EL PASO INTERVIEW
WITH BISHOP FELLAY
Part II: Bishop Fellay on the
Given at Jesus & Mary Chapel in El
Paso, TX on February 21, 2010
We have some questions regarding
the Society and the news of the Society of St. Pius X and
regarding its 500 priests.
Yes, our dear Society of St. Pius X is still growing, growth which
has never failed. One or two years we were about the same number,
but besides that, there has always been a growth; and right now we
are about 500, 511 priests if I am right, hoping this year to have
a good number of ordinations again: we expect almost 30 priests
this year. So, we should have a good increase again of the Society
which is spreading all over the whole world: I may say it is
really amazing to see how, despite all that is happening in the
world …we continue to grow; continuously new people asking; new
countries, and we cannot respond to all these requests. It is
crushing for us not to be able to help all these faithful asking
Seminarians attending Compline at Winona
Recently you visited the seminary
in Winona; is it an important seminary for the Society?
The Society has 6 seminaries in the world, and, in the northern
hemisphere, we have one in Germany, one in Switzerland, one in
France—which is a part of Econe: it is the first year that we
start in France and then we finish in Econe—and we have one here,
in the United States... Mainly the English speaking candidates
will come here. We try, from time to time to make a switch, to
have some seminarians from other countries, to keep the
international aspect of the Society, but mainly we will have North
Americans who will come here, and definitely for them, it is very
important to have this seminary.
In regard to the seminarians, what is your impression of the
quality of the youth coming to the seminary, these days?
We have… good people…definitely, one who wants to give himself to
the Lord, it’s already a good sign of good quality. They are,
though, also touched by the weaknesses of the modern world, so we
also see in the youth which is coming to us some deficiencies
which need to be improved. That is why we are adding these years
of Humanities; we try to give them general knowledge on… well, the
humanities, the human being, before having them going on to the
divine, I would say …they must be good men.
Roughly speaking, many of those who come to the seminary have
already gone through our schools, and in our schools they
certainly do already receive a good formation—above the average,
certainly—that we hope to increase nevertheless, all the time; but
definitely we have good people there.
Bishop Fellay (at podium) speaking during the 2010 Priests'
Meeting at Winona Seminary
Speaking of the United States
District, you recently attended the Priests’ Meeting. Are you
proud of them?
Oh, sure, we are very, very proud for our dear priests. They do a
good work. It’s a hard work. One can with difficulty imagine the
weight which is on the shoulders of the priest, or of the
difficulties which he has to face, to help people to solve
problems which are sometimes very, very difficult. And, so, yes,
indeed, I am proud of our priests.
While you have been in the United States, you visited a few of
the chapels. What are some of the challenges of the American
The American District is in a state of Diaspora; that means you
have a lot of faithful, which are spread around, a lot… great
territories for few priests. If you make the count, we are now
about, let’s see, over 60 priests to cover the United States which
makes not even 2 per state! And that means a lot of travelling,
probably too much travelling, but we do what we can.
What we see is an increase in depth, in quality, in the formation
of the faithful when the priest is present. So where we have a
priory…, we have a development of parish life, which is hard to
achieve without the priest, who is like the engine which makes
this life grow; and for the time being we don’t have enough
priests to be able to have enough priories because in these
priories we don’t have only one priest; we have at least two or
three to have what we call “community life”. Our priests need
communities to help them to maintain their priestly lives, their
spiritual lives. They need that community. And so that makes it
even more difficult to open a new priory because we need more
priests for that… That this is a great, great challenge. Of
course, we have the planes, we have these speedy ways of
communicating… I must say though that this will never replace the
real man, the priest. It helps, but it’s not the same.
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