The Swiss daily Le Temps published today the first interview granted by Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX), after the remission of excommunications made public last Saturday.
The full text:
- [Patricia Briel, Le Temps:] Do you condemn the negationist declarations of Bishop Williamson?
- [Fellay:] It does not belong to me to condemn them. I do not have the competence for this. But I deplore that a Bishop may have given the impression of involving the Fraternity with a view that is absolutely not ours.
- According to observers, the Pope's decision could create divisions within the Fraternity. All the faithful and priests would not be ready for unity.
- [Fellay:] I do not fear it. There may always be a dissonant voice here or there. But the zeal with which the faithful prayed the Rosary to ask for the removal of the excommunications says a lot about our union; 1 700 000 rosaries were said in two and a half months.
- In your letter to the faithful of January 24 [PDF], you display your desire to examine, with Rome, the deeper causes of the "unprecedented crisis which afflicts the Church today". What are these causes?
- [Fellay:] In the essence, this crisis is caused by a new approach to the world, a new view of man, that is, an anthropocentrism which consists of an exaltation of man and a forgetfulness of God. The arrival of modern philosophies, with their less precise language, has led to confusion in theology.
- Is the Second Vatican Council also responsible for the Church crisis, in your opinion?
- [Fellay:] Not all comes from the Church. But it is true that we reject a part of the Council. Benedict XVI himself condemned those who claim the Spirit of Vatican II to demand an evolution of the Church in a break with its past.
- Ecumenism and religious liberty are at the center of the criticisms you make of Vatican II
- [Fellay:] The quest for unity of all in the Mystical Body of the Church is our dearest desire. Nonetheless, the method that is used is not appropriate. Today, there is such a focus on the points which unite us to other Christian confessions that those which separate us are forgotten. We believe that those who have left the Catholic Church, that is, the Orthodox and the Protestants, should come back to it. We conceive ecumenism as a return to the unity of Truth.
Regarding religious liberty, it is necessary to distinguish two situations: the religious liberty of the person, and the relations between Church and State. Religious liberty implies liberty of conscience. We agree with the fact that there is not a right to force anyone to accept a religion. As for our reflection on the relations between Church and State, it is based on the principle of tolerance. It seems clear to us that there where there are multiple religions, the State should be watchful of their good coexistence and peace. Nevertheless, there is but one religion that is true, and the others are not. But we tolerate this situation for the good of all.
- What will happen if the negotiations fail?
- [Fellay:] I am confident. If the Church says today anything that is in contradiction with what it taught yesterday, and if it forced us to accept this change, then it must explain the reason for it. I believe in the infallibility of the Church, and I think that we will reach a true solution.