Rorate Caeli

You report: Are the SSPX and the Vatican going around in circles?

[Original posting time - 0326 GMT] Rorate would like to emphasize that the following conference is based upon the notes taken down by our correspondent. There are no audio or video recordings yet available of the conference. Furthermore, the talk was apparently given without notes, and it should be kept in mind that Bishop Fellay may have chosen to speak in a certain fashion on this occasion. Caveat lector.

A report on the conference given by H.E. Bernard Fellay SSPX in Our Lady of Victories Church, Cubao, Quezon City, Metro Manila on October 16, 2011

I attended Pontifical Mass from the throne (two assistant deacons and all) in the SSPX church in Metro Manila on the morning of October 16. The Mass was offered by Bishop Fellay and he was assisted by the District Superiors for Asia and for France. The church was packed to overflowing thanks to the presence of delegates from the SSPX-guided Praesidia of the Legion of Mary from all over the Philippines. (This is not to say that the church is not full on ordinary Sundays.)

During his sermon for the Mass, Bishop Fellay focused mostly on the need to trust in God, and the fact that the Lord who performed the miracle described in the gospel for that Sunday (the forgiving of sins and healing of the man sick with palsy) is the same Lord who is in the tabernacle. He has lost none of His power, and therefore we must have recourse to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament with complete trust. He also related the following story from Lourdes, which according to the bishop took place a few years back: there was this little girl who was very ill, and who had gone to Lourdes in the hope of being healed. She stood in line to be blessed with the Blessed Sacrament, as is the practice in that shrine. However, when the priest blessed her with the Blessed Sacrament, nothing happened to her. She then pointed to the Blessed Sacrament (which by then had been brought over to another person) and said, "I'll tell this to Your Mother!". At that instant, she was healed! The bishop did not neglect to speak about the need to pray the rosary and to have trusting recourse to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin. In the course of this he remarked that the crisis in the Church was so great that, humanly speaking, it can't be raised up, and only divine intervention can do so.

After the Pontifical Mass, the bishop gave an hour-long conference (open to the public) on the state of the relationship between the Vatican and the SSPX.

The bishop had no notes, but his talk was remarkably well-organized.

(I report here only those parts of the talk that are not merely about SSPX history pre-Benedict XVI and other relatively unimportant matters already repeated elsewhere by the bishop. The talk was an hour long, packed with information, and inevitably this report cannot reproduce everything that he said in detail.)

Almost at the beginning of the talk he described the situation in the Church today as not being better, but only as "something that looks better"; there may be New Movements, he said, but these New Movements are "strange", and the Neo-Catechumenal Way in particular is "Protestant".

He narrated the entire story of the relationship between the SSPX and the Vatican from 1987 to the present. Most of the incidents he recounted have been told before, but some stories seemed to me to be new. For instance, he recounted that when he read the Pope's December 22, 2005 discourse on the hermeneutic of continuity, he said that "I thought we were being condemned" because the SSPX also believes that Vatican II IS a rupture with the past.

He also recounted (as he had in previous occasions) the 2005 meeting where Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos said that there is no problem with the SSPX and that it can be given canonical recognition. The Pope told him that the SSPX has no right to invoke the State of Necessity because he -- the Pope -- is trying to solve the problems. According to Fellay, he inwardly but not externally said, "Thank you, Holy Father", because the Pope, in saying that he is trying to solve the problems in the Church, had just admitted that he is doing something about the problems in the Church, that there are problems in the Church, and that these problems are not yet over, because the Pope is still "solving" them. The Pope also said that "perhaps" there is a state of necessity in France and Germany. According to Fellay, he wanted to ask, "but how about in other countries? In Switzerland, Belgium, and everywhere else?"

Fellay then said that the problem with the Vatican is that it doesn't see the problem with Vatican II: the Pope, in particular, wants to keep the things that came from the Council. The main problem with the hermeneutic of continuity, according to Fellay, is that for the Vatican the Church can do no wrong, and therefore since the Church came out with the New Mass and the Church came out with the Conciliar teachings then these things ARE in continuity with what the Church previously did and taught. Of course the Society cannot accept this. It asks, "WHERE is the continuity?"

Fellay described Summorum Pontificum as "an interesting document" with elements that are both good and bad. For instance, it says that the New Mass and the Old Mass are two forms of the same Rite, and this -- according to Fellay -- is "absurd". What is important, though, is that it restores the Old Mass and makes it available to all priests and to all the faithful, and it admits that this Mass was never abrogated.

Fellay also described Universae Ecclesiae as being the same mixture of good and bad; among other observations, he noted that the provision of Universae Ecclesiae which says that TLM's cannot be asked by those who question the legitimacy of the New Rite (and, according to Fellay, "legitimacy" can mean a lot of things) is "an attack on all of us Traditionalists". (He must have been referring to UE # 19.)

Msgr. Fellay also recounted the now well-known story about the priest who was "excommunicated" last year by the Congregation for Religious for joining the "schism of Archbishop Lefebvre", a claim that was then derided by Msgr. Pozzo, who suggested that the decree of excommunication should be torn in two.

And so, Msgr. Fellay came to the doctrinal talks. According to him, the doctrinal talks clearly showed that Rome and the SSPX disagree on all the topics dealt with by the talks such as ecumenism, collegiality and religious liberty.

Fellay then moved on to the Doctrinal Preamble. According to Fellay, the Doctrinal Preamble contains not a single word evaluating the doctrinal talks between Rome and the SSPX. In light of this, according to the bishop, the Doctrinal Preamble means that "things are back to zero"; he described the back and forth between Rome and the SSPX as " just going around in circles".

Towards the end, Fellay said that if the Society does not accept the Preamble, Rome "may" declare us schismatic, although "Rome didn't really put it that way". Fellay then told his listeners, "So, be ready, then." According to him, "it is not the end yet" but things may become very difficult. If they must go through "another trial", then "glory to God, and glory to the Blessed Virgin"!

At the same time, Fellay said that they have "information" that the Pope may have something "even better to give us in place of what we now have". (It was not entirely clear
what was meant by that.)

Shortly after that, the public conference ended.