Father, you yourself participated in the General
this past July and since we just spoke about the conditions, why is it
that the fifth condition, the exemption from the local ordinary, was
not made an essential condition? Why is it only preferable? Isn't
there an immense danger and imprudence in possibly going under the
Well, it is not among
the sine qua
non conditions because it's not directly a matter of Faith. It's a
question of circumstances. Today, we're in
circumstances where it would be impossible to operate under
many bishops in many dioceses. But tomorrow, we do not know. That's
why it's not among the sine qua non. It doesn't mean that it's
not absolutely necessary today. Now, in these discussions with Rome,
Archbishop [Marcel Lefebvre] we have always said
that we want to remain as we are. It means that we want to be able to
operate the way we always did, preach the same way we did, give the
sacraments the same way we did. It's
absolutely necessary today. It doesn't mean that we would not help
when there is a possibility. I know that some bishops express their
will to have the Society form their future priests. Well, this would
definitely fit with our statutes; to help and form priests in the
future. Now, once again, these are speculations. We are not in that
situation today. We are just talking about what could be done if these
conditions were met.
Father, you also mentioned the maintenance of the
as one of the essential conditions of the
Society's future. There are some reports that in the near future Rome
may come out with an updated or hybrid version of the 1962 Missal.
Would the Society ever consider adopting this?
First of all, the reports of the hybrid Mass are uncertain and
conflicting. It is difficult to base any position on theoretical or
hypothetical things that may happen. Now, the General Chapter has made
a clear statement of having the right to use the
and has always been in the mind of the Archbishop a prudential way of
dealing with the disaster we find ourselves in today.
Father, why only one bishop? Why not more?
Simple. Because one bishop is absolutely necessary for the survival of
the priesthood, and even for the defense of the Faith. Now, it doesn't
mean that we would not insist on having more.
In all of these conditions, one perhaps gets the impression that the
Society is negotiating with Rome. What would you say to this argument?
No, we are not negotiating. We are trying to see if there are
conditions that would allow us to continue as we are.
So why the push for regularization? Why not simply continue as you
There is no insistence on regularization. There is no push for
regularization. It is Rome who came to us. We are fine as we are. But,
no, there is no push.
Isn't it true that even the Archbishop at the end of his life was
stronger on the question of relations with Rome?
It is a good question because it is the argument used mostly by our
opponents today. The Archbishop, during his whole life, even at the
end, made clear that this fight was for the doctrine, really, to
defend the Faith in our actual situations. But, at the same time, even
during the last years of his life, he always mentioned that
regularization was possible. So, I donít think itís fair and true to
say that the Archbishop was absolutely opposed to regularization in
the future. It was just a question of prudence.
Why then has the Society spoken in the past of the conversion of Rome?
I think it's a question of prudence. The General Chapter discussed for
a long time on what do we mean by a conversion of Rome. Well, I think
it means mostly that Tradition would be supported enough to continue
its growth and to be able to continue to work.
Well, it is clear that the goal is the return of the authorities of
the Church to the full Tradition. Thatís our goal, has always been and
is still today. Now, how do we get there is a question of prudence.
How can we really help the authorities in Rome to get to that fullness
Father, if thatís our goal then did we perhaps refuse the outstretched
hand of the Holy Father this year?
If the Society of St.
Pius X is in its actual situation with the
canonical difficulties that we know, it is because of this problem of
Faith. Now every time that Rome has come with a proposal of canonical
recognition, during the life of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, or in the
last two years, the only obstacle was the problem of doctrine. Itís
because we still, and will, refuse the novelties of
But remember, that whatever we talk about, a possible canonical
recognition in the future of the Society of St. Pius X, is based only
on hypothetical things.
Today, the facts are that Bishop Fellay was
asked to accept Vatican II and the New Mass in order to be recognized,
and we have refused, obviously. Thatís where we stand. So, anything
beyond that are speculations. And to base a position on possible
future or speculation is not reasonable.
Still, this past year seems to have created a certain turmoil in the
Society. Do you think itís fair to say that both among the priests and
the lay faithful do you think itís fair to say there is now a crisis
in the Society?
No, I donít think so. I donít think there is a crisis in the Society.
We obviously went through a storm last year. And, like any storm, in a
ship, itís caused damage. But at the same time it creates unity,
strength. And thatís what we say today. I think we can say today that
the Society is more united and stronger in this situation.
Father, we Americans would say that where thereís smoke thereís fire.
Isnít the fact that there are numerous websites dedicated to this
crisis in denouncing the superiors of the Society, including yourself,
prove that there is indeed a crisis?
Fr. Rostand: No,
I donít think so. I donít think that the multiplication of websites
where a few lay people and priests are attacking the Society makes a
crisis within the Society. The reality is that among our faithful here
in the United States, and I believe everywhere in the world, there is
peace and trust in the superiors of the Society.
AP: Father, one of the most tragic things was the fact that
certain priests, such as Fr. Chazal and Fr. Joseph Pfeiffer, have left
the Society. What caused the situation and what could have been done
to prevent it?
Well, first it is always painful to lose some priests of the Society.
What could have prevented it? I think that if they had kept the normal
channel to bring their objections, their difficulties to their
superiors and accepted to listen to some
answers, I think that would have prevented a lot of damage.
priests have left the Society and unfortunately it is not the first
time in the history of the Society. When I look at what they are
saying today and what, for instance, the 9 priests that left in 1983
were saying at that time, I see a lot of similarities. At that time,
the Archbishop was accused to having sold out the Society to Rome. At
that time the Archbishop was accused of persecuting priests for their
loyalty to Tradition. At that time the Archbishop was accused of
threatening expulsion of some priests. At that time the Archbishop was
accused of [a] shifting line, of
being flip-flop in these positions.
These are what you hear today
about Bishop Fellay, and I think that they are basing their positions
and their decisions on the same things.