Update on the SSPX situation from Bishop Fellay

At Rorate Caeli, there is an exclusive interview of Bishop Bernard Fellay, SSPX superior general, by Fr. Kevin Cusick. While the interview was conducted in the context of the blessing of the SSPX’s new St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary in Virginia, it touched upon, as you might expect, the status of negotiations between the Society and the Roman authorities. There is cheerful news in the interview for those of us who have followed closely the back and forth over the Society since the Holy Father made it known that the regularization of the Society is a priority of his. Since it is a Rorate exclusive, we won’t quote more than necessary to whet your appetite:

He went on to elaborate, however, that the documents of Vatican II are at issue, a matter with which many readers are already aware, the remaining sticking points being those documents treating religious liberty, ecumenism and reform of the liturgy. The Society has been very firm and consistent over the years that these teachings are incompatible with the integral tradition of the Church.

The bishop recommended three major interviews given by Abp. Pozzo and published by the French bishops’ newspaper La Croix as a good source for an adequate summary of the current status of talks between the Society and the Holy See because “these give the position of Rome clearly”. The most recent of these was published in July.

The bishop elaborated by describing the talks on the documents of Vatican II with Rome as being in a “clarification” stage. He mentioned this as being the case in particular because of the statement by Archbishop Muller [sic, but presumably Gerhard Ludwig Card. Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith] that the Society must accept Vatican II, including the portions at issue.

(Emphasis supplied and hyperlink in original.)

It is interesting to us—very interesting—that Bishop Fellay would make such a point of citing Archbishop Pozzo’s interviews with La Croix as giving “the position of Rome clearly.” Recall that Archbishop Pozzo shocked many observers by stating clearly that full, unreserved assent to every jot and tittle of the Conciliar documents was not necessary. Indeed, Archbishop Pozzo indicated that the various documents must be given their proper magisterial weight but that the Council did not constitute a “superdogma.” And the Pope seemed to agree with Archbishop Pozzo, noting that the Conciliar documents have their value, or something that effect. However, Cardinal Müller has been steadfast that acceptance of the Vatican II documents is necessary. Thus, as Bishop Fellay observed, there are some tensions within the various statements of the Roman authorities on these issues. Indeed, we had the impression that he put out his statement on negotiations earlier this year in part because he was getting such mixed signals from Rome. So, it is interesting—and potentially very welcome—that he would point to Archbishop Pozzo’s interviews as a summary of the Roman position.

Unfortunately, the opening of the new seminary was marred by Bishop Fellay hurting his foot “quite badly,” according to Society sources.