Benedict is a liberal, according to traditionalist bishop
It is clear that the man who made these comments has lost some connection to reality. If I told you he had been the target of a Vatican charm offensive in recent years, you might think I had lost a link to reality, too. However, it shows how strange the relationship between the Vatican and the schismatic traditionalist Society of Saint Pius X has become that its head, Bishop Bernard Fellay, could utter the words quoted above.
Fellay, whose SSPX movement champions the traditional Latin Mass and wants the Roman Catholic Church to turn the clock back to before the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), thought its star was rising after the election of Pope Benedict three years ago. Benedict has gone a long way to accomodate the SSPX’s liturgical demands, bringing back the Tridentine Mass despite the fact very few other Catholics were asking for it. He has agreed to a new Latin Good Friday prayer that restored traditional phrasing even though it was offensive to Jews (and still not enough for the SSPX). Even Benedict, for all his conservative views, refuses to roll back the reforms of Vatican Two wholesale.
The Swiss-based bishop used the occasion of Benedict’s successful U.S. visit (April 15-20) to issue a declaration of disappointment that the pope was not giving in to his demands. His latest complaint, delivered on June 1 at the Paris church the SSPX has occupied since 1977, is a frustrated outburst that raises the question of whether the Vatican should expend any more energy talking with this group.
“And now, we have an absolutely liberal Pope, my very dear brothers. He went to this country [the United States] founded on Masonic principles of a revolution, of a rebellion against God. And, well, he expressed his admiration and fascination for this country that has decided to grant liberty to all religions. He went so far as to condemn the confessional State. And they call him a traditionalist? Yes, this is the truth. He is absolutely liberal and absolutely contradictory. He has some good sides, which we hail and for which we rejoice, such as what he has done for the Traditional liturgy. What a mystery, my very dear brothers, what a mystery!”
Hat tip to Father Z at What Does The Prayer Really Say for flagging this. Despite all his staunch support for traditional liturgy, Father Z had this to say about Fellay’s outburst:
“I cannot believe that a person who desires unity with the Roman Pontiff would stand up in a pulpit and say this sort of thing about the reigning Pope. Thinking it is one thing, but saying it in a sermon is another. However, this statement does underscore what I have been saying all along. The real problem for the SSPX is not so much the liturgical issue or the excommunications, or even some juridical structure they could fit into. Those things can be solved with the a few signatures. The real obstacle is the Church’s teaching about religious liberty.”
Has Fellay gone over the top once and for all? Should Benedict just give up trying to accomodate him?