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SSPX leader criticises Pope’s plan to hold inter-religious meeting

By on Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior general of the SSPX, blesses flock after ordaining priests in Econe, Switzerland (Photo: CNS)

Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior general of the SSPX, blesses flock after ordaining priests in Econe, Switzerland (Photo: CNS)

The leader of the Society of St Pius X has expressed anger at Pope Benedict’s decision to hold another inter-religious meeting at Assisi.

Weeks after Bishop Bernard Fellay said he was feeling optimistic about union with Rome this year, the superior general of the SSPX  said he was deeply indignant about the Pope’s invitation to religious leaders around the world to join him in Assisi.

Preaching on the Epiphany, Bishop Fellay said: “Yes, we are deeply indignant, we vehemently protest against this repetition of the days at Assisi. Everything that we have said, everything that Archbishop Lefebvre had said at the time of the World Day of Prayer for Peace in Assisi in 1986, we repeat in our own name. It is evident, my dear brothers, that such a thing demands reparation. What a mystery!”

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, the founder of the SSPX, complained about the first World Day of Prayer for Peace. He said the Church had never before been “humiliated to such an extent in the course of her history”. He told John Paul II that “the scandal given to Catholic souls cannot be measured. The Church is shaken to its very foundations”.

Pope Benedict told pilgrims at the first Angelus of the year that he would travel to Assisi in October to mark the 25th anniversary of the day.

He said: “I will make a pilgrimage to the town of St Francis, inviting my Christian brethren of different confessions, leaders of the world’s religious traditions and, in their hearts, all men and women of good will, to join me on this journey in order to commemorate that important historical gesture of my predecessor, and solemnly to renew the commitment of believers of all religions to live their religious faith as a service to the cause of peace.”

  • Meldrew

    Has the Pope invited the SSPX to the Assisi meeting? It would be a nice ecumenical gesture, at least to ask them, no?

  • Catholicreader2010

    When will Bp. Fellay realize that he is not appointed to judge or rebuke the Holy See? Until that day, he and the SSPX will remain outside the fold — by their own choice.

  • Guest

    So was St. Paul wrong to rebuke St. Peter?
    By your comment, one would have to say ‘yes’.
    When will Catholicreader2010 realize that he is not appointed to judge or rebuke St. Paul et al.?

  • Wyrefarm

    SSPX is an irrelevant little mind bending sect. Its priests and bishops continue operating in defiance of the Pope’s strict instructions that they must not. Who do they think they are, telling the Pope what he is allowed to do? Its high time they ate humble pie, learned humility.

  • Joe

    When buddha is put atop a tabernacle… when all crucifixes are to be removed and masses not said in a catholic monastery, all for the purpose of “not offending” the visiting religious leaders, the Bishop of Rome must be “resisted to the face.” (all of these things happened at the previous Assisi meetings follow the link

    It is not scandalous for dialogue to happen, it is scandalous to allow buddha to be placed on top of the Tabernacle, containing Jesus, Himself. I do not know how long He will be mocked…

  • Rtsully1297

    What if the CEO of Walmart invited leaders from Target, Kmart, and other major chain stores together and then said things like it, ‘doesnt matter where you get your stuff. Its all about the same’. I don’t think the CEO of Walmart would be CEO for very much longer.

  • Anonymous

    Imagine for a moment, the faces of the Catholic saints and the martyrs on the point of going to their deaths in defence of the one true Faith, learning that the Pope was not merely attending a prayer meeting with unbelievers, with the worshippers of false gods, but was ORGANISING the event! About turn, I should think.

    Unbelievable stuff: before the dust has settled on his condom gaffe, he is in there, feet first, causing another scandal.

    We’ve got bishops supporting “gay” Masses for homosexuals and their partners; we’ve got Catholic schools that don’t work, judging by the 90+% lapsation rate of pupils before they even leave their “Catholic” school, we’ve got priests involved in sexual affairs with bishops telling the Protestant community how much we have to learn from them. And we have a Pope who – having read the Third Secret of Fatima – prefers to seek counsel and prayers from pagans rather than obey Our Lady who has guaranteed world peace if only he consecrates Russia to Her Immaculate Heart.

    Oh yes, an intellectual giant, A holy Pope… I think not.

    Our Lady of Fatima, pray for him

  • Anonymous

    A teensy weensy bit of ignorance showing here. When the liberal Cardinal Cassidy was in charge at the Congregation for Ecumenism or whatever they call it, he was asked at a press conference if the SSPX were to be part of the Ecumenical programme.

    He replied immediately “no” because this rift with the SSPX was “an internal matter” – an irregular situation, not a schism.

    What WOULD be a nice gesture, and one in keeping with Our Lord’s command to His apostles to “go preach the Gospel to every nation” would be if the Pope would invite these pagans and Protestants to become Catholics, to safeguard their eternal salvation.

    But I think we’ll need to wait for Pope Pius XIII to see that.

  • Anonymous

    Wrong. If you study Church history you will soon come to realise that God in His Divine Providence has given us Archbishop Lefebvre, Bishop Fellay and the SSPX PRECISELY to rebuke the Holy See.

    Again this nonsense about “judging” – what is to judge? The Pope tells us he has organised a prayer meeting with pagans.

    We are endowed with intelligence, we don’t need to act as if we’re thick. The Pope is breaking the First Commandment by doing this – can you not see that?

  • Anonymous

    The SSPX are to the Church in our times, what the Jesuits were at the time of the Reformation. They are God’s answer to Vatican II. Some day, you will see that. And what a lot of humble pie YOU’LL have to eat, my friend!

  • Anonymous

    With respect, the CEO of Walmart hasn’t been given the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven to guard; he’s not been told to go out and convert the world. No analogy works. The Pope is the Vicar of Christ on earth. And the Vicar of Christ is not supposed to go about the place breaking the First Commandment.

    To acknowledge, however implicitly or for whatever motive, false gods, to fail to correct the error of these people who worship false gods, is to break the First Commandment.

  • Crouchback

    Agreed…but…..St John Hale, Vicar of Isleworth martyred with St John Houghton two other Carthusian Priors and a monk of Syon Abbey…..didn’t exactly go to death in this manner…..poor St John Hale was an old man, he’d been tortured, and allegedly he’d recanted several times, but each time, allegedly…..he came back to his true opinion ….eventually he had a Martyrs death….amongst the first 5 of the Reformation….but the poor man, was clearly terrified out of his wits….who wouldn’t be…???

    I don’t think the Pope is going to sell us down the river…..and even if He does……would anyone any where believe that he wasn’t pressured into it…??? Look at the reports of sex abuse in 2010….the vast majority were re heated reports of 1996…..which had been reheated ….again in the early 2000′s… there may be a small, or even large amount of claims against the Church in various matters, but when even the ex-mayor of New York, Ed Koch goes on record to say it looks like a stitch up…….then more re heats of the same scandals will become to be seen for what they are…..attacks on the Church, for no other reason than it’s the Church that’s being attacked….the poor children who suffered, will gain nothing from further re heating……

    But, who gains…..Cui Bono…..from a rerun of Assisi ….????….the Buddhists….??….the Muslims…??…

    The Protestants…???…the Jews…??…certainly not the Catholics.

    Everyone knows the claims of the Church, so why do these other guys want to bend over back wards to come to a Catholic Place…..why not invite the Pope to Angkor Wat in Cambodia…??? Maybe it would be just to ridiculous to invite a rational religion like Catholicism to such a backward place…..

    So what’s at the back of it all..?? Could it be that…..The Powers of the Earth…???….The world bankers and the like who have had their knickers in a right twist recently, want to be assured that the Pope is ….On Side….????….that he wont say anything to crazy….that threatens their Hegemony over the whole world…????

    On the other hand after 40 years of Abortion and Contraception…..maybe they are beginning to feel a bit draughty….???? maybe…they are beginning to realise that it’s put up…..or shut up time with Nuclear Weapons…..what’s the point in having all this terrifying stuff …..if it’s too terrible to use…..but what to do when the Mad Mullahs get there hands on them….????…just a tad different from the Commies having them…Watson….this is a Three Pipe problem and no mistake……

    So lets cut the Holy Father a bit of slack…..and We still have the Third Secret…..and are keeping it warm…….for a Rainy Day…….you understand….????

  • Jamie MacNab

    I, too, wonder what the saints and martyrs think of all this ‘loving thine enemy’ stuff. “How ridiculous!” they cry, as they join the angels in a good laugh at all those feeble, frightened, faithless mortals down below. After all, it’s not as if Our Lord would ever have dined with publicans and sinners, is it?

    Or have I missed something?

  • meldrew

    Perhaps those of us who are traditionally-inclined feel wary, to say the least, about this plan for a new Assisi. Surely the correct response of every Catholic should be to pray and offer sacrifices with the intention that the event does indeed turn out to be a blessing for the Church and the world? And shouldn’t we always treat the Holy Father with respect in our comments and conversation. Whether or not we agree with the statements and policy of any particular incumbent of the See of Peter, he is the Successor of Peter. It’s a cause of great scandal to non-Catholics when they see us lot calling the Pope a sinner and a heretic in a public forum.

  • James H

    The Jesuits never set themselves up as an alternative church, telling Popes what sinners they were and proclaiming how righteous they were in comparison.

    Behold, humble pie.

  • James H

    “Its all about the same”
    Can you provide any evidence that this is what’s implied at Assisi?

  • Jetteyeknight

    Mr. MacNab, it seems your irony has flown undetected beyond most of the posters here. But, thank you for saying it anyway.

  • Gehadhomsey

    “Angkor Wat in Cambodia..a backward place”!!!
    Very demeaning and ignorant statement.

  • Gehadhomsey

    It is insulting and demeaning to the Jesuits to be equated with the SSPX.
    Please a bit more tolerance and charity in your words.

  • Jamie MacNab

    Hello Jett, I am distressed by seeing so many Catholics being so defensive. It is as if they imagine that every formal contact with a non-Catholic is a hazard, instead of seeing it as an opportunity. Thank you for your encouragement.

  • Joe

    “There being an imminent danger for the Faith, prelates must be questioned, even publicly, by their subjects. Thus, St. Paul, who was a subject of St. Peter, questioned him publicly on account of an imminent danger of scandal in a matter of Faith. And, as the Glossa of St. Augustine puts it (Ad Galatas 2.14), ‘St. Peter himself gave the example to those who govern so that if sometimes they stray from the right way, they will not reject a correction as unworthy even if it comes from their subjects.” (Summa Theologiae, IIa IIae, Q. 33, A. 4)

  • Anonymous

    I think you’ll find the Jesuits are doing just that, James H…

    While the SSPX have never been in schism as the Vatican keeps telling people like you who won’t listen…

  • Anonymous

    Don’t be daft. If you don’t know that the Jesuits are right in the thick of causing the crisis in the Church, you need to catch up with your reading. Ditto the crucial role of the SSPX in solving it.

  • Pastizzi56

    Irrelevant comparison. Profits are the object of their competition.
    Peace is not an object of competition, all leaders should be working towards peace.
    Nothing wrong in coming together at a very revered Catholic place where the Catholic Saint who is loved by almost all kinds of believers and non believers, prayed to be an instrument of peace:
    ” Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
    Where there is hatred, let me sow love…”

  • Scott1234

    A rebuke of Assissi III is a natural and wholesome response to what has been in the past, a terrible scandal.
    We expect better than this from the Pope, and our only hope now is that he will be inspired to confront the heretics and pagans.
    God may have a trick up His sleeve….

  • HoraceTheThreadmaster

    I am busting with laughs. You have split my ribs.
    Seriously nothing ever gets accomplished on threads like this…
    And knowing that, I say this:
    If you believe what the Church teaches in her traditions, if you accept her two-thousand years of experience, if you focus on following the teachings of the Church, frequenting the Sacraments, and showing charity for your neighbor you will be okay.
    If you don’t do these things and at the same time spend all your days and nights ranting against anonymous posts on the internet and trumoeting around everything the Pope is doing wrong, who are you??? What are you doing right?

  • Deesis

    Our Lord however did not let money changers defile the temple. He did not say to all the followers of other religions “lets all pray together”.
    Think about it. What is the first commandment?

  • Deesis

    The Pope is not free to do whatever he wants. He as best as he is able may not sin. He is bound as we all are by the rules of the Faith and no he should not break the First Commandment.
    Also please do not think because the Pope does or does not does it it is right!
    There are precedents in papal history that show the Pope can the wrong thing as we all do.

  • Robert C. Gregory

    Oh, so you are a great supporter of “loving thine enemy”? Is Satan your enemy? I wonder…

  • Jamie MacNab

    Good morning Deesis.

    What you say is true, and Jesus’ words and deeds were designed to be appropriate for particular occasions and for particular people ; as well as being of eternal significance. Hence the puzzles and paradoxes that we see from our perspective. We are assured that God loves all His creation, so surely we must also try to do likewise without compromising our position and without being unseemly.

    Of course, we must establish the protocols for our prayerful meetings with pagans (especially) and these will take time to learn and implement. But, to do our part in fulfilling God’s intentions for the world, we must take some risks. We need faith, hope and charity. We need courage.

  • Jamie MacNab

    Very good, Robert. I am reminded of the final chapter of Chesterton’s The Man who was Thursday.

  • meldrew

    In his Beatification, the Church is proclaiming solemnly that Pope John Paul II is in Heaven. From that vantage point he is in a much stronger position than he ever was while he was in the Vatican. We should pray to him to make sure that the next Assisi meeting bears good wholesome Catholic fruit, and that any negative effects of Assisi I are obliterated

  • Dan

    “and solemnly to renew the commitment of believers of all religions to live their religious faith as a service to the cause of peace.”

    How can there be peace without Jesus Christ as the center of ones Faith?

  • Davejohnsonucc

    It is insulting and demeaning to the SSPX to be equated with the so-called Jesuits of today.

  • Melandav

    What did the last world days of peace do for the World?
    Let us ask the Holy Father to ask all the bishops of the world to meet at Fatima and consecrate Russia to the immaculate Heart of Mary.
    The bride of Christ, Holy Mother Catholic Church is the only instrument for peace!

  • Dejunkster

    This reporter, Anna Arco, does a poor job of capturing the true essence of the message of Bishop Fellay and Bishop Lefebvre. The reporter makes it sound as though the SSPX is against peace, or against peaceful assembly. The reporter is wrong and misses the point. The real issue is about the differences of the many different religions which are not compatible. Pope Leo XIII, in his encyclical Immoratale Dei, said the same thing as the SSPX. Pope Leo XIII said, “Men who really believe in the existence of God must, in order to be consistent with themselves and to avoid absurd conclusions, understand that differing modes of divine worship involving dissimilarity and conflict even on most important points cannot all be equally probable, equally good, and equally acceptable to God.”

  • MonkeyMagic


  • Gordon S

    What hog wash Mr. Editor, I’m sorry, but you continue to talk out of both sides of your mouth. Lefebvre was clearly a stubborn, schismatic bishop. Not so different from the Editor of this paper.
    “Love one another as I have loved you.” The Church my friend is called to eradicate discord and create unity in love, compassion and understanding, like its founder. The more we reach out to others of all faiths, the more we follow Jesus Christ.
    Your paper does much harm to a faith based on this love… Come up higher Mr. Editor, for in love there is always so much more… blessings… Gord

  • Paul

    Much as the Jesuits were God’s answer to the Council of Trent, you mean? Not at all sure I follow.

  • considerandhearme

    Outside the Catholic Church, there is no salvation. – Ecumenical Council of Florence

    If Pope Benedict loves these pagan, heathens, and heretics, he will preach to their salvation.

  • Anonymous

    Below at the bottom is an article about some very prominent Italians calling on Pope Benedict not to repeat the great sin John Paul 11 committed at Assisi, a sin that will without any doubt bring down a great Chastisement. I rely on the following in support of this.
    In 1918 just one year after Our Lady came to Fatima, the very great Cardinal Mercier of Belgium said that the First World War was a punishment for the crime of men placing the one true Catholic religion on the same level with false creeds. Cardinal Mercier said “In the name of the Gospel, and in the light of the Encyclicals of the last four Popes, Gregory XV1, Pius 1X, Leo X111 and Pius X, I do not hesitate to affirm that this indifference to religions which puts on the same level the religion of divine origin and the religions invented by men in order to include them in the same sceptism in the blasphemy which calls down chastisement on society far more than the sins of individuals and families.” So according to this great Churchman this Spirit of Assisi, this false ecumenism is the blasphemy that will incur Divine Chastisement!
    Now truly, it can be seen that we are entering the final phases of the Fatima Prophesies, that phase Our Lady warned us about when She said
    “If they heed My requests, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace. If not, she shall spread her errors throughout the world, promoting wars and persecutions of the Church; the good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated; in the end, My Immaculate Heart shall triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Me, which will be converted, and a period of peace will be given to the world.”
    Or as Fr. Malichi Martin said in an interview back in 1998 in relation to The Third Secret of Fatima “We have passed the either stage we are now entering the or stage.” (Either you do this OR)
    For not only have the good as well as the bad ignored Our Blessed Mother, but rather than obey the requests of Our Lady of Fatima the Diabolical Disorientation of the upper Hierarchy now propose to ignore the promise of world peace given by Our Lady on the fulfillment of Her requests and repeat one of the great sins of the Church and pray for world peace instead with all the false man made creeds of the world. This is unbelievable when you consider that as recent as May 11th 2010 Pope Benedict while on on his way to Fatima stated to the press in relation to the Fatima Prophesies that “Not only from the outside come the attacks to the Pope and the Church, but the sufferings of the Church come right from the inside of the Church, by the sins committed inside the Church itself.” (See the Fatima Crusader, Fatima Challenge Conference Edition for the full text of what the Pope said on that occasion).
    On December 10th, 1925, Our Lady and the Child Jesus appeared to St Lucia in the Convent at Pontevedra. Our Lord said to St. Lucia “Have compassion on the Heart of your Most Holy Mother, covered with thorns, with which ungrateful men pierce it at every moment, and there is no one to make an Act of Reparation to remove them.” Our Lady went on to ask for people to make the Five First Saturdays with the intention of making Reparation to the Immaculate Heart. When St, Lucia at Tuy on May 29th asked Our Lord (As instructed by her confessor Fr. Goncalves) why Five First Saturdays. Our Lord responded “My daughter, the reason is simple. There are five types of offences and blasphemies committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary:
    1. Blasphemies against the Immaculate Conception; ……….Guilty as charged; Most Protestants, most of the Eastern Orthodox, Jews, Moslems, Hindus, Buddhists, Freemasons, Communists, Socialists, secular humanists etc.
    2. Blasphemies against Her Perpetual Virginity;……….Guilty as charged; Most Protestants, , Jews, Moslems, Hindus, Buddhists, Freemasons, Communists, Socialists, secular humanists etc. In fact many “Catholics” today do not believe in Her Perpetual Virginity.
    3. Blasphemies against Her Divine Maternity, in refusing at the same time to recognize Her as the Mother of men;……….Guilty as charged; We know that Moslems, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists reject this teaching, especially because they do not believe that Jesus Christ is God.
    4. The blasphemies of those who publicly seek to sow in the hearts of children indifference or scorn or even hatred of this Immaculate Mother;…Guilty as charged; Protestants, Jews, Moslems, Hindus, Buddhists, Freemasons, Communists, Socialists, secular humanists etc. Sadly also many “Catholics”.
    5. The offences of those who outrage Her directly in Her Holy Images.”;……….Guilty as charged; This includes those who would actually destroy Her images, ridicule them, or those like Protestants who accuse Catholics of idolatry for having statues of Our Lady in places of honor
    Our Lord clearly is not taking the modern ecumenical approach here that led to Assisi 1. He is not emphasizing those points that unite us with false religions. He is emphasizing those points that divide us from non-Catholics! He is telling us these points are far more important than any superficial ecumenical unity. Clearly and in the objective order He is accusing all these false man made religions of BLASPHEMY AGAINST HIS MOST HOLY MOTHER! He is emphasizing that these blasphemies against Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart are not to be taken lightly. They are, in fact sins against the Faith! This is an indictment against all non-Catholic religions. This is truly a call by God for all Catholics to do Penance and make Reparation (For the full story of these visions please read The True Story of Fatima by John de Marchi, I.M.C.)
    Even the very dogs of the street can sense something is wrong with the state of the world today. We can see looking around the world that every country now hangs on a knife edge, ready to descend into complete chaos and anarchy. The Mystery of Iniquity is poised to unfold before our very eyes.
    The clock is ticking. Please do promote and spread this message, They are the Requests of Our Lord and His Blessed Mother.
    Please promote the Message of Our Lady of Fatima with Catholic fervor.
    Make Reparation for the Blasphemies against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
    Do Penance.
    Pray the Rosary.
    “The Holy Father,” “Pray, pray a great deal, for the Holy Father. He will do it, but it will be late. Nevertheless, the Immaculate Heart of Mary will save Russia. It has been entrusted to Her.” Our Lord to St. Lucia.
    “In the end My Immaculate Heart will Triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Me, which will be converted, and a period of peace will be given to the world.” Our Lady says only She can bring peace to the world!
    Italian Catholic Intellectuals Beg Benedict XVI To “Flee the Spirit of Assisi”
    Filed under Documents

    Pie XI
    On January 11, Catholic Italian journalists and academics caused to appear in Il Foglio a supplication to the Pope, begging him not to go to Assisi next October. Here are some of the most significant extracts.

    Most Holy Father,

    (…)We take the liberty of writing you after having learned, precisely during the massacre of the Coptic Christians (Ed. in Egypt, December 31, 2010), your intention of convening in Assisi, in October, a large inter-religious assembly, 25 years after “Assisi 1986”.

    We all remember this event that took place so long ago. An event like few others in the media, that, independently of the intentions and declarations of he (those) who convened it, had an undeniable repercussion, relaunching in the Catholic world indifference and religious relativism.

    It is this event that caused to take effect among the Christian people the idea that the secular teaching of the Church, “one, holy, Catholic and apostolic”, concerning the unique character of the Savior, was in some way to be banished to the archives.

    We all remember the representatives of all the religions in a Catholic sanctuary, the church of Santa Maria degli Angeli, lined up with olive branches in hand: as if to signify that peace does not come through Christ but, indistinctly, through all the founders of any credo whatsoever (Mohammed, Buddha, Confucius, Kali, Christ…)

    We remember the prayer of the Muslims in Assisi, the city of a saint who had made the conversion of the Muslims one of his objectives. We remember the prayer of the animists, their invocation to the spirits of the elements, and of other believers or representatives of atheistic religions, such as Jainism.

    The effect of this “praying together”, whatever its goal may be, like it or not, is to make many believe that all were praying to “the same God”, only with different names.
    On the contrary, the Scriptures are clear: “Thou shalt not have false gods before me” (First Commandment), “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life: no man cometh to the Father but by me” (John 14:6)
    Those who write here in no way contest a dialogue with each and every person, whatever his religion may be.

    We live in the world, and every day we speak, discuss, love, even those who are not Christian, because they are atheists, indifferent, or of other religions. But that does not keep us from believing that God came down to earth, and let Himself be killed to teach us, precisely, the Way, the Truth, and not just one of many possible ways and truths. Christ is, for us Christians, the Savior; the only Savior of the world.

    We recall with consternation, going back 25 years, the chickens beheaded on the altar of St. Claire according to tribal rituals and a statue of Buddha placed on the altar in the church of St. Peter, above the relics of the martyr Vittorino, killed in 400 AD to bear witness to his faith.

    We remember the Catholic priests at the initiation rites of other religions: a horrible scene, for, if it is “ridiculous” to baptize into the Catholic faith an adult who does not believe, just as absurd is it for a priest to undergo a ritual of which he recognizes neither the validity nor the utility. By doing this, one ends up just spreading one idea: that rites, all rites, are nothing but empty human gestures. That all the conceptions of the divine are of equal value. That all moralities, that emanate from all religions, are interchangeable. That is the “spirit of Assisi”, upon which the media and the most relativist milieus of the Church have elaborated, sowing confusion. It seemed to us foreign to the Gospel and to the Church of Christ that had never, in two thousand years, chosen to do such a thing. We would have liked to rewrite these ironic observations of a French journalist: “In the presence of so many gods, one will believe more easily that they are all equal than that there is only one that is true. The scornful Parisian will imitate that skeptical collector, whose friend had just made an idol fall from a table: ‘Ah, unhappy one, that may have been the true God’.”

    We therefore find comfort for our perplexities in the many declarations of the Popes who have always condemned such a “dialogue”. Indeed, a congress of all religions has already been organized in Chicago in 1893 and in Paris in 1900. But Pope Leo XIII intervened to forbid all Catholics to participate.

    The same attitude was that of Pius XI, the Pope who condemned Nazi atheism and Communist atheism, but deplored at the same time the attempt to unite people in the name of a vague and indistinct sentiment, without religion, without Christ.

    Pius XI wrote thus in Mortalium Animos (Epiphany 1928) concerning ecumenical encounters: “We see some men, convinced that it is very rare to meet men deprived of all religious sense, nourish the hope that it might be possible to lead peoples without difficulty, in spite of their religious differences, to a fraternal agreement on the profession of certain doctrines considered as a common foundation of spiritual life. That is why they begin to hold congresses, reunions, conferences, frequented by an appreciably large audience, and, to their discussions, they invite all men indistinctly, infidels of all kinds along with the faithful of Christ and even those who, unfortunately, have separated themselves from Christ or who, with bitterness and obstinacy, deny the divinity of His nature and of His mission.
    “Such undertakings cannot, in any way, be approved by Catholics, since they are based on the erroneous opinion that all religions are more or less good and praiseworthy, in the sense that all equally, although in different ways, manifest and signify the natural and innate sentiment that carries us towards God and pushes us to recognize with respect His power. In truth, the partisans of this theory fall into a complete error, but what is more, in perverting the notion of the true religion, they repudiate it, and they fall step by step into naturalism and atheism.”
    In retrospect, we can say that Pope Pius XI was right, even on the level of the simple opportunity: in reality, what has been the effect of “Assisi 1986”, in spite of the just declarations of Pope John Paul II, aimed at forestalling such an interpretation?

    What is the message relaunched by the organizers, the media, and even the many modernist clerics desirous of overturning the tradition of the Church? What came across to many Christians, through the images, which are always the most evocative, and through the newspapers and television, is very clear: religious relativism, which is the equivalent of atheism.
    If all pray “together”, many have concluded, then all religions are “equal”, but if this is the case, that means that none of them is true. At this time, you, cardinal and prefect of the Congregation of the Faith, with Cardinal Giacomo Biffi, and several others, were among those who expressed serious doubts. For this reason, in the following years, you have never participated in the replicas proposed each year by the Community of Sant’Egidio.

    These past years you have taught, without always being understood, even by Catholics, that dialogue has its place, and can take place, not between different theologies, but between different cultures, and not between different religions, but between men, in the light of that which distinguishes us all: human reason.
    Without recreating the ancient pagan Pantheon; without the integrity of the faith being compromised by a love for theological compromise; without Revelation, that is not our own, being modified by men and theologians in the aim of reconciling the irreconcilable; without placing Christ, “sign of contradiction”, on the same level as Buddha or Confucius, who, besides, never said that they were God.
    This is why we are here to expose to you our fears. We fear that, whatever you may say, television, the newspapers, and many Catholics will interpret it in the light of this past and of the present indifferentism; we fear that, whatever you may claim, the event will be read as a continuation of the manipulation of the figure of St. Francis, transformed by today’s ecumenists into an pacifist, a syncretist without faith. It is already the case…

    We are afraid that whatever you may say to clarify things more, the simple faithful, of whose number we are, everywhere in the world will see but one fact (and that is all that will be shown, for example, on television): the Vicar of Christ not only speaking, debating, dialoguing with the representatives of other religions, but also praying with them. As if the manner and the end of prayer were indifferent.
    And many will think mistakenly that the Church has henceforth capitulated, and recognized, in the line of the New Age way of thinking, that to pray to Christ, Allah, Buddha, or Manitou is the same thing. That animist and islamic polygamy, hindu castes or the polytheistic animist spiritualism, can go hand-in-hand with Christian monogamy, the law of love and pardon of the One and Triune God. (…)
    Most Holy Father, we believe that with a new “Assisi 1986”, no Christian in the Orient will be saved: nor in Communist China, nor in North Korea or Pakistan or Iraq… onthe contrary, many faithful will not understand why in these countries, people still die martyrs for not renouncing their encounter not with just any religion, but with Christ. Just as the Apostles died.
    In the face of persecution, there exist political, diplomatic means, personal dialogues between States: may they all take place, and as well as possible. With Your love and Your desire for peace for all men.
    But without giving those who wish to sow confusion and to augment religious relativism – antechamber of all relativisms –, an opportunity, for the media included, as appetizing as a second edition of “Assisi 1986”.

    With our filial devotion,
    Francis Agnoli, Lorenzo Bertocchi, Roberto de Mattei, Corrado Gnerre, Alessandro Gnocchi, Camillo Langone, Mario Palmaro

    (Sources:, in italian. The bold print is from this edition – DICI 228, Jan. 20, 2011)

  • Tom Canning

    Catholic Reader –
    But Paul rebuked Peter to his face – that is the right of ALL Catholics when the Hierarchy stray from the Faith – so Bp Fellay is not judging the Pope but merely exercising his right to point out the first Commandment as some people appear to have forgotten that – The judgement will be God’s !

    and yes the SSPX have decided to remain out of full communion until such times as the Faith is recognised as being ruptured by Vatican II.

    We had thought that the present Pope had changed when he invited us to participate in doctrinal discussions – alas they produced instead of dialogue towards change – parallel monologues – as they have no intention of restoring the the Faith but happily would want us to accept the errors and join as a sattelite similar to the Ordinate of the Anglicans to continue their hermineutic of rupture..

  • Tom Canning

    James H -
    Where have you been – IF the SSPX had set up another Church then they would have – rightly – been called scismatic – alas they did NOT set up another church as Cardinals Cassidy- Gagnon – Hoyos-Oddi even Ratzinger admitted -” it is an internal problem” – ergo the SSPX are NOT scismatic – but celebrating the true faith in their many chapels throughout the world – with 550 Priests and six semineries full of potential Priests and being properly formed – educated in the True Faith and hopefully all will be ordained Priests and not Presbetyrs as presidents of the assembly to dine on Cranmers table….DO read how Paul rebuked Peter …

  • Matthew

    The SSPX preserve the Roman Catholic Faith as it has been celebrated for centuries.  The SSPX ARE the Catholic Church.  They are the remnant of the true Catholics in the world.  Those who embrace the modernism of our times – even if the Pope accepts them – must be rejected.

  • Matthew

    The errors of John Paul II:

    1. Kissing the Koran2. Altar Girls3. Communion in the Hand4. Legion scandal5. Tampering with witness Cardinal Law6. Rampant homosexual molestations under his pontificate7. Scandalous encyclicals (gone over in detail by the Remnant and Sungenis)8. Assisi Gathering involved blasphemy and prayer to the “gods” of other religions9. Taking part in pagan (e.g. Native American) rituals, well documented and photographed.
    10. EXTREMELY suspect universalism, to the point that one of his speeches had to be edited to remove the heresy.11. World Youth Day. Just watch a few videos. Sacrilege is frequently occurring.12. The disgrace of apologizing to the World because the Church wasn’t modern enough.13. Visiting synagogues and the Wailing Wall14. Asking St. John to bless Islam, which historically involved wars against Christians. Muslims killed many Christians.

  • RomNats

    St. Catherine of Siena, a woman at that, persuaded Pope Gregory XI to reform the clergy and the administration of the Papal States. What so surprising?

  • RomNats

    Please share me guys the syncretic statements of JP II, if there are any. Thank you. If the pope was with the pagans, that’s not enough to accuse him of betraying the Faith.

  • John Pollard

    In their own minds,sorry for them