Skip to comments.INTERVIEW WITH BISHOP FELLAY CONCERNING HIS MEETING WITH POPE BENEDICT XVI
Posted on 09/20/2005 10:26:43 AM PDT by NYer
Note from Papabile
This is an extremely long post. I was told this interview with Fellay was carried on DICI, but I cannot find it. I post it here to simply air that which is public. It is not an endorsement or support for the SSPX's position.
D.I.C.I.: Your Excellency, you requested the audience with Pope Benedict XVI that took place last August 29. What was the purpose of your request?
Bishop Fellay: We wanted to meet the Holy Father because we are Catholic and, as every Catholic, we are attached to Rome. We wanted to show, in requesting this audience quite simply that we are Catholic.
Our recognition of the Pope is not limited only to mentioning his name in the Canon of the Mass, as do all the priests of the Society of Saint Pius X. It is normal that we should express our respect as being Catholic and roman. Catholic means universal, and the Mystical Body of the Church does not just consist in our chapels.
There was likewise on our part the plan to remind once more the Sovereign Pontiff of the existence of Tradition. Ours is the concern to remind him that Tradition is the Church, and that we incarnate the Churchs Tradition in a manner that is very much alive. We want to show that the Church would be much stronger in todays world if it maintained Tradition. Thus, we want to put forward our experience: if the Church desires to escape the tragic crisis that it is presently going through, then Tradition is a response, indeed the only response, to this crisis.
D.I.C.I.: How did this audience go?
BISHOP FELLAY: The audience took place in the Popes summer residence at Castel Gandolfo. Foreseen for 11:30 a.m., it actually began at 12:10 p.m. in the Sovereign Pontiffs office. He generally grants an audience of 15 minutes to a bishop. For us, it last 35 minutes. This means, so say the Vatican specialists, that Benedict XVI wanted to show his interest in these questions.
There were four of us: the Holy Father and Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, Father Schmidberger and myself. The conversation took place in French contrary to the announcement of certain persons that it would take place in German. It was directed by the Pope in a kindly spirit. He described three difficulties, in response to the letter that we had sent to him shortly before the audience. Benedict XVI was aware of this letter, and it was not necessary to go over the points brought up in it. We there outlined a description of the Church, quoting the silent apostasy of John-Paul II, the boat which is taken in water from every side and the dictatorship of relativism of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, with as an appendix of photos of Masses quite as scandalous as one another.
We also gave a presentation of the Society with a list of numbers and different projects. We quoted two examples of actions led by the Society in the present world, and the unbelievable attitude of the local episcopacies in their regard: the law suit in Argentina that obtained that the sale of contraceptives is not forbidden, and which merited for us to be called terrorists by the bishop of Cordoba, and the denunciation of gay pride procession in Lucerne, that finished in the Catholic church by a Protestant ceremony with total indifference on the part of the bishop.
Finally, we expressed our requests: the changing of the attitude of hostility towards Tradition, which attitude makes the traditional Catholic life (Is there any other?) practically impossible in the conciliar church. We requested that this be done by granting full liberty to the Tridentine Mass, by silencing the accusation of schism directed against us, by burying the pretended excommunications, and by founding a structure for the family of Tradition within the Church.
D.I.C.I.: Is it possible for us to know the difficulties raised by Benedict XVI?
BISHOP FELLAY: I can only evoke them. First of all, the Holy Father insisted on effective recognition by the Pope, linking it to the situation of necessity invoked by the consecration of the bishops by Archbishop Lefebvre, and our subsequent activity.
Then Benedict XVI pointed out that there can only be one way of belong to the Catholic Church: it is that of having the spirit of Vatican II interpreted in the light of Tradition, that is in the intention of the Fathers of the Council and according to the letter of the text. It is a perspective that frightens us greatly
Finally, we would have to have, the Sovereign Pontiff thinks, a structure that is appropriate for us for the traditional rite and certain exterior practices without, however, protecting us from the spirit of the Council that we would have to adopt.
D.I.C.I.: The Vatican Press Release at the end of the audience speaks of a desire to proceed in stages and within a reasonable time limit. What ought we to understand by this expression?
BISHOP FELLAY: The Pope did not want to go into the problems in depth, but simply to highlight them. But it will be necessary first of all to respond to the requirement of the right of existence of the old Mass so as to afterwards confront the errors of the Council, for we see there the cause of the present evils, both a direct cause and in part an indirect cause.
Of course, we will go step by step. We must show the council in a different light than that which is given to it by Rome. At the same time as we condemn the errors, it is indispensable for us to show their logical consequences and their impact on the disastrous situation of todays Church, without, however, provoking exasperation, that could cause the discussions to be broken off. This obliges us to proceed by stages.
With respect to a reasonable time limit, it is said in Rome that documents are in preparation for communities attached to the Ecclesia Dei Commission, that are quite new, and offering things that have never previously been offered. Let us wait and see! It is certainly true that the Pope has the desire of rapidly arranging this situation.
In order to be quite precise, I would like to add this further detail. We must indeed consider the Popes difficult situation. He is stuck between the progressives on one side and us on the other. If he were to grant a general permission for the Mass on the basis on our request alone, the modernists would stand up against him, affirming that the Pope has given way to traditionalists. We learned from Bishop Ricard that in 2000 he, along with Cardinal Lustiger and the Archbishop of Lyon suddenly rushed to Rome to block a proposition made to the Society, under threat of rebellion if it did not work. We know that the German bishops acted in the same way at the time of the World Youth Conference in Cologne: It is us or them. By this is meant: If they are recognized, then we will leave the Church and go into schism.
It is for this reason that the Pope could not, during the audience, give us the verbal assurance that this Fall, for example, freedom would be given to the Mass. Any promise made by him to the Society in this sense would infallibly expose him to pressure by the progressives. We would then have received the opinions of a Pope against the majority of bishops disposed towards secession. This cannot be expected in the climate of the present debate, even with the will of a certain restoration. As for myself, I believe that it will only be a limited freedom for the Mass that will eventually be granted.
D.I.C.I.: The Press has published rumors concerning divisions within the Society of Saint Pius X? What is exactly the case?
BISHOP FELLAY: The announcement of the audience granted by the Pope provoked feverish talk in the media. They have made a lot of noise, attempting to show that divisions exist in the Society amongst its four bishops. Journalists have likewise published the threats directed against the Pope by the progressives: To grant freedom to the Mass is to disavow Paul VI and the liturgical reform.
However, I can affirm to you that within the Society of Saint Pius X, the four bishops are united on the question of the relationships with Rome, and that Bishop Williamson, whose name has been quoted, is not sedevacantist. The media has nothing to worry about. Alas, this is for them not newsworthy.
D.I.C.I.: Your Excellency, what do you now hope for?
BISHOP FELLAY: Some Cardinals in Rome hope to see Tradition recognized. We likewise hope for it. We hope, in particular, for complete freedom to be granted to the Mass, but there is little chance that this will be for tomorrow. It will then be a duty to acknowledge the place of Tradition in the Church, avoiding the bad interpretations that are often given concerning it.
We must force the Roman authorities to admit that we cannot follow without serious reservations the interpretation that they given of the Council and of Ecumenism, as it is practiced. Deep down, what we hope for is to make them understand one day the whole reason why Tradition exists.
Agreed! Some, as you well know, are holier than the pope.
The Church could make very good use of the SSPX because it is a strong orthodox order that will be solicitous for the salvation of souls and the glory of God.
Quite true! However, the SSPX must eventually come to grips with VCII, and its dissent with the teaching authority of the Church. THAT will be the greatest challenge.
"Now I'll probably be accused of being arrogant."
Oh, sooner or later. It's a standard ploy.
I'm hoping that's a translation problem, and what he means is using the force of reason.
And don't expect Fellay to dress Williamson down for his hateful antisemitism. The society will conctinue to become eeven more insane having gulped the hate-the-Jews kool aid
the sspx is a quintessential liberal outfit. It choses when to accept or reject authority; it chooses what doctrines to accept and what doctrines to reject; it is the quintessential liberal cafteria catholic outfit; it is different from other liberal outfits because it hides its liberalism beneath the Thurible's smoke.
Fellay labelling the mass evil (that's debatable?) is only one of many heresies he must repent of.
*I watch the sspx savagely attack the Body of Christ.I know the sspx has caused those weak in Faith to abandon their fidelity to their Confirmational promises/ duties and to break with the Church Jesus established. I know how that endangers their immortal souls.
*I wonder how silence or timidity in the face of savage attacks is "successful" in winning back souls for Christ. I rather think it might convince onlookers of the "justice" of this schism and further erode the Faith and confidence of Christians in union with Rome that the Church Jesus established has not apostasized and been taken over my Satan's henchmen.
*It is Tradition that silence in the face of evil is complicity.
*In any event, I don't delude myself I am the instrument of the Holy Spirit in re reconversion. That is solely the action of the Holy Spirit. I imitate the Early Church Fathers in their reaction to schism. They didn't suffer silently the savage, hateful and public attacks against she they loved. In my neck of the woods, silence or inaction in the face of savage attakcs against loved ones is considered, well, unmanly.
*I am one of the few on here who acts like a Traditioanlist when it comes to a schism. Read your Bible. Read the Early Church Fathers; read what they said to schismatics
Ranting used to give me pleasure. It didn't actually accomplish anything, but it did give me the pleasure of hearing my own comebacks and opinions of contempt, expressed cleverly and at a loud volume.
*Mike, I hope it really isn't your arguement the Early Church Fathers were acting out of ego-gratification not love for Holy Mother Church.
*One acts like as Christian not because one can see tangible results in his lifetime. One acts like a Christian because he is a Christian; and it is Christian to publicly and forcefully stand in opposition to those attacking his Church. As to experiencing pleasure in defending one's Faith, is that now sin?
* I have yet to publicly take to task those who don't act like Traditionalists in the face of a schism but I have been taken to task for acting like a Traditionalist in the face of a schism. It is rather odd that timidity, pacificism, and silence is now thought a useful approach towards schism.
* Maybe the critics of the Church who claim the Church in the West has been "feminized" to such an extent that the female values of compromise and non-confrontationalism now so predominate and, subsequently, weaken men that the Church in the west is in mortal peril are more right that they imagine.
Once in a while, it attracted to me people who also loved hearing their own comebacks and opinions of contempt, expressed cleverly and at a loud volume.
Now I'll probably be accused of being arrogant.
* Brother mike, I don't know you but from reading your posts I'd have to say you are a very knowledgeable and intelligent man but there is no doubt we see things differently when it comes to a Christian response to schism.
"but I have been taken to task for acting like a Traditionalist in the face of a schism"
When Russia was a monarchy, the communists were in rebellion against the government. Then the communists became the government. According to the reasoning you are using here, to rebel against the communist government would have made one a communist.
You simply refuse even to acknowledge the argument that the SSPX's disobedience to some men who occupied high office in the Church, and used that power to damage the Church, is loyalty to the higher authority.
"I wonder how silence or timidity in the face of savage attacks is "successful" in winning back souls for Christ. I rather think it might convince onlookers of the "justice" of this schism"
I never even heard of the SSPX before I came to FR. Tabula rasa, no knowledge, no opinion.
It was watching the vicious ranting of its detractors and the calm, measured responses of its defenders that first piqued my interest in the controversy. It was clear which side was acting like liberals.
Unfortunately, seven years down the road, I'm not any closer to seeing which side is correct.
There are very strong arguments in support of the necessity of Lefebvre ordaining bishops. On the other hand, this episode hasn't played out yet, and may not in my lifetime, so I just don't know.
One thing I am sure of, though: the vituperation of some of the society's detractors does a lot to create sympathy for them, and little or no harm to them.
The Catholic Church is unique and we know from the promises of Christ it cannot fail.
In the French, it reads, "Il faudra faire admettre aux autorités romaines..."
It's been a lot of years since I took French, but "faudra" is one of the future tenses of a verb that translates as "to be necessary" or "must." "Faire" is "to do," or when combined with other verbs, it can mean "is" (As in, "Il fait chaud," "It is hot," literally, "It does hot."), or also translates at times, "to make [something happen]," or "to cause," when used in conjunction with another verb, as it is here, with "admettre." "Admettre" is the verb "to admit."
So, I'd string it together as roughly, "It is necessary to make [the Roman authorities] admit..."
I think that to translate it as "force" might be a little strong, but there may be idiomatic reasons for it of which I'm blithely unaware. But I think it's reasonable to say "to make admit."
"The Catholic Church is unique and we know from the promises of Christ it cannot fail."
In the end, it will be victorious. That doesn't mean that there won't be battles along the way. And we have certainly seen that it in no way guarantees against bad bishops and even bad popes.
You are not the only one. Many defenders of the SSPX have been contacted privately by lurkers for just those reasons.
One thing I am sure of, though: the vituperation of some of the society's detractors does a lot to create sympathy for them, and little or no harm to them.
God's genius at allowing evil in order to bring about a greater good is awesome.
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