What was the importance of the SSPX's Lourdes Pilgrimage and why were the event's themes of Kingship of Christ and St. Pius X important? What is the situation in the Catholic Church today, particularly in light of the Synod on the Family and beatification of Pope Paul VI? Is there any hope left for the Church?
We offer courtesy of the SSPX's French District website, La Porte Latine, an interview of Superior General, Bishop Bernard Fellay, after the Society's international pilgrimage to Lourdes.
In Lourdes, under the Standard of Christ the King
La Porte Latine: Hello, Your Excellency. Thank you for answering La Porte Latine’s questions for the faithful of France who were not able to assist at this magnificent pilgrimage. How would you sum up this pilgrimage?
Bishop Fellay: Indeed, “magnificent” is the right word. A very, very, very beautiful pilgrimage, with a perfect convergence: the help from the central organization of the pilgrimage, who put everything we needed at our disposal, the Good God who made sure we had absolutely beautiful weather, beautiful late autumn days that made the ceremonies as serene as could be… I think that is the word I would use: serenity. It was very calm and beautiful. I think that souls were able to raise themselves up to God, unite themselves to God, thank the Blessed Virgin, and beg her for all the graces they need, that we need. Truly a beautiful pilgrimage of thanksgiving.
LPL: We have had several consecrations during this pilgrimage. Can you speak about them, since they also include all the faithful of the Society?
Bishop Fellay: In fact, they were renewals. I do not think that there were any direct consecrations, except maybe today’s which was really more of a petition to St. Pius X. But of course, he is our patron, and everything is already in his hands. The renewal of the consecration of the Society and of the District of France to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is the same as Fatima. Since Lourdes is a site of Our Lady’s apparitions, and the messages are really the same: they insist upon a very deep and very intimate devotion to the Blessed Virgin, to the Immaculate Heart. Here, it is the Immaculate Heart; in Fatima, it is the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart; but it is the same Blessed Virgin. So it is an important consecration for us, since it is clearly Heaven’s way of showing us the means to find protection and help in the difficult times we are living through; the Immaculate Heart is truly the means pointed out by God, by Heaven. There was also a consecration to the Sacred Heart, and to Christ the King. It is very dear to us, and very important.
This reminds me of something very enlightening that Archbishop Lefebvre said about the combat and the present problems in the Church; he made a connection with Christ the King, saying: “It is because prelates, our prelates, the heads of the Church, no longer have any care or concern for the kingdom and reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ that things are going badly”, and he even went so far as to say that we cannot follow them. And it is true that it is a language that is no longer understood today at all. I think that is one of the greatest misfortunes; it is a way of making the kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ a sort of theory that we no longer wish to put into practice—possibly for individuals, but for societies, recognizing that societies, countries, nations, belong to Our Lord—it is simply considered today as an idea from Mars, even in the Church. It is a profound tragedy because the same Lord of Nations is our Savior; He is at the head of all nations and of the Church, and He is at the same time the Savior, the only one who can save us. To take away a part—the part that includes human life, that is, the world; we have a soul and a body—is very serious, in fact, it is what the enemies of the Church wanted: to take away Our Lord’s scepter. This combat has been abandoned, and in the archbishop’s footsteps, we have always seen this as something very, very serious, and we are convinced we are right. So renewing this consecration, requested by Pius XI, is very important; it is a protest sent up to Heaven, saying: many have turned their backs on you, but not us! We wish to be with you.
LPL: And this last petition to St. Pius X today?
Bishop Fellay: St. Pius X is our patron. So we ask him truly to keep us, to protect us, to intercede from heaven for this work that has been placed under his patronage, and wishes to follow his example and benefit from his intercession. People can say whatever they want, but St. Pius X was truly a great holy pope. He was canonized in the name of his priesthood. Of course, the pope is, so to speak, the summit of the priesthood—Sovereign Pontiff—and that, too, is quite a program. We must remember that he, St. Pius X, is our model.
LPL: Catholics, and especially the faithful of the Society, are preoccupied by a few questions on recent events. The first is the Christians of the East who are being massacred these days. What is your opinion on what is happening?
Bishop Fellay: Firstly, an immense compassion. But also, there is no doubt that if we see today this extremely aggressive form of Islam in these countries, it is because there was a certain established order that has been completely overturned, and recently. Until now, the Christians lived in these countries with all the honor and respect due to them; we could say ever since the beginning. When Islam arrived, under Mohammed, they were not as barbaric as they are today. That, too, is a sign of the times. It should make people think, but we get the impression that no one thinks. They try to label it as a sort of extremism and they stop there. What is happening over there is serious—really very, very serious. Once again, when we no longer want the reign of Our Lord, well, we suffer the consequences: they are right under our eyes.
LPL: The media is talking a lot about the Catholic Church’s Synod. What should we think about it? What should we expect?
Bishop Fellay: There is nothing to expect. There is no need to wait. The direction has been given, and it is clear. We must simply say: it is clear. It is obvious that they wish to trivialize the situation of those who live in adultery, truly in a state of sin. They wish to trivialize it, and that is very, very, very serious. When we play with morality, we are playing with God’s commandments. To have dared, for two weeks, to leave up to opinion questions that leave no room for opinion! It is God’s word. All we have to say is “Amen.” We must, of course, think about how to help these people; we must always think about that. But we certainly do not help them by telling them there is an open door when there is none. The door that is being opened is a door to hell! These prelates who have received the power of the keys, that is, of opening the gates of Heaven, are closing them, and opening the gates of hell. It is unbelievable! It is crazy! Absolutely crazy! And as I said, the direction has been laid out. It is true that this synod was not supposed to make a decision; it was supposed to be a first step, but the first steps have been taken, the direction has been laid out, and it is not hard to guess what the following synod will do. Unless there is a much stronger reaction than the one we see today, and unfortunately, I doubt that there will be. Alas, there will not be!
LPL: What should we think of the beatification of Paul VI?
Bishop Fellay: It simply isn’t serious. The conclusion is that anyone can be a saint, especially if they are pro-Vatican II! Anything to do with Vatican II is now holy, beatified, canonized. Yet again, it is a way of trivializing holiness. It is no longer serious, it just isn’t serious! It hurts, it hurts us deeply. Religion is being ridiculed. A saint must shine by his virtues, his heroic virtues; he must be an example to be followed. And it is sad to say, but what they are doing here is not serious.
LPL: We will end with what the press got out of your sermon yesterday: “Fear not!” For the faithful who were not at this Mass, can you tell them what they should get out of it?
Bishop Fellay: What I said must be understood in the right way. I did not just say “fear not,” just like that. I said that humanly speaking, there are very serious reasons on all sides to be afraid, but that we must answer this human fear with a supernatural viewpoint, by listening to Our Lord who knew that the Apostles were afraid: this fear is nothing new.
This fear has been around ever since the Apostles. It is one of the most powerful weapons of the Church’s enemies’, especially the devil, for paralyzing the apostolic action of the Church. He tries to frighten, to terrify. We must conquer this fear, but not by seeking human means. Men are tempted either to let themselves be frightened by the reality before them, or to try to fix the problems themselves. To both, the true answer is the one given by Our Lord when He said “Fear not,” for we must seek help in Him. “Adjutorium nostrum in nomine Domini,” our help is in the Name of the Lord. We must look at God. And in a crisis as terrible as this one, it is all that we have left. As far as men are concerned, it is over, it is hopeless. The situation of the Church is a nameless catastrophe. So there really is reason to be frightened. But we do not have the right to let ourselves be paralyzed, we must go forward, we must reconquer, and that can only be done in the Name of the Lord. Looking at God and seeking the help promised by God.
When God asked the apostles to go out into the whole world, He must have said to them “Fear not,” but He also said, “Count on Me. I will always be with you.” That is the true message, it is not “Fear not.”
Interview for La Porte Latine by Jean-Paul et Jacques Buffet, October 27, 2014.