Rorate Caeli

Fellay: "The Jews are 'our elder brothers'."
"Antisemitism has no place in our ranks."

Strong words of the Superior General of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX), Bishop Bernard Fellay, against any suspicion of Antisemitism.

1. First, in a declaration made yesterday to Famille Chrétienne, the French Catholic weekly, as reported by La Croix this Sunday:

Bishop Bernard Fellay welcomed "Famille Chrétienne" [French Catholic weekly] on January 31, in his General House of Menzingen, Switzerland. He responded in particular to the accusations of Antisemitism cast at the Fraternity of Saint Pius X.

"We evidently condemn every act of murder of the innocent. It is a crime that cries to heaven! Even more so when it is related to a people. We reject every accusation of Antisemitism. Completely and absolutely. We reject every form of approval of what happened under Hitler. This is something abominable. Christianity places Charity at a supreme level. Saint Paul, speaking of the Jews, proclaims, 'I wished myself to be an anathema [from Christ], for my brethren!" (Rom. 9, 3). The Jews are "our elder brothers" in the sense that we have something in common, that is, the old Covenant. It is true that the acknowledgment of the coming of the Messiah separates us.

"It is very interesting to notice that the Church did not await for the Council to prescribe courses of action regarding the Jews. Since the 30s, even during the war, several texts of Rome provide a very just position: the abominations of the Hitlerist regime must be condemned! 'Spiritually, we are all Semites', Pope Pius XI had said. It is a truth which comes from Sacred Scripture itself, 'we are sons of Abraham,' Saint Paul also affirms."

2. Also by an e-mail message sent this Sunday to the Rev. Dr. Alcuin Reid (forwarded to several blogs):

Statement by Dr Alcuin Reid:

On Friday BBC Radio asked me to discuss recent events concerning the SSPX on 'The Sunday Programme' this morning. Following that request I asked the SSPX for comment on the issues to be discussed. Unfortunately Bishop Fellay's reply reached me only after the programme aired. His reply, written for publication, states:

"The position of Bishop Williamson is clearly not the position of our Society. Antisemitism has no place in our ranks. We follow fully God's commandments on justice and charity and the constant teaching of the Church. Antisemitism has been condemned by the Church. So do we condemn it. I fully agree with Fr Schmidberger's statement about Bishop Williamson's words. ("

God bless you

+Bernard Fellay


  1. Anonymous12:41 AM

    But we don't have the old covenant in common with the Jews.

    We don't have it.

    Since the Synod of Jamnia in 90 A.D., the Jews don't have it either (or actually, since the destruction of the temple under Titus).

  2. Methinks the regularisation is in fact on the fast track!

  3. Anonymous12:51 AM

    People forgets how dark was the history of "elder brothers" in the Holy Bible.

    Many of them were true criminals, and God ever selected the youngest to be "of him".

    Only a nazi or someone that never read the Holy Bible could say it was a sign of defeat.

    So, may God gran His Divine Help to Msgr. Fellay in this difficult resurrection!

    AMDG +

  4. Anonymous1:23 AM

    John Paul II was actually criticized by some Jewish authorities at the time for using the label of "elder brothers" for Jews. An example of the suspicion which greeted the expression is preserved here:

    Pope John Paul II took an historic step when he visited the Synagogue of Rome on 13 April 1986. During his visit, the Pope said, "Jews and Christians are the trustees and witnesses of an ethic marked by the Ten Commandments in the observance of which man finds his truth and freedom." He added, "With Judaism, therefore, we have a relationship which we do not have with any other religion. You are dearly beloved brothers and, in a certain way, it could be said that you are our elder brothers".

    While the Pope's words were highly praised, one cannot help but wonder whether he was indirectly referring to the words of Paul. In Romans 9: 12-13, we find that "Rebecca was told, 'The older [brother] will serve the younger.' Just as it is written, 'Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.'" The interpretation of the Biblical story of Esau and Jacob, in the sense that the younger brother takes over the heritage of the elder, has been widely spread by the Church for many generations.


  5. Anonymous1:39 AM

    All these statements, reassurances, and apologies are getting tiresome.

  6. Anonymous2:00 AM

    I just find this whole thing very confusing and I just wish the media would leave Traditional Catholics alone. They have their Obama. They should just stop bothering the Pope and the SSPX.

    Our Lady of Good Succes predicted that the world would be filled with evil books and an "impious media".

  7. Anonymous2:22 AM

    I am an SSPX chapelgoer, and comments like this are a great help to our situation but better than that ... to the whole church. Because for once the proper distinction is being made about so-called "hate." There is less tolerance for hate, esp. hate based on what ethnic group one's mother belonged to (i.e. racial hatred), in Catholicism than in any of the world's religions. Zero, in fact. The Catholic Christian is actually the least-hating person of all. Modern pluralism however says that our being the Supreme Lovers is not good enough: we must hold all faiths and creeds equal and condemn none for "words are bullets". This we cannot accept, thus, Nostra Aetate, Dignitatis Humanis, etc. present for us some intolerable difficulties. Bravo Bp. Fellay!

  8. Anonymous3:33 AM

    Let us, brethren, pray for all of five bishops most intimately involved in this ordeal: the Holy Father and his brothers apart of the SSPX. This is no time for division and all are aiming for the same thing: full communion.

  9. Anonymous7:33 AM

    Fellay may have a point in political expediency, i.e. to remove nonsensical charges against his Fraternity, but there a few points that we would have to make.

    Judaism is not so much based on the Ten Commandments, but it is heavily related to the Talmud. To the extent that Christians do not follow the Talmud, the comparisons stop there.

    Also, Jews do not believe that the Messiah is divine, but merely political, and so it breaks the nature of the early divine covenant. This is a major difference with Christianity, which velieves in the Holy Trinity as the Uncreated Word of God (Logos).

  10. Anonymous9:51 AM

    For the Jews we are pagans who worship a man (Our Lord Jesus Christ). So it is an insult to say that they're brothers of such ugly pagans.

  11. Those who hate have no Catholic spirit. Catholics are supposed to hate the sin but love the sinner. It is quite difficult without Divine help to put it in practice. But Our Lord died for all but only those who believe in Him will benefit from His love. These fundamental truth we should remember all the time.

  12. Anonymous10:54 AM

    "Christianity, which velieves (sic) in the Holy Trinity as the Uncreated Word of God (Logos)." ????

    Surely not! The Second Person of the Holy Trinity is the Uncreated Word of God - not the Holy Trinity Itself. I guess some words are missing from this statement by one of the Anonymous commenters.

    The essence of this issue is the welcome confirmation that the SSPX repudiates anti-semitisim and demonstrates that the Society is at one with the constant teaching of the Church on this - as on so many other matters. I am not an SSPX member, merely an ordinary Catholic desiring unity in the Church.

    Let us all redouble our efforts for the Holy Father and those of goodwill in the SSPX that the right solution is found.

  13. Even when Bishop Fellay is right, he's wrong in the eyes of the press and media who just cannot resist picturing the SSXP as antisemitic. Our religion is only approximately 2,000 years old but the Jewish religion goes back eons before that . Much of what we do as Catholics in rituals and ceremonies has been taken from the Jewish religion and, in fact, our religion is based upon the Old Covenant which found its completion in Christ Jesus. Jesus, Mary and Joseph were all Jewish in ethnicity and a slur against the Jews would be a slur against them (God forbid).

    But, even as we admit these historical facts, we are castigated for our supposedly anti-Jewish perspective. It boggles the mind. I just hope Pope Benedict XVI doesn't fall victim to these attacks against the SSPX and traditional Catholics in general and that he remains firm in his intent towards regularization. Once again, Lucifer prowls about the world seeking the ruin of souls and uses a vast array of anti-Catholic media and press releases to accomplish his goals.

  14. Anonymous2:53 PM

    To speak of "Jews" as if there are only one type is an error at best, and disingenuous at worst.

    There more more differences between closely related sects of "Judaism" than there are even between Catholics and Baptists. The theological gulf between, say, the Karaites and the Chabad-Lubavitch "school" is so wide, they consider each other to be absolute apostates to the "Jewish religion".

    So, to say "Jews are our elder brothers" means absolutely nothing, and is a sign of Modernism, that is, vagueness. WHICH "Jews" are "our elder brothers"?

    Also, as someone mentioned above, the "Jewish religion", as Our Lord practiced it, no longer exists, and never will again. It is a Modernist error to even consider "the Jews" to be anything more than a heretic sect of the One True Faith. It pains me to see the SSPX starting to trend towards Modernist Rome. A shame.

  15. Anonymous3:06 PM

    It seems to me that every Jewish outrage (and there are many of them) about remarks by clergy or laity concerning Jews or the holocaust is an attack by Jews against Catholics. After all, Jews really do believe that Jesus is NOT God the Son, and they really do believe that He was just a bastard child of a fornicating woman. But the Jews are smart enough not to say it in public.

  16. Anonymous3:07 PM

    I think the tone and message were perfect. To me, Fellay has become very impressive.

  17. Anonymous4:39 PM

    I remember Catholics in their eighties and nineties saying Judaism is the mother of Catholicism. They were brought up to have a great respect for the Jewish faith.

  18. Anonymous4:53 PM

    Let us all admit that Bishop Williamson's invitation to consider seperating him from his accustomed role in pastoral work ("cast me into the sea") may be the most intelligent thing he has offered us in a long time.

    Speak with the Church, teach with the Church, or be silent. "He who is not with Me..."

  19. Anonymous5:42 PM

    Does anyone have an idea when the FSSPX will be regularized and recieve faculties to hear confessions?

  20. Anonymous6:21 PM

    I've been having my confession's heard by them from about age 11 to my now age 29.

  21. Anonymous7:00 PM

    Only one problem --

    Bishop Williamson made no Antisemitic remarks. He doubted the mainstream teaching on the holocaust, but that has never been condemned by the Church.

    What he did, and hating the Jews, are two different things. Those two things are being confused.

  22. Anonymous8:26 PM

    I think you are the one who is confused. Hating the Jews and publicly associating yourself with fringe theories held dear by those who hate the Jews are not as far apart as you think. Words not only communicate ideas, but reveal the inner man to the outer world. His words suggested a certain temperment, and I think that Jews who heard him had good reason to be very nervous.

  23. Anonymous10:02 PM

    Cosmos, I have read + Williamson letters, blog and I don't find him to he mean spirited or hateful. I don't square with his views but I see no malice in the man.

  24. Anonymous10:35 PM

    Me said,

    I am sorry to tell you that at present, priests of the Society of St Pius X do not have jurisdiction from the Bishops of the Diocese's that they operate in, to validly hear cofessions or witness marriages, under current Canon Law.

    I myself was going to confessions to an SSPX priest for about a year, and the I found out from several Canon Lawyers as well as the Bishop of the Society of St John Vianney, His Excellency Bishop Rifan, that the Society does not have the jurisdictions to hear confessions.
    The exception of course would be in case of impending death, and ignorance of the law by the penitent.

    In other words, if the penitent is not aware that the Society does not have faculties to hear his confession, in that case, the Church supplies jurisdiction and his sins are forgiven him.
    God bless you.

  25. Anonymous10:55 PM

    "I think you are the one who is confused. Hating the Jews and publicly associating yourself with fringe theories held dear by those who hate the Jews are not as far apart as you think."

    Well let's see:

    Muslims believe the earth is round.

    You believe the earth is round.

    Therefore, you are a muslim.

  26. Anonymous11:13 PM

    Indeed, Cosmos' reply to logicalguy made no sense. it was gobbledy-gook.

  27. Anonymous11:55 PM

    "Muslims believe the earth is round.
    You believe the earth is round.
    Therefore, you are a muslim."

    Wow, is that really what you thought I was trying to say?

    I never said the Bishop was antisemetic, mean, bad, or anything. But I do think he is all the things that Fellay is expressing.

    What I said was that associating yourself with fringe ideas tends to associate you with the people who hold those ideas. If you start believing that the US or Israel blew-up the twin towers, you are going to be associated with Muslims, anarchists, etc.

    If you are a bishop that entertains holocaust conspiracy theories, you are going to be associated with antisemites.

  28. Muslims believe the earth is round.

    You believe the earth is round.

    Therefore, you are a muslim.

    That's a Straw Man. Cosmos wasn't arguing that Bishop Williamson definitely is antisemitic, or unquestionably said something that is antisemtic. Rather, he was talking about whether or not it is reasonable for Jews to be nervous when someone "publicly associates" himself with fringe theories held dear by those who hate the Jews. Your comment does not address Cosmos' point at all.

  29. Anonymous12:30 AM

    Dan Hunter Re:confessions

    The SSPX will tell you different as I am sure you are aware. I believe they have a qualified argument in the matter.

    Also, I have read independently where the current canon law allows an existing society or group to maintain their practice. I can't quote the canons but this argument was from a respectable source and maybe others could clarify.

    Also, have any of the laity or clerics who left the SSPX been made to re-confess, re-ordain, re-administer what has been done with the sspx? I have never heard of this.

    Rome has already said the laity can fulfill their Sunday obligation with the SSPX. Have they said not to go to confession there? With no ambiguous wording?

    What if there is a need for confession and no other priest is handy? convenient? how long do you stay in sin to find a 'regularised' priest when the SSPX is at hand when needed. No risk of dying while trying to find a regular priest?

    I went to confession in the SSPX chapel this morning for the first time. I fear being disobedient and hope that in good conscience the confession is good.

  30. Rome has already said the laity can fulfill their Sunday obligation with the SSPX. Have they said not to go to confession there? With no ambiguous wording?

    Yes. In July last year, Msgr. Camille Perl, Vice President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, formally replied to Brian Mershon's question on that point. (Msgr. Perl is the same authority who previously confirmed that SSPX Masses fulfill the Sunday obligation). Msgr. Perl wrote:

    Concretely, this means that the Masses offered by the priests of the Society of St. Pius X are valid, but illicit, i.e., contrary to Canon Law. The Sacraments of Penance and Matrimony, however, require that the priest enjoys the faculties of the diocese or has proper delegation. Since that is not the case with these priests, these sacraments are invalid. It remains true, however, that, if the faithful are genuinely ignorant that the priests of the Society of St. Pius X do not have proper faculty to absolve, the Church supplies these faculties so that the sacrament is valid (cf. Code of Canon Law, canon 144)

  31. Christopher Ferrara has a must-read article in The Remnant regarding the controversy over Bishop Williamson's imprudent remarks for which he has humbly asked forgiveness:

  32. The confirmation of validity of SSPX masses came well before Perl's. I received a statement in 2003 confirming validity. Which, in any case does not alter the fact that their Masses are valid.

    The contrasting truth is that many NO services are not only replete with illicit practices but are invalid also according to the necessary criteria validating Holy Mass. About these little or nothing is ever said.

  33. Anonymous5:21 AM

    I am so tired of this apologetic "the Jews are our elder brothers" mantra. The Church is the New Israel that we enter into by Holy Baptism. Jewish Christians are not necessarily our "elder brothers" for that matter. It is precisely the faithful departed, Jews and Gentiles, that are technically our elder brothers and sisters.

  34. Anonymous7:19 AM

    On Jordanes point about Confession, it is also the case that there can be supplied jurisdiction in cases of common error about need. The S.S.P.X argues something like this. I note that Msgr. Perl's answers have not been signed by the Cardinal and that they have not appeared in the Acta. There is some doubt on the matter. I've seen the Society's arguments for the validity of their confessions and it is plausible. But is it also correct? I don't know.

    I take the view that, since the time the Society was offered a particular church of its own, in 2000, the Society has lost its argument to be operating in a case of necessity. Others see that too. It's why Fr. Aulagnier and others left. It might also be a factor in the Society's decision to accept regularisation.

    I have never attended a Society Mass and, while I sympathise very stronly with the Society (certainly more than I do with semi-traditionalists), I can't see how its position has been justified at least since 2000. Rightful disobedience to legitmate authority must be a necessity; it cannot be a matter of convenience.

    On the other side, as Jordanes says, Perl admits that their Masses are able to fulfil the Sunday obligation. Despite this, a Bishop in Connecticut said EXACTLY the opposite yesterday (and it's on-line somewhere). One reason for regularisation is a need for CLARITY in these matters. Faithful are not required to take out degrees in the Canon Law. How can the Mrs. McGillicudys cope now?


  35. Anonymous8:43 AM

    The reason Bishop Lefebvre consecrated four other bishops was to guarantee the continuity of the Traditional sacraments of the Church of Rome. Not merely the Tridentine Mass. He claimed no jurisdiction other than to guarantee the sacraments which were being denied around the world.
    What would you expect Msgr. Perl to
    say? The Roman autorities said lies
    about the Tridentine Mass validity,
    then it became merely illicit after the 1984 indult. Msgr. Perl
    would probably argue the same against the priests ordained by St. Athanasius during the Arian Heresy. Bishop Lefebvre knew what he was doing was ecclesial disobedience and that it was necessary to preserve Tradition. He took obedience to God as more important than obedience to his pope who was at odds with his predecessors. I did not become a supporter of the SSPX because I wanted to (36 years ago). The Roman authorities left me no choice. The succesion of bishops in this diocese included no less than Bishop Fulton Sheen. He was just as hell bent on the reforms as the rest of them.

    A.M. LaPietra

  36. Anonymous11:00 AM

    On LeongG's remarks:

    Very good. Actually, the very first admission by Perl came late in 2002, so you must have one of the first letters.

    I also have copies of some of Perl's replies which show certain inconsistences. Interesting.


  37. Anonymous12:41 PM

    Gee, doesn't he look fresh of face - amazing what the lifting of an excommunication will do for a man !!

  38. Anonymous2:39 PM

    LeonG, you reference earlier documents from other sources (not Perl) that confirm the validity of SSPX masses - good. Does that mean they are licit? Do you say their confessions are valid? It is interesting that Dan Hunter would quote + Rifan on the matter.

  39. P K T P

    In fact, they have always been valid, the statement was effectively a confirmation of validity. In fact, to claim otherwise illustrates the extent of popular modern catholic ignorance or pure mischief-making. Bishops in SE Asia have used this as a stick to beat those NO catholics who would like to go to The Holy Mass in Latin. They threaten excommunication and make accusations of schism. They are a horde of agents provocateurs where tradition is concerned.

    I have shown people who doubted liturgical validity and that of SSPX holy orders the statements but they still insist schism and invalidity, even those very close to me: such is the base ignorance and immovable stubbornness of untruth.

  40. Anonymous3:00 PM

    Anonymous said...
    All these statements, reassurances, and apologies are getting tiresome.

    02 February, 2009 01:39

    Blogs, or other dialogues, especially with prudence and charity, can help
    us faithful in "matters of belief". They can help us as we try to obey Truth in order to keep the "Norms of Orthodoxy." (Sp. Ex. of St. Ignatius of Loyola.)
    Especially with the help of able moderators. :)

    When we the faithful are united in these matters of belief...we are known as the "University of the Faithful". (Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J., RIP, as stated in Lumen Gentium, 2, 12..."The whole body of the faithful who have an anointing that comes from the holy one (1 Jn. 2:20 and 27) cannot err in matters of belief."

    This assumes being in communion with the See of Peter.

  41. Anonymous4:23 PM

    Att. to angelic:

    Please explain how I am supposed to present a face that has become furrowed with pain at what has transpired in Holy Mother Church. I have recommited the Sorrowful Mysteries chaplet of my rosary to thanks to God for the lifting of the excommunications and a plea that Pope Benedict XVI will now
    consumate all of Our Lady's Fatima related requests. If you perceive
    that what I wrote was incorrect let
    me know which part. The worship of God is paramount in my life. The late Archbishop Lefebvre, the only lighthouse on a darkend sea to continue my voyage towards eternity has directed me within
    sight of my destination. I pray to God that one of His priests hear my last confession even if the local bishop claims he doesn't have faculties, I do believe God does supply them.

    A.M. LaPietra

  42. Anonymous8:24 PM

    On LeongG's remarks;

    No, I was referring not to validity but to the ability of Society Masses to fulfil the obligation. The current position of the P.C.E.D. is that Society Masses are valid but illicit but which nevertheless can fulfil the Sunday obligation (provided there is no schismatic intent).

    But this was not always Perl's position. The P.C.E.D. has always said 'valid but illicit'; however, it used to say 'unable to fulfil the Sunday obligation'. I have documents from the past I can quote on this. It looks to me as if Perl made a mistake at one point and was corrected by someone in the P.C.L.T. The other possibility is that Rome changed her mind over this owing to some change on the part of the S.S.P.X, but I can't imagine what that could be.

    I get the feeling that at least some authorities at Rome have simply used law for convenience. Consider the contradictin between "De Missali Romano", 1971 (not to be confused with "Missale Romanum", 1970) and "Summorum Pontificum", 2007. The former asserts that priests can only celebrate the T.L.M. in a case of lawful need or if aged, and must do so in private. The latter denies this, saying that priests are free to celebrate the T.L.M. as a matter of principle. Popes are not infalible in matters of law. . . .


  43. I was assuming the fulfilling of Sunday obligation in my comment. What I am intimating and highlighting is the absurdity of the accusations of invalidity,contrary to public statements by Cardinals involved.

    This is contrasted with the evident Novus Disorder wherein illicitness and invalidity sit side by side on more than numerous occasions these days but yet the SSPX are continually criticised by hair-splitting arguments which belie the reality. There is no doubt as to which Holy Mass satisfies the criteria for validity each time and it is certainly not the fabricated liberalised do-it-yourself liturgies we find across the world in most countries today. The jazz band jamboree free for all I have witnessed recently in a SE Asian country was a real abomination. Even the moderns disliked it as "they could not pray" & it was "distracting": valid comments to put it mildly. No Confession for the vast majority during the year, but Communion by all standing up gossipers throughout included by people wearing any old apparel; non-stop jazz music and a "liturgy of the word" that takes up half the time while the actual Canon of The NO Service assumed less than 5 minutes! This is normal here. I went along to get an update on the situation having been out of it for several years. It gets worse. Include abuse of extraordinary ministers; women touching the sacred vessels in the general melee; women readers in revealing clothing with endless noise and it completes the abusive spectacle. The presbyter gives three sermons - a general introduction at the beginning, the actual sermon essentially on a psycho-social theme and then another shorter pep talk before the final blessing. At the blessing the general chatter restarts & everyone hurries out behind the exiting presbyter while others remain inside talking loudly with children running about. there is no tabernacle in evidence and certainly no red lamp as Cardinal Pacelli prophesied over 70 years ago. The clergy say nothing and do nothing. The bishop encourages it by allowing it. He celebrates it with the assembly.

    Therefore, to condemn SSPX Masses and Holy Orders reeks of humbug. Which Mass would you attend if you were faced with the choice?


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