Tom McFeely is the National Catholic Register’s News Editor. He lives in British Columbia.
A full restoration of the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X to union with Rome does not appear imminent, if a recent interview given by the society’s superior general is any guide.
The Reuters FaithWorld blog has posted excerpts from the interview Bishop Bernard Fellay conducted with the Tradition magazine published by the SSPX in South Africa. His comments are significant, as the Vatican and the society will soon begin direct discussions about the doctrinal differences that separate the society from the Church.
Bishop Fellay gives no hint that the SSPX is prepared to give ground in these talks with respect to any of its objections to the documents of the Second Vatican Council, and he insists that the only solution to the problems confronting the Church is “a return to the past.”
In a letter in March to the world’s bishops, Pope Benedict XVI stated that “acceptance of the Second Vatican Council and the post-conciliar magisterium of the Popes” is a fundamental doctrinal requirement for restoration of the SSPX to full unity with the Church.
Here’s an excerpt from the FaithWorld article:
In the same interview with the magazine Tradition, [Fellay] also indicated the SSPX was ready to add several new issues to the agenda of the talks that could drag on the sessions for years. The talks are due to start later this month.
Fellay, who was readmitted into the Roman Catholic Church in January with three other bishops after two decades of excommunication, said the Church was in such a crisis that it would take more than one generation of “constant efforts in the right direction” and possibly as long as a century to overcome it.
He said he had no idea how long the SSPX’s doctrinal discussions with the Vatican would take. “This will certainly also depend on what Rome expects. They could take quite a long time.”
Fellay then indicated the SSPX could also contribute to dragging out these talks as much as possible. “The issues are vast,” he told the magazine. “Our principle objections to the Council, such as religious liberty, ecumenism and collegiality are well known. But other objections could be posed, such as the influence of modern philosophy, the liturgical novelties, the spirit of the world and its influence on the modern thought that holds sway in the Church.”