EL PASO INTERVIEW
WITH BISHOP FELLAY
Part IV: Bishop Fellay on the
Given at Jesus & Mary Chapel in El
Paso, TX on February 21, 2010
Regarding the lifting of the
excommunications, is communion with Rome partially complete?
If there is a phrase I don’t like at all, it’s the phrase
“partial communion”, or “full communion”, or “not in full
communion.” In older times, you were either in communion with
the Church or you were not. This question of not being in full
communion, in partial communion, is a kind of nonsense. What
makes someone out of communion is excommunication. If there is
no excommunication, then there is full communion and not
Now, if, with these words, they
want to say that the Society is not yet in perfect standing,
that is, that there are certain dispositions of Canon Law
which are not fulfilled in our present situation, that’s true.
But that has nothing to do with communion. That has to do with
Canon Law and discipline.
What about problems with the dioceses?
Do you see there being an eventual canonical resolution?
The only reasonable solution I can see for the Society— not for
now, but in the future, when there will come a time to reach a
canonical agreement—would be, if there were an agreement, to get,
at the same time, an exemption from the dioceses. If we are
placed, for our apostolate, into the hands of the bishops, for the
time being, it is not going to work. They are too many who look at
us as enemies, and will treat us as enemies, and that would make
our apostolate impossible. That’s not going to work; so for us,
the only reasonable way would be a kind of exemption.
What does it mean “to be protected”?
This phrase comes directly from
the pope. I told him, during the audience I had in 2005, that
the present situation of the Church is such that normal
Catholic life has been made impossible. The pope said: “I
understand that you need protection.” That means he
understands that, if he grants us a status, at the same time,
he needs to give us a shield, a protection, a wall, something
which will prevent those who are enemies of Tradition from
demolishing our work. For the time being they are very
meets with Pope Benedict XVI on August 29, 2005 at Castel
I don’t know how this will work, if it
will work, or when it will work, but if the pope is not behind us,
there is definitely no way we can move ahead.
Regarding the discussions with the
Vatican, are they “negotiations”?
I don’t like that word because, in fact, there is no negotiation.
If you negotiate, you are talking about making deals; you have
something where you say “OK, I am ready to cut my position
down, to make it shorter, I will drop something, I will make a
concession.” We aren't talking about making concessions. We
are just talking about the Church recognizing its own Tradition.
All that we are, we are only because we follow what the Church has
commanded, ordered, and believed. It’s the Church’s own patrimony
which we have, which we are eager to see the Church share. It’s
the Church’s doing, not ours; and we say to the Church: this is
yours, take it, make it yours again. I don’t see any kind of
negotiation at this level. I only see a “You take it or not.”
And I don’t call that a negotiation.
Could we consider them a dialogue of
I don’t think so. It would be if there were no points of
understanding. If, let’s say, those with whom we talk had a
totally corrupt modern philosophy, for example, totally different
modernist concepts, then you could say that it’s like a dialogue
of the deaf. But at least the people with whom we discuss are not
like that. Maybe they don’t want to discuss, or maybe they don’t
want to discuss the same way we do, and maybe the purposes of
these discussions aren’t the same on both sides. But I don’t think
it’s a dialogue of the deaf for the time being. We shall see. We
are still at the beginning of these talks. For the time being we
really have the impression that they understand very well what we
say. And if they understand, that means they are not deaf. And we
also understand what they say. I don’t say that we agree, but I
wouldn’t say that it is a dialogue of the deaf.