The necessity of a doctrinal dialogue between Rome and Econe

Source: FSSPX News


Bishop Bernard Fellay in an interview given to the Nouvelliste du Valais, September 26- by Vincent Pellegrini.


Bishop Fellay: (…) For Vatican II, Rome would like to go back to the protocol signed in 1988 by Mgr. Lefebvre and Cardinal Ratzinger. This protocol says that only one interpretation of Vatican II is legitimate. That which is made in the light of Tradition. But even if that was not said explicitly, we understood very well during our meeting with the pope that he considers us outmoded and that the Council is also a spirit which we must acquire. I am in agreement with the formula of the Council interpreted in the light of tradition, but I cannot sign it in the current context.


Le Nouvelliste: It is because you still do not have the same appreciation of Vatican Council II that Rome has, that you do not wish to sign an agreement which however, seems acceptable to you?


Bishop Fellay: It is a problem of perception, of state of the question. The problem that we are supposed to be causing the Church is not perceived in the same way by Rome as it is by us, and this is why our solutions differ profoundly. Now, in order to arrive at a solution we have to agree on the state of the question. We went to Rome to state our problem accurately. In plain language, it is not we who are the problem. Because even if we did not exist, the crisis in the Church would be just as grave. Actually, we are doing no more than reacting to the crisis of the Catholic world. Our way of seeing Vatican II does not correspond with that of Rome at present, it’s true. This is why we cannot remain in superficial agreement formulae. We have to get to the heart of the matter. We would have no problem at all in signing a superficial agreement, but we do not want a merely tactical reconciliation which would lead nowhere. This agreement must be genuine, fundamental. It would be pointless to give the impression that everything is in order, whereas nothing has been resolved. In the current situation, such an agreement would betray everyone. I am afraid that the Pope and the Curia will be blocked by the progressive element. This would explain the focalization on Vatican Council II. I say to you again, if Rome makes the least serious effort to get out of the crisis, without even speaking about us, the problem will no longer exist because the atmosphere and the spirit will have changed.(…)


Le Nouvelliste: Joseph Ratzinger has been working on the traditionalist dossier for more than twenty years now. He is a sworn enemy of contemporary relativism and he is rather well thought of by people in your circles, who hailed his election. Three years ago, he even wrote to you for a resumption of the dialogue on theological questions. Do you have the impression that Benedict XVI is more sensitive to tradition than his predecessor John Paul II concerning the liturgical and doctrinal questions you are asking?

 Bishop Fellay: Without a doubt. Doctrine is much more important to Benedict XVI than it was to John Paul II. The latter attached more importance to pastoral matters, to life experience, to communion taken in the sense of being with. I have the impression that for Benedict XVI, faith has a much more important role and I think we will see this in the new structure of the Curia, as well as in the way he governs the Church. He will put faith first once again, before politics and before the Secretariat of State. Paradoxically, this will make our relations both easier and more difficult. I think he is going to carry out a liturgical reform, a new ‘new Mass’ based on the old according to a formula he used two years ago. In any event, what we can expect is a reform of the reform…


Le Nouvelliste: Do you assess the meeting on August 29 as a door half-opened by Benedict XVI to the Traditionalists of the Society of St. Pius X and a sign of hope for unity?

 Bishop Fellay: This is not the first step and it will not be the last, but we are going in the right direction. One way or another, it is going to take time, even if Rome seems to be in a hurry, relatively speaking.




Fr. Luc-Thomas Somme, op., Dean of the Faculty of Theology of the Catholic Institute of Toulouse, in the October edition of La Nef, – this article by Christophe Geoffroy


La Nef : Would a reconciliation necessarily have to come about through a genuine doctrinal debate on Vatican II?

Fr. Somme: Certainly. When Christians voice an objection of a doctrinal nature, there has to be a debate, it has to be placed at that level: the love of and the search for the truth. The response cannot be simply disciplinary, whether it be to resolve the dispute or to claim to close the affair without following up.

 In this respect, it is clear that a pragmatic agreement made in haste would be doomed to fail. The interpretation to be given to the Conciliar decree on religious liberty, for example, has to be discussed. The Dubia expressed by the SSPX, and the Declaration Dominus Jesus may help this debate and the theologians have a role to play with regard to this. But it would be a dialogue of the deaf as long as Vatican II is perceived as an entity, a sort of hypostasis, which exempts you from understanding its history, its aims, the diversity of its documents and of their authority.(…)

The integral text of this interview can be found in La Nef no 164, October 2005 (B. P. 48 – 78810 Feucherolles)


In Le Figaro of October 8 and 9, this article by Sophie de Ravinel

 Since the election of Benedict XVI, Bishop Bernard Fellay, leader of traditionalists separated from Rome, has felt “something like a shiver which is going through the Church”, a desire to resolve the crisis “of which many are from now on, aware”. One month after his audience with the new pope, he nevertheless states that “there is a rather big risk of arriving at a rapid, but superficial solution to the problem”.(…)

 “From what I know of Benedict XVI,” Bishop Fellay explained during a trip to Paris, “I do not really imagine that he considers us schismatics”. The Swiss prelate has as  proof, the audience at the end of August at the pope’s summer residence, “which took place in a friendly atmosphere”.

 On the conflict which opposes him to Rome, he considers Vatican Council II as both a stumbling block “and a solution”. “We cannot imagine that Rome will go back on their word,” he conceded, “but the pope must affirm principles, make acts which clearly demonstrate a return to tradition”. “The Council must be tackled head on,” he stated, “its texts are outdated”. In plain language he considers that they correspond in his view, to a bygone era. (…)