Bishop Bernard Fellay has published with Via Romana a book of interviews that he gave to Robert Landers, a lay faithful who came to interview him in Menzingen in 2016.
Your Eminence, you are publishing a book beautifully entitled “For Love of the Church.” Can you tell us its origins?
Bishop Fellay: This book has a long history. My schedule did not give me all the freedom that would have been necessary to write such a work. It was first thought up about four years ago! And the writing was completed more than a year ago. As a result, the themes that are related to news stories are partly out of date.
“For Love of the Church” invites us to question the place of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X in the Church. Should not this place be in Rome, because Rome is the head, but also the heart of the Church?
The heart of the Church is the Holy Ghost, it is the love of Jesus, and it is also the priesthood, so intimately tied to Our Lord and to His Sacred Heart. The head of the Church is Christ.
Here below, the visible leader of the Church is the pope, to whom we are of course subject, whom we respect and have always respected, as well as all the legitimate authorities of the ecclesiastical hierarchy.
The place of the Fraternity is at the center, in the heart of the Church. For the priesthood and Holy Mass, intimately connected with each other, are the heart of the Church; the pump that transmits the life of grace throughout the body.
As Roman Catholics, our place is also in Rome. But you know that we are going through a terrible crisis, a truly diabolical disorientation, which has replaced eternal Rome, mistress of wisdom and truth, with a new Rome, born of the Second Vatican Council, a neo-modernist Rome with liberal tendencies, which we must resist to keep the Faith.
However, the “Roman question,” as Archbishop Lefebvre called it, rests in the hands of the Superior General. He is the one who possesses the graces of state to realize concretely the development of the relations of the Society with Rome.
Transmitting the Faith seems to have been the major concern of Archbishop Lefebvre, but is not Vatican II part of the Faith?
The transmission of the Faith was certainly one of the main preoccupations of Archbishop Lefebvre, because a bishop is by nature a successor of the Apostles, dedicated to the teaching of doctrine. And Vatican II did indeed catch his attention—not so much as a subject for teaching, because the Council wanted to be pastoral and not dogmatic—but mainly because of errors, dangerous slips, adaptations that wanted to harmonize the Church with the world; the result is before us, dramatic and cruel...instead of drawing and raising the world to Heaven, Vatican II has plunged the Church into the whirlwinds of the temporal world.
Saint Pius X said that religious ignorance was characteristic of his time, what do you think is today’s? And how can a person oppose it spiritually?
This religious ignorance has only grown. Today, we need to find an even more serious word, but one that conveys the same idea. We have entered a desert, an abyssal void of ignorance...even forgetting the Creator, the author of this world, on whom every creature absolutely depends. Just as much, the Redeemer has disappeared and consequently His Law, real love. The work of the Redeemer is unknown, as is His law of love.
Our Lord has given us, through St. Paul, the solution to this evil: preach in time and out of time a doctrine solid, honest, full of charity, and the example of the mercy of Jesus.
How can a man be a priest in our post-modern society?
In a post-modern society that has lost almost all its bearings, the priest is needed more than ever. But we must remember that he possesses a profoundly eternal character. The priest is another Jesus, the ambassador of God, who gives his creatures an eternal law, valid for all times, who offers and repairs the sins of men so that they may be saved.
More than anything, today's world needs the priest.
Is there not both disappearance of and exaggeration in the Marian cult today? How can one find a balance?
Again, in a world without landmarks, men will invent new ones to suit their feelings. So it is true that the traditional regard for Mary is tending to fade. You have only to see the value given to the rosary by the masses... And the pure, challenging faith is being supplanted by a search for the extraordinary... One thinks of the “apparitions” at Medjugorje for example, where the message and the seers present more than dubious aspects.
Equilibrium will be reestablished as soon as faith regains its primordial place. Then the Blessed Virgin Mary will also receive the homage and filial love of Christians; she exercises her role as Mother and demands from her children that they appear as such.
Can there still be a social reign in a time of secularism accepted by all, even by the Church?
Our Lord, being God, affirmed to the apostles: “All power is given to me in Heaven and in earth” (Mt. 28:18). This sentence must be taken in its total simplicity; it recalls Jesus’ rights over all creatures, but also over human society, over countries, over governments.
The fact that these latter do not want to recognize it changes nothing. He is king in the full sense of the term and this title is dear to us. It is our profound duty to work for the establishment of the social Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
But let us remember that it is not today that the Church knows opposition or persecution.
What are the signs of encouragement that you have encountered during the 24 years of your superiority?
Considering the last 24 years of the Society of Saint Pius X, we can only observe, with much consolation, God’s blessings.
They come from all sides and are very abundant: a living faith, souls who convert and are saved.
One great consolation is the beautiful liturgy, which raises hearts and gives strength to live according to Christian law and its requirements in the world today.
The schools and so many works that flourish around the world, the conversions, a deep Marian devotion—these are also very real and numerous signs of encouragement, through a thousand events.
Despite all the difficulties, we can observe the growth of this very beautiful work that is the Fraternity and which, one day, will be recognized as such.
Bishop Bernard Fellay, Pour l’amour de l’Église (For Love of the Church), interviews with Robert Landers, Via Romana, 2019, 152 pages.
Available from the site Via Romana.