VIDEO: CNS interview with SSPX Bp. Fellay

A few days ago I posted about the interview by Catholic News Service with SSPX Bp. Bernard Fellay. The video is posted.

Benedict XVI is the Pope of Christian Unity!

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38 Responses to VIDEO: CNS interview with SSPX Bp. Fellay

  1. Melchior Cano says:

    Thanks be to God for Bishop Fellay. What an example of a balanced, truly Catholic approach to difficult questions. Let’s now redouble our prayers!

  2. Guillaume says:

    “If reconciliation happens, it is thanks to him, and to him alone…” : Benedict XVI is definitely the Pope of Christian Unity.
    Laudetur Iesus Christus!

  3. I’m going to say this right now, and if I’m not mistaken for the first time: I like Bishop Fellay. I think he’s a good, honest man. I think he’s a man of integrity, and I think his one and only goal is to do the work of the Church.

  4. mwk3 says:

    Note carefully what he has to say about religious freedom; very interesting.

  5. anilwang says:

    mwk3, I noticed that too.

    I hope that Bp Fellay eventually goes through the Vatican II documents and annotates them with his “hermeneutic of continuity” comments. This would be extremely helpful in correcting the abuses of Vatican II and might inspire a papal encyclical in a similar vein. As the saying goes, “Only Nixon could go to China” (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nixon_goes_to_China ).

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

    [Yes. That's the image I have had in the back of my mind for a long while now. Well done.]

  6. Fr_Sotelo says:

    anilwang:

    Although such annotations might be of benefit for those people who have become suspicious of the Vatican II teaching, and need that emotional and mental assurance of an author they can trust, the documents have been commented and expounded upon by theologians and bishops of far superior intellect and with greater profundity.

    The problem isn’t that there aren’t good commentaries already published and out there. The problem is that laity, even clergy, who do not like Vatican II, have been loathe to adequately study the documents. They have also been adverse to studying the commentaries of very orthodox and capable theologians. Bishop Fellay actually touched on this when he admitted in the interview that much of what is rejected or disliked about Vatican II is not actually part of Vatican II but what people think the council said.

  7. Marc says:

    My feelings on Bishop Fellay have evolved from disdain, to respect, to admiration. He is a man who really seems like a bishop. May the Lord’s Blessing fall upon him in abundance.

    @anilwang: “Only Nixon could go to China”– well put!!!

  8. jlmorrell says:

    Bishop Fellay did not say that Dignitatis Humanae was consistent with the perenniel teaching on the Church regarding religious liberty. He simply said that it is more narrow than some people think and then went on to explain very briefly some of the proper principles. Namely, that there is no right to profess error, but that errors may be tolerated (key word – tolerate) if seeking their suppresion would be more harmful.

    Futhermore, a reading of the universal Catechism of the Catholic Church does not uphold the traditional teaching which is deeply problematic. After, please God may it happen, a regularization, do not expect the SSPX to waiver on this issue. Rather, expect a more open hearing from many more Catholics regarding these traditional teachings that are difficult to reconcile with VII.

  9. Mercer says:

    I have two points to make on two different topics.

    1. Jlmorrell, it’s wrong to say that the Catechism of the Catholic Church doesn’t uphold the “traditional” teaching on religious liberty. Let me quote from it on that very topic:

    2108 The right to religious liberty is neither a moral license to adhere to error, nor a supposed right to error, ( 37 Cf. Leo XIII, Libertas praestantissimum 18; Pius XII AAS 1953,799) but rather a natural right of the human person to civil liberty, i.e., immunity, within just limits, from external constraint in religious matters by political authorities. This natural right ought to be acknowledged in the juridical order of society in such a way that it constitutes a civil right (Pius XII, 6 December 1953).

    2109 The right to religious liberty can of itself be neither unlimited nor limited only by a “public order” conceived in a positivist or naturalist manner (Cf. Pius VI, Quod aliquantum (1791) 10; Pius IX, Quanta cura 3). The “due limits” which are inherent in it must be determined for each social situation by political prudence, according to the requirements of the common good, and ratified by the civil authority in accordance with “legal principles which are in conformity with the objective moral order.” (cf Pío IX, enc. “Quanta cura”).

    In a nutshell, it’s not about a moral freedom to choose a religion; it’s about a political freedom so Communist states don’t impose “anti-God” teachings. I don’t know how old you are or if you’re a student of history, but at any rate, do you remember the time period when Dignitatis Humanae came out? Russia was under Communist rule, as well as Catholic countries such as Poland and Lithuania. During that time, there were also millions of Christians in Ukraine, Vietnam, Cuba, Slovenia, etc. who were were under Communist rule. So really, it’s not hard to reconcile. Quas Primas or Quanta Cura were against the Freemasonry, indifferentist state, whereas Dignitatis Humanae was gainst Communist slavery that forced their people to live without God.

    2. As for the other topic I wanted to bring up, I wanted to comment that I haven’t really heard discussed the subject of those SSPX priests and the laity who attend their chapels who want to see the SSPX reconciled and are essentially behind Bishop Fellay yet who at the same time are convinced that Vatican II’s teachings (or at least some of them) can’t be squared with tradition and must be rejected. If, when regularizing the SSPX, the Holy Father makes it clear that Vatican II doesn’t contradict Church teaching, then will these individuals submit to his judgment? Or will they shift their allegiance to the bishops who break off? Or will they follow the SSPX back into the Church while at the same time believing the Church erred and, in effect, being “cafeteria Catholics” (sort of like how “Catholics” who believe in contraception, women priests, etc. still call themselves Catholic and delude themselves into thinking the Church will someday change her teachings)?

  10. Jason Keener says:

    I was very impressed with Bishop Fellay’s attitude in this video. Kudos to him!

    jlmorrell,
    What part of the traditional teaching on religious liberty does the Catechism not uphold?

  11. AnAmericanMother says:

    An open, honest-looking face – thoughtful – carefully expressing himself in what is not his native tongue – nice smile – a little self-deprecating.

    If he were in the jury panel I’d keep him.

  12. AnAmericanMother says:

    And prayers, of course, continue . . . but I am encouraged by this. Very encouraged.

  13. Mississippi R.C. says:

    @anilwang: brilliant! I have never heard of that expression.
    Great commentary and agree that Bp. Fellay is very persuasive and sincere. I am praying PBXVI and Bp. Fellay can make this reality.

  14. BaedaBenedictus says:

    If anyone can’t get enough Fellay, here’s an interview he gave to Fr. Thomas Rosica for Salt and Light TV in 2009:

    http://saltandlighttv.org/prog_slprog_witness_popup_0906_fellay.html

  15. Mike says:

    The wake of Vatican II has left a lot of garbage theology that is not consistent with the actual documents. However, the somewhat overly optimistic tone and ambiguous wording of some of the documents didn’t help stem the gusher of nonsense that flowed secular culture from the late 60s onwards, even to our own day.

    Still, I can see, even amid the sentimental, totally non-chant, vernacular, soft-rock music in my parish that things are improving. Slowly, but surely.

    Still praying for the SSPX!

  16. jmgazzoli says:

    There is an old Vulcan proverb: only Nixon could go to China.

  17. Elizabeth D says:

    Not only does Bp Fellay come across really well, they made him look great with a really beautiful video. Way to go, all around.

  18. Traductora says:

    The video is excellent. I have always liked Bp. Fellay’s statements, but this is the first time I have heard him speak. I was surprised by his excellent English…that is, he’s thinking and expressing himself in English, so that means it’s a very important language to him. I can do the same in Spanish (my native language is English), and while I have an accent, as does Bp. Fellay, I am simply saying my thoughts without having to “translate” them, and I think this was what Bp. Fellay was doing. I don’t know why that impressed me, but it did.

    In any case, I feel as if we are all holding our collective breaths. I do so hope that this goes well.

  19. jlmorrell says:

    Mercer and Jason Keener,

    Thank you for your response. I don’t have all my sources in front of me now, but for our purposes we can simply stick with the universal catechism issued by JPII.

    First, it would be helpful for us to read, as you probably have, the section regarding “The social duty of religion and the right to religious freedom” – paragraphs 2104 thru 2109. I would argue that, at best, the section is ambiguous and that an argument can be made that it does not uphold the previous teaching.

    As Mercer quoted above, paragraph 2108 seems to be on the right track with “the right to religious liberty is neither a moral license to adhere to error; nor a supposed right to error, but rather a natural right of the human person to civil liberty”.

    However, in the previous paragraph it explicitly states (by quoting Dignitatis Humanae) that “If because of the circumstances of a particular people special civil recognition is given to one religious community in the constitutional organization of a state, the right of all citizens and religious communities to religious freedom must be recognized and respected as well.”

    The main deviation concerns the reference to the “rights of religious communities” as opposed to the toleration of these communities for the purpose of maintaining order and preventing more harm than good.

    The historical context shows that this false concept of the “rights” of false religions was put into affect by the Church forthwith. If I’m not mistaken, Spain subsequently changed its laws to be in accord with the conciliar teaching. This even though as recently as the 50′s its Concordat with the Holy See was seen as ideal by Pius XII. This concordat, among other things, confirmed the Catholic religion as that of the State and even prevented non-Catholics from rising to certain levels of government.

    Additionally, we see today the U.S. Catholic bishops arguing for religious liberty based on enlightenment principles. Not based on the perenniel Catholic teaching. It seems to me also difficult to reconcile Dignitatis Humanae and the Church’s heretofore interpretation of it with the pre-conciliar magesterium, especially as taught in Quas Primas, Immortale Dei, Quanta Cura, & Mirari Vos, to name a few.

    Please note that I am not a follower of the SSPX, only a young man seeking to be a good Catholic. It seems to me, though, that the ambiguous teachings of VII must be interpreted only in accord with the previous tradition. If it cannot be, the pastoral teaching must be set aside.

  20. Centristian says:

    I surprise myself in that I find myself applauding and rooting for Bernard Fellay, of late. The nasty letter from the other three Lefebvrist bishops and his impressive and touching rebuttal to that letter leave me bewildered by my own admiration of him, I must say.

    I have great hope that he and many others are poised to be reconciled with Peter, now, although I don’t know whether nor not to expect that this will end up being, in fact, a reconciliation of the SSPX organization as a whole. It seems clear to me that there is a major split in the works, and not, as some had predicted, merely a split involving Williamson and his clique. If Tissier and De Galarreta are united with Williamson against Bishop Fellay (as it appears they are), then it is hard to imagine what, precisely, will end up happening. It will certainly be interested to see how this all pans out.

    Mercer:

    “If, when regularizing the SSPX, the Holy Father makes it clear that Vatican II doesn’t contradict Church teaching, then will these individuals submit to his judgment? Or will they shift their allegiance to the bishops who break off? Or will they follow the SSPX back into the Church while at the same time believing the Church erred and, in effect, being “cafeteria Catholics” (sort of like how “Catholics” who believe in contraception, women priests, etc. still call themselves Catholic and delude themselves into thinking the Church will someday change her teachings)?”

    Alas, you can’t herd cats. The Catholics who rely upon the ministrations of the Lefebvrist clergy do not constitute a monolith. Each man will have to make his own decision in that regard. We can only pray that as many of them as possible will hear the voice of the Holy Spirit and grasp the hand of the shepherd who beckons.

  21. Pingback: Ambrosian Rite Bishop Fellay SSPX Society of Saint Pius X | The Pulpit

  22. John Nolan says:

    In his calm and measured defence of orthodox and mainsteam – yes, mainstream – Catholicism, Bishop Fellay reminds me very much of Bishop Athanasius Schneider, whom I heard speak in August 2010 after he had celebrated Pontifical High Mass (EF) at Downside Abbey.

    Before founding the seminary at Econe, Abp Lefebvre sought and obtained the permission of the local Ordinary. The authorities, concerned at the number of seminarians he was attracting, then tried to pull the plug. During the pontificate of Paul VI the Vatican was tolerant towards progressive ideas (which is why Humanae Vitae came as such a shock), but intolerant to those who stood for tradition. The treatment of Cardinal Mindszenty was quite shameful and as far as I know there has been no apology. The treatment of Abp Lefebvre displayed the same mindset at work.

  23. Elizabeth says:

    I also appreciated this video. What I think is wonderful is that Bishop Fellay chose to do an interview with CNS, a mainstream Catholic media outlet. I’ve listened to +Fellay’s sermons and seen him on various videos so I already have great respect, trust and admiration for the man. But now, hopefully, this video will reach other Catholics who may have preconceived notions about those scarey SSPXers and Bishop Fellay. His whole manner, his smile, and his words will belie what I suspect a lot of non-traditional Catholics have in their head of the SSPX and Bishop Fellay.

  24. Clarence Yue says:

    I am beginning to form a very positive impression of Bishop Fellay. From this video, I think he is a very reasonable man and is trying his best to respond favourably to PP Benedict XVI’s gestures towards the SSPX. More prayers for the Pope and the SSPX.

  25. Aquinas says:

    The problem I have with Dignitatis Humanae, is simply this. Whatever one may think, or how one may interpret religious liberty and the dignity of man, it is incontestable that such references in the document are insufficiently anchored in what we know to be the truths of the faith and the church. In parts it even reads like an enlightenment pamplet. Perhaps it was a call to communist states to respect religion but H.H.Pope Paul VI could not have been unaware of the secularization of the west and his answer seems to have been, well, everyone should have the right to practice their own religion. If the document is saying that, I would like the Church to tell me whether that is right or wrong and where in all this does the Catholic church fit in?

  26. Jason Keener says:

    jlmorrell,

    I agree that the Church’s stance on religious liberty can be somewhat hard to understand. There has been a development in the doctrine, and there are many different angles to the issue.

    The right of all citizens and their communities to religious freedom is essentially a right to be tolerated or left alone by their civil governments even if they are in religious error. This prima facie civil right to be tolerated or to be civilly free to promote one’s religious ideas, even errors, is an important protection for human individuals in order that governments do not become too powerful. Governments were never given any kind of right by God to repress all error or to be overly involved in religious questions. Indeed, error has no rights, but people who profess error still have a right—a right to be left alone by their civil government in most circumstances. The principle of subsidiarity must be respected, as civil society and governments were made to serve individuals and smaller societies, not vice versa. It would seem the ordinary way that God ordained for religious error to be dealt with is at the lower levels by free people in a position to dialouge and pray for each other.

    Please also note that even though all people, even those in error, can expect the right to be tolerated by their civil government, the Catechism still insists that the civil right to religious liberty is not unlimited and it can be limited for the sake of the common good, which is a very broad concept. The common good can change. What worked for the benefit of society in one era might not be so effective in another era.

    Also, regarding Spain, we can see why in today’s world such discrimination against non-Catholics would not benefit the common good. If non-Catholics were to be refused entry into government positions, etc., it would only foment further bitterness and anger towards the Church, would cause civil discord, and would prevent people from drawing closer to Christ and the Church. Spain is a somewhat diverse place today and even the many Catholics there are often lukewarm. Finally, the Catholic Faith of a population cannot be that strong in the first place if it can only thrive when religious minorities are repressed. Isn’t it better in today’s world for people to seek the truth and renounce error through a process of prayer, dialouge, and study rather than government repression?

    (Incidentally, I am somewhat surprised by the many traditionally-minded Catholics who oppose big government but then argue that governments should be able to take a heavy-handed approach against people just because they are in religious error and despite the fact that there is already an effective mechanism to deal with religious error—individuals praying and debating amongst themselves.)

  27. lucy says:

    Fr_Sotelo said “The problem isn’t that there aren’t good commentaries already published and out there. The problem is that laity, even clergy, who do not like Vatican II, have been loathe to adequately study the documents. They have also been adverse to studying the commentaries of very orthodox and capable theologians. Bishop Fellay actually touched on this when he admitted in the interview that much of what is rejected or disliked about Vatican II is not actually part of Vatican II but what people think the council said.”

    Please tell us a good commentary to read. One of the many problems is that one has to know where a theologian stands in his faith – is he solid with the Magisterium or isn’t he? – and that’s a difficult thing for many of us laymen who want to know the truth of the matter. I don’t want to think that VII was invalid. I want to know what was taken out of context and what was really meant to be changed. If we’re unhappy with VII it’s because it’s been twisted so many times by our own Catholic hierarchy in the U.S. At any rate it seems that it was a mistake to have the council when the country and the world was already in arrears. The Church should have remained stable and held their ground in true Catholic teaching. Walking into various Catholic churches today is like walking into Protestant churches. One never knows what one might find.

  28. Supertradmum says:

    Jason Keener and others, read my blog. I write incessantly on the Church’s stand on religious freedom and liberty. Also, I highly recommend Mirror of Justice, which has had many excellent articles on this topic. There are many good writers as well who have websites–Edward Feser treats on this subject as well. As to this interview, I am more and more impressed with Bishop Fellay.

  29. Supertradmum says:

    Could Fellay be Pope someday? Would be a very Medieval, as in interestingly arcane, but amazing choice. I wonder if he could get enough votes…..hmm, if more of those SSPX priest, who hopefully will come in, would be made bishops. Counting my chickens before they hatch, I suppose.

  30. ContraMundum says:

    I suppose I could be Pope one day, since I am a Catholic male, but I don’t think either Fellay or I need give such a remote possibility much thought.

  31. Centristian says:

    “Could Fellay be Pope someday?”

    Sure…the way Sarah Ferguson could become Queen someday. The College of Cardinals could look around their conclave, I suppose, and conclude, “Boy, oh, boy…look at us, would you: just a bunch of good for nothings. What were John Paul II and Benedict XVI thinking when they made us cardinals, huh? None of us would make a good pope, no siree. I suppose we’d better just pick some bishop, instead. Better yet, let’s pick some bishop who isn’t even an ordinary. Better yet, a bishop who used to be excommunicated for a long time; that’s what we really need. Does anyone have that former Lefebvrist’s number?”

    Anything’s possible.

  32. Supertradmum says:

    I am a practicing, orthodox Catholic born and bred in the Davenport Diocese. Anything is possible.

  33. Imrahil says:

    Incidentally, I am somewhat surprised by the many traditionally-minded Catholics who oppose big government but then argue that governments should be able to take a heavy-handed approach against people just because they are in religious error and despite the fact that there is already an effective mechanism to deal with religious error—individuals praying and debating amongst themselves.

    Oh yes, I do understand that. Not that I’d hold the Lefebvrist position – the State happens to have a duty not to coerce to a belief, and also any form of punishment for the sake of wrongness alone is virtually a coercion.

    But, I do understand that. There are two Chesterton sayings:
    If you abolish the big laws, you do not get liberty. You do not even get anarchy. What you get is the small laws.
    The moderns say we must not punish heretics. I only wonder whether we have a right to punish anyone else.

    Traditionalists want (with peaceful means) a State that, because he is unified in religion, can be lax about everything else. A State that is not unified in some common (and I mean really common) conviction (read: religion) is likely, some might say bound, to degenerate to micro-supervision.

    In this the traditionalists are right (nothing in Vatican II changed the doctrine of Quas primas); only a real breach of the religious freedom (as taught by the II Vatican Council) can be no means of achieving that, as it is never allowed to do evil that good may come from it.

    [Note however: real breach. I do not consider it a breach of religious freedom to have a law that makes state school classrooms or (for the signification of the Supreme Judge) courtrooms have crucifixes, as Bavaria does. I do not consider it a breach of religious freedom to say an Our Father or other prayer in a state school, as Bavaria does. I do not consider it a breach of religious freedom when the Constitution begins with "we acknowledge our duty towards our supreme Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ" etc., as Ireland does. There might be some examples. The rather weasling approach of the Polish Constitution preamble might serve as an example about how not to do it. ("Those of us who believe in One God as the Creator of all True, Good and Fair, and those who do not but deduce these values from other sources, etc.") ]

  34. Imrahil says:

    And that prayer and debate, when not including the possibility of an appeal to acknowledged authority, are enough happens to be a myth, as History clearly shows.

    Sure, God by miracle can do anything. But gratia supponit naturam is the ordinary way He acts.

  35. Jason Keener says:

    Imrahil,

    I agree that the civil government should favor the true Catholic Faith by publicly displaying crucifixes, giving tax breaks to the Church, etc.; however, just because the civil government shows favor to the true religion does not mean that those of non-Catholic religions can be subjected to government repression.

    Moreover, we all want a perfect society where all people are united in perfect charity and the Catholic Faith; however, that is not reality, and it never will be on earth. God said the weeds and the wheat will grow together until the end of time when HE, not civil governments, will then deal with the weeds. I see no evidence in Divine Revelation that some perfect civil society where everyone is united in the True Faith is supposed to come about by the government repressing religious error. Should the government also try to bring about perfect families because perfect families are desirable by appointing a government official to watch over every family? No, thanks. Should the government also repress what they believe are the errors of academics in scholarly journals because the truth in academics is important? No, thanks. There are ways to deal with errors, religious or otherwise, without giving governments heavy-handed Obama-like authority.

  36. Panterina says:

    I wanted to thank Fr. Z and BaedaBenedictus for posting the videos. This was the first time that I heard Bp. Fellay speak, and I was truly impressed. For the first time in years, I belive that a reconciliation is possible and indeed forthcoming, God pleasing.

  37. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Jason,

    as I wrote: the State happens to have a duty not to coerce to a belief, and also any form of punishment for the sake of wrongness alone is virtually a coercion. [...] only a real breach of the religious freedom (as taught by the II Vatican Council) can be no means of achieving that.

    Forgive me, but I do not see that I needed correction on that point.

    We have to distinguish: to have an aim and the ways of fulfilling that aim are different things. So the State of course ought to care for perfect families. That he does not appoint a government official to watch over every family has a quite simple reason: and not a vague “we don’t want to much governmental control”, but the simple objective fact that families under such supervision would be very imperfect families, for one thing.

    Should the government also repress what they believe are the errors of academics in scholarly journals because the truth in academics is important?
    As the government chooses among the candidates for the most posts of professors, and the like, its power is there anyway… but no, nor have I said so.

    Moreover, we all want a perfect society where all people are united in perfect charity and the Catholic Faith; however, that is not reality, and it never will be on earth.
    Which does not hinder us from dreaming about it. (“Only the prison wardens can mind escapism”, as Tolkien said. At least I may do so: “God gave the land to the French, the sea to the British and the clouds to the Germans”, as the old proverb from happier times goes.)

    Besides, whereas you are true in what you say, there have been societies virtually united in the Catholic faith, in which only the outlaws, if even them, were really with determination against Christian morality. (Weakness is a completely different thing.) Also, it is natural for a State or at least at the more local levels to be united in some religion. What is the unusual thing is debate and finding-for-oneself. I do concede that we must dream about that, where unbelievers are concerned, and perhaps also ought to do so where believers are concerned (I have not made up my mind on the latter point); but this is another part of the reality you spoke of.

    It would be a highly interesting thing to study the question of what is this belief that people hold.

  38. Imrahil says:

    However, thank you very much for your answer!