Rome, the SSPX, Campos, Assisi, Etc.

H.E. Bishop Bernard Fellay

Transcribed from the talk given by H.E. Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior General of The Society of Saint Pius X, at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church, Kansas City, Missouri (March 5, 2002).

I want to give you an update on our relations with Rome, which will include, of course, those with the Diocese of Campos, Brazil. I will also have to discuss the situation of the Church because everything is related. We are able to say that a new phase in the history of the Society of Saint Pius X has begun. It touches seriously on the question of our existence and of our future. This concerns us deeply together with the many rumors being spread about us. I want to inform you first-hand in order to dissipate the stories that are circulating and to demonstrate our perspective. Where does the Society stand? What does it expect? Where does it go from here?


Bishop Fellay

Before reviewing the facts of the events, we first have to remind ourselves of the principles which guide us. The first is that we are Roman Catholics and we want to stay Roman Catholics. That's why we are here. We want to stay faithful. 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. In the First Vatican Council, it is said that without the Faith, it is impossible to please God. It's a quote from Holy Scripture. The Council continues very clearly by saying it is impossible to be in the state of grace, to enjoy the communion of the saints, or to go to heaven without the Faith. And so, to stay Catholic, we have to resist any kind of attack against the Faith. Unbelievably enough, however, attacks against the Faith have occurred within the Catholic Church itself. It is an absolute necessity to resist them. Some of them are very visible, some of them are not. Some occur by way of consequence.

The second principle is that the Catholic Church is our Mother, that the bad things that happen to the Church hurt us, crush us. We don't want these things to happen, but, unfortunately, they do.

A third principle is that we are Romans! Peter has received from Our Lord special privileges. Amongst them is, "Who listens to you, listens to me." That's why whenever we look to Rome, we expect to hear the voice of the Lord from the mouth of the Vicar of Christ and, in fact, the whole Curia. What a disappointment when the voice that conies out doesn't sound like the voice of Our Lord! However, when Rome approaches us, our first reaction as Catholics is to look at it with a favorable eye because we constantly expect that one day we will be able to hear again the voice of the Lord.


The Facts

So now, let's go to the facts. Let's see if Rome has really changed its attitude towards Tradition. I would like to flash some light on different aspects of the situation. I could do this by reviewing chronologically the events of the Society's recent relations with Rome while also including the Fraternity of St. Peter and even Una Voce. In fact, while Rome was making this new approach towards us, they engaged in very interesting behavior towards the Fraternity of St. Peter and Una Voce. Divine Providence was good enough to give us the necessary information to know what was happening within them so that the Society of Saint Pius X could position itself correctly in its negotiations with Rome. Finally, I will speak of Campos because I imagine some are asking the questions, "If Rome is granting Campos something so attractive, why not to the Society of Saint Pius X?" or, "Why doesn't the Society make the same move?" I hope the facts I will give you will provide the answers.


Ecclesia Dei and The Fraternity of St. Peter

Bishop Fellay

In 1999, an interesting thing happened within the Fraternity of St. Peter. Sixteen priests signed a letter which they sent to Rome, accusing the Superior General of St. Peter's of making it a Lefebvrist society. At the same time, some bishops complained to Rome that a certain number of priests of St. Peter refused to concelebrate in the new rite, or, when members did accept to concelebrate, the Superior General scolded and punished them. Rome moved against St. Peter's and the other Ecclesia Dei societies with Protocol 1411 (July 3, 1999) [see The Angelus, Nov. 1999–.Ed.], which stated that the general law in the Church is the New Mass, and as such every Catholic priest has a strict right to make use of the general law. Conclusion? Any superior in an Ecclesia Dei society is forbidden to prohibit their priests from celebrating the New Mass. It was a knock-out blow in the sense that these societies did believe, as much as I can make of it, that they had an exclusive right to celebrate only the Tridentine Mass. We have to give credit to Fr. Bisig [Superior General of the Fraternity of St. Peter at the time–Ed.] that he had fought all these years to celebrate only the Tridentine Mass. When Fr. Bisig heard that decree, he went to Rome to appeal the Protocol with a fellow Superior of an Ecclesia Dei society. They met with Cardinal Medina who told them, "I am your best friend." This was the cardinal who issued that decree! The following day they met with Cardinals Medina, Ratzinger, Felici and Msgr. Perl. They protested the Protocol. They begged to have it remain unpublished. Msgr. Perl replied that he did not see anywhere in the Fraternity's statutes an exclusive right to the Tridentine Mass.

It's terrible what I say now, but it is an example of how Rome is arbitrary. They know where they want to go, and they just go! They are above the law. There have been several examples of this. In 2000, Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos intervened in the Society of St. Peter by removing Fr. Bisig as Superior General. The majority of the chapter made recourse against this decision of the Cardinal. Now, when you make a recourse, it is to a higher authority from whom you seek justice. In this case, however, the appeal was returned to Cardinal Castrillon. They were obliged to make the recourse to the same person who made the decision! Of course, it was a done deal!

It was also during this time that the Ecclesia Dei Commission, and especially Msgr. Perl, wanted to introduce the 1965 rubrics of the Mass to its societies. It is apparent that Bishop Perl's intention is to oblige Ecclesia Dei to have an Old Mass which looks as much as possible like the New Mass. This means to suppress, for example, the prayers at the foot of the altar, having lessons only in the vernacular, etc. There was even a rumor about introducing the new calendar.

In September of the same year, Michael Davies, representing Una Voce, and Cardinal Castrillon spoke about these matters. In an exchange of letters between them in October, you see affirmed by the Cardinal an absolute power of decision without reference to any right or custom. Nothing! They just decide. In one letter he obliges all Ecclesia Dei priests to give Communion in the hand to faithful who request it. They base their argument on the fact that in the Roman Missal of 1962 nothing definitive is said about the faithful necessarily receiving Communion on the tongue. We could argue, of course, that in 1962 the 1917 Code of Canon Law then in effect clearly expressed how to receive Communion. But they just don't care: they just go to their point.

In this letter to Mr. Davies was included a reminder that the first condition for an Ecclesia Dei community to be granted the Indult Mass is to have nothing to do with those who question the legitimacy of the New Mass. Well, that's the Society of Saint Pius X! Yet, barely a month later Cardinal Castrillon sent me an invitation to visit him in order to prepare a visit to the Pope!


Movements Towards the Society

Already in April [2000], Bishop Perl had said, "We've got to do something with the Society of Saint Pius X. They're jeopardizing our ecumenical efforts. We're losing credibility. Listen, we try to get unity with all these Protestant groups, Orthodox, etc., and here in the house we have a problem." Soon after, Cardinal Castrillon is appointed President of Ecclesia Dei. He is the first president of this commission who is not retired and is less than 80 years old.

At the beginning of May, he sent his first letter to the four bishops of the Society. He announced his presidency, how he knew Archbishop Lefebvre from his days in Columbia, South America, that he respected his attitude towards the liturgy, and invited us to start something with him. It is true, by the way, that the Cardinal knew Archbishop Lefebvre, which means that we knew him! Cardinal Castrillon helped change the constitution of Columbia to make it a non-Catholic state. During his time in Columbia, he was a major mediator between the guerillas and the government. Thus we can presume that he is qualified as a professional mediator! In all honesty, his behavior in Rome is understood by everybody there as conservative. As Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, he definitely has a real care for the priests, and he wants his priests to be priests. He insists that the priests have a good formation, and that is to his credit.

I decided that each bishop could do what he wanted with the letter. I trust our bishops enough to know that there would be no discrepancy in our answers, which in fact, happened. All four answered similarly, that is, we are not schismatics, we are still in the Church.


The Society's Jubilee Pilgrimage

The important event in 2000 was the Society's Jubilee Pilgrimage to Rome [in August]. It shook the Vatican's conscience. It was a very simple demonstration. Someone in the Curia was reported to say, "What can we do for these people? They are Catholic!" One of the radio stations reported that this kind of pilgrimage had never before been seen in 2000 years of Church history–6,000 schismatics praying for the Pope in St. Peter's! The porter of the house where Cardinal Ratzinger and all the other cardinals live said to one of our priests, "You gave us a strong lesson."

At the conclusion of the Pilgrimage, Cardinal Hoyos invited all four Society bishops for a meal with him. For nobody to go would be impolite; for all of us to go would be too military. Finally, three of us went. Throughout the discussion, it was obvious that the Cardinal tried to diminish the problem with us, almost to the point of saying there was no problem). We had to say, "Oh yes, there is a problem." Up to now, our attitude was always to say we are Catholic, we are not schismatics, as though we were saying, "There is no problem." Then, Rome was saying, "Oh yes, there is a problem! You're excommunicated; you're schismatics!" and so on. Now, they use exactly the contrary move. Rome says there's no problem and we are the ones to say there is one.

Bishop Fellay


I tried to start a discussion on the Mass. The Cardinal said, "I am not an expert." The President of the Ecclesia Dei Commission said that! That means, of course, "I don't want to discuss the matter." How could I start to speak to the one who is responsible for the Latin Mass when he tells you that he is not an expert? He continued, "There are so few things that separate us." He said, "We believe in the same God." Okay, good start. "We believe in the same Eucharist." So I answered with some very broad affirmations. After some time, Bishop Williamson said, "Your Eminence, it's two religions." The Cardinal seemed taken aback.

During our half-hour together alone, the Cardinal said to us, "I don't want the Roman Curia to know what we speak about." So that's the level of trust you find in the Vatican. During the meal, the monsignor in charge of accompanying us on the Pilgrimage made his very favorable report to Cardinal Castrillon. It was highly praiseworthy of the Society, no doubt about it. This monsignor asked me to bless him. Cardinal Castrillon said, speaking of the Society, "The fruits are good. Hence, the Holy Ghost is there." And then I asked him, "But your Eminence, where do these fruits come from?" Silence; no answer. When I saw that he didn't want to speak about important matters, I offered to send him a memorandum about the problems. He agreed to that. I directed Bishop Tissier de Mallerais to send him a letter asking him to free the Latin Mass for all priests, anywhere, any time, without any special permissions, without any problems. That was the first approach.

In October, later that year, I gave an interview to 30 Days magazine. It was curious because 30 Days reported all the positive remarks about us and Rome, and just dropped the negative. It made a favorable impression in Rome which was not exactly accurate, but Cardinal Castrillon used it to lay some groundwork for me to meet with the Pope. I didn't know what to expect. Cardinal Castrillon started very quickly saying: "I have shown the Pope your interview in 30 Days and he has given me the mandate to solve your problem." "I'm sorry," I said, "but this article is not fair to the reality." Cardinal Castrillon said it didn't matter. This showed me that the article was just a convenient excuse. What he wanted was to start discussions.


The Meeting of December 29

A meeting between Cardinal Hoyos and myself was scheduled for December 29 [2001]. At this meeting I wanted to stress two things, the first of which was that whatever happens–even if there is an agreement with Rome–the Society of Saint Pius X is going to "continue to fight against Liberalism, Modernism, and Freemasonry." Cardinal Castrillon didn't respond at that time, but he kept this phrase in his report, which he later handed to the Pope. The Cardinal told me that when the Holy Father read that the Society insisted–no matter what–to "continue to fight against Liberalism, Modernism, and Freemasonry," he pointed at it with his finger and said in Italian, "That's us! That's us!" When the Cardinal told me this, I thought, "Touché!"

But the Pope didn't mean what I thought he meant. The Pope did not mean that he represented the Liberalism, Modernism, and Freemasonry that we are fighting against. No, he identified himself as a fellow fighter in the fight the Society is waging! He was saying that he was fighting against these things with us! We're saying what the Pope does is Modernism, is Liberalism. In principles, he's linked to Freemasonry to a certain extent. Yet the Pope says, "I am fighting the same fight as you." How can you understand that?! That's why I tell you, I don't understand this Pope. If you'd speak only of abortion, fine. But Assisi, for example, is a typical example of Modernism. And the Pope wants it. It's his idea. The Society attacks Assisi with all its possible weapons; it shouts to the blasphemy, to the abomination we have there. How can it be said that we and the Pope are fighting together?!

The second thing I spoke about dealt with the Mass and the Fraternity of St. Peter. The Cardinal said, "I don't understand the question of the Mass." I answered, "The Protestants do." From there, I tried to show what's wrong with the New Mass, saying, "How is it possible that a Catholic Mass could be a Protestant service at the same time?" Does he know the Confession of Augsburg recently invited the different congregations of Lutherans to make use of the Catholic Missal for their Last Supper services? They did! There is a Protestant professor of theology who said, "Now that the idea of sacrifice has been lifted from the Mass a Protestant can feel at home with the New Mass."

I also gave him a quote from an ex-canon of the Church, Paul Roca, who died in 1890. In one of his books he wrote that the Mass will one day receive a deep transformation thanks to an ecumenical council which will bring it in harmony with the principles of this world. He died in 1890, and was able to make a prophecy so very precise. That is striking; that shows that hidden forces have been working, that have enough influence in the Church to do such things.

Renan [French intellectual, (1823-1892)], who wrote about the eventual death of the Catholic Church, was asked on his deathbed if he believed in the Catholic Church? Near death himself, he answered, "I believe in the Church of the future." To be able to say such things means occult forces have for a long time planned to transform the Church.

Alice Bailey, foundress of the New Age movement, wrote a book [1920] entitled The Exteriorization of the Hierarchy. She said that toward the end of the 20th century the Catholic Church will have adopted Masonic principles. It will keep, however, the appearance of religion to avoid alienating the faithful. God knows how and why He allowed plans like these to be fulfilled. It's surprising.

So I told all these things to the Cardinal and then he said, "So, here's what Rome proposes to you: We want a solution in which we solve the problem of bishops, bishops who would be ordinaries, that is, true bishops, maybe with dioceses, and priests and faithful." He spoke about an arrangement like that of Opus Dei, that is, a personal prelature. He foresaw our difficulty in having the Pope himself choose the bishop to head this personal prelature, for this is the usual procedure. He said either the Society's priests or the Society's bishops should present three names to the Pope every time another bishop is needed for Tradition.

I must tell you this first proposal looked very, very interesting to me, especially since I had been very hard on Cardinal Castrillon. I had dismissed his earlier attempt to make the May 5 [1988] Protocol a basis of discussion, saying to him, "I'm sorry, but this will not work now. That Protocol had been hastily authored. The current crisis and the high stakes demand more clarity." I re-stated all our objections to Vatican II-religious liberty, ecumenism, collegiality. I spoke of the new Code of Canon Law. I threw a lot of punches and I was really amazed to see how much he was able to absorb and still continue in a pleasant way. I really admired that. I thought, well, he is really a mediator, because I really threw a lot of things at him.

One of my arguments was, "We don't trust you. You are very kind in what you say, but we don't trust you. Not you personally, but Rome." I let him know Rome's actions against the Fraternity of St. Peter didn't help my confidence. Rome has tried to crush the Fraternity of St. Peter. The Fraternity claimed to be with the Pope, with Rome, accepted the Council, accepted the New Mass, etc. The Cardinal explained to me why he had to remove Fr. Bisig: "I have nothing against somebody who wants to celebrate only the Old Mass, but Fr. Bisig wanted to make an oath against the New Mass. I cannot accept someone who defies a general law of the Church on paper." Actually, in fact, the story is that during a kind of reconciliation meeting of the Fraternity of St. Peter [Fr. Bisig] tried to impose on the priests of St. Peter's a promise to celebrate the New Mass only once a year.

I had been insistent with the Cardinal that I did not trust Rome because of what happened to the Fraternity of St. Peter. "You make promises to the Society, but look at what you did to St. Peter's," I said. Every time he gave a similar response: "Oh, it's not the same. St. Peter's is against the New Mass. You are in favor of the Old!" Should we trust such an answer? The Cardinal says, "Yes, but...." Yes, but...what? But we are more of a threat than St. Peter's! Another time he said, "Well, St. Peter's wasn't protected." But the Cardinal was appointed their protector! It's like a policeman who would shoot a child and then say, "He didn't have a bullet-proof vest on." But the job of a policeman is to protect the child, not to shoot him! So, here is Cardinal Hoyos saying they were not protected. So how can the Society expect to be protected?

Bishop Fellay


The Cardinal's position is evident from his interviews such as in 30 Days: "It's fine to celebrate either Mass, but please don't pit one against the other. Don't make use of one against the other." Well, the Society is definitely against the New Mass. We even say that it is "intrinsically evil." That's a delicate label that needs a little explanation. By this we mean that the New Mass in itself–the New Mass as the New Mass, as it is written–is evil, because as such you find in it the definition of evil. The definition of evil is "the privation of a due good." Something that should be in the New Mass is not there and that's evil. What is really Catholic has been taken out of the New Mass. The Catholic specification of the Mass has been taken away. That's enough to say that it is evil. And look at the terrible fruits.

What does Cardinal Castrillon say about whether the New Mass is evil? "No, we cannot say so because the Pope has approved it." This reply is a reference to the infallibility of the Pope: "The Pope has promoted the New Mass, hence the New Mass is infallibly good." That's the final argument of Rome, and when Rome uses this argument, no discussion is possible. The only discussion that we can start at that point is to question that premise. Clearly, our next step in discussions with Rome will be to question this premise: "Did papal infallibility enter in the promulgation of the New Mass?" It will be delicate, but if we want Rome one day to question some things about the Second Vatican Council, we have to dig in on that point. And we will. We are continuing our studies on the Mass and preparing, so to speak, the next rounds of ammunition.

All this was our first meeting. The Cardinal seemed to be happy with my answers. I was really wondering what was going on in his mind. He even had said several times, "We want you to fight against Liberalism, Modernism, and Freemasonry in the Church!" I said, "What am I hearing?!" At the end of the discussion, he asked, "When will you be back in Rome?" I said, "Around January 15th." "Okay, come here, we'll have a formal meeting, and we'll sign an agreement." Done. Two weeks. I replied, "No, that's not possible." He said, "We'll have a little meeting with the Pope and once it's signed we'll have a. formal meeting with the Pope." Without committing myself, I anticipated I would receive a visit around January 15th.


Meeting with the Pope

Later that evening on December 29th, I received a phone call from Cardinal Castrillon: "The meeting with the Pope is scheduled for tomorrow at 11 a.m." I said, "I'm sorry, but my plane's at noon." I asked if he could reschedule. "No," he answered, "there's a general audience at St. Peter's Square." I tried to change my plane, but couldn't, so I called back and said, "I can't, I'm sorry. It's Saturday; Sunday, I'm busy. I cannot be there at 11a.m. There are no seats available on the planes." The Cardinal said, "I'll take care of that." And he did. He got me on each plane from Rome to Zurich on that Saturday afternoon and night. I don't know how he did it. It's unbelievable, really. So, I had no excuses.

At about 11 a.m. we were ready to see the Pope. It seems that there was a misunderstanding about the time between the papal secretary and Cardinal Castrillon because, when we arrived at the door of the palace, there was a phone call from the secretary who asked, "Where have you been? The Pope is waiting for you. St. Peter's Square–50,000 people–is waiting for the Pope who is waiting for you! It's already been a quarter of an hour!" Obviously, there was a misunderstanding because we were on time.

The Pope had been waiting 20 minutes when we entered the chapel. For two minutes we were in silence together before the Blessed Sacrament. Then the Pope recited the Our Father, stood up, and turned towards us. We greeted him. He asked the Cardinal, "Were you able to discuss, to meet?" The Cardinal said yes. The Pope wished us "buon anno" that is, "Have a happy new year." It was December 30th. He repeated it in French. He said, "I bless you." We received his blessing. He gave us his rosary. Again, "Buon anno." And that's it. So, not much.

Cardinal Castrillon had intended to hand to the Pope the relation of the discussion of the previous day. Some things in the report displeased me, especially the way he spoke about religious liberty. I had the feeling that it was not the same thing for him and for me. I wanted to emphasize that point and so I asked him to make a couple of corrections. The under-secretary of the Pope was called to make these notes. I said, "This text of the Council hides the social kingship of Christ." But the under-secretary of the Pope did not know what the social kingship of Christ meant! The Cardinal and I had to explain it to him. If the under-secretary of the Pope himself doesn't know this, where are we?!

I spoke now about the agreement of Brest-Litovsk as possible model for a solution. Brest-Litovsk was the agreement which brought the Ukrainians back into the Catholic Church at the beginning of the 17th century. The Ukrainians said, "Okay, we are ready to come to Rome if you can accept us as we are, with our own liturgy, language, our own calendar, our own discipline, and so on." And it was granted to them. That's why I mentioned Brest-Litovsk. The papal under-secretary said, "If I understand you well, you would like to keep some of your traditions." I replied, "No! All of them!"

When we were finished with all our remarks, the Cardinal brought me to the window in the big hall which is just in front of the private apartment of the Pope. From that window, we looked down upon the Pope addressing the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square. That was very interesting.

If we are the only ones with permission to celebrate the Tridentine Mass, we are in a zoo. We don't want that. The Latin Mass is the , Mass of the Church, not of a peculiar group. That's why we insist that every priest have the possibility of celebrating the Tridentine Mass.


The Society Responds

On January 13th, I convened a meeting of the bishops of the Society. I invited Bishop Rangel [of the Priestly Union of Saint John Baptist Mary Vianney in Campos, Brazil–Ed.] to come to reflect on this proposal from Rome with us. He was sick so he sent a priest of the Priestly Union, Fr. Rifan, to represent him. We talked the whole day about what we were going to do with this proposal from Rome that had come so unexpectedly. We agreed that we needed a sign from Rome proving it really wanted Tradition. The proposal [of an apostolic administration for the Society of Saint Pius X]1 was something interesting in itself, but it wasn't enough. We had been cheated so many times before that we needed something clear showing us that Rome really wanted Tradition. Taking advantage of our knowledge that there is a movement in the Vatican in favor of the old Mass, we planned firstly to ask that the Latin Mass be allowed to be celebrated by all priests of the world as a rite which has never been abrogated. Secondly, because the Vatican has managed to marginalize us with this scare of excommunication, we requested that it retract the decree of excommunication.

Here, we made use of the encyclical Ut Unum Sint. There the Pope explained why he has lifted the excommunication of the Orthodox. I paraphrase what he says: "You know, with such a penalty, it's difficult to have a dialogue, so we have taken it away." So we said, "Well, you want to dialogue with us, take the excommunication away, too." Why don't they? They did with the Orthodox, but with us they don't seem to do it.

Why did we use these two prerequisites? There are several reasons.

For one, a cruel injustice is done to the whole Church by maintaining that the Latin Mass is prohibited. To remove such an injustice will again allow the flow of graces to the Church. Secondly, we by no means want to be considered as a zoo. If we are the only ones with permission to celebrate the Tridentine Mass, we are in a zoo, that is, we are a secluded group. We don't want that. The Latin Mass is the Mass of the Church, not of a peculiar group. That's why we insist that every priest have the possibility of celebrating the Tridentine Mass. If Rome was to declare publicly–as we ask it to do–that the Latin Mass has never been abrogated, it would be a public admission that the New Mass itself has not been strong enough to eliminate the Latin Mass. It would be security for the future that Rome will not take this old Mass away. Until now the popular line out of Rome is that the Tridentine Mass is a kind of indulgence. It's tolerated. "It is just for a part of the Church. Its permission is only provisional, only temporary." Those were the words of Giovanni Battista Cardinal Re in 1986. By default, the general law of the Church is considered to be the New Mass. To avoid all seclusion and separation, we are asking that the old Mass be made the general law as well.

On this point, a further reflection evolved: There is a kind of identification between the Mass and the Society of Saint Pius X. If Rome is capable of standing up and fighting to defend the old Mass against all the attacks of the progressivists, we thought it might be also ready to stand up and to fight in favor of the Society of Saint Pius X.

On January 16th I returned to Rome to meet the Cardinal again for a half-hour to say that we were open to discussion but we needed proof that Rome was trustworthy. I wanted an agreement where we were sure the words meant the same for both sides, and that I would sign only when I had total peace of conscience. He seemed to agree with all this reasoning. All of this was put into a letter sent January 21st. On February 12th, Rome answered. Let me summarize the letter: "Basically, the Pope agrees to say that the old Mass has never been abrogated, that every priest can celebrate it. And so do Ratzinger, Sodano, Medina, and myself [Cardinal Castrillon]. But, you know, the secretaries of the Congregations and the under-secretaries do not agree. They say it appears to blame Pope Paul VI and all the work they have done these many years. So we cannot grant this permission to you." When I read this, I thought, "It's over." It was proof to us Rome was not ready to stand up for Tradition.

We prepared our answer on February 19th and sent Frs. Selegny and Simoulin. I sent Fr. Selegny because he's the Secretary General of the Society and co-author of The Problem of the Liturgical Reform on the New Mass,2 a project on which he spent two years. I had called a commission back then to prepare some new arguments on the New Mass. They were preparing a 500-page book! I told them, "That's much too big. Make something 100 pages." Just at that time, the book was ready. I asked Fr. Selegny to give it to Cardinal Castrillon and that the Cardinal might give one to the Pope. I wanted them to know the enormity of the problem with the New Mass. The Society will never celebrate it. We want every priest in the world to be able to say it. We know that everybody can say it, but we want Rome to say they can and stop saying that it is forbidden. I told Fr. Selegny to speak in my name at this meeting and tell the Cardinal that Bishop Fellay was suspending the discussions because Rome would not grant our prerequisites. The Cardinal was unhappy, of course, but he was told, "Your Eminence, it is impossible for us to go forward into a practical agreement before we discuss doctrinal matters."

The reason for this I give you now with a little example: It's like Rome telling the Society, "Hmmm, look at your car. You have flat tires. You have a lot of dings and dents in your car. It really is a sorry-looking car....Let us give you a new car, a beautiful car!" And it's true, the car is beautiful. An apostolic administration is a fine "car"; it's beautiful. The Society tells Rome, "Yes, it's a very fine car and it's very kind of you to give us such a car. We receive it with great pleasure, but please, before we use it, remove the nails on the street. If you don't, even with your new car, tomorrow we will have flat tires again."

In other words, the same causes produce the same effects. Our relations with Rome are made difficult because of the behavior of Rome itself, which does unbelievable things and, on the other hand, allows bishops to do even worse things. As long as Rome continues like this, we will continue as we do. Even if Rome gives us a beautiful administration, we'll continue to fight where we must fight. That is why we request that we enter into real, true discussion on doctrinal matters. But they don't want to.

In January, Cardinal Castrillon had incorrectly written that with some conditions I would accept Vatican II. Since I wanted him to know exactly what I think about the Council, I handed him Catholicism and Modernity, a booklet in French by Fr. Jean-Marc Rulleau in which he studies the Council and shows how the spirit of the Council is radically opposed to Catholicism. It is, we may say, a total demolition of the Council.

During the month of March, something very curious happened. We continued to hear stories that we had not terminated discussions with Rome, that they were continuing to such a degree that the Pope was convening all the cardinals of the Curia to give advice on our question. The word came out that the Pope wanted the whole thing to be solved by Easter! I was wondering, "Is he going to do it without us?!" I thought, I have to do something, so I sent a strong letter to Cardinal Hoyos relaying all my discomfort and the severity of our position on the New Mass. I also mentioned that I was troubled to learn of a recent letter he wrote to the Sri Lankan Bishops' Conference in which he said the Society was in "schism." In all our talks, he had carefully avoided that word. I asked him to explain how at the same time he could give me the impression we were almost normal but to others he was calling us schismatic. Well, I never got an answer to that letter.

On Good Friday [2001] the Cardinal called and said the Pope cannot grant permission to all priests to celebrate the Latin Mass because of too much opposition from the bishops. In the meantime, we had heard that Cardinal Lustiger of Paris had gone to Rome and had spoken with the Pope and Cardinal Sodano. We know that to one or the other he threatened, "If Rome grants the Society freedom in France, 65 French bishops will enter into disobedience." That is to say, 65 French bishops will rebel against Rome if you allow the Society to work freely in France. This is the way France is treating Rome.

In the meantime, there was the nomination of new cardinals in February of 2001. You may recall there were two waves of nominations with a week's hiatus in between. We had a visit in between from Cardinal Castrillón during that week. I heard from another cardinal that when Cardinal Ratzinger heard that Kasper was about to be nominated he went to see the Pope and said to him, "Kasper is a heretic!" Castrillón explained to me how the Vatican was obliged to give a cardinal to Germany. The nominations were made during the big fight in Germany over Church-assisted abortion.3 "If we hadn't named a German cardinal," he said, "Germany would have quit the Church. So, we thought it better to have a bad guy in the Vatican whom we would be able to control rather than to have somebody far away in Germany who was out of control." This was a thinly veiled reference to Karl Lehman, who, by the way, was nominated a cardinal four days later. That is two wolves whom Cardinal Ratzinger calls "heretic." A few weeks later, a bishop told us the story of his dining with the Pope. The Pope said at that time, "I have received so many critics of the nomination of these German cardinals, and I don't know why!" This is not hearsay. The Pope doesn't know why?!

In May [2001], Cardinal Hoyos wrote me a letter inviting me to continue discussions. We cannot grant you the Latin Mass, he wrote. He said that faithful bishops judge that the Mass cannot be allowed to be celebrated by all priests because it would be understood as a depreciation of the New Mass. As an aside, I can reveal that a bishop of France told us the Church needs us to give a form to the New Mass. It means at least one bishop recognizes the New Mass has no form. Well, if it has no form, drop it! Don't try to save it! Let it go!

The Cardinal said the Pope is ready to lift the excommunication of the Society's bishops when the agreement is signed. I wondered, "If not then, when?!" We asked this as a first step, not as a last step. I answered him in June, the following month: "No. You place us in a dilemma. It's a dead end. If you want to continue discussions," I wrote, "we have to change the state of the question, that is, how do we look at these things?" The further gist of the letter4 was that we are not guilty, we are just a consequence of a situation which has been caused by Rome. The problem is not with the Society, it is with Rome. We have changed nothing. We are just keeping Catholic Tradition and discipline, what the Church has always done, what has always sanctified the faithful, the priests, the bishops throughout the centuries. That's what we do. We do not change anything, so the problem cannot be on our side. On the contrary, the problem is in Rome. I asked him to consider how Rome is demolishing the Magisterium, how it is, so to speak, cutting off the branch on which it sits.

It seems the Cardinal was not happy with my letter, though he called and said he would give a strong reply after the holidays, about the beginning of September. I still don't have a reply. I know he prepared an 11-page response but he was advised by someone to whom he showed it not to send it to me. And so we are at a standstill.


The Situation In Campos

All the while, things had begun to happen in Campos with the Priestly Union of Saint John Baptist Mary Vianney. In June, 2001, Campos sent me a letter asking, "Please, please, don't break with Rome. You have to study what they propose to you." I answered, "We never broke off: We just said we suspended discussion. We are going to wait, that's all." Campos replied, "You are better positioned than us. You know what's going on, so we will follow you."

On July 15th, however, one of the members of Cardinal Castrillón's Congregation for the Clergy, a Brazilian Redemptorist named Guimaraes, paid a visit to Campos and proposed a separate agreement. A separate proposal was obviously a device to separate Campos and the Society. I did not want that; I wanted to have one package. We are much stronger with one front than with diverse ones.

Rome advanced a proposal to give them a bishop to be consecrated in the Cathedral of Campos by Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos with co-consecrators Bishop Rangel and the local bishop, whose name is Guimaraes (the same as that of the member of the Congregation of the Clergy). Castrillón's envoy promised that the bishop will be one the members of the Priestly Union, that it will have him as an auxiliary, that it would get the same deal as the Society of Saint Pius X, for all of Brazil.

In a letter dated 18 July, Campos wrote me: "Listen, the Pope wants to give us a bishop. If we oppose this, we are schismatics! We have to accept this will of the Pope." This letter, however, was hand-delivered to me by Fr. Rifan on September 12th! In the intervening seven weeks, the deal was sealed. The letter requested my approval for what Campos was planning to do. By the time I got the letter, the deed had been done. In any case, my answer would have been, "No, I cannot in conscience agree with what you are doing. You are very imprudent. You don't look at all the circumstances. You are now dividing Tradition. You don't pay attention to what's happening in the Church. You are crushing yourself."

In September, 2001, I asked Bishop de Galaretta to visit Campos and speak with the Priestly Union, which he did, but without any fruit. The priests were already absolutely decided and there was nothing to do. They defended themselves by saying it was a question of prudence. Period. End of discussion. End of October, I go there also. I speak with Bishop Rangel. I try to tell them, "What are you doing? Look at what is being done to the Fraternity of St. Peter right now!" Nothing. Nothing! They did not want to talk with me. They had decided. It was very clear. They said, "Well, you don't trust them. We do." What can you say?

During all these months–September, October, November–Fr. Rifan was in Rome, but he told me that all he did was give the Campos proposal to Rome, that's all. There were different rumors, contradictory. Some said that the thing was done; some said that nothing had happened. Crazy! I asked Bishop Rangel, "What's happening?" He said they had given their proposal to the Pope for him to approve. Once the Pope okayed it, it was transmitted to a commission of cardinals who studied the matter and said, "Okay." Then it was sent to the Secretary of State who studied it and made difficulties....You see how everything is upside-down. I thought, when the Pope says okay, it should be okay; but, obviously it's not. Common sense tells us they would start with the lower authorities and proceed up to the head, not the contrary. It was foreseen that the Holy Father would sign the agreement before his departure for Kazakhstan on September 25th, but it was actually signed on December 25th!


What Kind of an Agreement?

Bishop Fellay

What was signed? There was initial confusion. Cardinal Castrillón called Fr. Simoulin on December 26th to say the Pope had signed an agreement with Campos to establish something like a military ordinariate [which would give the Priestly Union its own bishop with true jurisdiction over his subjects–Ed.]. But it's not true. The agreement is to establish an apostolic administration [which receives only an auxiliary bishop while the local ordinary retains all Episcopal jurisdiction–Ed.]. So Cardinal Castrillón, who is the one who is supposed to know what is happening, one day after the signature, tells us something wrong! This was curious. According to what I heard, however, Cardinal Castrillón went over the head of Cardinal Sodano, the Secretary of State, who wanted to grant to the Priestly Union only what was granted to the Fraternity of St. Peter [which is neither a military ordinariate nor an apostolic administration, having no bishop whatsoever–Ed.]. Cardinal Castrillón went to see the Pope and got the apostolic administration for the Priestly Union. However, the arrangement is now restricted to only the diocese of Campos, and is no longer for all of Brazil as was first promised.

What about the bishop that was promised? On paper it's still promised. The letter of the Pope says, "You will have a successor." But the agreement only speaks of an auxiliary, somebody to help Bishop Rangel now while he's sick, without any guarantees for the future! During his telephone conversation with Cardinal Castrillón on December 26th, Fr. Simoulin asked about this new bishop. The Cardinal replied, "Well, they will have to follow the normal law of the Church. They will have to ask the Congregation for bishops." This Congregation, by the way, is the one under which Campos has been placed. It is headed by Giovanni Battista Cardinal Re, the one of whom I spoke earlier, who in 1986 said that the Latin Mass is only temporarily granted, that the general law of the Church is the New Mass, and we will have to go back to it. Campos is under this head!

The problem is not with the Society, it is with Rome. We have changed nothing. We are just keeping Catholic Tradition and discipline, what the Church has always done, what has always sanctified the faithful, the priests, the bishops throughout the centuries. That's what we do. We do not change anything, so the problem cannot be on our side. On the contrary, the problem is in Rome.


In any case, the normal law of the Church for the nomination of a bishop is to choose from among the priests of the entire country, not just the diocese. The Pope is free to choose anyone. So when the Cardinal says that the choice of a bishop for the Priestly Union will be bound by the normal law, it means that Rome will not necessarily choose anyone from the apostolic administration of St. John Baptist Mary Vianney! Bishop Perl has already said it very clearly: "The bishop will not be Fr. Rifan; it will be a bi-ritual bishop," that is, a bishop who celebrates both old and new Masses. "This bishop," said Bishop Perl, "will little by little bring the priests of the apostolic administration to the New Mass, and so also the faithful. This administration will have only a temporary existence and the whole will be reintegrated into the diocese." That's what Bishop Perl says.

Bishop Rangel has been given the titular diocese of Zarna, in North Africa, as part of his title. Zarna is the old Carthage, Carthago, the famous enemy city of old Rome. In fact, the old Romans had a saying: "Carthago delenda est–Carthage has to be destroyed." You can be sure this choice of title for Bishop Rangel was not by coincidence. Rome likes to make this kind of play on words.

Fr. Georges Cottier, the Pope's personal theologian, commented that the important step here was the acceptance of the Council. Now that this was done, "Little by little we must expect other steps: for example, that they also participate in concelebrations in the reformed rite [the New Mass–Ed.]. However, we must not be in a hurry. What is important is that in their hearts there no longer be rejection. Communion found again in the Church has an internal dynamism of its own that will mature." Rome expects the entire administration to go over to the New Mass.


What Does the Society Say About the Campos-Vatican Agreement!

Bishop Fellay


There are two reproaches we make against Campos.

The first is that they did not request any preliminaries from Rome as the Society did. That first step was necessary. Before you build the span of a bridge you must build solid footings on the banks to support it. Campos dismissed this step because they were in a hurry to have the thing. Now it has its beautiful car, and the nails are on the road.

The second reproach is the affair of the second Assisi Prayer Meeting [Jan. 24, 2002]. This affair of Assisi is such a scandal that it requires anybody who cares about the salvation of souls to stand up and say, "No way." Bishop Rangel did not stand up. The priests of St. John Baptist Mary Vianney did not stand up; they did not make any statement about Assisi.

Do you know what happened there? The different groups were asked, "What kind of room do you want?" So, for example, the Zoroastrians said, "We need a window because we are going to make a fire." So they got their room with a window. The Moslems wanted a room facing Mecca. They got it. The Jews said, "We want a room that has never been blessed." This is a direct denial of Christ because anything which is blessed is always blessed in the name of Christ. To say, "We want a room that has never been blessed," means, "We want something which has nothing to do with Christ!" What did Rome do? I don't know, but they got their room.

All the crucifixes were removed from the monastery! And the crucifixes which they were not able to remove they covered. This was exactly the meaning of some drawings circulating in 1986 about the first Assisi Meeting where the Pope is shown saying to Christ, "Go away. We have no place for you here" (see pp. 15-16 in this issue). In order to have this meeting of other religions, Rome was obliged to remove Christ. It is horrible. It is really the abomination. They removed the Essential–the true God, the only Mediator, the only One through whom we can get anything good! They removed Him! And when you think that the animists at Assisi took a hen and they cut off the head of the hen-that is the way you can get peace? Oh, please! Unbelievable, the stories. It is absolutely ridiculous, but it is not only ridiculous; it is really a sacrilege, a blasphemy. The Society is definitely against it. From Campos, nothing! At the first Assisi Meeting, Bishop de Castro Mayer co-signed a letter with Archbishop Lefebvre against the meeting. They were together. They manifested this opposition. Now, the Society is alone. Campos doesn't say anything anymore. Psychologically speaking, it's perfectly understandable. You cannot smash the hand which has given you such a beautiful car, can you?

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 Saint 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.


Which Is The Real Rome?

Rome is not to be considered more traditional just because they made this move towards us. Events of last year prove otherwise.


An Undermining of Sacramental Theology

On July 20, 2001, the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity under Cardinal Kasper issued a notice regarding the intercommunion between the Chaldeans–an Eastern rite of the Catholic Church–and the Assyrians, who have the same rite but are not Catholics. The Assyrians are the modern-day Nestorians, heretics claiming Christ is two persons [in opposition to Catholic teaching which is that Christ has two natures in His one person–Ed.]. So you have 400,000 Catholic Chaldeans and 300,000 non-Catholic Assyrians. The Assyrians are spread across the whole world; their center is Iraq. They have very few priests left. By previous agreement [1994], Chaldeans and Assyrians can intercommunicate at each other's Masses. It is questionable, but the point I want to emphasize is on the side of the non-Catholic Assyrians.

They have a Mass, but it has no words of consecration, no words of the institution. This Mass is called the Anaphora of Addai and Mari. Cardinal Kasper announced that after a long study of history and theology, Cardinal Ratzinger has come to the conclusion that this Mass–without words of consecration–is valid. It's absolutely unbelievable. Rome says, "The words of Consecration are spread around the whole Mass. You find the words here and there. So you have a Consecration." The Society, however, claims it's a demolition of the whole theology of the Catholic sacraments (especially as regards the form of the sacrament). Imagine if a priest here at St. Vincent's eliminated the Consecration. For all of you it would be clear that there was no Mass. Now Rome tells us it is a Mass!

Rome bases itself on the excuse that if you examine the texts of the Assyrian rite, you won't find words of Consecration. But, it says, you won't find words of Consecration in many of the early texts of approved Catholic rites either. However, Rome's logic is faulty. The Catholic Church's perennial explanation of this is as easy as it is true: Manuscripts from the first century for the Latin rite in France and Spain, for the Mozarabic Eastern rite in union with Rome, etc., all are missing words of Consecration because the words were considered so holy that they shouldn't be written so they might not be polluted or profaned by contact with pagans. It is a law called the law of the arcane [the law of keeping these words secret–Ed.]. But the priests knew them and said them. It's not because they weren't written that they weren't said! That is the big error that they introduce now. In 1954, a top progressivist liturgist (who wrote one of the four Eucharistic Prayers of the New Mass), the French priest Fr. Louis Bouyer, used the Anaphora of Addai and Mari to claim that though words of Consecration were missing, enough meaning was intact throughout the Mass to make the Consecration in the Assyrian rite valid.5Today, Rome is agreeing that the Consecration is valid without the words of Consecration! That's absolutely unbelievable! But it fits with Rome's Modernism.

click to enlarge

Most Holy Father,

Please look at these drawings, since you are deaf to the anguished appeals that we have addressed you with filial respect. At least deign to not offend publicly and gravely against God's First Commandment; the salvation of your soul is at stake! Preach Jesus Christ as the Apostles did, even at the cost of their lives. This is the fervent and filial wish of those who still remain Catholic.

+ Marcel Lefebvre
Archbishop-Bishop Emeritus of Tulle

"...[They] can induce a far greater number to become members. Again, as all who offer themselves are received whatever may be their form of religion, they thereby teach the great error of this age–that a regard for religion should be held as an indifferent matter, and that all religions are alike.This manner of reasoning is calculated to bring about the ruin of all forms of religion, and especially of the Catholic religion, which, as it is the only one that is true, cannot, without great injustice, be regarded as merely equal to other religions." —Leo XIII, Humanum Genus, §16


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Archbishop Lefebvre conceived these illustrations in order to manifest the teaching of Holy Scripture: "For all the gods of the Gentiles are devils:..." (Ps. 95:5). All the gods of those who lack the true Faith are demons. Our Lord affirms in the Gospel according to St. John (10:9): "I am the door...." There is no other way to enter into heaven.

St. Paul says: "For although there be that are called gods, either in heaven or on earth (for there be gods many and lords many): Yet to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we unto him: and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him" (I Cor. 8:5-6). Likewise to the Ephesians:"One Lord, one faith, one baptism. One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in us all" (Eph. 4:5-6).

One does not eliminate with impunity this one Lord.


If you look at the traditional altar missal of the priest, you will see the words of Consecration are clearly made separate from all the rest. The words of the institution–Qui pridie quam pateretur–etc. as the rest of the Canon, but at the end of the Qui pridie, you have a period. You don't have a colon; this would imply the words of Consecration which follow are simply running narrative. Often in hand-missals you have a comma or a colon, but not in the traditional altar missal. You have a period there because it's not merely a story; it's not a narration; it's not just about what Our Lord said at the Last Supper. It's an action. These are the words of Christ pronounced by the priest in the person of Christ. Hoc est enim Corpus meum–This is my Body. In the altar missal of the New Mass the typography is the same for the Qui pridie quam pateretur, that is, from the beginning of the institution, all the way through the words of Consecration, making you believe that the form of the sacrament is not strictly the words of Consecration but everything else around them. And now Rome is using the example of the Anaphora of Addai and Mari to say that the form is the whole Mass! The evolution is very clear.

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A page from the Canon of the 1962 traditional Missale Romanum (Editio Prima Juxta Typicam) published by the Sacred Congregation of Rites. This illustrates the Qui pridie quam pateretur and the separate words of the Consecration as prayed by the traditional priest at the altar.

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A page from the Saint Andrew Bible Missal, first released in the U.S. in 1964, illustrating the same part of the Mass. Note that the punctuation and typography make the institution of the Holy Eucharist appear as a narrative.


The strategy of the modernists to destroy theology has always been to initially cause confusion by eliminating precision. Look at Cardinal Ratzinger's new concept of "Church," for instance. He recently said in a conference in Ancona, Italy, what amounts to: "The word for the 'Church' was, before, the 'Mystical Body of Christ.' But we see that this means either you are a member or you are not a member, and that does not fit with reality. That is why theologians have made studies of Holy Scripture to find a word or concept that would better fit with the reality, and they have found 'People of God.'" You see how clear precision is removed? Before, you were either a member or not a member of the Catholic Church. But the modernists want a gray zone, and so they invent "People of God" so no one knows who's in, who's out!

This is the strategy now seriously touching the consecration and all of sacramental theology. The result will be its demolition by the modernists. They say, "Ah, finally it's the end of this medieval theology of the magic words."


Canonizing a Condemned Priest?

In July [2001], the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a scandalous finding about Fr. Antonius de Rosmini-Serbati (1797-1855), the Italian priest whose 40 propositions were condemned posthumously [Denzinger §§1891-1930a] by the Holy Office in 1887. Despite this, Pope Paul VI began to work for the beatification of Rosmini and established a commission to study this problem, because you cannot canonize somebody who has been condemned by the Church. That commission returned its finding: "No, you can't beatify him." Pope John Paul II called a new commission to study the same problem, and it returned the identical finding. So what did the Pope do? He says, "Go ahead." The problem remains that Rosmini, however, is condemned.

Then Cardinal Ratzinger comes to help: "Well, you know, when he was condemned, that was fine. But now, it's no longer like that. At the time when he was condemned, the Vatican used Thomistic glasses to make its judgments. Now it's no longer Thomism. If you use Thomistic glasses, he's condemned. If you use the glasses of Rosmini, then there is no value in the condemnation. In any case, the condemnation can be contested."

What is Cardinal Ratzinger saying?! He is putting truth on a slippery slope. And once again, the modernists have understood what's happened very well. They say it's the first time the Vatican has made use of the "historico-critical method" regarding a condemnation of the Church. This "historico-critical method" is a well-known tactic of the modernists who claim that truth evolves, that dogmatic truths of yesterday are different from today's, that what was considered false yesterday might be considered true today. This case of Rosmini is going to foment enormous confusion.


An Undermining of the Holy Scriptures

Another striking development is the decision of the Biblical Commission this past autumn [2001] which is under the control of Cardinal Ratzinger's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. It published a book in French dealing with the Jewish vision of the Christian Bible. It deals with the modern-day Jewish interpretation of the Holy Scriptures. The Commission concluded: "The Jewish interpretation has developed in parallel to the Christian interpretation and both are valid. It's wrong to say that prophecies speak of the coming of Christ, so it's wrong to say the Jews are without excuse when they don't see Christ in the Holy Scriptures." But Our Lord Himself said, "Read the Scriptures. They speak of Me." He said it! The people of the Commission contest the words of Our Lord. Isn't that something? How do the modernist exegetes interpret away Our Lord's words, "Woe to you, Pharisees"? They say, "The evangelist is reflecting the discriminatory attitude of the Christian community, which had problems with the Jews!" So, do these words come from Jesus Himself, or not? Are these words truth or not? This new book concludes they are not. This is directly against Catholic dogma teaching us that the Holy Scriptures tell the truth, are authentic, written by inspired writers and not by people of the second or third century. All of Scripture is discredited now. With little notice, atomic bombs against the Church have been quietly dropped here for years.


The Road Ahead

Bishop Fellay

On quite another level, something is moving within the Church. A number of bishops and priests are turning towards Tradition, who would like to celebrate the Tridentine Mass. Until now, obviously, individual priests have been more courageous than the bishops. But bishops come to us and speak with us. Whether they will one day have the courage to stand up and to join clearly in this enormous fight against enemies of the Church who try to destroy it, God knows. We will see.

How long will this fight last?-I don't know. The only thing I know is that the Catholic Church is our Church, and that those who stick with Our Lord, who is the true Captain of the fleet, will win. So we are sure that we will win as long as we stay faithful, as long as we stick to all our duties, even if we are beaten, even if we receive bad blows. The important thing is to stay faithful.

It has happened that the Society has in its hands the Mass and the Priesthood, the greatest and most precious treasures of the Church. We can't help it; it's like that. Now, I say these are the Society's because we are Catholic, but, of course, they belong to the Catholic Church. But the Society is like a man to whom something very precious has been entrusted. Now what is the duty of such a man? It's very simple: He has to conserve this good until the real owner takes it again. He does not have any right to dispose of it nor to cut a part of it. No, he must keep it faithfully; that's all. That's the duty of the Society of Saint Pius X. It has to safeguard these goods until the time Rome will again make use of them, and have the whole Church share it and enjoy it. That's all that we must do.

In all our discussions with Rome, it was never a matter of negotiating, of trading anything with Rome. From the start I said to Rome, "You have to take us as we are." I told Cardinal Castrillon the first meeting, "We will never say the New Mass! It is out of discussion. We will not discuss the matter." At first glance, he did not give me the impression that he wanted to argue about that. Well, he could not because I would not.

In all our discussions with Rome, it was never a matter of negotiating, of trading anything with Rome. From the start I said to Rome, "You have to take us as we are." I told Cardinal Castrillon the first meeting, "We will never say the New Mass! It is out of discussion. We will not discuss the matter." At first glance, he did not give me the impression that he wanted to argue about that. Well, he could not because I would not.

This crisis is such a radical fight between the devil and his instruments and the Good Lord and His Church, that it is really, really stupid to think that we could resolve such a crisis with merely human means, with a human agreement. No. It goes too far. The means by which the fight is to be conducted are essentially super-natural. They are prayer, the recourse to Our Lord Himself, and sacrifice. Certainly the true consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, when it is accomplished as Our Lady asked, will play an important part. It is with these means that the crisis will be overcome.

The matter is more than the label "excommunicated" being retracted. It does not change anything in the crisis of the Church. The state of the Church is horrible. For example, there is obedience. People in Rome tell us disobedience is out of control within the Church. A few years ago, Cardinal Ratzinger was asked, "How much power do you have?" to which he answered, "Very little." In this last book he said, "The concept of authority has disappeared." He means nothing remains. They have lost control in Rome. They are no longer obeyed; that is the terrible situation in which they are. Of course, when Rome issues statements contradicting itself, the Catholic Church is further crushed. The Romans will not regain any power or anything good with their behavior. Humanly speaking, it's hopeless. We know, however, not to look at the Church with only human eyes. The Church is supernatural. It is the Church of God, of Our Lord. The gates of hell will not prevail against it, but, humanly speaking, we are dying.

Two years ago, I reviewed a directory of religious for Ireland: 10,000 religious brothers; in the brothers' novitiates, four. That means it's the end. Sisters: 32,000; in the novitiate, 150. Will 150 replace 30,000? No way. It's the end. Here in the U.S., figures say active priests will be reduced by 40%. By 2005 in France, the number of priests will drop from 17,000 to 8,000. That's more than half the number within three years. We are heading into the desert. This is a disaster without any name.

So for us, it is very, very simple: We just continue. 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!"

There are at the same time so many blessings, so many consolations from the good Lord, so many signs of His grace in our work. Everyday, we walk within miracles, even, I think, miracles from the Archbishop–he is at work–even miracles that show to people where they have to go. Let me tell you a story about a lady from Paris which was told to me by the lady herself, so, once again, it is not hearsay.

She was going to the New Mass and was not at ease there. Something was wrong there, but she didn't know exactly what. She asked the priest, "What's going on?" She got no reasonable answer, so she continued going, but was very bothered.

One day she was chatting with her aunt. For little apparent reason, the aunt made an off-hand comment that the Blessed Virgin Mary spoke to little children. A few weeks later, this popped into the head of the lady and she exclaimed, "I have an eight-year-old daughter. Maybe she can get an answer!" So she and her daughter drove to the Rue de Bac where the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to St. Catherine Laboure to give her the Miraculous Medal. Arriving there, she instructed her daughter: "You ask the Blessed Virgin Mary where we have to go to Mass." The lady told me there was so much traffic that it was impossible for her to park and go in with the girl. She stayed in the car and circled around. After 10-15 minutes, the girl came out to the car and told her mother, "We have to go to St. Nicholas du Chardonnet." "St. Nicholas!" said the mother, "That's the Lefebvrist church! They are schismatics!...Why? Ask the Blessed Mother why!" So the girl went back into the chapel, and after a while came back to the car with this answer (I don't invent anything): "Because there is the true Church." "What's that?" asked the mother, "What's the true Church? What is it that you say, daughter? I don't understand." So the girl went in again, beginning a series of question-and-answer sessions with the Blessed Mother which lasted for the next three weeks. For three weeks, this lady would pose questions for the girl to ask Our Lady. The girl would return speaking of Quas Primas, of Mortalium Animos, of Vatican I, Vatican II, and so on. The lady read the encyclicals and her share of serious books. At the end of three weeks, she surrendered and ended up at St. Nicholas du Chardonnet.

I know several similar stories which show very clearly something: the good Lord is not going to abandon anybody who wants to stick to the truth. God is going to help those who want to serve Him even if it takes a miracle. We must trust God. We must give Him this trust, that He is really our Father, and that if we really, really, really want to be His sons, He will care, whatever happens. Of course, we must be serious in our will to be Catholic and to behave as though we mean it. If we are serious and sincere, God is not going to cheat us.

We know we live in different and difficult times. But God is God, He is Almighty, now as before. He has not changed. He's not been diminished in His powers. He could end this crisis in the Church with one word. If He doesn't, that's His affair. He will give all the necessary help we need to sanctify ourselves here and now. We may have to suffer martyrdom. I cannot exclude that possibility, my dear brethren. When we see the seriousness of this fight, we have to envisage this possibility. We have to pray the good Lord will give us the grace when it will be time for it. In the meantime, let's everyday do our duty of state. It's not complicated. Trust in God. Don't invent problems for yourself, just do what you have to do. Stay Catholic, keep your faith, keep your hope, keep your charity. We have the Ten Commandments. We know what we have to do. Even if it is hard, we know. And that's it, and that's what we want to do, what we will try to continue to do.

I end with a prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary and a blessing.


Transcribed for Angelus Press by Miss Andrea Stoltz. Edited, abridged, and partially reconstructed for chronological clarity by Fr. Kenneth Novak. Audio recordings of this conference are available from Aquinas Tapes, P.O. Box 9265, Shawnee Mission, KS 66201. 816-531 -2448. Available on audio cassettes ($ 10), or video cassette ($ 15), plus $5 postage for each order.

1. See "Interview with Bishop Fellay," The Angelus, August 2001, pp. 11- 14.

2. Available from the Angelus Press ($9.95).

3. See The Angelus, Nov. 2001.

4. The text of the letter was published in The Angelus, August 2001.

5. See Louis Bouyer's Liturgical Piety, Ch. 10, "The Anaphora: A Note on Epiclesis and Verba Consecrationis," especially p. 137–Ed.