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How did the General Chapter go? How was the mood of the meeting?
Bishop Fellay: It took
place in a rather hot atmosphere, since July is a particularly hot
month in the Valais! But in a very busy schedule, where the members of
the Chapter were able to freely exchange ideas, as it befits such a
Were you able to discuss the relations with Rome? Were there any
forbidden questions? The dissensions manifested within the SSPX these
last months, have they calmed down?
Bishop Fellay: That
makes for quite a few questions! Regarding Rome, we went to the very
heart of the issues, and all the capitularies were able to study the
complete file. Nothing was left aside and there were no taboos among
us. It was my duty to exhibit with detail all the documentation
exchanged with the Vatican, something which was rendered difficult by
the obnoxious climate of recent months. This made it possible for us
to conduct direct discussions which have cleared out the doubts and
dissipated any misunderstandings, resulting in peace and unity of
hearts, which of course is something to rejoice about.
How do you foresee the relations with Rome after this Chapter?
Bishop Fellay: All
ambiguity has now been resolved among us. Very soon we will convey to
Rome the position of the Chapter, which has been the occasion to
specify our road map insisting upon the conservation of our identity,
the only efficacious means to help the Church to restore Christendom.
As I told you recently, “if we want to make fruitful the treasure of Tradition for the benefit of
souls, we must both speak and act” (cf.
interview of 8 June 2012, DICI #256). We cannot keep silent when
facing the rampant loss of faith, the staggering fall of the number of
vocations, and the decrease of religious practice. We cannot refrain
from speaking when confronted with the “silent apostasy” and its
causes. Doctrinal mutism is not the answer to this “silent
apostasy” which even John Paul II denounced already in 2003.
Our approach is inspired
not only by the doctrinal firmness of Archbishop Lefebvre but also by
his pastoral charity. The Church has always considered that the best
testimony to the truth is to be found in the early Christians’ unity
built in prayer and charity. They had “but
one heart and one soul,” as we read in the Acts of the Apostles
(cf. Acts 4, 32). Such a
common ideal is also our watchword, Cor Unum being the name of the internal bulletin of the SSPX. Hence
we distance ourselves resolutely from all those who have tried to take
advantage of the situation in order to drive a wedge turning Society
members against each other. Such a spirit does not come from God.
What are your thoughts on the appointment of Archbishop Mueller as
Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith?
Bishop Fellay: It is
nobody’s secret that the former bishop of Regensburg, where our
seminary of Zaitzkofen is located, does not like us. After the
courageous action of Benedict XVI on our behalf, in 2009, he refused
to cooperate and treated us like as if we were lepers! He is the one who
stated that our seminary should be closed and that our students should
go to the seminaries of their dioceses of origin, adding bluntly that
“the four bishops of the SSPX
should resign”! (cf.
interview with Zeit
Online, 8 May 2009).
For us what is more
important and more alarming is his leading role at the head of the
Congregation for the Faith, which must defend the Faith with the
proper mission of fighting doctrinal errors and heresy. Numerous
writings of Bishop Mueller on the real transubstantiation of bread and
wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, on the dogma of Our Lady’s
virginity, on the need of conversion of non-Catholics to the Catholic
Church… are questionable, to say the least! There is no doubt that
these texts would have been in the past the object of an intervention
of the Holy Office, which now is the very Congregation for the
Doctrine of the Faith presided by him.
How do you see the future of the SSPX? In the midst of its fight for
the Church’s Tradition, will the SSPX keep to the same knife’s
Bishop Fellay: More than
ever we must maintain the knife’s edge traced by our venerated
founder. It is not easy to keep, yet absolutely vital for the Church
and the treasure of its Tradition. We are Catholic, we recognize the
pope and the bishops, but above all else we must keep intact the
Faith, source of God’s grace. Therefore we must avoid all that may
endanger the Faith, without trying to become a replacement for the
Church, Catholic, Apostolic, and Roman. Far from us the idea of
establishing a parallel Church, of exercising a parallel magisterium!
This was well explained
by Archbishop Lefebvre more than thirty years ago: he did not wish to
hand down anything else but what he himself had received from the
Church of two millennia. This is what we want also, following his
lead, so that we may effectively help “to
restore all things in Christ.” It is not us who will break with
Rome, the Eternal Rome, mistress of wisdom and truth. Nevertheless, it
would be unrealistic to deny that there is a modernist and liberal
influence in the Church since the Second Vatican Council and its
subsequent reforms. In a word, we maintain the faith in the primacy of
the Roman Pontiff and in the Church founded upon Peter, but we refuse
all which contributes to the “self-demolition
of the Church” acknowledged by Paul VI himself since 1968. May
Our Lady, Mother of the Church, hasten the day of its authentic
(Source: DICI 258)