What Bishop Fellay really said to Cardinal Canizares about the New Mass
Originally published on sspx.org on January 21, 2013.
Cardinal Antonio Canizares, the Prefect for the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, stated to the press on January 15th:
On one occasion, Bishop (Bernard) Fellay, who is the leader of the Society of St. Pius X, came to see me and said, “We just came from an abbey that is near Florence. If Archbishop (Marcel) Lefebvre had seen how they celebrated there, he would not have taken the step that he did”… The missal used at that celebration was the Paul VI Missal in its strictest form."
Bishop Fellay has kindly given sspx.org this clarification of what he actually said, and the context of his words, concerning the Novus Ordo Missae.
Bishop Fellay clarifies...
As very often in such circumstances, a phrase has been interpreted badly: I was describing to Cardinal Canizares (and this was some five or six years ago) that the abuses in the liturgy have caused a major reaction amongst us. And this is still the case today, in the sense that the abuses and sacrileges in the sacred liturgy have helped the faithful and even priests to quickly and more fully understand the profound defects and danger of the Novus Ordo—because there is a link between the New Mass and the abuses. The abuses have helped to prove that our position is the right one: that is, the New Mass is not good in itself.
But this said, from the beginning and before the abuses took place, Archbishop Lefebvre had already refused to celebrate the Novus Ordo Missae. Because the serious omissions and the whole [conciliar] reform, done in an ecumenical spirit, gives it a Protestant savor. The New Mass puts at risk the Catholic Faith and the numerous examples of faithful and priests who have lost the Faith directly linked with the celebration of the Novus Ordo are quite blatant. Nevertheless for a while—and until these new damaging effects were clearly recognized—Archbishop Lefebvre did not strictly prohibit attendance at the New Mass. It was only after a few years that he prohibited the seminarians from going to the New Mass while on their holiday’s vacations.
1 As reported by Rome Reports on January 16, 2013 in an article entitled, “Cardinal Canizares: The most urgent reform is liturgical formation”.