“Truly The Antidote To The Crisis”: Bishop Fellay On The Traditional Liturgy And Summorum Pontificum

Read here the part of an interview to Bishop Fellay of the SSPX more directly regarding the implementation of Summorum Pontificum.

In my eyes, in his commentary on Summorum Pontificum Bishop Fellay has all his bases covered. He expresses the following concepts:

1) Summorum Pontificum has great importance because it recognises that the Traditional Mass has never been abrogated. This is of obvious meaning for the SSPX.

2) This fact is not at all diminished by the fact that most Bishops actively boycott SP.

3) Summorum Pontificum is the obligatory starting point for every renewal of the Church liturgy.

4) As the liturgy is the real core of the Church’s life and activity, to repair the Liturgy would mean to repair the Church and every repair of the Church cannot be done without repairing the Liturgy. Bishop Fellay says about the Tridentine Mass;

it is truly the antidote to the crisis. It is really very powerful, at all levels. At the level of grace, at the level of faith…. I think that if the old Mass were allowed to be truly free, the Church could emerge rather quickly from this crisis, but it would still take several years!

(I’d rather say “one generation or two” but hey, I like his optimism.. ).

Bishop Fellay stressing the importance of Summorum Pontificum may simply be instrumental to his desire of showing that the SSPX is right in protecting the Old Mass, or might be the result of his having received some hints about the content of the proposed instructions and wanting to intervene in a discreet manner in its defence. He is very diplomatic on the point as whilst he clearly criticises both the incoming beatification of JP II and – with much more energy – the initiative of Assisi III, he refrains from saying a single word of criticism toward the instruction.

It appears to me that Fellay is well aware that every negative consequence for Summorum Pontificum as a result of the Instruction would greatly add to the SSPX’s popularity and prestige in the eyes of conservative Catholics the world over as millions of well-educated, liturgically savvy Catholics would understand that the SSPX is the only safe bastion against the smoke of satan famously (and insistently) entering the doors of the Church.

The rest of the interview is also interesting and possibly worthy of separate blog posts. As always, you can read here and there some rather unusual words ( on page one, talking about the current discussions with the Vatican, Bishop Fellay says: “it is really a matter of making the Catholic faith understood in Rome”, which is strong tobacco by any diplomatic and un-diplomatic standard), but on the whole by reading this contribution I have the impression that I always had in the past by reading SSPX documents: that they are a bit cantankerous and not always very diplomatic in presenting their point of view but boy, they are 100% Catholic and no mistake.


Posted on February 19, 2011, in Catholicism, FSSPX and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. I hesitate (“when in doubt, don’t say it” my grandmother told me), but I think you can refuse to post this or remove it. I’m curious about your writing as I used the middle of my life to teach English Composition and because of threads of Italian woven into your prose. What language was native to your parents and where did you spend your youth? Do you reside in an Anglophone country now?
    As always, you have produced fine commentary on the issues that are of chief importance. Keep up the good work.

    • 😉

      Yes 308s, I am Italian born and bred; I grew up in Italy by parents who don’t speak a word of English and have been living in the United Kingdom for only a handful of years. Try as I may to do otherwise, I still “think in Italian” and my written English is unavoidably influenced by this; whilst with the years more and more English usages will make their way into my writing I will probably never cease to be promptly identified as a foreigner by any mother tongue reader. I should probably insert a word of caution about this in the “about the author” page so that no one wonders…

      Having said that, I am glad that you liked the content of my blog posts 😉


  2. Don’t be overly joyed by Bishop Fellay mentioning only ‘a few years,’ in this particular interview, because elsewhere I think he gave it at least a hundred.

    That it would strengthen SSPX is one reason I don’t think any document released by the Vatican will backstep on the traditional mass. As poorly as implemented, SP has resulted in a few tiny little pressure releases in various cities that has kept SSPX from growing, although it has not fallen either. (I am going by memory, from figures released last year.) I’ll bet you a beer that any document released will rethink the other one and present it in even more confusing and contradictory language, with no net blow or gain.

    We are still so deep in the woods that all the paths out disappear into darkness.

    Let me change the subject to something I think you’re interested in. Do you know, islam is having the same fit as we regarding liberalism? I’m not sure where they are in it, my reading is so new, but there’s a split. “Traditional” muslims are blamed by moderates for all the trouble, and these are called by the code term fundamentalists. Actually they’re a lot like us in moral living, except for divorce being allowed for men, which unfortunately even traditional muslim women wish changed so that they too can divorce. They have a theological division over abortion, but I believe we might have one too (St. Augustine?). They also honor the banking rules (no interest, borrowing or lending) and a gold standard. (If you care about it, an islamic state called Kelantan in Malaysia has actually implemented this.)

    An interesting thing in their internal struggle is they haven’t fallen for the national grouping trick as performed at the Council where actual philosophical positions were masked as ‘German’ or ‘Italian’ or ‘American’ and still use political/philosophical/theological terms for things. Like they use ‘Freemason,’ serious as can be. And of course ‘liberal,’ and ‘secular.’ They seem to mean the same things by them.

    Another thing about the split they’re in. The media refers to various countries there as muslim states. This is an error, the same kind of error as referring to the West as Christian, or Catholic. And what the middle class there is fighting for is true islamic states, not ones which are supposed to ‘reflect’ in some vague way ‘islamic principles’ but states organized on islamic social principles, with public prayer and an official dominant religion. (The Church is against this: October Synod of middle eastern bishops.) So when they say on CNN that the Muslim Brotherhood or whatever is for an islamic state, they mean a real one.

    So I’m thinking and wondering and praying. Forget the cause of secularism, forget the US, forget trade alliances and even trade winds: would trad Catholics get along better with islamic states? Bishops there say it would ‘marginalize Catholics,’ like we’re not marginalized here. ! Furthermore it’s not islam marginalizing us, it’s secularism and our exhausted response to it. I wonder about there. I looked at Catholic websites in Malaysia and I swear they have the same announcements — and lack of evangelization– as here. Not more. Same.

    Let’s just start working on the Catholic brotherhood. With me, Mundie?

    • WL,

      I am personally not very much into the appreciation of (more or less traditional) Muslim groups. Whilst I do think that even Muslims get some things right (= where their thinking is alike to the Christian one) I can’t see them as allies in any shape or form whatsoever. As for getting along, one tries to get along with everyone, but I don’t think there is any need to seek for some help.

      The problem (nay: the tragedy) of the West is that it has partially forgotten Christianity. The solution to this is, if you ask me, to recover it. This – always if you ask me, I am being politically incorrect here – means the rediscovery of Christian thinking to the exclusion of every non-christian denomination. Infidels will never help us make our countries more Christian amd Muslims will smile to you and play friendly and peaceful only as long as they are not strong enough to throw away the mask and discover the other side of the Koran. Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes.


  3. Thanks for a gentlemanly reply to a bit of impertinence. However, your (very minor) mistakes took no pattern except of someone, as you say, thinking in another language, yet, your writing is lucid and scholarly. I would exalt in writing Italian, French or Spanish half as well as you write English.

  4. True all that! But we must take a note from their insistance on the religious state. We too must insist on it. We too are split and can learn from their split. I do believe you’re interested in a society that recognizes God. (We need a Catholic brotherhood.)

    • Not entirely sure, WL,

      I would wish things to be as they were in Italy when I was born: Catholicism was the official religion, but there was no “religious state” in the sense of a theocracy.

      Pius XII of blessed memory was a great supporter of democracy as he thought that a democracy would allow the best guarantees to have Catholic principles protected. The good man couldn’t know that his successors would have looked and smiled whilst Catholic instruction went to the dogs and would therefore become fully indifferent to use the democratic process to upheld Catholic values.

      Still, it can work perfectly well with using the weapons of democracy to resintate Catholic value. But the bishops must wake up, big time.


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