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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.

  • Alan

    Thank God modern Popes have overcome that kind of bigotry.  And how sad that there are still some Catholics who cling to it. 

  • Sweetjae

    “Jews are enemies of the Church?????” The tribe of Judah is a jewish tribe in the first place, one of the Seven Tribes of Israel. What the heck of lunacy are you talking about? Your assertion is not even supported by any academic and historical sources.

    The true enemies of the Church are those who know better than the Authority of the Church. For your question, I’m a Catholic who accept *ALL* Councils of the Church (no cherry picking) and regularly attend a Latin and Novus Ordo Mass. How about you?

  • Dino

    You’re the one taking Biblical passages out of context.  That’s sad….

  • Sweetjae

    Complete ignoramus. What is fascinating about a catholic obeying a legitimate teaching Authority of the Council? That is part of Sacred Tradition and Scripture. Rejecting a *LEGITIMATE* Council of the Church is heresy.

    Fascinated? because your position is self-anointing?

    Like what I suspected, a Sede and an impostor inside the SSPX house. Your kind was thrown to the bin by no other than Archbishop Lefebvre, don’t you know that?

  • ricardo

    Mons.Fellay está falando sobre o Sionismo judeu,assim como muitas vezes o falou Mons.Williamsom para nós no seminário.

  • Sweetjae

    I know what they mean Jabba, i dealt a lot of protestant apologists….The slogan of ONLY SCRIPTURE OR BIBLE ALONE….to which in reality is really as Luther exemplified, “I alone (only) the interpreter of what Scripture truly teach not the Pope nor the Church” because he claimed the CLARITY of Scripture for everyone to read without an official interpreter. Same with the ultraTrads with written Tradition. That was the reason.

    I’m not inventing things and still going to give you the benefit of the doubt. So I suggest stop your push for your own good again.

  • Sweetjae

    What is the reason why the family could not cope with the Pauline Mass? Maybe they have the same mentality as other ultraTrad perhaps? God only knows their true motives. I do agree with you.

    Anyways, I’m bless that I could go to a EF every now and then. I also had a wonderful experience with a Byzantine Rite.

  • Sweetjae

    How? That the children of Abraham are enemies of God and the Church? Are you even serious? Where is your Biblical verse and exegesis? Show it.

  • Sweetjae

    Its not faulty, of course i believe in the inerrancy of Scripture, meaning free of error and contradictions, the problem is, your interpretation of Scripture is the one in error and contradiction.

  • Gregory Murphy

    So the headline should really read: “SSPX leader calls Jews, Masons and modernists ‘enemies of the Church’.” Yes? So what was the editorial thinking – the precise, in the moment, journalistic cognitive process – behind your decision to just strip out one group from Fellay’s collective? 

  • Sweetjae

    Another fallacy of Post Hoc Ergo and putting themselves as the parallel magisterium by saying the Pauline Mass is evil, tantamount to extreme prejudice and heresy no different than the fundamentalist protestants. Well at least we know protestants wear the enemy’s uniform.

  • Sweetjae

    Claimimg the trophy are we? Are you aware that Alphonsus is a Sede? Are you a Sede too, Gilda?

    I will genuinely entertain and convert to your cause, IF YOU GIVE ANSWERS to my 4-questions:

    1.) Why do the different groups of ‘traditionalists’ sharing the same and exact catholic Tradition (pre-Vatican2) yet they diametrically opposed to each other?They all can’t be right.

    2.) Where does it say whether from Scripture or Tradition that a catholic could refuse assent and obedience to a legitimate Council of the Church? Or because of its pastoral nature? Or a catholic can cherry pick which text is considered orthodox or not?

    NO ONE from the so called ‘traditionalist’ could give an honest answer. I dare you, Gildas.

    Now stop these off-topic and non tangibles and start the ball rolling. Are you willing?

  • Sweetjae

    You admitted you are a Sede, a religion of its own, go and bother us no more.

  • Sweetjae

    Like you and the SSPX…really believed you are right and not the Pope, the Council nor the Magisterium.

  • Sweetjae

    How would you know what the good Saint thinks? Are you St. francis?

  • Paul

    Exactly.  If the Jews have stopped being the chosen people then Romans 9-11 is meaningless.  You would also have to explain how a people scattered around the world for 1900 years maintained their identity and did not assimilate – a unique miracle.
      And of course you would have to explain why the word of God is still calling Jesus ‘the Lion of the tribe of Judah’ (Rev 5:5) long after he has risen and ascended to the right hand of the Father. 

  • Paul

    ‘Nostra Aetate … must be totally discarded.’

    Not true.  Sections 4&5 re the Jews is founded on Romans 9-11. 
    Sections 2&3, re the non Judaeo Christian religions of the world, does need to be revisited and corrected at the highest level of the church’s authority.

  • Sixupman

    It is a fact that elements of Jewry made representation to the Vatican that SSPX should not be accommodated, it also a fact that Masons and Modernists and many more vilify SSPX.  Also the German Bishops’ Conference appears to have ‘blackmailed’ BXVI into creating an hiatus in the SSPX negotiations.. They all seek that SSPX deny the heritage of Mother Church whilst Jewry steadfastly defends its own heritage and for that they must be given credit.

    I am also of the opinion that elements of The Curia are guilty of double dealing in the SSPX negotiations. The implication that +Fellay is lying in such respect is despicable.

  • hanz v b

    If you are a Christian I think you should be more offended by the Talmud than anything the SSPX says of non-Christian error.
    I’d be interested to know where these V-II types stand between the Talmudic ‘Jews’ and the Eastern Schismatics, whom, despite their heresies do not deny therre are enemies of Christ.
    Let us pray for the return of the East to submission to Rome: even more Masses and prayers to be offered to the one true God.

    The Old Covenant has gone, Protestants are wrong and we had the right Mass all along!

  • Alphonsus_Jr

     Friends, Alan here provides us with an excellent example of the modernist’s embrace of the myth of progress and the shameless chronological snobbery it breeds. And just think: he nevertheless is convinced that HE occupies the moral high ground!

  • Alphonsus_Jr

    The tortured “hermeneutic of continuity” – regardless of its source – is a painful joke. Google for and read this article:

    The Oath Against Modernism vs. the “Hermeneutic of Continuity” by John Vennari

  • Sixupman

    But not in the UK and America

  • teigitur

    Well, they just could not understand why the Mass which had sustained their faith and that of their antecedents could overnight be proscribed and celebrated only with the permission of a Bishop, and that rarely given. I can see their point.

  • Paul

    JabbaPapa,  It is undoubtedly heretical to reject the teachings of V2 in their entirety.
      But it is important to acknowledge the truth in our opponents’ positions.  Though I have no part with the SSPX or their offshoots, there are certain things in V2 that I too have serious problems with and I do not accept that that makes me heretical.  I believe that Sections 2&3 of Nostra Aetate conflict fundamentally with Scripture, and there are things in the Declaration on Religious Freedom that also make the hair stand on end (such as the characterisation of the religions of the world in general as worshiping ‘the Supreme Being’).
      As long as these things remain unclarified and uncorrected, the church is giving the SSPX a just cause for dissent.

  • Horace

    OK, Bishop Fellay is correct in saying some of those against SSPX are Jews, Masons, and modernists-obviously true, enemies of the Church for years-obviously true. That doesn’t mean he’s an anti semite any more than a  Rabbi with high administrative duties in Judaism would be anti Christian for objecting to Christians meddling in the Jewish Religion. SSPX is a more traditionalist orthodox Catholic body than the Church resulting from Vatican 2. Wave bye bye to all the millions, and probably billions of dollars or euros spent paying off the victims of the current crop of Vatican 2 priests and bishops. See around you the obvious disintegration of the Catholic church under the rule of the liberal Vatican 2 hierarchy. Pope John Paul kissing the antichrist Koran etc. etc. Vatican 2  seems to be sort of an insidious regrowth of the Arian heresy, and its supporters are acting just like The Arians of old. 

  • Gildaswiseman

    No I am not a sedevacantist, Sweetjae! I will be happy to answer you when I have a little more time to prepare a comprehensive reply to your request. 

  • Owagner

    All of this aside, does it not show and prove that all of those “disobedient” priests and bishop had been correct all along?  Would it not be the Real Catholic thing to do, to invite All of these “dissidents” back into the Society of St. Pius X, thus making the SSPX completely strong and unified as before?  Bp Fellay needs to be both humble and a true servant of Christ to again acknowledge the route taken by the founder of the SSPX.  Bp Fellay should recognize and acknowledge that the SSPX is not his own possession, that it will and should succeed and continue with or without him as its General Superior. Remember that pride comes before the fall!

  • Pip

    Amen, Amen. Good to hear him call evil as it is.

  • paulpriest

    Might I ask what the hell is going on here?

    Come on guys please – this is now getting ridiculous – this is not a sixth form mag for rag week…

  • Deacon_Augustine

    Abraham was not a Jew.  Jews are the adherents of Judaism – the religion which takes its name from the tribe of Judah.  Abraham was a Hebrew (descendant of Eber), but as the tribe of Judah didn’t come into existence until Abraham begot Isaac, and Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah, it is nonsense to call him a Jew.  That would be saying that he is a descendant of his own great-grandson.  You cannot even call Abraham an Israelite as that would be saying he was a descendant of his own grandson.
    As to who are the descendants of Abraham according to the promise, please read Galatians.  St. Paul goes to great length to show that it is those who have faith in Christ who are the true descendants of Abraham according to the promise.  Abraham saw Christ’s day and put his faith in it – those who do not are not his spiritual descendants.
    The promises God made to Abraham were in response to his faith – before the law of circumcision was given. Abraham received the blessing before he was even circumcised.  It is faith working through love which justifies and establishes man in covenant relationship with God.  There is no justification from the works of the law.

  • Deacon_Augustine

    Fellay was very unwise to use the phrase he did without making proper distinctions.  He knows full well how it will be interpreted by the MSM and he has the example of Williamson’s debacle as a warning precedent.

    I am sure he was referring to the professional Judaizing agitprop organizations like the ADL who are without doubt enemies of the Church and who have actively opposed the regularization of the SSPX. But to use the phrase “the Jews” generally is just stupid.  The average Jew who gets on with his life probably doesn’t give one second’s thought to the Church, and to lump him in with the likes of the ADL by using “the Jews” as an epithet is inviting ridicule and contempt.

  • Deacon_Augustine

    Actually “perfidius” refers to the perfideles – those of partial faith.  Those without faith completely are the infideles – infidels.

    Unfortunately over time “perfidious” acquired other connotations in addition to its strictly technical meaning, such as dishonest, untrustworthy etc.  It was for these reasons that John XXIII dropped its use in the Good Friday prayers – it was not a theological re-evaluation of the lack of faith amongst the Jews.

  • J_burdette

    Bishop Fellay is right on the Jews are the enemy of the one and only Holy Roman Catholic Catholic Church

  • GratefulCatholic

    Not so. Our Church Fathers interpreted Zacharias thus, not me.

  • 12Maria34

    I respect the position of SSPX specially when talks of reconciliation but when Bishop Fellay said “the new Mass is evil”, this is beyond me.  This is way way out of control.

  • Cjm1957

    “the enemies of the Church: the Jews, the Masons, the modernists”

    So, only Bishop Fellay and his so called traditionalists (their tradition only goes back to the 16th century) are friends of the Church? Seems he has closed the doors of the Vatican himself!

  • scary goat

    My first reaction when I saw this headline was “Oh no….here we go again!” and I am not getting embroiled in this one! But after reading the article and all the comments I feel that I have to say what I am thinking.  Can’t we all stop arguing and trying to be right and work for the common good and for understanding? Jesus wanted us to be one…..not divided.  Division is not good for the Church.  I see the same old arguments every time, entrenched positions, people calling each other protestants, sedevacantists, ill informed, pre-programmed. Don’t we all love the Church? Instead of arguing, why can’t we try to work together to understand? 

    Yes, I have read the Ottaviani intervention…..and the rebuttal…..and the rebuttal of the rebuttal.  Yes, I think this was a very unfortunate headline….it cherry-picked words for sensationalist purposes. No I don’t like liberal modernisms, yes I think SSPX have some very valid points, yes I think there are problems in the modern Church….(I’m not sure the Church was ever problem-free though) but no, I’m not sure all the problems were caused by Vatican II.  And yes, I love this Pope. I think he is wonderful.

    But where do we stop with the rebuttals of rebuttals of rebuttals?  And if we can’t trust the Pope and Magesterium, who can we trust? 

    And then there’s the dreaded “Nostra Aetate” again.  It’s a bit shocking really.  (and as an ex-muslim, I do understand very well why the section on muslims is a bit….ummmm….well….shocking).  So, here goes….I’m going to try to make sense of it.

    If we go with what the Vatican says….that V II must be interpreted in the light of tradition, and not be seen as a rupture….that means that basically nothing has changed….so we need to read Nostra Aetate with that in mind.  Read in isolation it is a bit “challenging” to the brain cells, but taken in context it is not so bad.  It does say muslims NOT the Islam.  Nowhere does it say the Islam is an equally good religion, nowhere does it say that muslims should not be converted, it seems more to be giving credit to muslim people (who mostly don’t know any different) for trying to the best of their understanding to worship God and live decent moral lives.  Hasn’t the Church always recognised ignorance? If people are indoctrinated into something, can’t that be classed as ignorance?  I think the purpose of the document is more aimed at recognising the efforts of (ignorant) people with respect and compassion in the hope that peaceful and productive dialogue may ensue rather than killing the infidels which probably does no-one any good.  I can relate to this very easily, because although I don’t like the  Islam one little bit, I do know a lot of muslims who mostly I do like very much.  I just feel sad for them that they have been blinded to the beauty of the Church (which is why I don’t like the Islam).

    I think the “Hippie council” is not totally off the mark. The Church is both Divine and human.  Yes, probably the people who make up the Church were to some extent affected by the “spirit of the 60s” just as other generations of people were affected by the times in which they lived.  But still we have to accept the teaching authority of the Church….because without that there is no tradition.  This pope himself said that Nostra Aetate ignored some of the “down-sides” of the other religions.  I see a “reform of the reform” taking shape, I am expecting the Pope to go further in clarifying the disputed documents. 

    I think the liberals are trashing the place….and in a way I can see why SSPX are a bit inclined to take an “I told you so” position. Misunderstanding of some V II documents have led to abuses, and in a way, yes, some of the documents like Nostra Aetate were “asking for it” a bit.  But this Pope is trying to put it right and I think we all need to pull together and give him our support.  What are we doing commenting here?  We all come here because we love our Church, and on this site most of us are small t traditionalists and some big Ts.  No-one here supports the liberal views.  And yes, we each have our own opinions on things, but can’t we work together and discuss kindly? Can’t we help each other to understand gently? Can’t we pause for a moment and try to see each other’s points of view rather than “attacking”?

    Sorry if I am sounding like I am lecturing.  We all have our own ideas, including me, but there are a lot of nice people on here, often with differing views…..but we are all not so different really.  I just get distressed when people start being too harsh with each other.

  • Sweetjae


  • Jacob Suggs

    First, you’re wrong, and second even if you were right that’s entirely unrelated to anything at all.

    As regards to Israel, I favor the one state solution: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIEeiDjdUuU (Satire alert).

    As regards to the the article, claiming that Vatican II was a result of the Jews, is stupid. Denying Church councils is stupid. Claiming that Church councils can be misrepresented is sane and true, especially as such has obviously happened. But what Fellay said here? We already have a word for Catholics who react to the teachings of the Church this way. “Protestants.”

  • Sweetjae

    Nicely put, dialogue we must for the sake of Christian unity so willed and prayed by our Master Himself. Though you hit it right on the head, without the Pope and Church, we are scattering lost sheeps.

  • Sweetjae

    On the spot. SSPX should take a note.

  • Sweetjae

    A group of humanity that the Almighty God “IAM” loved so dearly, are evil and enemies of God? Are you even serious?

  • Sweetjae

    Stop with this pejorative habit calling a legitimate Council as “hippie council”. Give respect! Respect even if you don’t agree with those great majority who hold it as Sacred. You don’t want us to do the same with your group or religion, right? So i say knock it off.

  • Sweetjae

    There will always be people like that, accept it, it’s been happening since Day One of the Church. However there is no excuse what the good Bishop said referring to the Jews as enemies of Church is just plain wrong and hateful. In know he’s pointing to the liberal-revolutionary jewry but he must be clear not ambiguous, he is on a slippery slope.

  • Sweetjae

    The Triumph of the Immaculate Heart refers more to MAD, aka Mutual Assured Destruction of Mankind that if would had happened the majority will fall to Hell. (no time to repent).

    The atheism brought forth by the Communistic ideologue was the culprit and add man’s lust for materialism and disobedience EQUAL (=) lost faith in God.

    Don’t blame the Pope and V2 for that.

  • Sweetjae

    You can search the whole worldwide web and libraries, you can not find the answer but one place only. That place is in a protestant world. Good luck.

  • Sweetjae

    Stop dodging, answer my questions.

  • Sweetjae

    What is so fascinating about a catholic following Peter and the legitimate Council of the Church? Envious are we?

    Stop dodging, answer my questions.

  • Sweetjae

    Maybe in most Western Europe but in America is a stalemate because of the influx of Hispanic immigrants.

  • Sweetjae

    They should have treated it as sacrifice as all Saints would do.