SSPX: Bishop Fellay Interview…

SSPX: Bishop Fellay Interview…

Bishop Bernard Fellay, the Superior General of the SSPX, told the Register May 13 that he is “persuaded, at least in part, by a different approach,” in which, he believes, Pope Francis is placing less weight on the Council and more emphasis on “saving souls and finding a way to do it.”

According to Bishop Fellay, the Vatican is telling the Society, through nuanced words, that it is now possible to question the Council’s teachings on religious liberty, ecumenism, and liturgical reform “and remain Catholic”.

In a three-part video interview, Bishop Fellay gives a rundown of the reconciliation process with Rome, discusses the Society’s motivations and whether the SSPX will continue to be critical of aspects of the post-conciliar Church after reconciliation.  Source

Part 1/3

Part 2/3

Part 3/3

Comments invited…

Comments (58)

  • Michaela

    That’s a great interview with Edward Pentin.

    I am impressed that Bishop Fellay has some vision that the SSPX has to play a part even though things are not perfect. He is a realist and I like that, there is none of the nonsense of waiting until “Rome converts” before an agreement can be made. He knows that would be pointless. I found that part of the interview very heartening.

    He’s also clear about Bishop Williamson saying he’s gone and his recent consecrations make no difference, they don’t help, we just pray for him.

    I know he said he’s not interested in being made a cardinal but I think it would be great if he was made a cardinal. Dream on, as they say. LOL!

    May 19, 2016 at 11:28 am
  • Margaret Mary

    “The Pope is not a freelancer”!

    Bishop Fellay, well said, your reminder that the Pope has to stick to Tradition is exactly correct.

    He also mentioned the deposit of faith – it’s a long time since I heard that mentioned!

    May 19, 2016 at 12:37 pm
  • Lily

    I’ve watched the three parts and it’s a great interview.

    I was laughing at his cleverness when Edward Pentin asked him if he liked Pope Francis. After thinking for a minute, he gave a really clever answer – he is “untypical” LOL!

    May 19, 2016 at 12:55 pm
  • editor

    I do agree with everyone who has commented so far about the interview, and it strikes me that if the “resistance” people were clear thinking, they would be able to see for themselves the truth of the Bishop’s words. Especially on “the new reality” – in other words, the worse things get, the more we need the SSPX “inside the Vatican walls”. The ridiculous notion that once everything is put to rights, then the Society can make an agreement to regularise, is the stuff of comedy. It’s like the ambulance turning up once the patient has undergone successful surgery. Crazy.

    May 19, 2016 at 3:43 pm
    • Vianney

      Editor, the problem is that the resistance people are not clear thinking, because if they were, they wouldn’t be where they are now. Up the creek with only a Holy Hour to keep them going.

      May 19, 2016 at 10:49 pm
      • editor

        True enough Vianney. The good news is, I am VERY reliably informed, some of them are returning to the fold. So, let’s hope it’s soon a case of “all’s well that ends well.”

        May 20, 2016 at 12:02 am
      • Summa

        Editor, funny you should say that as I was speaking to a friend of mine today who mentioned that the “resistance” in our neck of the woods are losing their followers and moving on. Sadly there are issues of pride at stake so perhaps not back to the society but away from the resistance.

        May 28, 2016 at 1:18 pm
  • RCA Victor

    The Remnant has posted an extraordinary interview with Abp. Lefebvre from 1972, which leaves me speechless at the prescience of the man:

    May he guide Bishop Fellay through these shark-infested waters….

    May 19, 2016 at 5:20 pm
    • Lily

      RCA Victor,

      That’s a great interview. I thought this part of absolutely on the button: Since the priest has a false notion of the Priesthood and believes himself to be a “man like others,” he loses the sense of priestly dignity. He should not be surprised din the world no longer has any respect for him

      To be honest, I find it hard to be respectful to priests these days, especially when they are looking and talking like any Joe Public. I hear people calling them by their first names and at one time I’d have been horrified at that but now I think nothing of it. They are just like everyone else, so why not.

      I know there are exceptions to this but I’ve had more than my fair share of the “with it” types.

      Archbishop Lefebvre could see all that in 1972 and yet there are still people who can’t see it today when things are much worse! It’s really incredible – he must be a saint in heaven now, surely.

      I notice there is a headline on the Remnant side list saying SSPX reconciliation weeks away – does anybody agree with that? I was impressed with the interview with Bp Fellay but he didn’t say anything I took to mean regularisation was coming soon. I hope it does, but I didn’t take that from anything he said to Pentin.

      May 19, 2016 at 9:29 pm
    • Vianney

      I think archbishop Lefebvre is still guiding his Society and is at every talk that takes place with the Vatican.

      May 19, 2016 at 10:51 pm
  • John Kearney

    May I just say how glad I am that within the SSPX there is a positive mood on this The call of the SSPX is not to join when the Church is perfect but to come in and make the Church perfect. We need people who have not been cowed into silence over the years but have a fresh approach and have a understanding of what following Christ is really about. OK there will be those who will not want to wave their flags and perhaps will flee in terror so there will be a period let us say of adjustment but this is what Jesus wants -a united Church. We have an SSPX Church in our Diocese, I will encourage our ecumenists to visit.

    May 19, 2016 at 9:22 pm
    • Lily

      John Kearney,

      The SSPX are not going to “join” the Church – they’ve never left it! That is the whole point, they have stuck to the teachings of the Church from the beginning. It’s the Vatican that changed its beliefs.

      May 19, 2016 at 9:31 pm
      • editor


        Spot – absolutely – on. The Society haven’t changed a single thing. It’s the “mainstream” (cough, cough) churchmen who have changed… everything from the Mass to the Rosary to the Catechism – currently working on the Ten Commandments.

        Laugh? I thought I’d never start…

        May 20, 2016 at 12:10 am
  • Therese

    Well said, Lily.

    May 19, 2016 at 10:34 pm
    • crofterlady

      Oh man, John Kearney, get with the programme, as our American friends would say. The SSPX have never left the Church. The Church left them / us.

      May 19, 2016 at 11:06 pm
  • editor

    Therese and Crofterlady,

    I sometimes get complaints that comments are out of the order they’ve been posted so I will mention that the way to avoid that is for everyone to click on the “reply” button at the post of the blogger to whom they wish to reply. I think you two ladies must have just gone to the comment box without clicking “reply” and then when I come along much later and click reply, my post goes further up, to…. beneath the comment from Lily to which I was…er…replying! I hope this is a little more clear than mud?

    Think about it. Pray about it. Just don’t forget about it!

    May 20, 2016 at 12:13 am
    • Therese

      Life was so much easier in my youth when all I had to do was attach a note to the carrier pigeon’s leg….and it didn’t matter which leg either….

      May 20, 2016 at 9:46 pm
  • damselofthefaith

    Here is my post on Bishop Fellay’s interview. I offer a few thoughts on the matter. I hope they are shared by others.

    God bless you, Catholic Truth!

    May 20, 2016 at 3:06 pm
    • editor


      I’ve just visited your link, excellent article, and responded to your Mexican blogger. I’m copying my final two paragraphs here because I happen to know that we have members of the so-called “resistance” (to nothing) movement still reading our blog. I began by saying I dislike talk of “Apostate Rome”, went on a bit, as it my wont, and then concluded as follows:

      Bishop Fellay is no fool. He will not sign up to anything that leaves him and his priests at the mercy of Modernist bishops. That’s a given. So, what a glorious sign it would be that the end is truly nigh – the end of the crisis and the beginning of the restoration of the Faith – were Bishop Fellay to be offered an agreement that would leave the Society as it is, free to speak out – as already some secular, diocesan and even religious priests are doing – and yet be free of the need to defend itself against the Modernists who truly want to keep the Society out in the cold, as much as they can. Believe me, they dread an agreement with the Society much more than do the daft “resistance to nothing” bunch of former SSPX supporters.

      Archbishop Lefebvre was, in my humble view, most definitely the prelate mentioned by Our Lady of Good Success and he made clear that when Rome called, he responded. As one Society priest said not that long ago, the Archbishop would not have dreamt that this situation would drag on as long as it has done; in the worsening crisis, the Archbishop would have wanted his priests to have maximum impact and that will only happen when their churches are seen to be bursting at the seams with Catholics who (wrongly) don’t feel they can attend their chapels in the present situation, but will do so gladly when the “irregular status” has been resolved.

      Great post, Damsel of the Faith. Brilliant!

      I recommend others pay a visit and post a comment – DOTF runs one of the very best blogs on the internet, and it deserves more support. I can scarcely keep up with this one or I’d be visiting there much more often.

      May 21, 2016 at 12:03 pm
      • Therese

        Damsel of the Faith is another reason why the internet isn’t all bad! I’ve added her to my favourites.

        May 21, 2016 at 1:27 pm
      • damselofthefaith

        Thank you for the kind words, Editor and Therese! God bless you both!

        May 21, 2016 at 2:54 pm
      • editor


        Agreed. I have just paid another quick visit and commented again. I saw yours and I do believed I clicked “like” – see, I’m not all bad!

        May 21, 2016 at 3:56 pm
    • editor

      I suggest bloggers pay another visit to the blog run by Damsel of the Faith

      The latest contribution from Steven C is superb and answers the “Resistance” arguments to perfection. Note: it is posted by DOTF, right at the end of the page, where she states that she is posting on behalf of Steven C. Don’t miss it. Every word a jewel… And a great quote from DOTF herself, right underneath. All a bargain at double the price 😀

      May 22, 2016 at 10:29 pm
  • Fidelis

    Bishop Fellay is very thoughtful and studied in those interviews. A really trustworthy man, IMHO.

    May 21, 2016 at 6:40 pm
    • editor



      Whatever happened to your lovely avatar?

      May 22, 2016 at 10:09 pm
  • Nicky

    I wonder if it would be a good idea for Bishop Fellay to enter talks with Bishop Williamson now, to see if he could win him back to the fold? I have heard that some of the resistance people have returned to the SSPX so who knows, maybe the good bishops would be open to overtures of that kind?

    May 22, 2016 at 7:27 pm
    • editor


      A kind thought, but I doubt very much if Bishop Williamson would be open to the idea of returning to a situation where he would be required to obey a superior. He wasn’t great at it first time around, so I doubt very much if he would be any different, given a second bite at the cherry. Add to that the fact that he belongs to the “no agreement until Rome converts” brigade, and I think your charitable suggestion is, with all due respect, dead in the water. He was a troublemaker within the Society and he has continued to be so, now that he’s been expelled. His attempt to set up an alternative SSPX isn’t working and it is my firm belief that his little experiment will die a natural death – and the sooner, the better, if you ask me (which nobody ever does, by the way!) 😀

      May 22, 2016 at 10:13 pm
      • Nicky

        I wasn’t meaning to be kind, just practical. I suppose you’re right, though, that he wouldn’t take too well to being a subordinate again. I didn’t think of it that way – and he does like to be in charge, LOL!

        May 23, 2016 at 8:26 pm
      • Theresa Rose


        That is the sad thing about it Bishop Williamson. As Michaela says, we pray for him.

        The devil will use any means of attacking the SSPX who hold to Tradition, the Traditional Latin Mass during this crisis because it is a battle for the salvation of souls.

        No wonder Our Lady at Fatima asked the three children to pray the rosary and make sacrifices after showing them hell, where poor sinners go.

        May 24, 2016 at 9:28 am
    • Athanasius


      The major obstacle now is that Bishop Williamson has excommunicated himself for those three illicit episcopal consecrations. Things are not the same as 1988, so his act was unjustified and schismatic. Even if Bishop Fellay did manage to rehabilitate him, there would remain the problem of his excommunication. But it’s all academic because Bishop Williamson shows no sign whatsoever of recognising error on his part. I’m afraid he still sees himself as Marcel Lefebvre II. He’s not even close!

      May 24, 2016 at 11:56 am
      • Margaret Mary


        If Bishop Williamson is excommunicated what would he have to do to be restored to the Church – he can’t “unmake” the consecrations can he?

        May 24, 2016 at 4:05 pm
      • Athanasius

        Mragaret Mary,

        I believe he would have to demonstrate genuine sorrow for the disobedience of his act and ask the Pope himself to absolve him. The same applies for those he illicitly consecrated. There may be more required of him by the Holy See but this would certainly be the essential first step.

        May 24, 2016 at 9:18 pm
      • Helen

        Athanasius, I hadn’t heard about the 3 illicit consecrations! This is very serious indeed as they are not needed. Have you a link about this? And, who are the three?

        May 24, 2016 at 5:55 pm
      • Athanasius


        Below are links reporting two of the illicit consecrations, but for some reason I cannot find reference to the third. Did I only imagine a third? I’ll have to look a bit further into that one!

        May 24, 2016 at 9:11 pm
  • editor

    Since this thread is relatively quiet, and I am not free to prepare a new thread today, I thought this item from One Peter Five (1P5) ought to be posted here – there is, surely, a link between the “two popes” and Bishop Fellay. A very thought-provoking piece, indeed:

    Antonio Socci, who has at various times asserted his own theories on the status and legitimacy of the Francis pontificate (none of which I endorse) has, understandably, a particular interest in stories relating to this topic.

    Which is, perhaps, why he took notice of a statement from Archbishop Gänswein — Prefect of the Papal Household and private secretary to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI — about the relationship between Benedict and Francis. His post is long (and only in Italian) and touches on some of his previous theories about the fullness and legitimacy of Benedict’s resignation. But it is the particular (and very odd) statement from Gänswein that caught my attention above all else. It is taken from a larger speech, given on May 20, in which Gänswein reflected on the pontificate of Benedict XVI (our translation):

    From the election of his successor, Pope Francis—on 13 March 2013—there are not then two Popes, but de facto an enlarged ministry with an active and a contemplative member. For this reason, Benedict has not renounced either his name or his white cassock. For this reason, the correct title with which we must refer to him is still “Holiness.” Furthermore, he has not retired to an isolated monastery, but [has retired]within the Vatican, as if he had simply stepped aside to make space for his Successor, and for a new stage in the history of the Papacy, which he, with that step, has enriched with the centrality of payer and of compassion placed in the Vatican Gardens.

    Edward Pentin, reporting on the same story for the National Catholic Register, also adds this:

    Archbishop Gänswein repeated that Benedict’s resignation was “quite different” to that of Pope Celestine V. “So it is not surprising,” he said, “that some have seen it as revolutionary, or otherwise as entirely consistent with the gospel, while still others see in this way a secularized papacy as never before, and thus more collegial and functional, or even simply more humane and less sacred. And still others are of the opinion that Benedict XVI, with this step, has almost — speaking in theological and historical-critical terms — demythologized the papacy.”

    If you take the time to ponder these statements, they’re really quite staggering. What could it possibly mean for there to be “not then two Popes, but de facto an enlarged ministry with an active and a contemplative member”? How is this a “new stage in the history of the Papacy”? END.

    Read entire article at One Peter Five (1P5)

    May 24, 2016 at 9:45 am
    • Margaret Mary


      How can the papacy be “enlarged”? It seems to be a playing with words to get round the “two popes” theory.

      May 24, 2016 at 4:06 pm
    • RCA Victor

      I believe Athanasius has pointed out, several times, that Benedict did indeed “renounce” the Papacy, so it matters not one whit if he failed to renounce his “name” or his “white cassock.” How about his shoes, do those count for something as well? Key to the Executive Washroom? Papal coffee mug with “Benedict XVI” on it? Gimme a break, Archbishop Gänswein!

      Furthermore, as Margaret Mary has already noted, there is no such thing as an “enlarged” papacy (unless the “enlargement” is cancerous…) so allow me to second her emotion: this is pure baloney from start to finish. Is there anyone in the Vatican who doesn’t speak with forked tongue?????

      May 24, 2016 at 4:49 pm
      • Elizabeth

        In the full article Pope Benedict is quoted as saying that at the moment of his resignation he continued to wear the white cassock because “there were no other clothes available”! What? Could nobody rustle up a black cassock? Was the resignation done on the spur of the moment so that there was no time to plan for a change in wardrobe? All very odd. One just does not know when or if we are getting the true account of anything.

        May 24, 2016 at 5:08 pm
  • RCA Victor

    I like what Chris Jackson over at The Remnant has to say about Archbishop Gänswein’s linguistic event:

    May 24, 2016 at 5:27 pm
    • Petrus

      I Iike it too. To be honest, I think it is frightening to hear the papacy spoken in such terms. Thank goodness for voices of clarity.

      May 24, 2016 at 7:01 pm
  • editor

    There seems to be a growing mystery around Pope Benedict – click here

    And note the remarks about concerns within the Vatican surfacing at this time, on the topic of Fatima… the mystery deepens.

    What, one wonders, next?

    May 24, 2016 at 9:07 pm
  • Athanasius


    Sounds like Cardinal Ratzinger could be gravely ill and the Vatican is preparing for the worst. We’ll no doubt get the truth of it very soon.

    May 25, 2016 at 12:06 am
    • editor


      You could well be right. Has to be a first time for everything!

      Seriously, something certainly seems to be afoot.

      May 25, 2016 at 12:16 am
  • RCA Victor

    Meanwhile, Cardinal Muller has re-asserted himself, in his usual dubious (or should I say laughable) terms:

    May 25, 2016 at 4:56 pm
    • gabriel syme

      I think Mueller just tries to play “tough guy” with the Society, because he knows they respect his rank and Office, whereas he doesn’t even get lip service from the heretics who run wild in the Church today.

      He seems to be ploughing his own furrow here, as what he has said seems distinct to what Francis and ++Pozzo have said recently. Francis was quoted as saying the Council “has its value”, which is hardly a lion roaring in defence of it.

      +Fellay said previously the Society can accept approx 95% of the Council, (ironically far more than the typical pew Catholic will accept, or even know about), but does not accept the smaller remainder which is at loggerheads with tradition.

      When they attack the Society for not accepting a small amount of documentation which is against tradition, critics make themselves look like petty, rigorous, self-absorded, promethean, neo-pelagians who lock themselves up in small-minded rules (hat-tip to Francis there lol).

      If the Society is regularised – and I expect it will, sooner rather than later – I think their canonical status (and so easy-availability as an ally) would embolden those conservative-yet-meek elements in the Church, which could lead to a re-balancing of power.

      May 25, 2016 at 9:13 pm
      • RCA Victor

        I wonder if Mueller is merely trying to re-establish himself in Vatican power circles, having been reduced to irrelevancy by Pope Francis’ imitation of a loose cannon. As for the SSPX respecting his rank and office, I’m not so sure – they know that he is just as much a Modernist, albeit a discreet one, as Team Bergoglio.

        May 26, 2016 at 12:17 am
    • Gerontius

      RCA Victor,

      Whilst traversing the Catholic Blogosphere today, I found this article. The author’s latest observation combines fact with humour and a dash of edifying common sense. It’s thought provoking to say the least.


      Enjoy the SSPX’s wonderful moral and doctrinal integrity. Thank the Lord every day for this precious gift. Do not be worried whether this “recognition” comes or not.
      We do not get our doctrinal teaching from yoghurt cans, but from the bimillenarian teachings of Holy Mother Church.

      May 26, 2016 at 10:46 pm
  • damselofthefaith

    Here come the contradictions. Many prayers for the Society.

    May 25, 2016 at 5:48 pm
  • gabriel syme

    Further to the posts above, regarding Cardinal Muellers comments: Fr Z has mentioned the comments on his blog.

    He links to the news of the Cardinals Statement, but then simply says:

    “I am hearing things in the background.

    Friends… I think this is going to happen.”

    Of course, we must be prepared for a false alarm too.

    May 26, 2016 at 12:10 pm
    • gabriel syme

      Sorry – I may not have clear above. The thing Fr Z thinks is going to happen is the canonical recognition of the Society.

      May 26, 2016 at 12:11 pm
      • editor

        Gabriel Syme,

        I think we had a hint at the beginning of the “Year of Mercy” that the regularisation of the SSPX might well be one of those things that the God of Surprises/Pope of Shocks will spring on us! Let’s see…

        May 26, 2016 at 12:48 pm
      • gabriel syme

        I agree Editor – when Francis previously confirmed the Society’s ability to absolve sins, that seemed a clear indication of how he intended to proceed.

        I had feared Mueller’s statement was an indicator that the kibosh was about to be put on the progress that has been made (as per the late derailment in 2012) but it seems not.

        Btw – love the “Pope of Shocks” comment. (I then thought of “Pope of Heart Attacks” haha!).

        May 26, 2016 at 1:34 pm
      • editor

        Gabriel Syme,

        It’s the way I tell ’em… 😀

        May 26, 2016 at 2:37 pm
  • Athanasius

    Gabriel Syme and Editor,

    Reading those words of Cardinal Mueller will certainly alert Bishop Fellay to the possibility of deception again on the part of Rome. He will be well on his guard to ensure that a Personal Prelature does not entail a present or future recognition of the errors contained in the Council documents.

    Cardinal Mueller’s recent statement is absolute rubbish; theoligcally illiterate, in fact. I don’t know how he could have spoken such utter tosh with a straight face. It’s the Cardinal, not the SSPX, who is suspect when it comes to the truths of the Faith. It’s beyond me how His Eminence was ever appointed Prefect of the CDF. Cardinal Mueller of all people with his track record of questionable theological statements should have been the last choice for so lofty and important an office.

    May 26, 2016 at 1:21 pm
    • gabriel syme

      Agreed Athanasius,

      As if affirming secular notions of “human rights” (regarding religious freedom etc) could ever be a requirement to demonstrate that one holds the Catholic faith. Its an absurd suggestion.

      May 26, 2016 at 1:37 pm
    • Christina

      But just the ‘right’ choice of a pope who, as Bishop Fellay so clearly said, thinks nothing of doctrine. For him the CDF is surely just another tiresome anachronism.

      May 26, 2016 at 10:45 pm
    • RCA Victor


      I wonder if that appointment was Benedict’s attempt at an olive branch to the schismatic German Episcopate (an olive branch which, it seems, was a complete failure, in more ways than one!).

      May 26, 2016 at 11:35 pm
      • Athanasius

        RCA Victor

        The German hierarchy is now so off-the-wall in its beliefs that no one short of Hans Kung for Prefect of the CDF would have placated them. It’s much more likely that the morally conservative, theologically questionable Cardinal Mueller was a personal choice of Pope Benedict himself. It fits with the Ratzinger “hermeneutic of continuity” theory.

        May 27, 2016 at 3:04 am

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