From the news agency of the Society of Saint Pius X, DICI, an interview with its Superior General, Bishop Bernard Fellay, on the current status of relations with the Holy See, and internal matters within the Society. Many of these questions are those in the minds of traditional Catholics worldwide, and questions we in Rorate have often tried to have answered by authorities on both sides, so it is good to see them answered here.
DICI: Are you concerned about the delay in the response from Rome, which could enable those who are against a canonical recognition to alienate some priests and faithful from the Society of Saint Pius X?
A canonical solution before a doctrinal solution?
What should be our attitude toward the doctrinal problems?
With his characteristic realism, Archbishop Lefebvre recognized that the Roman and diocesan authorities would be more responsive to numbers and facts presented by the Society of Saint Pius X than to theological arguments. And so I would not hesitate to say that, if a canonical recognition were to come about, the doctrinal difficulties would still be emphasized by us, but together with a lesson taught by the facts themselves, tangible signs of the vitality of Tradition. And for that to happen, as I already told you in 2006, concerning the stages in our dialogue with Rome, we must have “faith in the Traditional Mass, the Mass that demands in and of itself integrity of doctrine and of the sacraments, the assurance of all spiritual fruitfulness in the service of souls”.
At the time of the Arians, the bishops labored in the midst of errors to convince those who were mistaken about the truth. They did not say that they wanted to be outside, as some say now. Of course, we must always be very careful about these expressions, “inside”, “outside”, because we are of the Church and we are Catholic. But can we for that reason refuse to convince those who are in the Church, on the pretext that they are full of errors? Look at what the saints did! If the Good Lord allows us to be in a new situation, in close combat in the service of the truth…. This is the reality that Church history presents to us. The Gospel compares Christians to yeast; and do we want the dough to rise without us being in the dough?
Finding out what the Roman proposal will allow de jure and de facto
Did the way in which this interview was edited change the meaning of what you wanted to say? What is your position on this subject in relation to what Archbishop Lefebvre taught?
Relations of the Society of Saint Pius X with diocesan bishops
All the chapels, churches, priories, schools, and works of the Society and of the affiliated religious Congregations would be recognized with a real autonomy for their ministry.
Bishop Fellay: The first difference will be that they will be obliged to stop treating us as schismatics. As for future development, it is clear that some will draw closer to us, since they already approve of us discreetly; some others, no. Time will tell how Tradition will develop in this new situation. We have great expectations for the traditional apostolate, just as some important personages in Rome do, and the Holy Father himself. We have great hopes that Tradition will develop with our arrival.