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SSPX leader: we do not have to accept the whole of Vatican II

By on Thursday, 7 June 2012

Bishop Fellay (CNS photo)

Bishop Fellay (CNS photo)

The leader of the traditionalist Society of St Pius X has said talks with the Vatican demonstrate that “Rome no longer makes total acceptance” of the teachings of the Second Vatican Council a condition for his group’s full reconciliation with the Church.

Accepting the Council’s teaching is no longer “a prerequisite for the canonical solution” of the status of the society, according to Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior general of the SSPX.

In an interview published today on the society’s news site,, Bishop Fellay said it was the Vatican that approached the society, and not the society that went to the Vatican, asking to begin the talks.

“So the attitude of the official Church is what changed; we did not,” he said. “We were not the ones who asked for an agreement; the Pope is the one who wants to recognise us.”

In 2009, Pope Benedict XVI lifted the excommunications that had been incurred by Bishop Fellay and other SSPX bishops when they were ordained without papal permission 11 years earlier. Also in 2009, the Pope established a Vatican committee to hold doctrinal talks with society representatives.

In September 2011, the Vatican gave Bishop Fellay a “doctrinal preamble” outlining “some doctrinal principles and criteria for the interpretation of Catholic doctrine necessary to guarantee fidelity” to the formal teaching of the Church. Neither the Vatican nor the SSPX has made the text public, but the Vatican said it leaves room for “legitimate discussion” about “individual expressions or formulations present in the documents of the Second Vatican Council and the successive magisterium” of the Church.

Bishop Fellay submitted his first response to the document in March, but the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, with the approval of Pope Benedict, defined it as “insufficient”. The bishop gave the Vatican his second response in April and, as of June 7, it was still under study at the Vatican.

In the interview on the SSPX website, Bishop Fellay said: “We are still not in agreement doctrinally, and yet the Pope wants to recognise us. Why? The answer is right in front of us: there are terribly important problems in the Church today.”

The reconciliation talks, he said, are a sign that the Catholic Church has begun to recognise it needs to recover traditions and traditional teaching eclipsed by the Second Vatican Council. If the SSPX were to reconcile fully with the Church, Bishop Fellay said, its members would continue to denounce “doctrinal difficulties” in the Church, but would do so while also providing “tangible signs of the vitality of tradition” in its growing membership and vocation rate.

Speaking to members of the SSPX who are wary of reconciliation, Bishop Fellay said “one of the great dangers is to end up inventing an idea of the Church that appears ideal, but is in fact not found in the real history of the Church”.

“Some claim that in order to work ‘safely’ in the Church, she must first be cleansed of all error. This is what they say when they declare that Rome must convert before any agreement, or that its errors must first be suppressed so that we can work,” he said.

But the reality of the Church’s history shows that “often, and almost always, we see that there are widespread errors” and that God calls holy men and women to work within the Church to correct the errors, Bishop Fellay said.

“We are being asked to come and work just as all the reforming saints of all times did,” he said.

Bishop Fellay said he did not have a timetable for the conclusion of the talks. “There are even some who say that the Pope will deal with this matter at [the papal summer villa in] Castel Gandolfo in July.”

  • Paul

    Burt, I share your confidence that our church will recover from this massive ‘own goal,’ as you call it.  The sooner the better.  Those spiritual authorities and religions that continue to deny Jesus are not only less good, they are the spirit of antichrist.  To praise them is to turn against Christ.
    As you say, the gates of hell will not prevail against our church, but goodness, won’t they throw everything into the attempt! 

  • renming328

  • Parasum

    I was recalling what Abp. Lefebvre said. He was offered regularisation on condition that hre would offer Mass in the Pauline Rite. He refused. If the PR was not good enough for him on doctrinal grounds, how can it be good enough for the four bishops ?

    It has the same features as it had in 1974 (IIRC), and unless it is revised so as to  express *clearly and unambiguousl* the dogmatic teaching of the Council of Trent regarding the Eucharist, there is no way it can become acceptable now, if it was not acceptable to the SSPX previously.

    For it not to be not to be formally heretical, not invalid, not illicit, is not good enough. It would be immoral for those who are convinced it is as poor as that to be required to offer it. Unless the Rite of the Mass is incontestably  orthodox, licit, valid, Traditional, and in full agreement with the Tradition of the Church, the SSPX should not touch it. No dilution of the  Catholic Faith is permissible – least of all by a supposed Pope.

    It is a measure of the degeneracy of the Church that orthodox Catholicism is now regarded as no different from Protestantism. JP2 did his work well – thanks to his efforts, Catholics have grown up under the impression that his diluted substitute for Catholicism is the genuine article. That confusion proves that the religion of modern Rome is not Catholicism. It has brought forth nothing but Dead Sea fruits. 

  • Parasum

    “(Yeah right, obviously here I am discussing these matters from some sort of position of total ignorance)”

    ## A lot of NuChurchers do.

  • Parasum

    If numbers = truth, someone should have told the Apostles.

  • Parasum

    “Number Three is the correct answer :-)”

    ## That is what I thought – thanks :)

  • Paul

    Alan, try checking against the word of God.  I know of no Catholic teaching that contradicts the word of God except one (and it is NOT taught dogmatically): it is in sections 2&3 of Nostra Aetate.

  • Parasum

    “the great apostasy in the Church will begin at the top.”

    ## There is no reason I know of why Popes can’t be apostates – it seems to be taken for granted (why, is not clear) that they can’t be. If the flatterers of Rome had been around at the time, Jesus would not have addressed Peter as “Satan”, nor would the three denials of Christ by Peter have been recorded. With an Apostle like that, the crimes and infamies and heresies of some of his successors are anything but surprising :( They committed them – later generations are left to answer for them :(

  • Parasum

    Rubbish. That it is unflattering to the idol in the Vatican – which is what he seems to be, for his apologists – does not make the possibility that he is heretic unjust, unfounded, or untrue. By your reasoning, Christ never called Peter “Satan” – which is more than I think Ratzinger is: I prefer to look at what Ratzinger has said, and to compare it with Catholic dogma. It is his fault, not that that of his critics, if he is unorthodox or heretical. The solution is for him to stop uttering heresy, and to stop trying to replace Catholic Tradition by his new-fangled nonsense.

    It is typical of the ostrich-like apologists for Rome that they refuse to face facts of Church history that show Popes have been herretics before, and are full capable of being heretics again. Everything in the Church, including truth & dogma, must be perverted, simply so as to give the impression that Popes are not heretics. This is idolatry in action.

    “That’s a schismatic statement, pure and simple.”

    ## To say “[the Pope] appears to be a heretic” is a “schismatic statement” ? I even gave the man the benefit of the doubt. Your remark is absurd. His formula is theologically monstrous – but hey, who cares ? The Catholic Faith can go to the devil, just as long as “Benny” is protected. Benny is *so much* more important than the Catholic Faith – only he matters. This idiotic mentality deserves to win the Order of the Brown Nose. To accuse someone of schism for preferring the Catholic Faith to comitting  the sin of human respect (it used to be a sin) is so ridiculous as to be unworthy of attention.

    It is he who insists on renewing the Assisi Abominations. It is he who abuses his position to spread indifferentism, and who refuses to reform the Church so that it will be safe for minors. When a poster founds or joins a sect, he or she can be called a schismatic – but not before. Though, now you mention it, Catholicism is probably safer outside the Roman Monstrosity than in it.

  • Parasum

    “The Church is  NOT authorised to make it up as we go along, to fit the culture of the times in which we live.”

    ## Exactly :)

    Which is how we can know that Wojtyla & Ratzinger are wrong, regardless of their position in the Church. So the sooner their blasphemies and heresies & omissions are condemned as the evils they are, the better. And please, let’s have no poppycock about good intentions on their part. Their intentions do not redeem the mess they’ve made. What matters is the objective meaning of their acts & utterances & omissions.

  • Parasum

    “Statements about the past are of little bearing on the future.”

    ## If so, that makes a nonsense of your own quotations. As well as of Catholic Tradition – you’ve junked it. And the NT, which is certainly in the past. So God is imprisoned in the present. Sorry, but that is not Catholicism, or Catholic thinking.

  • Parasum

    Been there, done that. Most Christians who do that kind of thing are not Christians anyway, but semi-pagans.

  • JabbaPapa

    He was offered regularisation on condition that he would offer Mass in the Pauline Rite.

    There’s a difference between this, and the current state of affairs where no such *normal* obligation to say such Masses is being required.

    They were (it seems to me) asking him to regularly offer the Novus Ordo, which is entirely different to my suggestion that they will be required to offer it exceptionally, due to whichever particular individual circumstances (only) — and remember, at that time there was still an impetus to completely stamp out the Old Mass.

    Whereas in future, SSPX will be fully supported in their celebrations of the Tridentine.

  • JabbaPapa

    Parasum : “Statements about the past are of little bearing on the future.”

    ## If so, that makes a nonsense of your own quotations. As well as of
    Catholic Tradition – you’ve junked it. And the NT, which is certainly
    in the past. So God is imprisoned in the present. Sorry, but that is not
    Catholicism, or Catholic thinking

    That’s a complete travesty of what I said, which you will notice, for starters, does not contain the words “the present” — nor indeed the name “God”, nor any other of the strange stuff that you seem to invented out of thin air as if it were pertinent to my statements.

    Statements about the past are *of course* of much bearing indeed on the Present, on Tradition, on Scripture and biblical interpretation, and so on.

    The future qua future is OTOH unknowable to mortals, and is therefore by definition radically unlike the Past, which is knowable.

    Can you seen the difference between the adjectives “knowable” and “unknowable” ?

  • JabbaPapa

    Monseigneur Fellay is, as I write these words, in the Offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican, where he is reportedly being informed of the Pope’s decision !!!!

  • HapHarris

    The Pope’s proposal was delivered to Bishop Fellay today [6/13/2012].  I think that both Pope Benedict and Bishop Fellay have divided minds on the matter, wishing to have things both ways.  It won’t work-!!
    I’ll let Bishop Richard Williamson speak my mind for me.  

  • EditorCT

    Well, you know what they say:  of all the things I’ve ever lost, I miss my mind the most…

  • beimabao

  • Agung Swiyanto

    It doesn’t matter who visited whom first, that doesn’t reflect who’s on the right side. I think it’s too early to be confident in this statement:

    “So the attitude of the official Church is what changed; we did not,” he
    said. “We were not the ones who asked for an agreement; the Pope is the
    one who wants to recognise us.”

  • Maria

    Wow … you are your own magisterium!!!  you are better than the council and popes as you can say with confidence that Pope Gregory is wrong.  Just wow … 

  • EditorCT

    So you think that every word uttered by a pope in a letter or private conversation is divinely guaranteed to be true?  WOW to YOU!  That is NOT the teaching of the Church. The Muslims do NOT worship the same God as we do.  They abhor and denounce the doctrine of the Trinity, so it’s not about  me knowing better than the Council and popes – I know my Faith, that’s all.  And so should you.

    The other classic mistake that you and others make here is to imagine that canonised saints were incapable of ever making a mistake.  Not the case. We do not have to agree with every word of every canonised saint. Certainly not if it conflicts with Catholic doctrine. As I’ve already said, it’s quite possible that Pope Gregory did not know that the Muslims denounced the Trinity and perhaps he genuinely believed that they also worshipped the one, true God, but in a “different way” as he put it.  I doubt very much if he would have written what he did in his letter if he knew that Muslims denounce the Trinity. No way. But, as I say, we do not, anyway, have to believe and agree with everything someone says just because they are either a pope or a canonised saint or both. The Cure D’Ars, patron saint of priests, denounced dancing as an evil.  Ever been dancing?

  • Maria

    Again … wow!

  • EditorCT

    Do you believe Catholic teaching is that we have to  accept as divinely guaranteed everything a pope says or writes in conversation and private letters/speeches?  Please answer. Yes or No will do.

  • No name Jane

    Vatican II said this in it’s Constitution Dei Verbum:
    it is not from Sacred Scripture alone that the Church draws her
    certainty about everything which has been revealed. Therefore both
    sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture are to be accepted and venerated
    with the same sense of loyalty and reverence.”

    Vatican II showed that traditions should be kept with loyalty. Not thrown away.  V2 is good reading.