Bishop Fellay Could Not Have Said That...
There have been a number of comments posted on the Internet which present the statements made by His Lordship Bishop Bernard Fellay of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) to reporters of La Naci'n in Argentina, and during a talk he allegedly gave in Cordoba, Argentina, in a negative light. These comments seem to have been posted in an attempt to undermine the confidence of the SSPX faithful in the leadership of the Superior General of the Society.
This is most unfortunate, as well as being unfair to Bishop Fellay, and unfair as well to his followers who may not be versed in the Spanish language and therefore are unable to read for themselves the text of his statements. It seems proper to address this issue for the well-being of all concerned by refuting the comments concerning Bishop Fellay made by a reader of this website, as the comments made are representative of others on the Internet. The reader (we shall call him or her "Mr. A.A.") attended the talk by Bishop Fellay in Cordoba, Argentina.
Bishop Fellay on the subject of Vatican II
Mr. A.A., commenting to TIA on Bishop Fellay's talk in Cordoba, wrote:
"I was surprised to hear him [Bishop Fellay] stating that Vatican II can be accepted according to Tradition, as the Vatican and Benedict XVI want us to believe."
This statement, purportedly from the mouth of Bishop Fellay, is contrary to what His Lordship has said about Vatican II on numerous occasions. In a conference given by Bishop Fellay in Kansas City, Missouri, on 10 November 2004, His Lordship stated:
"There are evil things in the Council, [Vatican Council II] in the New Mass; they are really poisonous. They are taking souls away from God. It is cheating, it is hidden, it is not obvious, but it is there, and after a while you see it. It is becoming obvious." (1)
Again, in an interview with DICI concerning his August 29, 2005 meeting with Pope Benedict the XVI, Bishop Fellay stated:
"We must show the council in a different light from that which is given by Rome. In denouncing the errors, it is indispensable for us to show their logical consequences and their impact on the disastrous situation of today's Church..." (2)
Finally, in an article published in the July/August 2007 issue of Christendom, Bishop Fellay again made the position of the SSPX concerning Vatican II clear:
"My very dear brethren, if the Mass is restored, it is a good thing for the Church, but it is not the end of the story. All the errors of the Council, which have spread everywhere, are the object of the next stage. The combat is not over. Far from it. And as long as the authorities want to force us to accept the poison which came through the Council, we must keep saying "no." We cannot give up. It is a matter of life and death! The Mass is one battle won, but it is not yet the end of the war [emphasis added]" (3).
Not having the text of the talk given by Mgr. Fellay in Cordoba, I cannot give his words on that occasion. It is hardly possible, though, that His Lordship would have made statements contrary to the position he has consistently held over the years concerning Vatican II.
Bishop Fellay exonerates Paul VI... Not!
In his comments to TIA, Mr. A.A. accuses Bishop Fellay of "trying to justify [Pope] Paul VI and present him under a good light, saying everything he did was under the counsel of secretaries" and further accuses His Lordship of exonerating "Paul VI for the Novus Ordo Mass he approved."
The reason given by Mr. A.A. for his statement about the "exoneration" of Pope Paul VI by Bishop Fellay is that His Lordship stated that Paul VI signed the New Mass into law without reading it first.
Without a copy of the text of Bishop Fellay's talk in Cordoba, it is impossible to know what has led to such accusations on the part of Mr. A.A. However, the fact that Pope Paul VI signed the New Mass into law without prior reading on his part is a matter of historical record. This has been well proven by the late Michael Davies, and the reason given for the pope's imprudent action in this matter was that he trusted the architect of the New Mass, Annibale Bugnini, far too much. It has also been well documented by Michael Davies that Bugnini was the moving spirit behind not only the New Mass, but also the "reform" of Vatican II (4).
So, if Mgr. Fellay did in fact credit those close to the pope with influencing the papal decisions during the pontificate of Pope Paul VI, he was entirely correct in doing so. This should not to be seen as an 'exoneration' of Paul VI, but as something quite the contrary! The alleged statement by Bishop Fellay does not deny in any way the fact that the general orientation of Bugnini was known and supported by Paul VI.
Bishop Fellay on the New Mass
There are some who have professed shock and horror about the following statement concerning the New Mass made by Bishop Fellay during the interviews given to La Nación. Asked by the interviewer if he considered the New Mass to be valid, His Lordship replied:
"It can be. But that is not important. The important thing is that we see in it a danger, because it can lead to an erroneous thought. We say that this Mass has a Protestant taste. Benedict XVI has said himself that he dislikes the abuses in the liturgy, but when we attacked it, he defends it. The definition that was given of this Mass had three errors that are heresies. But it was so serious that they changed this definition." (5)
The abovementioned quote, saying that the New Mass can be valid, has led some to label Bishop Fellay as a 'liberal.' One person on a Catholic Internet forum even went so far as to say that "Archbishop Lefebvre must be turning over in his grave" because of the statement. (6) That is hardly likely, as Bishop Fellay's comments about the New Mass are in complete accordance with the spirit of the holy founder of the SSPX, His Grace Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who said:
"All of these changes which comprise the new Liturgy of the Mass are truly of perilous consequence, especially for younger priests. Not having been nourished with the doctrines of the Sacrifice, of the Real Presence, of Transubstantiation, these no longer have any significance for young priests who, as a result, soon lose the intention to perform what the Church performs. Consequently, they no longer celebrate valid Masses.
"Older priests, on the other hand, even when they celebrate according to the Novus Ordo, may still have the Faith of all time. For years they have celebrated Mass according to the Tridentine rite, and in accordance with the intentions of that rite, we can assume that their Masses are valid. To the degree, however, that these intentions disappear, even their Masses may become invalid [Emphasis added]." (7)
The New Mass may be validly celebrated if the priest has the proper matter, form, and intention. However, it remains a very real danger to the faith of Catholics because of the many Catholic doctrines implicitly denied in it, and because of what Msgr. Fellay aptly terms the "Protestant taste" of the rite which leads souls to indifferentism and destroys the Catholic spirit. That is why the SSPX has always warned its followers to remain aloof from the New Mass if they wish to keep their faith. In the interview given to La Nación, Bishop Fellay has merely stated a number of facts about the New Mass. To reach the conclusion, as some have, that by presenting these facts His Lordship shows himself to be a 'liberal' is to give an example of foolish and paralogistic reasoning.
MMr. A.A. completes his comments by giving his "impression" that Bishop Fellay's talk in Cordoba was intended to "create an atmosphere of distension among traditionalists toward Vatican II and the 'reform of the reform' of Pope Benedict XVI, in order to soften reactions" (8).
This is a curious comment. We are to believe that Mgr. Fellay is trying to soften reactions... to what? Mr. A.A. leaves us in suspense. It cannot be toward Vatican II - we have had over forty years to react to that fiasco. Can Mr. A.A. be referring to reactions caused by the 'reform of the reform'? If so, he is not well acquainted with traditionalists. After more than forty years of 'reforms', each of which has caused increasing damage to the Church, there is no one on earth who could soften the reactions of traditionalists to a 'reform of the reform'! For that matter, Bishop Fellay would be the last person on earth who would try to prevent the righteous anger of Catholics witnessing the destruction of the Church by modernists.
There is only one reform that will have the implicit approval of Bishop Fellay and traditionalist Catholics throughout the world. That reform will consist of the leaders of the Church abandoning their novelties and returning to Tradition. Until we witness that blessed reform, the SSPX, under the able leadership of His Lordship Bishop Bernard Fellay, will continue to fight unceasingly in the cause of God and for the triumph of the true Catholic faith.
In Jesus and Mary,
1. What Catholics Need to Know: The Conference, The Angelus, November 2004
2. This interview by DICI, was published on their website on September 17, 2005
3. Christendom No. 12 July-August 2007, pg. 3
4. Dr. Carol Byrne, Book review of Michael Davies' Liturgical Time Bombs In Vatican II, Mater Dei Magazine, December 2003.
5. LLa Nacion, August 27, 2007
7. An Examination of the Shocking Similarities Between the New Mass and Luther's "Mass", Conference given by His Grace Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, February 15, 1975, Florence, Italy
Fellay Was Pro-Vatican at Cordoba
Dear Editor of TIA website,
I thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to answer the accusations of Mrs. P.P. against my recent message to TIA regarding Bishop Bernard Fellay.
Her letter as a whole reveals that the lady is not open to admit that the superior of SSPX could have said what he actually said. A priori, she does not believe in my testimony, does not understand Spanish to check for herself what he said, and it seems that she would be only satisfied if she could have an English translation to make up her own mind. It seems to me that these demands regarding a simple piece of information go beyond common sense. They are only explained by her insecurity regarding her hopes about the Bishop.
I confirm what I said in my letter. Bishop Fellay stated that Vatican II can be accepted if interpreted according to the tradition of the Church. I attended the talk in Cordoba, and I perfectly recall this statement. Any other attendee can confirm it, as could the tape, if the record was not censured.
The allegations by Mrs. P.P. that I wrote my note because I am a part of a campaign to sabotage confidence of SSPX members in Bishop Fellay are entirely imaginary. I am not informed about the internal positions of its members, and, honestly, I don't care about them. I went to that talk because I live in Cordoba and was curious. Afterwards, I reported my surprise at what I heard to invite TIA readers to be vigilant. Nothing else. The allegations of Mrs. P.P. against me are a fruit of her nervous imagination.
I also was unaware of what Bishop Fellay has said regarding Vatican II before that talk. However, I cannot understand how the fact that he said before the opposite of what he said now would prove that I would be lying. Bishop Fernando Rifan said many things in the past that he contradicted when he compromised with Vatican II and the New Mass.
By the way, some time after that talk I went to a Mass (Melchite rite) in my city at which the Apostolic Nuncio to Argentina, Archbishop Adriano Bernardini, was present. After the Mass I approached the Nuncio and commented that I had attended the talk of Bishop Fellay. Archbishop Bernardini praised Msgr. Fellay: "He is working hard, he is working hard." As I was asking my leave, he held me by the arm and emphatically stated, still referring to Fellay: "What is important is unity. This is what is important!" No doubt he was praising a very good friend of the Vatican.
Regarding my affirmation that Bishop Fellay tried to exonerate Paul VI for having approved the New Mass, which I also confirm, Mrs. P.P. takes a contradictory position. First, she attacks me because I said what I said. Then she affirms that Paul VI actually did not know what he was signing when he approved the New Mass. I don't see what I am supposed to defend myself against.
Next, she demonstrates that SSPX considers the New Mass legitimate, a point that I didn't touch in my letter and, therefore, does not concern me.
The conclusion of Mrs. P.P. is still more intrusive than the rest of her letter. She refuses me the right to have impressions. It is quite aggressive, isn't it? Despite her prohibition, I truly had the impression that Bishop Fellay was trying to enlist the support of those traditionalists of Cordoba - and of other cities he visited on his Latin American tour - for the motu proprio of Benedict XVI, as well as trying to anesthetize reactions against it. I consider my impressions objective. If the lady did not find them to her liking, that is her problem.
This is what I would like to say in response to Mrs. P.P.
I thank you for posting my response along with her letter.
En Cristo Rey,
Posted September 12, 2007
The opinions expressed in this section - What People Are Commenting -
do not necessarily express those of TIA
Related Topics of Interest
Fellay, Buddhism, Text and Context
Quo Primum vs. Novus Ordo
The Motu Proprio, after the Emotions