Skip to comments.Bishop Fellay Responds to Hoyos Interview
Posted on 07/21/2004 7:23:09 AM PDT by Mershon
Exclusive interview with His Excellency Bishop Fellay : "We are firm, but not unreachable." 19/7/2004
Summary : Last May, the "Latin Mass" Magazine published an interview of Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, head of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei. The integral text of this interview is available in the Documents section. His Excellency Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the Society of Saint Pius X, was kind enough to answer the questions of DICI regarding the proposals made by the Cardinal in favor of Tradition in his interview.
DICI: In this interview for the Latin Mass magazine, Cardinal Castrillon-Hoyos does more than just stretch out a hand to the faithful attached to Tradition, he affirms that the Holy Father holds his arms open. Arent you touched by such a generous offer? Bishop Fellay: I am very much touched by this gesture and do not doubt the generosity behind it. But I have to remark, at the same time, that the cardinal minimizes as much as he can the real difficulties which exist on both sides. On the side of the local bishops, he only wants to see "confusion" and "hesitations" to acknowledge the "right of citizenship" of the Tridentine Mass, whereas there is a real opposition to the traditional doctrine on the Holy Sacrifice. To be convinced of this, you merely have to look at the very reserved reactions of the bishops to the recent disciplinary document Redemptionis sacramentum. Apparently, nobody is interested in this call to order! There are neither abuses, nor liturgical scandals! And as for the faithful of Tradition, Cardinal Castrillon-Hoyos only acknowledges that they have a specific "sensibility" and a "perception" all their own, whereas it is really a question of fidelity to the doctrine of the Church of all times. All these euphemisms indicate the diplomacy of the cardinal, but they do not succeed in hiding his embarrassment: how can he solve the painful situation of the Society of Saint Pius X without raising the doctrinal issues? Honestly, if it were only a matter of dissipating the "confusion" of the bishops and of acknowledging the legitimacy of the traditionalist "sensibility", I believe that the crisis would have been solved long ago. But what is at stake goes far beyond the realm of confusion and sensibility.
DICI: Arent you afraid of appearing mired in an attitude which is constantly critical and negative? Bishop Fellay: On the contrary, ever since the beginning of our conversations with Cardinal Castrillon-Hoyos, we have been making positive proposals. But we must be sure, first of all, that the pillars holding up the bridge between Rome and us are sturdy. These pillars are doctrinal. We cannot be silent on this reality without the risk that sooner or later all our efforts for a solution will fail. The solution of the cardinal is to propose a practical agreement, minimizing fundamental differences as much as possible. Is it possible? Can cordial words stave off the hard blows of the crisis which shakes the Church? I do not think so.
DICI: So for you, it is doctrine, integral doctrine, or nothing? Doesnt this position of "all or nothing" lack realism? Bishop Fellay: We are firm but not unreachable. Doubtless doctrine is fundamental, but we do think there are some preliminary stages to go through. That is the reason why, from the very beginning, we proposed two preliminary conditions to the Roman authorities. These conditions would make it possible to create an atmosphere of confidence which would be favorable to solving the problem of Ecône. These conditions are: the withdrawal of the decree of excommunication against the bishops of the Society and the acknowledgment of the right for every priest to celebrate the traditional Mass.
DICI: How do you see this withdrawal of the excommunication? Bishop Fellay: What has been done for the Orthodox could be done a fortiori for us. Rome lifted the excommunication against them without their changing anything in their attitude towards the Holy See. Could they not adopt the same measure toward us who have never been separated from Rome and have always acknowledge the authority of the Sovereign Pontiff, as defined by Vatican Council I? Indeed, the four bishops consecrated in 1988 took the oath of fidelity to the Holy See, and ever since they have always professed their attachment to the Holy See and the Sovereign Pontiff. They took all kinds of dispositions in order to show that they had no intention of creating a parallel hierarchy. I recalled this again in my press conference in Rome on February 2nd. This withdrawal of the decree of excommunication would create a new atmosphere, indispensable for going any further. Among other things, it would enable the persecuted priests and faithful to see that their attachment to Tradition is no fault, but that it was motivated by all these grievous liturgical scandals which Redemptionis sacramentum very rightly points out without, however, considering their cause, which is undoubtedly the liturgical reform itself.
DICI: And you ask for this withdrawal unilaterally, without obliging yourself to grant anything in return? Bishop Fellay: If the decree of excommunication were withdrawn, the bishops of the Society of Saint Pius X could go to Rome, just like the diocesan bishops for their ad limina visit. They would give an account of their apostolic work, and the Holy See could observe the development of the "experience of Tradition" which Archbishop Lefebvre always desired to make for the good of the Church and of souls. There would be no need of any further commitment. It would simply be a matter of giving an account, on the part of the Society, and of taking stock, on the part of Rome, of the development of the experience of Tradition.
DICI: Do you not feel that you have been heard at least as far as your second preliminary request is concerned, i.e. the acknowledgment of "the right of citizenship" of the Tridentine Mass? Bishop Fellay: I cannot help but approve the praiseworthy effort of Cardinal Castrillon-Hoyos to rehabilitate the Mass, but there also, I can only see a certain embarrassment: a right of citizenship conceded by the Holy Father, is it a right or a concession? The difference is not slight. We do not want to be granted a specific status which would be the hallmark of some liturgical "specificity". We are asking for a right which has never been lost: the freedom of the Mass for everybody. Because what we are attached to is the common patrimony of the Roman Catholic Church.
DICI: Even if you are not opposed to a dialogue with Rome, you nevertheless give the impression of practicing a "wait and see" policy. Do you not think it is time to get out of this marginalized position and commit yourself now, as they invite you to, in order to be more fruitful in the very serious situation in which the Church finds itself? Bishop Fellay: The position of the Society is not wait and see, but rather ora et labora, pray and work! Our priests are working for the restoration of the reign of Our Lord daily, with the families, the schools, etc. These 450 priests are more than committed, they are overworked. Everywhere in the world, people are asking for them. We would need three times as many! What would really marginalize us would be a concession closing off Tradition in a kind of Indian reservation or enclave within the Church. In truth, it is our concern for fruitfulness at the service of the Church and of souls which obliges us to request a true liberty for Tradition. The present state of the Church and the world is too serious for us to convince Rome that with a mere traditional "sensibility" (one that is strictly monitored) we could truly fight against the "silent apostasy" denounced by John-Paul II in Ecclesia in Europa. It would be altogether dishonest. But the Roman authorities, if they want to, can give back to Tradition its "right of citizenship" everywhere and for everyone.
In the name of "Christian unity" and true "ecumenism," let us all redouble our efforts for the canonical regularization of the SSPX with the Roman Catholic Church. While this interview might appear to some to be stand offish, I believe Bishop Fellay understands Romanitas better than most of us, and this appears to be very hopeful to me. The cause of Tradition will certainly be advanced with the addition of 450 priests fighting together with the FSSP, ICKSP and the diocesan priests who are offering the Mass of All Ages.
The modernists' days are numbered.
Interesting date, to say the least.
International dates list the day first, not the month. This is used throughout the world, and increasingly, in the U.S. as well.
OK, my mistake, I didn't think about that.
No chance at a Tridentine Rite, it appears.
It also appears that Fellay will not back off the objections the SSPX has to Vatican II--his "doctrinal" issues.
Since the Church will not compromise on Vatican II, specifically Religious Liberty and Ecumenism, any chance at reunion is hopeless at this point.
I agree with the sentiments of your post, however, Bishop Fellay has some very good contacts in Rome (more or less sympathetic to his cause), so he probably has inside information that we are not privvy to.
Also, he has seen the negative reactions (publicly in the papers) of some German and other bishops as well. These articles are on the dici.org website.
"Since the Church will not compromise on Vatican II, specifically Religious Liberty and Ecumenism, any chance at reunion is hopeless at this point."
From an otherwise open-minded, liberal, ecumania at all costs with all sorts of animal and thumb worshippers, Protestants who ordain women and are pro-contraceptive and pro-aborts to the Greek Orthodox, whom the vast majority wanted NOTHING to do with the Pope's visit, you WANT to claim that "reunion is hopeless."
Well, sinky, perhaps your intuition on the state of the Church in Rome is clouded by your AmChurch diocesan experience. Back in 1988, Rome offered and Lefebvre initially accepted, an agreement that made them accept Lumen Gentium No. 25, while reserving the right to discuss the other matters of Vatican II and its proper theological application.
Since the real theological work of fitting Vatican II into the patrimony of the Church has not been done yet, I would think this offer would still stand.
I would think that a deacon of the Church who is all for Christian "unity" would be excited and hopeful about the prospect of the largest "reunification" and second concrete example of re-entering the Church in the name of ecumenism, since the Second Vatican Council ended. The first, of course, were the priests of Campos, Brazil.
What could be better than having another 450 priests to adminisiter the sacraments in Amchurch's dying dioceses with no vocations and aging priests? This would actually even give a deacon something to do during Mass in the Classical Roman rite. You would have more "active participation." You should be thrilled.
You are misreading this bad--and I hope not intentionally in order to deceive others. Remember, Hoyos recently said a juridical solution is being discussed and hammered out as we speak.
This thing will happen if all Catholics of good will redouble their prayers and rosary and Mass intentions for the sake of Christian unity--in the true sense of the term.
Nope, I'm a Novus Ordo deacon.
But, your post indicates why Rome is so reluctant to give a universal Indult, and why it is reluctant to join up with an organization whose goal, if you read their bishops carefully, and listen to their advocates on Free Republic, is the suppression of the Novus Ordo.
If the SSPX were to follow the FSSP path, there would be no problem. But, as you know, the sect will not do that because it has no interest in cooperating with Novus Ordo bishops or a Novus Ordo Vatican.
That's why the Tridentine Rite solution is, IMO, the only thing that will allow any kind of reunion. As you can see, however, Fellay's not interested in a "reservation."
Don't count on anything happening soon here. Hoyos' "juridical guarantee" doesn't exist in any sort of canonical form. To accomplish it, he will need the cooperation of Bishops' Conferences, around the world.
Don't hold your breath.
I am a Novus Ordo deacon???
I thought the Novus Ordo was the Roman rite of Mass of Paul VI. I thought it was blend and harmonization without much real change other than the language, of the Mass of Pope John XXIII? Now you are claiming and admitting they are two different rites? OK, good progress.
Deacon, if you don't like the Traditional Latin rite of Mass (as you know, "Tridentine" is a misnomer), then you don't have to attend. Let us just have both for equal access for about 40 years.
The Novus Ordo will not be suppressed because the SSPX and its adherents desire it to be so. But after about 40 years, there will be no young men interested in replacing the modernists and grey-hairds who sold their souls for the "spirit of Vatican II."
We have about a half dozen young men in our diocese discerning God's call to the priesthood in our Bible Belt diocese. All six are interested in saying the Traditional Latin Mass on at least as frequent of basis as the Novus Ordo. And our Bishop, reluctantly perhaps, is willing to make some compromises.
Either that, or the FSSP and the ICKSP and the Legion of Christ will be the only ones with priests left.
The TLM and NO are different forms of the same rite.
But, yeah, if a way could be found, I think the separate rite would be a reasonable solution. It would protect traditionalists.
OK. You're right. But I don't, and won't, serve at Tridentine Masses.
Granted, the odds of that happening are extremely tiny, but...wouldn't you do it, if your bishop asked you to? I mean, that seems as bad as the SSPXers who consider the Missa Normativa invalid.
If I were asked, as in "given a choice," I would refuse.
If I were commanded, I would do it.
There are two deacons I have in mind right now in our diocese who would jump at the chance.
Sincerely, I just thought that in the name of "active participation," you might want to have a little more to do during the liturgy than the "assistance" that is required at a typical Novus Ordo. Not much more to do there than what the 9-year-old altar "girl" "server" is allowed to do.
As a deacon or subdeacon at a solemn High Mass, you could certainly chant the Gospel and "actively participate" more. Funny how that has turned out, isn't it?
By doing what? I conduct the Penitential Rite, prepare the Gifts, read the Gospel, preach, hold up the chalice at the "To Him, with Him, and In Him.." just prior to the Our Father, prepare the Eucharistic cups, dismiss the assembly.
That's plenty to do.
Subdeacons do nothing at a Solemn Mass but stand by and look pretty.
I attend and support the TLM. That said, I have to say you may not understand the duties of the Deacon at the NOM. They have specific tasks whose content has been clearly described by the magisterium: "To assist the bishop and priests in the celebration of the divine mysteries, above all the Eucharist, in the distribution of Holy Communion, in assisting at and blessing marriagesif they are delegated by the ordinary or the parish priest (cf. Canon 1108.1)in the proclamation of the Gospel and preaching, in presiding over funerals and in dedicating themselves to the various ministries of charity" (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 1570; cf. Lumen Gentium, 29; Sacrosanctum Concilium, 35; Ad Gentes, 16).
Not true! They assist by saying the responses that the altar boys normally say at a Low Mass, and they hold the paten throughout the Canon of the Mass.
So, they're basically altar boys with better vestments?
Thank you for this. Having attended daily Mass for several years now, and with a master's degree in theology, I am well aware of the many duties of an ordained deacon. I just wish more deacons didn't think of themselves as laymen. Perhaps then, instead of allowing "extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion" to distribute the chalice during daily Mass, they would instead do it as "ordinary ministers."
I believe perhaps my main point was misinterpreted. The deacon and subdeacon at a solemn High Mass are an intergral part of the sacrificial offering. In fact, solemn High Mass cannot take place without a deacon and a subdeacon. Like sinkspur, we have several deacons in our 5-parish area, but none of them have a desire, nor frankly, are properly catechized nor educated in the rubrics for a solemn High Mass. It is too bad. The Novus Ordo can easily take place with 9-year-old altar girls and a priest. The Traditional Latin Solemn High Mass cannot take place without a deacon and a subdeacon. I believe it raises the responsibilities and duties to a much higher spiritual plane--in line with the high respect that should be given an ordained minister of God!
"So, they're basically altar boys with better vestments?"
See my response above to Catholic lady. In addition, I would think that being "an altar boy with better vestments" would be much more important to the liturgy (holding the sacrificial OBLATION) than being replaced with 9-year-old altar girls with pigtails whose feet don't even reach the floor when sitting.
I think the order of deacon is tremendously important.
I am glad to see you are a man of your convictions. I too have met some good ones and see some tremendous good they do in the Church--except that most of them still think they are laymen, based on my personal judgment.
Also, whatever did the pre-Vatican II Church do without permanent deacons?
Oops! I forgot. They actually had lots of priests back then--prior to the GREAT RENEWAL in the wake of that magnanimous council--the greatest of all time--mind you. They had priests back then... And lots of seminarians and boys discerning becoming vocations, and altar boys--lots of them.
They probably have to dress like laymen, by order of their bishops. Many bishops will not allow permanent deacons to wear collars, period.
Our bishop has asked us to wear clericals only when performing diaconal duties; he wants to make sure that we are distinguished from priests. I think that's a good balance.
Oh, and Paul VI decided to reinstitute the permanent diaconate at Vatican II, long before the bottom fell out of the numbers in the priesthood.
"Subdeacons do nothing at a Solemn Mass but stand by and look pretty."
Obviously, you have very little respect for the office you hold as a Sacred Minister, which by the way, a Sub-Deacon is, unless you subscribe to the "straw-subdeacon". Which by definition must be a tonsured cleric as well, in other words not sister mary sunshine & the hippie love dude.
Actually, isn't this what the majority of the people who crowd around the table do in the NOM, stand around & look pretty?
There are no ordained subdeacons, and haven't been for 30 years. The office was abolished in the early 70s, as was the ceremony of tonsure.
You know very well that the Novus Ordo is the Normative Mass, and that the Tridentine is available via Indult.
Just what we need. Two more raddie-traddies to trash the Novus Ordo and Vatican II.
The Tridentine is available via Indult. Ask your bishop.
And so, Father, we bring you these gifts. We ask you to make them holy by the power of your Spirit, that they may become the body + and blood of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, at whose command we celebrate this eucharist. (ICEL Eucharistic Prayer III)
The NO Mass blurs the difference between the hierarchic priesthood and the common priesthood of the people.
P: Orate, fratres: ut meum ac vestrum sacrificium acceptabile fiat apud Deum Patrem omnipotem.
S: Suscipiat Dominus sacrificium de manibus tuis ad laudem et gloriam nominis sui, ad utilitatem quoque nostram totius que Ecclesiae suae sanctae.
Rather, it should be shouted from the rooftops that the Tridentine Mass was never suppressed, and is in fact still the official Mass of the Roman Catholic Church, and that the NO Mass is the exception, the experiment.
Mass, whether in Latin or the vernacular, may be celebrated lawfully only according to the rite of the Roman Missal promulgated 3 April 1969 by authority of Pope Paul VI ... notwithstanding the pretense of any custom, even immemorial custom, duly accept the Order of Mass in the Roman Missal. (Notification to the Conferences of Bishops, Notitiae 10 (1974), 353.)
Excellent Posts and very interesting article.
I stand corrected. The FSSP still performs the tonsure, and may ordain subdeacons, since it utilizes the 1962 Missal.
He seems to have been nuked. Did I miss something?
Not that I'm aware of.
He may be a previous bannee, and the admins identified his previous moniker. If you're banned, you're banned in all future incarnations as well.
"They actually had lots of priests back then--prior to the GREAT RENEWAL in the wake of that magnanimous council"
Thank God that vocations in traditionalist orders continue to flourish....
And as a matter of fact, vocations to traditional orders in union with Peter continue to fluorish even more abundantly, with the FSSP having more than 120 applicants last year alone.
Due to limited space, however, they could accept only 18. The Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest is also experiencing tremendous.
The Institute of Christ the King is also experiencing tremendous growth as well.
Clearly traditionalist seminaries need to expand to meet the growing demand. Hopefully some of those 120 FSSP applicants won't feel forced to find a spot in one of the empty novus ordo seminaries in the meantime.
Thankfully growing numbers of Catholics are finally realizing that supporting any novus ordo operation is a waste of money.
Let's pray it's not a case of too-little, too-late.
Actually, the Pontifical Josephinum in Ohio is orthodox, and I was told by someone who knows, that more than half of their seminarians are wanting to say the Traditional Latin Mass. Yes, they must be selective, but there are a few Novus Ordo seminaries that aren't bad.
The "doctrinal issues" are basic to the faith and do not refer specifically to Vatican II. In fact, Vatican II defined nothing. He was referring, in particular, to the Catholic concept of Sacrifice as a true immolation and re-presentation of Calvary--that which had been affirmed at Trent--and not that of praise or thanksgiving, the Protestant concept. The Church in the past thirty-plus years has tried to ignore Trent and its doctrines. But to do so is to ignore the Catholic faith itself, so there can be no compromise on this whatsoever. Until Rome relents, it is in conflict with its own history and its own past and its own faith. The modernists may try to suppress this truth--but it will fail.
Your talk of "re-entering" the Church is misguided. The SSPX is a part of the Church. The excommunications, while legal, are moral nullities and had no true effect. Bishop Fellay understands this, so he is in no hurry. He realizes God is in charge and has been protecting the Society up to now free from corruption--precisely by setting it apart. When the time is ripe the regularization will happen--but it makes no sense as long as Rome has gone off on its own revolutionary tangents.