Letter of Bp. Fellay to Benedict XVI


This leaked letter of Bishop Fellay to Benedict XVI, provides useful insight to the attitude that one should have in addressing the Successor of St. Peter - on more than one level.

  1. Bishop Fellay assumed the good-will of those communicating with him in unofficial capacities.
  2. Based on this he believed that the conditions for obedience may have been met ('accept us as we are').
  3. Indicates that his interview (my inference) was to obtain clarity of intention.
  4. Asks for further clarification.
We know that the Pope responded with clarity.


PS. It is necessary to avoid jumping to conclusions that the Pope always wanted the SSPX to compromise.  A Catholic principle is to assume the good-will of those involved. Applying this principle, we find a consistency in the timeline that indicates that at first the Pope was willing to grant a no compromise regularization (ie requiring true obedience) and that at some point this was changed.

To cast aside this possible scenario in favour of others is simply a confirmation bias.

Pray much as we head up to the Calvary of the next Synod.

Letter of Bp. Fellay to Benedict XVI

June 2012

To His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI 

Most Holy Father,

I am ever so sorry, at a time you are afflicted with such trying difficulties for which I assure you of  my poor prayers, to present you with yet another problem rather than some consolation.

Indeed, Wednesday evening, 13th June, during a cordial meeting, Cardinal Levada presented me with a doctrinal declaration which I could not sign. Not heeding the request not to modify the proposition I had submitted, because of the consequences that would lead to, the new text resumes almost all the points that caused difficulty in the September 2011 Preamble and which I had endeavored to set aside.

Unfortunately, in the current context of the Society, the new declaration will not be accepted.

I must admit to no longer knowing what to think. I had believed that you were disposed to leave till a later date the resolution of outstanding disagreements over certain points of the Council and liturgical reform, rather like when the Council of Florence, in order to achieve union, overlooked the question of the Greeks allowing divorce following adultery, and I committed myself in this perspective despite the fairly strong opposition in the ranks of the Society and at the price of substantial disruption. And I fully intend to continue to do my best to pursue this path to reach the necessary clarifications.

It seems now that I was mistaken, and what is really asked of us is the total acceptation of the litigated points before proceeding further … I regret it if any of my recent statements have added fresh difficulty, but it was for the sake of clarity.

Moreover, given the enormous opposition brewing up in certain circles of the Church determined to render impossible the activity of the new prelature, given the pressure even of certain countries, I wonder how in such circumstances the project could come to fruition.

I believe you alone can still change the course of events to come. Of course it is not for me to apply any kind of pressure, but simply set out the facts and find out if I mistook your intentions concerning our situation. If you judge it opportune, at this rather delicate moment, I dare ask of your goodness an audience (the most discreet possible) in order to hear from your own lips your appreciation of us.

May Your Holiness deign to believe my filial devotion and my dearest wish to serve the holy Church. 

Menzingen, Sunday 17th June 2012

+ Bernard Fellay


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