The Vatican requires recognition of the Council to reinstate the Lefebvrists. It is "putting the cart before the horse," complains Bishop Fellay.
The lifting of the excommunication of four bishops of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX) does not mean "integration" in the Church, but is a door open to "dialogue", stated the Secretary of State , February 4, in response to the controversy caused by the remarks of negationist and rehabilitated prelate, Bishop Richard Williamson (who has just returned to Britain). But Rome as a condition of integration requires "full recognition of Vatican II" and "the teaching of Popes John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II and Benedict XVI himself." No problem for the second point, but the schismatic fraternity is sticking to its position in regard to its virulent denunciation of the Council on behalf of their struggle for the restoration of the tradition.
According to the SSPX, dates for dialogue meetings have not yet been fixed, but both parties are working on them. Interview with the SSPX Bishop Bernard Fellay - successor to the late Archbishop Lefebvre.
The condition imposed by Rome to reinstate the Fraternity in the Church is the recognition of Vatican II. Is the SSPX willing to take that step?
No. The Vatican has recognised the need for preliminary meetings to address substantive issues arising precisely from Vatican II. To make the recognition of the council a prerequisite would be to put the cart before the horse.
You would have said, in interviews with the Roman authorities aimed at reinstatement that you wish to achieve a solid restoration of the Church. Your hope is therefore that the Church can turn her back on the achievements of Vatican II?
Yes, because these gains are pure loss: the fruits of the council were empty seminaries, churches and novitiates. Thousands of priests have abandoned their priesthood and millions of the faithful have ceased to practice or have turned to cults. The belief of the faithful has been distorted. Really, its funny to understand!
In this respect, is the SSPX still hostile to freedom of conscience in matters of religion, ecumenism and interreligious dialogue?
It is clear that adherence to a religion requires a free act. So often when people say that the SSPX is against freedom of conscience in matters of religion, one attributes to the SSPX a theory that it does not hold. Conscious is the ultimate judge the goodness of our actions. And in this sense no one can act against his conscience without sin. But conscious is not an absolute, it depends on good and the true ends and therefore every man has the duty to train and educate authentically his conscience. Thus the Church must be a responsible mother who enlightens and guides our minds and often simply removes shadows. With regard to ecumenism and interreligious dialogue, it all depends on what we mean by these words. There is great confusion about this. Of course, like any human being and for the good of society we want to live in peace with all men, our fellow human beings. In religious matters, we wish to respond strongly to the desire of Our Lord: "Let all be one", so there will be finally just one flock, one shepherd ... "If ecumenism means the continuation of this noble goal, we are of course for it. If you can see in contrast a path that does not support this fundamental unity, unity that leads necessarily to a view of truth - which the Catholic Church still claims today to be the sole possessor in its entirety! - then we protest.
In fact, we see that ecumenism remains at a very superficial level of understanding and living in society, but does not approach fundamental matters.
From what status within the church could the SSPX benefit?
We'll see if these doctrinal discussions produces something positive. Whatever God wants!