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The year in review: SSPX-2012
Interview of Fr. Rostand by Angelus Press


Part 2

We continue the video interview of Fr. Arnaud Rostand (USA District Superior) conducted by James Vogel (Angelus Press Editor) on December 19, 2012 at the Regina Coeli House in Platte City, Missouri.

Note: we apologize for the audio problems at 3:50 and 7:03

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Interview transcript

Angelus Press: Father, you yourself participated in the General Chapter 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 local ordinary?

Fr. Rostand: 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, since the 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.

AP: Father, you also mentioned the maintenance of the 1962 Missal 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?

Fr. Rostand: 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 1962 Missal and has always been in the mind of the Archbishop a prudential way of dealing with the disaster we find ourselves in today.

AP: Father, why only one bishop? Why not more?

Fr. Rostand: 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.

AP: In all of these conditions, one perhaps gets the impression that the Society is negotiating with Rome. What would you say to this argument?

Fr. Rostand: No, we are not negotiating. We are trying to see if there are conditions that would allow us to continue as we are.

AP: So why the push for regularization? Why not simply continue as you are?

Fr. Rostand: 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.

AP: Isn't it true that even the Archbishop at the end of his life was stronger on the question of relations with Rome?

Fr. Rostand: 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.

AP: Why then has the Society spoken in the past of the conversion of Rome?

Fr. Rostand: 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 of Tradition?

AP: Father, if thatís our goal then did we perhaps refuse the outstretched hand of the Holy Father this year?

Fr. Rostand: 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 Vatican II. 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.

AP: 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?

Fr. Rostand: 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.

AP: 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?

Fr. Rostand: 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.

These 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.

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