PODCAzT 62: Interviews with and by Fr. Z; What has Bp. Fellay really said?

Today we have some interviews! 

First, I interview a young Nigerian priest, Fr. Paschal, about how he introduced Latin into the worship of his parish.  Great stuff!   This fellow has his head screwed on in the right direction and many priests could learn something from him.

Also, I have audio of an on air interview from 13 June with Al Kresta of Ave Maria Radio.  We talk about liturgical translation and what Pope Benedict is up to.

I also describe the origins of this blog, in case you ever wondered why I started this.

Then there is another on air piece with syndicated talk show host Hugh Hewitt, about what is going on between the Holy See and the SSPX.  He had me on for two segment, which I splice together.

Then we dig into the famous Five Conditions offered to Bp. Bernard Fellay,  Superior of the SSPX, looking at them through the lenses of his sermon in Paris on 1 June, which we hear a bit of, and then his 20 June sermon in Winona, MN, wherein he talks about Rome’s "ultimatum". 

I add my own analysis along the way.    For example, we have to clarify some things about what Summorum Pontificum really does and also drill into what Pope Benedict is really interested in.  Does he want to suppress objections to the Novus Ordo or the teaching of the Council?  What is he after?  I think that perhaps Bp. Fellay is not characterzing the situation correctly when he speaks about it.


Conditions resulting from the 4 june 2008 meeting between Dario Card. Castrillon Hoyos and Bishop Bernard Fellay:

       1. A commitment to a proportioned response to the generosity of the Pope.
       2. A commitment to avoid any public speech which does not respect the person of the Holy Father and which can be negative for ecclesial charity.
       3. A commitment to avoid the pretense of a Magisterium superior to the Holy Father and to not put forward the Fraternity [SSPX] in opposition to the Church.
       4. A commitment to demonstrate the will to behave honestly in full ecclesial charity and in respect to the authority of the Vicar of Christ.
       5. A commitment to respect the date – fixed at the end of the month of June – to respond positively.  This will be a required and necessary condition for the immediate preparation for adhesion to have full communion.

Isn’t this basically a papal "offer you can’t refuse"?


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Antonio says:

    Fr. Z:
    Now I really think it’s over.
    But who knows?

  2. Brian Mershon says:

    The question continues to be “Who represents the authentic voice of the SSPX?”

    Shortly after negotiations began in the early 2000s, Bishop Fellay advised all of the SSPX that he would be the sole voice of the SSPX regarding the continued dialogue with the Holy See.

    I guess not. In one of his other more recent interviews, Bishop Williamson admitted he rarely keeps up with much of what is going on with the Holy See and the negotiations with Rome.

    But here he is again repeating the old same tired line. Bishop Bernard Fellay has his work cut out for him because there are many priests and SSPX laity in the U.S. who treat everything Williamson says as coming from the Sovereign Pontiff or Jesus Christ Himself.

    This is very disheartening. No ordinations in Winona this year.

    Prayers need to be intensified.

  3. Bryan Jackson says:

    I found the 0 ordinations in Winona this year very odd as well. I’ve been there twice for Ordinations and I think the average was 8 or so.

    Perhaps with Pope Benedict who is a much more sympathetic leader than perhaps some of his predecessors have been, the us versus them mentality of the SSPX is breaking down?

    I do hope and pray that the SSPX will re-enter the Church or perhaps become more regular. I think that it will take a huge amount of humility on their part and perhaps on the part of Rome.

  4. Bob K. says:

    Seems to me that he also wants Rome to completely invalidate Vatican 2. Wants us to go back to hating Jews, Wants the NO Mass to be removed completely. And do away with any relationships we have with other Christians, even the Orthodox. He seems like he doesn’t trust anyone. What I gathered from this audio from last week. What do you all think?.

  5. Thomas says:


    You are wrong if you think that Catholics were taught to hate Jews before Vatican II.

    As for any eventual reason for which the NO might be preserved, that is another can of worms altogether.

  6. Bob K. says:

    He wants absolutely no unity what so ever. If it was up to Fellay. The Byzantine Rite would have to use the Latin Mass!. God wants unity. Fellay doesn’t want unity. He keeps on prolonging it, and prolonging it. What game is he playing?. The Pope wants him and the Society of Saint Pius X back in communion with the Roman See. Now is the time!. What is he waiting for?. Their is NO CONSPIRACY!!. If the Devil is confusing anyone it is Bishop Fellay. What a better way to prevent unity. Convince him of a conspiracy between FreeMasons, Jews, and Rome. Give me a brake!.

  7. Michael Riker says:

    This is so sad and so needless. The five points being stipulated (however much they may come across as a kind of benign “ultimatum”) are easily construed as **allowing** the SSPX to voice the very criticisms they presently vocalize — indeed, even very strong criticism (a la Abbe de Nantes, whether it regard the Pope and/or any post-conciliar initiatives.

    What, precisely, would be prohbited by the 5 strictures that the SSPX sees as necessary to continue the work they see to be necessary? Nothing! It seems that Fellay is setting up an entirely new reason for staying irregular: that such irregularity *of itself* is the only way to accomplish their ultimate goals.

    This, to my mind, is totally contrary to the way Lefebvre thought of the matter. To him, the irregularity was considered to be “forced upon” the SSPX due to various requirements of acqueisce insisted upon by the Vatican of Paul VI and JPII as regards certain problematic theological convinctions of theirs (the evils of Vatican II, et al). BUT NOW NO SORT OF ACQUIESCENCE IS BEING REQUIRED.

    Indeed, under the current, very generous stipulations, such controversial convictions may be both internally adhered to and expressly/publically expounded upon… All that is required is that a certain charity be evinced toward the Holy Father and His Magisterium when thus expounding upon them. The parameters or concrete implications of such charity are in no way specified… They can, then, be interpreted as widely and generously as the SSPX would like.

    It seems to me that the Holy Father is giving them everything they could want — *UNLESS* they now see canonical irregularity as itself essential for their sucess in terms of “bringing Rome back to Tradition”. This, as I say, is totally contrary to the thought of Levbvre himself. I just cannot see the excuse now for remaining in their present state.

    If this offer is not accepted, I will be very, very disheartened and skeptical regarding the present, apparently quite non-Levebrian tendiences of the present SSPX.

  8. Etienne says:

    Is Winona in MI or WI? [Neither. MN – Minnesota]

  9. H says:


    Twenty years ago, all Society Superiors gathered in Econe rejoiced in their bishops’ “excommunication”. Would not the same thing happen this time round if Rome also cast priests and laity into its outer darkness ?


  10. JM says:


    Twenty years ago, all Society Superiors gathered in Econe rejoiced in their bishops’ “excommunication”. Would not the same thing happen this time round if Rome also cast priests and laity into its outer darkness ?

    Comment by H — 26 June 2008 @ 5:52 pm ”

    I have a very difficult time believing that Bishop Williamson has actually “read” any of the apostolic fathers or later fathers of the Church. It would seem to me that they would be appalled at such a statement, but that’s just my take on their writings.

  11. I’m still trying to figure out the whole relationship between the 5 conditions, Bishop Fellay individually, and SSPX as a whole (where do the other 3 excommunicated bishops fall into this?). I guess in one sense, this really should be a point to think about for all SSPX’ers. Here is an opportunity for your “leader” to no longer be excommunicated. All he has to do is not publicly criticize the pope … he doesn’t even have to agree with him at present, just quiet down.
    Now, it would seem pretty scary, no matter what your theological level of understanding is, that your “leader” would rather remain in excommunication, than do something that is just at this point common courtesy. If your leader CHOOSES to remain outside the Church, you have to worry. Especially when he has asked to have the excommunication lifted (so he clearly realizes he is in fact excommunicated).
    And again, where are the other bishops who incurred the excommunication? Do they fit into this picture in any way?

  12. Ian says:

    Brian and Bryan,

    At Winona this year there were 9 Ordinations to the Diaconate. Next year there should be 11 ordinations to the Diaconate and 9 or 10 Priestly Ordinations.

    Those are record years.

    Simply because this year saw no priestly ordinations for one year does not indicate the state of the SSPX is reflected in this.

    The Seminary at Winona is bursting at the seams. Entering classes have been more than 20 in some cases and they are so tight on room at the fairly expansive seminary that they are stacking three seminarians to a room (designed for one) in some cases.

    After a \”blood letting\” a few years ago, when a handful of seminarians decided that they had no vocation as priests (which decimated the class which would have been ordained priests this year), the numbers have been very good.

  13. Tommy says:

    I think if Benedict could throw in 4 red hats, this would be a done deal

  14. Ian says:

    In all charity, Tommy, if you’re actually being serious, then you do not understand the situation at all.

  15. Brian Mershon says:

    “Entering classes have been more than 20 in some cases and they are so tight on room at the fairly expansive seminary that they are stacking three seminarians to a room (designed for one) in some cases.”

    The Institue of Good Shepherd in France, in their first fully year, had 35 seminarians in Bordeaux.

    Zero ordinations is zero ordinations, regardless of how many are left for next year.

  16. Shane says:

    I think if Benedict could throw in 4 red hats, this would be a done deal

    As well as a form of simony, really. :)

    Peace, and God bless

  17. Michael B. says:

    “Indeed, under the current, very generous stipulations, such controversial convictions may be both internally adhered to and expressly/publically expounded upon… All that is required is that a certain charity be evinced toward the Holy Father and His Magisterium when thus expounding upon them. ”
    Michael Riker

    This would seem to be the case.
    As I recover from my first few encounters with the Angelqueen forum and links, it seems clear now that the SSPX is using La Salette as a new revelation to justify their belief that Rome has completely apostatized. While they formally condemn sedevacantism, in fact they are practical sedevacantists: to recognize the Pope in any meaningful way, even if it means not having to give up their criticism of the crisis of the Church, (as I believe the five points indicate) is to associate with the enemies of the Church. I’m not sure what other conclusion we can come to given what they are saying.

    Again, I think Pope Benedict is asking the most pertinent question before any further steps can be taken: “Do you recognize me as the Pope or not?”

  18. Greg Hessel in Arlington Diocese says:

    I have a standing offer to His Lordship Bishop Bernard Fellay if he accepts the terms:

    1) $100 donation to SSPX
    2) 6-pack of Imperial Stout
    3) 10-pack Padron Serie 1926 No. 9 cigars (rated #1 by Cigar Aficionado Magazine)

  19. Brian2 says:

    +Fellay reminds me of Coriolanus. I wonder when he will recognize his mother and cease the attacks on Rome.

  20. Lenny says:

    I don’t understand this thing at all.

    Four bishop are excommunicated for committing a great crime.

    So, just not being critical is all it takes to wipe out the crime?

    Isn’t that an insult to Pope John Paul?

    Either that or Benedict doesn’t believe that what caused the blow up wasn’t that big a deal.

    This Pope doesn’t seem to be on the same page as the last Pope.

  21. Antiquarian says:

    Williamson has acknowledged on his blog that the SSPX has had a shortage of vocations lately, and he calls it a “crisis.” I imagine that has annoyed some of the Society’s supporters, for whom the “bursting at the seams” image of their seminaries is a favorite talking point.

  22. Cathguy says:


    I must respond to your post as it is poorly reasoned and shows a certain lack of knowledge regarding the current situation between those of us in full and normal communion with Rome and those in the SSPX, who currently are in an irregular conical status with Rome.

    I think you have committed a SERIOUS error by accusing the Bishops of SSPX (specifically Lefebvre) of committing a “great crime.” I CAN think of “great crimes” committed by many Bishops of late… the Episcopal ordinations of the SSPX do NOT quality.

    Rather, these ordinations were an act of disobedience. It was a mistake, and the action was wrong. Lefebvre perceived he had no choice. He was wrong about that too. But that was his perception.

    After all, we now KNOW for a fact that during the 1980s a commission of Cardinals PROVED that under Canon law that the TLM had NEVER BEEN ABROGATED. The commission found (in the 1980’s!) that NO INDULTS WERE NEEDED for the celebration of the TLM. (Read Sacred Then Sacred Now by Dr. Woods author of How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization)

    Yet, for whatever reason, the Pope chose not to publicize this TRUTH. Fellay saw the Mass that had given rise to some of the greatest art, music, and architecture of Western Civilization threatened with destruction for NO REASON. That was WRONG too. And he knew it.

    So he acted out of haste in a manner that was disobedient. However, those ordinations are VALID (if not licit) and those BISHOPS need our prayers RIGHT NOW. Because full and normal communion with the Bishop of Rome is what all faithful Catholics should hold fast to.

    By posting this sort of uninformed attack on otherwise faithful Catholics who have suffered SO MUCH persecution from so called Catholics who HATE beauty in the liturgy and the Church’s moral teachings, you have acted in a way that exacerbates the problem rather than fixes it.

    Let us pray for a recovery of the Church’s traditions, and a full reunion with the good people of the SSPX who have suffered insult and injury enough at our hands.

    It seems that you would rather not see reunion. May I ask, are you hostile to tradition? Do you think the new Mass (while certainly valid and licit) is in any way superior to the Mass of tradition? Do you think that the protestantization and banalization of our liturgy has served the Church well these last 40 years?

  23. HMacK says:


    The terrible scandals afflicting the priesthood over the last few years have had an effect in certain places among some cohorts in some seminaries. However, generally speaking the trend is healthily upwards. It is the NO in the west that is threatening extinction in some countries within a generation: seminaries have closed, merged or have restructured, as vocations dwindle. In any case, their can be no rejoicing. The priesthood often appears to be an unattractive prospect in today’s crisis-ridden church.

  24. HMacK says:

    ” [He]….Wants us to go back to hating Jews,”

    As a traditional Catholic from the cradle, I was never taught to hate anyone – quite the contrary – my priests and parents taught me to love everyone even our worst enemy with “caritas”. This principle has assisted me invaluably in my overseas career among people of various cultures and religions. I do not need to accept any other than the Catholic Faith while I can pray for those around me to become Catholic and respond to Our Blessed Lord’s call. If they want to talk about The Faith I do so, but I am not obliged to be curious about their’s or offer what amounts to a false “respect” for their religion. I respect the person as God’s creation. This is sufficient. This is not hate. This and being helpful at work creates good & genuine human relationships. Any Catholic who hates is on the wrong side of Our Blessed Lord’s stipulations where this is concerned.

  25. Bob K. says:

    Well from what I have read in regards to recent remarks from Bishops Fellay and Williamson I have strong doubts that there will be a reunion in the days to come. It will probably be better to focus our prayers now on the Traditional Anglicans who are pleading for reunion with Rome. I believe there will be better results from that union vs the SSPX union. A pilgrimage to Cantebury anyone!!.

  26. Ian says:

    I don’t mean to turn Father’s comment boxes into some forum, but I think Brian’s comments deserve some response since they were directed to me.

    Zero ordinations is zero ordinations, regardless of how many are left for next year.

    Except, Brian, respectfully, there were nine ordinations this year. All were Deacons. They received the sacrament of Holy Orders. I see little point in trying to make this into some kind of “I’ll count this, but not that sacrament” game. Bishop Fellay’s sermon was given at the ordination ceremony. Were there no ordinations, he would not have given the sermon that has been referenced here a number of times.

    Indeed, there were no priestly ordinations in Winona this year. No one is trying to disagree here. What is bothersome, and patently false, is many people taking the lack of priestly ordinations in one year and extrapolating this as some indication that the SSPX is having some vocational crisis. That is simply not true. The numbers themselves demonstrate exactly the opposite.

    If the Good Shephard Institute had 35 seminarians, wonderful. I’m not trying to make this out to be a contest. Vocations are not a contest.

    I am trying to indicate that it is incorrect to assert that with nearly 100 seminarians in Winona and record numbers coming next year and for the forseeable future, the SSPX is in some vocations crisis, caused by the increase in vocations in other traditional fraternities.

  27. Bob K. says:

    And their is the topic of Dual Unity for Eastern Catholics and Orthodox.

    “From the Religious Information Service of Ukraine (RISU), a project of the Ukrainian Catholic University:
    Patriarch of Constantinople Proposes Eastern Catholicism’s Return to Orthodoxy

    Munich—In a recent interview with the German ecumenical journal Cyril and Methodius, the Patriarch of the Orthodox Church in Constantinople Bartholomew I invited Eastern Catholic Churches to return to Orthodoxy without breaking unity with Rome. He noted that “the Constantinople Mother-Church keeps the door open for all its sons and daughters.” According to the Orthodox hierarch, the form of coexistence of the Byzantine Church and the Roman Church in the 1st century (perhaps what is meant here is 1st millennium — CAP) of Christianity should be used as a model of unity. This story was posted by KATH.net on 16 June 2008.

    At the same time, the patriarch made positive remarks about the idea of “dual unity” proposed by the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Archbishop Lubomyr (Husar). Patriarch Bartholomew I noted in particular that this model would help to overcome the schism between the Churches”

    Everyone wants to listen to God’s call for Unity. The Traditional Anglicans and Eastern Orthodox (to some extent). But “no” not the SSPX!. God forbid if we have some form of “ecumenicism” going on. Since God wills it!.

  28. Bob K. says:

    The Eastern Orthodox have really shown the world this past year how beautiful unity is. Not long ago The Russian Orthodox Patriarch of Moscow unified the Russian Orthodox Church with the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. And now the Patriarch of Constantinople is talking Dual Unity for Eastern Catholics, in hope that this will help heal the wounds of the past between Rome and the Orthodox Church as a whole in the future. Now the right thing to do for Bishop Fellay, would be to follow the example of our Eastern Brethren. Instead of talking bad things about ecumenicism.

  29. Ottaviani says:

    This Pope doesn’t seem to be on the same page as the last Pope.

    In certain cases, you may be right. But one can argue that the last Pope was certainly not on the same page as all his predecessors put together. That is far far more worrying thing.

  30. Bob,

    Your point is well taken. As you know ROCOR was to the Patriarchate of Moscow what the SSPX is to the Roman Papacy. The reunion was extended, painful, led to various schisms from ROCOR, but reunion took place. Currently the Great Bishops’ Council is concluding in Moscow. Recently I received a transcript of the address given by His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion; in said address he pointed out some conditions currently existing in Russia, membership in the WCC and over symphony by the Church and the State in Russia. Importantly he addressed that the Church must not be hindered by ties to the state, particularly as the Preaching of the Gospel is hindered. I pray that the SSPX will come into full communion with Rome and be a voice of tradition among the less than faithful Bishops of the roman Communion, who fight the pope not in words but by their actions. Recall the Bishop in Canada who stated that the Pope doesn’t run things in his diocese. I was offended when I read his disrespectful comments. Get in communion and be a voice that fosters more traditional values.

  31. Habemus Papam says:

    Wasn’t Assisi 1986 an insult to Pope Pius XI?

  32. Mark M says:

    Father: what is the beautiful singing near the end?

  33. Rob Alvelais says:

    Since you ask at the beginning of the podcast about how Latin is used with the Novus Ordo, I’d thought I’d respond. In our Parish we have a “Gregorian Mass” that is essentially the Novus Ordo mass chanted in Latin. Everythings in Latin except the readings (which are chanted) and the Eucharistic Prayer. All of the prayers are sung by a Gregorian Chant Choir, whose director was seen on EWTN Live and interviewed by Fr. Pacqwa. The choir sings the most beautiful motets and the entire thing is acapella.

    The mass is simply gorgeous. If I don’t attend the Gregorian mass for a while and then attend again, the beauty of the service is so striking that it makes me weep.


  34. Mark: Tu es Petrus by Palestrina sung by the Regensburg boys choir which was under the director of the Holy Father’s brother Msgr. Georg Ratzinger.

  35. Mark M says:

    Ah; thank you, Father! What a beautiful idea. :)

    I do like Palestrina, though I also like the almost bellicose setting of Tu es Petrus by Widor…

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