The head of the District of the United States of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX) shares what he can say of the history and current status of the discussions between the Holy See and the FSSPX.
J Vennari: Our readers are most interested in the Doctrinal Discussions now going on between the Society of St. Pius X and Rome. I understand these discussions are taking place in a kind of secrecy. Why is this?
Father Rostand: From the beginning of the Doctrinal Discussions between Rome and the Society of Saint Pius X, it was clearly stated that these discussions would remain private. It was the wish of Rome and of the Society. Firstly, it is important to remember the circumstances in which these discussions started – At the same time that the Pope lifted the invalid excommunications of the four bishops consecrated by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, a media campaign attacked the Pope himself and the Society of Saint Pius X, putting heavy pressure on all concerned.
It is not always easy to understand the power that the media has on people’s minds, especially here in the United States; but as a matter of fact, the pressure was intense. Rome wants to avoid this type of strain and tension, particularly during these crucial discussions.
More decisively, it is a normal and common practice of the Church to maintain privacy, even secrecy, over these types of questions or affairs. An example would be the election of the Pope, which is done in absolute secrecy with no contact with the world in order to avoid any outside influence. Many questions are discussed by the Pope and cardinals in a similar manner. There is nothing disturbing or alarming about this custom; it is actually normal procedure. I would even add that it is also a question of respect for the Pope, because there we are talking with the Bishop of Rome, the highest authority in the world, the successor of Saint Peter, the Vicar of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
The pressure, however, is not solely from the world, from outside the Church; it comes also from within. There is an implacable fight going on within the Church. Most “modernists” do not want any discussions with the Society of Saint Pius X, they do not want any discussions about Vatican II, for no one may question Vatican II. They have long since switched from the “pastoral council” they originally pushed for in order to obtain their objectives, to a “doctrinal” one, a council that must be accepted as doctrinal, one which in fact has become even more important that all the former councils.
Nonetheless, today Rome has agreed to listen to our objections and protestations regarding Vatican II and what has happened to the Church over the past several decades; this in itself is a miracle. Bishop Fellay, in a conference he gave in Paris on January 9th, 2011, expressed how astonishing these discussions are! It is remarkable that Rome, the Supreme Magisterium of the Catholic Church, accepts to discuss Her own doctrine. Still, that is exactly what is going on in Rome with these discussions. It is very unusual.
On this question, it might be necessary to point out that although privacy is kept while these discussions are going on, it most likely will not be the case when they are over. Everything that is said is recorded, both audio and video, and everything is transcribed, with these documents being given to the Pope and to Bishop Fellay.
(Interview granted to John Vennari; tip: reader). Full text of the interview.
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