That sums it up…

SSPX Bp. Fellay: Francis considers us Catholics — Doctrine is not that important to him

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Almost there: Bp. Fellay was interviewed on Reconciliation with Rome
by Edward Pentin on May 13, 2016

The Society of St. Pius X’s Superior General Bishop Bernard Fellay was back in his comfort zone when Novus Ordo journalist Edward Pentin questioned him on May 13 in a new exclusive interview for the National Catholic Register published on May 18. It was friendly fire only, and this is how he likes it, quite in contrast to his epic fail when interrogated by Tim Sebastian on the aptly-named Conflict Zone program in February — a performance so embarrassing that the SSPX never alerted its adherents to the interview’s existence.

Speaking of interviews… “Pope” Francis recently dumped his latest truckload of Modernist bilge in a Q&A session with the French La Croix paper. Asked about the SSPX, Francis said:

Bishop Fellay is a man with whom one can dialogue. That is not the case for other elements who are a little strange, such as Bishop Williamson or others who have been radicalized. Leaving this aside, I believe, as I said in Argentina, that they are Catholics on the way to full communion.

(Guillaume Goubert & Sébastien Maillard, “Interview Pope Francis”La Croix, May 17, 2016; trans. by Stefan Gigacz; underlining added.)

Francis’ frank admission confirms all the recent developments between Rome and the SSPX we have reported on and makes it clear that the SSPX’s full recognition by Rome is imminent. Pentin himself, in a companion article to the interview, states that “sources say [that regularization] could happen in a matter of weeks or months.” (Perhaps this is also why John Salza and Robert Siscoe published their intimidating-looking but theologically inept manifesto against Sedevacantism just at this time, to ensure there will be as few defections from the SSPX into Sedevacantism as possible when the day comes.)

We surmise that both the Vatican and the SSPX will try hard to get the reunification completed by November 20 of this year, which is the end of the “Year of Mercy”, as long as they can sufficiently “sell” the deal to their adherents without causing too much of a ruckus. However, at the very latest — and let this be our prediction now for the record — the Vatican will recognize the Lefebvrist Society absolutely no later than 2018, which is when Bp. Fellay’s term as Superior General ends. Having been in this position since 1994, surely he would not be re-elected to a third 12-year term, so time is of the essence for both sides.

Ed Pentin’s interview of Bp. Fellay is available on video. The clips embedded below are from the National Catholic Register’s page here. We will offer some commentary below.

There is a lot that could be said about His Excellency’s remarks but much of it would just be a repetition of what has been said before, so we will comment only on a select few highlights.

Bp. Fellay says the following:

The problems which we denounce are worsening in the Church — in general, I say in the Church — while a certain part, especially in Rome, is starting to say or to recognize that something must be done. And so on the side of the Congregation of the Faith there is a new perspective on us which claims that, thanks to these discussions once again, it appears that the Society [of St. Pius X] is not schismatic.

(Bp. Fellay, Clip 1, @ 6:54-7:30)

We have heard this kind of talk for a long, long time. For example, in a conference given on March 5, 2002 — that’s over 14 years ago! — the same Bishop Fellay, commenting once again on relations with the Vatican, said the following:

We pray for the day when Rome will not only say that the fruits of the Society are good, but will also say, “It’s the way we have to go.” In the meantime, the Society will do its work; it will not be inactive. It will help priests to understand the problems within the Church. I have assigned several of our priests to conduct some theological studies and prepare some publications. You may call them missiles, if you want. We hope Rome will finally say, “It’s true, there is a problem.” I tell you, people inside Rome ask the Society for this, people who say to us, “Please, don’t give in. Continue. Insist on your prerequisites!”

(Bp. Bernard Fellay, “Rome, the Society of Saint Pius X, Campos, Assisi, etc. – Part 2”, Mar. 5, 2002; underlining added. )

So, it seems that the SSPX Superior is essentially saying that nothing has really changed since 2002. Sure, there are now more people saying there are problems and something needs to be done, but that’s probably just because “the problems which we denounce are worsening in the Church”. In other words, Rome is making the problems worse and worse, and so as a result more and more people in Rome are turning towards the SSPX. Now that is a development one might call curious but not exactly positive. One might as well conclude that the solution is to make things worsebecause it is in getting worse that they are, somehow, getting better. Ouch.

Anyway, in the second video clip, His Excellency continues as follows:

First, we have always, repeatedly, and constantly said, “We are not outside of the Church.” And so, we maintain that — you may say — we have all the elements which are necessary to what was understood in former times of being the communion [sic], so to be in communion with the Church.

(Bp. Fellay, Clip 2, @ 0:17-0:40)

Bp. Fellay is a native French-speaking Swiss and so sometimes struggles with English, hence some of his remarks are a bit difficult to understand. Still, it seems clear that he means here that the SSPX is in communion with the Church according to the traditional understanding. That’s very nice of him to say, but there are a few problems: (1) It isn’t true; and (2) the entity he calls “the Church” disagrees with him — which is precisely why they’re having negotiations and why Antipope John Paul II referred to a “schism” in his 1988 motu proprio Ecclesia Dei. It is not given to the heretic or schismatic to pronounce himself inside the Church — that is the prerogative of the Holy See. Pope Pius IX — who also knew a little bit about traditional Catholic doctrine — had the following to say about this:

For any man to be able to prove his Catholic faith and affirm that he is truly a Catholic, he must be able to convince the Apostolic See of this.For this See is predominant and with it the faithful of the whole Church should agree. And the man who abandons the See of Peter can only be falsely confident that he is in the Church. As a result, that man is already a schismatic and a sinner who establishes a see in opposition to the unique See of the blessed Peter from which the rights of sacred communion derive for all men.

(Pope Pius IX, Encyclical Quartus Supra, n. 8; underlining added.)

Indeed one simple way to keep men professing Catholic truth is to maintain their communion with and obedience to the Roman Pontiff. For it is impossible for a man ever to reject any portion of the Catholic faith without abandoning the authority of the Roman Church. In this authority, the unalterable teaching office of this faith lives on. It was set up by the divine Redeemer and, consequently, the tradition from the Apostles has always been preserved. So it has been a common characteristic both of the ancient heretics and of the more recent Protestants — whose disunity in all their other tenets is so great — to attack the authority of the Apostolic See. But never at any time were they able by any artifice or exertion to make this See tolerate even a single one of their errors.

(Pope Pius IX, Encyclical Nostis et Nobiscum, nn. 16-17; underlining added.)

Fellay then goes on to criticize the Novus Ordo idea, invented at Vatican II, of “full” vs. “partial” communion, which he rightly rejects. But then one may be allowed to wonder just why he is negotiating to be recognized by a “Pope” who himself says that the end goal of these negotiations is that of “full communion” for the SSPX, towards which Fellay & Co. are well “on the way.” This is the very same “full communion” that Fellay alternately claims he either (1) doesn’t need, or (2) already has, or that (3) doesn’t exist because the whole concept of full vs. partial communion is not a Catholic concept. Welcome to the jungle!

Beginning at 8:10 in the second clip, Fellay then recycles the old “the Pope is an enigma” thesis, which was already used as far back as Paul VI and John Paul II. This time he applies it to Francis, claiming that from his actions one cannot infer what he believes because he constantly contradicts himself — a rather curious position to take for someone who styles himself a devotee of Saint Pius X, for it was this sainted Pontiff who exposed the Modernists for precisely this, that they contradict themselves in order to deceive:

This will appear more clearly to anybody who studies the conduct of Modernists, which is in perfect harmony with their teachings. In their writings and addresses they seem not unfrequently to advocate doctrines which are contrary one to the other, so that one would be disposed to regard their attitude as double and doubtful. But this is done deliberately and advisedly, and the reason of it is to be found in their opinion as to the mutual separation of science and faith. Thus in their books one finds some things which might well be approved by a Catholic, but on turning over the page one is confronted by other things which might well have been dictated by a rationalist.

(Pope St. Pius X, Encyclical Pascendi, n. 18; underlining added.)

Add to this the fact that in October 2013 Bp. Fellay himself recognized that Francis is a “genuine Modernist.”

In 1794, Pope Pius VI denounced the innovators of his time — we may call them Proto-Modernists, for their robber synod of Pistoia was a sort of archetype of Vatican II — in similar fashion:

[This behavior] cannot be excused in the way that one sees it being done, under the erroneous pretext that the seemingly shocking affirmations in one place are further developed along orthodox lines in other places, and even in yet other places corrected; as if allowing for the possibility of either affirming or denying the statement, or of leaving it up to the personal inclinations of the individual – such has always been the fraudulent and daring method used by innovators to establish error. It allows for both the possibility of promoting error and of excusing it.

… [The heretic Nestorius] expressed himself in a plethora of words, mixing true things with others that were obscure; mixing at times one with the other in such a way that he was also able to confess those things which were denied while at the same time possessing a basis for denying those very sentences which he confessed.

(Pope Pius VI, Bull Auctorem Fidei; underlining added.)

So, no, there is no enigma whatsoever here concerning garrulous Francis. Once you stop assuming that the man is a Catholic and even the Pope and instead posit that he is an anti-Catholic impostor trying to destroy Catholicism, all of his actions make perfect sense.

The superior of a fraternity that claims St. Pius X as its patron, should know all this.

Next, we come to what is probably the best part of the entire interview with the head of the Lefebvrists:

But for him [Francis], as the doctrine is not so important — man, the people, are important — and there we have given enough proof that we are Catholics. So you see, that’s the approach he has.

…He just sees that we are genuine, period. And so he certainly sees things he disagrees with in us and would probably want to see us to change but for him that’s not the important [thing], the important [thing] is to love Jesus.

(Bp. Fellay, Clip 2, @ 12:04-12:46)

One can only face-palm at these observations coming from a supposed traditional Catholic bishop. For weeks, if not months, Fellay has been shouting from the rooftops that “the Pope considers us Catholics!” and now he adds as a caveat the reason why: Doctrine is not that important to him. Minor detail. But apparently, this does not faze the “traditionalist hero” from Menzingen. He acts like it’s a wonderful thing that “the Pope” recognizes him and his Lefebvrist group as Catholic, when he basically does the same thing with Protestants, Eastern Orthodox, and in a somewhat modified way also with Jews, Muslims, and virtually everyone else who has a pulse, except the Mafia, arms dealers, and those who aren’t buying his bunk about the “god of surprises”.

Let us recall a few milestones from the Francis “pontificate”:

Indeed, doctrine is not that important to Francis!

Back in 2002, Bp. Fellay seemed to be a lot more level-headed when he criticized the accord between the Vatican and the Resisters in the diocese of Campos, Brazil (who had been with Bp. Antonio de Castro Mayer), who were neutralized by the Modernist Sect by being turned into the NovusOrdo-approved “Personal Apostolic Administration of Saint John Mary Vianney”:

What kind of Rome do we have when it can sign an agreement with Campos and in the same week can do something like Assisi II? They definitely will not say “We recognize Tradition” in any universal sense. But Campos is contented because Rome has recognized Tradition in Campos. But has it, really? If Rome truly recognized Tradition anywhere it wouldn’t be able to have an Assisi II, the very contrary of Tradition. It is impossible to see in the recognition of Campos a recognition of Tradition.

On the contrary, Assisi II was extended to include Tradition! Rome is saying: “We have a place for the Zoroastrians, for Jews, for Moslems, for animists, Buddhists, Hindus, …and we have a place for you!” That’s it. Rome has a place in the zoo for Tradition.

But that’s not the position of the Society of St. Pius X. Our position is that there is only one truth, the eternal truth. This truth is exclusive. Truth will not allow its contradiction to be made equal to it. In mathematics, it’s clear. Any student who would say, “Two plus two equals five,” would fail, but ecumenism says, “It is whatever figure you like.” We say, “No, it is four, period.” Only one number is the true one. We say all the other religions are wrong, only one is true. This truth is exclusive. It is the only one by which we can be saved. All the others are just cheating the people. They cannot lead to God. And, I may say, just looking at Assisi II helps us to see the enormous problem in the Church today. The Society is not the problem; the problem is in Rome.

(Bp. Bernard Fellay, “Rome, the Society of Saint Pius X, Campos, Assisi, etc. – Part 2”, Mar. 5, 2002; underlining added.)

As Bp. Fellay has acknowledged, the problems have only gotten worse since 2002. And yet, the SSPX has never been closer to “full communion” with the Vatican than now. We have summed things up in the following meme, which you are encouraged to share:

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(click to enlarge)

But, the head of the Lefebvrist club tells us, things are different now because now “the Pope” no longer requires adherence to Vatican II and acknowledges SSPX followers as “Catholics.” Ah yes, but that is only half the story, as Fellay himself acknowledges: The reason why Francis considers them Catholics is that he doesn’t give a hoot about what they — or anyone else, for that matter — believe, and besides, they “love Jesus”, just like the Monophysites, like the Lutheran lay “exorcist”, like Tony Palmer, etc., and even the Jews, Muslims, and Pagans, although they don’t “love Jesus”, they love Him anyway because they love the poor and, as the Argentinian impostor likes to say, the poor are “the flesh of Christ”. And it’s not like the Protestants, Orthodox, Jews, Muslims, and Pagans accept Vatican II either, so there! Congratulations, Bp. Fellay — it took 14 years but you have been granted admission to the “zoo” now after all!

The whole reason why the SSPX promotes such bizarre, convoluted, and inconsistent ideas is that by saying Francis is Pope they are still trying to force the square peg of Modernism into the round hole of the Papacy — but it cannot be done. The Catholic doctrine on the Papacy is incompatible with the idea that a heretic could validly be Pope. It makes no sense. But because the SSPX absolutely refuses to admit the reality that Francis is not the Pope, they must twist, distort, ignore, and reinterpret Church teaching to whatever extent necessary to keep the irrational idea of a “non-Catholic Pope” afloat. This error is at the origin of it all. What we are witnessing in the SSPX is the practical application of this non-Catholic and totally irrational notion. As we demonstrate in this video, if you try to apply the Catholic doctrine on the Papacy to Jorge Bergoglio, you get absurdity. And that is why the SSPX is now in an absurd situation, a situation in which they cannot answer these twelve straightforward questions.

In 2002, Bp. Fellay made the following outrageous remark:

And the first principle of belonging to the Church is the Faith. All other issues, such as, for instance, union with the pope, etc. — all definitely very important — come afterwards.

(Bp. Bernard Fellay, “Rome, the Society of Saint Pius X, Campos, Assisi, etc. – Part 1”, Mar. 5, 2002; underlining added.)

This is exactly what we mean when we say the SSPX twists and distorts or ignores altogether the traditional doctrine for the sake of their pet position that the “Popes” since 1958 have been valid Popes.

Union with the Holy See is the ultimate criterion of being a Catholic, as Pope Leo XIII taught, and this union can never come at the expense of the Faith, nor can the Faith ever come at the expense of union with the Holy See. To this fact is attached a divine promise, a heavenly guarantee — and this goes to show that these people, not only the SSPX itself but also all similar “Resisters” — do not in fact believe in the Papacy. They do not believe that the Holy See cannot fail, cannot defect, cannot ever lead the faithful astray. But this is the traditional Catholic teaching:

To the shepherds alone was given all power to teach, to judge, to direct; on the faithful was imposed the duty of following their teach-ing, of submitting with docility to their judgment, and of allowing themselves to be governed, corrected, and guided by them in the way of salvation. Thus, it is an absolute necessity for the simple faithful to submit in mind and heart to their own pastors, and for the latter to submit with them to the Head and Supreme Pastor.

(Pope Leo XIII, Letter Epistola Tua to Cardinal Guibert, June 17, 1885; excerpted in Papal Teachings: The Church, p. 263; underlining added.)

Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff.

(Pope Boniface VIII, Bull Unam Sanctam, Nov. 18, 1302; underlining added.)

Union with the Roman See of Peter is … always the public criterion of a Catholic…. “You are not to be looked upon as holding the true Catholic faith if you do not teach that the faith of Rome is to be held.”

(Pope Leo XIII, Encyclical Satis Cognitum, par. 13; underlining added.)

Now you know well that the most deadly foes of the Catholic religion have always waged a fierce war, but without success, against this Chair [of St. Peter]; they are by no means ignorant of the fact that religion itself can never totter and fall while this Chair remains intact, the Chair which rests on the rock which the proud gates of hell cannot overthrow and in which there is the whole and perfect solidity of the Christian religion.

(Pope Pius IX, Encyclical Inter Multiplices, n. 7)

All who defend the faith should aim to implant deeply in your faithful people the virtues of piety, veneration, and respect for this supreme See of Peter. Let the faithful recall the fact that Peter, Prince of Apostles is alive here and rules in his successors, and that his office does not fail even in an unworthy heir. Let them recall that Christ the Lord placed the impregnable foundation of his Church on this See of Peter [Mt 16:18] and gave to Peter himself the keys of the kingdom of Heaven [Mt 16:19]. Christ then prayed that his faith would not fail, and commanded Peter to strengthen his brothers in the faith [Lk 27:32]. Consequently the successor of Peter, the Roman Pontiff, holds a primacy over the whole world and is the true Vicar of Christ, head of the whole Church and father and teacher of all Christians.

Indeed one simple way to keep men professing Catholic truth is to maintain their communion with and obedience to the Roman Pontiff. For it is impossible for a man ever to reject any portion of the Catholic faith without abandoning the authority of the Roman Church. In this authority, the unalterable teaching office of this faith lives on. It was set up by the divine Redeemer and, consequently, the tradition from the Apostles has always been preserved. So it has been a common characteristic both of the ancient heretics and of the more recent Protestants — whose disunity in all their other tenets is so great — to attack the authority of the Apostolic See. But never at any time were they able by any artifice or exertion to make this See tolerate even a single one of their errors.

(Pope Pius IX, Encyclical Nostis et Nobiscum, nn. 16-17; underlining added.)

the Church has received from on high a promise which guarantees her against every human weakness. What does it matter that the helm of the symbolic barque has been entrusted to feeble hands, when the Divine Pilot stands on the bridge, where, though invisible, He is watching and ruling? Blessed be the strength of his arm and the multitude of his mercies!

(Pope Leo XIII, Allocution to Cardinals, March 20, 1900; excerpted in Papal Teachings: The Church, p. 349; underlining added.)

But notice also the contradiction. As discussed earlier, in the May 13 interview Fellay says that the SSPX has always maintained that they never left the Church, that they are “in communion with the Church” in the way this was traditionally understood. Yet in the 2002 quote above, he says that union with the Pope is not of primary importance and, by implication, need not be had as long as the Faith is had. So, which is it? Is he saying that the traditional understanding of union with the Church does not include union with the Pope? We’d love to see that in a traditional Catholic magisterial document!

The fact of the matter is simply, as already mentioned, that these people do not believe in the Papacy as traditionally taught and understood. What is the cause of their lack of Faith, yes, their heresy? At the root of it is the stubborn refusal to concede that the Chair of St. Peter has been vacant since Pius XII died in 1958. Their de facto dogma of “Francis and his five predecessors were valid Popes” governs everything else they believe. For this reason, they are not afraid to either reduce the notion of union with the Pope to a meaningless lipservice, or else maintain that union with the Pope is not an essential requirement to be Catholic but rather merely a “nice-to-have”, a luxury add-on, which one should strive to have but which one must refuse if the Faith is in danger — as though God had not established thePapacy as the rock and guarantee of the Faith (cf. Mt 16:18) but individual self-appointed Swiss bishops who pop up from time to time to keep the Holy See from going to hell.

Thank you, Bishop Fellay, for once again demonstrating that neither your Society of St. Pius X nor the Modernist occupiers of the Vatican have anything to do with the traditional Roman Catholic Faith.

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Bp. Fellay visiting the SSPX in India (2016)