Fri 21st Nov 2014 | Last updated: Thu 20th Nov 2014 at 22:52pm

Facebook Logo Twitter Logo RSS Logo

Latest News

SSPX leader calls Jewish people ‘enemies of the Church’

By on Friday, 4 January 2013

Bishop Fellay, superior general of the SSPX (Photo: CNS)

Bishop Fellay, superior general of the SSPX (Photo: CNS)

The head of the traditionalist Society of St Pius X has called Jewish people “enemies of the Church”, saying Jewish leaders’ support of the Second Vatican Council “shows that Vatican II is their thing, not the Church’s”.

Bishop Bernard Fellay, the society’s superior general, said those most opposed to Rome granting canonical recognition to the SSPX have been “the enemies of the Church: the Jews, the Masons, the modernists”.

He said these people, “who are outside of the Church, who over centuries have been enemies of the Church”, urged the Vatican to compel the SSPX to accept Vatican II.

He made the comments during a nearly two-hour talk at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Academy in New Hamburg, Ontario, Canada.

In it he said he had been receiving mixed messages from the Vatican for years over if and how the group might be brought back into full communion with the Church.

He said top Vatican officials told him not to be discouraged by official statements from the Vatican, because they did not reflect Pope Benedict XVI’s true feelings.

The Vatican press office declined to comment on the claims and the society’s Swiss headquarters did not respond to a Catholic News Service request for comment.

However, the US branch of the society attempted to clarify Bishop Fellay’s remark in a statement on its website.

It said: “The word ‘enemies’ used here by Bishop Fellay is of course a religious concept and refers to any group or religious sect which opposes the mission of the Catholic Church and her efforts to fulfill it: the salvation of souls.

The group said “this religious context” is based on Jesus telling the Pharisees in the Gospel of St. Matthew: “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.”

“By referring to the Jews, Bishop Fellay’s comment was aimed at the leaders of Jewish organisations, and not the Jewish people,” the statement said, adding that any accusations of the society being anti-Semitic were false and an example of “hate speech made in an attempt to silence its message”.

Pope Benedict launched a series of doctrinal discussions with the SSPX in 2009, lifting excommunications imposed on its four bishops, who were ordained in 1988 without papal approval, and expressing his hopes they would return to full communion with the Church.

In 2011, the Vatican gave SSPX leaders a “doctrinal preamble” to sign that outlines principles and criteria necessary to guarantee fidelity to the Church and its teaching; the Vatican said the SSPX leaders would have to sign it to move toward full reconciliation.

But Bishop Fellay said he repeatedly told the Vatican that the contents of the preamble – particularly acceptance of the modern Mass and the council as expressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church – were unacceptable.

He said the only reason he continued discussions with Vatican officials was because others “very close to the Pope” had assured him that the Pope was not in agreement with hard-line official pronouncements from the Vatican.

According to Bishop Fellay, retired Colombian Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, then president of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, the office responsible for relations with traditionalist Catholics, had told him in March 2009 that the society would be formally recognised.

When the bishop asked how that could be possible when recognition hinged on accepting the teachings of Vatican II, he said the cardinal replied that such a requirement was only “political” and “administrative” and that, “by the way, that is not what the Pope thinks”.

Bishop Fellay said he continued to get similar messages from other Vatican officials, even as the formal talks continued. The verbal and written messages were very credible, he said, because they came from officials who saw the Pope “every day or every two days.”

He said he wouldn’t give names, but he did claim “the secretary of the Pope himself” was among those who told him not to worry too much about hardline Vatican positions.

Even if the doctrinal congregation ruled against the society, he claimed the secretary told him, the Pope “will overrule it in favour of the society”.

“So, you see, I got all of these kinds of messages which were not fitting together,” Bishop Fellay said. “I got an official thing where I clearly have to say ‘no’ and I got other messages – which are not official, of course – but which say, ‘No, that’s not what the Pope wants.'”

The unofficial assurances were what kept him engaged in talks, he said, since the Vatican’s official demands, which carried the Pope’s approval, “would mean the end of our relation with Rome”.

The Vatican has not made the preamble public, but said it “states some doctrinal principles and criteria for the interpretation of Catholic doctrine necessary to guarantee fidelity” to the formal teaching of the Church, including the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, and that 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 said Pope Benedict wrote to him, emphasising that full recognition required the society accept the magisterium as the judge of what is tradition, accept the Council as an integral part of tradition and accept that the modern Mass is valid and licit.

Bishop Fellay said: “Even in the Council there are some things we accept,” as well as reject, however, the group wishes to be free to say, “there are errors in the Council” and that “the new Mass is evil”.

The group will not accept reconciliation if it means no longer being able to make such pronouncements, he said.

Here we publish the full statement issued by the US district of the SSPX on Saturday, January 5:

During a 2-hour conference given in Ontario, Canada on December 28th, 2012, Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the Society St. Pius X, commented on the relations between the Holy See and the SSPX during the last two years.

During the conference Bishop Fellay stated “Who, during that time, was the most opposed that the Church would recognize the Society? The enemies of the Church. The Jews, the Masons, the Modernists…”

The word “enemies” used here by Bishop Fellay is of course a religious concept and refers to any group or religious sect which opposes the mission of the Catholic Church and her efforts to fulfill it: the salvation of souls.

This religious context is based upon the words of Our Lord Jesus Christ as recorded in the Holy Gospels: “He that is not with me, is against me: and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth.” (Matthew 12:30)

By referring to the Jews, Bishop Fellay’s comment was aimed at the leaders of Jewish organizations, and not the Jewish people, as is being implied by journalists.

Accordingly the Society of St. Pius X denounces the repeated false accusations of anti-Semitism or hate speech made in an attempt to silence its message.

  • Sweetjae

    Most scientists are bad in grammar but you are using one of their inventions.

  • Toddpearsonsf

    what a load of clap trap…..

  • Yosiofm


    SSPX leader, Bishop Bernard Fellay, and
    the society’s superior general, talked non-sense like calling “Jewish
    people ‘enemies of the Church’,” which he meant, “a religious concept
    and refers to any group or religious sect which opposes the mission of the
    Catholic Church and her efforts to fulfill it: the salvation of
    souls.”  For the Jewish people, the Catholic Church nor the Vatican
    II has nothing to do with them and in their religion.  Since time
    immemorial, they did not and could not be converted to Catholicism, to live a
    Catholic life and to believe that they could be saved by Jesus Christ. As
    I understand, in the bible, they are called “The Chosen People of God,” whether
    it is true or not.  But, it is a sacrilege
    also, on the part of Bishop Fellay, sorry to say,  in using the word of Jesus Christ, “This
    religious context” is based on Jesus telling the Pharisees in the Gospel of St.
    Matthew: “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather
    with me scatters,” to justify his perception. 
    Nevertheless, it is out of context.  I think what Bishop Fellay is
    doing, he is attracting religious war against other religions in the world,
    especially with the religions and groups he called, ““the enemies of the
    Church: the Jews, the Masons, the modernists,” and “who are outside of the Church, who over centuries have been enemies of the Church.”  As bishop, I supposed he
    knows who bishop means, he should promote dialogue, harmonious relationship
    with other religions in the world, brotherhood/sisterhood, instead of dividing
    and calling name names the other children of One and Only God, and Father of
    our Lord Jesus Christ.  I pray for the enlighten of the mind and heart of Bishop Bernard Fellay and his group.  God bless!

  • Yosi


    I pray for the enlightenment of the mind and
    heart of Bishop Bernard Fellay and his group.  God bless!

  • Alan F.

    Quite franckly I’m a bit embarrassed by this extremely imprudent remark, it’s painting the whole Society and it’s supporters as anti-semites. Doesn’t Bp. Fellay known that a bishops authority lays in the sphere of Faith and Morals? There’s just no need to go outside that in the public sphere. It’s quite possible he’s losing his marbles a bit.
    I think it’d be good if, just while the Society recovers from this bad publicity, Bp. Fellay takes a short recess from his public ministries and stays out of the public eye. But then, being Superior General as well, he’s a bit like uranium: he’s dangerous, yes, but we can’t just leave him by the side of the road…

  • Dylan Morgan

    Bishop Fellay’s comment whether-aimed at the Leaders of Jewish organisations or the Jewish people- was crass and uncharitable.  Bishop Fellay and the SSPX have been enemies of this church for as long as I can remember. He and his traditional followers do nothing but harm to the face of Catholicism in today’s world.

  • Scholar545

    Open Letter to bendict XVI

    Since I will never see you in person this is my only way to reach you…Why should we bother of the SSPX and these bishops? They blame the jews for everything. Then they blame even the Popes (john XXIII/Pope VI) for misleading the church.

    These guys are trapped in a time warp of their own making,. They have stuck to the old latin rite of their own choosing and the world including the church has moved on. Leave them there to wither and for their “sect” to die.

    These people have no humility. They think that they are the ONLY one who is right and everyone is wrong. Let them drown in their piety. I don’t know why we are sucking up to them, trying to integrate them etc. Just leave them be… Why should we go to them to integrate them. Even Bishop Fellay cannot deliver on behalf of his sect. He cannot convince others. Its just a waste of time. I believe in the UNITY of the church but NOT AT ANY PRICE. I wouldn’t like them or their bishops in our church! They can take it over from the inside. It will be like the Trojan Horse coming in to destroy us from within. I do not think integrating them will strengthen us…

    Yours in Christ
    +Catholic Scholar

  • Sweetjae

    They (leaders of SSPX) are like the Sedes and Old Catholics.

  • Benedict Carter

    But they are not “withering” or “dying”. They are growing, as are all Traditionalist elements throughout the world. 

    They are not like the Old Catholics or the “sedes” (as our learned Sweetjae insists on calling sede vacantists in his quaint way) because (i) they accept the Pope is the Pope: (ii) they hold to eternal Catholic doctrine and to the oldest rite in Christianity (even the Orthodox accept that point). 

    As they are simply Catholics, why are they not inside the Church?

    Because, despite all the talk of a “hermeneutic of reform in continuity” all we have seen is rupture and revolution, and the promoters of this rupture are still in charge, thwarting even the Pope on all sides. 

    There would be no need to speak of any “hermeneutic of reform in continuity” if there had been no rupture or revolution, would there? 

    Anyone with any intellectual honesty will have to concede the point.

  • Lawrence Hall

    To maintain that Jews are enemies is like saying — in this case, quite literally — that one’s mother is one’s enemy.  I am not theologian (I barely graduated from high school), and I certainly don’t understand a great many things about relationships between Catholics and Jews now, but we all know that God worked salvation through Jews and through Judaism.  Jews can never be our enemies just as our mothers and fathers can never be our enemies.

  • Aaron Lopez

    From the beginning of the Catholic Church ’til about the mid 20th century, the Church has always specifically mentioned the problem of the Jews from a missionary perspective. They were, after all, the first to deny Christ.

    It should also be clarified that Bishop Fellay would not be talking about Jews as an ethnic group, but a religious group. After all, the twelve apostles were Jews themselves, let alone Our Blessed Lord. But Jesus did not die due to some obscure circumstances, nor was Peter causing chaos in the Roman Empire for no reason; rather, they had to battle the denial of the Jewish people concerning the Good News.

    I’m actually disappointed that CatholicHerald would post such a scandalous headline instead of a more insightful one, especially in light of the clarifications. Leave the controversy-baiting to the secular tabloids.

  • Johnlee2

    Astonishing bigotry.

  • Sweetjae

    Yes the true Traditionalists are growing but SSPX is just another ‘traditionalist’ sect, meaning not yet FULLY reconciled with Peter and the Church. Anyways, yes, we must admit they (SSPX) may be growing BUT IT’S NOT due to themselves or the Tradition they practiced BUT ONLY because they are considered Catholics by this very compassionate Pontiff which you dear Mr. Carter has “counted out” already! So stop playing a victim here.

    Look at the Sedes, Conclavists and Old catholics who share the same Tradition with SSPX, where are they now? So again stop this self-adoration and jubilation.

    “Hermeneutic of continuity” was born NOT because of rupture of V2 with Tradition rather to correct false and malicious interpretations from the Modernists (Left) and ultra-Trads (Right).

    Anyone with an ounce of common sense will have to concede this crucial point.

  • Sweetjae

    +Fellay and you are just paying a lip service of accepting the Pontiff, who do you think you are talking to?

    Secondly, the Sedes and Old Catholics also accept and “hold to the oldest Rite in Christianity ” but where are they now? Do you even get the point, Mr. Carter?

  • Agusti

    Neither I understand Bishops Fellay nor the Society of St Pius X. If they say that they defend traditionalism how they can attack the Jews. Can’t they remember the Paul’s letters to the Hebrews?  Was Jesus a Jew or not for them?
    Actually, the Society of Pius X is the clearest example that it is not the liturgy that will protect us about the worst spiritual sin, the pride.

  • Dylan Morgan

     Well said. SSPX are more cult than Christian. Why would be want them worshiping among us?

  • Alban

    And I don’t see them returning in droves to attend Latin masses either under the auspices of the SSPX or LMS.

  • Solomondejene

    Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her. (John 8:7). I think, the SSPX should first do self-inspection. It’s only up to God to make judgements. None of us are free from sin, We all share the brokenness of humanity, but such statements are uttered because the love that Christ proclaims is missing in people who should in principle should have been models. It’s only through love that we can see in the other the image of God who is love. But judgemental statements are made because we do not have room for the love that Christ thought us. The gospel is all about love. Bishop Fellay’s statement should not discourage us because it tells more about himself than the many faithful. People like him think that they own the truth and would like to ration truth to the world. What is worse is not the statement he made but the impact it may have on his followers. There is an Ethiopian saying that goes something like this: ‘the worst thing is not the evil people do against us but the fact that we may be tempted to think bad/evil because of the evil they do unto us.’ I say to Bishop Fellay, please read and pray these words.
    Do not judge, or you too
    will be judged. For
    in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you
    use, it will be measured to you. (Mt 7:1-2)Solomon

  • Francesco Forgione

    This seems to be one of the best things about Vatican II: that whilst we still have the call to be missionaries, we do so in a much more loving way. God created the people we’re talking to as well and gave them brains and hearts too and He loves them as much as He loves us. Why treat or call people we love as enemies? To reject Vatican II is one thing, but rejecting God’s love is quite another and we know where it ends.

  • Guest383

    Why should the SSPX be ever called a Catholic offshoot or sect if they are lacking in forgiveness… The scribes and pharisees killed jesus. they so happened to be Jews as was Jesus. Why hate all Jews. Where is the forgiveness of these people. Are they not supposed to emulate Jesus. We are wasting time with this sect and should break off all negotiations forthwith.

  • Ireland’s €1.2 trillion oil

    What Does It Mean to be “the Elder Brother”?

  • Ireland’s €1.2 trillion oil

    What Does It Mean to be “the Elder Brother”?

  • Gildaswiseman

    It is a pity that so many people are unaware of the true crisis in the Church. Also it is a shame that people jump the gun and quite frankly misunderstand the context of + Fellay’s talk. As you know he was referring to those bodies of people who were most adamant that the society was not given a canonical status. Whether they like it or not it was influential Jewish leaders, progressive prelates and the Freemasons that were the most vociferous and made ultimatums to the Pope. What  a number of people ought to ask themselves is, why do these groups feel that Vatican II supports their views of how the Church should be?
    I have posted a section for clarification upon this issue. I know you have read it. No doubt sweetjae will have something quaint to say.
    On January 26, 2010, the Chief Rabbi of Rome, Riccardo Di Segni, issued an ultimatum: “If peace with the Lefebvrists means renouncing the overtures of the Council [Vatican II—Ed.], the Church will have to decide: them, or us!” He stated this a few days after Benedict XVI’s visit to the synagogue of Rome (January 26, 2010, on the picture), on the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.On November 10, 2011, Rabbi David Rosen, the head of interreligious dialogue for the American Jewish Committee, declared that an eventual return of the SSPX to the Catholic Church must not be allowed to compromise the conciliar document Nostra Aetate (October 28, 1965) which acts as a basis for interreligious dialogue. “We have already expressed our concerns,” he revealed after an audience granted by the Pope to the Council of Religious Leaders in Israel. On this occasion David Rosen made it known that Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Holy See’s Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, had guaranteed that the Vatican II text on the Church’s relations with non-Christian religions was not under discussion. “This does not mean that an explicit recognition of Nostra Aetate is part of the doctrinal preamble that the Holy See wishes the SSPX to sign,” Rabbi Rosen explained, although the SSPX would have to accept it in practice, since according to him “this acceptance is required for any reconciliation.”Ignoring these facts, the formerly Catholic La Vie, as reported by on January 7, 2013, regards Bishop Fellay’s conference as an example of an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory.As for the Modernists, whom the Bishop also named, it is instructive to note in passing the publication ofNouveaux soldats du pape [New soldiers of the Pope] in 2008 by Caroline Fourest and Fiammetta Venner.Left-wing, pro-gay activists, they show no hesitation in joining the ultra-progressives and espousing the cause of Vatican II, threatened by those they call “hardliners”. “Sometimes it seems as if Catholicism succeeded in its aggornamiento. But the election of Benedict XVI was a triumph for the hardliners and a defeat for modernist Catholics. How far will this reactionary shift in the Church go? Will it succeed in reducing Vatican II to a firmly parenthetical event? Will we reach Vatican Negative Two?”  The expression “Vatican Negative Two” was also used by Christian Terras in Golias:  “50 years after the Council – January 22, 2009. From Vatican II to Vatican negative II.” Fiammetta Venner came to Golias’s defence in the Communist daily L’Humanité on September 11, 2008: “Whenever Témoignage chrétien or Golias publish too militant an article, the bishopric [meaning the episcopate—Ed.] takes over, sidelining and slandering democratic Catholics.”(Sources: – DICI – – La Vie – DICI no. 268 18/10/13)

  • Emr241

    From a traditional Catholic layman’s humble point of view: The SSPX explains perfectly what it says. Some do interpret SSPX the way they want. So there is no reasoning with them. Our Lord Jesus established His church in the Spirit with the Blessed Virgin Mary and His priests with St. John the Apostle (Mother and Son, Son and Mother) for His love and Redemption of man. Other religions do not accept this. The Jewish hierarchies as with other religious breakaways (Protestant and others) have been trying to thwart Catholic Tradition for centuries. The ordinary believers of these other religions are not involved and are not blamed. Jesus did not join with Sanhedrin or does He other religious bishops, headmen, headwomen, gooroos, etc., neither does SSPX. The traditional Authority of the Church (as set by Jesus) has been the Pope (the Rock) as its head, not in equal authority with a commission of bishops (rocks) and input by outsiders (pebbles).  We must decide what pleases who, Our Lord Jesus, or men? What Jesus, the Son of God, put forth is not old fashioned. God, the Blessed Trinity is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, which is together (like the end of day and beginning of night, the beginning of day and the end of night), for Always and Forever. And that which the Holy Ghost has inspired in the One True Church through the centuries, in tradition cannot be ignored and should not be ignored.

  • andrew young

    And even of you bury him, he may remain toxic for years!

  • Cassandra

    Sweetjae do you not know that there were many councils in the Eastern Mediterranean which have been regarded as robbers councils?

    So Vatican II was a robber a coucil.

    In fact all councils after the 7th can be regarded as robber councils

  • Kareoche1

    God created the devil too. Beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing

  • Kareoche1

    Vatican II was never made into an infallible statement as vaticanI was. It is not lawful to ever change anything that has been deemed infallible by a previous pope

  • Kareoche1

    Yes faith is a higher virtue than obedience

  • Kareoche1

    When one seeks the truth sincerely, God provides it

  • mary

    You have it almost right, but your tense is wrong. Mary, Joseph and Our Lord Jesus are Jewish. Ask any Messianic Jew, who accepts Yeshua (Jesus) as Lord and Saviour and they will tell you that they are Christians and Jews. Hating Jewish persons because they are Jewish is like hating Our Lord, who is Jewish. Not was, is…because He lives.

  • guest

    WRONG. Christ Himself said “salvation is from the Jews”. Also, the gifts and call of God are irrevocable. The Old Testament is not nullified by the New; rather they support each other.  You believe in the 10 Commandments don’t you? Where do you think they come from?

  • Guest

    You’re one of these “New Testament replaces the OLD” kind of people. Such boasting is easily remedied by studying Christ’s message: do not think that I have come to change the law. Learn some humility.

  • Sigroli

    They did.

  • Sigroli

    God said that his covenant with Abraham would be everlasting. You are calling God a liar. I’m calling you a blasphemer.

  • Robert Matthew

    I pity you that you are pushing yourself too much to get answers. Look at the fruit of the Vatican II, most of them are rotten. You know it. I’m sorry we’re not strong enough to beat your spiritual pride.

  • ThomasER916

    “Jews can never be our enemies just as our mothers and fathers can never be our enemies.”

    You’re what’s known as a poseur.

    Ever read Luke? How about 12:53?

  • JohnnyCuredents

    It`s amazes me that anyone still thinks Fellay and his gang of anti-Semites credible. Fortunately, with Pope Francis at the helm, the Church will ignore this rump sect and it will dissolve into thousands of even tinier sects; it will become as fissiparous as Protestantism. (In fact, this process has already begun in France as even a cursory look at websites there will prove.)

  • Fatherjeffrey

    Fellay diffense unintentionally funny. If someone said “I see the Pope, bishops, priests, deacons, nuns, monks and friars as my enemies but any accusation that I am antiCatholic is nothing more than hate speech. ” We would see how ludicrous the bishop’s explanation of his statements are.

  • Burt

    Read again “Fatherjeffrey” …”The word “enemies” used here by Bishop Fellay is of course a religious concept and refers to any group or religious sect which opposes the mission of the Catholic Church and her efforts to fulfill it: the salvation of souls.”
    Makes sense to me if not for you.

  • unborked

    Bishop Fellay is completely correct and behind the faux, politically correct gasps all experienced Catholics know it.