http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2010/12/full-text-of-msgr-pozzo-interview.htmlOn the subject of the conversations of the Holy See with the Lefebvrists, that is, with the FSSPX: can you say whether there has been any progress to date?
“Confidentiality is the ruling principle for the success of the conversations taking place between the specialists from the CDF and the SSPX, and I will not depart from this principle. But I can say that the climate of these conversations is positive, constructive, and characterised by mutual respect. Until now, the discussions have focussed on making the reasoning and arguments of each side known to the other, in order to clarify the basis or roots of the existing difficulties with the Magisterium. To get to the bottom of these roots, and the ultimate grounds for the difficulties with clarity is, in my view, progress.”Since the motu proprio, the use of the old Mass is no longer a bone of contention between the Holy See and the SSPX. There remain, however, many Magisterial differences, on the lines of religious freedom, ecumenism, of the notion of tradition. Which is the really contentious issue?
“The disputed points are precisely those addressed in the question. It has nothing to do with a rejection of the authority of the Second Vatican Council per se, or the subsequent papal teaching office. Rather, it has to do with certain statements or teachings in the conciliar documents about religious freedom, ecumenism, relationships with non-Christian religions, the concept of the liturgical reforms, the unity of the Magisterium vis-à-vis tradition. In general, the SSPX’s difficulties have to do with the continuity or consistent development of certain of the Council’s teachings, and of the subsequent papal teaching office in view of the unchanging Magisterium of the Church and of tradition. It does not seem to me that the SSPX rejects in principle that it is possible or legitimate for there to be a development in, or a consistent, coherent deepening of, Catholic doctrine. What divides the SSPX from the position of the Holy See is the judgement made about the continuity or coherence between certain teachings of the Second Vatican Council and previous statements of the Magisterium. I think that Pope Benedict’s most recent statements on the hermeneutic of renewal in continuity with the tradition and the unchanging Magisterium of the Church provide a basic principle for the solution of the conflict. It revolves around applying this principle both in particular cases and in its whole scope – more than has hitherto been the case.”Pope Benedict wrote that even priests in those communities which are attached to the old form of the Roman Rite cannot in principle exclude celebrating according to the new books. How does the SSPX see that?
“You would have to ask the SSPX. I think, as I said before, that the question of the liturgical books of Paul VI’s reform has to be addressed as part of the proper understanding of liturgical reform and of its consequent correct application. The basic question which the SSPX has to answer is whether the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite, which Paul VI promulgated, is in and of itself valid and legitimate. There can be no doubt and no hesitation on this point. The answer must be an indubitable ‘yes’. Elsewhere, we have the ambiguities, shortcomings and also doctrinal errors which have spread in the period following the Council, be they in theological understanding, or be they in the application of liturgical reform. The then Cardinal Ratzinger, today Pope Benedict, spoke of a “disintegration” in the liturgy. From this viewpoint, one cannot say that many of those criticisms which were aired were wrong.”If we put to one side for a moment the question of liturgical abuses in the ordinary rite, the ordinary form of the Mass, as it is celebrated for example by Pope Benedict himself, must be accepted by all those who wish to belong to the Catholic Church. So, also by the Lefebvrists. Is this the case?
“I do not think we are there yet. Even if, as has been said, the understanding of liturgical form as it is found in many renderings of the liturgical reforms, in liturgical theology, and in very many applications which prove to be abuses or to be in some way lacking, presents an objective problem. We have to rediscover the true sense and the true meaning of liturgical reform. The Pope celebrates according to the missal of Paul VI: that is an absolutely normative benchmark. We know, though, that there are many celebrations of the Mass which do not conform to the true teachings and the true spirit of the liturgical reforms and of the missal of Paul VI. Why has that happened? Why has there been this abusive application, these shortcomings, this false understanding? We have to answer this question.”Bernard Fellay, the Superior of the SSPX, recently threatened Richard Williamson with expulsion from the Fraternity if he continued to allow himself to be represented in his German court proceedings by a lawyer with far-right connections. Is the SSPX on the brink of a split?
“Bishop Willamson’s case is an isolated incident, and it rests with the Superior of the SSPX to deal with him within the Fraternity, even with disciplinary measures, as circumstances dictate. The Holy See has already expressed itself with absolute clarity on the subject of Bishop Williamson’s views. In the book Light of the World, which has just been published, the Holy Father confirmed that the Williamson case, insofar as it has to do with his erroneous pronouncements with regard to the Holocaust, is a separate matter. It must be completely separated from the question of the relationship between the SSPX and the Holy See, which has to do with problems of doctrine and canon law.”Where do you see the Lefebvrists’ real handicap: in doctrine or in politics
“I am convinced that the questions which hinder the full reconciliation of the SSPX with the Holy See have to do with doctrine. Potential ideological-political implications which might reflect that could result from it, but they are not an overriding or decisive element of the discussions.”Can the PCED advise the faithful to attend Mass celebrated by the priests of the SSPX or to receive the sacraments there, or would they advise against it?
“In his letter to the bishops after the lifting of the excommunications from the four bishops illegally consecrated by Archbishop Lefebvre, the Pope clarifies that the lifting of the excommunications – that is, of heavy disciplinary punishment – does not mean that the SSPX is immediately canonically recognised; nor, as a consequence of it, do the priests of the SSPX legitimately exercise their priestly ministry. In light of these pronouncements it is clear that the Catholic faithful are bound to avoid participating in the Mass of a priest of SSPX, and receiving the sacraments from him, because they are canonically irregular. The same goes for every other priest who finds himself in an irregular canonical situation, or who is without a bishop.”Can you estimate how long it will take for the Lefebvrists to return to the Catholic Church?
“We have no fixed date in mind. We are praying, working, and acting so that the re-integration of the SSPX into full ecclesial communion does not take too long.”