Bishop Fellay explains why he sent a study to all of the cardinals concerning the ongoing silent apostasy, the result of false ecumenism.
This DICI interview was given on February 2, 2004 as a result of Bishop Fellay's letter to the cardinals, which included the study, From Ecumenism to Silent Apostasy.
DICI: Your Excellency, what is your intention when you address this document on ecumenism to all the cardinals?
Bishop Fellay: The fight for Tradition which we have been waging, following the example of Archbishop Lefebvre, for more than 30 years now, necessarily includes the criticism of the errors which lie at the origin of the present crisis. This work of theological criticism was undertaken by our founder himself, and never failed to be present. It is maybe even more necessary today when we see these errors produce more and more poisonous fruits. It is from this point of view that were undertaken the works of the 2nd Symposium of Theology in Paris, in October 2003, the 6th theological congress of SiSiNoNo in Rome, last January; as well as the book on The Problem of the Liturgical Reform, and so many articles published in our reviews and bulletins.
It is along this same line that was written the denouncement of ecumenism which we sent to all the cardinals. As I wrote in the last Letter to Friends and Benefactors, this ecumenism, under the influence of Cardinal Kasper, is experiencing a development which is close to sweeping away movement. And we must acknowledge that these ecumenical breakthroughs are backed up by the documents signed by the pope.
DICI: Was the publication of this document opportune at a time when word went around about possible agreements between Rome and Econe?
Bishop Fellay: It is true that since the year 2000, under the impulse of Cardinal Hoyos, a change of attitude has been manifested in Rome regarding Tradition. But, let us be frank: it is only a change of practical attitude, made manifest by interviews and exchange of mail; but we must note that it does not change a thing as to the upsurge of post-Conciliar errors. And, in fact, the discussions with Rome have been at a standstill ever since the pure and simple refusal opposed to our request of freedom for the traditional Mass, a freedom which we consider as an indispensable prerequisite for any discussion.
It is not a "canonical sort of put-up job" which can bring order back into the Church. And with this document we want to remind them of the necessity of a debate on the root of the problem. That is why, far from being untimely, our approach of the cardinals aims at reminding them opportunely that this debate is doctrinal.
DICI: Don’t you think that it is urgent nevertheless to try to come to an agreement with this pope, because you do not know what his successor has in store for you?
Bishop Fellay: It is true that for the Holy Father the day of judgment is approaching, and that he will have to account for his pontificate. It is a work of charity to try to help him to evaluate these 25 years of pontificate under the eyes of God. For the blatant fact is there: John Paul II, at the end of his pontificate, sees himself the state of silent apostasy in which Europe now is. And leaning upon traditional doctrine, we strive to show that this situation is caused by 25 years of ecumenism.
Of course, we are sure that the return of the Church to her Tradition will happen only under the authority of the Vicar of Christ. But when? We do not know. The only thing we know for sure is that the Church has the promises of eternal life.
DICI: Nevertheless, isn’t it a sign of a certain hardening of the SSPX? Maybe even of the will to cease all discussion with Rome?
Bishop Fellay: On the contrary. We desire this discussion, but once again we want it on the doctrinal level. It is impossible to envision a serious debate if we ignore the root of the problem. Be it only to give a clear definition of the words we use, and thus be sure that, beyond the words, we agree on the same realities.
We do not want this "differentiated consensus", within the framework of "unity in pluriformity" in the name of which Cardinal Kasper is discussing with the Protestants. This ambiguous expressions, this veritable contradictions in terms show with evidence that the Conciliar ecumenism does not care for the doctrinal demands, and even more simply still for the demands of sheer logic. What would you say of an agreement based upon the acknowledgement of a "differentiated consensus", or of "consensual differences"?
DICI: The tone of the document may sound stern.
Bishop Fellay: It is certainly austere because the theological problems raised by ecumenism demand a rigorous exposition without approximations. But the letter which accompanies this document clearly indicates the meaning of our endeavor: it is a respectful appeal to the pope and to the cardinals asking them to give back to the Church her Tradition, which has been contested and even attacked since Vatican II.
DICI: Do you really think that the solution to the present crisis is purely on the doctrinal level? Do you, a priori, exclude a more diplomatic and more pragmatic approach?
Bishop Fellay: According to me, it is being pragmatic, and in any case realistic to want to give solid bases to a discussion. And whether we want it or not, these bases are doctrinal. Pragmatism is not synonymous with "burying one’s head in the sand", this voluntary blindness on the root of the problem can only lead to "not being on the same wave length", or even to being swindled.
The same dramatic realities are forced upon everyone, the pope as well as us. We are in a state of silent apostasy. We can get out of it only by a recourse to the Tradition of the Church. The answer to the silent apostasy must make itself heard with a strong and clear voice. Before the extent of the evil, we cannot be content with inefficient half-measures, measures which, in the end, are accomplices of the evil which they merely soothe without ever being willing to eradicate it.