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?