First of all, I
want to denounce the immorality, as well as the revolutionary nature,
of publishing such private documents. If it can be grave matter to
read private letters, as moral theology teaches, it is even more
serious to publish or distribute them without the permission of the
authors. Furthermore, it is subversive to publish private discussions
between superiors because it puts undue pressure on them. A superior
must be able to make a decision in view of the common good and not
because of any pressures.
defense of the Faith is invoked to justify such actions. It is,
indeed, clear that the theological virtue of Faith is above the moral
virtues but it cannot justify acting against them.
It is essential
to remember that letters of this kind are normal ways of communicating
between members of the Society on a very important matter. It is
normal and good that bishops or even priests of the Society should be
able to express their personal opinions in a respectful way and in a
spirit of charity. Once again it is their publication without the
consent of both parties, which is unacceptable.
What are the
principles that must guide us today? First of all, we must ask
ourselves who has the authority to make such a decision. It is clear
that the Superior General has the responsibility of the Society of St.
Pius X and will render an account to Almighty God. It is notable for
us to recall that Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre himself wanted the matter
of our relations with Rome to be handled and decided by the Superior
principle, the one who will be responsible for relations with Rome
after I pass away is the Superior General of the Society, Fr.
Schmidberger, who still has six years left in his term as Superior
General. It is he who, eventually, will henceforth be in charge of
contacts with Rome in order to continue the conversations, if indeed
they continue or if contact is maintained, which will be unlikely
for a while since L’Osservatore Romano is going to print a
big headline: “Archbishop Lefebvre, Schismatic, Excommunicated.” For
X number of years, perhaps two or three, I have no idea, it will be
separation. (Press Conference, Econe, June 15, 1988)
As a matter of
fact, the acknowledgment of the authority of Bishop Fellay in such a
matter is expressed in both letters; on the one hand, in the letter of
the three bishops, the respectful pleading not to make a purely
practical agreement implies the recognition of the Superior General's
authority to make such a decision. On the other hand, in the General
Council’s letter, this principle is reaffirmed. If there is a
disagreement on what to do, there is nevertheless respect and
recognition of the principle of authority.
notion that we must keep in mind is our attachment to Eternal Rome. We
have always professed this attachment while refusing to follow the
neo-Modernist tendencies of our times. As the Catholic Church is at
the same time both human and divine, it is necessary to have a
supernatural approach to the actual problems within the Catholic
Church. This is why we reaffirm our Faith in Eternal Rome, with Pope
Benedict XVI as the Vicar of Jesus Christ and visible head of His
Church, while recognizing the dramatic situation of the Church today
and the difficult but necessary task of keeping these two in balance.
The last point,
and not the least, is the indispensable defense of the Faith in times
of crisis. There must be no doubt that the fight for the Faith, the
denouncing of errors, and the spread of Tradition would continue even
within a “new canonical structure,” as His Excellency Bishop
Fellay has repeatedly affirmed. Our Superior General and his
assistants have expressed their conviction that the possibility of a
personal prelature is not a trap. This is a prudential question and
different opinions are possible, but the final decision belongs only
to the Superior General.
I have been
regularly and recently in contact with His Excellency Bishop Fellay
and other superiors of the Society. Further, I can assure you of the
unity which exists in our District, following the line of Archbishop
Lefebvre, which continues to be manifested today. Do not be disturbed
by media reports, which may prematurely, and without sufficient
information, prophesy many things.
At this hour, we
do not know what will be the outcome of this situation. Will the
Society of St. Pius X be “recognized” or will we have to stay in the
same situation for some more time? We trust and hope that whatever
circumstances Providence determines will lead to a restoration of
Tradition. Let us therefore keep in our prayers both the Holy Father
and Bishop Fellay, that the Holy Ghost may guide them under such
difficult circumstances, in addition to the whole Society and her
priests. Be assured of my prayers and may the Immaculate Heart of Mary
protect the Society of St. Pius X.