ANGELUS: Interviews with SSPX excomm’d bishops (part I: Fellay)

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.

More later.

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64 Responses to ANGELUS: Interviews with SSPX excomm’d bishops (part I: Fellay)

  1. Bp. Basil says:

    Speaking as an Eastern Christian in communion with the Roman Çhurch, it bugs the hell out of me to hear the Extraordinary Form glibly called “the mass of all time.”

    Just what are the much older liturgies of St. John Chrysostom or Addai and Mari, pray tell? Chopped liver?

  2. Jrbrown says:

    This compares favorably with the prior “perfectly liberal” comments at least vis a vis the “ultimatum”‘s requirements for dialogue. There seem to be three major points here. First, the motu proprio, and the election of Benedict XVI, does give a new hope to the Church and to SSPX, and gives de jure defense to the traditional Mass and Sacraments, and also the position that pre-Vatican II Tradition is essential to the Church. Second, that Benedict XVI (in Bp Fellay’s opinion) gives mixed signals abotut Vatican II’s relationship to Tradition and tradition (small case), seemingly making an impossible argument about continuity (again, in Fellay’s view). Finally, the reistance to the motu proprio, and related undermining of the Pope’s overall efforts, belies the visible changes being brought about by the Pope, and reinforces SSPX’s view that regularization for its own sake will not solve anything. I personally think that the case of the Transalpine Redemptorists (recently renamed) will be critical. If they are forced to ‘recant’ their thoughts on liturgy or doctrine, and effectively compromise the actual substance, vs. the style of discussion (i.e., no polemics, harsh language and so forth), the reaction of the SSPX will be most negative indeed. I pray that Cardinal Hoyos once again intervenes in favor of generosity and pastoral sensitivity as he did with the Institute of the Good Shepherd to show SSPX that they have nothing to fear except their own isolation in the Church.

  3. Brian Kemple says:

    I would say that many of the members of the SSPX actually come dangerously close to formal schism, as the last year has seen a resistance to reconciliation which resembles pertinacity.

    The more commentary the merrier, Fr. Z; I’ve a sedevacantist friend who needs help…

  4. Times says:

    Bp. Basil,

    your statement is as wrong as polemical. “Addai and Mari” is invalid without words of consecration (and YES, I know what Rome said about that issue). And the liturgy of St. John Chrysostom seems NOT to be older. Read Msgr. Gamber! The Pope does it and he admires his work!

  5. Anyone picking a fight, rather than discussing issues in a civil way will be banned from the blog.

    Have a nice day!

  6. TJB says:

    “And who gets to decide that a “state of necessity” exists? What if the Vicar of Christ says it does not exist”

    See the “parallel magisterium” at work? The magisterium of the sspx will tell us if there is a state of necessity! As well as which councils to believe, what teachings to accept… etc…

  7. Sam Schmitt says:

    What exactly does Bp. Fellay mean by “tradition”? And if Vatican II or Pope Bendict do not adhere to tradition (as the Fellay and the SSPX sees it), does that make them heretical?

    I wish he would be more clear about this.

  8. John Enright says:

    I’m disappointed in the interview. I thought that the Holy See’s approach to the Society would bring about eventual unity, but I no longer think so. When the Bp. Fellay says “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” it becomes clear that the rather generous settlement terms offered by the Vatican just a few weeks ago have been sadly rejected.

  9. Xpihs says:

    If the SSPX, like most Catholics, believe that there was a rupture of continuity with the changes of Vatican II, are we to assume that because we have a single instance of a voice crying out, “Continuity” (Benedict XVI) with the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, that they are going to suddenly look at everything since the Council with a new hermeneutic?

    I don’t see otherwise regular Catholics being commanded to re-evaluate the changes since Vatican II with this hermeneutic. The difference with the SSPX is that they took the changes after Vatican II as indicative of a break with the past, and it would seem that the work of forging a new way of understanding the Council, one in light of Tradition, is going to be extremely difficult for everyone, especially for Catholics in the pews of “normal” parishes, parishes that have no real or positive memory of “The way things used to be”.

  10. Geoffrey says:

    I don’t want to start a fight, and if Fr. Z feels this question is off-topic, please delete it, but does anyone but me notice a striking similarity between the Society of Saint Pius X and Roman Catholic Womenpriests?

    Ignoring the obvious differences, just think about it: Both feel they are in the right, both feel that Rome is in the wrong, both use the banner of “tradition” (though the “womenpriests” are downright deceptive about that), both feel the Church is in a mess and needs to change, both reject their excommunications, both disobey Rome and cite “extraordinary circumstances” or “state of necessity”, etc.

    And yes, I know both are different and that the Church could really use the SSPX, etc., but I find the similarities very obvious and frightening…

  11. Paul Murnane says:

    Fellay: First of all, the catechism, the old catechism

    Which “old” catechism? I’m assuming the catechism of St. Pius X, correct?

  12. Piers-the-Ploughman says:

    To say that Womenpriests and the SSPX show a strking similarity is an argument completely oblivious to so many factual differences I would be embarassed for the critics of the SSPX to make it. Really, it weakens your argument. Maybe as hyperbole only but even then it is inflammatory. The SSPX has made exaggerated criticisms of the Novus ordo, which likewise, harm their cause, at least IMHO.

  13. Mitch says:

    They seem to be willing to admit there has been some change in regards to the Mass and what may have started essentially with “We just want the Mass” is indeed what the Holy See has said. That the issues run much deeper. I too was encouraged by the hand that the Vatican reached out to them, but they are firmly in position it seems. The point I found most frustrating is that the Bishop stated that the ArchBishop, should he be alive today, would state things things are still the same and that nothing changes. That I believe is a supposition on his part and perhaps somewhat inflammatory. They have surely put themselves between a rock and a hard place and it looks more and more that they are the ones who can not budge. A little more hopeful attitude would go along way for continued support, patience, and prayers. There ultimate cause (so they say, and this is now supposition on my part) is for the good of souls and the Church.

  14. pverdun says:

    In truth there is really no similarity between the FSSPX and Roman Catholic Womenpriests. Happily none whatsoever. You are so wrong!

  15. malta says:

    Thefight is not over just because of summorum pontificum. Wearein an unprecedented crisis of faith and morals I’m the church. Time will tell if Lefebvre is a great saint ala Athanasius. Christ came to teach truth not succor those of different faiths; what would He have thought of the new ecumenical chapel in the Vatican where different faith can offer their liturgies? Mind you this chapel is owned and sponsored by the Vatican…

  16. Dan says:

    “The Church cannot survive if she does not adhere strictly to her Tradition.”

    This seems almost a contradiction of terms, as if to say that the Church’s Tradition is something non-essential to the Church, so that it could be adhered to in any way but absolutely. I assume Bishop Fellay is not speaking here of tradition as practice, since it seems obvious that he is a well educated man and would understand the ability of the Church to change Her own practices, but rather that Tradition which is unchanging and is inseparable from Sacred Scripture and the Magisterium. To say that the Church is not able to survive if she does not adhere strictly to her Tradition is, I suppose, true, but is the same as saying a man is unable to survive if he does not adhere strictly to his soul. The two are united indissolubly, so that whether he likes it or not his body must adhere to his soul. If Bishop Fellay would agree with that, then it seems he is tending toward truly denying an Ecumenical Council and its teachings as part of the Tradition of the Church.

  17. I am going to kill discussion of why the SSPX and the Womenpriest thing are similar (or not) in this entry and start a new entry for those questions.

  18. Antiquarian says:

    I am incresingly amused by the SSPX practice of publishing these “Q & A” interviews (Williamson uses them often) where the “questioner” does nothing but feed one of the bishops an excuse to repeat the party line.

  19. Steven says:

    Dear Friends,

    Two days ago World Youth Day ended. It was such an electrifying experience. The final mass was an excellent example of the richness of the liturgy of the Holy Catholic Church. Unfortunately, today we are quarrelling again about who is right and who is wrong. In the mean time, the enemies of the Holy Church are stronger than ever before. Just look at the coverage of the secular media of World Youth Day, or maybe better, the lack of coverage. This is an event bigger and far more important than the revival of the (pagan) “Olympic” games. And still, most media manage to ignore World Youth Day totally. But when your conscience is dead, you are killing hope. This is just what the secular media are doing: killing hope. Killing the future of the youth. Liberals and freemasons are in a coalition here. The devil is at work here. And we are quarreling.

    First, for a Catholic, the only point of reference are the teachings of the Holy Father. Why not call everybody, who recognizes the Pope as the successor of St. Peter and as the Pontifex Maximus, “Catholic”.

    Secondly, Bishop Fellay is right when he emphasizes the “old catechism”. Young Catholics hardly know what the faith is about. Speaking from an European (Belgian) perspective, young Catholics hardly know the basic prayers. In Belgian Catholic schools, teachers openly claim that “Jesus does not exist”. On the other hand, in Belgium, 70% of all pupils go to Catholic schools. Why not present them the “old catechism” instead of praising to the skys figures like Anna Frank, Martin Luther King or Ghandi. I think that the Catholic Church has enough Saints who lived excellent and fantastic lifes. Catholic Saints should be the role models of young Catholics.

    Thirdly, I think it would be wise to put an end to the quarreling about the Second Vatican Council. We should all accept the Council with both hands. We must however “translate” the Council to our own time. One of the main problems is indeed eucumenism. To put it simply, only the Pope has the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. If a non-Catholic would want to be saved, he just has to become Catholic. Another problem is islam. Islam is not an ally of the Church but its greatest enemy. Islam is the biggest (pseudo)-religion in the United Kingdom. More than 50% of the inhabitants of Brussels are muslim. In 2050 more than 50% of the population of France will be muslim. In 2250 the authochtonous (Catholic) population of Europe will be extinct (falling birth rates).

    Lastly, although I am not a member of the congregation of the Society of St. Pius X, I think that they deserve our respect. I have never known the Latin Mass, I am born after the introduction of the New Mass. But, was it really necessary to modernize Catholicism the way they did? I just want an answer “WHY”? Since the Motu Proprio I have been reading a lot about the Second Vatican Council and its aftermath. Archbishop Lefebvre was not some obscure bishop, but one of the most senior bishops of his time. He knew the popes personally and played an important role during the preparation of the Council. He had inside information, which we do not have. I believe that he was an honest and sincere person, who only wanted the best for the Catholic Church. In his writings he says that he hopes that his efforts will strengthen the Church and not weaken it. He himself did not know whether or not he was right. Right now, more than 30% of the new priest ordained in France belong to the Society of St. Pius X and their number is growing. In my diocese right now, there are no student-priest.

    As a Catholic I think that some modernisation of the Catholic Church in the sixties was really necessary, but not the tidal wave that we have experienced. The churches in Northwest Europe are empty! I am not saying that the Council is to blame. No, the problem is more complex than this. Times are changing. But, some young people who were at World Youth Day were asked why they were present. Some answered that although they did not go so mass (each) Sunday, they still believed in God and they still were Catholic. I think this is a hopeful sign. The Catholic Church still exists in Europe. Maybe it is more an underground Church or a Catacomb Church, but nevertheless…

    One final word. I believe that Pope Benedict is one of the most important people of the 20th Century and that he will be the most important historic figure of the 21st Century. He is probably the most intelligent and most brilliant person on earth right now. We can only have great respect for what he is trying to do. He is trying to save Catholic Faith and Western Civilisation. He is trying to build a barrier against modernism, materialism and relativism. He is right to do so. Modernism and materialism lead to an ideology of death (abortion, euthanasia, drugs, suicide etc etc). Europe and the USA are killing themselves and our smart politicians do not see it! Thank God that we still have the Divine and Holy Catholic Church! Thank God that we have a brave Pope!

    Steven, Belgium, Europe.

  20. paul says:

    well, I do like his selection of books to read. Just got a copy of the Immitation of Christ- great book every Catholic should know about.

  21. prof. basto says:

    “See the “parallel magisterium” at work? The magisterium of the sspx will tell us if there is a state of necessity! As well as which councils to believe, what teachings to accept… etc…”

    Exactly. Wether they realize it or not (and I think they do), the fact is that the SSPX in practice, in fact, does pretend to have a Magisterium superior to that of the Petrine See.

    And supposedly, they — the SSPX Superior Parallel Magisterium — will tell us what doctrines to hold and what doctrines not to hold.

    Thus they pass judgement over the teaching of the Roman Church all the time, since they are the ones who label the pronouncements issued by Pope and Curia either acts of “Modernist Rome” or of “Eternal Rome”, and depending on that “superior” judgement, the SSPX faithful are either to ignore or to receive doctrine and discipline from the Holy Apostolic See.

    So it is not only a parallel magisterium, but it also has a claim of superiority, since, for the SSPX, the Superior General, and not the Successor of St. Peter, has the final say.

    This is pure schism, and perhaps even heresy.

  22. Fr. Marie-Paul says:

    Bishop Fellay: “there is no such thing as a cause of the SSPX. There is the cause of the Church. There is the cause of Tradition.”

    More “superior Magisterium” mindset. The *real* Magisterium maintains the cause of Tradition – not the SSPX personal interpretation. The SSPX does not maintain the cause of the Church – the *real* Magisterium maintains the cause of the Church. The SSPX can participate if united to the Pope and Magisterium.

    Based on these words, it does seem that “almost nothing has changed” – Bishop Fellay’s words.

  23. Larry says:

    One of the things that disturbs me greatly about the SSPX is its’ seeming to assume a sort of superior magisterium over the Roman Pontiff. Where would such a notion exist? It certainly has no source in Scripture nor in the Fathers of the Church. Certainly, we all may form time to time feel that Rome is off the mark in some way. The critical fact is that Christ placed all the eggs in Peter’s basket. If I feel that Rome is making a mistake I can of course write to a dicastry and voice my feelings and beliefs with respect. But when they reply it I who must accept that Peter has spoken and if he does not agree with me then it is I who am wrong, not Rome. In the case of the SSPX they have voiced their arguments in less than a respectful tone and been censured for disobedience to Peter in the person of JPII the then reigning Successor of Peter. Peter in the person(s) of his successors has gone out of their way to correct any injustice regarding the TLM; but, Peter is not aobut to change the teaching of a Council by negatting it. It is for those whoi feel that the Council is wrong to examine in what way it was and is correct and how I as a schismatic bishop or follower thereof have erred in my personal judgement. As stated on another post it is PRIDE that has and continues to be the downfall not only of angels but of bishops as well.

  24. magister63 says:

    There is too much too discuss here in a short time, but I have to say, that having suffered so greatly at the hands of the modern Church for the sake of Tradition, a state of necessity indeed existed in 1988, if not today. Had it not been for the Society in the late 70s and beyond, I may have left the Church, finding the situation in my parish and high school, where I was in the late 70s, unbearable. The pope is not infallible in his every breath, and if it were up to him to declare a state of necessity, there would be none! I believe that the state of necessity has been proved by the fruits of Archbishop Lefebvre’s actions from the time of the Council to his death, and even to the present. Had he not stood firm, would we have had the indult? Had the Society not stood firm, would we have the Motu Proprio and the attempted doctrinal shift? It seems that many of the “traditional” Catholics are happy with pretty vestments and incense, but have no clue about the doctrinal crisis which is the real root of the very real crisis in the Church today. I find the worldiness of the “mainstream” clergy of today scandalous, and I am speaking of many of the priests who offer the Traditional Mass. I have never seen such holiness and detachment in the Novus Ordo clergy as I have experienced in the Society of St. Pius X. I spent nearly three years in the seminary with them, and I never ceased to marvel at the example of those priests and Religious.

  25. Aaron says:

    How does recognizing a state of necessity imply a “superior magesterium” over the Roman Pontiff? God gave even the lowliest of us reason!

    When I go to an “RCIA” director and she tells me that the Church’s teaching on contraception and abortion is “up to each person to decide,” THERE IS A STATE OF NECESSITY.
    When I see a parish priest insert his own words into the consecration which automatically invalidate it, THERE IS A STATE OF NECESSITY.
    When a parish priest tells his congregation that there will be no tabernacle in the church because “we are Christ,” THERE IS A STATE OF NECESSITY.

    The very nature idea of a “state of necessity” implies that there may well be a time when corruption, spiritual blindness, or outright apostasy may require disobedience. While undoubtedly the Vicar of Christ, the Pope may very well make HUMAN errors in judgment that cause harm to souls. No one is denying His Holiness’ office by saying his actions are imprudent.

    NOT EVERYTHING THE POPE SAYS OR DOES IS INFALLIBLE. We must prayerfully use our reason, guided by both the current Magisterium and the immemorial Tradition of the Church. We can’t simply obey and trust that grave offenses to Christ will be winked at because we were “just following orders.” That didn’t work at Nuremberg, and it sure as heck won’t work on the Last Day.

  26. Gerartd Wrabley says:

    Dear Fr. Zuhlsdorf:

    You have been strangely silent about the travesty of WYD, especially with reference to the abominations which occurred during the Stations of the Cross and the closing Mass(aboriginal dance). The “traditional” Pope was present and witnessed the entire fiasco. I’m sure you will rationalize his failure to stop these sacrileges.
    I would advise the Society of St. Pius X to be very cautious in dealing with the Vatican. They are not to be trusted.

  27. Gerartd: WYD is not really the topic here, but I will say that I paid closer attention to the addresses made by Pope Benedict than to the rest. I didn’t watch the Stations or the Closing Mass. I just dug out the sermons.

  28. Maureen says:

    Re: Aaron

    “When I go to an “RCIA” director and she tells me that the Church’s teaching on contraception and abortion is “up to each person to decide,” THERE IS A STATE OF NECESSITY.”

    When St. Bernadette’s catechism teacher nun told the whole class that Bernadette Soubirous was a big fat liar who shouldn’t be allowed to have her First Communion ever, clearly St. Bernadette should have started the SSPX in 1858.

    “When I see a parish priest insert his own words into the consecration which automatically invalidate it, THERE IS A STATE OF NECESSITY.”

    So every faithless medieval priest who inserted his own Latin mumbles had invalidated the entire Catholic Church at a stroke. Good to know.

    “When a parish priest tells his congregation that there will be no tabernacle in the church because “we are Christ,” THERE IS A STATE OF NECESSITY.”

    And lame dweeby sinful men obviously are more powerful than the gates of hell, since they can prevail against the Church even though the gates of hell can’t.

    Yes, it’s bad that people pull this kind of crud. It’s horrible that so many people do it in so many places. But this isn’t the first or the last time when the Church has been besieged by jerks within; and flirting with schism has never cured laxness or heresy.

  29. Daniel Canaris says:

    I think the main problem with SSPX is that they have such a negative view of the world. There is no hope in the words of their bishops. This goes against the grain of Christianity! We have to be optimistic people!

  30. Geoffrey says:

    I think this “state of necessity” never existed. Now I am not a canon lawyer, but I would think such a state would mean there are no way to receive sacraments. Valid sacraments can be found all over the world, as they were in 1988.

    I have to quickly address Gerartd Wrabley’ comments regarding WYD: I watched every event and wasn’t offended in any way. Yes, there were a few questionable items, but also much to be praised. Far more Gregorian Chant and Sacred Polyphony than I had ever expected. The Stations of the Cross was so moving, and I did not expect it to be. I could not take my eyes off the TV screen.

  31. Rose says:

    Bishop Fellay appears to be speaking from both sides of his mouth, as the expression goes. To me it is clearer than ever that the SSPX “we are loyal sons of the Pope” posture was and remains a clever strategy (ie not sincere) for the survival of the sect. The verbiage gives them cover and attracts traditionalists. I wonder what would happen if they were to have their cover blown and be declared in formal schism? I pray that there will be clarity soon on this matter. I think many people have been and are being led astray.

  32. Martin says:

    When Archbishop Lefebvre consecrated the four bishops against the instructions of the Pope, did not John Paul II declare that a schismatic act? I wish someone would make clear to me why a schismatic act does not equal an ouright schism. Was the Archbishop then the only one in schism or everyone who went along with him? I don’t believe JP2 was just throwing the word atound for the heck of it. It must have meant something!

  33. Larry says:

    “travesty” and “abominations”; strong words and perhaps a bit off the mark. “By their fruits you shall know them.” There have I believe been something like 23 or 25 WYD’s with anywhere from 250,000 participants to several million in the Phillipines. Out of htese have come the people who are revisiting Vat.II for it’s real meaning. Here are the young people who are now discovering the beauty and reverence of the EF. All the moaning and groaning by those who judge popes and the young people who follow them make me just a tad upset. To be sure there have been things that should not perhaps have happened at some of these encounters; but over all the fruits have been fantastic. While Gregorian holds pride of place it is not the only form of sacred music that is allowed nor should it be. As for dance, I recall David danced carefree before the LORD and a young woman who judged him went barren. Not a very good turn of events if you are trying to grow a Church. Let me know when you hold a TLM and expect even 10,000 to to attend. (Likely it will be at a WYD and you’ll gripe about that one too.

  34. Geoffrey says:

    Martin said: “…did not John Paul II declare that a schismatic act? I wish someone would make clear to me why a schismatic act does not equal an ouright schism.”

    Very good question! I have wondered that myself. I think it was the Apostolic Letter Ecclesia Dei that used the phrase. I could be wrong. I do know it specifically mentioned the excommunications.

  35. Ian says:

    I get the sense that many of those who are “disappointed” with the interview are so because of a false expectation. They would likely be pleased only if the interview amounted to Bishop Fellay saying, “We’ve been wrong for the last 20 years, and we’ll accept any agreement the Holy See proposes.”

    It simply is a lack of a realistic outlook.

    It is also un-real to paint a broad and rosy picture of the Church under Pope Benedict XVI. Certainly many small things he has done and not done are noteworthy and even praiseworthy. The “Benedictine Liturgy”, as some have called it, is more reverent, includes more traditional elements, especially vestiture. He has appointed a number of more orthodox people to high positions, but some appointments have caused re-takes. Clearly he has focused a great deal in his addresses on some of the problems with the modern world. Yet much of it is not a substantial change, and on the whim of the next pontiff could easily change again.

    Perhaps some will moan about his “negativity”, but it seems Bishop Fellay is making this point in saying that nothing has changes since 1988. In reality there has not be a serious substantive change, or major efforts to take this “hermeneutic of continuity” and apply it to the more difficult parts of Vatican II.

    That does not mean that the Pope is not trying to act prudently and try to creating a more lasting change, but the effects have not produced anything that is certain to be lasting.

    I also fail to understand why a few of those who have commented have felt the need to be certain to identify this as “Bishop Fellay’s Opinion”. Indeed. It is his opinion. He was asked for his opinion. I don’t get the sense that anyone is under the delusion that somehow Bishop Fellay is authoring some pseudo-magisterial doctrine here.

    Along those lines, I fail, also, to understand how the SSPX (properly some of its members) are creating a “superior Magisterium”. While we may wonder, as Father does here whether there is not some “SSPX cause” for which the Bishop is fighting, the Magisterium is a continuous stream throughout history. When something seems to disagree with that stream and comes from those who are vested with the power and duty to protect this teaching authority and continuous stream of doctrine, the faithful are justified in scratching their heads and wondering and acting to try to protect the orthodoxy of the Faith with due prudence.

    Finally, I fail to see why the arguments must always devolve on the part of those in support of the SSPX to “but look how bad this was”. Those arguments simply never produce lasting fruit. If the “abominations” were as clear as it seems they are to some, there would be no need to discuss. If they are not clear, identifying them is very unlikely to convince anyone that they are actually abominations. Hence, the characterization appears false and an over-zealous reach. The real difficulties are not “World Youth Day”, but the lack of substantive changes or efforts to reconcile traditionally-understood doctrine with the language of Vatican II and modern ecclesiastical praxis.

    Hope for solutions is good, but we also must be realistic about what happens. As nice as a more traditional set of vestments is (and I do like vestments), its a laudable re-turn toward tradition, but nothing more. We cannot let “hope” make us put on some fogged-up rosy glasses and pretend that everything is fine because of one nod toward our more ancient heritage.

  36. Anthony English says:

    I have half admiration for Bishop Fellay\’s statement that his years in seminary near Rome were
    \”so close to the heart of the Church\” (presumably because of the seat of authority), and then \”to be able to visit all these beautiful monuments of Catholicism and of Catholicity.\” I hope he means it was not only the monuments and history which made him close to the heart of the Church.

    I\’m also a little puzzled that the Catechism – any catechism – should be ahead of the Gospels. I don\’t mean to put an opposition between them, but I find it odd to see him say that the catechism comes first.

    I wonder why he also referred to potential \”Ecclesia Dei\” bishops as bi-ritual. Is this an explicit rejection of the motu proprio\’s explanation that the two forms (ordinary and extraordinary) are of the same rite?

    Anthony English

  37. Ron says:

    Steve said:

    “Lastly, although I am not a member of the congregation of the Society of St. Pius X, I think that they deserve our respect. I have never known the Latin Mass, I am born after the introduction of the New Mass. But, was it really necessary to modernize Catholicism the way they did? I just want an answer “WHY”? Since the Motu Proprio I have been reading a lot about the Second Vatican Council and its aftermath. Archbishop Lefebvre was not some obscure bishop, but one of the most senior bishops of his time. He knew the popes personally and played an important role during the preparation of the Council. He had inside information, which we do not have. I believe that he was an honest and sincere person, who only wanted the best for the Catholic Church. In his writings he says that he hopes that his efforts will strengthen the Church and not weaken it. He himself did not know whether or not he was right. Right now, more than 30% of the new priest ordained in France belong to the Society of St. Pius X and their number is growing. In my diocese right now, there are no student-priest.”

    I read this comment with tears in my eyes, especially when you asked “WHY?” I too was born after the Vatican II Council and never knew the traditional liturgy until a year or so ago. I ask “Why” too. Why do I have to seem like the outcast, trying to believe in the unity of the Church while opinions are widespread that blatantly go against the Tradition…why those who hold to the traditional Faith are the outcasts. I ask why it is so very, very rare to find one good orthodox priest and why the Holy Mass had to be changed, why the Vatican II Council had to “open the doors of the Church to the world.” I don’t know why but I agree with you, Archbishop Lefebvre was not malicious and he was not ignorant. He knew what he was doing and I firmly, firmly believe he did it out of love for God and for souls, seeing a grave necessity in the state of the Church. They were being told that they couldn’t offer the traditional liturgy, that there would just be allowances for old priests and certain situations like that. They saw a new Mass with so many deficiencies. I think so many of us are struggling with this “new” concept of the church when all we really want is the truth, the whole faith, no more compromise and no more political alliances and bishops conferences. We want Jesus and to be helped toward Him. We want to glorify God by not compromising in the least in the Faith or in our worship. I for one find it all find it all very difficult and wonder why…

    Pax Christi tecum.

  38. Ron says:

    Anthony:

    “I’m also a little puzzled that the Catechism – any catechism – should be ahead of the Gospels. I don’t mean to put an opposition between them, but I find it odd to see him say that the catechism comes first.”

    Yes. I found that surprising too! I’m sure, though, he wasn’t saying it is of more importance. He probably said it that way and being focused on the Church’s current situation spoke of catechisms first since the modern ones are so poor.

    “I wonder why he also referred to potential “Ecclesia Dei” bishops as bi-ritual. Is this an explicit rejection of the motu proprio’s explanation that the two forms (ordinary and extraordinary) are of the same rite?”

    Maybe the issue here is the very idea of the legitimacy and necessity of the ordinary form. I think they want the new Mass to go away (actually, as do I) so maybe that is part of it? I think when we think of some sort of cross-pollination, it usually it is the traditional rite helping the modern. I can’t necessarily see how the new Mass can help the traditional.

    Pax Christi tecum.

  39. Ron says:

    Honestly, does anyone else find these situations were seemingly orthodox catholics seem willing and able to question anything? Where they seem obliged to love the modern world and live like the world? I mean, there’s this whole concept that now we’re all friends with the world but what does light (what we’re to be) have to do with darkness (the world)? We’re to come out from her so we don’t share in her punishments.

    I’m a strong Thomist and it seems like you’re shot down right from the start even once you go back to St. Thomas. People criticism his work like it isn’t any different than any other source. And very few people want to read encyclicals and things of Popes before John Paul II, except those who are more traditional in nature.

    This all seems like “modern orthodoxy” and it seems to me more worldly than anything. Maybe I’m just the confused one but honestly I find my situation in the church today so confusing. Maybe it’s just me…

    Pax Christi tecum.

  40. rick says:

    …the Angelus interview presents more of SSPX vain jangling!….it comes down to one point:
    OBEDIENCE ! OBEDIENCE ! OBEDIENCE! to the Supreme Pontiff and the
    Magisterium of the Church.

  41. Woody Jones says:

    Father,

    In my quick scan I was struck by your comment (which of course one has heard before in the same vein or in the variation about the sea receding from one shore and filling up another) that no one said the Church had to be large. This raises more questions than I can articulate at the moment, but for one, why is it that if the Faith is the good news that all men’s hearts yearn for, that it is rejected in so many places–I think especially of Asia where I was earlier this year. Of course the answer will be: original sin, but if so, then why are men still held (per Romans) to the standards of the law written in their hearts, as to which their intellects and wills also would be clouded over by the effects of original sin.

    And again: why do missionary work at all if, as the conciliar folks seem to suggest, the unconverted are not likely going to Hell anyway. Benedict seems to be saying: “because Christ told us to…” OK, but why did he tell us to do so, then, if it seems to be so little required for salvation, according to the conciliar types?

    As I recall, on the other hand, what was thought in 19th Century France, it was that sould were at serious risk in the mission lands, and thus charity mandated the missionaries to go there. Thus the words of the famous Hymn of Departure of the Foreign Missions Seminary. Archbishop Lefebvre said somewhat the same thing when he stated, again as I recall it, that while the invincibly ignorant might be saved, in practice in heathen lands like Africa, where he had worked, they all practice things like blood feuds and hatred, that will condemn them, thus the need to preach the Gospel to them.

    And then again, if the Church shrinks in size or fervor, can that be a sign of divine judgment (like the arguments used by the Uniates against the Orthodox back in days gone by: saying that the fall of the City [Constantinople] was the divine sign of displeasure at their schism; of course the Orthodox replied that no, it was because of their infidelity in agreeing to the Union)? After all, the Bible is full of cases of collective punishment meted out against Israel, the Canaanites and others, not to mention more modern versions in international criminal law; see John Laughland’s new book, “Political Trials: From Charles I to Saddam Hussein”.

    Just asking.

  42. dcs says:

    What exactly does Bp. Fellay mean by “tradition”?

    He means the SSPX.

  43. Angelo says:

    The Society’s concept of Tradition is not arbitrary. It holds that the notion of Tradition is the simple transmission of the Deposit of the Faith from one generation to the next. The Society is absolutely correct in asserting the need to examine the doctrinal and canonical reasons behind Archbishop Lefebvre’s “Operation Survival” to see how much it really was conformed to the mind of the Church.

    It seems that since Vatican II, a Catholic is constanly compelled, by necessity, to have to chose between Truth & “obedience,” or in other words, between being a heretic or a schismatic. Thus, he has to choose between St Pius X’s encyclical PASCENDI which condemns modernism as “a collection of all heresies” and the present openly modernist ecclesiaical orientation which, through the voice of the Holy See, never ceases to laud modernism and modernists & to disparage St Pius X.

    He, (a Catholic), has to choose between the already defined invalidity of Anglican ordinations and the present-day ecclesiastical orientation in pursuance of which, in 1982, a Roman Pontiff, for the first time, took part in an Anglian rite in the Canterbury Cathedral & jointly blessed the crowd with the lay primate of this heretical & schismatic sect, a primate who in his welcoming speech, arrogated to himself, & without being contradicted, the title of Successor of St. Augustine.

    He has to choose between the Catholic dogma “outside the Church there is no salvation” & the present ecclesiastical orientation which see in non-Christian religions “channels to God” & declares that even polytheist religions “are also venerable”.

    He has to choose between the immemorial teaching of the Church according to which heetics and/or schismatics are “outside the Church” and the present ecclesiastical orientation whereby between the “various Christian denominations” exists only a difference “in depth” & fullness of communion” & for which consequently the different heretical and/or schismatical sects must be “respected” as churches & ecclesiastical communities.”

    Let us stop there as it would be materially impossible to enumerate all the choices that have been imposed & are still being imposed all the time on Catholics.

    Romano Amerio has made an weighty list in his book IOTA UNUM: A STUDY OF THE CHANGES IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN THE 20TH CENTURY.

    When the Roman authorities actually start addressing the dogmatic issues & start correcting the errors of Vatican II, then they will begin to recognize traditional Catholics as they are along with the value of their position. In the meantime, obsessed with the need to defend Vatican II & to pursue its drive towards agnostic ecumenism, they are cut off from the truth.

    (IS TRADITION EXCOMMUNICATED? WHERE IS CATHOLICISM TODAYA Collection of Independent Studies,The Angelus Press).

    Thank you for posting.

  44. RBrown says:

    I’m a strong Thomist and it seems like you’re shot down right from the start even once you go back to St. Thomas. People criticism his work like it isn’t any different than any other source. And very few people want to read encyclicals and things of Popes before John Paul II, except those who are more traditional in nature.
    Pax Christi tecum.
    Comment by Ron

    In my experience the best Thomists use his arguments but not necessarily his name.

  45. Ron says:

    Woody,

    Very good questions. First, I think a small church isn’t a big issue since Jesus Himself said the way is narrow and few find it. It’d be better to have a smaller, purer and more faithful Church than a big one full of unfaithfulness. I think that is our Holy Father’s point.

    Second, your appraisal of missionary work is right on. Why did people risk their lives to preach the Gospel? Because in charity they needed to tell people about Christ because their souls were in danger. If they could be saved good enough just as they were, why die for that? But in charity they saw that their souls would be lost without the Gospel so they want. The counciliar types, as you say, are killing missionary zeal because of this outlook that everyone is of good will, everyone is trying to be good and somehow most everyone is invincibly ignorant so most everyone will find their way to heaven – no matter if Holy Baptism or explicit faith or anything is lacking.

    Pax Christi tecum.

  46. Pertinax says:

    Angelo raises some good points. For a simple understanding of the true nature of the “spiritof Vatican II” read the history of the treatment of the schema on the Blessed Virgin Mary and how troublesome she was. That “spirit” is now writhing in its death throws.

  47. Calleva says:

    Some very good points made here.

    I know I shouldn’t say it, but if Fr Z has the transcript of all three interviews, I’d be really interested to read the one with Bp Williamson…

  48. I am not Spartacus says:

    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.

    Fair enough: Here is the Catechism of Pope St. Pius XTH;

    30 Q: Suppose that a man is a member of the Catholic Church, but does not put her teaching into practice, will he be saved?

    A: He who is a member of the Catholic Church and does not put her teaching into practice is a dead member, and hence will not be saved; for towards the salvation of an adult not only Baptism and faith are required, but, furthermore, works in keeping with faith.

    31 Q: Are we obliged to believe all the truths the Church teaches us?

    A: Yes, we are obliged to believe all the truths the Church teaches us, and Jesus Christ declares that he who does not believe is already condemned.

    32 Q: Are we also obliged to do all that the Church commands?

    A: Yes, we are obliged to do all that the Church commands, for Jesus Christ has said to the Pastors of the Church: “He who hears you, hears Me, and he who despises you, despises Me.”

    33 Q: Can the Church err in what she proposes for our belief?

    A: No, the Church cannot err in what she proposes for our belief, since according to the promise of Jesus Christ she is unfailingly assisted by the Holy Ghost.

    35 Q: Can the Catholic Church be destroyed or perish?

    A: No; the Catholic Church may be persecuted, but she can never be destroyed or perish. She will last till the end of the world, because Jesus Christ, as He promised, will be with her till the end of time.

    7 Q: Besides her teaching power has the Church any other power?

    A: Yes, besides her teaching power the Church has in particular the power of administering sacred things, of making laws and of exacting the observance of them.

    53 Q: Why is the Roman Pontiff the Visible Head of the Church?

    A: The Roman Pontiff is the Visible Head of the Church because he visibly governs her with the authority of Jesus Christ Himself, who is her invisible Head.

    54 Q: What, then, is the dignity of the Pope?

    A: The dignity of the Pope is the greatest of all dignities on earth, and gives him supreme and immediate power over all and each of the Pastors and of the faithful

    11 Q: Who are they who are outside the true Church?

    A: Outside the true Church are: Infidels, Jews, heretics, apostates, schismatics, and the excommunicated.

    6 Q: Who are schismatics?

    A: Schismatics are those Christians who, while not explicitly denying any dogma, yet voluntarily separate themselves from the Church of Jesus Christ, that is, from their lawful pastors.

    17 Q: Who are the excommunicated?

    A: The excommunicated are those who, because of grievous transgressions, are struck with excommunication by the Pope or their Bishop, and consequently are cut off as unworthy from the body of the Church, which, however, hopes for and desires their conversion.

    18 Q: Should excommunication be dreaded?

    A: Excommunication should be greatly dreaded, because it is the severest and most terrible punishment the Church can inflict upon her rebellious and obstinate children.

    19 Q: Of what goods are the excommunicated deprived?

    A: The excommunicated are deprived of public prayers, of the Sacraments, of indulgences, and of Christian burial.

    ++++++++++++++++ end of quotes +++++++++++++++++++

    Nope. Fr. Fellay must be talking about some other Catechism

  49. Patrick says:

    When the subject of the SSPX comes up I do a few things. Pray that the disobedience and schism end. Pray that the blindness and pride that binds them to their errors is lifted by the Light of the Holy Spirit, and lastly, think about Donatists.

    It does not take much tweaking to see the similarities between the positions and philosophy of Econe and the Donatists. Granted, there are differences, but there are striking similarities.

    Finally, I am reminded of the title of Madrid and Vere’s book on the SSPX, “Holier than the Pope”.

    I think that says it all.

    Rgds

    Patrick

  50. “…like the arguments used by the Uniates against the Orthodox back in days gone by: saying that the fall of the City [Constantinople] was the divine sign of displeasure at their schism; of course the Orthodox replied that no, it was because of their infidelity in
    agreeing to the Union”

    Well, it should be noted that, when Constantinople fell on May 29, 1453, a
    Greek Catholic was Patriarch of Constantinople, a Catholic was Emperor (Constantine
    XI), and the last Divine Liturgy in Hagia Sophia was celebrated by a Catholic.

  51. KOM says:

    *I read this comment with tears in my eyes, especially when you asked “WHY?” I too was born after the Vatican II Council and never knew the traditional liturgy until a year or so ago. I ask “Why” too. Why do I have to seem like the outcast, trying to believe in the unity of the Church while opinions are widespread that blatantly go against the Tradition…why those who hold to the traditional Faith are the outcasts. I ask why it is so very, very rare to find one good orthodox priest and why the Holy Mass had to be changed, why the Vatican II Council had to “open the doors of the Church to the world.” I don’t know why but I agree with you, Archbishop Lefebvre was not malicious and he was not ignorant. He knew what he was doing and I firmly, firmly believe he did it out of love for God and for souls, seeing a grave necessity in the state of the Church. They were being told that they couldn’t offer the traditional liturgy, that there would just be allowances for old priests and certain situations like that. They saw a new Mass with so many deficiencies. I think so many of us are struggling with this “new” concept of the church when all we really want is the truth, the whole faith, no more compromise and no more political alliances and bishops conferences. We want Jesus and to be helped toward Him. We want to glorify God by not compromising in the least in the Faith or in our worship. I for one find it all find it all very difficult and wonder why…*

    Nice comment. Indeed, the question must be asked: What good did VII gain for the Church? Before VII, vocations were blossoming and 70% of Catholics went to church. Now 30% go to church, of which 90% contracept, and only 30% of those 30% believe in the Real Presence. The Church is a wreck: a “Devestated Vinyard.”

    It’s time to regularize SSPX yesterday, and allow them to exist as they do, without subscribing to the tenents of VII, which didn’t teaching binding dogma.

  52. KOM says:

    *new* binding dogma, that is; it did reaffirm some dogma when it wasn’t busy praising the Buddhists.

  53. Clare says:

    “And who gets to decide that a “state of necessity” exists? What if the Vicar of Christ says it does not exist?”

    Isn’t that part of the crisis? The Pope’s denial of it? Or at least his denial of the root of it.

  54. Steve says:

    Fr. Zuhlsdorf-

    One of your comments from above asks if Pope Benedict XVI understands the Second Vatican Council better than Bp. Fellay.

    I’ve seen photos of the current pope during the time of the council (or shortly thereafter) in which he was wearing a suit and tie rather than clerical garb. That would suggest to me that the current pope was ‘off the reservation’ for a time. Perhaps his understanding of the Council (and his vocation for that matter) was a bit skewed at that point.

    Not looking for a fight but just making an observation.

    Anytime I see or hear of priests who don’t wear their collar all the time and refer to themselves as Fr. Bob, Dave, Ken etc., as opposed to Fr. Smith, Jones or Johnson, I don’t take them seriously

  55. Baron Korf says:

    I can understand the hurt and confusion that came after the the second Vatican Council, but I think it’s time to get over it. I have no idea what he and the other bishops are hoping to accomplish. Rather than try to regularize themselves, they remain on the fringe. They could do so much good when they are recognized as a full and proper part of the Catholic Church. Instead they do harm to Her by staying on the fringes and being a excuse used by liberals to dismiss conservatives.

    e.g.
    Parishoner A: “Hey, we should incorporate _____ in the mass again.” (latin, ad orientum, incense, mantillas, etc)
    Parishoner B: “No one does that since VC2, except those super-traditionalists that broke away.”
    Parishoner A: “But _____ …” (the pope wrote, the documents say, the rubrics, etc)
    Parishoner B: “You are just as bad as they are.”
    Parishoner A leaves to pray, Parishoner B leaves for yoga.

    It’s a little tongue in cheek, but I did that intentionally. But, it’s not too far from my experience, and many of yours as well, I’m sure. The best thing we can do in that case is stay and try to be an anchor in these tempestuous times. That’s what the SSPX could be for us if they came back. The recent offer had nothing that I could see that was in conflicts with their stated principles. Yet it was rejected. I read their response, I read things like this and I have to wonder. What do they want, specifically?

  56. JM says:

    I’ve seen photos of the current pope during the time of the council (or shortly thereafter) in which he was wearing a suit and tie rather than clerical garb.”

    This is irrelevant. Do I think its best if a priest wears “clerical garb.” Yes. But does it really make a matter. No. To say that the pope was ‘off the reservation’ is just plan silly if not insulting.

    “Anytime I see or hear of priests who don’t wear their collar all the time and refer to themselves as Fr. Bob, Dave, Ken etc., as opposed to Fr. Smith, Jones or Johnson, I don’t take them seriously”

    You must not take any priests seriously if this is all it takes for you not to take an ordained man seriously. A priest is a priest regardless of what he wears or how he prefers to be addressed. By the way, in the Eastern Catholic/Orthodox world, it is considered improper (even insulting) to call a priest/bishop by his last name, i.e. Fr. Smith. Fr. Bob or Dave is proper. How we address each other are man made customs, not absolutes.

  57. Antiquarian says:

    Not so germane to Fellay’s interview, but since a poster complained about “abominations and travesties” at WYD, I hope I’m not too off-topic.

    One of the favorite radical traditionalist shibboleths is that they will prevail because their chapels/Masses are filled with young people, and young people are leaving what they call the “Novus Ordo church” in droves. But then along comes each WYD with hundreds of thousands of youthful pilgrims giving that the lie, and they immediately go into fits of apoplexy about how horrible it all is. Preconceived notions don’t like being challenged, do they?

  58. Andy says:

    World Youth Day is indeed a miracle.

    But those young people do not go to church (regularly). I know some teenagers of my parish, who went to World Youth Day, but you never see them in church. The young people are not leaving the “Novus Ordo Church”. They have already left. When I go the church (in The Netherlands), I am always the youngest “boy” in church. I am already 37 years old. The youngest girl is the altar boy. Since the introduction of female altarboys, the male boys are even less motivated to become altar boys.

    The masses of the “Traditionalists” are not “filled” with young people either. When you are lucky, then there are “some” teenagers present.

    Is it so difficult to imagine how deep the faith crisis in Northwest Europe goes?

    I have often hoped that more young people would come to church. But, I do not believe that that is the solution. It is good that those young people do NOT come church, then they do not have to witness how our old (novus ordo) parish priest makes a mess of the mass, how he parapfrases the gospel readings and how he inserts his own words into the consecration which automatically invalidates it.

    It is a scandal to see how these modernists priests have turned everything upside down. My parents do not even recognize the mass as a Catholic mass.

    The young people who go to World Youth Day are still religious, just because to do NOT go to church.

  59. Steve says:

    JM-

    Is it really irrelevant that the current pope is picture wearing a suit and tie?

    To me, that displays a definite lack of understanding of his priestly vocation. Any cleric who is ashamed of his vocation by choosing to wear lay clothing should be honest with himself and those he’s supposed to lead in their spirtual conversion and agree to be laicized. From what I’ve read, Pope Benedict XVI had some type of epiphany in the late 1960′s which began his conversion to a more orthodox view of Catholicism.

    My experience with priests who want to be addressed by their first name is that they are typically of the touchy-feely-girly men type . And yes, I don’t take seriously those priests who would rather be my friend than my spiritual director.

    There are many people I don’t take seriously regardless if they’re ordained or not.

  60. Woody Jones says:

    Here are some of the money quotes from the parallel interview with Bishop Tissier de Mallerais, who I had, up to now, thought to be one of the moderates:

    “What do you foresee as the greatest challenges facing the Society and the faithful in the next few years?

    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.

    What do you think would be Archbishop Lefebvre’s assessment of the crisis as things stand in 2008?

    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! It is so serious that I cannot express my horror. I keep silent. So Archbishop Lefebvre would shout: “You heretics, you pervert the Faith!”

    What counsel would you give to parents rearing Catholic children in today’s world?

    Not only have children and many children, but rear them, educate them! Do not simply nourish them, do not simply feed them!

    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.

    What advice would you offer to young men and women contemplating the religious life?

    Do not “contemplate” it, do not even “try” it, but enter into it with decision and persevere in it! O God, poor wills!

    Which books do you think are most essential for the faithful in these days?

    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.

    What do you foresee in the next 20 years?

    In Europe, Islamic republics in France, Britain, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.

    In the United States of America, bankruptcy and social war.

    In Rome, the apostasy organized with the Jewish religion.

    In us, heroism, Christian heroism.

    In the Society, the consecration of new bishops, if it seems necessary. I am getting old.

    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.”

    In earlier part of the interview he says, speaking about the reconciliations of many with Rome, and the need to continue the fight (evidently as they are): “People that were tired by the long, long combat for the 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!”

    So to summarize: no reconciliation for 30 more years, probably new bishops to be consecrated, and awaiting for Petrus Romanus.

    At least he can, unwittingly, quote the title of the USC fight song: “Fight on!”

  61. Jason Keener says:

    Bishop Fellay stated, “The Church cannot survive if she does not adhere strictly to her Tradition.” Unfortunately, this is again the old error of “integralism.” Bishop Fellay would rather hold fast to what he views as the Integral Faith instead of holding fast to the living Magisterium of the Church.

    We probably all agree that much in the post Vatican II era has been a disaster due in large part to the hermeneutic of rupture, but Bishop Fellay has to realize there has to be some room for the Church to incorporate new ways of thinking into Her life. The SSPX seems to believe that the Catholic Faith and Traditional Mass were delivered to the Church directly by Christ in their exact 1950′s form and expression.

    In any event, these newer ways of thinking can be hard to understand and accept at first. Look at how difficult it was for the Church of the Middle Ages to accept Thomas Aquinas because of his emphasis on the pagan Aristotle. The SSPX and others in the Catholic Church now rightly hail Aquinas as the Common, Angelic, and Greatest Doctor of the Church!

    When read in the light of Sacred Tradition (and this is an absolute must), Vatican II might not be as horrible as some think. The “hermeneutic of rupture” is bad. “Integralism” isn’t any better.

  62. Valentino says:

    Hostile, the addition of the words “excommunicated bishops” They are probably amongst the few that hold to what has been transmitted from the Days of St.Peter.Sad days for our Church that so many priests don’t know the True Faith!

  63. James says:

    “So every faithless medieval priest who inserted his own Latin mumbles had invalidated the entire Catholic Church at a stroke.”

    Maureen,

    What the hell are you going on about, unless you’re talking about priests like Jan Hus or John Wycliffe?

    I hope you’re not inferring that the average mediaeval priest was faithless.

    Then again, if you suffer from Jansenism, or are head over heels in love with the counter-reformation, or baroque or 1950′s-style Catholicism, you might be, I suppose.

  64. Antiquarian says:

    “The young people who go to World Youth Day are still religious, just because to do NOT go to church.”

    Balderdash. As painful as it is for those who hate the Novus Ordo, there are plenty of places in the world where young people are eagerly and reverently embracing their faith. In my parish there is a large number of young people who worked hard to raise money to get to Australia, and there’s nothing unusual about that. They developed the fervor I see every Sunday while attending Mass in the OF.