SSPX: Positive signals from the U.S.
Andrea Tornielli, Vatican City
Some extracts of a television interview with Fr. Arnaud Rostand, the Society’s Superior in the U.S., have been published in the Fraternity’s official bulletin. Some of the points he highlights are significant, although it is worth remembering that the interview took place before Bishop Bernard Fellay’s meeting with Cardinal William Levada. Cardinal Levada handed the latest version of the doctrinal preamble to Fellay in person, after it was examined by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and Benedict XVI.
“The clear priority today is to fight for faith. So we must never lose sight of the Church’s other principles of unity. It is important to bear in mind the Pope’s spirit, role and mission in the Church: the Church’s image is at risk. The Society of St. Pius X and Mgr. Lefebvre have never taken a sedevacantist approach (sedevacantists believe the Church currently has no Pope). Every time the Pope asks us to do something, we obey if it is not contrary to faith or moral principles. We have no choice! It is a recognition of the Church’s visibility. Today I think we are being asked to carry out an act of faith in the Church.”
The superior of the U.S. district shares the Society’s “public and well-known” stances in relation to religious and ecumenical freedom. He also reiterated that the Fraternity has made no statements which show it has backtracked. He added that the decision regarding the agreement with the Holy See “lies with the Superior General”.
Rostand stated that “the Church is not a democracy and neither is the Society of St. Pius X. This means that some are responsible for certain things and make decisions for others: this is how our Lord Jesus Christ founded the Church…So there is nothing surprising about Mgr. Fellay having to take decisions that impact on everyone. This is normal.”
Finally, the U.S. superior criticised internal dissent: “The Society of St. Pius X has always attacked collegiality, a new element of the Second Vatican Council, because the Fraternity reduced the Pope’s power… Today there are some who do not want Fellay to be the only one to take the decision regarding the Society’s relationship with Rome, asking instead for the Fraternity’s annual meeting, the faithful themselves or priests to vote on this… Should we go ahead with something we have been against for forty years?”