The SSPX in 2012
Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X, recently delivered a 90 minute homily in Toronto which, among other things, reviewed the state of the Society’s relations with Rome during the past year (and a bit before). Most of what Fellay recounts is common knowledge among those who have been following the SSPX/Vatican talks, though there are a few eyebrow-raising anecdotes tossed in for good measure. Those who listened/watch Bishop Fellay’s address at the 2010 Angelus Press Conference will remember some of them. Others are, as far as I know, “hot off the press” and shed considerable light on the contradictory attitude of Rome and, more specifically, Pope Benedict XVI toward the Society. Moreover, Fellay’s remarks support what has been a longstanding suspicion among not just traditionalist, but many Catholics with a conservative bent, namely that there are many in seats of power within the Vatican who actively work to undermine the Pope’s authority, particularly when it comes to restoring the traditional liturgy and teachings of the Catholic Church.
While I obviously do not know the man personally, I will admit that I have a great deal of admiration for Bishop Fellay. The many interviews and sermons I have read/seen of his have always struck me as genuine, heartfelt, and measured. There is a lightness to his tone that is often missing among traditionalist Catholics though, to be fair, he does not shy away from calling a spade a spade. Some of his more recent interviews indicates — to the chagrin of some within his flock — that he is more aware of his times than others. He lacks, for instance, the hyper-Gallican rebelliousness of his fellow prelate, Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, and there is nothing in his talks of the half-paranoid reactionarianism of his former colleague Richard Williamson. Some traditionalists opine that Fellay has “gone soft” in recent years. But why? Because he is awake to the fact that the world has moved on since the 19th C. and that criticizing the current Church’s teaching on religious liberty takes on the appearance of absurdity when it is accompanied by hopeless longings for a reunion between throne and altar? Because he does not believe that the many troubles which beset the Catholic Church are due to a Judaeo-Masonic conspiracy? Because he realizes, like his predecessor Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, that Vatican II actually happened and that the best hope for the Church is not to deny the existence of the Council, but to interpret it in line with the 1900 years which preceded it? Because he will not call the Pope a heretic? If those are Fellay’s crimes, then I pray more traditionalists do everything in their power to embrace his deviancy.
H/T: Rorate Caeli (for the link)