Interview of Bishop Bernard Fellay in "Le Courrier" of February 26, 2009 (Integral Text)

Source: FSSPX News


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The lifting of the excommunication of the four bishops of the Priestly Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) does not mean its “integration” into the Church, but is an open door “for dialogue,” the Secretariat of State specified on February 4, in response to the polemic created by the revisionist statements of one of the bishops restored to favor, Bishop Williamson (who has just returned to Great Britain). Now Rome sets as condition of this integration  the “full recognition of the Second Vatican Council,” as well as of the “Magisterium of Popes John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II and Benedict XVI himself.” No problem for the second point, but the schismatic Society is entrenched in its positions regarding its virulent denunciation of the Council in the name of its combat for the “restoration of Tradition.” According to the Society, there is as yet no schedule for the meetings in view of a dialogue, but both parties are working on it. We give below an interview with the Superior of the SSPX, Bishop Bernard Fellay — successor of the late Archbishop Lefebvre. Interview.

The condition set by Rome for a reintegration of the Society into the Church is the recognition of the Second Vatican Council. Is the Society ready to take this step?

No. The Vatican acknowledged the necessity of preliminary discussions to deal with the root questions which come precisely from the Second Vatican Council. To make of the recognition of the Council a preliminary condition, is putting the cart before the horse.

You stated that in your discussions with the Roman authorities in view of a reintegration you wanted to obtain a lasting restoration of the Church. Do you then hope that the Church give up the gains of Vatican II?

Yes, because those gains are pure losses: the fruits of the councils were the emptying of seminaries, novitiates, and churches. Thousands of priests left the priesthood, and millions of faithful ceased to practice or turned to sects. The beliefs of the faithful have been denatured. Really, those are queer gains!

In this respect, is the Society still hostile to freedom of conscience in religious matters, to ecumenism and to interreligious dialogue?

It is very obvious that adhering to a religion demands a free act. And hence it is often said that the Society is against freedom of conscience in religious matters, and a theory is ascribed to the Society which this latter does not profess. Conscience is the ultimate judgment on the goodness of our action. And in this sense, no one may act against his conscience without sinning. However, conscience is not an absolute, it depends upon the objective good and truth, and hence every man is duty bound to form and rightly train his conscience. Thus the Church must be a responsible mother who enlightens and guides our narrow and often hazy intelligences. Concerning ecumenism or interreligious dialogue, everything depends upon the meaning given to the words. A great confusion is reigning in most minds on this subject. Obviously, like any human being and for the sake of the good of society, we wish to live in peace with all men, our fellow creatures. On the religious level, we ardently wish to respond to the desire of Our Lord: “That they may all be one” so that there will be “one fold and one pastor…” If by ecumenism we mean the pursuit of this very noble goal, we are obviously favorable to it. If on the contrary, it is seen as a path which does not seek this fundamental unity, a unity which perforce implies an examination of the truth — something which the Catholic Church still claims today to be the only one to possess in its integrality! — then we protest.

In fact, we presently see that ecumenism remains on a very superficial level of understanding and of life in society, but does not examine things deep down.

What kind of status might be granted to the Society within the Church?

We will consider this if the doctrinal discussions lead to a positive result. May God grant it be so!

Interview conducted by Rachad Armanios