Today we look at what SSPX Bishop Bernard Tissier de Mallerais has to say, twenty years after the illicit consecrations in Ecône.
My emphases and comments. I have changed some formatting. Here is the interview with SSPX Bp. Bernard Fellay. This interview is in the recent number of the publication of the SSPX called Angelus.
Bishop Bernard Tissier de Mallerais
Q: Your thoughts on the state of the Church after 20 years of episcopacy?
Tissier de Mallerais: John Paul II did nothing to rebuild the Faith. [Nothing?] The great apostasy has been increasing; the youth are almost completely lost in impurity and drugs. The social kingship of Christ is completely destroyed by religious liberty and the rights of man. We are living the great apostasy of which St. Paul speaks to the Thessalonians: “venerit dicessio primum” (II Thess. 2:3). [Rather apocalyptic. Maybe so… maybe so…]
Q: What has changed, if anything, in the Society?
Tissier de Mallerais: What kind of Society? The Fraternity of St. Pius X? If this, sure, the Fraternity has grown, thanks to God, from 150 to 450 priests; double the number of brothers. Not many new priories; better to secure the common life of priests! But many new missions everywhere. Not many new countries which are not necessary. We must develop what we have begun. This is sufficient.
Q: How many countries have you visited since your consecration?
Tissier de Mallerais: Almost all the countries in which our priests work except Japan and Korea. How many would this be? Probably more than 30 or 40.
Q: What has impressed you about the faithful on your many confirmation circuits?
Tissier de Mallerais: Of course, the many families with the many children. Sometimes more than ten children—marvelous! It is the effect of the grace of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Also, with this come the many new schools for boys and girls, primary schools besides our priories in many places. Thus, church, priory and school are now the normal unit. [An interesting demographic observation: This means that there are children of the first followers of Archbp. Lefevbre who have never known anything but conflict and harsh rhetoric about Rome and the Pope.]
Q: Consider how things might have been without the consecrations?
Tissier de Mallerais: We would have died: old priests, only old priests, old Brothers, old Sisters, seminaries empty and dead; and no Fraternity of St. Peter nor anything else. Tradition would have died. [Does this strike anyone as hubris?] So the bishops’ consecrations were “un acte saveur.” The “operation survival” has been a complete success, thanks to God and thanks to the heroic act of Archbishop Lefebvre!
Q: Is the situation with Rome more encouraging after 20 years?
Tissier de Mallerais: No, nothing has changed. Only the motu proprio of July 7, 2007, was an unexpected miracle, and it changes radically the practice of the Holy See towards the traditional Mass. But, practically, the return to Tradition is small among the priests. Only young priests, a few of them, are interested. [Perhaps more than a few. But the point is that they tend to be young.] But as for religious liberty, [which is what I think is the true obstacle] the rights of man, the interest of Rome in our work: nothing has changed — induratio cordium! A hardening of the hearts, a blindness of the minds. [On both sides… both sides are guilty.]
Q: What would you say to those who, in 1988, predicted the Fraternity of St. Pius X was creating a parallel Church? Has not history proved them wrong?
Tissier de Mallerais: I answer: Where is the Church, my dears? Recognize the tree by its fruits. Where the fruits are, there the Church is. I do not mean that the Church is reduced to the Fraternity, but that her heart is in the Fraternity. [A subtle distinction, but I wonder if that isn’t, again, a sign of a mentality that the SSPX has a "higher" Magisterium than the Roman Pontiff? The SSPX is, like the Donatist view after the persecutions in the early Church, the "true" church of the "pure"?] The true Faith, the true teaching, the non-bastard sacraments: [Sacraments are either valid or they aren’t, and they all have Christ as their minister. From that point of view, what he said is very unfortunate, perhaps even verging on blasphemy. But I think he is driving is not just the validity, but what the post-Conciliar rites convey or don’t convey.] all this is in the Fraternity. Everywhere else, there is a mixture full of compromises because of liberalism and weakness of mind. The parallel Church is the Vatican II-Newchurch: her spirit, her new-religion or no-religion. [It seems more and more that this fellows attitude is that the SSPX is the true Church with the true Catholic Faith and that anything else is simply false, a false religion.]
Q: What stands out as the most important development of the past 20 years? The death of the Archbishop? The election of Benedict XVI? The Motu Proprio?
Tissier de Mallerais: The answer is our perseverance, our existence. [A "siege" mentality?] The miraculous continuation of Tradition. The consecration of the bishops was only a means to this end. No, Msgr. Lefebvre’s death, the election of Benedict XVI, and so on were not events of significance. Really, no particular event happened during the past 20 years, but only the miracle of the survival of Tradition.
Q: Many Catholics who began to fight alongside the Archbishop years ago now feel inclined to unite forces with a seemingly more conservative Rome by allying themselves with organizations with a more “regular status” within the Church. [Meaning, probably, the FSSP, and perhaps even dioceses where the TLM is made available widely.]
Tissier de Mallerais: Yes, many losses. Because of lack of principles, unfaithfulness to the fight of the Fraternity, seeking compromises, wishing peace, desiring the victory before the time foreseen by God. [He is very focused on fighting. Also, He seems to know God’s will pretty clearly. He also perhaps thinks that the people who leave off following the SSPX in favor of unity with Rome are rather stupid.] These poor people (priests, religious, lay people) are liberals and pragmatics. Seduced by the smiles of the people in the Vatican, I mean the prelates of the Roman Curia. [Probably meaning Card. Castrillon Hoyos. Also the Holy Father?] People that were tired by the long, long combat for Faith: “Forty years, that’s enough!” But this one will last 30 more years. So do not cease, do not seek “reconciliation,” but fight on! [There is a strong will to fight. But for real unity? I suspect very little.]
Q: What is your most memorable recollection of the Archbishop?
Tissier de Mallerais: When, on October 13, 1969, he opened to us the door at 106, route de Marly, Fribourg, Switzerland, alone, without any priests, receiving us nine seminarians in the two flats that he had rented from the Salesian Fathers. Alone and 63 years old, and beginning all things with us, poor young men! This was moving, to see how he took care of us, giving us spiritual conferences, very simple, theological, with St. Thomas Aquinas and his experience as a missionary. An archbishop, former superior general of 3,000 members, former Apostolic Delegate, and now alone with nine young men to begin something for the sake of the priesthood, something of which he did not even know the future. Realize this faith! [Impressive in many ways.]
Q: What is the most memorable time in your seminary formation?
Tissier de Mallerais: Unbelievable! My first contact with the Summa of St. Thomas Aquinas during the marvelous lectures of Rev. Fr. Thomas Mehrle, O.P., who would come every week from Fribourg to teach us Christ and God at Ecône. How delightful it was to hear Fr. Mehrle commenting on the Summa and we, at the time, reading our Summa in Latin, the wonderful Latin of St. Thomas. [That’s wonderful Latin?!?] How many hours of delight, every day, from 8:15 to 9, at my table in my room, with the Summa to meditate and to learn! And now, I do the same thing, exactly the same! [Then he reads more Thomas in one morning than most seminarians get in four years of major seminary despite what the 1983 Code of Canon Law requires! But he had someone who helped him learn to read it.]
Q: Would you say that the fight for the Mass has changed dramatically since the consecrations?
Tissier de Mallerais: Absolutely not. Nothing has changed! The persecution against the actual young priests who retake the old Mass is the same as the persecution against the good priests, parish priests who, 40 years ago, remained faithful to the Mass of their ordination. [Yes. This is true. But some of us had the steel to stay.]
With very few exceptions, the bishops are enraged against the traditional Mass. Their new religion is against the true Mass, and the true Mass destroys their new false religion, a religion without sacrifice, expiation, satisfaction, divine justice, penance, self-denial, asceticism; the religion of the so called “love, love, love” [or as I call it, "luv"] that is nothing but words. [He has a point here, though he pushes it too far. He seems not to accept that God can work through any means it pleases him to use. I wonder if he isn’t a bit of a theurgist.]
Q: Contrariwise, would you say that the fight for doctrine has become more important?
Tissier de Mallerais: It is the same fight: [fight fight fight] ratio cultus, ratio fides. The rule of the Faith is the rule of the liturgy, and the rule of the liturgy is the rule of the Faith: lex orandi, lex credendi; lex credendi, lex orandi. The motto is reciprocal. [This is very true. As I have written a hundred times on this blog and in my articles, there is a reciprocal relationship between how we pray and what we beleive. Change the one, you change the other.] The traditional Mass is the most magnificent expression of the Kingship of Christ, while regnavit a ligno Deus– God has reigned by the wood of the Cross. The mystery of Redemption, as a perfect and superabundant atonement for the sins of mankind is expressed in the traditional Mass. On the contrary, this mystery is darkened and blurred by the New Mass. [At least in the way it is celebrated in most places, certainly in the dreadful translations, and in some respects in the Latin prayers which were altered. But it strikes me that the Novus Ordo was implemented as the books themselves contained in so few places that this is also somewhat unfair. Still, I am very sympathetic to what he said here.]
Consequently, the fight against religious liberty cannot be separated from the fight for the Mass. [Interesting.] The same is true for the fight against ecumenism, because if Christ is God, so He is able to atone and satisfy by His Passion for all sins; also, He alone has the right to rule the civil laws according to the Gospel. I see no separation between the fight for the Mass, the fight for the Christian spirit of sacrifice, and the fight for the social kingship of Christ. The modernists see no difference between their new Mass, their refusal of the mystery of Redemption, [Well… that’s just silly.] and their denial of the social kingship of Jesus Christ. [Interesting.] Tout se tient. [This phrase refers to a system in which "everything is related" to the other parts.]
Q: What does it mean that, besides Bishop Rifan, Rome has not given traditional bishops to any of the Ecclesia Dei communities? Does this not vindicate the Archbishop’s decision?
Tissier de Mallerais: Yes, sure! The people in Rome (with some exceptions) do not want traditional bishops! They still do not want it. Occupied Rome [fight! fight!] cannot allow (to) herself traditional bishops existing in the Church. It would be the destruction of their destruction! Bishop Rifan had been duly brainwashed [! Remember his comments about people who go over to Rome? They are "weak minded".] before he was “reconciled.” He maintains the holy traditional Mass but no longer fights against the New Mass, religious liberty, and so on. He had to stop fighting. [fight!]
Ecclesia Dei communities had to accept never to criticize the Second Vatican Council and the New Mass. [I think that is simply not true. V2 and the NO can be criticized by anyone! But they cannot be denied.] They were silenced, and they accepted to remain silent. It was the price of their “reconciliation.”
So Archbishop Lefebvre was fully right, as he stated only totally Catholic and totally free bishops, free from any influence of liberal Rome, [but not free to agree with Rome, not free not to be forever at war with someone or something….] could work for the sake of the Church until the conversion of the Pope. [Until the "conversion of the Pope…." NB: "the conversion of the Pope".]
Q: What do you foresee as the greatest challenges facing the Society and the faithful in the next few years?
Tissier de Mallerais: First of all, our perseverance in refusing the errors of the Second Vatican Council.
Secondly, our strength in refusing any “reconciliation” with occupied [!] Rome.
Thirdly, our growth in schools, academies, and colleges to sustain Catholic education and help families.
Fourthly, resisting any persecution from the civil authorities and proclaiming Christianity as the only source of civilization. [I think this refers to problems in Europe and the "hate speech" that is more and more the accusation leveled against anyone who preaches a non-secularist, non-relativist message.]
Q: What do you think would be Archbishop Lefebvre’s assessment of the crisis as things stand in 2008?
Tissier de Mallerais: He would denounce not only liberalism — that was the case with Paul VI — but modernism, which is the case of Benedict XVI: a true modernist with the whole theory of up-to-date modernism! [So, for this fellow, Benedict XVI is an up-to-date modernist.] It is so serious that I cannot express my horror. I keep silent. [This is keeping silent?] So Archbishop Lefebvre would shout: “You heretics, you pervert the Faith!” [Did Archbishop Lefebvre ever call Paul VI or John Paul II "heretics" or "modernists"?]
Q: What counsel would you give to parents rearing Catholic children in today’s world?
Tissier de Mallerais: Not only have children and many children, but rear them, educate them! Do not simply nourish them, do not simply feed them! [Good advice.]
And send them to true Catholic schools where they will be not only protected against the corruption of the world but also formed as Christian persons. [Good advice.]
Q: What advice would you offer to young men and women contemplating the religious life?
Tissier de Mallerais: Do not “contemplate” it, do not even “try” it, but enter into it with decision and persevere in it! O God, poor wills!
Q: Which books do you think are most essential for the faithful in these days?
Tissier de Mallerais: For all, their missal (Mass book) and their catechism. For young men, books on the social kingship of Christ. For young ladies, books on cooking, sewing and how to furnish a home. [That’s gonna be interesting.]
Q: What do you foresee in the next 20 years?
In Europe, Islamic republics in France, Britain, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. [Yah… I’m afraid so. I am with Oriana Fallaci on this.]
In the United States of America, bankruptcy and social war.
In Rome, the apostasy organized with the Jewish religion. [So, we’re back to the Jews.]
In us, heroism, Christian heroism.
In the Society, the consecration of new bishops, if it seems necessary. I am getting old. [I wonder if they, or some, in the SSPX are not concretely talking about consecrating more bishops.]
In Rome, a new Pope? Really, if he would become worse, there is no need. If he is to become Petrus Romanus, yes, indeed. This is my hope. [NB: The reference to "Petrus Romanus" refers to the so-called prophecy about Popes attributed to St. Malachy. "Petrus Romanus" is the very last on the long list cryptic phrases in Latin purporting to identify all the popes from that time to the end of the world. Some of them are strangely accurate. "Petrus Romanus …. Peter the Roman" will be the last Pope and at that time Rome is to be destroyed. As I said at the very top, this guy is rather apocalyptic.]
Born in Sallanches (upper Savoy) in 1945, Bishop Tissier de Mallerais, after several years of university studies which made him a Master of Arts, entered in October of 1969 the Seminary of St. Pius X then situated in Fribourg, Switzerland. Ordained priest at Ecône on June 29, 1975, he was immediately nominated professor at the Seminary of St. Pius X. He became Rector in 1979, and served in that capacity until 1983. After fulfilling the task of chaplain of the novitiate of the Sisters of St. Pius X at St. Michel-en-Brenne, France, he became, in 1984, the Secretary General of the Society. He was consecrated a bishop in 1988 and is currently at the Seminary of St. Pius X in Ecône, Switzerland. Bishop Tissier de Mallerais has made a specialty of critically analyzing the Declaration of Religious Liberty of the Second Vatican Council.