I received this via e-mail.
FYI…. got this from a friend today…. It is an interview with three of the four SSPX Bishops…..
Bishop Bernard Fellay
Bishop Bernard Tissier de Mallerais
Bishop Richard Williamson
Angelus Press sent the bishops of the Society of St. Pius X some questions in commemoration of their 20th anniversary as bishops of the Catholic Church. Bishop de Galarreta could not answer the questionnaire, but the answers we received are here presented.
Let’s have a look at what I received, with 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 Fellay
Q: What are your thoughts on the state of the Church after 20 years of episcopacy?
Fellay: When we cast a look upon the Church in 2008, we don’t see that much has changed fundamentally in the state of the Church. All the principles which, in the past, have provoked the crisis of the Church are still at work. On one point only, we could say that there was some change which might bring about some further change in the future, I mean the opening caused by the Motu Proprio on the Tridentine Mass. [Summorum Pontificum] Yet, I must say again that the consequences of the principles inoculated into the veins of the Mystical Body at the Council are continuing to produce their disastrous effects. Now, maybe some prelates are more keenly aware of the damage done. Maybe some of them are looking for solutions, but they do not give us the impression of having found them. Among the younger clergy, a number of priests are very unhappy with the situation and are also looking for solutions and turning their eyes toward Tradition.
Q: What has changed, if anything, in the Society?
Fellay: Fundamentally, nothing has changed, at least as far as the principles leading us are concerned. However, the number of members has changed–it has more than doubled if not tripled since the consecrations. We are presently helping souls in more than 60 countries. In the five continents, the Society of St. Pius X numbers over 400 priests, including priests who are helping us without belonging to the Society.
Q: How many countries have you visited since your consecration?
Fellay: It would take me too long to count them exactly. I think I can safely say that I have visited at least 40 countries, and maybe more.
Q: What has impressed you most about the faithful on your worldwide confirmation circuits?
Fellay: What impressed me most is unity. Everywhere I meet this unity in the reaction against the universal crisis in the Church, and in the choice of the solution, which is to adhere to Tradition, first of all by holding fast to the Tridentine Mass and to the old liturgy with all its consequences.
Q: Is it possible to consider how things might have played out had the Archbishop not consecrated bishops?
Fellay: Most probably, there would have been divisions. We would have had some little boats remaining afloat here and there. But, in the end, there would not have been much left.
Q: Do you see the situation in Rome as more or less encouraging after these past 20 years?
Fellay: It is true that the election of a new pope in 2005 has given rise to some hope, and maybe even to a great hope among the faithful and priests. But, now again, I have the impression that, despite the Motu Proprio, a certain discouragement is coming back in the face of the opposition met by this effort to overcome the crisis. [We all knew there would be blow back, subtle or not.] There is something definitely encouraging in the expectation of the younger generation. However, the younger generation is largely ignorant of its past, and, at times, even of its faith.
Q: What would you say to those who, in 1988, predicted the Society was creating a parallel Church? Has not history proved them wrong?
Fellay: To the preachers or prophets of 1988, we would just ask them to look at reality, the reality of the non-schism of the Society of St. Pius X, a reality which is recognized by Rome no matter what they might say to the contrary, or the threats they might use. [What an odd way to put this.]
Q: What might you say to those who wonder when or in what circumstances the Society might have to consecrate future bishops?
Fellay: The answer is very simple. The Society will consecrate future bishops only if and when it finds itself in the same situation as in 1988, that is to say, in a state of necessity. [And who gets to decide that a "state of necessity" exists? What if the Vicar of Christ says it does not exist?] For the time being, the four bishops are sufficient to provide for the needs of the faithful and for new ordinations. The future is in God’s hands. I am not much preoccupied by this question.
Q: What stands out as the most important developments of the past 20 years? The death of the Archbishop? The election of a new Pope? The Motu Proprio?
Fellay: I don’t think that the death of the Archbishop has changed anything. Thank God! the guidelines which he gave at the time when he founded the Society of St. Pius X have been kept. We can still admire the clearness of vision he had then. The directives he gave us are still leading us in this our present fight for the survival of the Catholic Church. The election of the new pope, as I said, has certainly brought about a certain hope. But we are still expecting a concrete solution for this overall crisis in the Church. I mean that for the time being, all we have is the hope of an improvement. As of now, even the Motu Proprio does not really affect the life of the Church very much.
Q: Many Catholics who began the 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. What would you say to these people who abandon the cause of the Society of St. Pius X?
Fellay: I would tell them that there is no such thing as a cause of the SSPX. [I wonder. I really wonder about that.] There is the cause of the Church. There is the cause of Tradition. The Church cannot survive [No one, including Jesus, said the Church would remain large.] if she does not adhere strictly to her Tradition. The future of the Church is grounded in its past. Our Lord Jesus Christ remains the Head of the Church. He founded His Church on the rock, on a stone which is Peter. [Whom they do not seem to want to obey.] If, today, the Church wants to remain the Catholic Church, it cannot do without these cornerstones, nor without the teachings, the faith, and the life which come from Our Lord Jesus Christ. We are fighting to keep these heirlooms and treasures, not for us but for the Church. This is the fight we are leading. Merely to try to have situations regularized with the Church is probably just a waste of time as long as we don’t deal first with the major problems.
Q: What is your most memorable recollection of the Archbishop?
Fellay: I have so many that I would not know where to start. I had the happiness of working for a whole year at his side. It was my first year in the priesthood, and a very rich year, of course. And maybe what was most striking was to see how he fulfilled his daily duties. In his daily life, far from the great actions and all the important issues, I could observe the hidden virtues at work.
Q: What was the most memorable time of your Seminary formation?
Fellay: It might be the year I spent in Albano. My class was the first to be sent there, and we lived for a whole year close to Rome. At the seminary in Albano, many things occurred which made life quite an adventure. It was wonderful to be so close to the heart of the Church and to be able to visit all these beautiful monuments of Catholicism and of Catholicity. But I must say that all my seminary years were a most happy time in my life.
Q: Would you say that the fight for the Mass has changed dramatically since the consecrations?
Fellay: I would say that the Motu Proprio does change fundamentally the situation of the Tridentine Mass as far as the law is concerned; in Latin, you would say de jure. But, unfortunately, up to now, in reality, de facto, almost nothing has changed. And so the real fight for the Mass continues as before. We can find in this Motu Proprio an alibi to help priests, to support them, to introduce them to the beauties, the strength, and the might of the Mass of all time.
Q: Contrariwise, would you say that the fight for doctrine has become more important?
Fellay: No, the fight for doctrine is and remains always as important. If we do not have the Faith, we have nothing, not even the Mass. The Mass without the Faith is like a roof without the walls. Doctrine is and remains the fundamental reason for our battle.
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?
Fellay: You’ve said it. Obviously, until now Bishop Rifan was an exception. I have recently heard that one or two priests from Ecclesia Dei societies might be chosen as future bishops. My impression is that they are bi-ritual priests. Time will tell. I have no doubt that, due to the lack of priests and their lack of formation, the future will, of necessity, bring about the consecration of some bishops with a more traditional frame of mind. When will that happen? I don’t know. In any case, this will only be a matter of circumstances. So Archbishop Lefebvre was right. [Was he?]
Q: What do you foresee as the greatest challenges facing the Society and the faithful in the next few years?
Fellay: We might have to face some confusion, or a confusing state of things since the present pope, Benedict XVI, asserts that the Church cannot live without her Tradition and at the same time supports the changes of Vatican II, thus giving the strange impression that these changes were traditional. [Is it possible that Benedict XVI understands the Council better than Fellay?] This, indeed, could cause a serious confusion. Some members of the Church, religious communities, priests, may come closer to us due to this new situation. To help them to really adhere to and be rooted in tradition will be a great challenge, which we must face.
Q: What do you think would be Archbishop Lefebvre’s assessment of the crisis as things stand in 2008?
Fellay: He would say exactly what he said in 1988. Nothing has changed.
Q: What counsel would you give to parents rearing Catholic children in today’s world?
Fellay: Today’s world is dangerous because of its many charms, temptations. Parents must imbue their children with Catholic thinking and a Catholic way of life before the poison gets to them. For this, children need their parents’ good examples. Parents need Catholic doctrine and the Catholic life which are promised to them in the sacrament of marriage. May they live from the grace of the sacrament of matrimony, from the sacrifice of the Mass, and from the sacraments. And then I would advise them to entrust their whole family to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Q: What advice would you offer to young men and women contemplating the religious life?
Fellay: I would like to tell them that they are certainly not deprived of grace and that God is calling today as He was yesterday.
They must not fear this world, neither should they fear their call and vocation. They have to be strengthened by their daily dedication to the fulfillment of their duties of state.
Q: Which books do you think are most essential for the faithful in these days?
Fellay: First of all, the catechism, the old catechism, then, of course, the Gospel, the Imitation of Christ, then some books about the crisis. The first book of all is the Holy Eucharist.
Q: What do you foresee in the next 20 years?
Fellay: Well, it is in God’s hands. The situation will probably get worse, but it is almost impossible to foresee to what extent. We might end up in a very dramatic political as well as economic situation. Nevertheless, God is mighty enough to bring good out of evil. He is the Master, He is divine Providence. So, whatever happens, we must cling to hope in Him and in the Mother to whom He has entrusted us and to whose advice He urges us to listen.
A Swiss, born at Sierre (Valais) in 1958, Bishop Fellay entered the Seminary of Ecône in October 1977, at the age of 19 years. Five years of solid formation, in the course of which his superiors discovered in him excellent aptitudes, led him to receive ordination to the priesthood on June 29, 1982, from the hands of Archbishop Lefebvre. Immediately afterwards he was nominated Bursar General of the Society of St. Pius X. After his consecration in 1988, he was made District Superior of Switzerland. In 1994, he was elected Superior General of the SSPX, a post to which he was re-elected in 2006 and holds to this day. Bishop Fellay speaks five languages and has undertaken numerous apostolic journeys throughout the world, including the Third World.