Catholic rebel group criticises Pope Francis’s focus on service to poor

April 19, 2013

(Bishop Bernard Fellay gestures during a priests and deacons ordination ceremony in Econe June 29, 2012.  REUTERS/Denis Balibouse)

A rebel Catholic group at the heart of major controversies that plagued former Pope Benedict has begun criticising his successor Pope Francis for the popular approach he has taken since his election last month.

In a letter to supporters this week, the head of the ultra- traditionalist Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) asked whether the new pontiff’s focus on serving people could be only “man-centred philanthropy” rather than true religious leadership.

Bishop Bernard Fellay’s sharp criticisms of the Vatican attracted attention during Benedict’s papacy because the now retired head of the Roman Catholic Church wanted to reintegrate the once-excommunicated group fully into the Roman fold.

Francis, the former Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, has upset many Catholic traditionalists by eschewing Vatican pomp, presenting himself as a humble servant of the poor and showing little interest in returning to centuries-old traditions.

In his letter, Fellay urged Francis “not to allow souls to perish because they no longer learn sound doctrine”, by which he meant the ultra-traditionalist views the SSPX advocates.

“What good is it to devote oneself to serving people if it hides from them what is essential?” asked Fellay, whose group claims 500 priests and a million followers around the world.

Aiding the poor has always been a concern for the Church, he said, “but if it becomes merely man-centred philanthropy, then the Church is no longer carrying out its mission”.
Read the full story here.
Follow RTRFaithWorld via Twitter Follow all posts on Twitter @ RTRFaithWorld

rss button Follow all posts via RSS


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see

Who cares about pain and misery as long as his soul is saved…I am glad that Sister Teresa didn’t by that load of manure.

Posted by 2B.Free | Report as abusive

Talk about biased…. This is an incorrect interpretation of the actual letter. And what is “ultra traditionalist” – Do you mean “Orthodox” in that they dont vote for pro-abortion politicians or ignore the Magisterium, or don’t ignore the loss of the faithful since the Second Vatican Council (with its dumbing down of the liturgy)

Posted by Salvelinus | Report as abusive