Despite conciliatory gestures to the Vatican, the arch-conservative SSPX on Saturday will illicitly ordain priests. Bishop Bernard Fellay, the successor of Archbishop Lefebvre explains why.
What is your goal of getting closer: a special way for you in a small niche – or is a fundamental change in the church in your mind?
There are two points of conflict: on one hand your thesis, the deposit of the Faith is generally in danger, and your rejection of specific documents of the Second Vatican Council. Do you want Rome to to take back or modify these documents, or is a "we agree to disagree" possible?
You not only reject certain interpretations, but some Council documents themselves - when it comes to religious freedom and respect for other religions.
Would a papal Nota praevia about these two contentious statements satisfy your requirements?
The other major sticking point between you and Rome is the Tridentine Rite. Due to the Pope’s re-authorization of this Rite, this has at least largely been defused. Is this enough for you already, or would you have expected even more?
Fellay: No, not really. It is about a rapprochement. This can only happen through small steps- for all wounds, and what has happened. In this sense, this gesture of the pope, which we gratefully accept was also meant as a gesture to improve the climate. For our part there is opening, but in no way to displace our work.
Why do you not have the priestly ordinations elsewhere? The sharp reaction of the German bishops was to be expected.
Fellay: At this point, one sees that there will be evil. We can do whatever we will, we are the black sheep in any case. That is my impression. At some point, we say we will not now further retreat. You have to understand.
You therefore do not recognize any repudiation of the Pope in your acts?
Fellay: That would be a wrong interpretation of the deed. This is not a hostile act, I have written to the Pope and asked him, he should consider these ordinations as: not as a rebellion, but as a step of survival in difficult and complex circumstances.
What is Bishop Williamson doing now?
Fellay: He is in London. He prays, he is studying, nothing else.
Is there a foreseeable end to the internal exile?
Fellay: I see none. The whole matter depends on him.
Fellay: If such statements recur, then it would be unbearable.