Friday, May 11, 2012

SSPX BISHOP STRIKES A CONCILIATORY NOTE


Bishop Bernard Fellay speaks to U.S.Bishops's Catholic News Service:

"The move from the Holy Father is genuine"

"There are some discrepancies in the society," Bishop Fellay told CNS. "I cannot exclude that there might be a split."
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"I think that the move of the Holy Father -- because it really comes from him -- is genuine. There doesn't seem to be any trap," he said. "So we have to look into it very closely and if possible move ahead."
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"The thing is not yet done," the bishop said. "We need some reasonable understanding that the proposed structure and conditions are workable. We are not going to do suicide there, that's very clear."
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"Personally, I would have wished to wait for some more time to see things clearer," he said, "but once again it really appears that the Holy Father wants it to happen now."

Bishop Fellay spoke appreciatively of what he characterized as the pope's efforts to correct "progressive" deviations from Catholic teaching and tradition since Vatican II. "Very, very delicately -- he tries not to break things -- but tries also to put in some important corrections," the bishop said.

Although he stopped short of endorsing Pope Benedict's interpretation of Vatican II as essentially in continuity with the church's tradition -- a position which many in the society have vocally disputed -- Bishop Fellay spoke about the idea in strikingly sympathetic terms.

"I would hope so," he said, when asked if Vatican II itself belongs to Catholic tradition.

"The pope says that ... the council must be put within the great tradition of the church, must be understood in accordance with it. These are statements we fully agree with, totally, absolutely," the bishop said. "The problem might be in the application, that is: is what happens really in coherence or in harmony with tradition?"

Insisting that "we don't want to be aggressive, we don't want to be provocative," Bishop Fellay said the Society of St. Pius X has served as a "sign of contradiction" during a period of increasing progressive influence in the church. He also allowed for the possibility that the group would continue to play such a role even after reconciliation with Rome.

"People welcome us now, people will, and others won't," he said. "If we see some discrepancies within the society, definitely there are also (divisions) in the Catholic Church."

"But we are not alone" in working to "defend the faith," the bishop said. "It's the pope himself who does it; that's his job. And if we are called to help the Holy Father in that, so be it."

26 comments:

ytc said...

Don't promote him! He's just a bishop, not an archbishop.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

What do you mean?

ytc said...

I think you've corrected it now. At first, you referred to him as "Archbishop Bernard Fellay." Now you have changed it to "bishop."

:)

The only archbishop was Archbishop Lefebvre, now long dead.

Militia Immaculata said...

I originally made the following comments on a previous post, but I've since deleted those comments and am putting them here instead, as this post is more relevant.

For a long time I've kept my mouth shut about this, but now I have a confession to make: I'm having a hard time getting enthused about the SSPX returning to the fold. It's uncharitable, I know, but that's how I feel. There are several reasons for this.

First of all, while the SSPX claims to accept the validity of the Ordinary Form of the Mass (OF), it seems that its official "party line" is that said Mass is sacrilegious nonetheless -- regardless of how reverent and by-the-book it may be. I hate to say it, but Father McDonald, they'd most likely even consider the Mass you said for the Feast of St. Joseph to be sacrilegious! Even worse, many SSPX priests and laypeople who attend their chapels go beyond the "official" SSPX position on the OF and believe it's invalid. Granted, our Holy Father would surely require the SSPX to change their attitude about the OF if regularization were to occur, but it's always possible for folks to lie and say they accept something while at the same time holding the opposing views they've always had.

A second reason I'm not too thrilled about the SSPX's possible return at this point is the fact that so many of their priests and laypeople who attend their chapels take certain positions about which the Church herself is silent, treat them as if they were dogma, and demonize those who disagree with their positions as "modernists." For example, it seems the prevailing idea of the SSPX and their supporters is that women must ALWAYS wear dresses and skirts no matter what. Furthermore, they may even consider short-sleeved shirts and blouses or skirts that don't reach the ankles to be immodest!

(to be continued)

Militia Immaculata said...

But the main reason I'm not exactly thrilled at the SSPX's possible return is the fact that so many of them -- priests and laity alike -- have NOTHING good to say about recent popes -- Blessed Pope John Paul II seems to bear the brunt of their vitriol and outright hatred -- even going so far as to claim he scandalized the faithful or essentially denied Church teaching by various actions and/or omissions (whether real or imagined). Sure, there were prudential decisions His Holiness made that I don't understand or don't think were all that wise, but that could be said of any pope (and all the rest of us too, for that matter). Were there folks who created a cult of personality around him? Perhaps. Like my mom says, you should never put someone on a pedestal because eventually they'll fall off. But to openly and harshly criticize the Holy Father for anything and everything, as many SSPXers and their supporters do, is just plain uncharitable and wrong. Besides, JPII is dead, and he's not here to give his side of the story. Even worse, if you try to defend JPII, these individuals will condescendingly and wrongly assume that you believe the pope is impeccable and even call you a "papolater" or an "ultramontanist." What's worse is that every single SSPX supporter I've met without exception says JPII should never have been beatified, adding that should he be canonized, they will NOT accept it or believe he's in heaven and will instead be "charitable" and continue to pray FOR him.

In closing, behaviors like the kind I've described don't help the Church; they only hurt her.

Gene W. (formerly Pin) said...

So, then, Militia, they are de facto Sedevacantists...

Introibo said...

Militia Immaculata.
Your post filled me with sadness not least because I can understand your point of view to some extent. Whilst I no longer attend Holy Mass offered by the Priests of SSPX I still receive their UK news letters and have maintained many friendships with members of the laity.I have heard all of the opinions that you describe both from Priests and lay folk alike. However there are very many within the Society that long for reunion with Rome and who pray constantly that this will come about. There can be no doubt that Holy Mother Church is in a particularly critical state and that our Holy Father is faced with a momentous task in trying to keep the barque afloat. He is pulling out all stops to bring SSPX back into full communion and I personally feel that we need to put our own feelings and apprehensions to one side and be guided by the successor of Peter who is in turn guided by the Holy Spirit. With all good wishes for your peace of mind.
Joseph

Anonymous said...

That's painting with a pretty broad brush. While it is likely that there are Sedevacantists and other fringies in the SSPX congregations, there are also some Marxists in the Democratic party and some genuine racists in the Republican party. That does not justify labeling the entire group with such guilt by association.

I am very excited about what the SSPX can bring to the Church. They will offer more opportunities for Catholics who desire the liturgy and sacraments the way they have always been administered (until the recent fads and follies kicked in). And they certainly deserve to be in full communion with the Church, especially considering the number of leftist heretic Catholics--many in leadership positions--who still enjoy the status of "full communion" even though they have no respect for the Magisterium and live in de facto schism and rebellion.

The subversion from within is fading and this will only accelerate the process. Praise God for the Pope of Christian Unity.

Introibo said...

Militia Immaculata.
Your post filled me with sadness not least because I can understand your point of view to some extent. Whilst I no longer attend Holy Mass offered by the Priests of SSPX I still receive their UK news letters and have maintained many friendships with members of the laity.I have heard all of the opinions that you describe both from Priests and lay folk alike. However there are very many within the Society that long for reunion with Rome and who pray constantly that this will come about. There can be no doubt that Holy Mother Church is in a particularly critical state and that our Holy Father is faced with a momentous task in trying to keep the barque afloat. He is pulling out all stops to bring SSPX back into full communion and I personally feel that we need to put our own feelings and apprehensions to one side and be guided by the successor of Peter who is in turn guided by the Holy Spirit. With all good wishes for your peace of mind.
Joseph

Anonymous said...

Kelly L:

Neophyte that I am, there's a truth that I see in this issue that feels naive and innocent, but the tension created by changes in the church from V.II does not seem that difficult to reconsile; the changes in liturgy last year exemplify that push of our Catholic culture to find the middle ground.

We must respect the tradition of the counsil as part of our faith in one holy catholic apostolic church, must we not? Isn't it heresy not to have faith in the decisions made? The simple answer for me--which is interesting to have, as I tend to complicate things in my own head--is to have faith in our Pope and in God to use him justly and mercifully.

The changes brought on by Vatican II have caused new questions and issues and incertainties to manifest, but the church's great strength is in her ability to take on these challenges in a way that defies the constraints a brief human lifetime. In fact, if one is to believe Jesus is eternal, not only from here on out into the future, but from before his birth back to creation, then isn't the church--including the Vatican II--something to believe in in the same epic scope? Yes, there will be fallout, and culture bucks at authority, and we are free to express our opinions--and strongly disagree with and get upset with each other and the church--let us all enjoy that freedom as this movement reveals more of our eternal tradition to us.

Peace be with all of you, K.

Carol H. said...

Well MI, this explains why you took such an angry offensive tone towards Marc on CemeteryPicnic.

While I wish they would have handled things differently from the beginning, I am very thankful that the SSPX have preserved the Tridentine Mass and a recognizable Catholic identity. The Church as a whole will greatly benefit if an agreement can be made with Rome. This is very dear to the Pope's heart, so if you love the Pope as much as you seem to, please look upon Bishop Fellay with a charitable heart and know that he is doing his best to persuade the current holdouts to look upon the Pope with charity as well.

We are all family, and angry emotionalism will not solve anything. Only charitable love from both sides will bring about a resolution.

Gene W. (formerly Pin) said...

This is all very troubling because there seems to be developing a tendency,among traditional Catholics within the Church, to become more polarized over the issue. I see it even on this blog. I do not know the history of the SSPX and all the details well enough to be able to discuss it, however, I believe that schism is always bad, no matter how justified the cause. When SSPX'ers begin to denigrate the current Pope and question JPII's beatification, suggesting he is not in Heaven they come very close to losing my support. Presumably, this is an extreme group within SSPX. I want them to be brought back into the fold, but if that is only going to cause further splits within their group and a bunch of mini-schisms then maybe it isn't such a great thing after all.

Like it or not, it isn't possible for the Church to live as if Vat II never happened. That is why we have a reform of the reform...to find a way to correct the excesses in such a way to preserve true Catholic identity.

Gene W. (formerly Pin) said...

Carol, What is worse is that the enemy Secularism is at the gate of the Church and all we seem to be able to do is form circular firing squads...

Militia Immaculata said...

Carol, if you found my tone on Marc's blog to be angry or offensive, it's because you wrongly interpreted it that way.

Let me make it clear that I believe the SSPX needs the Church and vice versa. Furthermore, I don't doubt Bishop Fellay's good will for a moment. But when it comes the SSPX as a whole (both priests and the laity who frequent their chapels), it's hard for me not to feel a bit cynical. Sure, a lot of them who insist on clinging to the beliefs and attitudes I described earlier will probably break off, but perhaps not all. And lemme tell ya, attitudes like the ones I've mentioned don't attract people to the Latin Mass; if anything, it drives them far, far away. Even worse, I've heard about would-be converts to Catholicism getting turned off to the Church after having dealt with such individuals. Not exactly the type of thing that would build up the Church.

Introibo, I'm sorry to have saddened you, but I'm glad you understand where I'm coming from. People with attitudes like the kind I've described often succeed in turning people off to the Latin Mass. They almost turned me off too, as I've encountered a few people with "SSPX-ish" (for lack of a better word) mentalities at the FSSP parish I attend -- despite the fact that the vast majority of folks at my parish are not like that.

Anonymous said...

Gene,

Isn't it a bit presumptive to assume that the last Pope IS in Heaven? Of course, no one questions his personal sanctity, but his record of governing the Church and tolerating rot speaks for itself. Maybe he IS a saint, but there was certainly no reason for the shortcuts. The SSPX were simply the only ones with enough gumption so say so publicly.

Carol H. said...

Too true, Gene, too true.

Militia Immaculata said...

"Isn't it a bit presumptive to assume that the last Pope IS in Heaven? Of course, no one questions his personal sanctity, but his record of governing the Church and tolerating rot speaks for itself. Maybe he IS a saint, but there was certainly no reason for the shortcuts. The SSPX were simply the only ones with enough gumption so say so publicly."

What makes you think Blessed John Paul II tolerated "rot" and governed badly? Sure, he himself admitted that he could've been a better administrator, but to say that he tolerated the nonsense going on in the Church is rash judgment. We'll never know what went on behind closed doors; Rome doesn't exactly make it a habit of announcing which bishops or priests on whom they're turning up the heat. Besides, JPII inherited a mess when he ascended the papal throne. The problems in the Church didn't start overnight, and so unless he was Superman, there was no way he could fix things overnight or do it alone (it will probably take several more papacies before the problems of the last 50 years are fully eradicated). Heck, about 100 years ago, St. Pius X condemned Modernism in no uncertain terms, but it's still alive and well in the Church today. Would you say he "tolerated rot" or governed the Church poorly?

Also, it's not at all presumptive to assume that Blessed John Paul II is in heaven. The Church beatified him, and we should trust the Church's judgment. Yes, I know beatifications aren't considered infallible, but it would at least be highly imprudent and rash not to accept JPII's beatification. And should he be canonized, then it would be downright heretical not to accept it (as canonizations are infallible).

Gene W. (formerly Pin) said...

Anonymous, Well, being a former Calvinist, it is presumptive to assume that anyone is in Heaven...Total Depravity/Unconditional Salvation/Irresistable Grace and all that...
However, I think some of the SSPXer's behavior amounts to a sort of theological name calling and sedevacantist nananana-boo-boo. I do not know enough in depth of JPII's reign to have an opinion. He is the one who actually got the reform rolling, however. As a prot at the time of his Papacy, his visibility, devotion, and unpretentious appeal to all people is a part of what drew me to the Church. Pope Benedict's sharp edges, theological brilliance, and toughness sealed the deal from the intellectual perspective. Together, the last two Popes are a helluva one/two punch for evangelization.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I was told by the sacristan at the SSPX parish in Atlanta that SSPX is decidedly not sedevacantist that those advocating such a thing are a separate fringe group, although they might go to Mass at a SSPX chapel. The Mass at the SSPX chapel in Atlanta includes Pope Benedict's name in the Roman Canon as well as that of Archbishop Gregory and I presume Bishop Fellay.
In terms of assurance of anyone in heaven, the only way we know 100% is through the canonization process. When the pope declares someone "blessed" or "sainted" this is an infallible declaration that that person is among the blessed in heaven. Pope John Paul and Pope John XXIII are now called "Blessed" awaiting final canonization, so they are at least in the vestibule of heaven! It would be heretical to state otherwise.

Templar said...

I hate when people put forth an opinion about an organization based upon anecdotal evidence about some of it's members. You simply can't paint with such a broad brush. Stand the argument on it's head and one can just as easily complain about the "mainstream" Catholic Church and complain that there are way too many heretics in it. Does Biden, or Pelosi represent the Church? Should the SSPX refuse to reconcile to Rome because they're still Catholic? The reconciliation needs to be judged on only 1 level, and that is by what the heads of the respective organizations claim. They are it's leaders, and we are hierarchical. If some cogs in the machine of these hierarchies are not in perfect accord it is not the fault of the organization. On that level, both Pope Benedict and Bishop Fellay need to be commended for their brave and bold moves so far in fighting for reconciliation.

As for me personally, I am not a "bashed" of John Paul but I do not believe he should be Blessed. Not because he isn't worthy of but because the humans who are rushing to Canonize him have made mistakes. The miracle used to justify his Beatification is questionable at best, and in some sources has been "debunked" for lack of a better term. Saints don't need us to make it up, they're already Saints whether we declare it so or not, so why rush? Let those truths come out in their own good time. There are so many people who pray to JPII for intercession we can afford to wait for an unquestioned miracle.

Henry said...

I have never been to the SSPX church in Atlanta, but the (few) people I know who attend it when in Atlanta are probably more consciously and explicitly devoted to Pope Benedict than most mainstream Sunday Catholics.

Gene W. (formerly Pin) said...

Templar, Your point is well-made. I never understood the rush to canonize JPII. Do we just need a modern saint?

Militia Immaculata said...

Templar, unfortunately (and I should've made this clear earlier), most of the attitudes/positions held by members of the SSPX that I described aren't solely anecdotal evidence. On the SSPX's USA website (in the FAQ) section, most of them are presented as the SSPX's official "party line."

But now that I think about it, the SSPX in a given country can't very well speak for the SSPX as a whole. So point taken.

Also, Templar, I can understand your concerns that the JPII beatification seemed rushed, and I too have heard it claimed that the miracle attributed to his beatification was questionable. But then again, Rome surely examines all alleged miracles thoroughly and consults with knowledgeable physicians first, no? How do those who attempt to "debunk" the miracle know that sufficient research wasn't done?

Templar said...

I don't want to high jack the thread into one that questions JPII. Suffice it to say that the medical profession itself, which admittedly could be driven by secular motives, has stated that rather than miraculous cure, the woman was misdiagnosed. As the son of a Mother who died of a disease that was originally misdiagnosed I am somewhat better informed than the average person on how frequently Parkinson's is misdiagnosed, so it resonates with me. Rather than debate it here, unless Father wants to start a thread on it, I would encourage you to simply research it yourself.

As for the Church and what they surely do or do not....remember always that the Church is made entirely or fallible humans, many driven by less than pure purposes. She is capable of many grave errors, as we should all well know by now. The Beatification process is no different.

Templar said...

Getting back on point, MI I have read the FAQ on the SSPX USA website, and I don't find anything particularly offensive there. The SSPX has put forth for decades the sound theological reasons why they believe the Pauline Mass to be sacrilegious. You can get upset about it, but they have points, valid ones too based on the fact that the Vatican was willing to discuss same with them over the past few years , in great detail. Even those of us who accept the validity of the OF, and officially the SSPX does, barely, may be inclined to believe the points the SSPX makes about the OF Mass theologically sound. As for setting the bar high on issues of conduct and morality (modest and appropriate dress) I see nothing wrong with it. If modern society has embraced the notion that woman should all dress in the most provocative manner possible why must the SSPX follow suit? Even the "mainstream" Church asks it's laity to conduct themselves with modesty of dress, they just don't enforce it very well. I don't have a problem with it....I'd love it if society were once again one where the norm was suits for men as every day wear, and dresses for woman as every day wear. I personally prefer that and if you asked my opinion, as you might of an SSPX Chapel attendee, I would be willing to say why and to defend it. However, while it's my opinion it's not something I can force anyone to comply with, if the SSPX have found a way to do so, God Bless them for it, they are teaching a valuable lesson to those they minister too.

Militia Immaculata said...

Templar, although it doesn't seem to be there now, one example I can give you of offensive things in the SSPX's FAQ section is that I distinctly remember that a short time ago it said that diocesan-approved Traditional Latin Masses should be avoided, as the priests and laity involved with them are "sellouts" to Modernism (they didn't come right out and use those exact words, but the implication was clear).

In addition, while I'm sure most of us would agree that the Ordinary Form of the Mass as it is now is deficient in many ways and that the way it's celebrated in all too many places is sacrilegious, it nevertheless CANNOT be intrinsically sacrilegious. The 7th Canon on the Sacrifice of the Mass from the Council of Trent states, "If anyone says that the ceremonies, vestments, and outward signs which the Catholic Church makes use of in the celebration of Masses are incentives to impiety, rather than offices of piety, let him be anathema." Thus, no approved Liturgy of the Catholic Church can be intrinsically sacrilegious, as that right there would make it an incentive to impiety (not to mention making a liar out of Our Lord, who promised that the gates of hell would never prevail against His Church).

As for having high standards for conduct and morality, that's great; I have no beef with that. But to make requirements that the Church herself doesn't even make is taking things too far. I mean, it's OK for individuals to have standards (we all have them, actually). But if it doesn't involve doing what the Church requires or avoiding what she forbids, then it's really none of our business whether or not those around us do it. Nor is it the place of anybody -- layperson or priest -- to require what Holy Mother Church doesn't even require. By the way, isn't that one of the things the Pharisees were guilty of?