Holywell Pilgrimage This Sunday, 1 July
Bishop Rifan to Celebrate Mass in Leeds on Saturday
Pontifical High Mass for Juventutem This Friday, 29 June
Rev John Hunwicke to be Ordained This Evening
New Bishop of Wrexham Announced
New Vice-President of Ecclesia Dei: "It is possible to have theological disagreements while remaining in communion with the See of Peter."
Important Changes at the Vatican
Masses for Feast of SS Peter and Paul, 29 June
Traditional Confirmations at New Brighton This Friday
New Edition of Dowry Available
Traditional Position Paper on Prefaces Published
Vocations Discernment Weekend 27-29 July 2012
FSSP report on vocations
Bishop Fellay Visits the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Pilgrimage to Ramsgate Tomorrow (Friday, 15 June)
'Black Legends' for Sale!
LMS Conference Talks Downloadable on MP3
LMS Patron Lord Gill Appointed Most Senior Judge in Scotland
A Great Day: LMS Conference a Resounding Success
Reminders and new notification of Masses
LMS Report from the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle
Young Catholic Adults Retreat at Douai Abbey 14-16 September
Bishop Rifan's Visit to the UK - Schedule
Fr Z to Address LMS Conference in London, Tomorrow, Saturday 9 June
Interview with Bishop Fellay on Latest Situation
Mass Listings for Corpus Christi
The annual LMS Holywell Pilgrimage takes place this weekend on Sunday, 1 July at St Winefrede's Church, Holywell, Flintshire.
Pontifical High Mass will be celebrated by His Excellency Bishop Fernando Rifan of Campos in Brazil. Mass will begin at 2.30pm and will be followed by a public Rosary procession to the Shrine at St Winefride's Well where there will be devotions and veneration of the Relic of St Winefride.
If you are anywhere in North Wales or North-West England on Sunday, do go along to the Pilgrimage at this ancient shrine.
Bishop Fernando Rifan of Campos, Brazil, arrives in England later today and will be travelling around England and Wales (and Scotland) over the next week or so.
Bishop Rifan is one of the few bishops within the mainstream Church devoted exclusively to the Traditional Mass and Sacraments.The bishop's first public engagement will be on Saturday, 30 June in Leeds where he will celebrate Pontifical High Mass in the presence of the Diocesan Ordinary, Archbishop Arthur Roche of Leeds.
The details are as follows:
Saturday, 30 June at 3.00pm
(Feast of the Commemoration of St Paul)
Immaculate Heart of Mary,
294 Harrogate Road, Moortown, Leeds, LS17 6LE
In the presence of Most Rev Arthur Roche, Bishop of Leeds
Bishop Alan Hopes, auxiliary of Westminster, will celebrate High Mass for Juventutem in London tomorrow.
Here are the details:
Friday, 29 June, 6.45pm at Saint Mary Moorfields Catholic Church, 4-5 Eldon Street, London, EC2M 7LS.
Music will be provided by Cantus Magnus and the Juventutem London Schola as follows: Coronation Mass Mozart
Tu es Petrus Clemens non Papa
Ave verum Corpus Mozart
O sacrum convivium Messiaen
Gregorian chant propers
All are welcome to attend the Mass. For those between 18 and 35 years of age, there will be a social event after Mass.
Nearest tubes: Liverpool street (Central line) and Moorfields (Northern line). Both are about 3 minutes' walk from the church.
Rev John Hunwicke of the Ordinariate is due to be ordained as a Catholic priest this evening at 7pm at the Oxford Oratory. We send our prayers and best wishes to the soon-to-be Fr Hunwicke.
The Holy See has announced the appointment as the next bishop of Wrexham of Mgr Peter Brignall (58), currently vicar general of Wrexham Diocese and Dean of Wrexham Cathedral. He will succeed Bishop Edwin Regan who has offered his resignation to the Holy See on reaching the normal age of retirement for bishops (75). Bishop-elect Brignall will be installed as bishop on 12 September.
We offer our prayers and good wishes to Bishop-elect Brignall.
Archbishop Joseph Augustine DiNoia, who it was yesterday announced would become the new vice-president of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei (within the CDF), has given an interview to the Catholic News Service (CNS).
Three interesting points are worthy of note. Firstly, the CNS interview suggests that the negotiations between the SSPX and the Holy See have not broken down irrevocably, contrary to what a number of commentators have been suggesting over the past week or so. Secondly, Archbishop DiNoia was closely involved in setting up the Ordinariates for former Anglicans and this expertise may be one of the reasons for his move to the PCED at this critical time. Thirdly, the quote in our headline suggests that to criticise some aspects of Vatican II does not automatically mean someone is disloyal or outside the Church in some way.
You can read the whole interview here.
Two important announcements have just been released by the Vatican concerning changes in personnel which will be of interest to anyone adhering to the Traditional Mass.
Archbishop Joseph Augustine DiNoia, OP, former Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship, named Vice-President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei.
Bishop Arthur Roche, Bishop of Leeds, will become an archbishop and take up the post of Secretary of the Congregation of Divine Worship in Rome.
Bishop Roche will be present at the Pontifical High Mass organised by the Latin Mass Society, and celebrated by Bishop Fernando Rifan, in Leeds this Saturday.
Our prayers and congratulations to both of the new appointees.
This Friday, 29 June, is the Feast of SS Peter and Paul and is a Holy Day of Obligation. Mass in the Extraordinary Form is being celebrated at around 40 venues across England and Wales. Full details can be downloaded here.
Because Friday is a Solemnity, current rules on fasting state that the obligation to abstain from meat is lifted. You may therefore eat meat on this Friday. However, you may still abstain if you wish, which is a good and holy thing.
Fr Tim Finigan has a very good suggestion - following the custom of former days when the vigil of a major feast was kept as a fast day. Father suggests fasting on the vigil of SS Peter and Paul (i.e. Thursday, 28 June) and then celebrating this great feast day with meat being allowed. It strikes the right balance, which always seems to be the case with traditonal Catholic practices.
The Shrine of SS Peter, Paul and Philomena, New Brighton, which is run by the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, will be the venue for Confirmations in the Traditional Rite this Friday, 29 June at 7pm (which is also the patronal feast of the Shrine).
The Bishop of Shrewsbury, Rt Rev Mark Davies (pictured right), will be conferring the Sacrament. Bishop Davies's visit comes just three months after he officially opened the Traditional Shrine in March this year. The Confirmation ceremony is open to all to attend. Please pray for the confirmands and for the bishop.
The LMS will be holding its annual Confirmations ceremony in London on 24 November this year. Confirmations will be conferred by Bishop Alan Hopes, auxiliary of Westminster. If you are interested in more information, or in registering your child or yourself, please phone 020 7404 7284 as soon as possible for more details.
Photo credit: Mark Chidell
The new issue of Dowry is available online here, this time focussing on human love. It is introduced by a sermon on families and Faith that was delivered by the Very Rev. Fr John Berg, Superior General of the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter, during the Mass he offered in Chartres Cathedral, attended by 8,000 pilgrims of the annual Chartres Pilgrimage.
The latest of the Traditional Position Papers has been published by the International Feberation Una Voce. It's on Prefaces and is dealing with one of the more controversial areas of the liturgy at the present time. Why?
In his letter to the bishops accompanying Summorum Pontificum, the Holy Father mentioned the possibility of inserting new prefaces into the 1962 Missal, saying that, 'The “Ecclesia Dei” Commission, in contact with various bodies devoted to the usus antiquior, will study the practical possibilities in this regard' [my emphasis].
Rumours have been circulating that the PCED might even have begun this process, although there is as yet no evidence of contact with the bodies mentioned by the Holy Father. This Position Paper should be seen as part of a stimulus towards an informed debate about the matter to ensure that any changes that may be put forward in the future are the product, not of haste, but of careful, deep reflection.
The Position Paper very wisely counsels a period of calm stabilisation in which no changes should be made to the Missal, following what has, by any standard, been an epoch of liturgical upheaval. Clergy and faithful new to the Extraordinary Form need a period in which to become familiar with the Traditional Mass as it is. We do not know of any informed person devoted to the Extraordinary Form who disagrees with this view.
Continuing the series of highly successful vocations retreats, Father Armand de Malleray will be leading a vocations discernment weekend from the 27 to 29 of July in Reading (see below for details).
His series of vocations retreats is rightly called "highly successful". With an average of 10 men attending every time, it has helped at least six men discern a calling to the Priesthood and to pursue that successfully to Seminary.
The FSSP is one of a few exclusively traditional-rite orders in the world. It is a well known fact that such orders are attracting large numbers of young men. In fact if one does the maths, by comparison of its size, the FSSP alone had around 380% more vocations than the whole of England and Wales put together last year (ref: ukvocations.org and fssp.org.uk).
If you know of any men who may be interested in discerning a vocation (to any state of life) please let them know of the details below:
Vocation discernment weekend: 27-29 July 2012 in Reading:
For any English-speaking Catholic men between 18 and 35 years of age (under 18 please contact the FSSP).
Starts on Friday 27 July 2012 at 6pm (arrivals from 5pm) – ends on Sunday 29 July 2012 at 3pm.
Led by Fr Armand de Malleray, FSSP, assisted by Fr Matthew Goddard, FSSP.
Location: St John Fisher House, 17 Eastern Avenue, Reading, RG1 5RU, England.
Programme: Spiritual conferences, socials, Holy Mass each of the three days (Extraordinary Form of the Roman rite), silent prayer, and optional private talk with Fr de Malleray, FSSP. Fr de Malleray will explain what a vocation is in general and to the priesthood in particular.
Cost for the whole weekend, 2 days + 2 nights, full board: no set price for students or unemployed – any donation welcome; others: £50 suggested.
Father Armand de Malleray FSSP reports:
'Deo gratias for two of our first year seminarians from England. Both have now been admitted for the Second Year and First Tonsure in the Autumn.
In addition, one British applicant has also been admitted for the first year in Denton, USA.
Two more applicants from Ireland are awaiting the decision from our European seminary in Wigratzbad.
Please pray for these and for many more.'
The Priestly Fraternity of St Peter is an exclusively traditional-rite order, and has one of the consistently fastest growing vocations rates in the Church today. 9 seminarians will be ordained to the priesthood in the FSSP seminaries in Denton and Wigratzbad in May and June alone. Click for more information on the Catholic Priesthood of the FSSP.
The following announcement has been made by the Vatican Information Service:
Vatican City, 14 June 2012 (VIS) - "On the afternoon of Wednesday 13 June, Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and president of the Pontifical Commission 'Ecclesia Dei', met with Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior general of the Society of St. Pius X who was accompanied by an assistant. Also present at the encounter were Archbishop Luis Ladaria S.J., secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Msgr. Guido Pozzo, secretary of the Pontifical Commission 'Ecclesia Dei'", according to a communique released today by the Holy See Press Office.
"The purpose of the meeting was to present the Holy See's evaluation of the text submitted in April by the Society of St. Pius X in response to the Doctrinal Preamble which the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith had presented to the Society on 14 September 2011. The subsequent discussion offered an opportunity the provide the appropriate explanations and clarifications. For his part, Bishop Fellay illustrated the current situation of the Society of St. Pius X and promised to make his response known within a reasonable lapse of time.
"Also during the meeting, a draft document was submitted proposing a Personal Prelature as the most appropriate instrument for any future canonical recognition of the Society. "As was stated in the communique released on 16 May 2012, the situation of the other three bishops of the Society of St. Pius X will be dealt with separately and singularly. "At the end of the meeting the hope was expressed that this additional opportunity for reflection would also contribute to reaching full communion between the Society of St. Pius X and the Apostolic See".
The Sodality of the Five Holy Wounds will be making a pilgrimage to St Augustine's, Ramsgate, tomorrow, Friday, 15 June (also the Feast of the Sacred Heart). Here are full detail from their blog:
'This Friday, Feast of the Sacred Heart, the Sodality of the Five Holy Wounds will be holding a pilgrimage to the Shrine of St Augustine at Ramsgate.
'It will be fascinating to visit the important church of St Augustine, considered one of ANW Pugin's finest buildings. 'Not one of the true principles will be broken', the architect wrote of this church, built in the neo-Gothic style between 1845 and 1852. Pugin himself and several of his family members are buried there. It was designated a shrine in March this year.
'For a taster of this church and its history, the brilliant BBC Four programme 'God's own architect' is still viewable online here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01b1z45
'Our programme is as follows:
'12 noon Missa Cantata (Feast of the Sacred Heart)
Picnic lunch (bring your own)
14:00 Tour of the church by Pugin Society
15:00 Talk by Fr Marcus Holden about Saint Augustine and the significance of the Shrine followed by devotions
ca 16:00 Benediction and veneration of the relic of St Augustine
16:15 Tea in cafe at side of church overlooking the sea'
At our Conference last Saturday, one of the speakers was Dr John Rao of St John's University, New York. His talk was based on his newly published book, 'Black Legends and the Light of the World'.
We had hoped to sell these at the Conference, but trans-Atlantic postal services let us down. However, they have now arrived in the LMS office and are for sale online or by phoning us on 020 7404 7284. You can read reviews of the book here.
If you weren't able to go to the LMS Conference on Saturday, you missed a great day. It's not as good as being there, but we now have mp3 recordings of the talks to download. Owing to technical problems, one of the talks (from Rev John Hunwicke) was not recorded, but the others are available below:
Stuart McCullough: ‘Spiritual Warfare and the End of Abortion’
Fr John Zuhlsdorf: 'Save the Liturgy, Save the World'
Fr Tim Finigan: 'Traditional Liturgy in the Modern Parish’
(All recordings are copyright the Latin Mass Society)
Brian, Lord Gill, who became a Patron of the Latin Mass Society earlier this year, has succeeded Lord Hamilton as Lord President of the Court of Session, the most senior judge in Scotland. The appointment was welcomed by Scotland's First Minister, Alex Salmond, who praised Lord Gill's integrity and independence. The LMS offers its own congratulations to Lord Gill on this well-deserved appointment.
It was the first ever One-Day Conference thatthe LMS had held and it was greeted with what appeared to be universal and enthusiastic praise from the conference floor.
First off was Dr John Rao who spoke on the topics raised by his latest book 'Black Legends and the Light of the World: The War of Words with the Incarnate Word' (available from the LMS office).This was a sweeping look at the whole of the history of the Church to show how She has met with success by being true to the message of Her Founder and how setbacks over the centuries have come from those that Dr Rao described as 'word merchants' who wilfully misrepresented what the Church stands for thereby blunting and diverting its purpose.
Stuart McCullogh's talk about the work of the Good Counsel Network held the audience almost spellbound. To call their apostolate inspiring does not even begin to describe the incredible work and success that they have achieved. The GCN provides counselling to women who are facing crisis pregnancies. Stuart told the Conference that, of those women who come to them, around 95 per cent are intending to go ahead with an abortion when they first meet, but that, as a result of the Good Counsel Network's efforts, around 70 per cent subsequently change their minds and keep their babies. He illustrated this with some awe-inspiring examples. Stuart emphasised that the GCN places Traditional Catholic devotions at the heart of their work - Eucharistic Adoration and the Rosary being central to the amazing success that they have achieved. The GCN are always in need of help - practical, financial and spiritual. To learn how you cancontribute see here.
The headline speaker, Fr John Zuhlsdorf, better known as the blogger 'Fr Z' began the afternoon session with a punchy and inspirational talk centred on his own slogan 'Save the Liturgy; Save the World'. Bad liturgy, he told the Conference, is like a rock thrown into a pond - it sends ripples out into the Church that harm the Mystical Body of Christ as a whole - not just those who are present at such an event.
Fellow priest-blogger Fr Tim Finigan spoke next on his experience of introducing the Traditional Mass into his parish, looking back at the problems he'd faced and also the improvements to parish life that it had brought about. He also dwelt on the influence that celebrating the Extraordinary Form brings about on a priest's celebration of the Ordinary Form/Novus Ordo and to his life as a priest.
The final speaker was Rev John Hunwicke of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. By turns erudite and witty, he brought much learning and humour to the Conference hall as he looked at the Anglican patrimony that he anticipated the Ordinariate would bring to the Catholic Church by examining the careers of two Victorian Anglican clergymen, one of whom converted to Catholicism, and one of whom did not. Sounds a bit dry? Not a bit of it! For many attending the Conference, Rev Hunwicke was the 'discovery' of the day. Many had not heard of him before and were won over by his knowledge of his subject and by his schoolmasterly charm.
The day ended with a very successful panel discussion in which the speakers gathered together to answer questions submitted by the audience.
More photos of the day can be seen here.
LMS Representatives for Clifton and Westminster Dioceses report:
There will be a Solemn High Mass in the Extraordinary Form for the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (Friday 15th June), at the Immaculate Conception, Devizes SN10 1DD at 7.00pm.
Fr Goodman is also planning a Solemn Requiem High Mass at Holy Cross, Bedminster BS3 1DB on All Souls Day, Friday 2nd November at 7.30pm. Rupert Bevan will be providing a choir.
There will be Sung Mass at St. Bonaventure, Welwyn Garden City AL8 6JF on the Vigil of the Assumption (14th August 2012) and the Vigil of All Saints (31st October 2012). Both Masses will be at 7.30pm.
LMS Representative for Hexham and Newcastle David O'Neill reports:
Diocesan Representatives David KHS & Theresa O'Neill
34 Morston Drive, Dumpling Hall Estate, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE15 7RZ
Tel: 0191 264 5771 Mobile: 0771 2727198 Email: david [hyphen] oneill3 [at] sky [dot] com
Other Regular Masses
*Please note that weekday morning Masses at St Mary’s are temporarily suspended.
Holydays of Obligation
Obituaries: Mrs Moira Brown
It was with great shock & sadness that we learned of the sudden death of Father Michael Brown’s mother Moira on 17 April. She had not been unwell & had spent the previous Sunday with her family at a First Communion celebration. Father Michael was especially close to his mother and was, understandably, devastated by the suddenness of her passing. It seems that she suffered a fatal heart attack in her sleep. Her Requiem Mass (OF) was celebrated by Fr Michael & 6 other priests at her home parish of St Peter’s in Low Fell & was attended by a large congregation representing Father’s earlier parishes as well as representatives of the Latin Mass community. We continue our prayers for the repose of Moira’s soul and for Father Michael & his family that they might be given the strength to bear their great loss. Requiescat in Pace.
Young Catholic Adults Retreat at Douai Abbey 2012
During the weekend of 14-16th September, YCA (part of Juventutem) will be running a weekend with the assistance of the Schola Gregoriana of Cambridge:-
This is a great opportunity to deepen your faith, grow in holiness and meet fellow young Catholics.
How to Book for the retreat
Prices range from £ 5-51. To reserve your place FOR THE WEEKEND (no deposit needed if you are coming for the day on Saturday), please contact the Guestmaster direct and send a 20 pound deposit (NON RETURNABLE) to Brother Christopher Greener OSB, Douai Abbey, Upper Woolhampton, Reading, Berks. RG7 5TQ (please make any cheques payable to Douai Abbey). Please mention how long you wish to stay and any special diet.
If you are a student or on a low income please contact Br. Greener and pay what you can. For general enquiries please ring Damian Barker on 07908105787. For more details, please see the Young Catholic Adults website or email: margret [dot] barker [at] rocketmail [dot] com, or telephone 07908105787.
The LMS General Manager reports
As many of you will already know, Bishop Fernando Rifan of Campos in Brazil will be visiting Britain this summer.
The past few weeks have involved our organising and finalising the arrangements and I am now in a position to let you know the confirmed schedule. This has been a team effort by the office staff and a number of our Reps and volunteers, and I thank them all, but I would particularly like to thank David Lloyd and Neil Walker for their sterling efforts.
We are delighted that Bishop Rifan will be present at three LMS events. The bishop’s public engagements for us are as follows:
Some notes about transport:
For Holywell, we are running a coach from London to Holy well and hope to run coaches from, Birmingham and Liverpool/Wirral, any interested parties please contact the office. The London coach (and overnight accommodation) is being organised by Graham Moorhouse (phone him on 01322 409231).
For the AGM, for the first time, we are arranging a buffet lunch for all members attending. This will take place in Amigo Hall (the same building as the AGM). In order to defray our costs for the catering, we will be asking for a contribution of £5 per head for the lunch, which I think is reasonable. The Officers have taken the view that this allows ordinary members to meet each other and to meet and speak with their Committee in a more informal environment. I have to say I think this is a very healthy development. Although payment for the lunch can be made on the door, we are asking anyone planning to attend to inform the office in advance, as we need to know numbers for food. The Cathedral caterers have asked us to give them 2 weeks’ notice, so that means we need to know by 22 June.
You may also be interested to know that Bishop Rifan will be visiting Scotland during his trip and he will be celebrating Mass on Monday, 2 July at 7pm in Edinburgh. The Mass will be held at St Andrews Church 77 Belford Road, Edinburgh EH4 3DS. The bishop is also intending to visit Ireland, but I have no information about his schedule there at the moment.
If you have any questions about the above, please phone or email. Thank you.
Our Local Representative for Clifton Diocese, Caroline Shaw, reports:
'A Solemn High Mass for the the Feast of Corpus Christi was celebrated at the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes, Weston-super-Mare on Thursday 7 June at 7.30pm.
'The celebrant was Fr Martin Queenan. Fr Philip Thomas was Deacon and Fr Peter Clarke was Sub-deacon. Fr Andrew Goodman was also present.
'The Rupert Bevan singers sang the ‘Missa Pontificalis’ by Don Lorenzo Perosi (1872-1956), a beautiful and rare setting, not published after 1895. Perosi was a priest and friend of Puccini. This was perfectly complemented by two motets from an earlier era, ‘Gloria tibi Domine’ by William Byrd and ‘Ego Sum Panis Vivus’ by Antonio Caldara.'
Fr John Zuhlsdorf ('Fr Z') and Fr Tim Finigan are amongst the great line-up of speakers at tomorrow's first ever LMS One-Day Conference in London (Saturday, 9 June).
Venue: Regent Hall, 275 Oxford Street, London W1C 2DJ. First speaker at 11am (doors open from 10am (refreshments available on arrival). Tickets are £15 for LMS members and £20 for non-members. Most seats have been booked, but we still have some left for sale on the door and there is overflow seating if necessary. For those who can make it, there will be Low Mass beforehand at St James's, Spanish Place at 9am (10 mins' walk from the Conference venue).
Other speakers are Dr John Rao, of the Deitrich von Hildebrand Institute/Roman Forum, Rev John Hunwicke of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham and Stuart McCullough of the Good Counsel Network. For those of you who don't know, Dr John Rao is a professional historian, based in New York and he will have some stimulating and insightful things to say about the history of the Church and what it can teach us about our current times.
Rev John Hunwicke was recently ordained as a Deacon of the Catholic Church and will (dv) be ordained a priest of the Ordinariate later this year. Rev Hunwicke is known for his erudition (he is a great scholar, in particular as a Latinist) and his trenchant views on ecclesiatical matters. His talk will not be dull!
Finally, Stuart McCullough works for the Good Counsel Network - a pro-life organisation that offers emergency counselling and support for women with unplanned pregnancies. The Network has saved many unborn lives from abortion through its pavement counselling. It is centred, spiritually, very much on the Traditional liturgy and the Church's Traditional devotional life. The work in itself is seen as controversial by many in contemporary Britain. Stuart's talk promises to be fascinating and inspiring.
Following the individual talks there will be a panel discussion of questions from the audience.
It promises to be a great day.
We reproduce this interview from DICI (The SSPX's news agency) in which Bishop Fellay speaks candidly about the current state of play of negotiations with the Holy See but also, perhaps more crucially, the internal situation within the SSPX itself.
'DICI: Are you concerned about the delay in the response from Rome, which could enable those who are against a canonical recognition to alienate some priests and faithful from the Society of Saint Pius X?
'Bishop Fellay: Everything is in God’s hands. I place my trust in the Good Lord and in His Divine Providence; He knows how to manage everything, even delays, for the good of those who love Him.
'DICI: Was the pope’s decision adjourned, as some magazines have said? Did the Holy See tell you to expect a delay?
'Bishop Fellay: No, I have had no information about any calendar whatsoever. There are even some who say that the pope will deal with this matter at Castel Gandolfo in July.
'A canonical solution before a doctrinal solution?
'DICI: Most of those who are opposed to the Society’s acceptance of a possible canonical recognition allege that the doctrinal discussions could have led to this acceptance only if they had concluded with a doctrinal solution, in other words, a “conversion” by Rome. Has your position on this point changed?
'Bishop Fellay: It must be acknowledged that these discussions have allowed us to present clearly the various problems that we experience with regard to Vatican II. What has changed is the fact that Rome no longer makes total acceptance of Vatican II a prerequisite for the canonical solution. Today, in Rome, some people regard a different understanding of the Council as something that is not decisive for the future of the Church, since the Church is more than the Council. Indeed, the Church cannot be reduced to the Council; she is much larger. Therefore we must strive to resolve more far-reaching problems. This new awareness can help us to understanding what is really happening: we are called to help bring to others the treasure of Tradition that we have been able to preserve.
'So the attitude of the official Church is what changed; we did not. We were not the ones who asked for an agreement; the pope is the one who wants to recognize us. You may ask: why this change? We are still not in agreement doctrinally, and yet the pope wants to recognize us! Why? The answer is right in front of us: there are terribly important problems in the Church today. These problems must be addressed. We must set aside the secondary problems and deal with the major problems. This is the answer of one or another Roman prelate, although they will never say so openly; you have to read between the lines to understand.
'The official authorities do not want to acknowledge the errors of the Council. They will never say so explicitly. Nevertheless, if you read between the lines, you can see that they hope to remedy some of these errors. Here is an interesting example on the subject of the priesthood. You know that starting with the Council there was a new concept of the priesthood and that it demolished the role of the priest. Today we see very clearly that the Roman authorities are trying to rehabilitate the true concept of the priest. We observed this already during the Year of the Priest that took place in 2010-2011. Now, the Feast of the Sacred Heart is becoming the day consecrated to the sanctification of priests. For this occasion, a letter was published and an examination of conscience for priests was composed. One might think that they went to Ecône to find this examination of conscience, it is so much along the lines of pre-conciliar spirituality. This examination presents the traditional image of the priest, and also of his role in the Church. This role is what Archbishop Lefebvre affirms when he describes the Society’s mission: to restore the Church by restoring the priest.
'The letter says: “The Church and the world can be sanctified only through the sanctification of the priest.” It really places the priest at the center. The examination of conscience begins with this question: “Is the first concern of the priest his own sanctification?” The second question: “Is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass”—and that is the expression that they use, not the Eucharist, the Synaxis, or I don’t know what else—“the center of the life of the priest?” Then it recalls the ends of the Mass: the praise of God, prayer, reparation for sins…. It says it all. The priest must immolate himself—the word “immolate” is not used, but rather “give himself”, sacrifice himself to save souls. It does say that. Then comes a reminder about the last things: “Does the priest think often about the last things? Does he think to ask for the grace of final perseverance? Does he remind his faithful to do so? Does he visit the dying so as to give them the last rites?” You see how, in a clever way, this Roman document clearly recalls the traditional idea of the priest.
'Of course, that does not do away with all the problems, and there are still serious difficulties in the Church: ecumenism, Assisi, religious liberty…, but the context is changing, and not just the context, but the situation itself…. I would distinguish between the external relations and the internal situation. The relations with the outside have not have changed, but as for what goes on within the Church, the Roman authorities are trying to change it little by little. Obviously, a major disaster still remains today, one must be aware of that, and we do not deny it, but one must also look at what is starting to happen. This examination of conscience for priests is a significant example.
'What should be our attitude toward the doctrinal problems?
'DICI: You acknowledge that some serious difficulties remain with ecumenism, religious liberty…. If a canonical recognition came about, what would be your attitude with regard to these difficulties? Would you not feel obliged to be somewhat reserved?
'Bishop Fellay: Allow me to answer your question with three inquiries: Did the novelties that were introduced during the Council start a trend of growth in the Church and an increase of vocations and religious practice? Do we not observe, to the contrary, a form of “silent apostasy” in all the countries of Christendom? Can we be silent when faced with these problems?
'If we want to make the treasure of Tradition fruitful for the good of souls, we must speak and act. We need this twofold freedom of speech and action. But I would mistrust a purely verbal denunciation of doctrinal errors—a denunciation that would be all the more polemical because it was only verbal.
'With his characteristic realism, Archbishop Lefebvre recognized that the Roman and diocesan authorities would be more responsive to numbers and facts presented by the Society of Saint Pius X than to theological arguments. And so I would not hesitate to say that, if a canonical recognition were to come about, the doctrinal difficulties would still be emphasized by us, but together with a lesson taught by the facts themselves, tangible signs of the vitality of Tradition. And for that to happen, as I already told you in 2006, concerning the stages in our dialogue with Rome, we must have “faith in the Traditional Mass, the Mass that demands in and of itself integrity of doctrine and of the sacraments, the assurance of all spiritual fruitfulness in the service of souls”.
'DICI: The year 2012 is not 1988, the year of your episcopal consecration. In 2009 the excommunications were lifted, in 2007 it was officially acknowledged that the Tridentine Mass had “never been abrogated”, but now some members of the Society lament the fact that the Church has not yet converted. Is their a priori refusal of a canonical recognition due to forty years of an exceptional situation, resulting in a certain inability to understand submission to authority?
'Bishop Fellay: What is happening these days clearly shows some of our weaknesses with regard to the dangers that are created by the situation in which we find ourselves. One of the great dangers is to end up inventing an idea of the Church that appears ideal, but is in fact not found in the real history of the Church. Some claim that in order to work “safely” in the Church, she must first be cleansed of all error. This is what they say when they declare that Rome must convert before any agreement, or that its errors must first be suppressed so that we can work. But that is not the reality. It is enough to look at the Church’s past: often, and almost always, we see that there are widespread errors in the Church. Now the reforming saints did not leave the Church in order to combat these errors. Our Lord taught us that there would always be weeds until the end of time. Not just the good crop, not only the wheat.
'At the time of the Arians, the bishops labored in the midst of errors to convince those who were mistaken about the truth. They did not say that they wanted to be outside, as some say now. Of course, we must always be very careful about these expressions, “inside”, “outside”, because we are of the Church and we are Catholic. But can we for that reason refuse to convince those who are in the Church, on the pretext that they are full of errors? Look at what the saints did! If the Good Lord allows us to be in a new situation, in close combat in the service of the truth…. This is the reality that Church history presents to us. The Gospel compares Christians to yeast; and do we want the dough to rise without us being in the dough?
'In this situation, which some currently depict as an impossible situation, we are being asked to come and work just as all the reforming saints of all times did. Certainly that does not do away with the danger. But if we have sufficient freedom to act, to live and to grow, this must be done. I really think that this must be done, on the condition that we have sufficient protection.
'DICI: Do you think that there are members of the Society who, consciously or not, espouse sedevacantist ideas? Are you afraid of their influence?
'Bishop Fellay: Some may indeed be influenced by such ideas; that is nothing new. I do not think that there are that many of them, but they can do harm, especially by spreading false rumors. But I really think that the main concern among us is rather the question of trust in the Roman authorities, with the fear that what might happen would be a trap. Personally, I am convinced that that is not the case. In our Society we distrust Rome because we have experienced too many disappointments; that is why some think that this could be a trap. It is true that our enemies may plan to use this offer as a trap, but the pope, who really wants this canonical recognition, is not proposing it to us as a trap.
'Finding out what the Roman proposal will allow de jure and de facto
'DICI: Several times you have said that the pope personally wants the canonical recognition of the Society. Do you have a recent personal assurance from the pope himself that this is truly his intention?
'Bishop Fellay: Yes, the pope is the one who wants it, and I have said it repeatedly. I have enough precise information in my possession to declare that what I say is true, although I have not had any direct dealings with the pope—rather, with his close collaborators.
'DICI: The April 7 letter signed by the three other bishops of the Society was unfortunately circulated on the Internet; does the analysis that it presents correspond to the situation in the Church?
'Bishop Fellay: I do not rule out the possibility of a development in their position. The first question for us who were consecrated by Archbishop Lefebvre was the question of the survival of Tradition. I think that if my confreres see and understand that de jure and de facto the Roman proposal contains a genuine opportunity for the Society to “restore all things in Christ”, despite all the troubles that continue to exist in the Church today, then they will be able to readjust their judgment—that is to say, with the canonical status in hand and the facts on the table. Yes, I think so, I hope so. And we must pray for that intention.
'DICI: Some people throughout the world, including members of the Society, have made use of passages from an interview that you granted to Catholic News Service; these passages seem to indicate that in your view Dignitatis humanae no longer poses a difficulty.
'Did the way in which this interview was edited change the meaning of what you wanted to say? What is your position on this subject in relation to what Archbishop Lefebvre taught?
'Bishop Fellay: My position is that of the Society and of Archbishop Lefebvre. As usual, in such a delicate matter, we must make distinctions, and a good part of these distinctions disappeared in the televised interview that had been reduced to less than six minutes. But the written report that CNS made of my remarks recovers what I said that was not included in the broadcast version: “Although [Bishop Fellay] stopped short of endorsing Pope Benedict’s interpretation [of religious liberty] as essentially in continuity with the Church’s Tradition—a position which many in the Society have vocally disputed—Bishop Fellay spoke about the idea in strikingly sympathetic terms.” In fact, I simply recalled that there is already a traditional solution to the problem posed by religious liberty, which is called tolerance. As for the Council, when they asked me the question, “Does Vatican II belong to Tradition?”, I answered, “I would like to hope that that is the case” (which a faulty French translation transformed into: “I hope so.”) This is quite along the lines of the distinctions made by Archbishop Lefebvre to read the Council in the light of Tradition: what agrees with Tradition, we accept; what is doubtful, we understand as Tradition has always taught it; what is opposed, we reject.
'Relations of the Society of Saint Pius X with diocesan bishops
'DICI: A personal prelature is the canonical structure that you mentioned in recent statements. Now, in the Code of Canon Law, canon 297 requires not only informing diocesan bishops but obtaining their permission in order to found a work on their territory. Although it is clear that any canonical recognition will preserve our apostolate in its present state, are you inclined to accept the eventuality that future works may be possible only with the permission of the bishop in dioceses where the Society of Saint Pius X is not present today?
'Bishop Fellay: There is a lot of confusion about this question, and it is caused mainly by a misunderstanding of the nature of a personal prelature, as well as by a misreading of the normal relation between the local ordinary and the prelature. Add to that the fact that the only example available today of a personal prelature is Opus Dei. However, and let us say this clearly, if a personal prelature were granted to us, our situation would not be the same. In order to understand better what would happen, we must reflect that our status would be much more similar to that of a military ordinariate, because we would have ordinary jurisdiction over the faithful. Thus we would be like a sort of diocese, the jurisdiction of which extends to all its faithful regardless of their territorial situation.
'All the chapels, churches, priories, schools, and works of the Society and of the affiliated religious Congregations would be recognized with a real autonomy for their ministry.
'It is still true—since it is Church law—that in order to open a new chapel or to found a work, it would be necessary to have the permission of the local ordinary. We have quite obviously reported to Rome how difficult our present situation was in the dioceses, and Rome is still working on it. Here or there, this difficulty will be real, but since when is life without difficulties? Very probably we will also have the contrary problem, in other words, we will not be able to respond to the requests that will come from the bishops who are friendly to us. I am thinking of one bishop who could ask us to take charge of the formation of future priests in his diocese.
'In no way would our relations be like those of a religious congregation with a bishop; rather they would be those of one bishop with another bishop, just like with the Ukrainians and the Armenians in the diaspora. And therefore if a difficulty is not resolved, it would go to Rome, and there would then be a Roman intervention to settle the problem.
'Let it be said in passing that what was reported on the Internet concerning my remarks on this subject in Austria last month is entirely false.
'DICI: If there is a canonical recognition, what would happen to the chapels affiliated with the Society and independent of the diocese? Would the bishops of the Society continue to administer Confirmation and provide the Holy Oils?
'Bishop Fellay: If they work with us, there will be no problem: it will be exactly as it is now. If not, everything will depend on what these chapels mean by independence.
'DICI: Will there be a difference in your relations with the Ecclesia Dei communities?
'Bishop Fellay: The first difference will be that they will be obliged to stop treating us as schismatics. As for future development, it is clear that some will draw closer to us, since they already approve of us discreetly; some others, no. Time will tell how Tradition will develop in this new situation. We have great expectations for the traditional apostolate, just as some important personages in Rome do, and the Holy Father himself. We have great hopes that Tradition will develop with our arrival.
'DICI: Again, if there is a canonical recognition, will you give some cardinals in the Curia or some bishops the opportunity to visit our chapels, to celebrate Mass, to administer Confirmation, perhaps even to ordain priests at your seminaries?
'Bishop Fellay: The bishops who are in favor of Tradition and the conservative cardinals will come closer. One can foresee a whole development, without knowing the particular details. And certainly there will be difficulties, too, which is altogether normal. There is no doubt that people will come to visit us, but as for a more precise collaboration, such as the celebration of Mass or ordinations, that will depend on the circumstances. Just as we hope that Tradition will develop, we hope to see Tradition develop among the bishops and the cardinals. One day everything will be harmoniously traditional, but how much time that will take, only God knows.
'DICI: While awaiting the Roman decision, what are your interior dispositions? What dispositions would you wish for the priests and the faithful who are devoted to Tradition?
'Bishop Fellay: In 1988, when Archbishop Lefebvre announced that he would consecrate four bishops, some encouraged him to do it and others tried to dissuade him from it. But our founder kept the peace, since he had nothing in view but the will of God and the good of the Church. Today these are the same interior dispositions that we should have. Like its holy Patron, the Society of Saint Pius X has the desire to “restore all things in Christ”. Some say that now is not the time, while others on the contrary say that this is the opportune moment. For my part, I know only one thing: it is always the moment to do God’s will, and He makes it known to us at an opportune time, provided that we are receptive to His inspirations. For this reason, I asked the priests to renew the consecration of the Society of Saint Pius X to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, on His feast day, June 15, and to prepare for it by a novena, during which the litanies of the Sacred Heart will be recited in all our houses. Everyone can join in asking for the grace to become docile instruments of the restoration of all things in Jesus Christ.'
(DICI no. 256 dated June 8, 2012)
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