The Superior General of the SSPX, Bishop Bernard Fellay, granted an extensive interview to the Italian news agency APCom, which is posted in its entirety on the blog Rorate Caeli (Hat tip to Fr. John Zuhlsdorf ).
On the Williamson scandal: “an unfortunate coincidence of events which must never happen again. In this context, the anger of the Jews can be understood, I understand it, and I deplore what happened.”
On the Second Vatican Council: “We must transcend the Council to return to that which the Church has always taught, and from which the Church cannot separate herself, and in a certain moment we must transcend the Council which intended to be pastoral, and not doctrinal.”
In the Motu Proprio Ecclesiae Unitatum granting the lifting of the excommunications, the Pope maintained: “The doctrinal questions, however, obviously remain, and, until they are not clarified, the Fraternity does not have a canonical status within the Church, and its ministers cannot exercise any ministry legitimately.” On which Fellay comments:
That which the Pope writes is in line with the usual speech of Rome, since 1976, therefore it is not new. We maintain a clear position, which we have carried on for a while, and that we maintain, even if we are in contrast with this law, that there are serious reasons that justify the fact that we exercise this ministry legitimately. The circumstances in which the Church finds herself, which we call a “state of necessity”. … it is not our personal will, but the need of the faithful that demands the help of all those who are able to help. And this state of necessity is very widespread in the Church – there are certainly some exceptions – in order to secure, in conscience, the legitimate exercise of the apostolate.
It will depend on Rome, obviously, that is the authority that will decide this structure. Their perspective is the wish to respect at the utmost the concrete reality that we represent. My hope is that we be sufficiently protected to exercise the apostolate to be able to do good, without being always stopped from action by juridical reasons. The hope is for a prelature, even if I do not have a preference. On the timetable, I cannot express myself, it all depends on Rome.
As noted, the Doctrinal commission having been formed (“by 3-4 people, but we cannot yet mention the names, even if to avoid any kind of pressure”), discussions are anticipated to begin in Autumn.
On Pope Benedict himself: “He is an upright man, who regards the situation and the life of the Church most seriously.”
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In other news, Fr. Peter Scott, SSPX, reviews Pope Benedict XVI’s third encyclical, deeming it “a humanist manifesto” “[drawing] to their logical conclusion the principles of the French Revolution.”