless them, and make them more efficacious for the greater glory of God and for the salvation of us all.

Nos cum prole pia benedicat Virgo Maria.

+ Bernard Fellay


For the glory of God, for the salvation of souls and for the true service of the Church, on the occasion of its Third General Chapter, held at Ecône in Switzerland, from July 3 to 15, 2006, the Priestly Society of Saint Pius X declares its firm resolution to continue its action, with the help of God, along the doctrinal and practical lines laid down by its venerated founder, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.

Following in his footsteps in the fight for the Catholic Faith, the Society fully endorses his criticisms of the Second Vatican Council and its reforms, as he expressed them in his conferences and sermons, and in particular in his Declaration of November 21, 1974: “We adhere with all our heart and all our soul to Catholic Rome, guardian of the Catholic Faith and of the traditions necessary for the maintaining of that Faith, to eternal Rome, mistress of wisdom and of truth. On the contrary, we refuse, and we have always refused, to follow the Rome of neo-modernist and neo-protestant tendencies, which showed itself clearly in the Second Vatican Council and in the reforms that issued from it.”

Contacts held with Rome over the last few years have enabled the Society to see how right and necessary were the two pre-conditions that it laid down, since they would greatly benefit the Church by re-establishing, at least in part, her rights to her own Tradition. Not only would the treasure of graces available to the Society no longer be hidden under a bushel, but the Mystical Body would also be given the remedy it so needs to be healed.

If, upon these pre-conditions being fulfilled, the Society looks to a possible debate on doctrine, the purpose is still that of making the voice of traditional teaching sound more clearly within the Church. Likewise, the contacts made from time to time with the authorities in Rome have no other purpose than to help them embrace once again that Tradition which the Church cannot repudiate without losing her identity. The purpose is not just to benefit the Society, nor to arrive at some merely practical impossible agreement. When Tradition comes back into its own, “reconciliation will no longer be a problem, and the Church will spring back to life”.

In the long haul to victory, the Chapter encourages all members of the Society to live, as its statutes require, ever more intensely by the grace proper to it, namely, in union with the great prayer of the High Priest, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Let them be convinced, along with their faithful, that in this striving for an ever greater sanctification in the heart of the Church is to be found the only remedy for our present misfortunes, which is the Church being restored through the restoration of the priesthood.

In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.

Slow posting till mid-August...

...but we may post urgent news at any time.

y cierra España!

The Passion of Spain - 70 years

Exactly 70 years ago, the tensions within the Spanish Republic reached unbearable levels and the alzamiento of July 18 began. The greatest persecution of Catholics since late Antiquity would begin in the territory retained by the Communist-inspired forces, and would be particularly brutal in the first six months of the conflict.

(In the picture, Republican militiamen shoot against the Monument to the Sacred Heart, in the Cerro de los Ángeles, province of Madrid -- the monument would be completely destroyed in the first months of the persecution).

"Lefebvrists: the agreement is closer - The pact is ready, but Fellay has not yet decided"

from Rome [Il Giornale - report by Andrea Tornielli]

All is ready for the agreement between the Holy See and the Fraternity Saint Pius X, founded by the "rebel" Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. The Vatican forwarded several weeks ago precise propositions to reach peace [a peaceful solution] and the reentrance of the Lefbvrists into full communion with Rome.

The negotiations, begun in 2000, have, as is well known, accelerated after the election of Benedict XVI, who, last August received the superior of the Traditionalists, Bishop Bernard Fellay, at Castelgandolfo.

However, from Menzingen, where the head of the Lefebvrists resides, no affirmative signal has so far arrived. Exactly two days ago, the same bishop Fellay was reconfirmed at the helm of the Fraternity, by the General Chapter, for the next twelve years. He had guided it since 1994.

As his "first and second assistants" Father Niklaus Pfluger and Father Marco Nely were elected. The first belongs to the harder line, while the second belongs to the more moderate wing.

It is possible that, in the past period, with the knowledge that his term was nearing its end, Fellay would have hesitated. Now, however, precise signals are expected in the Vatican. The terms of agreement include the acceptance of the theological agreement already agreed in 1988 by Archbishop Lefebvre and the then Cardinal Ratzinger, the lift of the excommunications decreed by the Holy See after the illegitimate ordination of four bishops by the same Lefebvre, and a canonical structure, similar to that of the military ordinariat, which allows the Fraternity Saint Pius X to preserve its seminaries and to incardinate [its own] priests.

Simultaneously to the agreement, the Holy See will announce a kind of liberalization of the pre-Conciliar Missal of Saint Pius V -- a measure very much expected also by Traditionalists in communion with Rome.

Source: Il Giornale (Andrea Tornielli)

Fellay reelected

Bishop Bernard Fellay has been reelected as Superior-General of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X - FSSPX/SSPX (Communiqué in French here).

Also elected, as First Assistant: Father Pfluger (District Superior in Germany, 2004-2006); as Second Assistant: Father Nély (District Superior in Italy, 2004-2006).

[5:10 PM GMT]


[Jul. 12, 1100 AM GMT:] So, what does the Fellay reelection mean? It means, first, that the capitularies of the 2006 General Chapter are content with his leadership. It also means, to those on all sides, that there will be long-term stability at the helm of the SSPX.

The next move, if there shall be any, must come from the Apostolic Palaces...

"An Act of Parliament, directly oppugnant
to the laws of God and his holy Church..."

All which notwithstanding the jury found him guilty, and incontinent upon the verdict the Lord Chancellor [for that matter chief commissioner] beginning in judgment against him, Sir Thomas More said to him,

"My Lord, when I was towards the law, the manner in such case was to ask the prisoner before judgment, why judgment should not be given against him."

Whereupon the Lord Chancellor staying his judgment, wherein he had partly proceeded, demanded of him what he was able to say to the contrary. Who then in this sort mildly made answer:

"Forasmuch as, my Lord, this indictment is grounded upon an Act of Parliament, directly oppugnant to the laws of God and his holy Church, the supreme government of which, or of any part thereof, may no temporal prince presume by any law to take upon him as rightfully belonging to the See of Rome, a spiritual preeminence by the mouth of our Saviour himself, personally present upon the earth, to St. Peter and his successors, bishops of the same see, by special prerogative, granted, it is therefore in law amongst Christian men insufficient to charge any Christian."

Then was it thereunto by the Lord Chancellor answered, that seeing all the bishops, universities, and best learned men of the Realm had to this Act agreed, it was much marvelled that he alone against them all would so stiffly stick and vehemently argue there against. To that Sir Thomas More replied saying,

"If the number of bishops and universities be so material, as your Lordships seemeth to take it, then see I little cause [my Lords] why that thing in my conscience should make any change. For I nothing doubt, but that though not in this Realm, yet in Christendom about they be not the least part, that be of my mind therein. But if I should speak of those that be already dead, of whom many be now saints in heaven, I am very sure it is the far greater part of them, that all the while they lived, thought in this case that way that I think now. And therefore am I not bound [my Lords] to conform my conscience to the council of one realm against the General Council of Christendom."

After which ended, the commissioners yet courteously offered him, if he had anything else to allege for his defence to grant him favourable audience, who answered,

"More have I not to say [my Lords] but like as the blessed Apostle St. Paul, as we read in the Acts of the Apostles, was present, and consented to the death of St. Stephen, and kept their clothes that stoned him to death, and yet be they now both twain holy saints in heaven, and shall continue there friends for ever, so I verily trust and shall therefore right heartily pray, that though your Lordships have now in earth been judges to my condemnation, we may yet hereafter in heaven merrily all meet together to our everlasting salvation."

William Roper, The Life of Sir Thomas More

American elected leader of the FSSP

Official Communiqué

On Friday 7 July 2006, on the feast of the saints Cyril and Method, the General Chapter of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter (a clerical society of apostolic life of pontifical right), gathered in its mother house in Wigratzbad (Germany), has elected today Fr. John Berg as Superior General for a six-year term according to law. An American citizen, Fr. Berg has studied philosophy in the USA and theology in Germany (Wigratzbad) and in Rome. He has worked in pastoral ministry and as a seminary professor. Very Rev. Fr. Berg is the third Superior General of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter.

Rev. Fr. A. de Malleray, FSSP
Chapter Moderator

Rev. Fr. Franz Karl Banauch, FSSP
Chapter Secretary

Father Berg is considered a firm and principled man.

Ongoing Event: the General Chapter of the SSPX

The Third Ordinary General Chapter of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX/SSPX) starts today in Switzerland. The first item in the order of business of the Chapter is the election of the new Superior-General of the Fraternity. We will try to convey urgent news of the Chapter when possible.

For more information on the General Chapter, read this.