Bishop Bernard Fellay: 2016 March for Life Press Conference (Jan. 21)

Source: FSSPX News

Bishop Fellay gave a conference on the family on January 21, the day before the March For Life in Washington, DC (January 22, 2016). The conference was attended by about 200 people, while another 42 from around the world watched it online in real time via live stream.  

The SSPX's General Superior took questions from James Vogel, editor-in-chief of Angelus Press. DICI here provides a summary of what Bishop Fellay said. He spoke of abortion, the state of the Church, relations with Rome, and Pope Francis.

The March for Life

“It is not a national affair. It is a world fight....We have to defend the innocents and this fight to defend the innocents in the womb of their mothers belongs to a very big picture...which has several aspects. ....What it is really impressive is to see that this is happening everywhere. It is not just in one country, [but] all countries, every country....It’s amazing that they pretend it's progress...[but] they just destroy humanity. And they start this destruction at the very start, in the own womb of the future mothers. We have to stand up; we cannot let it go. ….So that’s why I’m here: to encourage all those who involve themselves in this battle.”1

Confusion in the Church

“I think there is one word which can qualify the situation in the Catholic Church, globally speaking: confusion. The last synod was the extraordinary expression of this confusion. And you have this fantastic event where there is a big fight about the final document....So you have a text which has get to a perfection of ambiguity. At the end, you don’t know what to do, what to think. It is really serious.... It is not only one event--I mean this specific event--but you have several bishops, progressives one, who said amazing things about morals...and they have absolutely not been rebuked. The authority just let them say them. And so you have something also which has never been seen to this extent: you have bishops and cardinals who, finally, take a stand openly against this movement. That’s new too. There is hope that it is the beginning of real reaction, but it’s time!” 

Bishops Against bishops

“So you have this open fight. That reminds me of the prediction of La Salette in the 19th century where the Blessed Virgin Mary announced a very hard time for the Church: “bishops against bishops, cardinals against cardinals.” And if you look at the history of the Church, since that time you don’t find elements as you find it now. That’s really tragic because how can the faithful know what to think ? The situation is so confusing. Even if now the Holly father would make a statement, it is too late. The evil is done. When something is broken, to repair it requires much more effort than to break it. That’s the situation.”

Jurisdiction for SSPX Priests

“It is not a delegation; it is an ordinary power to hear confessions. Usually this power is given to a priest by the bishop. We got it directly from the pope above the bishops. It is very rare, but he can do it....If you are logical, you have to conclude that this fact of giving to all the priests of the Society the ordinary power to absolve confession means at the same time he has removed any kind of sanctions. Both cannot go together.” 

Relations with Rome

“It is difficult to explain. On the one hand, he makes so many reproaches to people who insist on doctrine, to people who don’t want things to change.... There is absolutely no doubt that he has involved himself very personally in our case. He knows us up close. And the way he behaves obliges us to think that he has sympathy…which seem contradictory with the blame. I cannot explain more than that. I really expected condemnation and then it is the contrary which is happening.”

Pope Francis and the SSPX

“He knows us from Argentina. We had to work with him because of a problem with the State. There is a concordat [there] and according to the concordat, the State must grant a permit of residence to foreign priests only if this priest has the signature of the local bishop. This in itself is normal. But of course, with us, we have a big problem: the local bishop is not going to give us the signature for our presence in the country. We could [otherwise] establish our recognition with the State - it’s workable - but I always refused that because we’re Catholics and we don’t want to be treated as a sect.... And so the District Superior went to see then Cardinal Bergoglio and explained the problem. And Cardinal Bergoglio said “No, it’s clear you are Catholic, not schismatic. I am going to help you.” And he did. He took contact with Rome, he wrote a nice letter to the government in our favor but the government got a contradictory letter from the nuncio. That was the situation when he was elected pope. He was given the biography of Archbishop Lefebvre, and he read it twice! You don’t do that if you don’t have an interest. He says to the Church “don’t stay among yourselves, don’t be self-sufficient, take care of the periphery” and so on and he sees that we do that. We are moving around quite a lot, we run after souls, we try to help them, and I am pretty sure that he is happy with that. Maybe not happy with everything but with this very fact that we are active and caring for souls. He said to our priests: if you want your children to lose the Faith, send them to my schools. So that means he know very well what’s going on. He knows that there are big problems in the Church even if he does not speak much about them. Sometimes, with the way he behaves, we are lost. I don’t have all the answers I just see all theses pieces in his personality. Don’t try to put him in one category: you would be wrong. He is so unpredictable. ….There is a close link to the pope. We have direct access to the pope in this situation which is absolutely crazy.  During the SF March for life (Jan 23).

SSPX Regularization

It is impossible to tell you what it is going to happen tomorrow. Are we going to be recognized, yes or no? Frankly, I have no idea. And why? Because of the situation of the Church! Because even in Rome, you have people who want our death, who want our condemnation! Who is going to win, the pope or the others? I am sorry to say: I don’t know. We are not going to be paralyzed by that. We know what we have to do. We continue. We may recognize that there are certain elements, which would be better if they existed, like a regular canonical situation. There are discussions, there were again propositions, but we know that there are enemies inside. That’s not new. We ask the Good Lord to see what He wants because that what matters. The will of God, divine Providence, that’s really what matters. Until now, God has protected us and guided us so we certainly count on it for the future. (Source : 1 On the morning of January 22, during the Mass, Bishop Fellay said:

“Any abortion is a horrible sin, a terrible sin. To understand a little bit better what is sin, you understand already that in such an intervention, there is such an attack, a frontal attack against the intention of God for this little child. We don’t touch only a human life, we aggress God. And God is just.”

And wondering how we could repair such crimes, he replied : “The only way is to go to God. Humanly we cannot. Of course we have to express, that is what we do in the march—we protest; we suffer a little bit; we give something. Yes, we try to repair as much as we can. But the real reparation happens here, at Mass. Because the Mass is the renew of the sacrifice of Our Lord. God did repair in our place, on Calvary. And what we have here, we have Calvary. You don’t have only a priest or a bishop, you have our Lord, the real Our Lord Jesus Christ. The real one who was in Palestine is here during the Mass. The one you see here, the priest is only his instrument, the real Jesus is there. And He’s there doing exactly what he did on the cross : He offers his life to repair.”

“The teaching of the church is the following : everyday, the holy sacrifice of the Mass is celebrated because of our daily sins. That’s the Council of Trent. Because of the daily sins which are committed on earth, the Mass is celebrated every day. And Padre Pio expresses it in a wonderful way: he says the world can stand more easily without the sun than without the Mass. What maintains this earth as livable is the Mass which is celebrated everyday.”