Bishop Fellay rejects Vatican conditions for reconciling split


Winona, Jun 26, 2008 - Bishop Bernard Fellay, the leader of the Society of St. Pius X, has rejected the terms offered by the Vatican for rejoining the Catholic Church. During a homily at one of his society's seminaries on June 20, the schismatic bishop said that the five conditions for return were a message to "shut up."

The reaction from Fellay came after Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, the head of the commission which oversees the reintroduction of the Latin Mass, sent a letter to the schismatic bishop outlining five conditions for the breakaway society to enter back into communion with Rome.

The Society of St. Pius X claims to be the true Catholic Church and says that the Catholic Church broke from the true faith with the reforms launched by Vatican II. In 1988 Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre consecrated four traditionalist bishops ignoring a warning from Pope John Paul II. The five prelates were subsequently excommunicated, and among them was Bishop Fellay.

"Rome is telling us, okay, we are ready to lift the excommunications, but you cannot continue this way," Bishop Fellay said in a sermon last Friday at an SSPX seminary in Winona, Minnesota. "So we have no choice... we are continuing what we've done," the Bishop Fellay said in English. "They just say 'shut up' ... we are not going ... to shut up."

While Fellay sees the recent permission to celebrate the Latin Mass as "very good," he still sees the reforms of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) as unacceptable. "The new Mass is the tip of the iceberg of Vatican II and of these modern ideas." Adding the old Mass to the "iceberg of Vatican II" did not change the reforms hidden below, he said.

Among the five terms set out by the Vatican was the condition of avoiding "the premise of a Magisterium superior to that of the Holy Father and not to propose to the fraternity (St. Pius X) in opposition to the Church." However, this condition cannot be met if the Society refuses to accept the teachings of Vatican II.

Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi French journalists that, "The recognition of Vatican Council II as the true ecumenical Council of the Church and the recognition of the validity of the Mass according to the liturgy revised after the Council are beyond discussion. The five points quoted by Tornielli are referred to the minimum conditions for a relationship based on respect and availability regarding the Holy Father and a constructive ecclesial spirit."

Speaking about the conditions that Cardinal Hoyos gave to Bishop Fellay, Lombardi said, "The Pope wants to extend his hand so they can return, but for that to happen, this offer must be received in an attitude and spirit of charity and communion."

The deadline for Bishop Fellay to respond to Cardinal Hoyos is June 30, which is also the 20th anniversary of the bishops' ordinations that created the schism.