Rorate Caeli

Fellay in Argentina: "already signed"

From the lecture given by Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior-General of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX/SSPX) in Martínez, in the Province of Buenos Aires, on December 16, 2006 (WAV file in the website of the South American District of the FSSPX).

We present the main snippet below, as we gather some more information. The Bishop's somewhat broken Spanish (the main words should read, "el documento ya ESTÁ firmado") is kept as faithfully as possible in the following translation:

"What is interesting is that Cardinal Ricard told the Assembly of French Bishops, that was in early November, that 'the motu proprio is not signed', and that now is the time to make notes, to define what is thought, what should be corrected.

"[01:38:30]Well, the document is already signed [emphatic] and the Cardinal who spoke to the French Bishops knows it. There are curious things. And, also, after the signing, the matter is once again discussed, on December 12. That is why I say that the [motu] proprio is not really 'proprio' [play with words, the Pope's 'own' document, is not really his 'own']

"Well, there are very curious things. We know, from someone high up, that the publication was predicted for November 11. However, the Pope fears the bishops’s reaction, and... (sic) that is why ... (sic) it takes long... (sic) -- and, now, don’t ask me when ... (sic) the day of this motu proprio [the date in which it will be published]. I don’t know. What I can say is that, last year, a secretary of the Synod of the Eucharist, a week before the end of the Synod, was absolutely certain of the publication of the permission for the Mass by the end of the Synod. This was over one year ago. [emphatic]"


" seems like that in this text, motu proprio, there isn’t only the Mass, there’s something else, there’s another thing, and this other thing is for the Society of Saint Pius X. But, I don’t know what. I ask myself if it’s the matter of the excommunications, if it’s the question of the juridical structure. I don’t know. They haven’t told me ! (laughter) and, then… (sic) but what I see is that, it’s like an expectation by Rome that, if they give us the Mass, they think that we are going to change and end the battle. And that, you can be certain, it’s not true. Not for anything!"

*"Lo que es interesante es que el Cardenal Ricard dijo a la asamblea de los obispos, fue al inicio de noviembre, que 'el motu proprio no está firmado' y que ahora es el tiempo para hacer notas, para definir lo que piensa, lo que hay que corregir... (sic) [01:38:30] Bueno, el documento ya es [emphasis] firmado y el Cardenal que ha hablado con los obispos franceses lo sabe. Hay cosas curiosas. Y también, después de la firma, el 12 de diciembre, se ha tratado de nuevo del tema. Es por eso que digo que 'proprio' no es tan 'proprio' ... (sic).

"Bueno, hay cosas muy curiosas. Sabemos de muy alto que era previsto (sic) la publicación en el 11 de noviembre. Pero el papa teme la reacción de los obispos y ... (sic) es por eso que es... (sic) es demorado ... (sic) y ahora no me preguntan (sic) cuando ... (sic) el día de este motu proprio. No lo sé. Lo que puedo decir es que el año pasado un secretario del sínodo sur (sic) la Eucaristía, una semana antes de, de la fin, del fin del sínodo, era absolutamente cierto de la publicación de la permisión de la misa al fin de este sínodo. Hace más de un año. [emphasis]"


"...parece que en este texto, motu proprio, no hay solamente la misa, hay otro, hay otra cosa, y otra cosa que es para la Fraternidad San Pío Décimo. Pero no sé qué. Me pregunto si es la cuestión de las excomunicaciones, si es la cuestión de una estructura jurídica. No sé. No me (sic) han dicho! (laughter) Y entonces...(sic) pero lo que veo es que, es como una espera de parte de Roma que se van a dar a nosotros la misa y entienden que nosotros vamos a movernos y terminar la batalla. Y eso, pueden ser (sic) ciertos que no es verdad. Por nada!"


  1. This is puzzling: if the document is already signed, what is holding up its publication? It would seem that a Papal Signature would be applied only to a final draft and somehow finalize the matter. Why would the pope sign a rough draft that he wants scrutinized by his cardinals? The whole matter seems to be rather clouded by an obsession with collegiality: one that persists even after Peter has apparently made up his mind.

  2. Collegial agreement will not be accomplished in a matter of days.

  3. Whatever the reasons for the delay, it's actually the norm that a Vatican document be signed on one date and then made public officially several months later.

  4. yes, that is true. it is going to be very interesting to see how this issue develops in the church. AMDG

  5. Bishop Fellay has two way of talking; one way in Argentina and another way in Europe. In Europe is positive, in Argentina is negative, is he also a relativists? AMDG.

  6. Interesting. Here he says he has no idea what all is being planned. In another interview he says the SSPX has been in contact with Rome since his meeting with BXVI. As Superior General he would have no knowledge what those constant exchange of letters contain or is he saying that the exchange of communication has nothing to do with the Moto? Mixed messages... on purpose? Most interesting.

  7. Definetly Bishop Fellay has a lot of information on what Rome is doing, so the so called "papal secrecy" is not very effective.

  8. Clearly, the Pope is calculating how to publish this document and remain Pope. This would, by implication, be the result of setting off the bomb at this point, or it would have been set off before now. Faced with the reality of a schism resulting in the "smaller, leaner church" which he has mentioned before, the question will become one of will he remain Pope of the displaced minority in situ, or be chased from Rome, resulting in the fulfillment of St. Malachi's prophecys concerning the end of the papacy. That may sound alarmist, but he wouldn't be the first to face a coup.

    But as Humboldt says, "Collegial agreement will not be accomplished in a matter of days." There are some things that only time will accomplish, and building up the episcopal ranks to accomodate the reintroduction of a degree of uniformity and orthodoxy to Catholic worship must be done one Bishop at a time, until the progressives are in the minority.

    But it seems to me that there are advantages to living with the threat of an unexploded bomb of this kind still under wraps. Certain people fear it, whom one wants to fear it, which can get things done as well.

    One other observation, perhaps he is countering what Ricard may be doing in private back in France, spreading gossip, rumour, innuendo, building resistance. So Fellay may be leaking to build support. As they say in Bethnal Green and Mile End, "Go'won then, moy son!"

  9. Personally, I think we are witnessing a supreme heavyweight of ecclesiastical politics at work, dancing, feinting, doing the old rope-a-dope, floating like a butterfly and stinging like a...Motu Proprio? Keep your lamps lit, for thou knowest not when the old right-cross cometh. AMDG!

  10. hebdomadary, aren't you exagerating when you say that Benedict XVI's papacy is at risk if the so called "motu propio" is published? I don't think so. Another issue is to see when it will take effect, in 10 years? AMDG.

  11. Anonymous4:29 PM

    Benedict XVI cannot be "un-made" pope. Some other people can formally go into schism by failing to recognize him, that's all. However, people who go into formal schism almost always have been in informal schism for years.

    Nothing is gained by the church when it condones informal schism on the level we now have. The Church must be true to her internal principles at some point or risk defaulting which she is not free to do. Have we reached that point? I'm not sure, but I suspect so.

    Where Peter is, there is the Church.

  12. Unforunately I don't think I am exaggerating. This is heavy power politics at work here. Literally life and death stuff. That's just pragmatic reality...alas. We in the west tend to take a rather extrapolated view of what politics is really all about, based on our comparatively civilized and usually non-violent experience of Republican Democracy, but make no mistake at root, it's a question of will.

    I know Benedict cannot be unmade to any of us who believe in his legitimacy, but popes can and have been declared anti in the past. (Be thankful we don't live in St. Vincent Ferrer's time, with THREE of them running about!, and Catherine of Sienna disagreeing with you as to which is the real one!) Do any of us really want to see even an attempt made at making this happen. I don't think so, and neither does he. It would be terrible. The church has always been willing to overlook a certain amount of abuse, and it's overlooking a considerable amount of it now. The politics of the human institution demand it.

    The church in every age has had its problems, but still we go falteringly forward. I'd rather run full speed, but I don't run the church. Probably a good thing too!

  13. I mean, Michigan, when you say "people can fail to recognize him, that's all", that's a really BIG "that's all", especially with the most number of people we've ever had on the planet, and a situation that the Church in any age or situation would seek to avoid. A modern Modernist "sack of Rome" would be more thorough and devastating than anything that the 16th century could dish up.

  14. Anonymous5:18 PM

    I don't think the progressive wing is all that powerful anymore, hebdomodary.

    I think so few catholics are actually out of a coma that as long as we don't talk openly about birth control too loudly too quickly, most people won't even notice a big wide turn toward tradition.

    This comatose state is what the progressives were after and now they have it. I don't think most of the comatose victims will come to their defense, and the progressives might risk a lot making the noise to rouse them issue by issue, which is how the turn must be made.

    We must start with liturgical & doctrinal matters and go down from there. I think it will happen and I don't think there will be a big uprising.

    I think most Catholics don't enough depth and understanding to be able to connect the dots correctly, frankly.

    The work on the ground will be to point out the lies of the progressivs as what they are--lies--issue by issue. It's already being done.

  15. Anonymous5:22 PM

    A note on the last post:

    I hope you recognize, of course, that laypeople have been had in a big way, and in order for the hardcore progressives to state their case in particulars, they will have to admit these particulars in public. There's no way to make some of this look right.

    Example we've seen: the whole translation thing. Do you know the details? They're ludicrous.

  16. The so called progressives ARE powerful but they are aged.Their worst achievment is to intimidate bishops who are otherwise orthodox but afraid of being "divisive".The motu proprio will infuriate them as would water thrown on the wicked witch of the west (Wizard of Oz),but what Benedict writes in his exhortation will have the greatest weight.If he mandates (as Marini said he would do last April) a minimum amount of Latin in every mass.forbids certain instruments and music,forbids liturgical dance.If he encourages the ad orientem position,greater use of Latin and Gregorian chant,he will face a silent uprising among the liberal elite.Face it if he merely implemented what Vatican II said was to be done in the liturgy he would face a revolt.But the time is ripe for him to bite the bullet and do it.It is time for the church to take back its own liturgy.

  17. Anonymous5:50 PM

    I know schisms are a bad thing in general, but one good thing to come out of that hypothetical situation is that the loyal bishops would then constitute the majority over the progressives if many progressives "left" the Church (officially).

  18. I hope you're right, Mich, I really do. I know they grow weaker with every passing year, I just hope I live to see their political demise.

    Here's a good example of the daily liturgical nightmare of the church. I just came back from playing (and singing) for a Novus Ordo requiem at a lovely little Catholic church in an affluent neighbourhood. I had set some pretty standard Novus Ordo music, which would include (along with some banalities on request) the In Paradisum, and a sung english Sanctus from the Proulx "Community Mass" (tuneful, singable), and the 23rd (22nd to us) psalm. The family is hispanic, and I'm a friend of the granddaughter, but she didn't say a word about a bi-lingual mass. I get there, and she's changed the psalm, the mass will be half in spanish and half in english. Very nice young hispanic priest, but in the short time we had to talk beforehand he didn't specify anything about the memoral acclaimation or amen. In the end, I suggested singing the Latin Sanctus and Agnus from Mass XVIII (and threw in the Kyrie - Greek, of course - as well), which he was fine with and which I did!

    I mean, I think I had some small civilizing aesthetic influence on this occaision, but what a Babel-like liturgical hodge-podge. I think everyone, including me, was a little confused. Which is a metaphor for the whole church at the moment.

    So as I say, I hope you're right. I really do.

  19. I'll say one other thing. Relative to Michigan's statement thet "I don't think there will be any big uprising", neither do I, partly because I don't think anything will happen until the opposition is politically neutralized beforehand, at least as much as it can be, in the interest of absolutely MINIMIZING the opportunity for practical dissent. It is the responsible thing to do, and I think that's what is prolonging the waiting, because Benedict is nothing if not a responsible politician. He is also a consummate one. It's chess. And he's thinking many moves ahead.

  20. And I LOVE the THRONES!! Trads should be very heartened by that gesture, and no mistake.

  21. Anonymous2:40 AM

    And indeed, Hebdomedary, what you did is what must be done. You made what you had to do as simply as beautiful as you could. This is what people need and understand on some subliteral level. They don't remember how it's supposed to go, but they know it's supposed to be beautiful. It's the street-level return to faithfulness in the liturgy and it will happen, sooner or later.

    The progressives set themselves out a path doomed to fail. Religion which is ugly is a failure, sooner or later. It's just not believable because God is beauty himself.

    The amount of subterfuge that the progressives had to engage in to get what they wanted is more than they can reveal if they need it to make their argument. This should have been the first clue to them that it was wrong. And it is, ultimately, what will topple their little regime.

  22. "Religion which is ugly is a failure, sooner or later. It's just not believable because God is beauty himself."

    How aptly put, how succinct, how utterly commonsensical. How true. You do have a way with words, Mich. That reasoning alone should be cause for much hope among disheartened trads. The NO'ers are already reaching for beauty, and the only place they can find it is in their past. The once and future mass is ready to be present once again on the altars of the church. The throne...the's a sign. Be ready.

  23. It seems as if Benedict is, by slow steps, preparing the way for a future restoration that he knows will have to be done by a successor because it can't be accomplished all at once without a damaging shock wave. He is setting things up for the future question, "Why not?"

    If the throne becomes standard in this papacy, why not restore the tiara in the next?

    If the importance of uniting faith and reason is emphasized in this papacy, why not make a sober and realistic appraisal of modern ecumenism in the next?

    If the "hermeneutic of continuity" is adopted in this papacy, why not reach definitive conclusions about the relative importance and lasting value of Vatican II in the next?

    If the traditional Mass yields a fruitful harvest as the "extraordinary form" of the Roman Rite, why not let a subsequent Pope, by a stroke of the pen, make the Novus Ordo the "extraordinary form"?

    All without violent revolution; all through a slow, organic change. Guided evolution, if you will. A foundation is being poured that a future pontiff can build on-- after the core of the resistance has gone to its eternal reward.

  24. Anonymous3:30 PM

    I think Hebdomadary is right about the danger of releasing the Moto and about BXVI being aware of the risks at stake here. Even the possibility of schism should definitely be considered.

  25. Collegiality is the post-conciliar death blow to papal authority as The Church once knew it. All the signs have been there for all of us to see and understand ever since the 1960s. We are in an era of episcopal despotism. It looks like democracy but, in reality, it has stripped all power from the papacy. The "installation" procedure of popes today symbolises the actual fact that the Holy Father is a primus inter pares and no more. These fellows do as they please in the name of "the spirit of the councils" and threaten everyone with excommunication and isolation, if they dare to stand up for the truth and the faith. Their presbyters are bullied into submission as they fear for their right to say the NO service, their pensions and their medical insurance, among other matters.

    It is obvious that the Pope is unable to act freely since his past is part of the process that helped establish this in the first place by "razing bastions" and by putting The Faith in doubt, in his own particular way. Add to this all the recent scandals with the clergy and hierarchy with which he is at least associated, even if not implicated directly, and you have the perfect recipe for another papacy full of "nice" sound bites but very little substance leading toward a restoration of the True Faith. Further decline and frustration appear to be looming unless he takes the courage to face out the opponents.

    Indeed, Ricard and his friends are making sure the battle of the liturgy is going to be tough and a bloody one. They know that the issue is not only about the liturgy but about orthodox doctrine too. They will do all they can to stop any concessions to Tradition. As I have said often, they would rather sit over the total elimination of Roman Catholicism than allow any semblance of the True Faith to be restored in The Church of The Christ. As some of them doubt Christ's divinity and applaud the ubiquitous erection of mosques and temples in their own dioceses, then you cannot expect anything better of them.

    To cry "obedience" to such blatantly un-Catholic "shepherds" beggars Catholic belief. When one studies statistically the destruction & desolation wrought on the modern church under their leadership and observe with one's own eyes the ignorance into which many modern catholics have sunk, how can any Catholic in their right Catholic mind feign "obedience" to men such as these? The last 45 years is a graveyard for papal encyclicals and letters flagrantly ignored, opposed or disobeyed by modern bishops. This website has posted some of the evidence of this.

  26. You're obviously ready for some more headlines, Mack, and so am I. In response to what rumble are you posting this vent, or is it just a post Christmas continuation of the above line of conversation?

  27. I repeat my earlier point that Mgr Fellay has no case to answer. I would expect he knows something but certainly not everything. He has also found out that Rome these days is a labyrinth of ambiguity and inconsistency which partially answers the question as to why Archbishop Lefebvre had little or no trust in his dealings with the then Cardinal Ratzinger. The "spirit of the councils" means that you may or may not receive a reply but if and when it comes it is usually couched in equivocation, double-meanings and uncertainty: the alleged, signed 'motu proprio' which was ready... soon, for October, November, December, early next year, by Easter........... illustrates the problem, graphically. Thankfully, the good archbishop proceeded with his task and ignored popularity and threats, since with the SSPX as a considerable lever, tradition has arrived at this juncture, SSPX giving considerable weight to the cause. I doubt if we would have got to this point now if they had not existed.

    It is clear for thinking Catholics to see that the papacy (not the pope) is bedeviled and the Holy Father is suffering for 45 years of liturgical devastation and doctrinal obfuscation. Discipline in the modern church has all but crumbled and this cannot be blamed on traditionalists as the objective evidence since the 1960s demonstrates, fully.

    Mgr Fellay had better be very careful he does not asphyxiate himself or his priestly confraternity in such an unpredictable atmosphere.


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