In other news, the head of the SSPX, Bp. Bernard Fellay, gave an interview to Present in which he spoke of the status quaestionis these days, both within the Society (a priestly society, remember) and outside. HERE
Present: In an interview with Fideliter in 2001, you mentioned the “movement of profound sympathy from the young clergy for the Society.” Has this movement grown, especially with the motu proprio in 2007?
Bishop Fellay: Without a doubt! The motu proprio gave this movement a new impetus. And it is important to insist upon Benedict XVI’s interest for the liturgy in general. He truly wished to put the entire traditional liturgy, not only the Mass, at the disposition of the priests and the faithful; this did not happen because there was too much opposition. But the young priests identify with this liturgy, precisely because it is timeless. The Church lives in eternity.
The liturgy does also too, which is why it is always young. Close to God, it is outside of time. So it is no surprise that the baptismal character makes this harmony resound even in souls that have never known the liturgy. And the way the young priests react when they discover this liturgy is moving: they have the impression a treasure has been hidden from them.
A few weeks ago, the Society’s seminaries were visited by Cardinal Brandmuller and Bishop Schneider. These visits are a public connection with the “official Church”. Isn’t that vital?
The link with the Church is vital. The manifestations of this connection can vary. The dates and places for these visits were left up to me; the Vatican chose the names. I chose the seminaries because they seemed to me to be the most eloquent and representative for the bishops.
What were the first reactions of these bishops?
They were very satisfied. “You are normal people,” they told us…which goes to show the reputation we have! They congratulated us on the quality of our seminarians. There is no doubt that their conclusion after this first closer contact was that we are a work of the Church.
Have you been in contact with any bishops who support you discreetly?
Of course! When we see that priests are coming closer to us today and entering into contact with us, we can easily conclude that the same is true on the higher level…
Where is the Society today? What are its strong points and its weak points? What future do you foresee for it?
I see a peaceful future. It is a work that has been entrusted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary; all we have to do is remain faithful to their will. This Church is the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ, who remains her head and will not allow her to be destroyed.
The Society’s weaknesses? The risk of separation is serious. Look at the caricature of Tradition that calls itself the “Resistance”, for example: it is a non-Catholic spirit that is almost sectarian. We wish to have nothing to do with it; it is a movement that is withdrawn into itself, with people who think that they are the only good and just men on earth: that is not Catholic. It is an objective, but relative danger. Most of the Society is healthy and will not fall into these illusions. This encourages us to rely upon supernatural means. God will show us what He wants of us; He will speak through circumstances.
The strong points? The living fidelity that bears fruit and shows the world today that the Catholic life, even with all its requirements, is possible. But—another weak point—we are men of our times, and it would be a dream to pretend that we are immunized against the influence of the modern world. To be more precise, we must avoid the caricature of wishing for a Church without wrinkles or stains here below: that is not what the good Lord promised us on this earth. That is not what the “Holy Church” means; it means that she is capable of sanctifying using the means given by Our Lord: the sacraments, the Faith, discipline, religious life, the life of prayer.
What do you think of Cardinal Sarah’s suggestion of introducing the traditional offertory into the New Mass?
It is not a new idea; it has been around in Rome for ten years. I am glad it has been taken up again. Some criticize the idea, saying it is a way of mixing the profane with the sacred. On the contrary, in the perspective of bringing health back to the Church, I think it would be a great step forward, because the Offertory is a summary of the Catholic principles of the Mass, of the expiatory sacrifice offered to the Blessed Trinity, offered by the priest to God in reparation for sins, and accompanied by the faithful. And that would gradually bring the faithful back to the traditional Mass they have lost.
How would you like to conclude, Your Excellency?
In my opinion, we are on the eve of important events that we cannot yet define very well. I would like to call for prayers and end with a gaze towards God, which allows us to always have hope.