Tag Archives: SSPX

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.

 

FSSP German Superior compromises on Tradition in interview

A blessed feast of St. Joseph the Worker!  http://sspx.org/en/news-events/news/may-1-feast-st-joseph-worker

http://www.onepeterfive.com/fssp-superior-distinguishes-fraternity-from-sspx-eschews-traditionalist-label/

Last week, Fr. Bernhard Gerstle, German District Superior of the Fraternity of St. Peter, gave an interview to the German Bishops’ official website.  This interview made headlines on several traditional websites for statements made concerning the SSPX, conciliar texts, and Tradition in general.  In short, the authors of this blog do affirm that good Catholics faithful to Eternal Rome are right to be scandalized by this interview, which made several compromises on Tradition.  However, we furthermore believe that this interview simply revealed further the erroneous positions held by the Ecclesia Dei Orders concerning Vatican II and the New mass.

The timing of this interview is quite coincidental since the author of this post was actually about to write an article concerning the Ecclesia Dei Orders and traditional Catholics’ attendance at Motu Proprio Masses.  That article will be posted later this week. In the meantime, I will elaborate on a few principles and apply them to this interview.

Admittedly, it is very difficult to address this issue because the Ecclesia Dei Orders are faithful in many respects.  These religious and their faithful are often among the most conservative Catholics in the “mainstream” Catholic structures and do possess a genuine love for the Traditional Mass and practices.  Also, there are many traditional Catholics who vehemently oppose any criticism regarding these Orders for the sake of “unity”.  The SSPX and like-minded Catholics are consequently upbraided for trying to divide for vain purposes.

I would answer by stating that in almost all ways, the SSPX and the Ecclesia Dei Orders are very much united.  Insofar as the latter upholds Sacred Tradition, there is no division.  However, for the sake of the Faith, the SSPX is required to recognize that there are some grave errors in the Vatican II documents themselves.  All Catholics are objectively bound to oppose these errors as well to remain Catholic.  Certainly unity is praiseworthy, but true doctrine must come first!  To recognize unity before the Truth is to fall into a common modern error.  We see in our universities, for example, the urge to recognize all lifestyles and cultures, even if we might personally feel uneasy about them. Nonsense! This violates the basic Law of Non-Contradiction. Certainly we are obliged out of Charity to acknowledge the good of these Orders, but we must disagree with their position on the Vatican II documents.

Bp. Bernard Fellay: “First of all, all the Ecclesia Dei members understand that if we would not have had bishops, they would not exist. Directly or indirectly, they depend on the Society’s life. That is very, very clear. And now the fruits of their apostolates are totally subjected to the good will of the local bishops. They drastically limit any solid desire to establish traditional Catholic life by limiting the possibilities of the apostolate in that direction. They are obliged to mix with the novelties of Vatican II, the world, and the Novus Ordo. This is the great difference between the Society and Ecclesia Dei groups.”

We have elaborated on the errors of Vatican II in a previous post(https://damselofthefaith.wordpress.com/2016/11/18/errors-of-vatican-ii/).  Some claim that the FSSP does not officially recognize all of Vatican II.  The blanket acceptance of this Council has actually always been the official position of these Orders.  Just observe, for example, their full acceptance of the 1983 Code of Canon Law and the stated “preference” for the Traditional Mass because it better suits their charisma(not necessarily because it is THE Roman Rite of the Church).  One of the most essential missions of the FSSP is to study the Vatican II documents in order that they might all be better understood faithfully by Catholics.

FSSP Superior General Fr. John Berg: “With regard to the documents with passages that are unclear within the Second Vatican Council, there should be no cause for scandal. They simply need to be read in light of the full teaching Tradition of the Church. Of course, ultimately, these two cannot contradict. This is the work that needs to be done.”

Pope Francis: “By way of the celebration of the sacred Mysteries according to the extraordinary form of the Roman rite and the orientations of the Constitution on the Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium, as well as by passing on the apostolic faith as it is presented in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, may they contribute, in fidelity to the living Tradition of the Church, to a better comprehension and implementation of the Second Vatican Council.”

Let us now examine a couple of points Fr. Gerstle makes, as taken from the excellent above-linked article by Maike Hickson:

Father Gerstle insists that for the FSSP, the new 1983 Code of Canon Law is the standard.

SSPX.ORG:

Canon 844, §4 allows the administration of penance, anointing of the sick, and even holy communion to non-Catholics who manifest “Catholic faith” (vs. principle 7) in these sacraments.This used to be considered a mortal sin and was gravely forbidden (1917 Code of Canon Law, canon 731, §21) because it implicitly denies the dogma, “Outside the Church, no salvation” (principle 2).

Canon 1055, §1 no longer defines marriage by its primary end, the procreation of children, but mentions this only after a secondary end, the good of the spouses. And this latter, as we can see in the light of annulments now given, has become the essence of marriage [vs. principles 5 & 6]: the partners give each other their whole selves (and not just “the exclusive and perpetual right over the body of the partner as regards the acts capable in themselves of generating offspring,” 1917 Code of Canon Law, canon 1081, §2) for their self-fulfillment in wedlock (canon 1057, §2).

There is considered to be no marriage where one spouse cannot provide the other this help (canon 1095, 20 and 30, canon 1098, etc., cf. canon 1063, 40). Whence today’s annulments’ fiasco: in the United States, for example, there were 338 annulments granted in 1968; there were 59,030 in 1992.

Canon 336 codifies the collegiality of Vatican II. The “college of bishops,” a 20th century invention, is now made a permanent subject, together with the pope, of supreme and full power over the Universal Church. A bishop, moreover, participates in this universal jurisdiction by the mere fact of his consecration (cf. canon 375, §2).*

*This becomes all the more disconcerting when one considers the recognition now given by the Vatican to the Orthodox bishops. Cf., Pope Paul VI:

It is on the heads of the Churches, of their hierarchy, that the obligation rests to guide the Churches along the way that leads to full communion again. They ought to do this by recognizing and respecting each other as pastors of the flock of Christ entrusted to them…”

Quoted at Balamand, by the Joint International Commission for the Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, Final Statement §18 cf., §14; Ut Unum Sint §§50-63

These are but the most grave deficiencies; other defective points include the following:

  • mixed marriages (canons 1125, 1127),
  • diminution in censures (excommunication of freemasons, etc.),
  • the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas is no longer strictly enjoined in seminaries (canons 251ff), and
  • general absolutions are more readily available (canons 961-963, etc.).

In passing, it is interesting to note that for Pope John Paul II the 1983 Code of Canon Law had less weight than a conciliar constitution.

“This notion I do not like at all to hear. We are not traditionalists, but simply Catholic.”

This is not entirely incorrect.  As Catholic Truth Scotland Patricia McKeever notes: “…we should not need labels such as “traditionalist” because ALL Catholics should be adhering to both Tradition and Scripture. In the current crisis, these labels have sprung up to distinguish those who go along with the revolutionary changes in the Church post-Vatican II, and those who do not.”

However, I do think Fr. Gerstle’s reasoning for making such a statement is probably more spurious.  Catholic Truth blogger “Athanasius” observes:  “The real reason why Father Gerstle doesn’t like to use the word Traditional is that he would then be forced to admit that there is a serious problem in the Church since Vatican II that strongly resembles the Modernist crisis predicted by the pre-conciliar Popes, particularly St. Pius X. He wants a foot in each camp, Tradition without the persecution, heaven without the Cross, which is what he gets with his present stance. The only problem with his position is that it is not honest, and I think his conscience troubles him about that. Hence the reason why he doesn’t want to distinguish between Traditional and Modernist liberal Catholics. Everyone knows that the divide exists, just look at the devastation in the Church since the latter usurped the positions of influence in Rome and elsewhere.

So what is the real reason why Fr. Gerstle dislikes the use of the word Traditional? It has to be conscience. I simply do not believe that he is genuinely convinced that all Catholics today fundamentally believe and practice the same ancient faith that came down unsullied for almost two thousand years to the fateful Vatican II. He’s too educated a man to believe such nonsense.”

Certain elements of the new liturgy could be “enriching for the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite.”

The Ottaviani Intervention: “It is evident that the Novus Ordo has no intention of presenting the faith as taught by the Council of Trent, to which, nonetheless, the Catholic conscience is bound forever. With the promulgation fo the Novus Ordo, the loyal Catholic is thus faced with a most tragic alternative.”

The Traditional Rite is the only true form of the Roman Rite.  The New mass is not a licit rite and objectively cannot be attended by Catholics, except for passive reasons: http://sspx.org/en/faq-page/what-is-wrong-with-the-novus-ordo-missae-faq5

The Fraternity of St. Peter, however, has accepted to study without prejudice the conciliar texts and has come to the conclusion that there is no breach with any previous magisterial statements. 

I will provide just one example to challenge this ridiculous assertion.  Lumen Gentium 16: “In the first place amongst these there are the Muslims, who, professing to hold the faith of Abraham, along with us adore the one and merciful God, who on the last day will judge mankind.”  This sentence is both heretical and blasphemous.  The Moslems do not worship the One, Triune God as we do.  Just read the language, if you dare, that the Koran ascribes to those who believe in the Holy Trinity.  Does Fr. Gerstle really believe that this statement of Vatican II does not contradict an earlier Church teaching?

But, in the meantime, Rome has already made here concordant clarifications which the Society of St. Pius X should now also recognize.

Abp. Pozzo, among many others actually in charge of the SSPX-Rome Discussions, are not insisting that the Society accept the erroneous Vatican II positions.

As Catholics, he says, “we appreciate tradition,” but without “completely blocking organic adaptations and changes.”

Louie Verrecchio comments: “I suppose he means such “organic changes” as those concerning the Church’s view of the Jews in our time who are pleased to reject Christ yet are now considered to be one with us in the Cross (NA 4), or the heretic communities that we now understand as being used by Christ as means of salvation (UR 3), or maybe the newly discovered right that man has to practice whatever religion he chooses both publicly and privately – a right that comes from man’s own dignity, no less (DH 2).

Then again, maybe Fr. Gerstle was referring to the “organic changes” that brought about the Novus Ordo Missae…”

Father Gerstle further distances himself from those smaller groups within the SSPX – whom he calls “hardliners” – who “reject the Second Vatican Council to a large extent, for example with regard to religious freedom or as to the decree on ecumenism.” Some of them, he says, also doubt the validity of the new liturgy.

I do not doubt that Fr. Gerstle might know a few SSPX priests personally, but I do not trust this analysis at all.  Just read his remarks on the number of priests who disagreed with the Econe Consecrations.  However, a few clarifications should be made.  The official SSPX(aka Catholic) position on Vatican II is that some of the documents are perfectly fine, some are ambiguous, and some are directly erroneous(such as on the aforementioned subjects of Religious Liberty and Ecumenism). I have attended SSPX Chapels since I was 5 years old and know personally at least a third of the priests in the U.S. District and many more residing in other countries.  I have never known any of these priests to not fully agree with this position.  I have also never seen any official SSPX publication disagree with this position.  This is true also for virtually all of our faithful, even those newer to Tradition.

The SSPX does not doubt, in itself, the validity of the Novus Ordo Missae, but holds that many of these masses may be invalid because of common additional abuses introduced into the rite.  If an individual SSPX priest would happen to disagree on these positions regarding Vatican II and the New mass, he is not allowed to proclaim them publicly.  If there is trouble in this regard, he is expelled from the Society.

For almost all of the Society’s history, there have been conciliar prelates who claimed that a large number of the Society’s priests did not agree with the Society’s positions.  This has been proven wrong time and time again.  One can only wonder if such statements are not made to simply scatter and divide the little remnant.

Let us above all pray for our traditional priests, that they remain firm!  Let us also resolve to always love and support our priests who have bravely opposed the Revolution and continue to do so to this day!

~ Steven C.

Sources used:

http://archives.sspx.org/superior_generals_news/reflections_on_25th_anniversary_of_1988_consecrations.htm

https://www.remnantnewspaper.com/Archives/archive-2007-0715-fr-berg.htm

http://cfnews.org/page88/files/59c958e25cf166a089be9c8c4846898d-159.html

FSSP: Two Masses Enrich Each Other

https://akacatholic.com/fraternity-of-st-peter-a-conciliar-attitude-on-display/

 

 

 

Bp. Fellay’s declaration against Rome’s commemoration of the Protestant Revolt

In lieu of the article prepared for today, we made the decision to post instead this freshly released declaration from Bp. Bernard Fellay regarding this 500th Anniversary of Luther’s rebellion.  It is stunning and evil to consider that these Church authorities would dare celebrate the actions of an excommunicated priest that would consequently fracture Christendom to this day.  However, we must realize that Modernist Rome is only carrying out the principles established at Vatican II, statements influenced by Freemasonry present in the texts themselves.  God bless our good priests and bishops who fight these grave errors despite endless persecutions!

We must continue praying, as the Bishop implores, for the Pope and Bishops to not delay any further and consecrate Russia to Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart.  This is the answer that God has given mankind to emerge from these terrible, endless conflicts afflicting the world and the Church.  Let us hasten the great restoration of Christendom!

~ Steven C.

http://fsspx.news/en/content/29364

Luther’s private judgment denies the need for supernatural authority and makes unity in the Truth impossible.

Dear Friends and Benefactors,

Five hundred years ago, Martin Luther rebelled against the Church, taking a good third of Europe along with him. It was probably the most significant loss that the Catholic Church has had to suffer during her entire history, after the Eastern Schism of 1054. He thus deprived millions of souls of the necessary means of salvation, separating them not just from one religious organization among others, but actually from the one Church founded by Our Lord Jesus Christ, denying its supernatural reality and the necessity of it for salvation. He completely distorted the Faith, rejecting its fundamental dogmas, which are the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Real Presence in the Eucharist, the priesthood, the papacy, grace, and justification.

At the foundation of his thinking, which even today is that of Protestantism as a whole, is private judgment. This principle amounts to denying the need for a supernatural, infallible authority that can impose itself on particular judgments and decide debates between those whom she is commissioned to guide along the path to Heaven. This principle, which is claimed explicitly, quite simply renders the act of supernatural faith impossible, since the latter is based on the submission of the intellect and the will to the Truth revealed by God and taught authoritatively by the Church.

Private judgment, set up as a principle, not only cuts off access to the supernatural faith which is the way of salvation (“He that believeth not shall be condemned,” Mk 16:16), but also makes unity in the Truth impossible. He thus established in principle for Protestants the impossibility of eternal salvation and of unity in the Truth. And in fact the number of Protestant sects has not stopped increasing since the 16th century.

In the face of such a distressing spectacle, who would not understand the maternal efforts made by the true Church of Christ to look for the lost sheep? Who would not welcome the many apostolic attempts to liberate so many souls locked up in that fallacious principle that forbids them access to eternal salvation? This concern for their return to the unity of the true Faith and of the true Church runs through the centuries. It is not at all new; consider the prayer recited on Good Friday:

Let us pray for heretics and schismatics, that our Lord God may deliver them from all errors and may deign to bring them back to our Holy Mother, the Catholic and Apostolic Church.

Almighty and ever-living God, who savest all and dost not wish that any one should perish, look at the souls deceived by the diabolical fraud, so that the hearts of those who err, having set aside all heretical perversity, might repent and return to the unity of Thy truth. Through our Lord Jesus Christ.

This traditional language leaves no room for the confusion that is so widespread today in the name of a false ecumenism. The warnings of the Congregation of the Sacred Office in 1949, following several papal documents, the most important of which is certainly the Encyclical by Pius XI, Mortalium Animos (1928), these fair warnings seem now to be a dead letter. Nevertheless, the dangers of this ecumenical irenicism, which was denounced by Pius XII in Humani Generis (1950), are immense and extremely serious, because it discourages conversions to Catholicism. What Protestant, seeing the “riches” and the “venerable traditions” of Luther’s Reform being praised, would feel the need to convert? Besides, the very word “conversion” is currently banished from the official Catholic vocabulary when it is a question of other Christian denominations.

Furthermore this new attitude, made up of praises for Protestantism and apologies for Catholicism, causes the loss of faith in countless Catholics—this is an observable fact. Every survey inquiring about the faith of Catholics shows the ravages resulting from this frightening alignment with Protestantism. How many Catholics are affected in the 21st century by what the Church condemned, until the Council, by the name of indifferentism? A fatal error that claims that the whole world is saved, whatever one’s religion may be. An error diametrically opposed to the teaching of Our Lord Himself and of the whole Church after Him. Nevertheless, if someone denounces this error against the two-thousand-year-old Catholic Faith, he is immediately branded as a fanatic or a dangerous extremist.

The new liturgy, too, was invented in the name of this new ecumenism. It has so many parallels with the Protestant Lord’s Supper that several Protestant theologians, for example, Max Thurian in Taizé, have been able to state that it is possible for their co-religionists to use the new Catholic missal. And during this time the children of the Catholic Church found themselves deprived of the most beautiful treasures of divine worship and of grace. Thank God, Benedict XVI courageously declared that the many-centuries-old liturgy had never been abolished, but—for more than 40 years, throughout the world—the postconciliar liturgical reform drove millions of the faithful from the churches, because they no longer found what they expected of the Catholic Church.

How can anyone be surprised, then, that this ecumenism, which is supposed to promote the unity of Christians, makes but little progress?

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, from the Council on, denounced this new way of dealing with the Protestants that took shelter under the name of ecumenism. In fact, this very elastic term expresses a general manner of seeing and doing that was introduced into the Church at the time of Vatican II. We are talking about an ostentatious benevolence toward all human beings, a determination to no longer condemn error, a search all over the map for “what unites us” rather than what separates us…. And what ought to have been only the first step in a journey toward unity, within the framework of a captatio benevolentiae [a rhetorical gesture to win good will], rapidly turned into a pursuit for its own sake that became an end in itself; an unending quest for an undefined truth. It then strayed from its objective purpose: the return to the Church of those who have lost unity with her. Thus the meaning of the word ecumenism was changed, the concept of unity was modified, and the means of arriving at it were falsified.

In the past, the Church knew that she is the only true Church and proclaimed it loud and strong, but this traditional clarity has been replaced by a new, uncertain doctrine—a mixture of apologetic self-denigration and post-modern relativism (for example, “we do not possess the whole truth”), which currently leads a majority of Catholics to reject the statement that there is only one way of salvation, and that we have it from Jesus Christ Himself that “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father, but through me” (Jn 14:6).

The dogma “Outside the Church there is no salvation” has been changed surreptitiously by confused ideas, to the point of altering the statement that the Church of Christ and the Catholic Church are identical. Cardinal Walter Kasper, then-President of the Council for Promoting Christian Unity, saw the new definition of the Church (subsistit in; “subsists in”) as the thing that quite simply made possible the ecumenism that has been promoted since the Council. Coming from a figure like that, this is a fitting admission that should be taken seriously!

That, in a few words, is why we cannot celebrate joyfully the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Quite the contrary, we lament this cruel division. Following Our Lord, we pray and work so that the lost sheep might find again the path that will lead them safely to salvation, the path of the Holy Roman Catholic Church.

We pray also that this illusory irenicism will soon be abandoned and that in its place a true movement of conversion may be reborn, like the one that existed before the Council, particularly in English-speaking countries.

Finally, during this centenary of the apparitions of Our Lady to the three shepherd children of Fatima, we pray also that the requests of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary may be heard. She promised the conversion of Russia, when the Supreme Pontiff will be so kind as to consecrate this country explicitly to her Immaculate Heart. Let us redouble our prayers and sacrifices, so that the promise of the Mother of God may become a reality, without delay.

With her Divine Son, cum prole pia, may she deign to bless you during this Easter season and lead us all to eternal happiness.

Easter Sunday 2017
+ Bernard Fellay

Four years of Pope Francis’ Pontificate: SSPX Press Release

Pope

From DICI:

On the occasion of the anniversary of the election of Pope Francis on March 13, 2013, the mainstream press has dedicated several articles to a status report on his first four years on the throne of Saint Peter. Rather than quote these incidental commentaries, it seems to us more helpful to reprint certain analyses that have appeared in recent months. Coming from very different perspectives, their authors all agree on the fact that a deep division in the Church is setting in.

During the sermon that he gave in Poland on March 3, 2017 (see our article here), Bp. Bernard Fellay declared: “There are many contradictions, there is a battle between the bishops, among the cardinals, this is a new situation…. Rome is no longer united, but divided.” The Superior General of the Society of Saint Pius X is only confirming what the Pope reportedly said on his own, according to the German weekly magazine Der Spiegel on December 27, 2016:

“According to his own agenda, Francis no longer has much time to change things in the Church, for he himself said that he thought that his pontificate would last only four to five years, and that deadline has almost arrived. The Pope’s critics, in the Vatican and outside the Vatican, must nevertheless be prepared for other surprises. In his inner circle, Francis allegedly said about himself:We must not rule out the possibility that I will go down in history as the one who divided the Catholic Church.’”

de facto schism

On January 20, 2017, the Italian Vatican-watcher Marco Tosatti commented on an article by the German journalist Guido Horst that had appeared in the Tagespost on January 10.

Guido Horst, columnist for the German Catholic newspaper Tagespost, does not mince words in a short article on the state of the Church after Amoris laetitia. “A de facto schism,” he writes. If memory serves us, this term was already used in the recent past by the Auxiliary Bishop of Astana, Athanasius Schneider.

The fact that at the same time the newspaper run by the Secretariat of the Italian Episcopal Conference, L’Avvenire, dedicates an article to saying, on the contrary, that in reality everything is going well, and wonders, “who knows what it will take to put an end to a debate that seems absurd to more and more Catholics?”, is an indication of a division that is widening every day, instead of diminishing.

But let us read what Horst writes, in his article entitled: “A de facto schism”. He interprets the statements made by Cardinal Müller as a confirmation that “there will be no answer to these questions from Francis, in particular to the dubia of the four cardinals.”

But the answer has already come from Malta, Horst adds. When the two bishops from that island “instruct the pastors of the little insular State that each divorced-and-remarried person can decide for himself with God to receive Communion, this clearly means that each local church can do what it wants. The split is getting deeper. Florence against Rome, Poland against Argentina, Malta against Milan. This is what is called a de facto schism….”

The problem, Horst asserts, is that the Pope is mute. “The Pope is silent about the letter from the cardinals, and thus he indirectly refuses to make a clear statement about how the disputed paragraphs of Amoris laetitia should be read in the light of the statements of previous popes.” And of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, we might add. Thus “Rome is no longer an authority that brings clarity, but rather a calm observer silently watching how and how soon the unity of the Church’s pastoral ministry falls to pieces.” And the individual priests who are ultimately subject to all the pressures “are left alone”.

These are harsh words, particularly because they come from someone who certainly cannot be categorized as an opponent or critic of the current pontificate (Guido Horst contributes to the Tagespost, a liberal Catholic newspaper, and to the official website of the German Bishops’ Conference – Editor’s note.) Likewise, the commentary by Björn Odendahl on the German bishops’ website, Katholisch.de, is certainly in favor of the Pope; in it he deplores, as a progressive, the Pope’s silence: “In a way,” he writes, “the conservatives are right: the Pope’s words are not clear enough. He ought to speak up and quickly put an end to these developments that are harming the Church.”

In our opinion it is not very likely that he will do so, thus allowing the Church to undergo a division on a central topic like the Eucharist and Jesus’ words on marriage, a division that is probably unprecedented in modern times.

We think that he will not do it, because what he said to Archbishop Bruno Fort in April 2016 (to be precise, on May 3, 2016, during a conference on Amoris laetitia in which he presented what follows as a “jest” by the Pope. – Editor’s note) seems to us very eloquent. During the Synod, the Pope allegedly confided to him: “If we speak explicitly about Communion for the divorced-and-remarried, you have no idea what a mess those guys will make for us. Well, then, let’s not talk about it directly; do it in such a way that the premises are there, and afterwards I will be the one to draw the conclusions.”

Abp Forte was Special Secretary of the Synod of Bishops, the author of the controversial “interim report” that was disowned by the President of the Assembly, Cardinal Erdö, and to a large extent was not accepted by the working groups of the Synod. And Abp. Forte commented (on this attitude of the Pope): “Typical of a Jesuit.” He added that the Apostolic Exhortation “is not a new doctrine, but the merciful application of the perennial teaching.”

If the anecdote reported by Abp. Forte is true, and there is no reason to doubt it, we understand better the degree of confusion and ambiguity, as well as the diversity of interpretations, caused by the Apostolic Exhortation. In other words, a deliberate absence of clarity that is reminiscent of the secular polemics and accusations that have been aimed at the Society of Jesus for centuries. The product of a strategy implemented even before the proceedings of the 2014 Synod had commenced.

What does the “revolution” of Pope Francis consist of?

In the French weekly newspaper Valeurs Actuelles (January 7, 2017), Laurent Dandrieu wrote, in an article entitled “Francis, the pope who gives scandal”:

As unusual as it is, this quarrel at the highest levels (of the Church hierarchy) is no doubt not the last one of this pontificate: the leader of liberation theology, the Marxist version of the preferential option for the poor, who was sanctioned as such by John Paul II, Leonardo Boff has just declared that Pope Francis was “one of us” (meaning: in solidarity with liberation theology) and predicts other surprises from the Pope—particularly on the subject of married priests. Now the next Synod, in 2018, will deal with the theme of vocations. It is often maintained that a married priesthood would be the answer to the vocations crisis. But above all this is an issue brought up regularly by the adversaries of the Church, since priestly celibacy appears to them to be an intolerable sign of its refusal to bend the knee to the dictates of modernity. Which raises the question: Does the “revolution” of Pope Francis consist of bringing the Church back to its radical Gospel message, or of winning for the Church the favor of the secularized world? The judgment that history will pass on this pontificate will depend on the answer.

“Not to resist error is to approve of it.”

On January 18, three bishops from Kazakhstan, Abp. Tomash Peta, Metropolitan Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana, Abp. Jan Pawel Lenga, Archbishop and Bishop emeritus of Karaganda, and Bp. Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana, issued an appeal for prayer:

Considering that the admission of so-called “remarried” divorced persons to the sacraments of Penance and Holy Eucharist without requiring them to live in continence is a danger to the faith and to the salvation of souls and furthermore constitutes an offense against God’s holy will; moreover, taking into consideration the fact that this pastoral practice can never be the expression of mercy, of the “via caritatis” [“way of charity”] or of the Church’s maternal way with regard to sinful souls, we issue with deep pastoral concern this urgent appeal for prayer that Pope Francis will revoke, clearly and unambiguously, the aforementioned pastoral guidelines that have already been adopted by some particular Churches. Such an act on the part of the visible Head of the Church would be a comfort for the pastors and for the faithful of the Church, according to the mandate that Christ, the supreme shepherd of souls, gave to the Apostle Peter, and through him to all his successors: “Strengthen your brethren!” (Luke 22:32).

May these words of a saintly pope and of Saint Catherine of Sienna, Doctor of the Church, be for everyone in the Church today a source of light and reassurance:

“Not to resist error is to approve of it; not to defend the truth is to stifle it” (Saint Felix III, Pope, †492). “Holy Father, God chose you in the Church so that you might be an instrument for eradicating heresy, confounding falsehood, exalting the Truth, dispelling darkness and manifesting the light” (Saint Catherine of Sienna, †1380).

When Pope Honorius I (625-638) adopted an ambiguous attitude toward the spread of the new heresy of Monothelitism, Saint Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusalem, sent a bishop from Palestine to Rome, telling him: Travel to the Apostolic See, where the foundations of sacred doctrine are found, and do not stop praying until the Apostolic See condemns the new heresy. The condemnation then took place in 649 by Saint Martin I, pope and martyr.

(Sources: Tagespost/Stilum Curiae/Valeurs Actuelles – based on the French translation by benoitetmoi and the blog of J. Smits – DICI no. 351, dated March 17, 2017)

 

~ Steven C.

 

Recent SSPX-Rome purchase rumors are False

Image result for sspx logo rumor

http://www.dici.org/en/news/society-of-saint-pius-x-menzingen-in-rome/

Over the past several days, there have been an abundance of rumors disseminated regarding the purchase by the Society of St. Pius X of a large building complex in Rome.  According to the original article, “The Pope is said to have intervened directly to speed the whole process, via Abp. Guido Pozzo, Secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei. Bp. Bernard Fellay (Superior of the SSPX), Bp. Alfonso de Galarreta and the Assistant General Father Alain Nély are said to have stayed from January 17-20 at the Casa Santa Marta. The Superior of the Sisters of the Society also attended the talks. Father Nély is the person in charge of finalizing the purchase of the complex”.  The signing of an official agreement with Rome is also seen to be imminent.

These rumors are false.  Virtually everything in the original report is totally false.

Predictably, this “news” spread feverishly across conservative Catholic news sites and the infamous, calumny-filled anti-SSPX message boards.  The Society was this time finally going to “sell out”, as has been prophesied for 17 years and for a shorter period during the 1980s.

For the sake of justice, we have posted below the official response of the Society to this latest slander.  Hopefully this post will reassure those who may have been concerned.  As one can infer from Bp. Fellay’s latest interview(https://damselofthefaith.wordpress.com/2017/02/09/bp-fellay-in-latest-interview-errors-are-killing-the-church/), as well as all of the Society’s official communication channels; the signing of a personal prelature is not to be considered until there are very clear, explicit indications from Rome that the Society remain exactly as they are.

Responses from DICI:

An Italian website announced: “A proposal issued directly by the Holy Father is supposed to appear before the end of the month to offer the Society of St. Pius X an official status in the Church.” The “information” was repeated the following day by an American website. And that same day, in a French online forum, one could read: “The rumor is being clarified.” The author of the message said that he had learned “through priests of the Society” that Bishop Fellay had traveled that week “to Rome with his two assistants for a very important meeting.” He might just as well have said that the Swiss bishop, who was in Menzingen (Switzerland) at the time, had the gift of bilocation !

A sedevacantist website, reprinting an article that had appeared on June 17 in Le Figaro Online, declared: “The doctrinal discussions between Rome and Écône are over. Betrayal [and accomplishment (?!)] by the authorities of the SSPX, who knew what they were doing and accept.” [Translator’s note: Careless grammar in original French article]. Whereas a Roman news agency, commenting on the same article, wrote on June 20 that “some voices in Rome do not hesitate to speak about a failure at the conclusion of the meetings between theologians” from the Vatican and Écône.

The two preceding paragraphs were published in DICI on June 25, 2011 ! We merely omitted the dates of the supposed “revelations” that the press served up as an “exclusive story” to its avid readers.

Today they are talking about the acquisition, in Rome, by the Society of a complex of buildings including a large chapel, with a view to an imminent agreement and a transfer of the General House, also very imminent, to the Eternal City. We respond to this “news” in the current issue of DICI, while keeping the conclusion of the 2011 editorial : “Rumors are the reflection of the good or bad humors of those who spread them.”

Fr. Alain Lorans

 

Society of Saint Pius X: Menzingen in Rome?

3-03-2017
Filed under From Tradition, News

In an article that appeared in the February 24 issue of Il Foglio and was reprinted by the news agency cath.ch on February 25, the Italian journalist Matteo Matzuzzi announced the imminent purchase by the Society of Saint Pius X of a building complex including a church in the neo-Gothic style, Santa Maria Immacolata all’Esquilino, in Rome. In his telling, this purchase is the sign of an agreement with the Holy See, which is not very far off either. He deduced from this that the General House will soon be transferred from Menzingen to Rome. Based on these “revelations”, Matteo Matzuzzi writes: “The Pope is said to have intervened directly to speed the whole process, via Abp. Guido Pozzo, Secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei. Bp. Bernard Fellay (Superior of the SSPX), Bp. Alfonso de Galarreta and the Assistant General Father Alain Nély are said to have stayed from January 17-20 at the Casa Santa Marta. The Superior of the Sisters of the Society also attended the talks. Father Nély is the person in charge of finalizing the purchase of the complex.”

La Maison générale de la Fraternité Saint-Pie X.

It is true that the Society of Saint Pius X is Catholic, and therefore Roman, and that its founder, Abp. Marcel Lefebvre, always wanted there to be a foundation in Rome. This is why one of its first houses was the one in Albano, not far from the Eternal City. It is also true that, in the relations that he had with the Roman authorities, Abp. Lefebvre—as a worthy son of the Rev. Fr. Henri Le Floch, C.S.Sp. (1862-1950), rector of the French Seminary in Rome—always proclaimed his romanità. This prompted him to write to Cardinal Edouard Gagnon, then envoy of Pope John Paul II, on November 21, 1987: “We willingly agree to be recognized by the Pope as we are and to have a headquarters in the Eternal City, to offer our collaboration toward the renewal of the Church; we never wanted to break with the Successor of Peter, or to consider the Holy See vacant, despite the trials that this has earned us.”

From a very practical perspective, the Society of Saint Pius X has been trying for many years to acquire a chapel in Rome to replace the one that it owns, which is unfortunately too small. If this chapel, or rather this church, had adjoining buildings, it could provide lodgings for priests who are passing through. But there was never any discussion about relocating the General House.

For these doctrinal and practical reasons, there have been plans for a purchase in Rome, there are some now and there will be others, as long as a firm acquisition has not been finalized. On the other hand, to respond to the “revelations” in the press, there is no plan to purchase a building complex at Santa Maria Immacolata all’Esquilino, as Matteo Matzuzzi writes. Neither Bp. Fellay nor Bp. de Galarreta nor Fr. Nély stayed at the Casa Santa Marta; they were not even in Rome from January 17 to 20. Of course Fr. Nély must travel frequently in Italy, because he is serving as interim replacement of the District Superior, but from January 17 to 20 he was in Menzingen. Not having the gift of bilocation, and most importantly not being Econome General, he is not in charge of finalizing any plan to purchase property. As for the Superior General of the Sisters of the Society, she visited the community of nuns in Albano in February, where she took part in no real estate negotiations.

Moreover on February 27 the Vaticanist for La Stampa, Andrea Tornielli, who has information from the best Roman sources, wrote: “Various rumors have spread in recent days about the possibility that the Society may buy a building with an adjacent church, in order to transfer its headquarters to Rome, and they spoke about the complex of Santa Maria Immacolata all’Esquilino, not far from the Lateran.

“The complex is made up of a neo-Gothic church built in the early 20th century for the Brothers of Charity and a building that has already been used in the past as an elementary and secondary school, which now belongs to a religious order. It was said that Francis and the Ecclesia Dei Commission facilitated the purchase. In fact, this was not the case: The Ecclesia Dei Commission was in no way involved, nor was the Vicariate of Rome.” Duly noted!

 

Bp. Fellay in his latest interview:

(Sources: IlFoglio/cath.ch/Stampa – DICI no. 350 dated March 3, 2017)

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.”

Bp. Tissier de Mallerais(http://sspx.org/en/news-events/news/bishop-tissier-interview-la-porte-latine-14983):

Things are becoming clearer. During our pilgrimage to Rome in the year 2000, we were charmed by Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, who urged John Paul II to recognize the Society unilaterally. Then Benedict XVI granted us two “preliminary requirements”: the recognition of the freedom of the traditional Mass and the lifting (more or less fortunate, for us and for him) of the 1988 excommunications. In 2010-2011, we had planned doctrinal discussions: in total disagreement! Our Superior General Bishop Fellay pursued the negotiations and caused some worry, until it became clear, in May and June 2012, that Benedict XVI still required as a condition, as he had said plainly at the start, that we accept the Council and the legitimacy of the reforms. It was a failure. But now there is very clearly a disposition on Pope Francis’ side to recognize us without these conditions. We say “Prudence! ” For things are moving and progress is still needed.

Archbishop Lefebvre never laid down as a condition for us to be recognized by Rome that Rome abandon the errors and the conciliar reforms. Even if he did say something like that to Andre Cagnon in 1990, he would never have done so, because that was never his line of conduct, his strategy with modernist Rome. He was strong in the Faith, he did not yield on his doctrinal position, but he knew how to be flexible, patient, and prudent in practice. To achieve his ends, his prudence told him to push the adversary, to harass him, make him step back, persuade him, but without blocking him with conditions that he still finds unacceptable. He did not refuse dialogue and was disposed to take advantage of every door opened by his interlocutor. It is in this sense that a certain opportunism, a certain “pragmatism” has been seen in him, and it is true: it is a small virtue annexed to the cardinal virtue of prudence. Sagacity, practical wisdom, is the neighbor of solertia, mentioned by Aristotle, St. Thomas (2-2, q. 48) and the Gaffiot, which is a skill in finding means to obtain one’s ends.

Archbishop Lefebvre requested with acumen “that we at least be tolerated”: “this would be a major advance,” he said. And “that we be recognized as we are,” that is, with our practice that follows from our doctrinal positions. Well, today we see in Rome a disposition to bear our existence and our theoretical and practical positions. I say “bear” because one tolerates evil!

Already, doctrinally, they no longer force us to admit “the whole Council” or religious liberty; some of the errors we denounce are on the point of being considered by our interlocutors as open for free discussion, or continued debate. This is progress. We discuss, but they have to admit that we are not changing and it is unlikely that we will change. And in practice, we ask these Romans: “Recognize our right to reconfirm the faithful conditionally,” and “Recognize the validity of our marriages!” You see, these are serious bones of contention. They will have to grant us these things. Otherwise, how could our recognition be livable?

It may take some time, but there is a God!

And an all-powerful Mediatrix!

~ Steven C.

On “Fiftiesism”

Image result for pius x lukewarm

A common argument put forth by some Catholics in defense of Vatican II and the Novus Ordo Missae is that weekly attendance at Holy Mass began to decrease in the 1950’s.  Thus, the “Novus Ordo” itself would be exempt from much of the blame for the current lukewarm climate in the Church, since it was implemented after the statistics started to trend downward.  

Response:  It is true that Sunday Mass attendance among Catholics in the West started to decrease about a decade before Vatican II.  On the one hand, we cannot ignore the errors of Vatican II and the New mass and the absolute chaos that has ensued since both have been implemented.  On the other hand, what then is the origin of the very beginnings of these “rotten fruits”?  It is amazing that as strong as the Church structures appeared to be in the 1950’s, they were almost totally demolished by Modernism a decade or so later. 

As the events in the life of Christ parallel those of His Church, we can draw a certain parallel between Palm Sunday and Our Lord’s Passion and the 1950’s and the post-Vatican II era.  In the Palm Sunday Gospel, Our Lord is greatly exalted and honored as he triumphantly rides into Jerusalem.  However, to say there were many who hated him was an understatement.  Plots to take His life were being dreamed of by the Jews, culminating in His capture only a few days later.  

Similarly, in the 1950’s, Christ’s Church was enjoying an almost unprecedented apparent rise to glory in the world.  I need not explain it in detail; everyone who is familiar with the period or has lived in it himself will know exactly what I mean.  The plans of the enemies of Our Lord to subvert the Church were already well-advanced though.  Still, one can wonder whether this was such a golden age for the Church as is often perceived.  If the Faith was held ever so fervent, then how did so many, if not most, of these same Catholics lose their faith and make such severe compromises with the world a mere decade later?

This leads to the discussion of the errors spread most prominently in the West particularly following World War II.  Although many hold “officially” that the West emerged victorious in this war, further research may prove the opposite.  For purposes of this post, let us just say that the true concept of authority was destroyed and the West made many compromises with evil.  It is simply a fact that many errors of the Revolution were firmly entrenched in the West by the 1950’s.  

Unfortunately, so many Catholics, if not the great majority, had fallen into many of these errors and were making compromises with the world, thus watering down their Faith.  Many traditional Catholic priests(particularly SSPX priests) have coined this perilous spirit as “Fiftiesism”.  Despite the apparent great growth of the Church, such a state could not last very long with such widespread lukewarmness.  God, however, in His infinite love and mercy, would provide graces for those Catholics of good will to remain faithful.  One very great grace was His gift of Abp. Lefebvre, who would continue to preserve the sacred priesthood and fight for the good Faith!   

In the letter attached below, Bp. Richard Williamson, then Rector of St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary(SSPX), describes some of the main errors of “Fiftiesism”.  After dismantling these errors, he points out the simple remedy: to remain fully faithful to Our Lord and His Church.  Let us strive then to simply be found faithful!

From the August 1998 “Letter From the Rector”:  

         

Following on the mention of “Fiftiesism” in last month’s letter, a reader reasonably asked what it is, and if there is anywhere he can read up on it. Since Fiftiesism is a serious threat to “Traditional” Catholics, and since little has to my knowledge been written about it as such, let us examine it here.

“Fiftiesism” is a name for the kind of Catholicism that was generally practised in the 1950’s, between World War II and Vatican II. To many Catholics who can look back that far, the 1950’s seem like a golden age for the Church, because all kinds of Catholic systems were still up and running that crashed a few years later. On the other hand, precisely because so many Catholic systems crashed in the 1960’s and 1970’s, not all can have been well with the Church in those 1950’s. There must have been “something rotten in the State of Denmark”.

For instance the magnificent building now housing the Seminary in Winona was put up by the Dominicans, sparing no expense, in the early 1950’s, only to be abandoned by them in 1970, and sold for a song. And this Novitiate for their central United States Province was merely one Catholic institute amongst thousands all over the world that followed this path from riches to rags. Can the 1950’s really have been such a golden age as they seem?

Fiftiesism is then the name for what was wrong alongside – or inside – all that was right in the practice of Catholicism in the 1950’s. Church structures stood tall but termites were burrowing away within, so that with one strong push from Vatican II, the structures were all ready to fall over. Traditional Catholics today must take thought to avoid re-building a Church of the 1950’s all ready to fall over again!

To illustrate what was good as well as bad in the Catholicism of the 1950’s, let us think of English Catholicism in the 1520’s, just before the Reformation in England of the 1530’s and 1540’s.

On the good side, England looked in the 1520’s like a completely Catholic nation. It had been Catholic for nearly 1,000 years, with the result that for an Englishman then to be Catholic was the most normal and simple thing in the world. Young King Henry VIII was so Catholic that he was awarded by Rome the title of “Defender of the Faith” for his refutation of Luther’s errors! As for the English people, a scholarly book was written a few years ago to prove how Catholic they still were, as though the Reformation was none of their fault.

Alas, on the bad side, what were the fruits of this 1520’s Catholicism? By the end of the 1550’s Catholics were being persecuted, and Queen Elizabeth I was skillfully and ruthlessly maneuvering England into national apostasy, wherein to remain Catholic was a glorious but highly dangerous avocation. Catholic priests were hunted down by her secret police, hanged, drawn and quartered as traitors, so that while an English priest in the 1560’s had to have the same Catholic Faith and priesthood as a priest in the 1520’s, nevertheless in the transformed circumstances he was called upon to be a quite new kind of priest. Hence the Jesuit Order, “old and new”.

What had happened? The Catholicism of English Catholics in the 1520’s had been tried by the Lord God and found wanting. As events of the 1530’s and 1540’s proved, their Catholicism, which we might call “Twentiesism”, had been too much of a shell-game. The clergy had “lacked grace” (Thomas More). As for the people, they had resisted, for instance in the Pilgrimage of Grace, but not enough. So God punished English Twentiesism by letting it turn into the permanent shell-game of Anglicanism (known in the U.S.A. as Episcopalianism), founded on Elizabeth’s Anglican Establishment.

Now imagine a Jesuit priest in England of the 1560’s saying to the small congregations of his faithful remnant, “My dear people, all is changed, changed utterly, a terrible beauty is born. No more Twentiesism!”, and you can see why a Traditional priest would say to Traditionalists in the 1990’s, “No more Fiftiesism!”

In fairness to English Catholics of the 1520’s, the problem of their shell-game had been building up over many generations before them, and it did not mean that every English Catholic was losing or would lose the Faith, because of course there was a glorious first harvest of martyrs under Henry VIII, and a second under Elizabeth I.

In fairness likewise to the Fiftiesism of our own time, the pre-Vatican II shell-game was the end-product of 150 years of Liberal Catholicism blending Church and world, attempting to combine the values of the Faith with those of the Revolution, and not every Catholic of the 1950’s proved to be deep-down in love with the world, because, as in Reformation England, a by the grace of God faithful remnant pulled through Vatican II to constitute the bedraggled but glorious remains of the Tridentine Church known to us as “Tradition”, or the Traditionalists”!

At the heart then of Fiftiesism in our own time is that while outwardly the Faith in the 1950’s seemed to be lived, practised and defended, and the Mass was the Mass of all time, nevertheless inwardly too many Catholics’ hearts were going with the world. Thence it was simply a matter of time before all those strict priests celebrating the ancient liturgy with every detail in place, would throw away their birettas and loosen up with eucharistic picnics improvised from one moment to the next. Americans old enough remember how suddenly this change could take place, almost overnight. The inside was rotten. Many Catholics pretended to love God, but really they loved the world. God spat them out at Vatican II.

But why in the 1950’s were so many Catholics inwardly loving the world? Because the modern world, industrialized and suburbanized, is too much with us, all-glamorous, all-powerful, all-seductive. For even if a man and his family are intent upon remaining Catholic, still man remains a three-layered creature, not only individual and familial but also social, and all three layers are connected. Hence society exerts an enormous anti-Catholic pressure upon Catholics when it has been, like ours, largely in the grip of Masonic Revolutions for the last 200 years.

To illustrate Fiftiesism here in the U.S.A. (since most readers of this letter are Americans, but of course Fiftiesism was worldwide, as was Vatican II), let us quote three anti-Catholic principles firmly believed in by many American Catholics of the 1950’s (and 1990’s?), one social, one familial, one individual, amongst many others.

False social principle: separation of Church and State. This deadly error means that Jesus Christ is no longer King over society, He is only King of the sacristy. Society can supposedly do as it likes, and Our Lord has nothing to say! On the contrary read in the Bible the history of the People of God from Abraham and Moses through David, Solomon and Ezra to see if God’s religion tells peoples what as peoples they must do!

False familial principle: co-education. Boys are designed by God quite differently from girls because He has quite different parts for them to play in life. So the Catholic Church has always known and taught that from as early an age as possible, let us say no later than seven or eight, they should be taught differently and separately. Yet how many “Catholics” in the U.S.A. were accustomed to coeducation in the 1950’s and still see no problem with it in the 1990’s? Not even in the most primitive tribes will you find coeducation! They have too much sense!

False individual principle: the split between “religion” and real life. To how many “Catholics” in the 1950’s was “religion” what one did on Sunday morning while in real life the world was being saved, for instance from Communism, by the American Constitution, free enterprise, etc. etc.? No doubt the Faith was believed in, every article of it, but how many “Catholics” let that Faith form their character and define their view of the world? How many “Traditionalists” to this day really put their trust in Our Lord Jesus Christ to solve problems of home, family, politics, education, economics, the arts, etc., etc.? How many on the contrary seek to “enjoy” the world as much as they can, to have all possible “fun”, while keeping just short of mortal sin? That is pure Fiftiesism, and it will have the same disastrous results.

What is the solution to Fiftiesism, then and now? It is not complicated. The problem lies in pretending to put God first but not really doing so. The solution lies in obeying the First Commandment first, in loving the Lord God – Jesus Christ – with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our strength and with all our mind, and in putting no other gods or solutions before Him. Nor is it impossible to do so. The world, the flesh and the Devil may dominate our environment as never before in all history, but God remains God and we remain children of His Mother.

A powerful and practical means she obtained from her Son to help us put the First Commandment back in place is the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. These were given only twice at the Seminary this year, but they brought forth a bouquet of testimonials from which we shall quote next month to encourage you to make use of one of the Society’s three retreat houses in the U.S.A.. Go to the retreats where you hear they really knock down, drag out the retreatants! Those are where the action is!

And may Our Lord pull all of us back from the world, the flesh and the Devil, lest His Chastisement catch us still in Fiftiesism, ready for Hell!

 

~ Steven C., “The Knight Of Tradition”

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!