Rorate Caeli

Fellay: "The Pope desires this"

From the interview granted by the Superior General of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX), Bishop Bernard Fellay, to Brian Mershon, for The Remnant:
Brian Mershon: What is the Society’s attitude on the worldwide media attacks on the Holy Father and the Church?

Bishop Fellay: I think we have there a good demonstration that the Church really does still have enemies. And these enemies have real names. You can see that through this ongoing campaign. It is very revealing. On the one hand, we have the old-guard U.S. enemies and, on the other hand, we have the leftists from Europe both working together.

Brian Mershon: Do you think these attacks are related to the chastisements foretold by Sister Lucia in the Third Secret?

Bishop Fellay: It’s too difficult to say. But if there is one quote from Fatima that I would quote that applies—it is this: “The Pope will suffer a lot. The Pope will suffer a lot.” And you have it there.

Brian Mershon: The ongoing doctrinal talks with the Holy See are occurring outside the media spotlight for obvious reasons. What do you expect to happen as a result of these? What has to happen in the doctrinal talks for the Society to agree to a canonical structure? Are the talks even related to a possible canonical solution?

Bishop Fellay: It’s impossible to say. Absolutely impossible. It depends upon too many factors right now. I don’t have the answer.

Brian Mershon: Some critics say that the Society’s rejection of a canonical or practical solution is a sign of obstinacy or ill will. How do you answer that?

Bishop Fellay: It is very simple. The Holy See has agreed that the doctrinal talks should happen, so that should answer the questions without putting the burden on me. Besides that, it is very clear that whatever practical solution that would happen without a sound doctrinal foundation would lead directly to disaster. We don’t want that. We want and need the security of a sound solution on the level of doctrine to go ahead. So to pretend there is something definitive prior to engaging in the doctrinal talks…

We have all these previous examples in front of us—the Fraternity of St. Peter, the Institute of Christ the King and all of the others are totally blocked on the level of doctrine because they first accepted the practical agreement.

Brian Mershon: Do you believe the Pope personally sincerely desires a canonical solution with the Society of St. Pius X?

Bishop Fellay: Yes, I think so. Yes, I do. I think the Pope desires this. He wants the Church to be better and he wants to complete the quest of the consecration of bishops with the Society.

Brian Mershon: You have mentioned in previous interviews that the Society has positive acquaintances or even friends as bishops, cardinals—and even in the Roman curia. What advice do they give you as these doctrinal talks are ongoing?

Bishop Fellay: Nothing at all. They are very discreet right now. I think the discussions we’re having are very good and are happening at a very discreet level. The next talks are taking place in May.

Brian Mershon: Are you aware of any group of priests, lay faithful or dioceses in the recent history of the Church who have offered such large bouquets of rosaries to the Holy Father as the Society has now done thrice?

Bishop Fellay: Not to my knowledge. It might have happened, but I don’t have any reference. But it is obvious that such a crusade is something unique. I believe that Fr. Gruner is now going to do the same thing.

Brian Mershon: What is your advice to Catholics who desire to open a chapel in their area? Is the Society putting on the breaks where expanding chapel locations is concerned, due to the doctrinal talks?

Bishop Fellay: First, the lay faithful should contact us and then we try to do something for them. Right now, we have so many requests that we can hardly fulfill them. This year, we have a good year for ordinations, but even so we are too short of priests [to fulfill all the requests]. We can hardly answer all the requests. But we continue our normal life as before. It would be totally counterproductive to think we would have to stop any increase in our life because of talks with Rome. It should be quite the contrary.


Anonymous said...

All this talking from both sides of his mouth by Bishop Bernard Fellay seems to be causing a change in his facial appearance.

Anonymous said...

Bishop Fellay is speaking in a straightforward manner here, the way he always does.
You must show respect for His Excellency, primarily for his office as apostle, but also because Bishop Fellay is very orthodox.
He wants unity within the Body of Christ.
Don't you?

LeonG said...

The Confraternity must continue practically to spread traditional liturgical & doctrinal approaches no matter what happens during the talks. It would appear Bishop Fellay is stating this as the current standpoint.
We certainly do not want SSPX to be compromised and episcopally abused in the same manner as the so-called indult societies.

thetimman said...

I know of course that there is a history between the FSSP and the SSPX. The FSSP has many supporters on this blog and can easily defend itself.

However, I want to address His Excellency's reference to the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. I would like to know in precisely what way the Institute is "totally blocked" on the level of doctrine. Which ones? Name one.

And just what "practical agreement" did the Institute reach before settling doctrinal questions? Though its antecedents were already there, the Institute was canonically formed in 1990, two years after the SSPX consecrations and the formation of the FSSP. It was not an offshoot or remnant of the SSPX. The Institute's priests were formed under the great Cardinal Siri. Its canonical structure was, at first, one of diocesan right; since 2008 it is one of Pontifical Right.

The Institute's growth and trajectory were based first and foremost on its own unique charism based on its patrons, its dedication to liturgical tradition in the spirit of St. Benedict, its Salesian spirituality, and its adherence to Thomistic theology.

Its approach has never involved any doctrinal compromise, and the wisdom of its approach has seemingly been rewarded by the Holy See in that it was elevated to Pontifical Right--not as a pre-hoc deal, but as a recognition of its worth after years of activity and growth.

I respect Bishop Fellay. I respect the SSPX and FSSP and the other traditional societies. But His Excellency clearly speaks beyond his knowledge here.

What may be most enlightening is that he acknowledges the existence of the Institute at all....

Anonymous said...

I think he means that the FSSP has no power to pursuade Rome that Vatican II needs to be tossed. It is the SSPX that are in discussions with Rome--not the FSSP. I must say this is a very compelling reason to follow the SSPX instead of the FSSP. Who is more likely to impact the future and bring about the necessary changes?? Who is on the right side of history?

Samuel Ferraro said...

Very well said! Bishop Fellay certainly does not know what he is talking about in reference to The Institute of Christ the King. While I am not as critical of the SSPX as I have been in the past, the leadership seems to have gone "off the rails". I think Archbishop Lefebvre+ would have already had the society regularized with restored faculties given the attitude and leadership of Benedict XVI. Could it be that the SSPX leadership is really not of fundamental good will? Are they being driven by a spirit of pride and defiance rather than a love for the Church?

Anonymous said...

"Could it be that the SSPX leadership is really not of fundamental good will? Are they being driven by a spirit of pride and defiance rather than a love for the Church?"

Mr Ferraro,

If you read Bishop Fellays letter here and everything else he has publically stated in the past year you will see, without a doubt, that His Excellency is a man of fundamental good will.
The FSSPX will be regularised soon.
God bless.

Anonymous said...

I thought that it was disingenuous of Bishop Fellay to compare the canonical situation of the F.S.S.P. and I.C.R. with his own. As I have proved here time and again (pace 'Romanus'), the S.S.P.X has been offered a particular church, apparently in the form of a personal apostolic administration or (January, 2008), an ordinariate. This is more than just a society of apostolic life: the S.S.P.X would be erected as a society of apostolic life but then it and its affiliates, in the very words of Bishop Fellay, would be "incorporated" into the particular church.

In other words, the Society would get, de facto, an international diocese. That's not what the F.S.S.P. and I.C.R. have. Every time the F.S.S.P. wants to work in a territory, it needs the permission of the local liberal bishop. That has been the problem all along: the local bishops despise tradition (or many of them do) and therefore simply proscribe or obstruct our Mass.


Anonymous said...

What I have also noticed is that Bsp. Fellay is avoiding telling us how much doctrinal agreement would be needed in order to accept a canonical agreement. He insists that some issues must be resolved but is not naming them all. In this entire process, I have never seen him or the other Society bishops specify what, exactly, would be enough.

If clarity is the goal, here, the way forward is for the Society to throw down the gauntlet and publish a list of demands. We demand that the Church anathematise the following ideas, ideas which are are novelites and contradict the constant teaching of the Church or its spirit: x, y, z.


Samuel Ferraro said...

Bishop Fellay is definitely known to speak out of both sides of his mouth. I have read enough of his writings and comments to confidently assert this. I hope that he is really interested in regularization and this is not just some kind of a game he has engaged in with the Vatican.
From your lips to God's ears, I hope they will be regularized as well. God bless.

Anonymous said...

Mr Perkins,

Why do you think that the FSSPX have been offered an International Diocese and the other Ecclesia Dei groups have not?

RR said...

Delicate balancing act. The SSPX is the one in negotiations, not the FSSP. However, it is not correct to say that the FSSP is hamstrung and unable to affect the Church. Obviously, the FSSP is inside the Church and a vital part of the reform efforts every day.

If the SSPX will not play ball and come to a workable arrangement with the Vatican, then it will end up like the Society of St. Pius V, with even less influence on the Church.

Both the SSPX and Vatican know this is high-stakes discussion for that reason. The SSPX cannot back itself into the corner that if an accord does not get brokered, the SSPX is shipped off to sea along with the SSPV, so the SSPX must get an agreement now or its raison d’etre is shattered. That would decimate the SSPX’s strength in this process.

Of course, the countervailing concern with the Vatican is bound to be that if the Vatican inflames the SSPX and the possibility of an accord goes out the window, the SSPX could elect a pope and really cause some major trouble for the Church, even if along the edges. If nothing else, the media would probably have a field day drumming up controversial must-read articles by getting quotes from an SSPX “pope” to foment squabbles.

Whether the SSPX can hold firm enough to have the ability to walk away if the Vatican plays hardball, but not so much rigidity that no agreement is possible, will be interesting.

Anonymous said...

It is heartening to hear that demand is very high. I think this is also true for the FSSP.

There would be many more holy priests if we Catholics did greater and more frequent penance, prayer and good works for this purpose.

How many more decades does the FSSP have to wait to have their own Bishop?


Enoch said...

Quote from Bp. Fellay:
"We have all these previous examples in front of us--the Fraternity of St. Peter, The Institute of Christ the King and all of the others are totally blocked on the level of doctrine because forst they accepted the practical agreement."

If Bp. Fellay means to say that the above mentioned groups are totally blocked on the level of doctrine because they first accepted a practical agreement, and so, as such, they are not allowed to engage in doctrinal talks or negotiations with Rome, then that may be true.

I don't know much about the ICK, but even though the
FSSP may not engage in any doctrinal talks, they are allowed to preach and teach solid Catholic doctrine from the pulpit. They do this in order to save souls, which cannot be done with proper effectiveness outside of a diocesan jurisdiction. Sure there are a few bishops who do not want the Old Mass in their diocese, but even so, the number of TLM's allowed to be celebrated in the U.S. diocese are growing and flourishing. And yes, sometimes the FSSP priests have to take it on the chin, but they get right back up, brush themselves off, and keep working to save souls. There are great graces to be obtained from this. Humility and strength of character, as well as obedience can sometimes move the most modernist of bishops.

I have respect for the SSPX and Bp. Fellay, but it should not be thought by some that it is the SSPX that will "save" the Church. We have Our Lord's guarantee that the gates of Hell would not prevail, and this has not changed.

Anonymous said...

"Obviously, the FSSP is inside the Church."


As are the SSPX.
Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos as well as other members of the PCED, have stated repeatedly that the situation with the SSPX is an "internal Church matter".

Therefore the SSPX is inside the Church. To be internal one must be "inside".
How else could one fulfill his Sunday and Holy Day obligation at an FSSPX chapel unless the Society was inside the Church.
If one is a Catholic,
One is either in communion with the Church [inside]
Or excommunicated from the Church[outside]
God bless

Paul Haley said...

It has been suggested that the SSPX needs to spell out what its demands are for full reunification to occur. An attempt at this follows though it is not written by a SSPX member but someone who from his earliest days was taught to value Tradition in liturgy, practice and belief:

"Your Holiness, with all due respect what is the will of God with respect to the FSSPX and other independents clinging to the Faith? Is it that the door be shut and they be thrust out into the darkness where there will be the weeping and gnashing of teeth? Is this their just desert for having clung to what the Church has always held, taught and professed to be true and for soon to give you a bouquet of over 19 million rosaries?"

"Surely, you have heard about this rosary crusade. Does it not reach the inner recesses of your heart to know that there still exists a remnant of those who feel ostracized by their own Church and are begging for your intervention to give them the freedom to practice their Faith as they have been taught from their childhood."

Now, some might ask what kind of intervention? The intervention, it seems to me, must be that all who cling to the true Faith as it has always been practiced since the days of the apostles must not be forced to drink of the Modernist Kool-Aid, that is:
*that other religions can lead to Salvation,
*that "error has its rights" or anyone can practice whatever religion they choose or no religion at all,
*that the matter and form of the sacraments may be changed willy-nilly by whichever "presider" is present in the sanctuary,
*that bishops do not have to respond to requests from the faithful for the Traditional Mass and sacraments,
*that priests formed in the Traditional manner may be required to celebrate the "new forms" of sacraments, including the Eucharist, without regard to their concerns of conscience,
*that the social Kingship of Christ is an outdated and outmoded precept of the Church,
*that collegiality means the power and authority of the Vicar of Christ is limited to those instances wherein the bishops agree with him,
*that the Syllabus of Errors of Pope Pius IX may be summarily disregarded as not applicable to our times and a counter-syllabus instituted in its place,
*that the specific requests of the Mother of God may be disregarded or classified as not applicable to our times.

Will we hear from you, Your Holiness, on these matters or will we continue to be frustrated in our attempts to convince you of the seriousness of our petitions?

Anonymous said...

D.P.H. writes:

"Therefore the SSPX is inside the Church. To be internal one must be "inside".
How else could one fulfill his Sunday and Holy Day obligation at an FSSPX chapel unless the Society was inside the Church.
If one is a Catholic,
One is either in communion with the Church [inside]
Or excommunicated from the Church[outside]
God bless

This is a non sequitur, if you read Canon 1248.1. I cannot say more on this open blog. Please contact me at


Anonymous said...

On Mr. Haley's shopping list, which is excellent, what is needed is for experts at the S.S.P.X to draw up exacting propositions for condemnation by Rome. I'd include some direct quotations from prominent Modernist theologians, such as Karl-the-heretic-Rahner. The S.S.P.X could take their quotes, amend them where necessary to block out all wiggle-room for the liberal defenders, and then ask Rome to condemn them formally.

Most important is that certain non-Thomist modes of interpretation be excluded as legitimate from the outset.


Anonymous said...

D.P.H. asks why Rome offers more to the S.S.P.X than she offers the regularised orders.

For one thing, it is because the S.S.P.X is larger than all the rest combined. For another, the S.S.P.X is affliated with various religious orders that follow it but do not obey Rome.


Anonymous said...

Some here seem sure that the Pope is about to regularise the S.S.P.X. Why do they think this? What have they been smoking?

I see no reason to suppose a regularisation. If Bishop Fellay were to accept one in exchange for resolving some but not all the outstanding theological issues, he'd face a revolt from within; he'd split the Society. I don't think he has any plan to do so. How many Society priests would leave the Society over such an outcome?


Anonymous said...

"What have they been smoking?"

A really creamy "Cohiba Especial"

I was told by an FSSPX pastor that the Society would be regularised by the Holy Father unilaterally...and soon.

Anonymous said...


As you know from my early posts on this subject, I favour regularisation of the Society. Therefore, I pray that you are right, I really do. But I just find it hard to believe. Did this priest whom you mention opine about the effect regularisation would have? For example, would 50% of Society priests leave?


Anonymous said...

"For example, would 50% of Society priests leave?"

Mr Perkins,

He honestly believes that the majority of FSSPX priests will follow Bishop Fellay into regularisation.

Anonymous said...

This is mainly a response to a post by PKTP above.

Regarding a list of desired anathematizations that Bishop Fellay should compile and publicize, I do not think this is possible to do. Bishop Fellay is only competent to know that the conciliar problem has not been resolved. There are certain evidences that a traditional Catholic recognizes as part of the conciliar ethos. As long as they are present in an official capacity enabled by Roman and even Petrine authority, the crisis is still there. Yet Bishop Fellay is not the only prelate who lacks the competence to compile such a list. Even the pope has no idea what is and is not wrong anymore. Not in the way most of his more distant predecessors would have been that is. To compile such a list would be like killing individual roaches without locating and destroying the nest.

Can anyone even find the nest?

I'm with Williamson on this one. God only knows how the conciliar virus will finally be eradicated.


Anonymous said...

Why was he not asked how nearly 6 million rosaries were obtained for his " Crusade " from Africa and Asia, completely and totally out of proportion to the number of Traditional Catholic faithful in those lands?

Anonymous said...


I disagree. Look, the S.S.P.X has had forty years to examine the errors of Rahner and the others and to see the effects of those errors. Certainly, the task of formulating errors to be condemned is not the work of a day but it should be a simple matter to compile a list of Modernist propositions that contradict traditional teaching. The experts in the Society know much about what the traditional teaching is.

Teaching by the condemnation of anathemas is itself the Church's effective tool. Remember the Syllabus?


Anonymous said...

On Zakhur's metaphor:

The nest Z. refers to, I submit, consists in Modernist philosophies of hermeneutics, most of which are various forms of subjectivism. Those should indeed be among the ideas to be anathematised.


Anonymous said...

You must show respect for His Excellency, primarily for his office as apostle,
SSPX bishops were consecrated without the permission of the Pope they claim to obey; SSPX priests are ordained without the permission of the diocesan bishop who they recall in the Canon of the Mass. I am told that because of these factors they do NOT possess the " Power of the Keys ".

Anonymous said...

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For example the quite ordinary banal NO mass (Cardinal Ratzinger's words) is, in my words, a sows ear wanting to be a silk purse. The NO can easily and correctly be criticized for its many faults. Frankly, it did nothing for me spiritually.

I did find the real deal (silk ourse) with the TLM and liturgy. I attended the TLM with the FSSP for over 2.5 years - I wanted to be in 'full communion'. Though a wonderful experience the FSSP are stymied and persecuted at every turn.

For example the local Bishop barely tolerates the FSSP and threatens to kick them out of the diocese unless they keep quiet. So much for the pastoral care of the 600 or so families and growing that rely on the TLM and liturgy. Some other issues, E.g. they can't have their own church, have poor mass times, the NO priest constantly goes over time to interfere with the upcoming TLM mass, the NO are noisy while the TLM parishioners pray before their mass, they can't get traditional confirmations, under pressure to mix the two rites, sermons restricted in content, etc. etc.

Then came H1N1 - the bishop said no communion on the tongue (for him communion on the hand was scientifically 'safer' - a lie on the bishop's part). The FSSP priest said he could not give communion the hand, it is not allowed in the 1962 rite. The Bishop then cancelled the TLM saying the priest was not 'obedient'.

Really (IMO) the bishop is a vindictive old fart. I left the FSSP TLM community for the FSSPX as a way to make a statement, to fight for the Church Militant...and have no regrets.

I can honestly say the local FSSPX chapel is a sanctuary where I can go and pray and do my penance without being molested by irreverent, noisome, parishioners and liberal clergy.

I have come to understand that there is a state of necessity today and that faculties are granted to the FSSPX for the salvation of souls in these diabolically confusing times.

There are three or four general views on the FSSPX.
1) liberals hate them and want them dead.
2) neo cons want the 'reform of the reform' that Pope BXV1 advocates as a means to fix the crisis. They consider the FSSPX to be in error. Pope BXV1 lifted the excommunications which helps
3) the 'full communion' Trad orders (FSSP for example) have varying degrees of distaste or agreement with the FSSPX depending on the priest and congregation. In my example there are many parishioners that attend both FSSP and FSSPX masses and confessions. One FSSP preist says the FSSPX are 'outside the Cathoic Church' (not true) and the other thinks the FSSPX are cool.
4) the majority of Catholics simply believe what the local priest tells them.

Consider too that many priests have left the FSSPX to form much of the indult Traditional Orders (such as the FSSP) or are independent. Despite these divisions the FSSPX continue to grow and are a strong voice for the Traditional Catholic Church.

Lastly, I would say that the TLM is not a fossil as Cardinal Levada and liberal heretics claim. They will say anything to justify the NO mess.

Just another Catholic layman trying to find his way home.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 01:24
The FSSPX claim they have supplied jurisdiction due these abnormal times, the crisis in the Church.

Before accepting the judgement of the person you have been listening to, talk also to the SSPX priests and read their material.

Rorate Caeli has many interesting threads providing good background and that express decided opinions (whether founded on truth or emotion) about the FSSPX.

You may want to delve into the recent FSsR situation. They were siding with the FSSPX and recently decided that Pope BXV1 SP freed up the TLM and therefore was sufficient to remove the state of necessity and warrant a coming into 'full communion' (learned scholars argue about such fanciful novel talk - what does it really mean?) with the conciliar church (Conciliar is how the authors of V2 and Pope Paul V1 describe this present day church that resulted from V2).

Note too that the FSsR community was divided on the decision to go 'full communion' and some remain with the FSSPX.

The crux for me was whether 'obedience' to the Pope includes 'blind obedience'. Considering that V2 has allowed so much bad fruit and is seemingly so unlike the Traditional Church, I question it.

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