Cardinal Medina’s views on the meeting between Benedict XVI and Bishop Fellay

Source: FSSPX News


Apic: How do you view the meeting on August 29, between Benedict XVI and Bishop Fellay, the Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X?

Mgr. Jorge Arturo Medina Estevez: Many other contacts preceded this visit by Bishop Fellay to the Holy Father. Contacts notably with Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos (president of the Ecclesia Dei Commission, Ed.), and with other people such as myself. Bishop Fellay has been to see me, and I went to see him when he was in hospital in Rome a few years ago. So, you could not say that this meeting was unexpected, because we are in contact, and Bishop Fellay knows that the pope is concerned about the full communion of all Catholics, all Christians, and in particular with this group, who defend the decisions and positions of Archbishop Lefebvre.

Apic : From now on, what solutions can Rome come up with to make progress for a reconciliation with the Society of St. Pius X?

Mgr. Jorge Arturo Medina Estevez: The situation is complex with, on one side, the liturgical problem and on the other, doctrinal questions. I think that first of all, a list of doctrinal difficulties should be drawn up, in order to be able to discuss them and find solutions, explanations or nuances which will allow us to overcome them. For this we would need to organize a kind of working group. But even inside the Society, there are different movements. Some hold somewhat rigid and inflexible positions. Others are better disposed towards dialogue. Without making unpleasant accusations, let us not forget that the missal of Paul VI has been called ‘heretical’ and that the rite could even be judged ‘invalid’. In this case, one finds oneself in an extremely difficult situation. However, on doctrine I believe there are ways of reaching an agreement. Perhaps there have been false interpretations, perhaps on certain points, things can be explained…but we must be in agreement on Vatican II.

Apic: Unlike you, Bishop Fellay puts the liturgical problem and the universal authorization to celebrate the Tridentine Mass, before the resolution of doctrinal questions. Is this a good solution?

 Mgr. Jorge Arturo Medina Estevez: If the Holy Father wanted to, he could make a decision tomorrow concerning the liturgical problems, I see no difficulty there. On the other hand, if no agreement is reached on the doctrinal problems posed by certain members of the Society, some useful and happy decisions will be obtained, but without arriving at the full communion so keenly desired. The authorization for all priests to celebrate according to the ancient form of the Roman rite will not solve the basic problem which exists with the Society of St. Pius X. If these members were to say, for example, we reject Vatican II, then we would find ourselves in a situation which would be difficult to resolve. We would then have to tackle the practical liturgical questions. This second aspect is much simpler, because it concerns a canonical, juridical, and liturgical problem, which does not, in my opinion, involve doctrinal questioning.

Apic: In your view then, Benedict XVI can free the celebration of the Tridentine Mass, from one day to the next?

 Mgr. Jorge Arturo Medina Estevez: The Holy Father, could, if he wanted, establish more or less wide-ranging authorizations for the use of the ancient Roman rite within the Catholic Church. For example, a few years ago, when the new rite of exorcism was published, the Congregation for Divine Worship offered the bishops the possibility to use the former rite. A number of bishops had requested it. This created a precedent. So, I hope, that little by little, the possibility of celebrating the ancient form of the Roman rite will be opened up. With good will, it is possible. I envisage only a few difficulties on the practical level. For example, it would be necessary to make the two liturgical calendars compatible. A solution could also be found for the problem of the lectionary (the Bible readings chosen for the celebration of Mass and the sacraments, Ed.). Of course, in a diocese this could cause a problem of homogeneity. However, we are not talking about major problems, they can be resolved without much difficulty, which is not the case for questions of dogma.

Apic: Was the rite of St. Pius V really abrogated after the Council?

 Mgr. Jorge Arturo Medina Estevez: I have examined this question. There are arguments to support the opinion that the 1962 rite has never been abolished. But there are also arguments to support the contrary. Since there is a doubt, clear conclusions can not be drawn to say that it has been forbidden. So, the Tridentine rite, which has been that of the Roman Catholic Church for four centuries, cannot be excluded or condemned. But I repeat, I believe that first of all a solution to the doctrinal questions must be found.

I am a member of the Ecclesia Dei Commission, and each time I am asked to celebrate Mass in the ancient rite, I do so without asking permission from anyone: neither from Rome, nor the local bishop. The missal of St. Pius V and that of Paul VI are both perfectly orthodox. They have tonalities which respond to different sensitivities, to different theological accents. For example, I find that the formulae for the offertory in the missal of St. Pius V are very educational for emphasizing the sacrificial character of the Mass, an essential aspect of the Eucharistic celebration.