Monsignor Bernard Fellay told the daily Le Courier on Thursday that the Council has caused the Catholic Church ”only damages”. ”The aftermath of the Council has been to empty seminaries, nunneries and churches. Thousands of priests have left their orders and millions of faithful have stopped being practicing Catholics and have joined sects”.
”If these are the fruits of the Council, they’re strange indeed”. The Society, he said, is not willing to negotiate on the Council when it begins preliminary talks on rejoining the Church on a number of doctrinal issues.
Strange fruit, what an interesting turn of phrase.
That being said, it is also interesting (but not surprising) that Monsignor Fellay is so focused on clergy and religious life.
I would share his concern about Catholics leaving for “sects,” common lingo for evangelical Christianity. I don’t know that we can blame Vatican II for the sheep-stealing policies of some Christians. In some corners of Latin America, the suppression of liberation theology has timed with more evangelical inroads. I could make a case for blaming John Paul II, I suppose. But reality would set in, and I’d have to acknowledge that the modern world is far more complex than a single naive correlation would suggest.
I’d say that the pope has another reason/excuse to slow down the speed of talks with the SSPX. Indeed, maybe it’s time to reach out to the Old Catholics, the Anglicans, Lutherans, and others who might be more receptive to the post-conciliar style. If these HoO folks are unreceptive to Rome and the four-thousand bishops of a council, plus the hundreds of millions of Catholics who don’t need to count seminary heads to know good fruit, I can’t imagine the Orthodox are going to be concerned about a group with lots of ideological baggage. If it’s progress toward unity we’re talking about, the pope should be a servant of that unity, and go where the indicators (perhaps the Spirit) are leading. It might work out better than being a pick-and-choose director of unity where his own culture and preferences might dictate.
When people are insistent on going their own way, sometimes it’s better to just let them go. Parents do it with adolescents all the time. Maybe the SSPX needs more time to ripen on the vine before returning to Rome.