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54 ANSWERS from Bishop Fellay

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54 ANSWERS from Bishop Fellay

Post  Guest on Sun Feb 20, 2011 8:42 pm

http://www.sspx.org/superior_generals_ltrs/54_answers_from_bishop_fellay_feb_2011/54_answers_bp_fellay1.htm

Given in February 2011
Vatican Doctrinal Discussions: Part 1

1. Your Excellency, you have decided to attempt doctrinal discussions with Rome. Could you remind us of the purpose?

You have to distinguish between Rome’s purpose and ours. Rome indicated that there were doctrinal problems with the Society [of St. Pius X] and that these problems would have to be cleared up before any canonical recognition, problems which obviously would be up to us to resolve, concerning our acceptance of the [Second Vatican] Council. But for us it is about something else: we hope to tell Rome what the Church has always taught and thereby to show the contradictions between this centuries-old teaching and what has been done in the Church since the Council. As we look at it, this is the only goal that we are pursuing.

2. What sort of talks are these: negotiations, discussions, or doctrinal explanation?

You can’t call them negotiations. That’s not what they’re about at all. There is on the one hand an explanation of doctrine, and on the other hand a discussion, because we have in fact a Roman interlocutor with whom we are discussing the documents and how to understand them. But you can’t call them negotiations, nor a search for a compromise, for it is a question of Faith.

3. Could you recall the method that is used in the work? What topics have already been addressed?

The working method is the written method; texts are composed which then become the basis for further theological discussion. Several topics have been addressed already. But for the moment I will leave that question up in the air. I can simply tell you that we are coming to the conclusion, because we have made the tour of the major questions raised by the Council.

4. Can you describe the Roman panelists?

They are experts, in other words, theology professors who are also consulting members of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. One can say that they are “professionals” in theology. One is Swiss, the Rector of the Angelicum, Fr. Morerod, O.P., another is a Jesuit who is somewhat older, Fr. Becker; another is a member of Opus Dei, the Vicar General, Msgr. Ocariz Braña; then Archbishop Ladaria Ferrer, Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and finally the moderator, Msgr. Guido Pozzo, Secretary of the Ecclesia Dei Commission.

5. Has there been a development in the thinking of our dialogue partners since they read the presentations by the SSPX theologians?

I don’t think that you can say that.

Fr. Charles Morerod, OP
Fr. Charles
Morerod, OP

Msgr. Ocariz Braña
Msgr. Ocariz Braña

Msgr. Guido Pozzo
Msgr. Guido Pozzo
Bishop Alfonso de Galarreta

Bishop Alfonso de Galarreta


6. Bishop de Galarreta, sermon during the ordinations in La Reja in December 2009, said that Rome had agreed that the Magisterium prior to Vatican II would be taken as “the only possible common standard” in these talks. Is there some hope that our counterparts will reconsider Vatican II, or is that impossible for them? Is Vatican II really a stumbling-block?

I think that you have to pose the question another way. Pope Benedict XVI made distinctions during his speech in December 2005, by which we see very clearly that one particular understanding of the Council is no longer permitted and therefore, without speaking directly about a re-examination of the Council, there is despite everything a certain intention to revise the way in which the Council is presented.

The distinction may seem rather subtle, but it is precisely the distinction relied on by those who do not want to alter the Council and nevertheless recognize that, because of a certain number of ambiguities there has been an opening leading to forbidden paths, and that we must remember that they are forbidden. Is Vatican II really a stumbling-block? For us, no doubt whatsoever: yes!

7. Why is it so difficult for them to admit a contradiction between Vatican II and the previous Magisterium?

The answer is rather simple. The moment you recognize the principle that the Church cannot change, if you want to have Vatican II accepted, you are obliged to say that Vatican II did not change anything either. That is why they do not admit that they find any contradiction between Vatican II and the previous Magisterium, but they are nevertheless at a loss to explain the nature of the change which quite evidently has taken place.

8. Besides witnessing to the Faith, is it important and advantageous for the Society of St. Pius X to go to Rome? Is it dangerous, and do you think that it might last a long time?

It is very important that the Society give this witness; that is the reason for these doctrinal talks. It is really a matter of making the Catholic faith understood in Rome and trying, why not, to make it understood even more throughout the Church.

There is one danger: the danger of keeping up illusions. We see that some Catholics have managed to lull themselves to sleep with illusions. But recent events have managed to dispel them. I am thinking about the announcement of the beatification of John Paul II or the announcement of a new Assisi event along the lines of the interreligious gatherings in 1986 and 2002.

9. Has the Pope been following these talks closely? Has he commented yet on these talks?

I think so, but have no specific details. Has he commented on these talks? During the meeting last summer with his former students at Castel Gandolfo he said that he was pleased with them. That is all.

10. Can we say that the Holy Father, who has been dealing with the Society of St. Pius X for more than 25 years, is proving to be more benevolent toward it today than in the past?


I am not sure. Yes and no. I think that as pope, he has responsibility for the whole Church, a concern about its unity, a fear of seeing a schism declared. He himself said that these were the motives that impelled him to act. He is now the visible head of the Church, which may explain why he acts like that. Does that mean that he is showing more understanding toward the Society? I think that he has a certain sympathy for us, but within limits.

11. To sum up, what would you say about these talks today?

If we had to do them over again, we would redo them. They are very important. Of capital importance. If you hope to correct a whole movement of thought, you cannot do without these talks.
Msgr. Brunero Gerardhini
Msgr. Brunero Gherardini

Bishop Athanasius Schneider
Bishop Athanasius Schneider


12. For some time now we have been hearing voices of ecclesiastics, for example Msgr. Gherardini or Bishop Schneider, who even in Rome are producing genuine critiques of the documents of Vatican II and not just of their interpretation. Can we hope that this movement will grow and make its way into the Vatican?

I do not say that we can hope for it, but that we must hope for it. We must really hope that these initial critiques—let us call them serene, objective critiques—will develop. Until now Vatican II was always considered as a taboo [as something unquestionable], which makes the cure of this sickness, which is the crisis in the Church, almost impossible. We have to be able to talk about the problems and to go in-depth into these matters, or else we will never get to apply the right remedies.

13. Can the Society of St. Pius X plan an important role in making Rome aware of this? How? What is the role of the lay faithful in this momentous matter?

As for the Society, yes, we can play a role, precisely by presenting what the Church has always taught and by raising objections to the conciliar novelties. The role of the lay faithful is to provide proof in action, for they are the proof that Tradition can be lived today. What the Church has always demanded—traditional discipline—is not only relevant but really viable even today.


The Motu Proprio Effect: Part 2

14. Your Excellency, do you think that the Motu Proprio, despite its deficiencies, is a step toward restoring Tradition?

It is a step of capital importance. You could even call it an essential step, even though so far it has had practically no effect, or very little, because there is massive opposition by the bishops. At the juridical level, the Motu Proprio has recognized that the old law, the one pertaining to the traditional Mass, had never been abrogated: this is a step of capital importance in restoring Tradition to its place.

15. Practically speaking, have you seen across the world any important changes on the part of the bishops concerning the traditional Mass since the Motu Proprio?

No. A few here and there who obey the Pope, but they are rare.
Old Mass

16. How about the priests?

Yes, I see a lot of interest on their part, but many of them are persecuted. It takes extraordinary courage simply to dare to apply the Motu Proprio as it was worded; and of course, yes, there are more and more priests, especially in the younger generations, who are interested in the traditional Mass. It is very encouraging!

17. Are there communities that have decided to adopt the old liturgy?

There may be several, but there is one that we know about, in Italy, the community of the Franciscans of the Immaculate, which has decided to return to the old liturgy; in the women’s branch it has already been done. For the priests who are involved in ministry in the dioceses, it is not so easy.

18. What advice do you give to Catholics who, since and thanks to the Motu Proprio, now have a traditional Mass closer to them than a chapel of the Society of St. Pius X?

My advice to them is to ask the priests of the Society for advice first, not to go with their eyes closed to just any traditional Mass that is celebrated nearby. The Mass is a treasure; but there is also a way of saying it, and everything that goes with it: the sermon, the catechesis, the way of administering the sacraments… Not every traditional Mass is necessarily accompanied by the conditions required for it to bear all its fruits and to protect the soul from the dangers of the current crisis. Therefore ask the priests of the Society for advice first.

19. The liturgy is not the basis of the crisis in the Church. Do you think that the return of the (traditional) Liturgy is always the start of a return to the integrity of the Faith?

The traditional Mass has an absolutely extraordinary power of grace. You see it in the apostolic work, you see it especially in the priests who come back to it:
The Mass

it is truly the antidote to the crisis. It is really very powerful, at all levels. At the level of grace, at the level of faith…. I think that if the old Mass were allowed to be truly free, the Church could emerge rather quickly from this crisis, but it would still take several years!

20. For a long time the Pope has been speaking about “the reform of the reform”. Do you think that he hopes to try to reconcile the old liturgy with the teaching of Vatican II in a reform that would be a middle term?
Reform of the Reform

Listen, at the moment we know nothing about it! We know that he wants this reform, but where that reform is headed? Will everything eventually be blended together, “the ordinary form” and “the extraordinary form”? That is not what we find in the Motu Proprio, which requires us to distinguish the two “forms” and not to mix them: this is very wise. We have to wait and see; for the moment let us stick to what the Roman authorities say.

21. The Holy Father has announced the next meeting in Assisi. You reacted in your sermon at St. Nicholas Church on February 9, 2011, and decided to oppose it, just as Archbishop Lefebvre had done at the time of the first meeting, 25 years ago. Do you plan to intervene directly with the Holy Father?

If the opportunity presents itself, if it can bear some fruit, why not?

22. Is it such a serious matter to call other religions to work for peace?

In one respect, and only in that respect, no. To call other religions to work for peace—a civil peace—there is no problem with that, but in that case it is not at the religious level, it is at the civil level. It is not an act of religion, it is quite simply an act of a religious society that works civilly to promote peace. It is not even religious peace being sought, but rather civil peace among men.

In contrast, to ask people to perform religious acts during that gathering is absurd, because there is a radical lack of understanding among the various religions. In those circumstances, it is not clear what aspiring to peace is supposed to mean, when there is not even any agreement about the nature of God, about the meaning that you ascribe to divinity. Really, you wonder how you could achieve anything serious.

23. We might think that the Holy Father does not understand ecumenism in the same way as John Paul II. Isn’t this a difference in degree in the same error?

No, I think that he understands it in the same way. He correctly says, “It is impossible to pray together.” But we have to see exactly what he means by that. He gave an explanation in 2003, in a book entitled Truth and Tolerance: Christian Belief and World Religions (English edition: Ignatius Press, 2004). I find that he splits hairs. He tries to justify Assisi. You really wonder how that will be possible next October.


24. Some Italian intellectuals have publicly declared their uneasiness about the consequences of such a meeting. Do you know of other reactions within the Church?

They are right. Do we see other reactions within the Church? In official circles, no. Among us [SSPX members], obviously yes.

25. What about the reaction of the traditional congregations affiliated with Ecclesia Dei?

There is none that I know of!

26. How do you explain the fact that the Holy Father, who denounces relativism in religious matters and who had even refused to attend the Assisi meeting in 1986, could now want to commemorate such a meeting by repeating it?


Assisi I

It is a mystery to me. I do not know. I think that he may be under some pressures or influences. Probably he is alarmed by the anti-Christian acts [recently in the news], the anti-Catholic violence: those bombs in Egypt and Iraq. That is perhaps the reason that prompted him to propose this new Assisi gathering; I won’t call it an act of desperation, but a last resort…. He is trying something, anyway. I would not be surprised if that was it, but I know nothing more about it.

27. Is there a possibility that the Holy Father might give up this interreligious demonstration?

We don’t know very well how it will be organized. We will have to see. I supposed that they will try to minimize the event because, once again, for the present Pope, it is impossible for different groups to be able to pray together when they do not even acknowledge the same god. Therefore, once again you wonder what they are going to be able to do there together!
Assisi in the fog

28. What should Catholics do with regard to this announcement about Assisi III?

Pray that the Good Lord intervenes in one way or another so that it doesn’t take place, and in any case start making reparation now!

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The endgame of the SSPX

Post  MRyan on Tue Mar 01, 2011 9:36 am

Blog entry from:

The Sensible Bond

http://thesensiblebond.blogspot.com/2011/02/endgame-of-sspx.html:

Saturday, 26 February 2011

The endgame of the SSPX

Bishop Fellay, superior general of the SSPX, has given an interview in the USA during which he answers fifty-four questions about the SSPX's doctrinal discussions with Rome, Assisi III and the beatification of John Paul II. You can find it in English here. He thinks that if they had their time again, they would still enter these discussions. But, he also observes that by and large they have produced no meeting of minds. The only danger, he says, of coming to the discussion table is that of feeding illusions about where the Church is really going. He hopes in the long run, nevertheless, that the kinds of critique of Vatican II issued recently by Monsignor Gerardhini and others will come to enjoy a much wider reception.

I note with a sense of déjà vu and disgust that the mimetic cudgels have been taken up in the discussion about this issue posted on The Catholic Herald's website. On the one side, high-minded papal loyalists cannot say enough about how disobedient the SSPX is, or how proud. On the other side, SSPX tub thumpers jeer about the hierarchy's tendency to wink at all rebellions apart from the SSPX's, and the busted flush of Benedict's papacy which has seen him gravitate from liturgical traditionalist to Assisi tribute act in a mere four years.

This outcome was inevitable, however. [redacted] The same principles of endgame which I said were relevant to the potential Motu Proprio on the SSPX apply also to the doctrinal discussions; I was right then, and I'm right now [end of redaction]. What was needed from the beginning was an endgame mechanism which both sides understood and agreed upon. If you start moving with no idea of how to recognise the end of your journey, then the likelihood is that you will never get there. Now, as far as we know, neither Rome nor the SSPX had agreed upon the principles by which they could end this process. We can speculate about the exact terms but they appear to be as follows:

- for Rome the endgame is when the SSPX accept the authority and Catholicity of Vatican II and agree to refrain from treating their own theological views as the rule of faith.

- for the SSPX the endgame is when Rome accepts that the SSPX's analysis of Vatican II is correct, and when it begins taking practical steps to correct its errors.

Now, these are two irreconciliable principles on which to be having a discussion about Church doctrine. Indeed, in a way they are redolent of many doctrinal disputes which have at one time or another arisen in the Church. But ultimately, the endgame can only be what the endgame always is in the Church.

It is not logic, rhetoric, philosophy or even theological history which is the final criterion of this process. It is not the forensic comparison of previous magisterial texts with newer ones. It is not the process of assessing measurable fruits on one side and the other.

Yet neither is the final criterion a mindless assertion of authority. Neither is it the burying of all that is good, true and holy in the adversary. Neither is it the adoption of some techno-omnipotentist mentality which imagines the Church will behave like a marionette if only the hierarchy are bossy enough.

The final criterion is what it has always been: the final criterion is the faith of the Church of Rome articulated by the Bishop of that holy, ancient See. This is not primarily a juridico-canonical category - though it is that - so much as the corollary of a charism which the Church perpetually needs. We are not talking about a production line of infallible statements here, but just the practical acceptance that the Magisterium of the Pastors (notably of the chief pastor) has priority over the Magisterium of the Theologians (be they in the SSPX or Tubingen); it is the practical acceptance that all charismatic action in the Church (which we might kindly interpret the SSPX's action to have been) must be subject to the hierarchy. Under that umbrella there is immense freedom to criticise, debate and discuss. With that umbrella, indeed, we can have a thumping great debate about the new liturgy, religious liberty and ecumenism, as long as the rules of charity, honesty and patience are observed.

But without that umbrella there is never ANY endgame to ANY doctrinal discussion. Without that umbrella, discussion is only over when I, me, moi, your truly - or every individual from Bishop Fellay to Hans Kung and Mrs Miggens of The Tablet - say it is over.

In other words, without that criterion in the Church we are condemned to fragmentation. This is the lesson of history.

But who is listening?
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Re: 54 ANSWERS from Bishop Fellay

Post  Guest on Tue Mar 01, 2011 9:43 am

I seriously don't understand why they don't accept canonical status. It has to do with power I guess.

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Re: 54 ANSWERS from Bishop Fellay

Post  MRyan on Tue Mar 01, 2011 9:44 am

"The final criterion is what it has always been: the final criterion is the faith of the Church of Rome articulated by the Bishop of that holy, ancient See. We are ... talking about ... the practical acceptance that the Magisterium of the Pastors (notably of the chief pastor) has priority over the Magisterium of the Theologians (be they in the SSPX or Tubingen); it is the practical acceptance that all charismatic action in the Church (which we might kindly interpret the SSPX's action to have been) must be subject to the hierarchy. Under that umbrella there is immense freedom to criticise, debate and discuss. With that umbrella, indeed, we can have a thumping great debate about the new liturgy, religious liberty and ecumenism, as long as the rules of charity, honesty and patience are observed.

But who is listening?"
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Re: 54 ANSWERS from Bishop Fellay

Post  MRyan on Tue Mar 01, 2011 9:50 am

Yes, it's all about authority. For the SSPX I think the end game, as Ches (blogger) said, has always been a non-starter for the Church:

- for the SSPX the endgame is when Rome accepts that the SSPX's analysis of Vatican II is correct, and when it begins taking practical steps to correct its errors.


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Re: 54 ANSWERS from Bishop Fellay

Post  MRyan on Tue Mar 01, 2011 11:06 am

MRyan wrote:Yes, it's all about authority. For the SSPX I think the end game, as Ches (blogger) said, has always been a non-starter for the Church:

- for the SSPX the endgame is when Rome accepts that the SSPX's analysis of Vatican II is correct, and when it begins taking practical steps to correct its errors.

Here is an example of the ill-fated "endgame" of which we speak; from AQ:

Fr Pfluger's Syracuse Conference

February 27, 2011

I recorded Fr. Pfluger's conference given after High Mass yesterday in
Syracuse. There is nothing new here concerning the discussions with
Rome. Like Bishop Fellay's most recent interviews, he alludes to the
discussions coming to an end sooner, rather than later and that it is
not likely that a Roman conversion is imminent
. He makes reference to
reams of documentation that the discussions have generated, which I am
sure will make for some curious reading. On the documentation from the
Vatican side, it will be interesting to see the curial mindset exposed
on critical issues of the faith.

I expect that the Pope may use the doctrinal discussion documentation as
an unofficial means by which to reinterpret some points of the council
in the "light of tradition" but indications are that they will not even
approach what is needed to correct the errors of false ecumenism and
religious liberty
.
Doomed from the start.
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Re: 54 ANSWERS from Bishop Fellay

Post  Lourdes on Tue Mar 01, 2011 2:23 pm

It has to do with pride and a misplaced loyalty in Archbishop Lefebvre instead of the Vicar of Christ.


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Re: 54 ANSWERS from Bishop Fellay

Post  MRyan on Tue Mar 01, 2011 3:40 pm

Lourdes wrote:It has to do with pride and a misplaced loyalty in Archbishop Lefebvre instead of the Vicar of Christ.
Perhaps; especially with those who believe that Peter and Rome require a “conversion” to the true faith and that VCII taught “erroneous” doctrines.

But it is not true of the SSPX as a whole (I hope), and I'm always willing to give those who seem to be sincere in making certain reforms the benefit of the doubt, especially Bp Fellay; since I share that same desire for reform, as I know most of us do.

But, as was said, there must be an agreement on certain fundamental principles before any meaningful “dialogue” can take place and an "endgame" can be realized.

I actually agree with much of what was said by Bishop Fellay in the interview (it needs to be said), and I also believe that the Church is not beyond constructive criticism and that it is the duty of Ecclesiastics to raise such concerns, always in the spirit of communion (charity). This will allow for the freedom of proper criticism (a family dispute, if you will), and even at times, severe criticism, so long as we recognize the authority of and our subjection to Peter, the indefectibility of the Church, and we know where the buck stops and where our individual “authority” ends.
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