Category Archives: SSPX

The unchangeable Church

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Archbishop Lefebvre speaks about the magnitude of the loss of Faith in the Church. Taken from a sermon to his Italian faithful in Venice – April 7, 1980.

“Surely, something is wrong in the Church, because if there are no longer any seminaries there will in the future be no more priests – thus, there will no longer be the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. What will become of the Church? All this is unbelievable! They have changed, yes. They have changed, but why? They have done this, of course, with the idea of saving the Church, of doing something new. Before the Council there was a real decrease of fervor and therefore they thought that by changing, the Church would become more alive. But one cannot change what Jesus Christ has established. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Sacraments, the Creed, our catechism, the Sacred Scriptures – all come from Jesus Christ. To change them is to change the establishment of Jesus Christ. Impossible! One cannot say that the Church has been mistaken; if something is wrong one must look for the reason somewhere, but not in the Church. They also say that the Church must change as modem man changes, that as man has a new way of life, so too the Church must have another doctrine – a new Mass, new Sacraments, a new catechism, new seminaries – and, in this way, everything has gone to ruin. Everything has been ruined!”

“Throughout the world, everywhere I have been, I have visited groups of Catholics like you, who ask themselves: “What is happening in the Church?” The Church is hardly recognizable today. The ceremonies – the half-Protestant, half-Catholic liturgy – are a circus; it is no longer a Mystery. The Sacred Mystery of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass – a great Mystery, heavenly and sublime – is no longer considered such. One no longer feels the supernatural character of the Mass; those who are present have a feeling of emptiness and no longer know whether they have been at a Catholic ceremony or at some kind of secular gathering.

This is an inadmissible situation. The faithful, good and simple people, are opposed to it. Because they intuitively know that there is something which is not right in this reform. They see seminaries empty; the novitiates of religious communities empty throughout the world.”

“When I was baptized, the priest asked my godparents: “What does this child ask of the Church?” They replied: “Faith. He asks Faith from the Church.” And even today I still ask Faith from the Church – the Catholic Faith. Why do the godparents ask Faith of the Church for the child? They do so to enable him to obtain everlasting life. If it is the Faith that obtains everlasting life, then it is this Faith that I want- and I don’t want to change it!

The Catholic Faith is the Catholic Faith. The Creed is the Creed. They cannot be changed. One cannot change the Catechism; one cannot change the Mass, transforming it into a meal as the Protestants have.

The Mass is a Sacrifice, the Sacrifice of the Cross and, as the Council of Trent says, it is the same Sacrifice as Calvary, with the only difference being that one is bloody and the other unbloody. But the two are the same; the same priest – Jesus Christ, and the same Victim – Jesus Christ.

If the Victim is truly Jesus Christ, God, our Creator and our Redeemer, who shed all His Blood for our souls, it is impossible to receive Him in our hands like just any piece of bread. And it is therefore impossible for a Catholic not to have respect and adoration, if he truly believes that in the Blessed Sacrament is Jesus Christ – God Himself – the Creator, our Judge, who will be seen coming in the clouds of heaven to judge the entire world.”

 

 

 

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Archbishop Lefebvre & the Princess

 

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http://sspx.org/en/example-catholic-resistance

Most don’t know the Italian noblewoman, Princess Elvina Pallavicini, accepted Archbishop Lefebvre into her palace for a conference, showing him and ultimately the Traditional Faith her support, when few in the Church would even stop to listen to anything Archbishop Lefebvre had to say about the Faith that sanctified the Church for 2,000 years. She was threatened with excommunication for even entertaining the Archbishop. However, fidelity is victorious in the end and the palace of the Princess became a focal points for many priests, bishops and cardinals. Indeed, the Princess was right: there is no room in the Church for the cowardly.

Read the story below.

~Damsel of the Faith

An Example of Catholic Resistance: Princess Elvina Pallavicini

Roberto de Mattei
Corrispondenza Romana
July 12nd 2017

Palazzo Pallavicini-Rospigliosi as it appears today

Forty years ago a historical event took place: Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre held a conference on June 6th 1977 at the Pallavicini Palace in Rome, on the subject “The Church after the Council”. I think it is worthwhile to recall that event, on the basis of notes and documents I have kept.

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, founder of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X (1970), after the priestly ordinations of June 29th 1976, was suspended a divinis on July 22nd of the same year. Informed Catholics however, had serious doubts as to the canonical legitimacy of these measures and in particular, incomprehension with regard to the behavior of Paul VI who seemed to reserve his censorships for only those who said they wanted to remain faithful to Church Tradition. In this climate of disorientation, in April of 1977, Princess Elvina Pallavicini (1914 -2004) decided to invite Archbishop Lefebvre to her palace in the Quirinal, to hear his reasoning.

Princess Pallavicini was 63 years old at the time and the widow of Prince Guglielmo Pallavicini who had been killed on his first war mission in 1940. For many years she had been in a wheelchair as a result of progressive paralysis, but she was a woman of indomitable spirit. She had a close group of friends and advisors around her, among whom were Marquis Roberto Malvezzi Campeggi (1907-1979), Colonel of the Papal Noble Guard at the time of the corps’ dissolution in 1970, and Marquis Luigi Coda Nunziante di San Ferdinando (1930-2015), former Commander of the Italian Navy. Initially, news of the conference circulating during the month of May did not stir up any concern from the Vatican. Paul VI thought it would have been easy to convince the Princess to desist from her idea and entrusted the task to one of his closest collaborators, “Don Sergio” Pignedoli (1910-1980) whom he had made a cardinal in 1973.

The Vatican Reacts

Princess Elvina Pallavicini in younger days, and visiting with the Archbishop

The prelate called the Princess and first of all asked kindly about her illness. “I am happy –Elvina Pallavicini noted ironically – about your interest [in my physical well-being] after such a long period of silence”. After about an hour of pleasantries the cardinal’s question at last arrived: “I heard you will be receiving Archbishop Lefebvre. Will it be a public or private conference?” ” If it is at my home it can only be private”, the princess replied. The cardinal then ventured: “Wouldn’t it be opportune to postpone it? Archbishop Lefebvre has made the Holy Father suffer quite a lot. He is very grieved about this initiative…” Princess Elvina’s reply chilled Cardinal Pignedoli “Your Eminence, I think I can receive anyone I like in my own home.”

Faced with this unexpected resistance, the Vatican turned to Prince Aspreno Colonna (1916-1987), who still occupied, ad personam, the office of Assistant to the Papal Throne. When the head of this historic household asked to be received, the Princess told him she was busy. Prince Colonna asked to visit the next day at the same time, but the noblewoman’s reply was the same. While the Prince withdrew quietly, the Secretary of State thought of getting through in another way. Archbishop Andrea Lanza Cordero di Montezemolo, who had just been consecrated Archbishop and named Nuncio to Papua-New Guinea, asked for an audience with the Princess. The prelate was the son of Colonel Giuseppe Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo (1901-1944), head of the Monarchic Resistance in Rome and shot by the Germans at the Fosse Ardeatine. During the German occupation, the young Princess Elvina had collaborated with him, meriting a bronze medal of honor. I also took part in the meeting, but my presence really irritated the future cardinal, who, in vain, appealed to the memory of his father to avert the upcoming conference. The Nuncio was told that it was the same resistance of many soldiers to National Socialism, and how it was necessary at times, to disobey unjust orders from superiors in order to respect the dictates of one’s conscience.

At this point the Secretary of State played his last card, by turning to the King of Italy, Umberto II, in exile in Cascais. Marquis Falcone Lucifero, Minister of the Royal Household, telephoned the Princess to let her know that the Sovereign had strongly urged her to postpone the conference. “I’m astonished at how His Majesty allows himself to be intimidated by the Secretary of State, after everything the Vatican did to the monarchy”, she replied decisively, confirming that the conference would be duly held on the date established. Marquis Lucifero, being the elderly gentleman he was, sent the Princess a bouquet of roses.

At this point the Vatican decided to use tougher tactics. A real campaign of psychological terrorism then began in the major daily newspapers presenting the Princess as an obstinate aristocrat, surrounded by a handful of “nostalgics” in a world destined to disappear. In private, it was made known to Donna Elvina that, if the conference was to take place, she would be excommunicated.

The Princess “Goes Public”

On May 30th, with a press release to Ansa, the Princess specified that her “initiative was not motivated by any intention of challenging ecclesiastic authority, but rather by love and fidelity to Holy Mother Church and the Magisterium.” “The contrasts in the conciliar Church,” continued the communiqué, “unfortunately exist, apart from the person of Archbishop Lefebvre, and in Italy to no lesser degree, even if less evident than in the rest of the Catholic world. We intend with the conference on June 6th to offer Archbishop Lefebvre the possibility of voicing directly his theses in full freedom, precisely with the aim of clarifying the problems which disturb and grieve the Catholic world so much, in the certainty that peace and serenity can be brought back again through a restored unity to the truth.”

On May 31st, on the front page of the daily newspaper “Il Tempo”, a declaration from Prince Aspreno Colonna appeared where we read “The Roman Patriciate dissociates itself from the initiative”, deploring it as “completely inopportune”. The bombshell was dropped however, on June 5th by the Cardinal Vicar of Rome, Ugo Poletti (1914-1997). With an aggressive statement in the Italian Bishops’ daily newspaper Avvenire, Poletti attacked Archbishop Lefebvre and ” his aberrant followers”, defining them as “a handful of class nostalgics, prisoners of traditional habits”. He further expressed, “astonishment, pain and sorrow, but the firmest disapproval for the offence made against the Faith, the Catholic Church and Her Divine Head, Jesus”, Archbishop Lefebvre having placed in doubt “fundamental truths of the kind relating to the infallibility of the Catholic Church founded on Peter and his successors, in matters of doctrine and morals”.

From the Princess’ headquarters there came an immediate reply: “It is difficult to understand how the private expression of theses which have been those of all the bishops of the world until a few years ago, can disturb the security of an authority to such an extent, as it has on its side the strength of doctrinal continuity and the evidence of its positions.” The Princess declared: “I am a more than convinced Apostolic Roman Catholic, seeing that I have reached the true sense of Religion through the refining of physical and moral suffering: I owe nothing to anyone, I have no honours nor prebends to defend, and I thank God for everything. Within the limits that the Church allows, I may dissent, I may talk, I may act: I have to talk and I have to act: it would be cowardice not to. And allow me say, that in our Home, also in this generation, there is no room for the cowardly.”

The Day of the Conference

 

Inside the Palazzo, similar to how it may have looked the day of the conference

Finally the fateful day of June 6th arrived. The conference was carefully reserved for four hundred invited guests, controlled by “private security” provided by the “Alleanza Cattolica” youth, but there were more than a thousand who filled up the staircases and the garden of the historical Rospigliosi-Pallavicini Palace, famous all over the world for its works of art. Archbishop Lefebvre arrived accompanied by his young representative in Rome, Don Emanuele du Chalard. Princess Pallavicini went to meet him in her wheelchair, pushed by her Lady-in Waiting, Donna Elika Del Drago. Princess Virginia Ruspoli, widow of Marescotti, one of the two hero-princes at the Battle of El Alamein, gave Archbishop Lefebvre a relic of St. Pius X which had been given to her personally by Pius XII.

Despite [the fact] that the Grand Priory of the Order of Malta in Rome had expressed “a binding necessity” to abstain from intervening at the conference, Prince Sforza Ruspoli, Count Fabrizio Sarazani and some other courageous aristocrats defied the censures of the institution and were there in the front row, right beside Monsignor François Ducaud Bourget (1897-1984), who had led the occupation of the Church Saint-Nicolas du Chardonnet in Paris on February 27th.

Princess Pallavicini introduced Archbishop Lefebvre and he took his place under the red baldachin with the coat of Arms of Pope Clement IX, Rospigliosi. The Archbishop after some moments of prayer, began with these words: “I respect the Holy See. I respect Rome. If I am here it is because I love this Catholic Rome.” The Catholic Rome that he had before him interrupted his speech repeatedly with thunderous applause. The hall was filled to overflowing and a crowd had gathered on the great staircases of the palace.

The “Council of aggiornamento” – explained Archbishop Lefebvre – in reality wants a new definition of the Church. To be “open” and be in communion with all religions, all ideologies, all cultures, the Church should change its excessively hierarchal institutions and break up into many National Episcopal Conferences. The sacraments will insist on initiation and the collective life, more than the driving out of Satan and sin. The leit-motiv of change will be ecumenism. The practice of the missionary spirit will disappear. The principle that “every man is Christian and doesn’t know it” will be proclaimed, so it doesn’t matter whatever confession is practiced – it is seeking salvation.

The liturgical and ecumenical changes – continued Archbishop Lefebvre in the hushed silence of all those present – cause the disappearance of religious vocations and make for deserted seminaries. The principle of “religious liberty” sounds outrageous to the Church and Our Lord Jesus Christ, as it is nothing other than “the right to public confession of a false religion with no interference from any human authority”.

Archbishop Lefebvre then lingered for a bit on the post-council’s caving-in to Communism, referring to the repeated audiences given to Communist leaders by the Holy See; the agreement not to condemn Communism during the Council; the contemptuous treatment reserved for more than 450 bishops who asked for this condemnation. On the contrary, dialogue with Communism was encouraged by nominating pro-Communist bishops like Monsignor Helder Camara in Brazil, Monsignor Silva Henriques in Chile, and Monsignor Mendez Arceo in Messico.

It is a fact, added Archbishop Lefebvre in conclusion, that numerous Dominicans and many Jesuits who profess heresies openly are not condemned and bishops who practice inter-communion, who introduce false religions in their dioceses and churches, who even end up blessing concubinage, are not even placed under inquiry. Only faithful Catholics risk being thrown out of churches, persecuted, condemned. “I have been suspended a divinis because I continue to form priests as they were once formed.”

Turning to a listener touched by his words, Archbishop Lefebvre concluded his conference saying: “Today the most serious obligation for a Catholic is that of conserving the Faith. It is not licit to obey those who are working to diminish Her or make Her disappear. With Baptism we asked the Church for the Faith because the Faith conducts us to eternal life. We will continue to our very last breath to ask the Church for this Faith.”

The meeting ended with the singing of the Salve Regina.

The Vatican reporter, Benny Lai in La Nazione of June 7th, commented: “Those who expected a tribune found themselves in front of a man of meek bearing, who, before inviting those present to recite the Salve Regina, concluded [his speech], with these worlds: “I don’t want to form a group of any kind, I don’t want to disobey the Pope, but he must not ask me to become Protestant.”

The conference was a strategic victory for those who were inappropriately called traditionalists, as Archbishop Lefebvre managed to make his theses known on the international level, without [suffering] canonical consequences.

Paul VI died a year later, devastated by the death of his friend Aldo Moro.

The name of Cardinal Poletti is still linked to the murky business of the nulla osta he granted on March 10th 1990, for the entombment of the Banda della Magliana Boss “Renatino” De Pedis, in the Basilica of Sant’Apollinare.

Princess Pallavicini came out a winner from this “challenge”. Not only was she not excommunicated, but in the following years her palace became the point of reference for many cardinals, bishops and Catholic intellectuals. She and her Roman friends were not “phantoms from the past”, as the Corriere della Sera defined them on June 7th 1977, but witnesses to the Catholic Faith who were preparing the future. Forty years later, history has proven them right.

 

Source: Roberto de Mattei
Translation: contributor Francesca Romana on Rorate Caeli

Bishop Fellay on the four effects of the Mass

http://sspx.org/en/news-events/news/listen-bishop-fellays-sermon-4-effects-mass-ordinations-weekend

Bishop Fellay gives a thought provoking and beautiful sermon at the first Mass of Fr. Ian Palco, a newly ordaimed priest, on the importance of the Priesthood in relation to the Mass, the meaning of the Mass and why it’s important for us to have a great love for the Mass, the atonement which the priest makes to God on our behalf for the sins of mankind. There are four traditional ends of the Mass: adoration, atonement, thanksgiving and petition.  Read the summary provided by the Society and better yet, listen to the calming voice of the good Bishop expound upon these points and preach the doctrine of the Church.

~Damsel of the Faith

Bishop Fellay preached at the first Mass of Fr. Ian Palco, explaining the dignity of the priest and the mystery and value of the Mass.

The Lord expects from his priests a love that is infinite, ever-growing, and unlimited: not a mere human love. Christ wants the priest to adore God in a perfect way, to give thanks to God at all times, to make reparation for the sins man has committed, and to intercede for mankind in all their intentions. This sermon was delivered on Saturday, July 8, 2017, the day after the priestly ordinations at the new seminary in Dillwyn, VA.

The main points of His Excellency’s sermon are provided below – the video provides audio of his sermon explaining the four ends of the Mass.

The First Duty of Man is to Adore God

The act of adoration means that man recognizes the authority of God and that he freely accepts the rights God has over man. But, all men being sinners, and their acts being limited by their senses, they cannot go beyond this world on their own. Incapable of exceeding the sphere of the simply natural and to reach out to the infinite, man, by himself, cannot offer to God due adoration. Only Jesus Christ, being the Son of God, makes us understand the narrowness of human life. He offers himself in the Holy Mass and, through the priest, we can offer to God adoration that is fully acceptable to Him.

Justice, Thanksgiving, and Piety

Many times in life, man rejoices at important gifts which he is never able to give back in full: what we have received from our parents, our country, and God is invaluable. We are never truly able to thank our parents and adequately express what we owe them. It is the same with God. We owe him our life! He cares about us unceasingly, He gave His Son, and offered us the possibility of becoming His sons. Never could we thank God as we should if it was not for the Holy Mass. Being elevated to God’s instrument, the priest offering Mass can say thanks to God the way God desserves to be thanked.

The sacrifice the priest offers at the altar — “my sacrifice and your sacrifice” — “the sacrifice of the priest and the sacrifice of the faithful” (Offertory), united with the sacrifice of Christ, becomes a sacrifice with an infinite dimension, impossible to be understood by man, a sacrifice that is pleasing to God.

 

Satisfaction

The satisfaction that one Holy Mass gives to God, being an act of Christ, is sufficient to make reparation for all the sins of humanity. But this satisfaction must be allocated to man. The Holy Mass is the source of all graces that can easily fill a man’s heart. But the amount of graces to be received, and the forgiveness given to man, depends on how open he is to the action of grace. The more man is prepared to receive the graces, the more man will receive.

Prayer

The Prayer of Our Lord during the Holy Mass is infinite and infallible. Again, since man prays with Our Lord, since he has a part in this prayer, the act by itself and the fruits coming from it, is tainted by the imperfection of man. If we had the faith and we knew the plan of God, there would be no unanswered prayer. The most efficient prayer we can ever present to God happens at Mass, thanks to and through the priest.

Care for the Faithful

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre called prayer the essential apostolate of the priest. Any apostolate aims to bring his people closer to God, to help them avoid sin, and to make them progress in virtue. None of this can happen without the graces of the Mass. The graces of Christ in the Mass are universal and know no borders or limitations. Even the angels have less power than the priest! Celebrating Mass means is the essence of the priesthood.

How Does God Expect the Priest to Help the Faithful?

There is a short prayer in the breviary: “Fac ut sim sacerdos secundum Cor tuum.” “Make my heart like unto your heart!” Jesus wants to be one with the priest and he wants the priest to be one with him. He wants to pour into the heart of the priest the love of God and, through the heart of the priest, he wants to approach the faithful. The priest should look at Christ at all times and ask: What do you want me to do? To say? The life of the priest is about the love of Christ and the love for the sheep he has entrusted to the priest. Human nature is such that man loves what he finds to be good. A priest, like Christ, who dies for all people, has to open his heart to all men and must be ready to die for the sinner.

Charity Summarizes all the Commandments

“We must love God with all our heart with all our strength.” There can not be any limitation to our love. This charity, the union we have now with God, is the same as the saints have for God in heaven. As long as we live on earth, our charity has to increase every moment. No man can say at any moment that he is loving God and his neighbor as much as he should. The progress souls make from one Communion to the next, following St. Thomas Aquinas, is exponential. Only God knows how much progress we make at every Communion, and what marvels God works in our soul.

Source: SSPX US District

 

The first Ordinations at the new St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary

Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the SSPX, ordained 9 American Priests and 6 Deacons, on the morning of July 7th, Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  This was the first priestly ordination at the now completed St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary in Dillwyn, VA. The following is a print summary of Bishop Fellay’s sermon, as of now. Pictures are to follow. What a glorious day for the Church and the Society, more fruits of the Society’s labor of love – new priests to save souls and aid in the restoration of the Church. The new Seminary, built to literally represent a fortress, will house, God willing, many more generations of future Priests to come.  The divine graces poured forth upon these men give them the supernatural power to save souls from hell and lead them to heaven. Congratulations to the newly ordained and may God reward them for their fidelity to His Church!

~Damsel of the Faith

The Man of God 

For the first time, these grounds see the tremendous happiness from Almighty God and Holy Mother Church for this harvest of deacons and priests. Who are they, these men? Holy Scripture says that a priest is a Man of God. He is not of this earth. At his ordination, the priest receives something real in his soul. They are human beings, with a body and soul, with virtues and defects. What they receive today will help them, and it also changes them. Philosophically we say that when an accident is added it modifies their substance. It is like this with the man who is made a priest, but it also changes his character. The sacrament of ordination goes deep into his soul, so deep that it cannot be erased – not by age, or death, or sin. The soul is forever changed.

This Man of God is chosen by God. He is a prophet because it is his role to speak in the name of someone else. God has chosen these men to be his mouthpiece to the world. They are to remind creatures of God and God’s interests; these things are always to come first. God is their end and their fulfillment, His Ten Commandments, and His only begotten Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Deacons

“God is talking to us creatures,” His Excellency continued. This Word has been entrusted to the Deacon. He receives the Gospel in the ordination ceremony. Each time the priest reads the Gospel at Mass, he kisses it. We might not understand the importance of communicating the Gospel, but the devil does. He makes it hard to spread the Gospel through fear of the might of the world. We must resist the devil. He is real. Holy Mother Church strengthens the ones who give us this Word. This is a fight to the death against the devil and all those who follow him. The fight is above human strength, but Our Lord gives the Holy Ghost to men so they can fight.
Our Lord told St. Peter that he is to testify that Our Lord is Almighty God – he is to give witness. The Apostles were shaken by this, but our Lord said ‘Do not fear! I will give you the Holy Ghost.’ The Church has always been in this spiritual fight against the devil and all those who spread errors.
I say to the deacons, this word belongs to God and to the Church. Do not put yourself above the Church. Do not try to judge the Church. Remain a child of the Church. It is true that a lot of prelates and cardinals have not been faithful. But the Church is the Mystical Body. It is one body incorporated into Our Lord Jesus Christ. Not one grace can happen without the immediate intervention of Our Lord. Priests and deacons are just his instruments.

The Priests

In the Holy Eucharist, our Lord gave a means to multiply Himself. There is only one Jesus, one Body, one Soul. And in each host, He is completely, fully there. He multiplies Himself through the real presence. But He hides Himself. For our Lord Jesus Christ, His species is the priest, though the man that is the priest is still present. Our Lord is the priest and the victim. There is only one priest, Jesus. Only Jesus absolves in confession. At Mass, the priest opens his mouth and says, ‘This is My body,’ and it is Jesus speaking. These words do not belong to the man; they belong to Jesus.
The only one who has the might in His words and to produce what He says is God. In Genesis, how did God create? By speaking. By His might He makes what He says a reality.
This might is given to the priest when he gives the sacraments.
When the priest speaks, the whole, infinite holiness of God comes through. The priest’s hands are consecrated – they are dedicated to give blessings. It is beyond understanding what kind of treasures God has deposited to His priests. The priest himself is an incomprehensible sign of God’s love. St. John Vianney said that if we understood what a priest is, we would die of love.
A priest is a mediator, a key, one that reunites God and man after they have been separated by sin. The priest repairs the damage caused by sin. When God chooses a priest, He chooses a victim. It is hard to understand. Our human nature does not like it. But a vocation is a call to be a sacrifice.
Every Mass is a sacred sign of an invisible sacrifice. In a Mass, our Lord Himself perpetuates the sacrifice of Calvary. This sacrifice is consummated with the Communion of the priest. The priest is obliged daily to make this sacrifice. In each sacrifice, we priests offer ourselves. Each priest should say, ‘I am immolated with the sacrifice on the Cross. I am dead with Jesus.’ That is the priest that will cleanse sin from the world. To be a priest is something serious. Modern men want to get rid of sin; they have no sense of sin. They want to get rid of mortification and death. But Our Lady said souls will go to hell because no one makes sacrifices for them. A sacrifice hurts.
Charity, which is love, is difficult to really understand. It is gentle and kind and good, yes. Those God loves the most – look at what He requests of them. Who does God love more than the Blessed Virgin Mary? And we know what God had planned for her.

The Sacred Heart

Today is the first Friday, the day of the Sacred Heart, which is a visible indication of God’s love. The Sacred Heart is opened by a lance to show us God’s love, and it is surrounded by thorns by our ingratitude. It is the same with the Immaculate Heart, which is crowned with roses and surrounded by thorns. The priest must be like these two hearts, and the fulfillment of this is his vocation.
In the world, there is hatred of God, a meanness of creatures who are against their God. The priest must win over the evil by goodness. The priest reminds us of the love of God. He is the ambassador of God. When this goodness shines, it will touch hearts to continue God’s work of saving souls.

The beautiful ceremonies of the Catholic Priesthood:

Bishop Fellay’s torch-lit procession with the faithful, the evening of the ordinations, to honor the 100th Anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima:

 

 

The growth of the Church in Mongolia

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Mongolia, one of the smallest countries in the world is beginning to thrive in Catholic tradition.   The Society has just established a parish on June 11th, that four years ago, was comprised of three souls.  Where two or three are gathered for Christ’s name and the sake of the True Faith, there Christ is in their midst, blessing their fruits and making them prosperous, as is evident with the growth of the Church in Mongolia.  Here is the Society’s detailed article which can be found here.

~Damsel of the Faith

1,300 baptized Catholics, about forty missionaries, one native priest: the Catholic Church has been present in Mongolia since 1991, and is spreading little by little in spite of the restrictive politics. A sign of hope: a parish was just established on June 11, 2017, thanks to the apostolate of a priest who only four years ago was saying Mass for a community of only three faithful…

Mongolia is one of the least populated countries in the world. A land of deserts, steppes, and mountains, Mongolia is three times the size of France, with a population of under three million people. It is also a country that has experienced major social upheavals, especially since 1989 and the fall of the Soviet Union.

When their independence was declared, only 27% of the Mongols were living in the capital, Ulaanbaatar. Today, almost half the population lives in Ulaanbaatar, and about 40,000 more people move there every year.

Christians, all confessions included, represent only a little over 2% of the population: most of the inhabitants follow the practices of Tibetan Buddhism, with a mixture of shamanic beliefs.

The Catholic Church in Mongolia suffered greatly at the hands of the Communist dictatorship. When the regime collapsed in 1991, official statistics indicated that there were simply no Catholics in the country. In 1992, the Fathers of the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary came from the Philippines and changed that state of affairs.

But the Church’s situation is anything but simple, since like any other religious organization, she has to renew her registration every year, a process that is always long and unpredictable…

One of the most restrictive conditions that applies to all foreign organizations present in Mongolia —including the Catholic Church— is the obligation of including a minimum percentage of Mongolian employees in their staff. The Catholic Church remains an exception, for unlike almost all other religious organizations that have the status of non-governmental organizations and 95% of whose staff must be native employees, it obtained permission for a minimum of 75%.

In this very restrictive context, a new parish was just established on June 11, on the Solemnity of the Most Blessed Trinity. The Church of Divine Mercy in Erdenet, about 150 miles the north of Ulaanbaatar, was blessed by the Apostolic Prefect, Bishop Wenceslao Padilla. It is one of three new parishes to be created for the 25th anniversary of the Catholic presence in Mongolia.

The community of the Divine Mercy parish was born in 2013, when a Congolese missionary, Fr. Prosper Mbumba, of the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, began saying Mass for…only three baptized Catholics then living in the city!

The goal was to accompany these persons in their faith, and not “leave them like sheep without a shepherd,” declared the priest, who at the time was in charge of a preschool for disadvantaged children, run by his Congregation since 2002.

“At that time,” Fr. Prosper Mbumba told Fides, “once a month I celebrated Mass for three Catholics. I remember that once I was accompanied by a few confreres and so we priests outnumbered the faithful in the congregation. In 2013 on Christmas Eve I celebrated Mass with two people and the next day, Christmas Day, there were three.”

“Gradually,” he continued, “the community began to grow, because the three lay faithful started bringing friends, relations and neighbors. Since 2015 the community has been gathering every Sunday and we had the idea of requesting institutional recognition. In 2016, the Holy Year of Mercy, the local government granted legal status – which is necessary – for this Catholic community. This is why our community decided to take as its name  and holy patron Divine Mercy.

Fr. Prosper Mbumba is now the first parish priest, and on the occasion of that celebration, a new member, an adult, was baptized and received the sacrament of the Eucharist.

The parish has already celebrated six baptisms and a marriage, and many young people and adults are attending catechism classes. “The Catholic Church in Mongolia, with its 1,300 baptized Catholics and a native priest, looks forward to the future with confidence,” Fr. Mbumba concluded.

May these Catholics one day discover the true Mass and all the treasures of Tradition!

SSPX Marriages and the Society’s relations with Rome

8c559-fellay-ready

http://sspx.org/en/interview-bishop-fellay-april-2017

In Bishop Bernard Fellays’s latest interview, he gives us some insight into the Pope’s recognition of SSPX Marriages, as well as a general overview of the current Society relations with Rome. As always, a must read. The transcript follows.

~Damsel of the Faith

SSPX USA: Your Excellency, thank you very much for taking the time out of your very busy schedule to meet with us. If you don’t mind, we have a few questions that have been in the news recently that we hoped you might shed some light on.

Bishop Fellay: With pleasure.

The State of Marriages in the SSPX

SSPX USA: The latest news from Rome, first of all, regarding the Society concerns provisions for our marriages. What does that mean for the Society and how will it affect us practically?

Bishop Fellay: It’s a broad question. May I recall the background a bit? The background is that, for years, a kind of jurisprudence has been established by the official Church, by Rome, which claims that our marriages would be invalid. Of course, we have enough elements in Canon Law to prove that is not the case. But nevertheless, people who want to break – if I may say so — their marriage have an easy door with this stipulation.

And so for years I’ve tried to see with Rome what can be done to block this unjust, unreal situation. Finally, after different ideas throughout the years – it’s almost 10 years that I have been discussing this – and it’s certainly an initiative of the Holy Father – came the idea of telling the bishops: why not recognize this situation as Catholic and hence give the delegation? That’s really the background.

Now, as with many documents, you have to read between the lines. I think the aim is in the second paragraph which says to the bishops: the priests of the Society, though the Church labels them as irregular, are capable of receiving the delegation necessary to bless or to receive the consent of the marriage. So I think, it has to be read as a new step towards the Society, in fact; not at all a step of trying to get the Society” in the pockets”; how do you say? No, on the contrary, to recognize that what we do is Catholic and telling the bishops: “You can give the delegation even to these priests.”

And what is very interesting also: it is stated that they speak about our marriages. And they say in that case, even if diocesan priests would be delegated for receiving the consent, nevertheless the Mass itself would be celebrated by a priest of the Society. So the fact that there is a clear statement that the priest will celebrate the Mass from the Society is once again a new step in the right direction, saying that these priests not only can but will say the Mass. And obviously in the right manner, so without any irregularity.

So you have somewhere a certain contradiction in the text. It is obvious. It has to be understood in such a way that, first, Rome wants to state that we, in their eyes, are not yet completely in canonical order. So they want to make that statement. But despite that: “Treat them normally as if there would be no disorder.” That’s the interesting thing.

Certainly, you can have different ways to look at this text; you can have a positive or a pessimistic way. But, looking at the Holy Father, looking at how Pope Francis deals with us, for a certain time, it is very clear that it is a benevolent step against us; not a trap, not a bad, hidden trick, or catch. No: it is a will that we are treated correctly at all levels.
SSPX USA: Your Excellency, you spoke of possible contradictions in the text or even different ways of reading between the lines. Some of the faithful who attend Society Masses have perhaps read a different interpretation, expecting to now accept priests from the diocese to receive their vows. And some of them seem uncomfortable with the idea of a diocesan priest, for instance, coming to a SSPX chapel to receive their vows. What would you say to those who expect or think this provision of Rome is simply another obstacle for the faithful to get married by priests of the Society?

Bishop Fellay: I think when we go into the practical situation, it is difficult to see beforehand. We will try to deal with the bishops; we will try to get the best out of the text. We already have examples right now of bishops, especially in Argentina, which is the country of the Pope, where the bishop has simply given the delegation to our priests. Period. And we expect that that will be the general situation. So, the correct interpretation of the text.

This does not exclude a situation where, let’s say, a bishop will be stubborn and so on and will insist on imposing a priest. Then we will have to look into the concrete situation. Definitely, as it is a marriage of our faithful, they have a say. And that’s why I read in this way the text which speaks of “in an impossibility of Plan A, go to Plan B”, which is give directly the delegation to the priests of the Society.

So, if there are cases where we feel uncomfortable, we have to say it. And it’s even in the text. Probably we will have here and there some difficulties, but they are not without a solution.

SSPX USA: Since the document mentions the possibility of local ordinaries giving delegation directly to the Society, and you’ve mentioned possible examples that exist already, how will the priests of the Society go about trying to obtain that delegation? Is it up to individual priests, local priors, District Superiors, the General House? Is there any light you can shed on how, practically, that will play out?

Bishop Fellay: We will indicate to the different Districts the path, the way of handling that case. You may have different situations. In general, as I say, we will try not to handle this case-by-case, but to get to general policies with the bishops. And this would mean that there would be a contact with the Superior of the District.

SSPX USA: Speaking of general policies, in the document that was released from the General House, there was an indication that guidelines would be drawn up for the whole Society. Is it premature to comment on those guidelines or have discussions already occurred regarding those?

Bishop Fellay: I think it’s too early. We have also to see how this text from Rome will be received locally. And we don’t yet have all the answers. But you can easily imagine that, with such a text, most of the bishops don’t bother as it is an opening towards us. And they will just grant it.
SSPX USA: How would we deal with the question of marriage in places where, for instance, the bishops do not want to collaborate? Is there a risk of having certain countries or dioceses where bishops grant delegation and others don’t?

Bishop Fellay: Strictly speaking, we could expect that. It’s possible, let’s say, that bishops would go against the disposition of the Pope. We know that. And I don’t fear that because we come back to the present situation, foreseen by Canon Law, which says that, if there is a grave difficulty, or in Latin, grave incommodum, the two future spouses can proceed. And they must have, for that situation, witnesses, and if a priest is available, the priest.
SSPX USA: So in the event a local bishop would be opposed, is there some recourse to Rome to protect us or is that not in the case?

Bishop Fellay: I would say it’s not necessary, but we probably will look into the question. And we may speak with Rome about it: would it be just to establish in such cases another policy, if I may say? When I spoke to the Pope about the present situation of bishops refusing, he said: “But I can give it!”It was really interesting. Let’s say, as an ultimate recourse, we know that, on the side of the Pope, there is a readiness.
SSPX USA: This may seem like a practical question in light of the recent document, but where will these marriages from here on be registered? Will they simply be in the priories and chapels of the Society or in the local diocesan parishes or somewhere else?

Bishop Fellay: If we follow the indication of the text itself, I think that the correct interpretation is that we continue our registration and we send the notification to the diocese.
SSPX USA: Also, from the perspective of those who wish to be married, do you anticipate a kind of “test” for the spouses we have prepared for marriage? Would it not be strange for a priest who had no role in the training of the spouses to witness their vows and even have no idea whether they are properly prepared?

Bishop Fellay: Once again, I think the text foresees that we prepare, we make the tests, and the local priest is only there for the ceremony, like putting the stamp on a reality which is all ours.

A Step Forward With Rome

SSPX USA: You answered this a bit earlier, but perhaps you could expound on it. You seem to interpret this either as a step towards regularization or at least of good will from Rome rather than interpreting these gestures as a kind of trap to keep us from doing the work that we’ve already been doing. Can you comment any further on that dichotomy?

Bishop Fellay: Yes, no problem. I think that this is not the first step which goes in that direction. I said that I’ve been discussing about this question for 10 years already. I speak about other problems which would request an intervention of Rome, of the highest authority; Catholic acts which we establish and that would be recognized by Rome. And I see that this is happening at diverse levels. The more we go, the more intense this is the common practice.

Which means that, even though there are certain claims about us being irregular, more and more we are treated as if things would be just normal. In recent years, everybody has heard about the power of hearing confessions worldwide, everywhere. And being not only valid, but licit; that is, everybody can, without trouble of conscience, come to the priests of the Society. That’s an example.

Another example is ordinations. Last year, I received a letter from Rome telling me: “You can freely ordain your priests without the permission of the local ordinary.” So if I can freely ordain, that means that the ordination is recognized by the Church, not just as valid but in order. If I can freely do it, it’s clear that this is just already recognized and accepted. So this is one more step in this acceptance that we are “normal Catholics” despite this underlying sense that we are still not completely in order. More and more, this is going on and it’s not the first step. Frankly, I don’t see there any will to interfere or take over, but simply the recognition that what we do is Catholic.
SSPX USA: To switch topics a little bit, though I suppose it’s indirectly related, there’s a little more than a year until the next General Chapter of the Society. Can you say anything about what preparations are underway and what that means for the Society; or is it perhaps too early?

Bishop Fellay: No, I don’t think it’s too early. We can really talk about it. This Chapter is the one which will happen, provided everything goes forward or is still the way they are now. In any case, even if we are recognized before, it would imply a General Chapter according to our internal policies. So if it happens before, or at that time, in any case, it is the occasion for us to look into our faithfulness to our statutes, how accurate we accomplish them, what the failures are, what are the points are that need improvement, what the new questions are, and new problems. I guess that, with this new possible recognition by Rome, this will, when it happens, raise quite a number of new questions, of new situations. We certainly already reflect on them now, but we’ll have to put them into guidelines or policies for the whole Society. In any case, I think it will be an important Chapter and we are preparing, definitely. One year is not too long before to prepare it.

The Current State of the SSPX

SSPX USA: Perhaps speaking even more generally, can you say how and where is the Society growing most around the world? Are there places in particular that perhaps strike you as unique or particularly impressive?

Bishop Fellay: What I see, in general, is a more or less constant growth, not too spectacular. Here and then, a group would just join us as a group, but that is really rare. It’s more or less individuals who come, who join, one family here or there. But this is universal in all the countries where we are settled; in all six continents you find that. Some places know greater or more intense growth: countries like the United States and some places in Africa have that, yes. But there are variations from one country to the other. So I cannot say for sure that for 10 years you really have one which is increasing more than another. The whole Society is still growing and I say, the more we grow, the more we have a problem of not having enough priests to cope with all the needs.
SSPX USA: Speaking of priests, what is the trend of priests coming from either dioceses or religious congregations, perhaps showing interest in the Society? Has it increased or decreased since Pope Francis? Maybe you can speak to their motives and why they choose the Society out of a number of options.

Bishop Fellay: Yes, it seems to me that there’s not much change before and after the election of Pope Francis. I think it is deeper trend than just one person being in charge. There are priests, indeed, who approach us. They approach us to become a member but many of them don’t necessarily want to become a member. But they want to be friends, they want to learn from us: the sacred liturgy, on one hand, but more the doctrine.

Once I was in front of a group of priest friends in Italy—it was about two years ago—and I asked them, about 30 priests: What do you expect from us? And I was almost certain that they would say, “Well, teach us how to say the Mass.” That was not the answer. The answer is: the doctrine. That’s what they expect. And it’s deeper, of course: without doctrine, which explains the Mass, the Mass may be beautiful and so on, but what makes it solid is the doctrine which is expressed, which is coming out of the Mass. And if you have a good and solid knowledge of this theology, it makes the liturgy even more necessary, I may say.

And that’s what you see a little bit everywhere. I see priests who approach us, but not just for the Mass: for much more! They want to learn Tradition. Many of them, when they discover the Mass, are frustrated. They feel cheated. And they say: “These are treasurers, our treasures, and they were hidden from us!” But they don’t remember that level of frustration; they really enjoy Tradition deeply and they want to live it.

Response to the Current Crises

SSPX USA: Your Excellency, speaking of another more universal question, Amoris Laetitia has generated a tremendous amount of confusion and controversy since it was released last year. On the one hand, one could say it’s encouraging to see some wake up to the crisis in the Church; on the the other hand, the pastoral results of that document are really devastating. There are even some who claim the Society has been too soft in their critique of Amoris Laetitia. What are your thoughts about this document and the controversy it’s engendered?

Bishop Fellay: At the time, I wrote to Pope Francis, and we prepared a text to wake up the cardinals, a letter from our three bishops. But, I will not say “unfortunately”–that would not be the right word—but four cardinals took the initiative just before we were about to send the letter. That’s why there was not much noise about it because it was already done. So our letter just remains in a drawer.

In fact, we are certainly doing all that we can with those who raise their voice. I think it is important that people notice that we are no longer the only ones who complain, who denounce, who attack poor situations which are harming souls. It could be one of the reasons why, here and there, I would not talk immediately, letting their voice appear and not mixing mine with theirs. Because usually when we do that, they are disqualified because this tendency of disqualifying us in the modern Church is still very present. And so, letting their voice be heard, for the whole Church, is probably better. And everybody anyway knows what we think and what our positions are. It has not changed and everybody knows that.

So while, and as long as there are voices in the Church who talk in the right direction, to say that one day or another, I would have spoken more softly, does not change anything in the big picture, in the big fight which is still there. That’s very, very clear. And it absolutely does not mean that we would, by politics, in order not to jeopardize a possible agreement—which is not the correct word—or canonical recognition, lower our voice is simply not true. If someone would be careful and look at all I write and say, they would say that I just continue. We are still the same.

And I insist in Rome to say we are like this and we are not going to change. We may be a little bit less controversial in attacking the persons. But our reason would not be just a personal gain. What we look for is the most efficient way to have a benefice for the whole Church. Sometimes you gain more by giving a simple argument than by barking it. You have to look at the cases. We are still in a fight, we know that, and it’s definitely not over. It’s not just for the pleasure of fighting, but we belong to the militant Church.
SSPX USA: Perhaps in conclusion, a simpler question: you’re here in St. Mary’s, KS, for confirmations. St. Mary’s is obviously the Society’s biggest parish and school in America. What are your impressions or thoughts you might share on St. Mary’s?

Bishop Fellay: I admire the work of Divine Providence in this place which was sanctified just before us by the Jesuits. It was the scholasticate of the Jesuits. In the church, which is no longer there, which was burnt, we know that over 1,000 priests have been ordained. We know it’s not only a very holy place, but a very priestly place. And as the first scope of the Society is the priesthood, it’s a good reminder.

And I may say certainly we are harvesting. We are trying to sow the seed but we are more harvesting from the work of previous good workers in the field of the Lord. We certainly admire and thank God for these beautiful fruits of the traditional attitude, which was everywhere before.

 

Bp. Fellay in latest interview: “Errors are killing the Church”

 

Speaking to Fr. Alain Lorans of the French Radio Courtoisie, Bishop Fellay discusses a wide range of topics, from Vatican II & Amoris Laetitia to the ungodliness of the modern government and the truth behind the latest talks between the Society and Rome. He also talks about the spiritual infertility in the modern church.  This man speaks so beautifully on the Faith and tradition, that it is well worth the read. I have posted his insightful interview from the Dici website, which you can read below. God bless Bishop Fellay & the Society of St. Pius X, and may our patrons keep them steadfast in the Faith always.

~Damsel of the Faith

http://www.dici.org/en/news/will-the-society-of-st-pius-x-be-truly-free-to-try-the-experiment-of-tradition/

Fr. Alain Lorans: Your Excellency, you have been the Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X for over 20 years. Over this period of time, have you seen a change in the Church, in the Society, or in the world during your travels? You just returned from South America; where have your latest trips taken you? 

Bishop Bernard Fellay: My latest trips? First I went to the United States for the blessing of the new seminary. I also participated in a congress on the other side of the United States, the west coast. And then in December we had ordinations in Argentina. While I was over there I stopped in Peru to see how things are coming in Lima; we have a chapel there, too. Those were my two most recent big trips last year.

Fr. Lorans: Have you noticed an evolution over the last 20 years and more?

Bishop Fellay: It takes time to tell if something is really moving. There has been a certain evolution, but it is very gradual. Extremely gradual, practically imperceptible. I think there have been some changes, but the heart of the struggle – we will probably come back to this – the heart of the struggle is still the same. There are new elements and the battle of ideas has not changed. What has changed is men, or to be more precise, a generation has come and gone. The fighters of the early days are in a better world now – not all of them, but most of them. The older ones – I might say my generation (I was just in my twenties, and I remember it well) – the older ones lived in a much more aggressive climate than today.

But there is a new aggressiveness coming, but this time it is not coming from the Church – the Church is in such decline, there is no new aggressiveness, just the same things over and over. But with the governments, there is a sort of global ideology setting in worldwide; it is very left-wing and it is taking over; it wants to take over. It is the same ideas as always, but it is becoming more aggressive.

Governments increased aggressiveness towards the Natural Law

Fr. Lorans: In France we have seen “marriage for all,” “homosexual marriage,” and the “Gender theory.” Have you seen that everywhere in the world?

Bishop Fellay: Yes, it is universal.

Fr. Lorans: And are all the Catholics close to tradition protesting and fighting against these ideologies?

Bishop Fellay: There are not enough traditional Catholics to make up a political group or movement. An ideological group, yes. And there are others, the conservatives, who are reacting more or less. It depends on the countries. We try to help them, too, and even to participate, but it is different from country to country. We are in the fight, but perhaps not always at the head of it. From our point of view, of course, we are, because we always have something to say, but we cannot look only at ourselves. If we look at the overall picture, we are but a very small number. As far as numbers go, we have no weight, whereas as far as ideas go, we do. As far as the battle of ideas goes, we represent something very solid, and I think that is why we are feared.

Fr. Lorans: By whom? Who fears us? Who is afraid of tradition?

Bishop Fellay: Oh, everyone! I think it is very widespread. Certainly not just what we used to call the progessivists, or the ecclesial groups that tried to wreak havoc in the Church with Vatican II. They are there, they are still there, and that battle is still waging. But there are also those who helped inspire these changes in the Church or tried to establish them in the Church. And they are still as aggressive as ever, if not more so. It is easy to see that Freemasonry is behind these modern ideas. Something new that didn’t exist 30, 50 years ago is the homosexual lobby. At the time, it wasn’t very well known, it was rare, and no one talked about those things because they weren’t very well known. And then suddenly they came in like a wave, and they are trying to make everyone believe they are the majority. I do not think they are, but they have what they need to impose these laws that destroy society, because they destroy the laws of all society, the natural law. If things continue in this way, the world will die of sterility.

Fr. Lorans: Because there will be no more children?

Bishop Fellay: There will be no more children. People seek personal pleasure and have lost any sense of the common good, of a good that is greater than man, and to which each man must contribute – and that is called the common good. Everyone benefits from it, but it supposes everyone’s collaboration. The minute the personal good comes first, it leads to the destruction of society, and that is what is happening under our very eyes in the most stupefying way. I don’t think it is anything new. It began 20 years ago. Or maybe some 40 years ago. I think that 1968 was the start, but this anti-natural current was not yet visible. It came later, I think it came before the year 2000, in the 80’s and 90’s with what we call the New Age. That is when these new destructive ideologies came in.

The heart of the fight is the same as ever: it is the fight of those who are against God, who reject any law that does not come from men alone – the “social contract.” And yet it does not take much to see that there are laws everywhere. Take the physical laws for example; they weren’t written in nature by men. The same with human nature. There are laws that have to be followed for the normal development of human nature. There is no doubt about it: if you do not wish to respect them, it is like any law, any manual, any instruction booklet. If you have a washing machine and you do not wish to follow the instructions, well, you ruin your machine. And here they are ruining the human machine, be it the individual, the person, or society.

We are really coming to exceptional times. A time of dissociety. A sort of dissolution of society, a loss of the common good, the disappearance of the idea that there is a goal, that every society has a goal. And we have also lost the idea of authority, the need for an authority to unite men’s wills in order to reach this goal. Hence the need to submit to authority, and the need for authority to remain objective and not arbitrary. When you see how governments are behaving today, it seems like so many absolutely fundamental values are forgotten in favor of the individual or of whoever wishes to establish his own personal power or to keep his power. And we see this as much in society as in the Church. Today in the Church – and this is new – we are also witnessing a time of dissolution in the Church. The loss of unity in the Church today is absolutely staggering.

Sterility affects the Church

Fr. Lorans: You speak of a society marked by sterility in the most concrete sense of the word: no more children, no more fecundity; it is a form of suicide. And you even say that the Church is affected, too? Is she, too, heading towards a suicide through infecundity? Especially since there are so few vocations?

Bishop Fellay: Yes, exactly. We can see that adopting modern ideas, the modern mindset that came in with the Council – these ideas were at least latent before, and the Council more or less incorporated them, and so in the end they really entered into the Church with and thanks to the Council – these ideas of the modern world, these modern ideas have the same results. It may be less visible, but the result is there: empty seminaries, empty churches, convents, and religious societies that are extinct or going extinct. There are so many. It is a phenomenon that is very present today and that is parallel to what is happening in society. So far the Church seems to reject, more or less timidly, sometimes strongly, the attacks on the natural law. So there is still a struggle between the world and the Church. It still exists, so it is not exactly the same thing, but it is still a little bit of a parallel development. And we do not hesitate to say that when it comes down to it, the fruits, the evil fruits, come from the same spirit, the spirit of the world.

It is a spirit of independence from God, a spirit that wishes to free itself from the yoke of God’s law that is too harsh or too difficult. No more spirit of sacrifice: that is one of the marks of the modern Church. The Crucified Christ is taken off the crosses, they do not put Our Lord on the cross any more. They have taken Him down; they no longer want to see the Man of Sorrows. He has risen from the dead and Alleluia! But the world we live in remains a world of suffering, and oh, how we need to know that God Himself willed to share our sufferings, not only to lighten them, but to save us, to give these sufferings a redemptive value! But they have taken all that away and replaced it with a sort of new mysticism, the Paschal mystery. In reality, it is a mystification. It used to be very simple: there was Good Friday, when Our Lord died for us, for our Salvation, and then He rose from the dead because He is God. He is true man, He died. He is true God, He cannot die, and He rose again because He is God. Now they wish to forget death, they wish to forget that we have to go through death and mortification. They wish to forget it.

Fr. Lorans: They want to go straight to Easter Sunday and erase Good Friday? 

Bishop Fellay: The interesting thing is that in the economy of salvation, the order we have to follow to obtain salvation and eternal life, we have to die. That is what they no longer want. They want to obtain life without dying.

Fr. Lorans: So they refuse “unless the seed die?”

Bishop Fellay: Exactly. That is exactly it. That is the problem with the modern Church.

Fr. Lorans: And so the seed remains alone and bears no fruit. It becomes sterile.

Bishop Fellay: Exactly. They no longer bear any fruit and they have become sterile. It is all there. As soon as a conservative bishop opens a seminary in which he upholds order and requires a little discipline, the seminary fills up. But so few bishops have understood that. The others do not want to hear it; they prefer to remain sterile. And I am convinced that they do not understand why it doesn’t work. But we understand very well why.

Fr. Lorans: You say they refuse sacrifice; there was much talk of the family at the last Synod. Is it the same thing with the post-synodal exhortation Amoris Laetitia: a refusal of discipline, authority, the teaching of Christ and a sense of sacrifice?

Bishop Fellay: I don’t think it is out of principle. It is somewhat of an unusual event. I’ll try to explain it. What I see in our pope today, Pope Francis, is a care for souls, but especially souls that are rejected, so souls that are lonely, that are set aside or despised or simply in difficulty. What he calls the “existential peripheries.” So is it really the famous lost sheep? Is Pope Francis leaving the flock of 99 other sheep, thinking he is where he should be, taking care of the lost sheep? Is that maybe what he is thinking? I say maybe, I am not trying to give a complete answer. Let’s just say that we can see in everything he says that his attention is universal, he does not look only at the Faith. He looks at the homeless, immigrants, and prisoners. And yes, these are people who have been left aside by others, but one does not need the Faith to see that. One does not need the Faith to see that these people suffer. And then you have divorcees. They, too, suffer. And you have us, we are rejected, too. And in the end, we are all sort of in the same category, the category of those rejected by the common body. And he wants to care for those souls. He wants to try to do something. The problem is that for many of these souls in difficulty, they are there because they have butted heads with a law in one way or another.

So we have a pope who has a problem with the law that hurts some of humanity, so to speak, and who tries to see if there is not some other way, – not to get rid of the law, I do not think that is his idea – but to see if there is some other path for them. I’m trying to understand what he does, but it is not easy.

Cardinals’s dubia on Amoris Laetitia: work of public salvation

Fr. Lorans: It is so difficult that four cardinals voiced their doubts, saying that Amoris Laetitia presents serious doctrinal problems.

Bishop Fellay: And they are right. But look at how the exhortation is written – and that is the problem today – it opens up gray areas! The pope says things are not all black and white, some are gray, but the law is made to state things clearly! And it necessarily establishes a black and white, a yes and no. We know that in everyday reality, there can be exceptions, at least in ecclesiastical law – there is an important distinction between the law of God and the law of the Church, for God foresees everything, He knows all the circumstances, He knows all the situations men could find themselves in when He establishes the law, and His law has no exceptions: the law of God, His commandments have no exceptions. But in human law, even Church law, in other words the laws made by the Church, man does not have this infinite wisdom of God, and the Church knows there are bound to be circumstances in which the law, if applied, would harm souls, and these are exceptions, and in this black and white situation, we can say it is gray. When it is a matter of ecclesiastical law, the Church is ready to make exceptions very easily and very broadly; it is admirable to see just how broadly. But again, the law of God has no exceptions.

Fr. Lorans: So does communion for the divorced and “remarried” depend on the law of God or the law of the Church?

Bishop Fellay: The law of God. Our Lord explicitly spoke of the precise case of separated spouses. St. Paul said so clearly, – and when we say St. Paul, we have to be careful; he is one of the instruments of God who transmits the Word of God, so it is not St. Paul as a man, but God speaking through St. Paul. It is Sacred Scripture. In the Gospel and the epistles, there is no doubt, it is God speaking. It is God speaking through St. Paul. This law is very clear, there is no gray area: he or she who is separated from his or her spouse and lives with another in a marital way commits adultery. Our Lord says so (see Matt. 19:9). He has broken faith, his word given to his spouse; he violates this promise with someone else. It is a sin, and because this union is on the level of society, it is a public sin. Even if there are not many people around, it is a public reality. So it is a sin that is more serious because of the bad example, the scandal for others. That is why God, but also the Church, takes very severe measures: a public sinner, for example, is not allowed to receive burial in the Church. The Church is very severe. As well she should be, because it is about protecting healthy souls.

In fact, the problem we have today is that a certain number of bishops and priests have for years and decades blessed these false unions themselves. The Vatican even had to intervene in France to forbid these rituals . . . that still continue. That is what I was told in Rome. And for Rome to step in, it had to be pretty widespread. These are priests and bishops who have blessed people living in sin, and then you want to refuse them communion. It makes no sense! It is logical, but it is a logic in sin. And it is serious. Very serious.

The texts themselves are not going to be explicitly open to this perspective. In the text of Amoris Laetitia, it is not going to say explicitly: now we can give them communion. It is much cleverer than that. It opens the doors without stepping through them: others will step through them. That is what is so serious: where there was once a clear distinction between good and evil, it opens a gray area that does not exist. And then it says: within this gray area, each man is left to his own conscience or to who knows what. That is false! Simply false. So the cardinals who spoke out, we can say that they accomplished an extremely important work of public salvation. It is too bad they were so few, but I think that is part of human weakness. We know very well that there are many more, but the brave are not legion.

Vatican II and Amoris Laetitia present the same problem

Fr. Lorans: Cardinal Burke said we might see a form of fraternal correction from the four cardinals towards the Holy Father, but very recently, Cardinal Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said that the Faith was not challenged in Amoris Laetitia and that [the dubia of the four cardinals] should not have been made public. What do you think?

Bishop Fellay: I think it is a perfect illustration of the problem we have today. We, the Society, with our objections to the Council. I think in a way it is the same problem. There are several levels. There is the level of the battle of ideas, and there is a second level, the level of those who spread these ideas, the people. And there is a back and forth movement between the two. You have people who see the problem but do not dare to say anything or to mention it for several reasons. Some distinctions are needed here: they do not dare to say anything because of the famous principle of the Holy Ghost’s assistance to the head of the Church. The Holy Ghost governs the Church through her head. The Holy Ghost cannot be mistaken, so it must be the same for the Vicar of Christ. Then, for lack of distinction and depth, perhaps out of superficiality or because it is easier, they begin to say, “Everything the Pope does is good.” Something he does cannot be bad. It must be good. Something he says cannot be false, it must be true. These are things we have been told about the Council. And even today, some reproach us, they tell us we cannot be against the Council. It’s not possible: it is a Council of the Church, there is the Holy Ghost, He is good, period, end of story! And we say that there are still problems. And they answer, “Yes, sure, some have misinterpreted the Council. But that is not the Council!” To which we answer, “Perhaps, but they understood it by going from the texts, and the texts were ambiguous!”

Those we speak with in Rome go so far as to admit, “Yes, it is true, some texts were ambiguous.” Even Benedict XVI in his famous speech to the Roman Curia before Christmas 2005 admitted: “Ambiguous texts were drawn up in order to obtain a greater majority, a greater consensus.” But they tell us that a Catholic has no right to read these texts in anything but a Catholic way. So he must eliminate all possible interpretations that go against what the Church has already taught, against the Faith. In theory, this is true, it is perfectly true, and it is exactly what we say. It is exactly the criterion Archbishop Lefebvre gave us on the Council: we accept everything in the Council that is faithful to Tradition. We accept everything that is doubtful or ambiguous insofar as it can be understood the way the Church has always taught it. And following the Archbishop’s example we say: there is a third category of documents that are not just ambiguous, but actually false. And since this category goes against what the Church has always taught – it is not our own little personal judgment; we are not Protestants; the Church had already spoken of these things and she even condemned many of the errors – we continue to condemn it, because the Church has always done so.

That is our position. We say, “In theory, it is perfectly right to state that the only Catholic way to interpret the Council is in the light of Tradition.” But the problem is that once this principle is laid down, they tell us, “That is the way it is, so everyone is interpreting it in a Catholic way.” But we answer once again, “Open your eyes, look around you! That is not what is happening. In theory, it should be like that, but in reality there is a huge problem. The reality is different.” That is what we see with Amoris Laetitia. You have Cardinal Müller who says, “This text does not go against the Faith.”.In other words, it can be interpreted in a Catholic way. Not only we can, but we must interpret it in a Catholic way. Those who do not interpret in a Catholic way are wrong. He doesn’t say it as clearly as that because if he did, he would be pointing a finger at his leader. What he leaves unsaid is extremely important . . . and the four cardinals rightly pointed out this gaping flaw in the doctrine that had been clear until now, really very clear. For the door that has been opened to the divorced and remarried had no right to be opened. Simply no right. And that’s why Cardinal Müller says, “We have not gone through the door, we have not abandoned divine law.” Officially, this is true, except that a certain number of Bishops’ Conferences have already shown the way out.

Fr. Lorans: And in a laxist direction?

Bishop Fellay: Obviously. And others, thank God, the Polish bishops, in a Catholic direction. So what happens? That is the present, the real situation. Faith and morals for a Catholic are on the same level. The Church and the Pope are infallible on these matters, if he wishes to call upon his infallibility. The teaching of the Church has always been: communion cannot be given to someone who is in a state of sin. It is very simple. So someone who is living with a partner as if married, which is necessarily a state of sin, cannot be given communion.

The only gray area, and it really is not gray, is that if these persons no longer live as a married couple but only as brother and sister – and today there can be some very complicated situations with all the reconstructed families, the children of both spouses, etc. For the good to be safeguarded, the good of the children for example, sometimes we have to tolerate two people living together under the same roof. And we tell these people, “If you wish to go to heaven, there is only one way: you have to live without sin. You have to live as brother and sister.” So not in the same bed, not in the same room, it is complicated, difficult, but at least you will be living without sin. And discreetly and privately we will be able to give you communion. But we have to be certain you are living as brother and sister, you have to be honest. This is God, and God knows everything. You can trick men but not God. Receiving communion is an act that signifies one’s union with God, and that one is at peace with Him. We must first go to confession before receiving Our Lord. And if we are at peace with God, then we can receive communion. But how many of these people who live as divorced and “remarried” couples, how many of them live as brother and sister? Some do, but it certainly is not the majority.

And so, to start making laws for these situations, classing them as a generalized situation, is a way of turning things upside down. It’s as if on the road, what counted was not the cars that drive correctly but the cars that have accidents. No. Laws are made so that cars will drive properly, not so they will run into each other. All the laws are made to avoid running into each other. It would be turning things upside down. Turning the particular into a universal. There is an inversion, and in the battle of ideas, this is terribly serious.

Are doctrinal discussions with Rome still useful?

Fr. Lorans: You said at the beginning that the battle of ideas is still the same as ever, and last year you declared after your meeting with Pope Francis that the doctrinal discussions would continue, that bishops would visit our seminaries and have discussions on things like religious freedom, ecumenism, and the New Mass. Are these discussions really continuing? And after what you just said, do you think these discussions are of any use?

Bishop Fellay: First question, are they still going on? The answer is yes; they are still going on. There had been a pause, but there needed to be, so we are going to start again, and continue the discussions. It is very interesting because we and Rome both want them. We want these discussions. Perhaps not exactly for the same reasons, but I think that in the end our reasons are similar. Why? Because for us it is very important, and we have said so from the start, when we said that we have a problem with some of the Council’s statements, not personally, but because they go against what the Church has said and done, against the teaching and practice of the Church. That is our problem. If you want to insist that the Church is infallible, you have to stick to the problem. If she is infallible, why could she suddenly contradict herself? So there are serious problems and they cannot simply be resolved by the authority argument. It is not enough to say that it is the authority speaking, so: Amen. Roma locuta causa finita. No. Obviously this authority – we admit it – can be infallible; it is an extraordinary privilege granted by God, but there is a condition! And that condition is for this teaching authority to be in keeping with a deposit, with all of the truths confided to her by God. And this authority’s mission is to transmit them. To holily preserve and faithfully transmit this deposit. So there is something absolutely objective that goes above and beyond this authority. It cannot arbitrarily decide what it likes and does not like about the deposit. No, it doesn’t work like that! That is the problem we present to Rome on these Council matters.

Fr. Lorans: In what you just said, we see your open opposition to Amoris Laetitia that troubles what used to be clear. In the same context, are the doctrinal discussions of any use?

Bishop Fellay: I would say yes, they are useful. Perhaps not immediately. But in the long run, ideas are what lead men. An error has tragic consequences in men’s lives, especially a doctrinal error. For a moral error, the consequence is more quickly seen. With a pure doctrinal error, it is more distant. If someone denies the Trinity, we see do not see the immediate practical consequence, or in what practical domain a moral fault will follow, but it will follow. It is impressive to see how closely it is all linked together. The Faith is like a sweater: every stitch has to be there. If you drop one stitch, the whole sweater comes unraveled. And there is nothing left in the end. So upholding the great principles in this confused situation we are living in, repeating them, even just repeating them, is already a very important work. We will not see immediate effects. But in the long run, it will gain strength, it will take over. But that means we have to keep fighting.

And so, in this sense, it seems capital to me that Rome agrees to discuss these things. Not only do they agree, they tell us: we need to discuss matters. And that, too, is something new ever since the last year and a half or two years. It is a position that is gaining strength: in these discussions, Rome does not try or no longer tries to force upon us the modern position on ecumenism, religious freedom, Nostra aetate, and even the liturgical reform. These four points have always been our great hobbyhorses, for the past 40-50 years, ever since the beginning. Well, now, all of a sudden, they are telling us, “Yes, we really need to discuss these matters.” First of all, they recognize that there have been errors, abuses, excesses; they do not go so far as to say that the conciliar text is wrong, but they do admit that something is wrong. They admit there are ambiguities that need to be eliminated. And Rome tells us explicitly, “These discussions are going to help us with that.” We are a little like a sort of catalyst to try to purify this magma of strange, false, mixed up, confused thoughts. And that is very positive.

But there is also another element that astonishes me and makes me very happy, and I would like to see – I hope someday it will show itself – yes, to see that what I am going to tell you now is really not just the thoughts of one or two people, but truly something that is taking over as the Church’s way of thinking. A short phrase sums up this novelty, a short phrase by Archbishop Pozzo who is our interlocutor in Rome, the secretary of the Ecclesia Dei Commission, and who tells us that these matters like ecumenism, religious freedom, and even the liturgical reform and Nostra aetate are not the “criteria of Catholicism.” What does “criteria of Catholicism” mean? It means elements to which one absolutely must adhere in order to be Catholic. In other words, if these points are not criteria of Catholicism, then you have the right to think and say otherwise, and doing so does not mean you are no longer Catholic. And Archbishop Pozzo said that publicly. It is very important.

In my opinion, we are now going to see a debate arise for a time because of us. Will it be public or no, behind closed doors? But it is actually already here. A debate with the “super-progressivists,” those Pope Benedict XVI accused of trying to hammer into the Church that these points are absolutely obligatory. It is the Church of today, their foundation for the Church of today. And suddenly someone says, “Well, you do not have to adhere to that in order to be Catholic.” It is clearly crucial; it is a great struggle. If you look at the battle of ideas, this is an extremely important point. And so you have voices making themselves heard all over the place, saying that it is unacceptable to let the Society in with such a policy. We’ll see.

Canonical structure and freedom for “the experiment of Tradition”

Fr. Alain LoransSpeaking of letting the Society in, of course we can’t help thinking of the canonical offers that have been made; there was talk of a prelature and recently Bishop Schneider said he had invited you to accept the canonical propositions soon and not to be too demanding, or in any case, not to wait for everything to be perfect. Where does all this stand? Did you really receive this invitation? And in that case, would a doctrinal union become a secondary issue? What exactly is the Society’s position?

Bishop Fellay: As far as Bishop Schneider goes, he did write to me, but a long time ago now; a long time, I mean, perhaps a year ago. So I do not have anything recent from him. In any case, recently, no, I have not received anything from him.

Other than that, the structure is not the problem. The structure, I think, is well established; there are still some points, shall we say, some finer points. The main idea is, really, it is adequate, it suits our needs. So for that, I am satisfied. Again, there are details that need improving and matters that still need to be discussed. The problem is not with this structure that they are offering us. If that was the only issue, we would say “yes” in a heartbeat. But it is not the problem.

The problem is, once again, this battle of ideas. Is a Church that for 40 years has imposed a way of thinking, this modernist way of thinking against which we fight, against which, or because of which we were even declared schismatic and everything else, outside of the Church; is this Church ready, yes or no, to let us continue on our path?

Archbishop Lefebvre used to speak of “letting us make the experiment of Tradition.” Are they going to let us, yes or no? Or are they waiting for us at a bend in the road, are they going to tell us tomorrow that we “have to fall into line?” To accept what we have been fighting against for forty years? That, we are not about to give up.

So it is all there, really; that is where the question lies. With these new, more open attitudes, when they tell us some things are not required criteria for being Catholic, there seems to be a path opening up. Now, is it just a door, or is it really a path? Is it a safe path? I mean, are we really going to be able to continue as we are? For us it is obvious that this is not the end.

Error remains error. So we remain today, just as before, just as convinced that there are errors that have been spread in the Church and that are killing the Church.

And of course, we understand that it takes time to purify and remove these errors, we understand. Men cannot be changed just like that; all sorts of bad habits have been acquired now; even just bringing back the holy liturgy. We understand very well that it cannot be done overnight. So if things take time, that is one thing, but is the intention even there? Is there any intention to leave this way of thinking that was imposed at the Council?

And we see, at least in the authorized voices, shall we say, the leading voices, that they are saying, “No, no. No, no, we shall continue along the same lines.” So we remain outlaws. Well, tolerated outlaws, and we might even say, in the most astonishing way, with Pope Francis we are more than tolerated, but we remain on the outskirts.

So are things going to stay as they are? Are things going to move ahead? Or tomorrow are we going to be swallowed up by this movement that, once again, is killing the Church? That is the question. And until we have a clear enough answer, we cannot move forward.

Support from many bishops

Fr. Lorans: At the beginning of our interview, you told us that things have changed imperceptibly. Among these changes, we might mention the attitudes of Cardinal Burke, Bishop Schneider, or the Polish bishops who are fighting against a laxist interpretation of Amoris Laetitia. But have you personally heard from bishops who tell you, “Even though you are an ‘outlaw,’ ‘on the outskirts,’ what you are doing is important to us because we do not wish to contribute to the suicide of the Church either?” Is this sort of comment a dream or a reality?

Bishop Fellay: We have some contacts, yes. And they are even increasing. Obviously, it is not the vast majority. But we do have some. And that is a very important element in this battle, but perhaps within Tradition we do not have a very clear perception of it, because it is discreet. People continue to see that things are not good, and that is about it. They have a very hard time seeing something else that really is real and that for me becomes clearer every day: that there is – at least in some – a desire for renewal, for a return to Tradition to be precise. And so a certain number of churchmen protest, not as loudly as us, not as publicly as us, but as strongly as us on the level of ideas, they protest against the novelties. It exists.

I recently met with a bishop who on his own, for he had never celebrated the Old Mass – he discovered it with Pope Benedict XVI’s Motu Proprio, took an interest in it and studied it – on his own, he told me that with the New Mass, they had changed the “substance of the rite.” So all by himself, he came to this conclusion which is precisely our reproach to the New Mass. Well, there you have a bishop who comes to this conclusion, a bishop who is simply honest. Obviously, he draws conclusions and consequences for himself and for his diocese. And he is not the only one. I received a letter from another bishop telling me: “Hold strong!” on all these points: religious freedom, ecumenism, Nostra aetate, relations with other religions. When you say Nostra aetate it is not just the Jews, it is the Muslims, the Buddhists, and Hindus . . . all the non-Christian religions. It is much broader. And this bishop adds: “There are many of us in the hierarchy, many of us bishops think like you.” Obviously, they do not say so publicly, because they would be decapitated. But they think about it, they see the situation. And in fact, they count on us, they count on us as – it is a modern word, but let’s try to use it correctly – as a witness. To use a perhaps more traditional term, as a lighthouse, even if we do not wish put ourselves on a pedestal. They simply count on us to represent the light that was once the light of the Church. This light that has remained lit in our midst, they count on it. They say, “You take the blows, but we are with you. We support you.”

Fr. Lorans: Among these bishops who tell you: “Do not give in on ecumenism, on the liturgy, on religious freedom . . . ,” are there any French bishops?

Bishop Fellay: There are some, even if they are not quite as clear. But really, there are some! It is interesting to see. It is another universal phenomenon. There are some in every country, more or less, of course. There is a certain proportion – not very big – of bishops who are taking a second look at a good number of things today. Even if they are still in a system that holds them back and makes any reaction difficult since it immediately creates explosive situations that are difficult to control. There are many problems when it comes to knowing how to react, how to improve the situation. It is obvious that at a given time it will have to come from the top. And so long as the top does nothing, any reaction will be a source of conflict. We have known this for 50 years, but at a given time, God will make the supreme authority take the lead in this movement. Until then we have to hold strong. Of course, it is a question of prudence, so that our position may bear the most fruit. And that does not necessarily mean make the most noise. We have to understand that, too; it is very important.

Hasten the triumph of the Immaculate Heart with prayers and penance

Fr. Lorans: You say that we have to hold strong, and you asked the priests and faithful to have a great devotion to the Blessed Virgin during this year 2017. For the hundredth anniversary of the apparitions of Fatima, you launched a Rosary Crusade. Is this request for more fervent prayers a part of the battle whose outline you have drawn up for us in this interview? 

Bishop Fellay: It most certainly is a part of this great battle. And there is an element that we must never forget: the Church is not human. She has a human part because she is made up of men, but essentially, in her essence, in her nature, she is supernatural. She has elements, even fundamental elements that surpass men, men’s capacities, men’s reflections and men’s means. For the good of the Church and for our own good as members of the Church, if we desire the good of the Church, we must necessarily use supernatural means. It is the only way to fight this battle properly. And this battle obliges us first of all to call upon God Himself and His saints. The Blessed Virgin Mary has shown us so clearly that these times belong to her by the explicit will of God. We must have recourse to her, we must listen to her, and put her requests into practice. She tells us, “Prayer and penance, pray the rosary every day.” It is more important than ever. If you ask me, what we are seeing today is Fatima at its fullest. There are things we have not been told, but in the end, we shall see the triumph of Mary. God knows how. The triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, by a papal act, an act of authority. We wonder how it is going to come about, but that is not our problem. We just have to beg for this triumph, to implore God: yes, that is our job!