On May 1, 2016, Bishop Fellay mentions the present state of the Society’s relations with Rome.
For the consecration of the church of Saint-Joseph in Montréal-de-l’Aude (France) on Sunday, May 1, 2016, Bishop Bernard Fellay gave a sermon on the spiritual meaning of this magnificent liturgical ceremony. Towards the end, he mentioned the present state of the Society’s relations with Rome.
Extract from Bishop Fellay’s sermon.
…Let us ask God to help us understand this mystery a little better and understand that despite all human misery, despite the fact that even a pope is now saying unbelievable things on morality and trying to tell us that sin is the state of grace – what we are hearing today is unbelievable, unheard of! – well, despite that, this pope can still accomplish actions that sanctify and save. God has not taken from him his power to bind and to loosen (see Mt. 16:19). He can do good and he still does. It is the same with the bishops. These are great mysteries. It does not mean that we approve the evil that is done; far from it, we reject it and guard ourselves from it. But at the same time we recognize that in the Church there is something stronger and greater than the things we see: there is God, the infinite God, infinitely holy, infinitely good. There is one path that has been given to us for our salvation, for there is no other. If we wish to go to heaven, we have to go through the Church, the Roman Catholic Church; there is no other path. We can try to invent whatever we want: it is all to no avail. It is the only path. So we must not leave the Church.
There are scandalous things that happen these days, it is true, for what we see now is a situation of growing confusion, a more and more chaotic situation. You ask one bishop what he thinks, you ask another bishop what he thinks and they give contradictory answers, even on the essentials: the Faith, what we must do to be saved. So it is extremely serious. And as time goes on, the situation spreads.
And at the same time, we see how God works in His Church. At the same time we see that, especially among the youngest, there is starting to be a reaction, even high up in the hierarchy. There are cardinals and bishops who are starting to say: “This is too much.” They are starting to speak out. I would say that we are no longer the only ones protesting and reacting; there are others. This is new.
And in our relations with Rome, there are even more astonishing things that seem to result from this chaotic situation. Recently, for the very first time, we were told in Rome that we are no longer required to accept the Council. Do you realize? This is huge! We were told: “You have the right to uphold this opinion.” It is not yet: “We were wrong,” it is not yet: “the Council was bad”, but it is: “the Council cannot be obligatory.” We cannot oblige someone to accept the Council in order to be Catholic. And yet that was what they had been telling us until now. Until two years ago, it was: “If you wish to be Catholic, you have to accept the Council, you have to accept the goodness of the new Mass.” And now they are telling us: “No, you do not have to, because it does not have that degree of obligation;” they use terms that are not precise enough. They tell us: “It is not doctrinal, it is pastoral.” Which is what we have been saying ourselves: “This Council is pastoral and did not wish to be obligatory.” And suddenly now they are granting us this: “It is true, this Council did not wish to be obligatory.”
What does that give us now? We shall see, but it is a step that to me seems capital. We are living at a time that I believe to be a pivoting point in the history of the Church, in the history of this time in which we are living, we might even say in the history of this Council. This is the first time we have been told – and they say it openly – that the non-acceptance of religious freedom, ecumenism, and the new liturgy is not a criterion for rejection by the Catholic Church. No one has the right to say that someone who does not agree with Nostra Aetate, the relations with non-Christian religions, ecumenism, and religious freedom is no longer Catholic. This is the first time in 50 years we have heard that!
And for us, it already seems that through these offers that seem a bit strong, it is already possible to see a coherent line of thought over the past year and a half, a line of thought that is very new as far as we are concerned. Again, we shall see how things develop; we have learned to be rather prudent in all this business. Is it just a fleeting moment? We do not think so! Now that they have given in on that point they cannot go back on it. Now that they have brought the Council down to the level of an opinion, they can no longer suddenly say that it actually was obligatory. These are very important things that are happening.
This does not at all mean, my dear brethren, that we have triumphed. It is a new phase in the war. It does not mean that since they say that, we are now going to have peace. Absolutely not. Besides, I would even go so far as to say that only a part of Rome says this, while another part still continues to say we are schismatic. The pope does not say so; he says that we are Catholic. But others say we are not. We are truly in an unbelievable situation.
In a situation like this, it is therefore obvious that we must grow in faith, take root in the Faith. And ceremonies like this one help us to do so. We must always return to God, to supernatural means, to the most Blessed Virgin Mary, to the saints who are there and who have won. They have won; they dominate the battle, the war in which we find ourselves. They are victorious. If we stay close to them, to the most Blessed Virgin Mary, if we seek her protection, the protection of the saints, then we are on the winning side. Obviously that does not relieve us of our obligations, the obligation to fight, the obligation to nourish our faith. But he who remains attached to God has this consolation, and even this certitude that comes from the virtue of hope: he will not be confounded. At the end of the ceremony, we will sing the Te Deum, whose last words are: “I have hoped in thee, I shall not be in confusion forever.” If we trust in God, we can be sure we will make it to heaven. Of course, we have to follow the commandments, we have to obey Him, but we can be sure we will make it to Heaven. For God has promised us His help, He has promised us His grace, and anyone who wants this grace and asks God for it will receive it.
We are not on earth with a fifty-fifty chance of winning or losing! That is not true: fifty per cent chance of going to Heaven, fifty per cent risk of going to hell. Absolutely not! God absolutely does not want us to be lost. He is the one who allows all these sufferings, these trials, not to make us fall, but to make us go to heaven, so that through these trials we may grow in virtue. Every time He allows a trial, He gives you the grace you need to be victorious. He wants you to be victorious; He does not want you to lose. Do not give in to defeatist, fearful visions that come from the devil. He is the only one who wishes to try to discourage you, by showing you your weaknesses – and we all have them! But God gives us His grace to make us strong and victorious.
So today let us lift up our eyes to heaven; the Church is not only on earth. When we consecrate this church, we think of the Church of heaven that we call the Heavenly Jerusalem. So let us raise our eyes to heaven. We are on earth for this and only for this: to go to heaven. And there is already a myriad of men who were here on earth like us and who are now in heaven; and they are our friends, and our fate is anything but indifferent to them. Let us ask their help, again, and especially that of the Virgin Mary. If she bothers to come down to earth to remind her children of the urgent need for prayer and penance, it is so that they can go to heaven. May this place that is now consecrated be a place that truly opens the gates of heaven, that leads you, all you who come into this church, to heaven where you will admire for all eternity the glory of God, the glory of the Most Blessed Trinity, in union with all the angels and saints in heaven. Amen.
To preserve the sermon’s character, the oral style has been maintained.
source: FSSPX/MG – DICI no. 335 - May 6, 2016