Bishop Fellay’s interview

Bishop Bernard Fellay


Bishop Fellay, who has been, until recently, the head of the Society of Saint Pius X for the past twenty-four years, gave an interview to Tagespost in which he said a few things which deserve attention.

The first is this: “We have never said that the Council directly taught any heresies. But it took away the wall of protection from error, and thereby permitted error to show itself.”

Is this an accurate statement? Did Vatican II merely expose the Church to error? Or did it actually contain heresies? Answer: It contained heresies.

The first heresy of Vatican II: ecumenism. The document Unitatis Redintegratio, or the Decree on Ecumenism, contains a glaring heresy against the Catholic dogma which teaches that outside the Church there is no salvation. The Council states:

It follows that the separated Churches and Communities as such, though we believe them to be deficient in some respects, have been by no means deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation. For the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Church. [Unitatis Redintegratio, no. 3] [Emphasis added].

The Catholic Church teaches as dogma — it was called a “most well-known Catholic dogma” by Pius IX — that outside the Church there is no salvation. The Council states the precise contradictory of the Catholic dogma, namely that there is salvation outside the Catholic Church, that these non-Catholic religions can deliver salvation to their adherents, and are indeed the means by which they are saved. This is heresy.

The second heresy of Vatican II: religious liberty. The Catholic Church, professing to be the one, true Church founded by Jesus Christ, and outside of which there is no salvation, understands religious liberty to be the liberty of the Catholic Church to carry out its mission in the world, to establish itself everywhere, to function freely as an entity distinct from the State. It also claims the liberty of its adherents to profess and practice their Catholic faith without harassment or molestation.

It condemns the idea, as being contrary to Sacred Scripture, that all religions have these same liberties and these same rights. For to assert such a thing would be the same as saying that a person or organization would have a right to do something wrong. But this is contrary to the natural law, and therefore contrary to the Church’s teaching. You can have a right only to do something right, and never a right to do something wrong.

Liberty is the power of electing the good. License is the freedom falsely accorded to the will to elect evil. In order that there be the exercise of true liberty, it is necessary that it not detract from any duty. For liberty does not exist for evil, but for the good. Therefore, for as often as man abuses liberty for the purpose of committing evil, it should not be called liberty but instead license.

Liberty of conscience is absolutely impious. For man is by a most strict duty bound to think correctly about God, and concerning those things which regard both speculative and practical religion. But to go against a most strict duty of nature is license, not liberty. If we are talking about a voluntary transgression of our duty toward God, the aforesaid license is impiety. Because, therefore, through liberty of conscience the right is given to man to think concerning God however he pleases, this liberty, this right, is truly an impiety.

The liberty of religions, considered in itself, is absurd. This proposition is proven by what has been already said. For the liberty of religions is inferred only from the liberty of conscience. Because liberty of conscience is absurd, it follows also that the liberty of religions is absurd. But more must be said. If one concedes the liberty of religions, one takes away from God the power of imposing a determined worship upon men, and one imposes upon God a certain obligation of accepting or at least of approving any form of worship shown to Him by human reason. But God has commanded a form of worship — the Catholic religion. Consequently He is not obliged to accept just any form of worship that human beings give Him. It follows that men cannot, without obvious irreligion and impiety reject the precepts of God, and be the arbiters of their own worship. On the other hand, it is an impiety to deny to God the faculty of determining worship, and to impose some kind of duty upon Him of approving all forms of worship indiscriminately. Therefore the liberty of religions is absurd.

Vatican II, however, teaches that liberty of religion for the individual and for religious organizations is a right which flows from the notion of human dignity. Furthermore, it says that this teaching concerning human dignity is contained in revelation, but gives no reference where in revelation God guarantees the right to believe and practice whatever religion you want.

Vatican II teaches in Dignitatis Humanæ, no. 2:

This Vatican Council declares that the human person has a right to religious freedom. This freedom means that all men are to be immune from coercion on the part of individuals or of social groups and of any human power, in such wise that no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs, whether privately or publicly, whether alone or in association with others, within due limits.

Some try to defend the Council by saying that the only thing it means is that no one should be converted to Catholicism by the sword. The Church has always taught that conversion should not take place in such a manner, and has condemned any attempt to do so. That this is not the intention of the Council can be seen from the paragraphs subsequent to the one cited above:

The freedom or immunity from coercion in matters religious which is the endowment of persons as individuals is also to be recognized as their right when they act in community. Religious communities are a requirement of the social nature both of man and of religion itself.

Provided the just demands of public order are observed, religious communities rightfully claim freedom in order that they may govern themselves according to their own norms, honor the Supreme Being in public worship, assist their members in the practice of the religious life, strengthen them by instruction, and promote institutions in which they may join together for the purpose of ordering their own lives in accordance with their religious principles.

Religious communities also have the right not to be hindered, either by legal measures or by administrative action on the part of government, in the selection, training, appointment, and transfer-ral of their own ministers, in communicating with religious authorities and communities abroad, in erecting buildings for religious purposes, and in the acquisition and use of suitable funds or properties.
Religious communities also have the right not to be hindered in their public teaching and witness to their faith, whether by the spoken or by the written word.

Those of us who have lived in a country such as the United States, where the religious liberty described in these paragraphs is considered a normal, even sacred, civil right, fail to see the malice of these words. If we substitute “abortion” for “religion,” the point might become clearer: “This Vatican Council declares that the human person has a right to an abortion.” “Abortion clinics are a requirement of the social nature both of man and of abortion itself.” “Provided the just demands of public order are observed, abortion clinics rightfully claim freedom in order that they may govern themselves according to their own norms, publicly perform abortions, assist their members in the practice of abortion, strengthen them by instruction, and promote institutions in which they may join together for the purpose of ordering their own lives in accordance with their abortion principles.”

Need I go on? It should be pointed out here that, as heinous a crime as abortion is, the profession of a false religion is far more heinous in God’s sight, being directly contrary to His solemn rights. It is not to be forgotten that in Exodus (chapter 32) God ordered the slaying of all those who had participated in the worship of the golden calf, and who had not repented of it. The number of those slain was 23,000. This momentous event was to demonstrate to the Hebrew people the necessity of adhering to the true religion, and of shunning false religions. According to Vatican II, Moses should have proclaimed religious liberty for all of the calf-worshippers.

Religious liberty, as it is taught by Vatican II, is in-deed a heresy. It is solemnly condemned by Pope Pius IX as being against the Scriptures. Furthermore, Archbishop Lefebvre considered religious liberty to be a heresy. He said exactly this to Fr. Cekada in a dinner conversation at Oyster Bay.

The third heresy of Vatican II: The new ecclesiology. By ecclesiology we mean the Church’s doctrine concerning its own nature, that is, its essence and characteristics. Vatican II teaches a heretical ecclesiology. It is contained in Lumen Gentium.

The traditional dogma of the Catholic Church is that the Catholic Church, and it alone, is the one true Church of Christ, and that therefore any entity outside of itself is a false religion. This includes even those schismatic religions of the East which may have a valid priesthood and valid sacraments. If you are cut off from the center — the pope — you are nothing but a dead branch that has fallen off the vine.

Vatican II altered this doctrine in order to include other Christian denominations in the Church of Christ, saying that the Church of Christ, as an organized body, subsists in the Catholic Church.

What does it mean to subsist in? Subsistence is a perfection of a thing whereby it exists on its own, and not in something else. For example, a color cannot exist on its own, but must always exist in something else, e.g., paint, a flower, a cloth. That “something else” must have its own subsistence.

Applying this to ecclesiology, if the Church of Christ does not subsist on its own, but must subsist in something else, it means that the Church of Christ is really distinct from what it subsists in, namely that they are by nature two different things. It means that the Church of Christ is not the Catholic Church, and the Catholic Church is not the Church of Christ. If they were by nature not two different things, then they would be the same thing, and it would be necessary to say the the Church of Christ is the Catholic Church, which is precisely the dogma of the Catholic Church.

The “subsists in” doctrine also means that the Church of Christ could subsist in something else, like the Lutheran Church, for example.

While this doctrine does wonders for the heresy of ecumenism and religious liberty, it destroys the Church’s teaching that the Catholic Church is exclusively the Church of Christ, and vice versa. The Church of Christ and the Catholic Church are one and the same, and exclusively so, meaning that no other “Christian” organization can call itself the Church of Christ in any way whatsoever. The only appropriate name for them is a heretical or schismatic sect.

The fourth heresy of Vatican II: Collegiality. This doctrine, also contained in Lumen Gentium, holds that the subject (possessor) of supreme power in the Church is the college of bishops. Listen to the Council:

The order of bishops, which succeeds to the college of apostles and gives this apostolic body continued existence, is also the subject of supreme and full power over the universal Church, provided we understand this body together with its head the Roman Pontiff and never without this head.

This is heresy. For the Catholic Church teaches that the Roman Pontiff is the head of the Catholic Church. Listen to the Council of Florence: “We likewise define that the holy Apostolic See, and the Roman Pontiff, hold the primacy throughout the entire world, and that the Roman Pontiff himself is the successor of Blessed Peter, the chief of the Apostles, and the true Vicar of Christ, and that he is the head of the entire Church, and the father and teacher of all Christians; and that the full power was given to him in Blessed Peter by Our Lord Jesus Christ, to feed, rule, and govern the universal Church; just as is contained in the acts of the ecumenical councils and in the sacred canons.” (Decree for the Greeks, July 6, 1439)

Pope Pius VI condemned this doctrine: “All the bishops together and in one body govern the same Church, each one with full power.”

Some try to save Vatican II from heresy by saying that the Council states that the pope is the head of the college, and that it cannot act without him. But this does not save it from heresy, because the pope in that case simply becomes another member of the college of bishops, and merely a condition of their power, but not the source of their power.

Others try to save the Council by pointing out that the document asserts that the Pope is the head of the Church: “In virtue of his office, that is, as Vicar of Christ and pastor of the whole Church, the Roman Pontiff has full, supreme and universal power over the Church.” This is a futile attempt, however. No organization can have two heads, two supreme legislators. For example, it is impossible that both king and parliament be the supreme legislator. One must have the last word, to whom the other is subservient. King Charles I of England lost his head by upholding the supremacy of the king over parliament.

Yet others try to save the Council by citing the Preliminary Note of Explanation (the Nota Prævia), but this is worthless, since it is not part of the document accepted by the bishops. The modernist theologian Yves Congar was swift to point this out when he was a peritus at the Council. Besides, there is nothing in the Nota Prævia which cancels out the conciliarist heresy in the document.

The Catholic doctrine is that the pope, as supreme head of the Church, may invite the bishops into a general council, in which, by his consent, they participate in his power to rule the Church. Apart from these general councils, the authority of bishops is confined to their dioceses. The power to rule the diocese is from Christ, but comes to them through the Roman Pontiff, who may remove the power from them whenever he will. Pope Pius XII taught in the Encyclical Mystici Corporis: “Yet in exercising this office they [the bishops] are not altogether independent, but are subordinate to the lawful authority of the Roman Pontiff, although enjoying the ordinary power of jurisdiction which they receive directly from the same Supreme Pontiff.” (no. 42)

Bishop Fellay sells out to the Modernists on the Council. About a year ago, the Vatican told the Society of Saint Pius X that there could be no hope of reconciliation unless the SSPX accepts Vatican II and the post-Vatican II magisterium. By saying that there is no heresy in Vatican II, Bishop Fellay is saying that Vatican II is orthodox, that is, Catholic, and is not offensive to the Catholic Faith.

If that be so, then what have we been doing for the past fifty years?

Bishop Fellay also sells out on the question of the New Mass. Bishop Fellay makes this remark-able statement: “Not every New Mass is a scandal directly, but the repeated celebration of the New Mass leads to a weakening or even a loss of faith.”

Question: how could it not be a scandal if it leads to a loss of faith? How could an infallible and indefectible Church, the Church of Christ, assisted by the Holy Ghost, the pillar and ground of truth, as St.Paul calls it, promulgate to the whole world a rite which leads to the loss of faith? Bishop Fellay’s statement falls under the anathema of the Council of Trent: “If anyone says that the ceremonies, vestments, and outward signs, which the Catholic Church uses in the celebration of Masses, are incentives to impiety rather than the services of piety, let him be anathema.”

Bishop Fellay states in this same interview that the traditional Mass is like a silver trumpet, whereas the New Mass is like a brass trumpet:

I say only that if you are receiving a head of State, and you have the choice between a silver trumpet and a brass trumpet, would you choose the brass trumpet? It would be an insult. You would not do it. Even the best New Masses are like trumpets of brass, in comparison to the traditional liturgy. For God, we would choose what is better.

The only conclusion to draw from this statement is that the New Mass is a Catholic Mass but it is merely inferior to the traditional Mass. After all, they are both trumpets! The silver one is merely nicer than the brass one. I think a better analogy would have been to compare the New Mass not to a brass trumpet, but to a giant elephant passing gas.

Bishop Fellay, until recently, was the head of the organization which purports to be the bulwark of tradition, the single hope of the Catholic faithful who want to be protected from Vatican II and its reforms. Yet he is all mixed up in regard to the highest guiding principles of resistance to Vatican II. On the one hand he says that the New Mass weakens or destroys your faith — which means that it is poison — and then a few lines later says that it is a brass trumpet and not a silver one, indicating that there is merely a difference of quality between the two Masses.

It is for this reason that we rejoice over our separation from the SSPX in 1983. We saw the seeds of this utter theological confusion, this theology à la Maxine Waters, and wanted no part of it.

We may be small in comparison to the SSPX, but we are not mixed up. As Garrigou-Lagrange put it: “A thousand idiots do not equal one genius.” Likewise a thousand mixed up priests do not equal one priest with his head screwed on right.

12 thoughts on “Bishop Fellay’s interview

  1. An excellent explanation of Vatican II and the SSPX and in so few words, thank you Bishop Sanborn. I hope every SSPX priest reads this article. May Our Lord and Our lady guide their hearts…….and the heart of Bp Fellay as well.

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  2. Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre: “The present state of Rome is just one more reason why we must not hesitate or fear to regroup. In closing, I would wish to emphasize especially how important it is to remain united, and to avoid dissension at all costs. We are already so few who wish to hold onto our traditions, who understand, who have received the graces. There can be no question but that it is God’s grace, which has allowed us to keep our holy traditions, the very traditions, which have produced the saints. It is vital, therefore, that we proceed as of one mind, that we labor together in order to better insure a strong defense.”

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  3. Is not RR a heresy? Are not the sspx heretics, as the deny the assistance of the holy ghost to the papacy and ecumenical councils?

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  4. Thank you for a concise and clear explanation of the present danger facing all religious orders and faithful Catholics, who are trying to cope with the Modernist Church. The SSPX is losing it’s way. You and they are in my prayers.

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  5. A very good essay, really.
    I have a personal difficulty on religious liberty for which I ask for your help.
    It seems to me that for catholic doctrine there is at least one case in which a person have the natural right to do something wrong: infidels parents have the right to educate their children in their false religion.
    Some traditionalists use this exception to justify Vatican II. But they forget that for Vatican II religious liberty is not an “exception”, but a “principle”.
    I’d like to understand, however, what is the real nature of the right of these infidels parents for catholic doctrine.
    One last thing.
    When the majority of the citizens of a state are not Catholic, does that state have the right to prohibit non-Catholics from spreading heresy?
    Tanto you.
    Gabriele (Italy)

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  6. The SSPX faithful need to get out of their chapels asap.
    If this is their Superior General for the past 24 yrs,imagine what’s being taught (or not being taught) from the pulpit?

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  7. Pingback: RESUMEN DE NOTICIAS AL 17 DE AGOSTO DE 2018 - Maestroviejo

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