A very interesting interview granted by the Superior-General of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX), Bishop Bernard Fellay, has been published by the National Catholic Register (affiliated with the Legion of Christ) .
[NCRegister:]...you say in your statement released in response to the motu proprio that there are still doctrinal difficulties. There’s also the issue of excommunication, which, some say, is not something that can be easily resolved.
[Fellay:]My response to that is very simple: The authorities in Rome consider it to be easy. They very clearly don’t consider it to be a very difficult matter.
To go back to Cardinal Castrillon, he said in a recent interview that with Summorum Pontificum, the door is wide open for a return of the Society of St. Pius X into full communion. He said: “If, after this act, the return does not take place, I truly will not be able to comprehend it.” Some would say therefore you are being unnecessarily difficult — that you should reconcile and then these issues can be discussed.
It’s a point of view. The point of view of Cardinal Castrillon has always been to solve the problem practically, without discussions. Let’s sign the document, the agreement, and then later on we’ll discuss. That is his position.
We say we would like to but we can’t because if we do so, tomorrow we’ll be in the same problem we’re in now. We fear if that happens, then tomorrow we get the same censures as we have now. So first we must discuss and clear things.
What direction would you most like the Vatican to take now?
Continue in that direction; it’s a very good start. We are really grateful to the Pope and we understand that he had to face a very, very strong opposition from many bishops’ conferences. So we are really grateful to him.
Do you feel you’ve been vindicated in a way, that it’s been worth the struggle and it will perhaps make you and the society even more convinced of your own position?
I’ve never seen it in that light. Our concern is to go to heaven, to be saved, and, let’s say, the good of the Church. If all goes well for the whole Church, we are pretty sure we will go well, too.
In his explanatory letter on the motu proprio, the Pope said that neither knowledge of the old liturgy nor Latin is common among priests, indicating that it probably won’t be widely used in any case. Is this a problem for you, that there won’t be a renaissance of the old rite, which you hope for?
We have always looked on this as a long process. It’s very obvious that right now, there will be few who will take the opportunity given to them. But that’s normal because, as the Pope says, many don’t think there is an old rite, or don’t know Latin. So it’s normal that it will take time, but we are sure that if the opportunity is given to them, and there’s the appreciation of what this rite consists of, then no doubt it will come.
You don’t think, though, that these things, the meaning of the text, must evolve over time and so become clearer and less ambiguous?
You have a text. The words used were expressly used to be ambiguous. It’s recognized by so many scholars, theologians in the Church. It’s a fact and we can’t help it. It’s true, it’s there.
So it means the Church will have the duty in the future to make it clear. And this text that came out yesterday [“Responses to Some Questions Regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine on the Church”], we’re not very happy with it, but it is an attempt to make it clearer.
So you do welcome the attempt?
Do you have any other final reflections on Summorum Pontificum?
We are really happy with it, and we do consider this the most supernatural act possible.
It’s a very courageous act of the Pope, very supernatural, and we do hope it brings many blessings on the Church, even if the blessings will not appear immediately.
Recess for a few days