DICI’s latest English issue (DICI 212) has the translation of the interview with Bishop Bernard Fellay published recently in Fideliter. Here are some excerpts:
In your opinion, are the theologians chosen by Rome representative of mainstream theology in the Church today? Or are they closer to a particular trend? Does their way of thinking align with that of Benedict XVI?
Our interlocutors seem to me to hold very closely to the Pope’s positions. They belong to what we may call the conservative line, in that they advocate the most traditional possible reading of the Council. They desire the good of the Church but at the same time wish to save the Council: that is like trying to square the circle.
In the talks, what will be the points of reference, besides Revelation, Scripture, and Tradition? The Magisterium before Vatican II exclusively? Or Church teaching since then also?
The problem concerns Vatican II. Therefore in light of the previous Tradition we will examine whether or not the post-conciliar Magisterium is a rupture.
Some people fear that our theologians, taken with the atmosphere of the Vatican offices, might lower their guard during the talks. Can you reassure them?
We go to Rome to testify to the faith, and the atmosphere of the offices is of little concern to us. Our theologians will meet every two or three months in a large room of the Palace of the Holy Office, not in the offices…
As to the duration of these talks, considering the difficulty of most of the subjects, each needing at least a year or two, could they last any less than five or ten years?
I hope that it will not be so… in any case, when one addresses with someone, whoever it may be, the question of the Mass, of religious freedom, or of ecumenism, one does not need all that time to convince him!
Do you not fear that, in the course of these discussions, Rome will finally end up responding to our objections (concerning religious freedom or the new Mass) with the argument from authority: Rome has decided, and Rome cannot be wrong, etc?
We might fear that, of course, but in this case, it would show that Rome did not really have the intention of participating in discussions. And yet, the debate over Vatican II is incontrovertible. The recent book by Msgr. Gherardini, a well-known Roman theologian, proves it enough. Vatican II can be discussed, it must be.
Shouldn’t we fear that these talks might end in joint declarations, in which the parties agree on common points, but do not resolve the underlying debates, somewhat like the Joint Declaration with the Lutherans on justification?
Joint declarations are out of the question.
For those who haven’t read it yet, here is the link to English translations of some interesting excerpts from Bishop Bernard Fellay’s January 2010 Conference in Paris:
Please, let us not use the word negotiations, it completely misses the point. This has nothing to do with negotiating, bargaining—nothing at all…. For us, we must really see this opportunity for the discussions with Rome as truly a disposition of Divine Providence, as truly an amazing grace to be able to present to the highest authorities in the Church what that Church has always said and which, thanks be to God, we have kept; thus, to make it resound at the very top of the Church. To bear witness to the Faith is a great grace. And even at Rome, a certain number [of prelates] are expecting from these discussions—and it’s a direct quote— “very much good for the Church.”