Rorate Caeli

Fellay: the doctrinal discussions with Rome are "coming to a conclusion."

SSPX.org has just posted the first three parts of a lengthy (54-question) interview with Bishop Fellay. In this latest interview the head of the SSPX strikes a more cautious and pessimistic tone than in previous interviews.

Part 1: Doctrinal Discussions with Rome

Part 2: Motu Proprio Effects.

Part 3: Assisi III

On the doctrinal discussions (from Part 1):


3. Could you recall the method that is used in the work? What topics have already been addressed?

The working method is the written method; texts are composed which then become the basis for further theological discussion. Several topics have been addressed already. But for the moment I will leave that question up in the air. I can simply tell you that we are coming to the conclusion, because we have made the tour of the major questions raised by the Council.

***

5. Has there been a development in the thinking of our dialogue partners since they read the presentations by the SSPX theologians?

I don’t think that you can say that.
On Summorum Pontificum (from Part 2):

14. Your Excellency, do you think that the Motu Proprio, despite its deficiencies, is a step toward restoring Tradition?

It is a step of capital importance. You could even call it an essential step, even though so far it has had practically no effect, or very little, because there is massive opposition by the bishops. At the juridical level, the Motu Proprio has recognized that the old law, the one pertaining to the traditional Mass, had never been abrogated: this is a step of capital importance in restoring Tradition to its place.

15. Practically speaking, have you seen across the world any important changes on the part of the bishops concerning the traditional Mass since the Motu Proprio?

No. A few here and there who obey the Pope, but they are rare.

***

18. What advice do you give to Catholics who, since and thanks to the Motu Proprio, now have a traditional Mass closer to them than a chapel of the Society of St. Pius X?

My advice to them is to ask the priests of the Society for advice first, not to go with their eyes closed to just any traditional Mass that is celebrated nearby. The Mass is a treasure; but there is also a way of saying it, and everything that goes with it: the sermon, the catechesis, the way of administering the sacraments… Not every traditional Mass is necessarily accompanied by the conditions required for it to bear all its fruits and to protect the soul from the dangers of the current crisis. Therefore ask the priests of the Society for advice first.

On the Reform of the Reform (from Part 2):


20. For a long time the Pope has been speaking about “the reform of the reform”. Do you think that he hopes to try to reconcile the old liturgy with the teaching of Vatican II in a reform that would be a middle term?


Listen, at the moment we know nothing about it! We know that he wants this reform, but where that reform is headed? Will everything eventually be blended together, “the ordinary form” and “the extraordinary form”? That is not what we find in the Motu Proprio, which requires us to distinguish the two “forms” and not to mix them: this is very wise. We have to wait and see; for the moment let us stick to what the Roman authorities say.
On Benedict XVI and ecumenism (from Part 3):

23. We might think that the Holy Father does not understand ecumenism in the same way as John Paul II. Isn’t this a difference in degree in the same error?

No, I think that he understands it in the same way. He correctly says, “It is impossible to pray together.” But we have to see exactly what he means by that. He gave an explanation in 2003, in a book entitled Truth and Tolerance: Christian Belief and World Religions (English edition: Ignatius Press, 2004). I find that he splits hairs. He tries to justify Assisi. You really wonder how that will be possible next October.

---
Doctrinal Discussions: Part 1
1. Your Excellency, you have decided to attempt doctrinal discussions with Rome. Could you remind us of the purpose?

You have to distinguish between Rome’s purpose and ours. Rome indicated that there were doctrinal problems with the Society [of St. Pius X] and that these problems would have to be cleared up before any canonical recognition, problems which obviously would be up to us to resolve, concerning our acceptance of the [Second Vatican] Council. But for us it is about something else: we hope to tell Rome what the Church has always taught and thereby to show the contradictions between this centuries-old teaching and what has been done in the Church since the Council. As we look at it, this is the only goal that we are pursuing.

2. What sort of talks are these: negotiations, discussions, or doctrinal explanation?

You can’t call them negotiations. That’s not what they’re about at all. There is on the one hand an explanation of doctrine, and on the other hand a discussion, because we have in fact a Roman interlocutor with whom we are discussing the documents and how to understand them. But you can’t call them negotiations, nor a search for a compromise, for it is a question of Faith.

3. Could you recall the method that is used in the work? What topics have already been addressed?

The working method is the written method; texts are composed which then become the basis for further theological discussion. Several topics have been addressed already. But for the moment I will leave that question up in the air. I can simply tell you that we are coming to the conclusion, because we have made the tour of the major questions raised by the Council.

4. Can you describe the Roman panelists?

They are experts, in other words, theology professors who are also consulting members of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. One can say that they are “professionals” in theology. One is Swiss, the Rector of the Angelicum, Fr. Morerod, O.P., another is a Jesuit who is somewhat older, Fr. Becker; another is a member of Opus Dei, the Vicar General, Msgr. Ocariz Braña; then Archbishop Ladaria Ferrer, Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and finally the moderator, Msgr. Guido Pozzo, Secretary of the Ecclesia Dei Commission.

5. Has there been a development in the thinking of our dialogue partners since they read the presentations by the SSPX theologians?

I don’t think that you can say that.

6. Bishop de Galarreta, sermon during the ordinations in La Reja in December 2009, said that Rome had agreed that the Magisterium prior to Vatican II would be taken as “the only possible common standard” in these talks. Is there some hope that our counterparts will reconsider Vatican II, or is that impossible for them? Is Vatican II really a stumbling-block?

I think that you have to pose the question another way. Pope Benedict XVI made distinctions during his speech in December 2005, by which we see very clearly that one particular understanding of the Council is no longer permitted and therefore, without speaking directly about a re-examination of the Council, there is despite everything a certain intention to revise the way in which the Council is presented.

The distinction may seem rather subtle, but it is precisely the distinction relied on by those who do not want to alter the Council and nevertheless recognize that, because of a certain number of ambiguities there has been an opening leading to forbidden paths, and that we must remember that they are forbidden. Is Vatican II really a stumbling-block? For us, no doubt whatsoever: yes!

7. Why is it so difficult for them to admit a contradiction between Vatican II and the previous Magisterium?

The answer is rather simple. The moment you recognize the principle that the Church cannot change, if you want to have Vatican II accepted, you are obliged to say that Vatican II did not change anything either. That is why they do not admit that they find any contradiction between Vatican II and the previous Magisterium, but they are nevertheless at a loss to explain the nature of the change which quite evidently has taken place.

8. Besides witnessing to the Faith, is it important and advantageous for the Society of St. Pius X to go to Rome? Is it dangerous, and do you think that it might last a long time?

It is very important that the Society give this witness; that is the reason for these doctrinal talks. It is really a matter of making the Catholic faith understood in Rome and trying, why not, to make it understood even more throughout the Church.

There is one danger: the danger of keeping up illusions. We see that some Catholics have managed to lull themselves to sleep with illusions. But recent events have managed to dispel them. I am thinking about the announcement of the beatification of John Paul II or the announcement of a new Assisi event along the lines of the interreligious gatherings in 1986 and 2002.

9. Has the Pope been following these talks closely? Has he commented yet on these talks?

I think so, but have no specific details. Has he commented on these talks? During the meeting last summer with his former students at Castel Gandolfo he said that he was pleased with them. That is all.

10. Can we say that the Holy Father, who has been dealing with the Society of St. Pius X for more than 25 years, is proving to be more benevolent toward it today than in the past?

I am not sure. Yes and no. I think that as pope, he has responsibility for the whole Church, a concern about its unity, a fear of seeing a schism declared. He himself said that these were the motives that impelled him to act. He is now the visible head of the Church, which may explain why he acts like that. Does that mean that he is showing more understanding toward the Society? I think that he has a certain sympathy for us, but within limits.

11. To sum up, what would you say about these talks today?

If we had to do them over again, we would redo them. They are very important. Of capital importance. If you hope to correct a whole movement of thought, you cannot do without these talks.

12. For some time now we have been hearing voices of ecclesiastics, for example Msgr. Gherardini or Bishop Schneider, who even in Rome are producing genuine critiques of the documents of Vatican II and not just of their interpretation. Can we hope that this movement will grow and make its way into the Vatican?

I do not say that we can hope for it, but that we must hope for it. We must really hope that these initial critiques—let us call them serene, objective critiques—will develop. Until now Vatican II was always considered as a taboo [as something unquestionable], which makes the cure of this sickness, which is the crisis in the Church, almost impossible. We have to be able to talk about the problems and to go in-depth into these matters, or else we will never get to apply the right remedies.

13. Can the Society of St. Pius X plan an important role in making Rome aware of this? How? What is the role of the lay faithful in this momentous matter?

As for the Society, yes, we can play a role, precisely by presenting what the Church has always taught and by raising objections to the conciliar novelties. The role of the lay faithful is to provide proof in action, for they are the proof that Tradition can be lived today. What the Church has always demanded—traditional discipline—is not only relevant but really viable even today.

The Motu Proprio Effect: Part 2
14. Your Excellency, do you think that the Motu Proprio, despite its deficiencies, is a step toward restoring Tradition?

It is a step of capital importance. You could even call it an essential step, even though so far it has had practically no effect, or very little, because there is massive opposition by the bishops. At the juridical level, the Motu Proprio has recognized that the old law, the one pertaining to the traditional Mass, had never been abrogated: this is a step of capital importance in restoring Tradition to its place.

15. Practically speaking, have you seen across the world any important changes on the part of the bishops concerning the traditional Mass since the Motu Proprio?

No. A few here and there who obey the Pope, but they are rare.

16. How about the priests?

Yes, I see a lot of interest on their part, but many of them are persecuted. It takes extraordinary courage simply to dare to apply the Motu Proprio as it was worded; and of course, yes, there are more and more priests, especially in the younger generations, who are interested in the traditional Mass. It is very encouraging!

17. Are there communities that have decided to adopt the old liturgy?

There may be several, but there is one that we know about, in Italy, the community of the Franciscans of the Immaculate, which has decided to return to the old liturgy; in the women’s branch it has already been done. For the priests who are involved in ministry in the dioceses, it is not so easy.

18. What advice do you give to Catholics who, since and thanks to the Motu Proprio, now have a traditional Mass closer to them than a chapel of the Society of St. Pius X?

My advice to them is to ask the priests of the Society for advice first, not to go with their eyes closed to just any traditional Mass that is celebrated nearby. The Mass is a treasure; but there is also a way of saying it, and everything that goes with it: the sermon, the catechesis, the way of administering the sacraments… Not every traditional Mass is necessarily accompanied by the conditions required for it to bear all its fruits and to protect the soul from the dangers of the current crisis. Therefore ask the priests of the Society for advice first.

19. The liturgy is not the basis of the crisis in the Church. Do you think that the return of the (traditional) Liturgy is always the start of a return to the integrity of the Faith?

The traditional Mass has an absolutely extraordinary power of grace. You see it in the apostolic work, you see it especially in the priests who come back to it:


it is truly the antidote to the crisis. It is really very powerful, at all levels. At the level of grace, at the level of faith…. I think that if the old Mass were allowed to be truly free, the Church could emerge rather quickly from this crisis, but it would still take several years!

20. For a long time the Pope has been speaking about “the reform of the reform”. Do you think that he hopes to try to reconcile the old liturgy with the teaching of Vatican II in a reform that would be a middle term?

Listen, at the moment we know nothing about it! We know that he wants this reform, but where that reform is headed? Will everything eventually be blended together, “the ordinary form” and “the extraordinary form”? That is not what we find in the Motu Proprio, which requires us to distinguish the two “forms” and not to mix them: this is very wise. We have to wait and see; for the moment let us stick to what the Roman authorities say.

21. The Holy Father has announced the next meeting in Assisi. You reacted in your sermon at St. Nicholas Church on February 9, 2011, and decided to oppose it, just as Archbishop Lefebvre had done at the time of the first meeting, 25 years ago. Do you plan to intervene directly with the Holy Father?

If the opportunity presents itself, if it can bear some fruit, why not?

22. Is it such a serious matter to call other religions to work for peace?

In one respect, and only in that respect, no. To call other religions to work for peace—a civil peace—there is no problem with that, but in that case it is not at the religious level, it is at the civil level. It is not an act of religion, it is quite simply an act of a religious society that works civilly to promote peace. It is not even religious peace being sought, but rather civil peace among men.

In contrast, to ask people to perform religious acts during that gathering is absurd, because there is a radical lack of understanding among the various religions. In those circumstances, it is not clear what aspiring to peace is supposed to mean, when there is not even any agreement about the nature of God, about the meaning that you ascribe to divinity. Really, you wonder how you could achieve anything serious.

23. We might think that the Holy Father does not understand ecumenism in the same way as John Paul II. Isn’t this a difference in degree in the same error?

No, I think that he understands it in the same way. He correctly says, “It is impossible to pray together.” But we have to see exactly what he means by that. He gave an explanation in 2003, in a book entitled Truth and Tolerance: Christian Belief and World Religions (English edition: Ignatius Press, 2004). I find that he splits hairs. He tries to justify Assisi. You really wonder how that will be possible next October.



24. Some Italian intellectuals have publicly declared their uneasiness about the consequences of such a meeting. Do you know of other reactions within the Church?

They are right. Do we see other reactions within the Church? In official circles, no. Among us [SSPX members], obviously yes.

25. What about the reaction of the traditional congregations affiliated with Ecclesia Dei?

There is none that I know of!

26. How do you explain the fact that the Holy Father, who denounces relativism in religious matters and who had even refused to attend the Assisi meeting in 1986, could now want to commemorate such a meeting by repeating it?

It is a mystery to me. I do not know. I think that he may be under some pressures or influences. Probably he is alarmed by the anti-Christian acts [recently in the news], the anti-Catholic violence: those bombs in Egypt and Iraq. That is perhaps the reason that prompted him to propose this new Assisi gathering; I won’t call it an act of desperation, but a last resort…. He is trying something, anyway. I would not be surprised if that was it, but I know nothing more about it.

27. Is there a possibility that the Holy Father might give up this interreligious demonstration?

We don’t know very well how it will be organized. We will have to see. I supposed that they will try to minimize the event because, once again, for the present Pope, it is impossible for different groups to be able to pray together when they do not even acknowledge the same god. Therefore, once again you wonder what they are going to be able to do there together!


28. What should Catholics do with regard to this announcement about Assisi III?

Pray that the Good Lord intervenes in one way or another so that it doesn’t take place, and in any case start making reparation now!

29. Does the announcement of the approaching beatification of John Paul II pose a problem?

A serious problem, the problem of a pontificate that caused things to proceed by leaps and bounds in the wrong direction, along “progressive” lines, toward everything that they call “the spirit of Vatican II”. This is therefore a public acknowledgment not only of the person of John Paul II but also of the Council and the whole spirit that accompanied it.

30. Has there been a new concept of sainthood and holiness since Vatican II?

Afraid so! It is a concept of holiness for everybody, universal sanctity. It is not wrong to say that there is a call, a vocation to holiness for all human beings; but what is wrong is to lower holiness to a level that makes people believe that everyone is going to Heaven.

31. How could true miracles be permitted by God to authenticate a false teaching, in the case of the many beatifications and canonizations that have been performed in recent decades?

That is the whole problem: are these real miracles? Are these prodigies? In my opinion, there are doubts. I am very surprised by the casualness with which they are dealing with these things, as far as I know.

32. If canonization involves papal infallibility, could one reject the new saints canonized by the Pope?

It is true that there is a problem there, on the question of contemporary canonizations. Nevertheless one could ask the question of whether there is a true intention to invoke infallibility in the terms that are used by the Supreme Pontiff. They changed these terms for [the ceremony of] canonization; they have become much less strong than before. I think that that goes along with the new mentality that does not want to make dogmatic definitions by invoking infallibility. We should realize, however, that this is only a tentative explanation…. There is no satisfactory answer, except the one about the intention of the supreme authority to invoke his infallibility or not.

33. Can we choose among the saints recently proposed to the faithful to venerate? What about Padre Pio?

I think that we must not choose. However one can always keep the criteria that were universally recognized in the past as well; thus, when there is a massive popular devotion, for example, to Fr. Maximilian Kolbe or to Padre Pio; it should not cause any difficulty. But once again, these are only opinions, in the absence of a magisterial judgment to be pronounced dogmatically.

34. Do you have any examples of graces obtained by the intercession of Archbishop Lefebvre?

Yes, we know about some, indeed, quite a few. But I do not know whether they are really on the order of miracles, perhaps in one case or another. When we’re talking about healings, we don’t have, as far as I know, all the necessary medical documents.

Many graces are obtained through the Archbishop’s intercession, but I will go no farther than that.

35. The Society has just celebrated an important anniversary. How would you summarize these forty years?

An inspiring history… with many tears in the midst of great joys. One of the greatest joys is the joy of realizing the extent to which Our Lord allows us to be associated with several of the beatitudes that He preached in the Sermon on the Mount, like the one about being able to suffer for the sake of His Name. And through all the vicissitudes of the present crisis, we see that this work continues to grow, which, humanly speaking, is almost impossible. This is certainly the mark of God on the work of Archbishop Lefebvre.

36. Has there been an increase in vocations? If so, what are the reasons for it?

I think that there is great stability. I would like to see more vocations. I think that we will have to restart the crusades for vocations. The world as such is very hostile to the fostering of vocations; that is why we have to try to recreate everywhere climates in which vocations can once again develop. Because there are many vocations, but often they do not get to mature because of this materialistic world.


37. You commented recently, at the Conference in Rome sponsored by Le Courrier de Rome, on a meeting of around thirty diocesan priests in Italy that you attended. What do those priests expect today from the Society of St. Pius X?

These priests ask us above all for doctrine, which is an excellent sign. If they are with us, it is of course because they want the old Mass, but after discovering the old Mass, they want something else. They want something more, because they discover a whole world that they know is authentic. They have no doubt that it is the true religion. Then they need to brush up on their theological studies. And they are not mistaken: they go directly to St. Thomas Aquinas.


38. This movement of priests who are turning to the Society, is it, in varying degrees, the same in all countries?

There are certainly varying degrees, and even different numbers depending on the country. But we see the same phenomenon almost everywhere: The priest, generally a young one, who approaches the Traditional Mass, who discovers with great enthusiasm this treasure, little by little travels a path toward Tradition, which finally makes him completely traditional.

39. Do you have hope that this sort of interest could affect some bishops, to the point where you foresee a future collaboration?

We already have contacts with some bishops, but for the moment everything is frozen by the bishops’ conferences, by the pressures all around, but there is no doubt whatsoever that in the future it will be possible for there to be forms of collaboration with some bishops.

40. Are you ready to attempt the experiment of Tradition with a bishop at the level of a diocese?

The time for that is not yet ripe; we are not there yet, but I think that it will happen. It will be difficult; we will have to look closely at how we can manage to achieve that. It will be absolutely necessary that this be done with bishops who have really understood the crisis and who really want to work with us.

41. The lay faithful [affiliated with the SSPX] are increasingly numerous. There are more and more chapels. The state of necessity is still present. Do you foresee the consecration of other auxiliary bishops for the Society? Do you think that Rome could be in favor of episcopal consecrations in Tradition today?

For me, the answer is very simple: there will either be bishops or else there will not, depending on whether or not the circumstances that prevailed at the first consecration [in 1988] are present again.

2. Your Excellency, we have the joy of seeing you often in the United States. You like to travel here. Could you comment?

My comment: I love all the souls that the Good Lord has entrusted to us, and there are quite a few in the United States. That’s all!

43. Have you been able to meet Cardinal Burke yet?

I have tried several times to see him, but I have not seen him yet.

44. A large number of bishops in the United States showed their support for the March for Life; one of them even intervened forcefully against a [Catholic] hospital that was in favor of abortion. Is there any hope that they will realize that the crisis involves the Faith also?

I think that, unfortunately, with modern clergymen you have to distinguish between faith and morals. Thus you will be able to find more bishops who are still responsive to moral problems than bishops who are concerned in questions of faith. However we can tell ourselves that if someone very courageously defends Catholic morality, he must have the faith and his faith will be reinforced by it…. That is what I hope, while recognizing that there are some exceptions.

45. The American bishops want to revise together the directives given by John Paul II for the universities. What, in your opinion, are the urgent measures that should be taken to turn today’s universities into authentic Catholic universities?

The first and most urgent measure is to return to Scholasticism. They have to get rid of those modern philosophies and return to the sound philosophy, the objective, realist philosophy. Saint Thomas must become the norm again, as at the beginning of the twentieth century.

Back then the 24 Thomistic theses were obligatory. We have to return to them—that is absolutely necessary. And after this philosophical renewal, it will be possible to continue along the same line with theology.

St. Thomas must become the norm again, as at the beginning of the 20th century. The 24 Thomistic theses were obligatory, were presented as obligatory. We have to go back to them—that is absolutely necessary. And after that, it will be possible and necessary to continue along the same line with theology.


46. Bishop Robert Vasa of Baker Diocese (Oregon) recently recalled that the statements of a bishops’ conference could not be binding on a bishop in his diocese. Is this re-litigating [calling into question again] the line of thinking started by the Council?

On this question of collegiality, it is not just a bishop who has spoken up. The Pope himself, in addressing the Brazilian Bishops’ Conference, had some very strong words that put the role of Episcopal Conference in its place, and insisted on the personal authority of the bishops and on their direct relations with the Holy Father.

47. [Of all SSPX institutions,] the Seminary in Winona has the largest number of seminarians. How do you explain that?

I think that it is quite simply due to the generosity of this country, which is readily inspired by a good cause.

48. What can be done to increase the number of priestly and religious vocations?

Pray, pray, pray! Make sacrifices, too.

49. What are the strong points of the world of Tradition in the United States?

I think that there is this generosity that I just mentioned, and also the schools. It is true that there is an impressive number of priests and that we would still need more, but I would say above all that the schools are indispensable. We must also encourage aid to Traditional families. We have to start a movement for families, to support and form them. They are the primary cell of society. The family is fundamental in the natural order and in the supernatural order.


50. In your opinion, Your Excellency, what is the importance of the schools?

They are of capital importance. They are the future. The young people will be Catholic if they have a good formation, but for that we need Catholic schools.

51. When parents are generous and therefore have large families, they are sometimes forced to home school. What do you recommend to those who have access to good schools?

Those who have access to good schools should not hesitate one moment: let them put their children in those schools! Home schooling will never replace a good school. If there is no good school, that obviously that is a different matter.

52. Do you expect, Your Excellency, to call for another Rosary crusade? What do you recommend to the lay faithful today?

Yes! The situation of the world, the situation of the Church—as anyone can see—continues to be very somber, even though there are some glimmers of hope, and these distressing elements oblige us more than ever to redouble the intensity of our prayers, while turning to the Blessed Virgin. For the lay faithful today, the indispensable thing is prayer: especially family prayer which is frequently renewed, together with the essential thing that forms the Christian soul, that is, the spirit of sacrifice.

53. Your Excellency, next year you will celebrate 30 years in the priesthood, 18 of them as the head of the Society of St. Pius X. What were the major events during all those years?

That is quite a novel! …Of course, I have first to mention the consecrations! Other major events are the joy of having been an assistant to Archbishop Lefebvre, the joy of having been an assistant to Fr. Schmidberger, of having learned a lot at their sides, also the joy of being able to work with the other bishops of the Society, as well as with all our priests, in that great burst of zeal for the Faith, for the preservation of the Catholic Church.

54. Any wish for the years to come?

That the Church will get back on track! This is a metaphor, but it is truly our wish. And for that to happen, the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of the Most Blessed Virgin has to come about. We need it so much!


Thank you, Your Excellency, for granting this interview.

The interview was conducted at St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary in Winona, MN on February 2, 2011, the Feast of the Presentation of the Child Jesus and the Purification of the Blessed Virgin.

Our thanks to the Information Service of the General House and to the French and American editorial teams which translated and copyedited the answers of Bishop Bernard Fellay.

20 comments:

New Catholic said...

I must say it: I actually thought it was extremely positive and, as it should be expected, quite unrevealing.

NC

Jamie said...

I agree. This shows that the Society is clearly being led by a man with a great gift of prudence and wisdom. God bless the talks - may they bear the fruits that God intends for His Church.

LeonG said...

" That is why they do not admit that they find any contradiction between Vatican II and the previous Magisterium, but they are nevertheless at a loss to explain the nature of the change which quite evidently has taken place."

We could call this collective blindness. All the chief indicators demonstrate systemic decline liturgically and pastorally. You would have to be blind if you were incapable of noting the utter confusion and disunity which has been left in the wake of the councils. It has nothing to do with supposed social secularisation which is in many respcts an invalid assumption to make about contemporary society. Most people appear to e looking for spiritual solutions elsewhere.
It is more to do with a church in revolt against itself and trying to deny its past.

Mona said...

The Vatican Liberals are still trying to fit a square peg into a round hole and explain why and how it is and can be done. Truth: CAN'T.
Bishop Fellay is trying to re-evangelize Rome - that's the only means for these discussions. It will happen one day by the grace of God and The Society's perseverance; not by any compromise.
Christ is still held Prisoner by VII and we must pray for His rightful place as King, rather than pawn.

Anonymous said...

16. How about the priests?


Yes, I see a lot of interest on their part, but many of them are persecuted. It takes extraordinary courage simply to dare to apply the Motu Proprio as it was worded; and of course, yes, there are more and more priests, especially in the younger generations, who are interested in the traditional Mass. It is very encouraging!

Cruise the Groove. said...

Very, Very positive words by Bishop Fellay!
Something good is coming very soon for the Society.

Neal said...

Re: Assisi 3:

Q: What about the reaction of the traditional congregations affiliated with Ecclesia Dei?

A: There is none that I know of!

Exactly.

K Gurries said...

It sounds like the doctrinal discussions are just about over (near conclusion) — and apparently neither side has changed its position. Rome apparently wanted to discussions in order to resolve the “doctrinal problems” with the SSPX. The SSPX wanted the discussion in order to “witness” the true Faith to Rome — to “make the Catholic Faith understood in Rome.” [strong statement!!!] Question 7 dealt with the so-called “contradiction” [i.e., rupture] represented by the teachings of Vatican II — that “Rome” supposedly can’t or won’t see. Pope Benedict’s hermeneutic of continuity apparently is not convincing enough…

At least the respective positions should be more clearly understood after this exercise. I wonder what next steps we will see from this…but I don’t think we can expect canonical regularization in the very near future.

Also, I found Question 12 to be a little problematic in its formulation — since it lumps Bishop Schneider together with Msgr. Gherardini in “producing genuine critiques of the documents of Vatican II.” In fact the former (Bishop Schneider) only critiques the erroneous interpretation and application of the documents of Vatican II. Bishop Schneider calls for a new Syllabus of errors to correct the false interpretations and mis-applications.

Msgr. Gherardini’s views are summarized here: http://opuscula.blogspot.com/2010/08/msgr-gherardini-on-vatican-ii.html

Bishop Schneider’s views are summarized here: http://opuscula.blogspot.com/2011/01/new-syllabus-of-errors.html

and further analyzed here in response to certain objections: http://opuscula.blogspot.com/2011/02/on-misinterpretations-and.html

Anonymous said...

I do not see the interview as positive because there is no sense of any agreement between the two parties. However, the exchange of views may provide Rome with enough evidence to declare that the Society is entirely Catholic and adheres to views which, however 'incomplete' or 'imperfect' (in Rome's view) are neverthehess well within the bounds of what is allowed. That finding could then be the grounds for declaring that the Society's claim of supplied jurisdiction in a case of necessity is honest and therefore valid. It could mean a finding that all the Society faculties are intact. Another possibility is that it could be the basis for lifting the suppression of 1975 and the suspension a divinis from 1976, thereby regularising the Society. Lastly, if the Pope thinks that this would be going to far, he could at least recognise publicly and at law that attendance at their Masses fulfils the Sunday obligation.

In other words, we might see the talks as a way for Rome to assess the Society position and follow this with a declaration regarding the Society's status.

I close in saying again, however, that the talks are not positive in the sense that one does not infer from Bishop Fellay's words that some greater agreement between the parties has been achieved. We may have to wait decades for that, for thirty years at the least, as Bishop Tissier de Mallerais has predicted.

P.K.T.P.

LeonG said...

If The Confraternity is not Catholic then most assuredly the church bhas been turned inside out and upside down.

K Gurries said...

PKTP, I like your optimism, however, I think it is a little unrealistic in light of what we know. There is a deadlock -- not on trivial matters but on important doctrinal matters. Pope Benedict has said on more than one occasion that there will be no canonical mission (regulatization) as long as the doctrinal problems remain. The talks appear to be wrapping up with no significant movement on the rupture vs. continuity front.

Bishop Schneider recently asked for a new Syllabus of Errors that would condemn the false interpretations and applications of Vatican II. I am beginning to think that such a document may come about. But some of condemned propositions may very well include the opposing extremes within the world of rupture. The carrot may eventually give way to the stick.

Anonymous said...

It is very sad to see the Catholic Church ripping itself apart. The SSPX are trying to hold it together by moving us all toward a greater sense of Tradition and unity and so is the Holy Father, but the immense forces that oppose them both are scandalous. I just pray that it ends soon. The Heavens must look down on this and weep. And so many within the Church, the walls of the Vatican can not see this. What it does to ordinary lay people who see such rancor and hatred for the Church's history and past. The beauty of the Moto Proprio when and where implemented it so apparent. It remains untainted, a silent witness to the wars that rage around it.

Brian said...

K Gurries writes that a new Syllabus of Errors that would condemn the false interpretations and applications of Vatican II . . . may come about. But some of condemned propositions may very well include the opposing extremes within the world of rupture.

SSPX holds to Catholic Tradition as taught for centuries prior to Vatican II. Are you suggesting that such teaching will be condemned by some new Syllabus of Errors?

Tom the Milkman said...

The SSPX will remain faithful. I believe Rome will come to embrace they good they have done for forty years, for souls, for the Church. Archbishop Lefebvre confirmed me, indeed I spent time studying at Econe in the late 70s. The Society's fidelity to the Church I believe to this day inspires priests around the world. SSPX priests are courageous men, a charism that not only has filled its ranks with good and hardworking priests, but stands a living priestly example to priests and laymen alike. I never think of Benedict XVI without reflecting on Pius IX, whose pontificate shows forth the transforming grace of the Office itself perhaps more radiantly than any other modern papacy. I pray this will happen again in our time. We can only pray.

Anonymous said...

K. Gurries:

I agree that regularisation is a long shot but this Pope is a man of surprises. Anyway, regularisation is not necessary and nor is a declaration in favour of their faculties. Even a public recognition that their Masses fulfil the Sunday obligation would be enough to make the Society an instrument to batter the local bishops with. Rome need only admit publicly what the P.C.E.D. has been saying in private letters since 2002, and then publish the finding in the A.A.S. That would be enough.

If we can fulfil our obligation at Society chapels and the bishops cannot deny it, they lose their power over us. From that point on, they can only save face by seeing to it that their own priests offer the T.L.M. No bishop wants to be seen to lose control of the Liturgy in his own see. Bad publicity in our age is equivalent to being burnt at the stake in times past.

P.K.T.P.

K Gurries said...

"SSPX holds to Catholic Tradition as taught for centuries prior to Vatican II. Are you suggesting that such teaching will be condemned by some new Syllabus of Errors?"

Brian, No, that is not what I am saying. One can affirm a dogma -- yet still hold to an incomplete, narrow or one-sided interpretation of the dogma. For example, the Feeneyites hold to the dogma of EENS. But we can't unterstand a dogma the way we like -- we need to understand it the way the Church does. The magisterium can intervene to condemn the errors of misinterpretation, one-sidedness, etc. How does this relate to the SSPX. Well, there is a history of the Popes (Paul VI & John Paul II) condemning a false notion of Tradition held by the SSPX. In the letter to the Bishops (following the remission of excommunication), Pope Benedict also made general reference to the narrow or one-sided doctrinal positions of the SSPX. Cardinal Castrillon remarked that the SSPX is guilty of heresy to the extent that it considers itself as the teacher of the Pope. Now, if nothing has changed during the course of the discussions (a deep dive on these and other issues) -- and each side holds to its former positions -- then it is certainly possible to see a renewed condemnation of some of these "errors" within the context of a new syllabus of errors and insofar as they contribute toward the hermenteutics of rupture in the aftermath of Vatican II. That is what I meant by the carrot giving way to the stick. In this sense the doctrinal discussions are a two-sided sword -- with both opportunity and risk. But if indeed certain errors are further revealed and confirmed -- then it is hard to believe that the CDF can just let it be without making any formal act of correction. In any case, I fully expect some document of clarification will result from the discussions -- but it may not be to the liking of everyone. Of course, this is just a personal opinion of things to come and I could be totally wrong.

Brian said...

K. Gurries,
Terms like "narrow," "one-sided," "out-moded," "negative," "anti-ism," and "frigid" are the very terms which Fr. Ratzinger used to criticize Humani generis of Pius XII; Lamentabili, Pascendi, and the "oath against Modernism" of Pius X; and the Syllabus of Errors of Pius IX.

Given that the SSPX closely adheres to those above-mentioned papal teachings, if Pope Benedict XVI now uses these same terms against the SSPX, it is no surprise.

But for the Pope now to condemn these positions in a new syllabus of errors would truly be absurd. It is not going to happen.

Further, given Fr. Ratzinger's open willingness to criticize Pope Pius IX's Syllabus as narrow and one-sided, if Pope Benedict XVI now writes a new syllabus, certainly the SPXX would be free to follow Fr. Ratzinger's precedent and dismiss this new counter-syllabus as being overly liberal, naively positive, one-sided, and lacking in prudence.

Anonymous said...

FYI: A new part has been posted.

All the best and thanks for this blog,

IM

Anonymous said...

Question No 55 to Bishop Fellay.

How many non-White priests hold any position of importance in your Society?. In Asia and Africa, how many local men are in charge of priories?

Anonymous said...

Nobody asks Fellay about the lack of accountability of his organization towards it's faithful.And some of his lackey-appointment District Superiors act like latter day Mandarins.