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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.

  • Sweetjae

    After all this, this was your answer! I have answered all your objections and you didn’t put a counter and have no courtesy to answer mine? Then call me the “Pink Panther”? Just say you have no answer, i would understand.

  • Sweetjae

    What is so fascinating about a catholic who follow and obeys a LEGIT Council? It’s in Scripture and Tradition. Refusal is a grave sin.

  • Sweetjae

    “Those” who are against Me”, Jesus was referring to those people who have heard and known the Gospel of Christ yet still reject it, BUT NOT THOSE who are ignorant or never heard of the Gospel through no fault of their own.

    Don’t take Biblical verses out of context, very dangerous. Look at the protestant world.

  • Benedict Carter

    Ah, philevans/darylbrown, the “Catholic” is favour of abortion ……..

  • JabbaPapa

    What a load of rubbish — that 19th century interpretation is itself modernist…

  • Benedict Carter

    I am now listening to Bishop Fellay’s entire discourse and find it scurrilous that the Catholic Herald has focused in on this one phrase when the speech gives evidence of so many terrible things; all with concrete examples:

    *   Open disobedience from the Curia to the Pope’s wishes with regard to the Society and to Tradition per se, including outright lies. 

    *   The total chaos reigning within the Cardinalate.

    *   The presence within the Vatican of a “superforce” stopping any attempt by the Pope and others to move the Church back towards Tradition (Fr. Malachi Martin referred to this force four decades ago).

    And that’s just the first half-hour. 

  • JabbaPapa

    The intentions of the good Cardinal are not the same as the usage that is made of his writings — against the Magisterium.

  • JabbaPapa

    I would not, of course, condemn a position such as yours — it is of course perfectly licit to disagree with some elements within the Vatican II documents, wherever these are not made infallibly or with high Authority, exactly as you suggest.

    But someone who makes a statement rejecting Vatican II in general, calling the Novus Ordo Mass “evil”, and refusing to obey a direct command provided by the Pope is not an orthodox Catholic.

  • Lewispbuckingham

     Is there a transcript. The discourse is fairly slow. I would really like to read it.

  • Tomas

    well if a jew converts to catholicism he or she is still jewish in the ethnic sense. Edith stein who became catholic was still jewish which was why she was put in the camp with the other jews

  • Tomas

    you can’t shift the blame on to someone else. Yes catholics in favour of  abortion are in error but that doesn’t excuse your error.

  • Benedict Carter

    Haven’t looked for one Lewis. The youtube link given above though is good – + Fellay’s English is excellent. 

  • Benedict Carter

    Which is? This should be good.

  • Gildas Wiseman

    Catholics are Abraham’s children The Jewish religion rejected the Messiah and as such have lost the fulfillment of the Covenant.The Jews and the gentiles that accepted the messiah are the children of the covenant.The Jewish faith as it is now only become our elder brother when they accept the teaching of Christ and do not actively fight against it. Let’s be logical how can a religion that denies Christ and His cross and resurrection be pleasing to God. 
    No one can doubt that all things are possible with God, so we hope and we pray that in time, the Jewish religion will accept our Lord as their saviour.

  • Gildas Wiseman

    When the Bishop used the term that the Jews are the enemies of the Church he did so in a religious sense of the word. He did not mean that the Jewish people are the enemies of the Church but that the leaders of so called Jewish organisations determined to destroy the Church are.He also mentions the other perennial enemies of the Church; Freemasons and Modernists. The bishop was simply explaining a fact of the negotiations. The loudest voices against reconciliation came from these groups. 
    I am not with you just clarifying a point

  • Pallenfamily

    I intended to write I am not disagreeing with you. I must of knocked the word out prior to posting.

  • Gildaswiseman

    The Southern Poverty Law Centre? For a full rundown of that organisation read Christian Order “Benedict and” the Jews”. 

  • Gildaswiseman

    Yes you are right!  However, they are meant to read and understood as the Council Fathers determined.That takes a high degree of study in order to untangle the ambiguous statements and in the light of fifty years of scandalous practice by our Bishops priests and some members of the laity.  Many a Cardinal and theologians have pointed out, not all of the documents carry the same weight and if a decree or constitution appears to contradict the perennial teaching of the Church it must be refused. 

  • David M

    What an absolute fool. He knew clearly what he was doing, because it was a prepared speech and he successfully ruined any chances of any future dialogue with Rome. How absolutely ridiculous that people will actually try defend such statements. The lack of charity among some sectors of the Society is very disturbing.

  • Mendezjb

    Jews, masons and modernists are enemies of the church and this is a surprising pronouncement? You gotta love the sensationalist headline. There is one sentence where Jews are mentioned. You’d think given the headline that the whole article would be about all the terrible things fellay said about Jews. But no, a passing comment (historically true but we’ll put that aside for a second) in a 2 hour talk.

    And why shouldn’t yet support Vatican 2, the watering down of catholic identity that’s turned us so self loathing we can’t even pray for their conversion anymore. No conversion, just endless “dialogue” to no end. Nothing to see here other than hack journalism.

  • JabbaPapa

    It is `technically`possible to be a Jew and a Catholic simultaneously — though in practice, the only way to do so is to be a Rabbi who converts to Catholicism — because a Rabbi is by very definition Jewish.

  • JabbaPapa

    It is perfectly ludicrous to claim that dear benedict might be “consistently” in “error”,

  • JabbaPapa

    Characteristically, Daryl hasn’t a clue what he’s waffling on about …

  • JabbaPapa

    and not just for the Jews, but for all other people!

    Well why does he single out the Jews then ? Your comment is incoherent,

  • 2_Armpits_4_Sister_Sarah

    The papacy is starting to resemble a central banker. Endless bail-outs for a zombie Council. Vatican II has become the Council which is “too big to fail”. The Japanese have tried this approach in economics and have failed. Good old Lutheran Iceland simply let her financial institutions go bankrupt and their country is back up and running again.

  • JabbaPapa

    I’m sorry, but as far as I’m concerned, +Fellay has now crossed the dividing line between catholicism and non-catholicism, particularly as he has made his comments in the name of the whole Society.

    It is inexcusable to describe the Holy Mass as being “evil”, without formally and publicly recanting such apostasy against the Holy Catholic Church and the teachings of our Christ.

    The SSPX appears to be moving towards a far greater degree of opposition to the Catholic Tradition than the relatively minor problems that they are denouncing in the Vatican II documents and later. +Fellay’s description of the conditions of his own direct disobedience to the requests of the Holy Father is particularly telling.

    The SSPX must submit to the teachings of the Magisterium of our Holy Catholic Church, and to Revelation. This submission is required of all catholics, The Pope himself must submit to these teachings. Only God Himself is above them.

  • JabbaPapa

    +Fellay’s speech is a modernist speech.

  • JabbaPapa

    Apart from one important qualifier, that is an excellent statement : the decrees and constitutions do not contradict the perrennial teachings, but there are some interpretations of those documents that appear to do so, and it is these interpretations that must be rejected,

    This is the essence of the hermeneutic of continuity.

  • JabbaPapa

    dear Benedict, the Catholic Herald is of course entirely justified in its decision to focus its attention upon +Fellay’s more blatantly heterodox statements,

  • JabbaPapa


  • Benedict Carter

    It’s not “apostasy” at all Jabba. Nonsense, just nonsense. He certainly feels that the New Mass is grossly deficient in expressing the inner-most nature of Christ’s Sacrifice and its renewal on the altar IN COMPARISON with the ancient rite it shoved aside. 

    I do wish you would get your terminology right. 

    His view, I should have said, is shared by MILLIONS of others. He is right. 

    If the New Mass drives people out of the Church, which it HAS DONE in millions, then “evil” seems a good word to use. 

  • Benedict Carter

    Excellent comparison. This is what exactly is going on at the moment – Muller playing “bad cop” etc etc. It’s all a giant exercise in trying to save the Council, which has demonstrably failed. 

  • Danny

    When will the Roman Church not only teach, but show the teaching’s of Jesus?

  • Alan

    Wild claims which cannot be substantiated.  Where is your evidence that millions share Fellay’s view, and that the “New Mass” has driven millions from the Church?  I could equally claim that VII has caused millions to remain in the Church who would otherwise have left.

  • Benedict Carter

    When will correspondents use apostrophes only when they are needed?

  • Benedict Carter


  • JabbaPapa

    No, that’s just an inappropriate gloss — nobody describing Catholic Masses as being “evil” can in any way be understood as a Catholic.

  • scary goat

     Directly quoting me would read “Hippie council” in quotation marks referring to a comment by another poster.  I put it in quotation marks to indicate that it was someone else’s view not mine.  I then went on to say that I think that view is not TOTALLY off the mark, which means that I am not entirely in agreement as a blanket statement but there is possibly SOME truth in it.  I then went on to explain what I meant by that.  By the way I have discussed this with a very reputable mainstream priest locally and he confirmed my views and actually went further than I was prepared to go. He also said that a lot of other priests hold these views.  I’m afraid I have to say, as you are complaining about traditionalists not being civil and resorting to ad-hominem comments, that this applies both ways.  That is exactly the point I was trying to make.  We should all try to be civil.  Not just other people.

  • Nat_ons

    “As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies on your account; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs” Rom 11 : 28.

    I do not wish to defend an affront against those who are beloved of God and the church catholic, for we are all Semites in spirit; rather that sort of attack is an offence against the Holy Ghost – not man’s political correctness. 

    Yet – if I understand His Excellency – the struggle to which he elludes (in unfortunate terms) is not so much between Jews and Christians (the point of the article) but between (something like) Judaisers in the church catholic and their (external) Jewish sympathisers. This, therefore, is more akin to the at times bitter struggle between the pro-Communist/ Modernist/ Revisionist elements within the Church and the Communist authorities who delighted in the mayhem they succeeded in spreading (from the Chinese National Catholic Church sic to the most militant expressions of Liberation theologians and opponents of fidelity to contemporary papal teaching and the Sacred Tradition of Rome’s communion).

    It is not fashionable now to consider Communism was/ is a direct threat to the the body politic of the Church, in the way that Nazism was; of course, conversativism is deemed the treat, considered to be reactionary or fascist. Sadly, the hostility between Zionist politics and Catholic politics is still at a zenith – irrespective of the rapprochement between Israel and the Vatican and the Synagogue and the Church. It is thin ice (or thin skins) that one risks in dealing with the enmity between Jews and Christians from the first days of the gospel; this is still a living reality .. simply look at the reaction of modern ‘Jewish’ authorities to the Communist-inspired and disaffected-Catholic promotion of assaults on the Venerable Pius XII.

  • Sweetjae

    Comparing between a Council and a business Corporation is like comparing a Family and a Clique or Truth and Gossip.

  • Sweetjae

    The Councils of the Church will NEVER FAIL, EVER but you did.

  • Sweetjae

    Alan was asking valid questions, why do you bury your head in the sand?

  • Sweetjae

    I thought you are describing what is happening inside the SSPX group? Disobedience, pride and lies.

  • Fr. Thomas Poovathinkal

    Pope Benedict XVI is good enough to be generous and sympathetic to all sick people, including this Bishop who has all sorts of problems with Vat. II.

  • Sweetjae

    The Church was able to promulgate an evil Mass to the universal Church? A SELF-CONTRADICTION! Such thoughts only can come from protestant minds, really.

  • Sweetjae

    Sir, this Bishop has a problem with Authority that Christ ordained. He only recognized his own.

  • Sweetjae

    As I said before, this Pope however compassionate and fatherlike concern he has shown to these rebellious group, can not please everyone. The best for the Church is really just let the chips fall, tye Pope and CDF should pronounce a final judgment already. Accept wity open arms those who wish to go inside the Ark (Papa Stronsay Monastery etc) and let the proud and disobedient ones scatter amongst themselves like other ultra-Trads to oblivion.

    Sad but the Church must move on to save more deserving souls.

  • JabbaPapa

    Conspiracy Theories’R’Us ….

  • Alan

    So, when I express my belief, I am “claiming infallibility”, but when you express your belief, you are not.  That kid of attitude gets us nowhere.

  • Alan

    I would never be so arrogant as to claim the moral high ground.  And I have never suggested that chronological progress equals moral progress.