I took at look at Father Z's website to see what he had to say about this interview, and was surprised at the rather condemnatory tone his posting took. He seems to feel there is little hope that there will be a reconciliation, and puts all of the blame on the SSPX. I will put his comments in blue, and mine are in red.
Interview with Bishop Bernard Fellay on the occasion of the General Chapter (July 16, 2012)16-07-2012
Doctrinal mutism is not the answer to the “silent apostasy”
DICI : How did the General Chapter go? How was the mood of the meeting?
Bishop Fellay : It took place in a rather hot atmosphere, since July is a particularly hot month in the Valais! But in a very busy schedule, where the members of the Chapter were able to freely exchange ideas, as it befits such a working meeting.
DICI : Were you able to discuss the relations with Rome? Were there any forbidden questions? The dissensions manifested within the SSPX these last moths, have they calm down?
Bishop Fellay : That makes for quite a few questions! Regarding Rome, we went to the very heart of the issues, and all the capitularies were able to study the complete file. Nothing was left aside and there were no taboos among us. It was my duty to exhibit with detail all the documentation exchanged with the Vatican, something which was rendered difficult by the obnoxious climate of recent months. This made it possible for us to conduct direct discussions which have cleared out the doubts and dissipated any misunderstandings, resulting in peace and unity of hearts, which of course is something to rejoice about.
DICI : How do you foresee the relations with Rome after this Chapter?
Bishop Fellay : All ambiguity has now been resolved among us. Very soon we will convey to Rome the position of the Chapter, which has been the occasion to specify our road map insisting upon the conservation of our identity, the only efficacious means to help the Church to restore Christendom. [It should be noted that the SSPX has no doctrinal division with Rome. They are insistent that they be allowed to adhere to the traditional teaching of the Church prior to Vatican II, and my own personal opinion, which of course means nothing, is that there can be nothing wrong with that. The Catholic Church is in crisis and has been for the last 40 years. We need to go back to tradition.] As I told you recently, “if we want to make fruitful the treasure of Tradition for the benefit of souls, we must both speak and act” (cf. interview of 8 June 2012, DICI #256). We cannot keep silent when facing the rampant loss of faith, the staggering fall of the number of vocations, and the decrease of religious practice. We cannot refrain from speaking when confronted with the “silent apostasy” and its causes. Doctrinal mutism is not the answer to this “silent apostasy” which even John Paul II denounced already in 2003. [No one who is being honest can deny the truth of this statement. Vocations are in serious decline and as I have posted on this blog, the majority of Catholics barely even know their religion, much less practice it.]
Our approach is inspired not only by the doctrinal firmness of Archbishop Lefebvre but also by his pastoral charity. The Church has always considered that the best testimony to the truth is to be found in the early Christians’ unity built in prayer and charity. They had “but one heart and one soul,” as we read in the Acts of the Apostles (cf. Acts 4, 32). Such a common ideal is also our watchword, Cor Unum being the name of the internal bulletin of the SSPX. Hence we distance ourselves resolutely from all those who have tried to take advantage of the situation in order to drive a wedge turning Society members against each other. Such a spirit does not come from God.
DICI : What are your thoughts on the appointment of Archbishop Mueller as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith?
Bishop Fellay : It is nobody’s secret that the former bishop of Regensburg, where our seminary of Zaitzkofen is located, does not like us. After the courageous action of Benedict XVI on our behalf, in 2009, he refused to cooperate and treated us like if we were lepers! He is the one who stated that our seminary should be closed and that our students should go to the seminaries of their dioceses of origin, adding bluntly that “the four bishops of the SSPX should resign”! (cf. interview with Zeit Online, 8 May 2009).
For us what is more important and more alarming is his leading role at the head of the Congregation for the Faith, which must defend the Faith with the proper mission of fighting doctrinal errors and heresy. Numerous writings of Bishop Mueller on the real transubstantiation of bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, on the dogma of Our Lady’s virginity, on the need of conversion of non-Catholics to the Catholic Church… are questionable, to say the least! There is no doubt that these texts would have been in the past the object of an intervention of the Holy Office, which now is the very Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith presided by him. [Bishop Fellay's comments are confirmed by an article from catholicherald.co.uk: "Other issues raised by these Vatican conservatives—who sent out e-mails all over the place (don’t you love it? Vatican conspiracy in the digital age) suggesting that Archbishop Müller is not a man of “secure doctrine”—were his views on the perpetual virginity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Eucharist (he has apparently suggested we shouldn’t use the term “body and blood of Christ” to describe the consecrated elements – so what DO we call them?), and ecumenism (last October, he apparently declared that Protestants are “already part of the Church” founded by Christ.)" However, Father Z's comment to Bishop Fellay is "I don't buy that." Maybe Father Z needs to do a little investigation before he makes such statements.]
DICI : How do you see the future of the SSPX? In the midst of its fight for the Church’s Tradition, will the SSPX keep to the same knife’s edge?
Bishop Fellay : More than ever we must maintain the knife’s edge traced by our venerated founder. [Father Z writes: "But, dear Bishop Fellay, will the SSPX do that in clear unity with the Roman Pontiff or from the margin?" That is a very fair question from Father Z, but I think the answer can be found in this interview.] It is not easy to keep, yet absolutely vital for the Church and the treasure of its Tradition. We are Catholic, we recognise the pope and the bishops, [Father Z writes here: "Recognize, but don't submit to. " which I think is a very unfair statement on Father Z's part. He is implying something that Bishop Fellay is not saying, as can be seen in the following statements] but above all else we must keep intact the Faith, source of God’s grace. Therefore we must avoid all that may endanger the Faith, without trying to become a replacement for the Church, Catholic, Apostolic, and Roman. Far from us the idea of establishing a parallel Church, of exercising a parallel magisterium! [Father Z goes off on an entirely different subject by interjecting: "Tell that to the Magisterium of Nuns! Instead of recognzing this statement as one of submission to the Magesterium of the Church on the part of Bishop Fellay, Father Z attempts to divert our attention elsewhere]
This was well explained by Archbishop Lefebvre more than thirty years ago: he did not wish to hand down anything else but what he himself had received from the Church of two millennia. [This is a most positive statement from Bishop Fellay which Father Z completely ignores. Bishop Fellay is saying he wants to be in complete union with the Church, but will reject that which is not according to the 2000 year tradition of the church.] This is what we want also, following his lead, so that we may effectively help “to restore all things in Christ.” It is not us who will break with Rome, the Eternal Rome, mistress of wisdom and truth [here Father Z interjects: Sigh. "Eternal Rome". There's your "hermeneutic of rupture and discontinuity" in another guise. Again, a very unfair statement from Father Z considering how many who still call themselves Catholic have broken with Rome on such issues as contraception, abortion, and even allowing the use of the Latin Mass, as I reported a few days ago on my blog. I can only once more state that the SSPX has never been in doctrinal conflict with Rome]. Nevertheless, it would be unrealistic to deny that there is a modernist and liberal influence in the Church since the Second Vatican Council and its subsequent reforms. [Anyone who would deny this statement is not living in the real world.] In a word, we maintain the faith in the primacy of the Roman Pontiff and in the Church founded upon Peter, but we refuse all which contributes to the “self-demolition of the Church” acknowledged by Paul VI himself since 1968. May Our Lady, Mother of the Church, hasten the day of its authentic restoration! [Father Z's comment to this is: "May she hasten your submission so that you can raise the roof and do your work within clear unity!" I think Father Z is completely missing the point here. The Church is in desperate need of restoration. Our Blessed Mother is the one who destroys all heresies, she is the one who crushes the head of the serpent, and she is the one who will bring restoration to the Church. That is why Bishop Fellay specifically said, "May our Lady, Mother of the Church, hasten the day of its authentic restoration." It upsets me greatly that someone like Father Z, who presents himself as a traditional Catholic, does not see this.]Father Z does not take into account that there can be little doubt that the SSPX has been in deep prayer over this matter. They took the bold step of excluding Bishop Williamson from their talks because they felt he was more disruptive than helpful. I personally will be very surprised if the SSPX does not come into union with the Vatican. I think Bishop Fellay has made it very clear that he wishes this to happen, but he wants complete assurance that he will not be forced to accept and participate in practices that go against Catholic tradition. As we are told by the Apostle Paul, whatsoever is not of faith is sin (Romans 14:23). At the same time, if Bishop Fellay truly believes in the authority of the Magesterium as he says he does and does not wish to be a "parallel Magesterium", he must come back to Rome. Like the rest of us, Bishop Fellay must deal with the "smoke of Satan" that has entered the Church and not run away from it anymore.
I think we'll all know the answer in the next few days.
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