What Bishop Fellay really said to Cardinal Canizares about the New Mass



Cardinal Antonio Canizares, the Prefect for the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, stated to the press on January 15th:

On one occasion, Bishop (Bernard) Fellay, who is the leader of the Society of St. Pius X, came to see me and said, “We just came from an abbey that is near Florence. If Archbishop (Marcel) Lefebvre had seen how they celebrated there, he would not have taken the step that he did”… The missal used at that celebration was the Paul VI Missal in its strictest form.[1]

Bishop Fellay has kindly given sspx.org this clarification of what he actually said, and the context of his words, concerning the Novus Ordo Missae.

Bishop Fellay clarifies…

As very often in such circumstances, a phrase has been interpreted badly: I was describing to Cardinal Canizares (and this was some five or six years ago) that the abuses in the liturgy have caused a major reaction amongst us. And this is still the case today, in the sense that the abuses and sacrileges in the sacred liturgy have helped the faithful and even priests to quickly and more fully understand the profound defects and danger of the Novus Ordo – because there is a link between the New Mass and the abuses. The abuses have helped to prove that our position is the right one: that is, the New Mass is not good in itself.

But this said, from the beginning and before the abuses took place, Archbishop Lefebvre had already refused to celebrate the Novus Ordo Missae. Because the serious omissions and the whole [conciliar] reform, done in an ecumenical spirit, gives it a Protestant savor. The New Mass puts at risk the Catholic Faith and the numerous examples of faithful and priests who have lost the Faith directly linked with the celebration of the Novus Ordo are quite blatant. Nevertheless for a while – and until these new damaging effects were clearly recognized – Archbishop Lefebvre did not strictly prohibit attendance at the New Mass. It was only after a few years that he prohibited the seminarians from going to the New Mass while on their holiday’s vacations.


1 As reported by Rome Reports on January 16, 2013 in an article entitled, “Cardinal Canizares: The most urgent reform is liturgical formation”.

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8 comments on “What Bishop Fellay really said to Cardinal Canizares about the New Mass

  1. At the talk Archbishop Lefebvre gave in the US for aspirants of the brand new 3rd Order SSPX to go over its rule, His Excellency spoke of the New Mass in totally unequivocal terms as poison in and of itself. I believe that was in 1980 and at no time can I remember him referring to this Mass in any other way either in speeches, sermons or writings.
    He used to tell us that to participate in the New Mass was to take poison that would eventually destroy our Faith and kill our souls. We were forbidden to attend it unless it was a case of necessity such as family weddings or funerals but then we should sit in the back and pray the rosary but not participate. Much the same as for attendance at Protestant weddings and funerals.

  2. What I did NOT see was any comment from +F as to whether the Cardinal’s other claim – that he ( +F ) had attended a NO rite “celebration” – was accurate?

    If he ( heaven forfend! ) DID attend, then was he:

    . kidnapped?

    . looking fo a lost puppy and just wandered in?

    • And, of course to be perfectly fair, +F may not have addressed the point as a way of simply dismissing what might have been a cardinal’s faulty memory ( or and act of agitprop by an anti-Trad underling in the Vatican, trying to stir up intra-Trad discord ).

  3. Another good point. Thanks vinny.

  4. As we all know there are three things which affect the validity of the Mass, any Mass. These are matter, form, and intention and it is the intention that we cannot be sure of because it is hidden, if you will, in the mind if the celebrant. The other things: matter and form are visible and it is relatively easy to determine if defects occur in these things. So, I Ibelieve that Archbishop Lefebvre knew that the intention was veiled and not clearly apparent in the new Mass and for that reason cautioned against attending it. There were other reasons, of course, which have becone more voluminous with the passage of time and which cause us to cling to the venerable form as the only true means of nourishing our faith. The problem is: the authorities now in charge of the Vatican offices refuse to conceed these points and blame the FSSPX for the lack of unity in the Church – a preposterous claim if ever there was one.

  5. Well, one day there WAS a Berlin Wall. The next day…..

    Things happen.

  6. And I do apologize to my 1.2 fans on this forum for that momentary lapse into optimism. Yes, I am still taking my Rx and yes, even the doc sez it takes time.

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