Society of Saint Pius X Africa

Bishop Fellay describes the situation between Tradition and Rome
on the occasion of the August pilgrimage

"Firmness pays off. It is Rome which is wrong. We have no reason to back down. We must continue as we have done. Has Rome changed? See what they told St. Peter's: ‘Traditionalists must recognize that there is only one rite of Mass in the Church, and that rite is the new rite.’ So Rome is hardening its position. Under pressure it may make a few exceptions for the old Mass, but its principles are unchanged.

"However, little by little Rome is growing weaker, by its loss of authority over its own bishops. Cardinal Ratzinger said recently in France that authority within the Church is becoming by consent only. Se we must stand firmer, not less firm. We must say to Rome, "If Tradition no longer works, why was our pilgrimage such a success? And if Tradition works, why destroy it?" Yet Rome knows where it is going, and it means to go there. It set up St. Peter's Fraternity against us, and now it is destroying that Fraternity with a cynicism that is stunning. We are at war!

"The same can be said for the mainstream bishops and Episcopal conferences. Paris is as solidly anti-Tradition as Rome. A bishop here or there may sympathize with us, but that does not mean much. Their conversion is in Providence's hands, not ours. Until then, let us pray for them, and give them a hard time!

"It is with mainstream priests that we have better hopes of fruitful action, long-term. The Vatican II generation of priests is passing. The younger priests are more open. They have had a bad formation, but a number of them still have the Faith. In France, Austria and the Argentine we know of possibilities..... it is slow work for ourselves, but not to be neglected. The SSPX has been blackened in their eyes. That is why it is so important to make ourselves known. It is our actions which speak, and make people think.

"As for the Church, it is still there, even if only just. It is relatively easy to sift in it Catholic words from non-Catholic words. It is not so easy to sift the persons. Have they all left the Church? It is dangerous to say so. For the moment, we are lucky to be cut off from Rome which only wants us to compromise, either on the Mass or on the Council or both. However, we should not therefore refuse all personal contact with them, but let us be under no illusion! The Cardinals are hanging lock-tight together!

"What is the degree of guilt of any one of them, taken singly? Much more difficult to say. But word for word they stick together, to the party-line coming from the Secretariat of State. The machinery is well oiled! The dicasteries form a network. For example, for the last two years we were asking Rome for permission to make this Jubilee pilgrimage in the Basilicas, and we know that our request went the rounds, from one Cardinal to another, from the Congregation for the Clergy to the Secretariat of State, to Ecclesia Dei to the Secretariat of State, etc., etc. It was a trial of strength. They were caught in a double dilemma. Firstly, their open-to-all ecumenism - how could it be closed to us? Secondly, the scandal we risked causing if with 5,000 pilgrims we had run into closed doors. So they let us in and out as smoothly as possible, and their charm was all part of their technique!"

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