What observations were made by the Superior of the Saint Pius X? *
CASTRILLÓN HOYOS: Monsignor Fellay, but this was known even beforehand, was able to express his fears on the state of the Catholic Church in the light of the abuses, not only liturgical, that have occurred since Vatican ** Council II. I believe that critical contributions of that sort that can come from the Fraternity can be a treasure for the Church, when expressed under the charisma of Peter and in charity among brethren. In the Church in fact we are all free to formulate critical observations on what doesn’t concern dogma and the essential discipline of the Church itself. On that subject I can testify that Cardinal Ratzinger was already fully convinced of the need for theological dialogue on the difficult points.* In full unity there is more light to be found for studying these sensitive points.
*After the audience an authoritative cardinal suggested that the Fraternity should recognize the legitimacy of the present Pontiff… *
CASTRILLÓN HOYOS: **Unfortunately that is proof that within the Church, even at high levels, there is not always full knowledge of the Fraternity. The Fraternity has always recognized in John Paul II, and now in Benedict XVI, the legitimate successor of Saint Peter. That is not a problem. That then there are traditionalist groups that don’t recognize the last popes, the so-called “empty throne” people, is another question that doesn’t concern the Saint Pius X Fraternity. **
*It is known that the Saint Pius X Fraternity is asking the Holy See for a liberalization of the so-called Tridentine mass and a declaration affirming that this liturgy has never been abolished. *
CASTRILLÓN HOYOS: **The mass of Saint Pius V has never been abolished. ** As for liberalization, I remember that under the pontificate of John Paul II there was a meeting of all the department heads of the Roman Curia, in which the vast majority were not against such a request. It would be dangerous to create opposition between the old rite and the new. The liturgy cannot be a battlefield. **As priest, as cardinal and as Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, I feel great pain in seeing the unacceptable language at times used of the wish of Jesus to give his own body and blood, and to entrust them to his Church. And this is true of some spokesmen of the Saint Pius X Fraternity, but not only them. **
You are well acquainted with the traditionalist world. How do you judge the personal piety of the priests who belong to it?
CASTRILLÓN HOYOS: Many traditionalist priests I have known have made an excellent impression on me: they have a sincere love for the mystery. Unfortunately there can also be fanatics who are bound to the old liturgy as one can be bound to a mathematical formula of which one doesn’t even understand the value in depth.
*Do you think they represent the legacy of a past in any case on the way to extinction? *
CASTRILLÓN HOYOS: At the World Day of Youth in Cologne there was a considerable group of young people attached to the traditional mass. The echoes have been positive. And it shows how short-sighted it is to consider the traditionalist phenomenon as on the way to exhaustion. **Not least because in the traditionalist world, in proportion, the number of priestly vocations is decidedly superior to that of many diocese in the Church. **
In September 2001 John Paul II, in a speech to the plenary assembly of the Congregation for Divine Worship, praised the «very fine prayers» in the Missal of Saint Pius V. The speech was published with unusual delay by L’Osservatore Romano and has never been published in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, though it usually prints papal speeches to the plenary assemblies of the Roman departments. When you then, on 24 May 2003, celebrated, for the first time after the post-council liturgical reform, a Tridentine mass in a patriarchal Roman basilica, that of Saint Mary Major, L’Osservatore Romano totally ignored the event. What do you think of these two acts of “censorship”? *
** CASTRILLÓN HOYOS*: I prefer to judge facts rather than intentions and I don’t know what the cause of the two missing notices is, which, however, had ample repercussion.
*Do you think that the above-mentioned speech of John Paul II may be finally published in the Acta? *
CASTRILLÓN HOYOS: **If it wasn’t the explicit wish of the Pope not to publish that speech, even when it was he who made it, I think it’s a serious thing not to have done so. **
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Parts of this interview were edited due to length. See the link for the entire interview: