Petition to the Holy Father (from Msgr. Bernard Fellay)

Below is a letter from Msgr. Fellay (Superior General of the SSPX) to Pope Francis underlining the importance of safeguarding Catholic Family values and the Church’s dogmatic teaching on the sanctity and indissolubility of marriage at the Synod on the Family. 

Most Holy Father,

It is with great anxiety that we observe all around us a persistent degradation of marriage and the family, the origin and foundation of all human society. This decay is rapidly accelerating, particularly because of the legalization of the most immoral and depraved sorts of behavior. Today the law of God, even the simply natural law, is being publicly trampled underfoot; the gravest sins are multiplying in a troubling way and cry out to Heaven for vengeance.

Most Holy Father,

We cannot conceal from you the fact that the first part of the Synod dedicated to “Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization” greatly alarmed us. From ecclesiastical dignitaries we heard and read statements so contrary to the clear and constant doctrine of the Church concerning the sanctity of marriage, that our souls were deeply disturbed. These men claimed to have your support, and their claims met with no public denial. What worries us even more is that certain of your words give the impression that it might be possible for doctrine to evolve in response to new needs of the Christian people. Our disquiet comes from the fact that in his encyclical Pascendi, Saint Pius X condemned an alteration of dogma that would make it conform to so-called requirements of the present time. Both Pius X and you, Most Holy Father, received the fullness of the authority to teach, sanctify, and govern in obedience to Christ, Who is the head and pastor of the flock at all times and in all places, and whose faithful vicar the Pope must be on this earth. That which has been subject to a solemn condemnation cannot, over time, become an approved pastoral practice.

God, the author of nature, established the stable union of a man and a woman for the purpose of perpetuating the human species. Old Testament revelation teaches us, in the most obvious way, that indissoluble marriage between one man and one woman was established directly by God, and that its essential characteristics were not left by Him to the free choice of men, such that marriage remains under a very special divine protection: “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife.” (Exodus 20:17)

The gospels teach us that Jesus Himself, by virtue of his supreme authority, definitively reestablished marriage in its original purity, which the corruption of men had altered: “What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.” (Matthew 19:6)

Throughout time it has been the glory of the Catholic Church to defend the human and divine reality of marriage against turmoil, despite entreaties, disregarding threats and temptations. Even though corrupt men abandoned her for this reason alone, the Church has always held high the standard of fidelity, purity, and fruitfulness, in short, the standard of genuine conjugal and familial love.

As the second part of this Synod dedicated to the family approaches, in conscience we feel it our duty to express to the Apostolic See the profound anxieties which seize us at the thought of “conclusions” that could be proposed on that occasion, if by some great misfortune there were to be a new attack against the sanctity of marriage and the family, a new weakening of couples and home life. We hope with all our heart that the Synod will on the contrary perform a work of genuine mercy by recalling in its entirety, for the good of souls, the Church’s salutary teaching on the subject of marriage.

We are fully aware, especially in the present context, that people entangled in abnormal marital situations must be welcomed pastorally with compassion, so as to show them the very merciful face of the God of love proclaimed by the Church.

Nevertheless, the law of God, expression of his eternal love for mankind, is in itself the supreme mercy for all periods of history, all persons, and all situations. Therefore we pray that the gospel truth concerning marriage, which the Synod ought to proclaim, may not be skirted in practice by numerous “pastoral exceptions” that would distort its true meaning, or by legislation that would almost unfailingly abolish its real import. On this point we feel obliged to say that, despite reminders concerning the indissolubility of marriage, the canonical changes required by the Moto Proprio Mitis Iudex Dominus Iesus facilitating declarations of nullity will de facto open the door to legal proceedings authorizing “Catholic divorce,” even if goes by another name. These modifications acknowledge contemporary morals without attempting to put them in accord with the divine law. Are we then not to be heart stricken by the fate of children born to these marriages annulled in haste and who cannot but be victims of the “culture of waste”.

In the sixteenth century Pope Clement VII refused to accord Henry VIII of England the divorce he was demanding. Despite much pressure and at the risk of an Anglican schism, the Pope upheld the sublime teaching of Christ and his Church concerning the indissolubility of marriage. Will his decision now be repudiated by a “canonical repentance”?

Throughout the world in recent times, many families have courageously rallied against civil laws that undermine the natural and Christian family and publicly encourage scandalous behavior contrary to the most basic morality. Can the Church abandon those who, sometimes to their own detriment, and always subject to mockery and taunts, wage this necessary but very difficult battle? Such a stance would constitute a disastrous counter-witness, and for these persons it would be a source of disgust and discouragement. Churchmen, on the contrary, by virtue of their very mission, should offer them clear support backed up by solid arguments.

Most Holy Father,

For the honor of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the consolation of the Church and of all faithful Catholics, for the good of society and of all humanity, in this crucial hour we petition you therefore to let your voice resound throughout the world with a word of truth, clarity, and firmness, in defense of Christian and even merely human marriage, in support of its foundation, namely, the difference and complementarity of the sexes, upholding its exclusivity and indissolubility. With filial piety we beg you to let your voice be heard by all, and that it be accompanied by actions too in support of the Catholic family.

We entrust this humble petition to the patronage of Saint John the Baptist, who underwent martyrdom for having publicly defended the sanctity and exclusivity of marriage, even against a scandalous civil authority in a case of “divorced-and-remarried persons.” And we pray the Precursor give Your Holiness the courage to recall before the whole world the true doctrine concerning natural and Christian marriage.

On the Feast of the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady, September 15, 2015 +Bernard Fellay Superior General of the Society of Saint Pius X



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8 Responses to Petition to the Holy Father (from Msgr. Bernard Fellay)

  1. I cannot support the SSPX, because it is a group that does not have the approval of the Holy See. I would never attend an SSPX mass or ask an SSPX priest to hear my confession.

    However, is there one single word in Monsignor Fellay’s petition that any faithful Catholic can disagree with?

    I, as a faithful Catholic, do not find a single one.

    Are there faithful Catholics anywhere who would not share Monsignor Fellay’s anxieties about this synod?

    Perhaps there are, somewhere.

    But I am not one of them.

  2. Maggie says:

    A million signitures and rosaries do not seem to sway those present ‘powers that be’.

  3. Michael says:

    If they won’t heed the words of someone who rose from the dead then petitions or rosarys are unlikey to move them.

  4. Roger says:

    Look at St Therese. Become a child.
    Bishop against Bishop! Talk of the Holy See when Paul VI gave the Triple Crown to UN.
    Look Robert at what you have written! Monsignor Fellay in other words you recognise that he is a Bishop (Apostolic Succession) so you are saying Bishop against Bishop.
    If there is NO Unity in the Church then what does this mean? It means the fragmented divided Mystical Body Of Christ!
    A House divided cannot stand.
    I have little or no time for this line of Pontiffs who have accommodated the world. St Peter was for Christ, put Christ first and feed the sheep and lambs.
    Heaven placed Therese before 20 Century and her little Way is the route through this World.

  5. Tom Fisher says:

    I have little or no time for this line of Pontiffs who have accommodated the world. St Peter was for Christ, put Christ first and feed the sheep and lambs.

    What “line” are you referring to?

  6. Roger says:

    Perhaps Tom you can explain why Heaven permitted the line of Anti Popes that plagued the Church in the Middle Ages. The Schisms and uncertainties. Also when Marketing and PR with press releases and reporting etc.. gossip and reported interviews etc.. Attending Mosques and Synagogue even accepting the mark of a Hindu deity. Perhaps these resulted in a flood of Conversions? The fruit has been Apostacy.
    Woe unto you when ALL men praise you.
    Now I suggest you take a long look at the line of Popes (St Malachy’s list is very helpful) and consider the ‘lines of Pontiffs who have accommodated the world’ and their modern equivalents.

  7. kathleen says:

    Robert John Bennett asks:
    [I]s there one single word in Monsignor Fellay’s petition that any faithful Catholic can disagree with?

    Nope. Not one. It is 100 times more Catholic than anything we are getting dished up now from, er, other supposedly Catholic sources! Thanks to the SSPX’s faithfulness to true Catholicism we can still hear these sort of words in their homilies.

    Scandal upon scandal reach our ears every single day. Sodomy, adultery, the murder of babies in abortion, etc., is flouted, even boasted about in public, whilst the secular world applauds them… and those who stand by Our Sovereign Lord and King and what is good and right are considered an embarrassment, even by the Vatican itself!!

  8. Robert says:

    Correct Kathleen
    Now I suggest the message “IN THE END MY IMMACULATE HEART WILL TRIUMPH.” begins to make sense! The point is make certain that you are rooted in the Faith as handed down from the Apostles. St Michael led the battle against the rebel angels under Lucifer. The significance of Pope Leo XIII and the prayer to St Michael should not be lost.
    Galatians 1:8
    “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema. ”
    Understand that in matters of the Faith we cannot follow a Faith other than that given by Our Lord to his Apostles. First Commandment places God First.
    I myself do not have links with SSPX. But Fellay is a consecrated Bishop SSPX these priests and Bishops are ordained and consecrated.
    Just look at the Early Christians (in St Peters time ) who wouldn’t sacrifice to the false Deities and instead were martyred. Peters Rome was of that Anti Christ like Nero.

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