Bishop Fellay speaks to a journalist from the French newspaper Absent. In this interview he clarifies some of his comments in relation to the Resistance.
You said in a recent interview that the Resistance had “a non-Catholic spirit that is almost sectarian”.
Well, some people may have misunderstood my words. What I meant to say was that some of those who belong to what certain people call the “Resistance” could be said to have a form of sectarian spirit in their actions, ...but not in their thought. They are not what you might call classical sectarians, if you see what I mean?
You said that “We wish to have nothing to do with it [the Resistance]”. Do you stand by those words?
I would not say it like that anymore. I would prefer to say that I would not have anything to do with their spirit, which – you will admit – is not quite the same thing!
So, nothing would stop you eventually having contacts with some or all of the members of the Resistance?
Well, let me tell you that there are many good young priests within the ranks of the Resistance who, I would say, are Catholic in the classical sense of the term; that is universal in their outlook. They are attracted by our flexibility and our ability to gloss over the most scandalous papal actions, while retaining the capacity to attack former comradesin-arms who have continued to hold the same positions as they did not so long ago. You see, these poor people are suffering from a form of excessive rigidity and introvertedness. They see in us an opportunity to soften themselves, to see the world through different coloured spectacles, I might say!
You say there are contacts with the Resistance on the level of the priests. Are there bishops within the Resistance with whom you have contact?
I might say that if we have contacts on the level of the priests, naturally we have contacts at higher levels. In fact, let me tell you that two of the Resistance bishops (quite a large proportion, you will accept!) have visited our seminaries in the recent past.
This is quite some revelation, Your Excellency! Would you mind telling us what was the reaction of these bishops to your work? Or, are the contacts of a confidential nature?
While I cannot tell you everything, I can assure you that the visits were very positive! The bishops were very impressed with many aspects of our work. Firstly, they said that we had very nice smiles! They really liked us a lot! And, then they complimented us on our ability to keep our seminarians and faithful calm and tranquil while we made the continual necessary adjustments to direct the Titanic safely towards the soft, mushy ice-berg of Rome. “How do you keep them all from jumping into the lifeboats?”, one of them asked! Clearly all those Resistance websites have been painting a very nasty picture of us which does not correspond to reality.
Your Excellency, some narrow-minded people will object that you are betraying the Society by having contacts with bishops who are practically schismatic. How do you respond to these objections?
Well, I must say first of all that, on the face of it, these could be seen to be reasonable objections. However, we have looked for signs of good will, and we have found them. So, we consider all danger of contagion and compromise to be mere figments of imagination.
What are these signs of good will?
Firstly, it has been more than two months since any episcopal consecration took place. That is already a good thing! Then, we have been cordially invited to attend the Dickens lectures at Broadstairs. I might even go so far as to say that this invitation has given us great expectations of a bright future of collaboration, despite the hard times through which our relationship has had to pass.
Yes, some have even termed this relationship a tale of two cities... However, you seem to be prepared to have a practical collaboration with this Resistance without having ironed out the doctrinal problems. How is this possible?
Well, what you have done once, you can do again! We have learned from Rome her realism, her capacity to go beyond canonical and juridical problems in order to find solutions to very real problems.
Thank you, Your Excellency, for this interview. Are there any words with which you would like to finish?
Yes. Dream on!
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"Viva Cristo Rey!"