Interview of Bishop Bernard Fellay with Present

Source: FSSPX News


How has the Motu Proprio been faring since September 14?

The feedbacks I have had so far are rather negative. Some bishops are obviously trying to limit its application. There is in this, a certain irony, inasmuch as they are acting a little as if the Motu Proprio were creating a disorder because there is no need henceforth to ask their permission to celebrate the sacraments according to the traditional rite. This is an objective opposition to the magnanimity which the pope intended to show.


Nevertheless this Motu Proprio remains positive in your eyes?

Indeed, the cause of our joy is that it states that the Mass of St. Pius V has never been abrogated. This includes   many  implications. To begin with the fact that, since it has continued to exist, it has always been a universal Church law. The conciliar reform was not able to replace the old Mass, even if it outlawed it as it were.


Does this mean that the crisis is over?

Not at all! We have henceforth the mission of helping to re-introduce the rite. Numerous priests are asking us to help them to celebrate it. And their testimonies can be summed up in the words of a Roman prelate: “The priest cannot find his identity in the new Mass.” Of course, this will take much time.


Isn’t it paradoxical to state, in the tone of a warm connivence for the pope, that this Motu Proprio means an undeniable step forward and that you expect much from it, and to say, at the same time, that it will take much time -- probably several generations?

No! because any coin has two sides. On the one hand, there is the possibility of immediate practical result; on the other, peace in the Church by the resolution of the crisis at its very root which is doctrinal. The present situation is very much contrasted. To be complete, we must take both sides into account.


Yet, according to the person you are addressing, you seem to present either mostly one side another…

It is a matter of seeing where the person you are speaking to is standing, and of reaching him where he is. With our faithful, I try to give the correct guideline, and to correct errors. My concern is to give them and make them retain the Catholic spirit, namely an unfailing attachment to the faith, and on another level, an attachment to the Church.


But you said to some journalists that you were expecting “much more” from the impetus given by the pope since the Motu Proprio.

When I am saying that, I am considering the possibility of finding practical remedies relatively soon. But when I tell the faithful that it will probably take several generations, I am speaking of the peace which the Church will recover by a solution of the doctrinal crisis. If you want to combine both viewpoints, both sides of the coin, it means that practical remedies will intervene long before the end of the crisis.

Yet, even for the first point, all the necessary conditions will have to be obtained. There is, of course, the Mass such as we have regained it in the Motu Proprio. The withdrawal of the decree of excommunication does not seem to meet with any difficulty. But first of all, let them stop trying to make us swallow poison as far as the faith and dogma are concerned. This is always the first and main condition.


Interview by Olivier Figueras