.- In an exclusive interview with the Spanish daily “La Razon,” the superior general of the Lefebvrites, Bishop Bernard Fellay, said Benedict XVI’s Motu Propio allowing universal use of the Missal of 1962 as an extraordinary form of celebrating the Mass “is not a step, it’s a leap” of historic proportions.
The schismatic bishop spoke with journalist Vittorio Messori from the general house of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X, founded by the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. The movement boasts of 481 priests, 90 lay brothers, 206 nuns, 6 seminaries, 117 monasteries, 82 schools, 6 university institutes, 450 places of worship in 62 countries and at least half a million followers.
According to La Razon, Fellay’s reactions are “more positive than what anyone who knows the complexity of the ongoing case with the Holy See for more than 20 years could have expected: the Mass, not only in Latin, but according to the ancient rite, has always been the rallying cry of the Lefebvrists. But dissidents have always insisted on the fact that the new Eucharistic liturgy is nothing more than the expression of an orientation that is unacceptable in many aspects, adopted after Vatican II by the Catholic Church.
Thus, in certain traditionalist circles, it has often been said that a decree such as the one approved by Pope Ratzinger would not only be insufficient, but would in some way be a distraction and would reinforce the ambiguities.”
Nevertheless, Fellay said, “This is a truly historic day. We desire to express our profound gratitude to Benedict XVI. His document is a gift of Grace. It’s not a step; it’s a leap in the right direction.”
In addition, Fellay said the “normalization” of the Mass, “which does not belong to St. Pius VI but rather has always belonged to the Church,” is “an act of justice, it’s a supernatural extraordinary help in times of grave ecclesial crisis.”
“The reaffirmation by the Holy Father of the continuity of Vatican II and the new Mass with the constant Tradition of the Church moves us to continue the doctrinal discussion. ‘Lex orandi, lex credendi’: as one prays, so one believes. And now it has been recognized that in the eternal Mass, one can ‘adequately’ pray,” Fellay said.
“This document is a fundamental stage in a journey that now could be accelerated,” he noted, saying he hoped as well it would lead to a revisiting of the issue of the excommunications put in place by John Paul II.
According to Messori, the effort to recover the Church’s tradition, “initiated by John Paul II, although constrained to the obligatory excommunication, takes on noble success with Benedict XVI, in the perspective of the old Ratzinger project of a ‘reform of the reform,’ and not only of the ancient liturgy.”