Rorate Caeli

Fellay speaks

The relevant questions and answers from the interview granted by Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX) to Austrian daily Die Presse (Sunday Edition):

Die Presse: How is the dialogue between the SSPX and Rome, which created so much dust in January?

Bishop Bernard Fellay: We have sorted out our ideas in early June. The decision of the Pope on the design of the talks will be announced in the next few days. It is true that a special Commission will be set up for the discussion - with some Roman theologians and some of our priests.

The other major sticking point between you and Rome is the Tridentine Rite. Due to the Pope’s re-authorization of this Rite, this has at least largely been defused. Is this enough for you, or would you have expected even more?

Fellay: I'm sure there will be even more coming. Not from us, but for Rome itself the liturgical situation must be improved. That will come.

In a reconciliation with Rome, you probably need to make some kind of declaration of loyalty. Can you do this even if the church does not in all points return to dressing herself in the pre-Vatican II garment?

Fellay: I would rather say: if Catholic principles have been clarified, even though not everything has been resolved, then it is possible. There is a very practical question, which is now evident and that is: how are we accepted? There is a very sharp blockade. That is presently stopping us from going on. If we see too much opposition, then we simply say: well, we will still wait a bit.

Would not it be prudent to suspend the ordinations in order to improve the climate?

Fellay: The problem exists only in Germany. In Rome, there is sympathy for these ordinations, even if they say it is illegal and not according to the canon law. We were told that we are in an intermediate state in which we can talk peace, in which Rome can also observe us. We have nothing against it, if Rome would send an observer to us. We have offered it, but perhaps not clearly enough.

You therefore do not recognize any repudiation by the Pope of your acts?

Fellay: That would be a wrong interpretation of the event. This is not a hostile act, I have written to the Pope and asked him to consider these ordinations not as a rebellion, but as a step of survival in difficult and complex circumstances.

However you wish to interpret the ordinations, the Pope is being placed, at any rate, in an unpleasant situation.

Fellay: I understand that well. This situation is very unpleasant for all. Let me repeat: this problem comes from the different currents in the church, which themselves can hardly endure. This problem can ultimately only be resolved by the Pope. But I'm not even sure whether it ever can be resolved.

What is Bishop Williamson doing now?

Fellay: He is in London. He prays, he is studying, nothing else.

Is there a foreseeable end to the internal exile?

Fellay: I see none. The whole matter depends on him.

You would probably like a greater distancing from his Holocaust-denial.

Fellay: If such statements recur, then it would be unbearable.

Tip and first translation: Catholic Church Conservation