Full translation of an interview granted by the Superior-General of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX), Bishop Bernard Fellay, to the great French daily Présent:
-Where is the Motu proprio since September 14?
The feedback that I’ve had until now has been quite negative with some bishops clearly seeking to limit its application. There is a certain irony here in so far as they act as though the Motu proprio created a mess because it is no longer necessary to ask them for permission to celebrate the sacraments according to the traditional rite. There is an objective contrast to the magnanimity which the Pope intended.
-Nevertheless, is this Motu proprio in your opinion a positive thing?
Indeed it is. The cause of our joy lies in the assertion that the Mass of St. Pius V has never been abrogated. That includes a multitude of implications beginning with the fact that, since it continued to exist, it has always been the law of the Church. Hence, the conciliar reform has not been able to replace the old Mass, though in a sense it was banned.
-Does this mean that the crisis is over?
Certainly not! It now becomes our mission to help reintroduce this rite. Many priests are asking us to teach them how to celebrate it and their stories can be summed up by the words of a Roman prelate: "The priest can not find his identity in the new Mass." Of course this will take plenty of time.
-Is it not a paradox to say in a tone of loving support for the Pope, that the Motu proprio is an undeniable step forward and that you expect much more to follow, and then say at the same time that it will take a long time - perhaps several generations?
No! Because every coin has two sides. On the one hand, the opportunity for immediate practical solutions. On the other hand, peace within the Church by resolution of the crisis at its roots - which is doctrinal. The present situation is very diverse. For this to be accomplished, both sides must be considered.
-But according to the interlocutor, you seem to present rather one aspect or another…
This is to see where the interlocutor is - to reach him. When it comes to our faithful, I try to give the proper line, to correct errors. My concern is to give them, and keep them in the Catholic spirit. That is to say, an unwavering commitment to faith, and on another level, an attachment to the Church.
-But you said in front of some journalists to expect “much more” leeway given by the Pope from the Motu proprio.
What I mean by this is that I see the possibility, relatively forthcoming, of finding practical solutions. But, when I say to the faithful that it will probably take several generations, I am referring to the peace that is to be restored in the Church through the settlement of the doctrinal crisis. If we want to combine the two issues - both sides of the coin - it means that practical solutions will arrive well before the end of the crisis.
But even on this first point, it will be important that the necessary conditions are met. There is of course the Mass, as we have just found in the Motu proprio. Also he withdrawal of the decree of excommunication, which does not seem to pose a problem. But above all, we must cease being made to swallow poison with regard to the faith and dogma. That is always the first - the main condition.
Transcript: Le Forum Catholique; Translation: Mornac