SSPX Bishop Bernard Fellay:
Francis is a “Genuine Modernist”
Kansas City, Missouri (Oct. 12, 2013). The Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X, Bp. Bernard Fellay, has finally broken his silence and denounced the head of the Vatican II Sect, whom he believes to be the Pope of the Catholic Church, as a “genuine Modernist.” Fellay criticized Jorge Bergoglio, “Pope Francis”, for his erroneous and heretical theology, adding at one point that “we thank God, we thank God, we have been preserved from any kind of Agreement [with the Vatican] from last year.” He went on to ascribe this providential protection from entering into “full communion” with Rome to the fruit of the 2012 Rosary Crusade countless SSPX adherents and similar “resistance” traditionalists had participated in.
Bp. Fellay made these remarks as part of a speech he gave at the SSPX’s Angelus Press Conference held from Oct. 11-13 in Kansas City, Mo., the headquarters of the Society’s United States district.
A report giving details of Bp. Fellay’s address has been posted by Mr. John Vennari, editor of the Semi-Traditionalist Catholic Family News, one of the big flagship promoters of the erroneous but popular “recognize-and-resist” stance. This position essentially holds that the institution of which Francis is the head is at the same time the Catholic Church of Pope Pius XII and the latter’s predecessors, founded by the Lord Jesus Christ on St. Peter “the rock” in the first century (cf. Mt 16:18). Despite this belief, recognize-and-resisters realize that the religion believed, promulgated, and imposed by the Vatican institution (“Novus Ordo Church”) is false, as it is a blend of Modernist, Protestant, Judaizing, and Pagan errors, begun, more or less, with the election of “Pope” John XXIII in 1958. They therefore “resist” the heresies, errors, false liturgies, harmful disciplinary laws, absurd “canonizations”, etc., of these Novus Ordo churchmen, while at the same time vehemently upholding their claim to being true and genuine Roman Catholic authorities who lawfully and validly hold their putative offices in the “Catholic” Church.
This unreasonable and uncatholic position is contrasted with that of sedevacantism (subscribed to by Novus Ordo Watch), which holds that if the religion that emanates from the Vatican is a false and heretical religion, then the institution that preaches it cannot be the Catholic Church of our Lord Jesus Christ, of which Pius XII was the Pope until 1958, but must be a false church, perhaps the very anti-church predicted by various Catholic authorities before Vatican II (see here), and its authorities, firmly clinging to and disseminating this anti-church’s most noxious errors and heresies, cannot be valid or lawful officeholders in the Catholic Church.
In fact, using Catholic doctrine as our guiding principle, any sort of resistance against the teachings of ecumenical councils and papal encyclicals, against solemn canonizations of saints and liturgical rites promulgated by the Holy See, etc. would have to be predicated on the putative authorities being false, because, even those decisions that are not guaranteed by the protection of infallibility, are nevertheless authoritative and binding on the consciences of all Catholics. An SSPX-like “church on the side” that opposes the “official church” and preserves immaculate what the “official church” has long lost or sullied, is an utter insanity in Catholic theology. (For example, see the transcript of “The Impossible Crisis” by Mr. John Daly here.)
What follows below is an excerpt of Mr. Vennari’s report, which we encourage you to read in full at this link.
Bishop Fellay noted that Pope St. Pius X said at the beginning of his pontificate the ‘son of perdition’ may already be on the earth. He also noted the original prayer to Saint Michael of Pope Leo XIII mentions that Satan aims to establish his seat in Rome.
The bishop quoted Cardinal Luigi Ciapi, the Papal Theologian of all the Popes from Pius XII to John Paul II who said, “In the Third Secret we read among other things that the great apostasy in the Church begins at the top.”
The times are very serious. We have to be serious about our salvation, “and to do this we are deprived of a very important element, which is the support of the [Church] authorities. What a tragedy.”
Bishop Fellay alluded to the SSPX/Vatican drama of 2012: “When we see what is happening now [under Pope Francis] we thank God, we thank God, we have been preserved from any kind of Agreement from last year. And we may say that one of the fruits of the [Rosary] Crusade we did is that we have been preserved from such a misfortune. Thank God. It is not that we don’t want to be Catholics, of course we want to be Catholics and we are Catholics, and we have a right to be recognized as Catholics. But we are not going to jeopardize our treasures for that. Of course not.”
He continued that we are in “very scary times” but we are not helpless. He noted the “the situation of the Church is a real disaster. And the present Pope is making it 10,000 times worse.”
“If the present pope continues in the way he started, he is going to divide the Church. He’s exploding everything. So people will say: it is impossible that’s he’s the Pope, we refuse him. Others will say [and this is presently Bishop Fellay’s position]: “Wait, consider him as Pope, but don’t follow him. He’s provoking anger. Many people will be discouraged by what people in the Church do” and will be tempted to “throw it all away.”
But, he reminded, God is “much, much bigger than we are. God is able to have the Church continue” and even can work through these imperfect ministers. “But once again”, he repeats, “don’t follow them. Follow them when they say the truth, but when they tell you rubbish, you don’t” follow them on those points. “Any obedience to be true must be related to God. When I say I obey to a person” he should be a “a mirror of God.” But “when mirror tells me contrary of God, it is no longer a mirror, then I don’t follow him.”
Bishop Fellay noted that we cannot simply obey the present Popes without question, because then we would destroy ourselves, we would endanger our Faith.
As is typical of the Modernist, as Pius X warned in Pascendi, the Modernist will sometimes speak in a heretical fashion, and then speak in an orthodox manner. Bishop Fellay gave the example of one of these contradictions:
He spoke of interview in early October that Pope Francis conducted with the atheist journalist Eugenio Scalfari in Rome’s La Repubblica wherein Francis appears to promote a dangerous relativism:
With a good deal of emotion, Bishop Fellay said of the Pope’s response: “That’s really not Catholic! Because whatever I think has absolutely no value if it does not fit with reality. We have a conscience, but it will only lead us to Heaven if our conscience is a mirror of God.” The conscience must be formed according to God’s law. “So to pretend that anyone can full his own idea is just rubbish,” said Fellay, “It has nothing to do with Catholic teaching. It is absolute relativism.”
About a week after this, however, Pope Francis spoke of the necessity of fighting the devil, the final battle with the devil, that nobody can fight the devil half way, and that we must fight relativism. Francis said the opposite what he said to La Repubblica. “There is the contraction with him”.
Another troubling quote from Pope Francis:
“If a person says that he met God with total certainty and is not touched by a margin of uncertainty, then this is not good. For me, this is an important key. If one has the answers to all the questions—that is the proof that God is not with him. It means that he is a false prophet using religion for himself. The great leaders of the people of God, like Moses, have always left room for doubt.”
Bishop Fellay exclaims in response: “What Gospel does he have? Which Bible does he have to say such things. It’s horrible. What has this to do with the Gospel? With the Catholic Faith. That’s pure Modernism, my dear brethen. We have in front of us a genuine Modernist.”
“How much time will be needed for people in the Church to stand up ‘by no means!’ [will we accept this new teaching]. I hope and pray this will happen. But that means an enormous division in the Church.”…
(John Vennari, “Bishop Fellay on Pope Francis – ‘What We Have Before us is a Genuine Modernist'”, Catholic Family News, Oct. 14, 2013; bold print removed.)
It should be absolutely clear to any Catholic — as it is to Bp. Fellay — that Francis is a Modernist. But a Modernist cannot at the same time be a Catholic, for that is a contradiction, as the two terms are mutually exclusive. Just as an atheist cannot be a Catholic at the same time, neither can a Modernist.
But while His Excellency correctly identifies Francis as a non-Catholic, he acts as though this did not have any bearing on his status in the Catholic Church. Yet, a man who is a public heretic is thereby a non-member of the Church and so cannot be her head. Pope Pius XII taught:
22. Actually only those are to be included as members of the Church who have been baptized and profess the true faith, and who have not been so unfortunate as to separate themselves from the unity of the Body, or been excluded by legitimate authority for grave faults committed…. As therefore in the true Christian community there is only one Body, one Spirit, one Lord, and one Baptism, so there can be only one faith [Eph 4:5] …. It follows that those are divided in faith or government cannot be living in the unity of such a Body, nor can they be living the life of its one Divine Spirit.
23. …For not every sin, however grave it may be, is such as of its own nature to sever a man from the Body of the Church, as does schism or heresy or apostasy.
(Pope Pius XII, Encyclical Mystici Corporis, par. 22-23; underlining added.)
This is not difficult to grasp: Unlike sins against morals (theft, adultery, murder, blasphemy, etc.), sins against faith(heresy, schism, apostasy) are of such a kind that membership in the Church is incompatible with them. Therefore, a man who is a heretic, that is, who holds a different faith from that of the Catholic Church, cannot at the same time be a Catholic (much less Pope!), any more than a bachelor can at the same time be married.
Yet, the “recognize-and-resisters” are willing to go through the most frightening contortions in order to keep from having to draw this conclusion. It is an undesirable conclusion, to be sure, but the only Catholic one. Unfortunately, in some cases it is evident that this or that “resistance” traditionalist simply does not want to become a sedevacantist — it has nothing to do with the evidence or the force of the arguments for him. (Bp. Richard Williamson is a shining example of this, sad to say.)
There is no need here now to rehash all the arguments against the resistance position and in favor of sedevacantism. The “Reality Check” below provides plenty of links for further reading.
However, a few more observations are in order. For one thing, it appears that the Society of St. Pius X and similar resistance groups, whether composed of clergy or laymen, simply have no real connection at all with the institution they insist is the Catholic Church to begin with. In the case of the SSPX, one really has to ask: “Just what is your connection with the ‘Catholic’ Church?” After all, they…
- do not believe its peculiar teachings (e.g., Vatican II, New Catechism, encyclicals)
- reject anything from the Vatican they disagree with (e.g., Luminous Rosary mysteries, relaxation of fasting laws)
- reject the new sacramental and liturgical rites (e.g., Novus Ordo Missae, new exorcism)
- reject any “canonizations” of “saints” they disagree with (e.g., Josemaria Escriva, John Paul II)
- reject the universal disciplinary law they disagree with (e.g., Code of Canon Law)
- totally disregard any judgments from the “Holy See” against them (e.g., excommunciations, suspensions)
- ignore any judgments from the local ordinaries against them
- reject as bogus the Novus Ordo marriage “annulments”
- set up their own marriage tribuals against the authority of the “Holy See” they claim to believe in
Surely it is permissible here to pose the question: “Just what connection is there between you and the institution in Rome?” Virtually, none. At least none worth mentioning. None Pope St. Pius X would have found sufficient to be considered a true Catholic. For all intents and purposes, one may say that the Novus Ordo Church is irrelevant to the SSPX and the resisters. They don’t bother with it; in a way, they want nothing to do with it (except, of course, when arguing against sedevacantists, then they pull out their “Look, here’s our hierarchy!” card). It might as well not exist; Francis might as well not be the Pope for them. It would have no practical bearing on their lives.
Ah, but they “pray for the Pope,” right? That’s nice. Many non-Catholics do that, too. Anyone can pray for Jorge Bergoglio – that doesn’t make the one who prays for him a Catholic.
Oh, so they put a nice picture of him in the sacristy, too. Great. But this sounds more like a “primacy of honor” rather than the “primacy of jurisdiction” Catholic dogma requires us to concede to the Pope. The First Vatican Council in 1870 defined:
And since the Roman Pontiff is at the head of the universal Church by the divine right of apostolic primacy, We teach and declare also that he is the supreme judge of the faithful, and that in all cases pertaining to ecclesiastical examination recourse can be had to his judgment; moreover, that the judgment of the Apostolic See, whose authority is not surpassed, is to be disclaimed by no one, nor is anyone permitted to pass judgment on its judgment. Therefore, they stray from the straight path of truth who affirm that it is permitted to appeal from the judgments of the Roman Pontiffs to an ecumenical Council, as to an authority higher than the Roman Pontiff.
…If anyone thus speaks, that the Roman Pontiff has only the office of inspection or direction, but not the full and supreme power of jurisdiction over the universal Church, not only in things which pertain to faith and morals, but also in those which pertain to the discipline and government of the Church spread over the whole world; or, that he possesses only the more important parts, but not the whole plenitude of this supreme power; or that this power of his is not ordinary and immediate, or over the churches altogether and individually, and over the pastors and the faithful altogether and individually: let him be anathema.
(First Vatican Council, Constitution Pastor Aeternus, Ch. 3; Denz. 1830-1831; underlining added.)
Catholic teaching is very clear, but the Society of St. Pius X and all other resisters have to either ignore it or twist it to mean something it does not. But Catholic teaching does not admit of re-interpretation at a later time; it means for all time what it once meant when defined — to claim the opposite is to subscribe to Modernism (see Denz. 1800).
In short: Saying that Francis is the Pope has consequences in Catholic theology. Bp. Fellay’s preposterous advice that in order to keep their souls safe from heresy (which would lead to damnation), everyone must “follow them [the Novus Ordo “Popes] when they say the truth, but when they tell you rubbish, you don’t”, is such an affront to Catholic orthodoxy, to sound doctrine, that one cannot believe he could get away with it.
To what, Your Excellency, have you reduced the papacy? Is the Pope now no different from “Pastor Bob” at Calvary Chapel down the street? Don’t the people there also “follow” him when he preaches the truth and “not follow” him when he preaches error? Could this advice of “take the good, refuse the bad” not apply to virtually anyone at all times? How, then, is the Pope different from anyone else?
…And all of this only because Bp. Fellay does not wish to say that Francis is not the Pope. Wow!
It is very instructive to ponder the address of Pope St. Pius X, Bp. Fellay’s alleged model, to the priests of the Apostolic Union in 1912:
When one loves the pope one does not stop to debate about what he advises or demands, to ask how far the rigorous duty of obedience extends and to mark the limit of this obligation. When one loves the pope, one does not object that he has not spoken clearly enough, as if he were obliged to repeat into the ear of each individual his will, so often clearly expressed, not only viva voce, but also by letters and other public documents; one does not call his orders into doubt on the pretext – easily advanced by whoever does not wish to obey – that they emanate not directly from him, but from his entourage; one does not limit the field in which he can and should exercise his will; one does not oppose to the authority of the pope that of other persons, however learned, who differ in opinion from the pope. Besides, however great their knowledge, their holiness is wanting, for there can be no holiness where there is disagreement with the pope.
(Pope St. Pius X, Address to the Priests of the Apostolic Union, Nov. 18, 1912; in Acta Apostolicae Sedis 4 , p. 695.)
Keep in mind that Pius X here is speaking not about himself simply but rather about the Pope as such — that is, anyPope. Funny how this is one anecdote you never hear much about from the SSPX. And this is not surprising, for you obviously cannot apply this to the Novus Ordo apostate “Popes.”
It is astounding that Bp. Fellay has no qualms about calling Francis, quite rightly, a “genuine Modernist” but then pretends as though this had no impact on his claim to being not merely a member of the Catholic Church but in fact her head! We again hearken back to the words of Pope St. Pius X, who described the Modernists as “the most pernicious of all the adversaries of the Church” (Encyclical Pascendi, par. 3). How can a most pernicious enemy of the Church, one who “put[s] into operation [his] designs for her undoing, not from without but from within”, at the same time be her Head, Guardian, Proximate Rule of Faith, Guarantor of Orthodoxy, and Vicar of Christ?!
The Church would be entirely at the mercy of her enemies if she had no way of expelling from her bosom, not by authoritative judgment only but simply by the fact of heresy itself (ipso facto), her greatest enemies, the heretics!
This is how great the protection is that God has given to His Church: public heretics are incapable of being members of the Church and cannot hold authority in the Church. Thus they hold no power over her and cannot hold her captive. Deo gratias! This, ladies and gentlemen, is one of the ways in which God has ensured that the gates of hell will not prevail against His Church (cf. Mt 16:18). It is precisely in the possibility of sedevacantism that this protection lies, not in its impossibility! (Note well, fans of Michael Voris and The Remnant!)
If you try to fit a heretic, an apostate, like Francis into the role of Roman Pontiff, you end up with an impossible conundrum precisely because acknowledging someone as Pope has grave consequences — consequences graver than just a portrait in the sacristy and a few mentions at prayer time.
By saying Francis is Pope, you end up with absurdity. You turn the Bride of Christ into a harlot, a viscious monster against whose “rubbish” you have to protect yourself, lest you wander off and die. Think well on this and realize that if Francis is the Pope, he can’t be a Modernist, and if he’s a Modernist, he can’t be the Pope.
It’s not that difficult.