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The SSPX Pews Ask Bishop Fellay

Where Are You Leading Us?

TIA was asked by Mr. Jaime Flores Guerrero, co-author of this Open Letter to Bishop Bernard Fellay, to edit his translation of the letter from its original Spanish and post it on our website. With pleasure we assist him in this request. The subtitles are ours.
The Editor
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Open Letter to His Excellency
Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior General of SSPX

Jaime Flores Guerrero & Marco Flores Guerrero

On 15 December 2009, some of the faithful at a modest Mass Centre in Mexico sent the Superior General of the Society of Saint Pius X, Bishop Bernard Fellay, a letter asking for some clarifications on issues that are causing serious doubts and concerns among the traditionalist faithful in various places.

Since we received neither a reply nor an acknowledgment of receipt, we decided to publish that letter, slightly adapted, as an Open Letter to ensure it reaches its destination and to express the perplexities of all the faithful who find themselves confounded by analogous circumstances.

We hope Bishop Fellay, as Superior General of an institution that has provided us with so many advantages, will deign to say some words to resolve our spiritual disorientation.

No offense is intended to him or the other superiors of the Society, or to the SSPX itself. It is our desire to address Bishop Fellay in the spirit that inspired Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and Bishop de Castro Mayer, as well as many priests and lay people, when they approached the ecclesiastical authorities, that is, as helpless sheep seeking the assistance of their Shepherd.

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Bishop Bernard Fellay
Superior General of the Society of Saint Pius X

Most Reverend Excellency,

In view of the present actions and statements by the SSPX authorities regarding their relations with the Vatican and the diverse opinions and confusion they have produced, many of us have gone to the priests to express our doubts. We were trying to resolve our anxieties and concerns, and preserve our confidence in the institution founded by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. Unfortunately, many of those priests are unable to answer our questions. Their responses lack conviction, and they often merely advise us to trust the authorities of the Society. This is why, with due respect, we address to you the following questions:

Clashing concepts of the Church

Your Excellency, which of the two authorities should we trust?
  • The one that in 2004 rejected all "nuanced" agreements with Rome, given its syncretistic spirit, and argued that “we must turn our backs with horror and disgust on this conception of Church and this form of communion”? (1)

  • Or the authority that in 2009 joyfully announced that conditions for talks between the Vatican and the SSPX had been met, and then effectively entered into them?

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre

"Do not accept this bastard Mass"
There would be no reason to ask this question if Modernist Rome had moved away from the syncretistic "communion" which caused that strong rejection in the past (2). But, far from that, the Vatican authorities – including the Pope – continue to engage in "ecumenical" ceremonies and approve those practices everywhere.

Bishop de Galarreta was very clear in this regard: Benedict XVI “is theologically identified with the Second Vatican Council. His teaching and government are based upon the spirit of the Council. He wants to incorporate us into an ecumenical conception of the official Church; he is practicing ecumenism with us” (3).

Contradictory Masses

We respectfully insist, Your Excellency, which of the two authorities should we trust?
  • The one that endorsed the Brief Critical Study by Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci sent to Paul VI, in which they stated that the Novus Ordo Missae, “in its ensemble and details, represents a striking departure from Catholic theology”? (4)

  • Or the authority that is delighted with the Motu proprio Summorun Pontificum, a document that expressly affirms that the Roman Missal promulgated by St. Pius V must be considered an extraordinary expression of the lex orandi [way of praying]? And further affirms that the Missals of St. Pius V and Paul VI are both legitimate expressions of the lex orandi of the Church and “do not lead to any division in the Church's lex credendi [way of believing]”?

How can one explain that the SSPX is celebrating the Motu proprio, which asserts that the “bastard Mass” of Paul VI (as Archbishop Lefebvre used to call it) and the Mass of St. Pius V both correspond to the same lex credendi? Would you be kind enough to tell us when Paul VI's Mass stopped departing from Catholic theology?

Contradictory attitudes regarding the 1988 excommunication

Your Excellency, once again we respectfully ask: which one of the two authorities should we trust?
  • The one that in 2006 said it could not ask for the lifting of an excommunication that was null? (5)

  • Or the authority that in 2009 requested the lifting of that excommunication, and, when it was lifted, celebrated by having the Magnificat sung in all the SSPX chapels and formally thanked Benedict XVI?

Please, Your Excellency, we request an answer to these questions. Do not abandon those of us who want to be faithful to the True Church.

In 1988 the Society felt a such a joy and satisfaction to be excommunicated by a "system that labels itself the Conciliar Church" that even the priests and seminarians, who were not included in the excommunication, requested that it be extended to them. Today it is difficult to understand why there was such strong insistence for the excommunication to be lifted.

Contradictory interpretations of the excommunication

Bishop Bernard Fellay

Speaking out of both sides of his mouth
Your Excellency, which one of the two authorities should we trust?
  • The one that did not recognize the validity of the excommunication?

  • Or the authority that publicly offered thanks for it being lifted, thereby accepting its validity and effectiveness? (6)

In addressing the faithful, the SSPX authorities have repeatedly stated that they considered the excommunication invalid and rejected it. In the letter the four Bishops sent to Benedict XVI thanking him, however, they recognized that the excommunication was effective from their consecrations in 1988 until January 21, 2009.

Humbly and respectfully we beseech your response. If there should be no answer, who could blame us for being distrustful after witnessing all these contradictions?

Devotion to the Blessed Mother used to justify concessions

Your Excellency, allow us to ask another question: Where is the respect for the Blessed Virgin Mary the Society always professed?

The issuing of Benedict XVI’s Motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, in which the Holy Mass of all times was humiliated, was attributed to her. The lifting of the invalid excommunication was also attributed to the Mother of God (7).

How can anyone say that those documents are graces granted by the Virgin Mary? How can one explain that this statement – which many consider blasphemous – comes from those who direct the Society of Saint Pius X?

The apostasy of Campos repeated in the SSPX

One year after the surrender [of the traditionalist priests] in Campos, Brazil, Your Excellency warned us about it: “Little by little one gives up the fight and ends by accepting the situation. Everything in Campos still looks traditional, no doubt, so that the people see nothing different. The shrewder ones among them, however, note the tendency of the priests to speak more often and respectfully about news from Rome, omitting their past warnings and ignoring the present day deviations. To become accustomed to this situation and to cease to correct it is a great danger.” (8)

Bishop Fernando Rifan

Bishop Rifan in Campos: A spurious marriage of Traditionalism with Vatican II & the New Mass
What should we think when we see the same happening inside the SSPX today?

Today the priests are speaking more often and more respectfully about Rome. It suffices to read the letters of thanks filled with eulogies of Benedict XVI and to see how Your Excellency referred to him as “an upright person with a great concern for the Church.”

Today the Society is omitting its past warnings about the errors of the Modernist Church.

Was there any official pronouncement of the SSPX on the last encyclical of Benedict XVI? For more than one year now, the Society has stopped commenting on the deviations of the post-conciliar Church. This has gone so far that it has punished the priests and faithful who have done so.

Where was the censure of all the “interreligious” acts (blatant apostasies) in which Benedict XVI participated in 2009?

Is the Society becoming accustomed to this situation? Is it ceasing to correct it?

One sees that the words you wrote in 2003 referring to Campos can easily be applied today to the SSPX.

Final words

Your Excellency, we have been asked to trust the authorities of the SSPX.

But how can we do so when we learn that Fr. Celier, a priest in good standing in the Society, was authorized to collaborate in a "modernist agenda" and made a proposal suggesting that a rite derived from the mixture of the modernist and traditionalist liturgies would be fully satisfactory? (9)

Karl Lehman appears traditional

Heading to a hybrid Mass: Card. Lehman, a known progressivist, now appears traditional
How can we trust the authorities of the SSPX when we learn that, after three years, this same priest neither disavowed his statement nor was he punished? (10)

How can one explain that the SSPX no longer considers the Mass of St. Pius V fully satisfactory? How could it consider that a mixture of the traditional liturgy and the modernist liturgy could produce a fully satisfactory rite?

Those who have raised their voices to alert others about the danger of the errors mentioned in this Open Letter have become the target of attacks by some SSPX priests, who accuse them of judging their superiors.

Your Excellency once affirmed: “A simple exposition of the facts does not transform one into a judge. Otherwise, one would have to agree to no longer think” (11).

Should anyone accuse us of judging the SSPX authorities, we would respond by making your words our own. For example, the contradictions pointed out above, the offenses to the Blessed Virgin Mary, as well as the double language used when addressing the faithful on the one hand and the media or the Vatican on the other constitute a “simple exposition of facts.” Pointing them out “does not transform us into judges” of the SSPX authorities. “Otherwise, one would have to agree to no longer think.”

Anguished, but with deep respect, we end by asking: Where are you heading, Your Excellency? Where are you leading those priests, religious men and women and seminarians whom God called to be under your custody? Where are you steering the faithful who have placed their trust in you? How will Your Excellency respond to God regarding them when He will call you to judgment?


       Jaime Adolfo Flores Guerrero & Marco Antonio Flores Guerrero
1. “How can anyone claim that modernist Rome has changed and is favoring Tradition? What a delusion?” Letter to friends and benefactors # 65, 2004.
2. In July of 2003, Your Excellency affirmed, “We will believe that Rome is truly heading toward Tradition only when it changes and corrects – in one way or another – the general anti-traditional line that continues to infect the Church.” (Letter to friends and benefactors # 64).
3. The Angelus, May 2, 2009.
4. Letter to friends and benefactors # 62, 2002.
5. Bishop Fellay, Sermon at Flavigny on February 2th, 2006, The Angelus, May 2, 2009; Letter of the Superior General of the Priestly Society of Saint Pius X, January 24, 2009.
6. SSPX Bishops Letter to Our Holy Father, January 29, 2009.
7. Although Fr. Bouchacourt qualified it as “very deplorable” and Bishop de Galarreta has said it “corresponds neither to truth nor justice, The Angelus, May 2, 2009.
8. Superior General's Letter to Friends & Benefactors #63. January 6, 2003.
9. Benedict XVI and the tradicionalists. Book writen by Fr. Gregory Celier with journalist Olivier Pichon, pubblished in February 2007.
10. Agenda, Benedict XVI 2010, Ed. Terra Mare, France.
11. Letter to friends and benefactors # 62, 2002.

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Posted February 8, 2010

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