IG: A parish priest once said to me: “A lot of people talk of schism, but they don't have the theological competence of a Marcel Lefebvre”. Is that the case?
FB: A lot of people criticize or condemn the Society of Saint Pius X without knowing it and without understanding the serious reasons which place it in a hostile situation in relation to the ecclesiastical authorities. Today, many people, priests and lay alike, are beginning to wonder what is going on in the Church and are opening their eyes to the fact that those who were categorized as schismatics for many years are perhaps those who have remained the most faithful to the Catholic Church and, paradoxically, the most faithful to the papacy. In our seminaries, Archbishop Lefebvre wanted us to study the Summa Theologica of Saint Thomas Aquinas and the other classical works of theology. I assure you that it was a great grace for us to receive such a profound and solid formation.
IG: What is your opinion of Pope Francis?
FB: For us, Pope Francis is neither worse nor better than the other Conciliar or Post-Conciliar Popes. He labors in the same workshop set up by John XXIII, that of the auto-demolition of the Catholic Church in order to build another – one which is in conformity with the liberal spirit of the world. I would go even further: the current Pope is not as responsible as Pope Paul VI. The latter made the Council, concluded it, and brought about all the reforms. And all of this is now the cause of the very grave crisis which we see in the Church. Of course, the actions and words of Pope Francis seem more serious than those of his predecessors. But this is not the case. Today's media has the effect of amplifying things much more than in the past. In substance, however, the acts of Paul VI are much more serious than those of Francis.
IG: However, Bergoglio seems to have made steps towards you, doesn't he?
FB: He certainly hasn't made any doctrinal steps towards us. However, he considers us as a “peripheral” reality. As such, we are the object of his benevolence. When he was Cardinal in Buenos Aires, one of our priests gave him a book about the life of our founder. He read it and remained seriously impressed by it. Perhaps this also contributed to his benevolence towards us. Many wonder why he was not so benevolent towards the Franciscans of the Immaculate who were truly in the process of embracing Catholic Tradition. On the contrary, in this case, disregarding mercy, he treated them harshly and with extreme severity.
IG: Many consider you to be “extremists” of the Faith...
FB: Faith is a theological virtue, and a theological virtue can increase infinitely because its object is God Himself. Therefore, there are no limits to Faith. In this sense, being an extremist would be virtuous. That said, I could quote you the words of Our Lord when He said, for example: “Who is not with Me is against Me”. Or the words of Saint Peter: “There is no other Name [Jesus Christ] under Heaven by which we may be saved”. Tell me if these are “extremist” words. Then, if you think of the martyrs who died rather than betray their Faith, how do we judge them? Were they extremists? It seems to me that we are losing the sense of the Faith.
IG: What do you think of the doctrinal debate surrounding Amoris Laetitia?
FB: You see, this question forces me to repeat what I have already said. Even though all the initiatives which aim to correct this document and to defend the indissoluble Catholic family sanctified by a Sacrament are praiseworthy, the true problem is nevertheless to be found elsewhere. Do you know where Amoris Laetitia is rooted? In one of the Council's documents, Gaudium et Spes. Therefore, as I was saying to you earlier, the horrendous crisis in the Church is due to Vatican II. Vatican II is the DNA of this crisis. Do you think that we would have had the catastrophic Amoris Laetitia today if, instead of Gaudium et Spes, Pius XI's encyclical Casti Conubii had been published? I don't think so.
IG: And what about the rehabilitation of Luther?
FB: What can I say? To rehabilitate the greatest heretic of history who secularized the entire Christian religion, who caused the Church to haemorrhage entire peoples, is both doctrinal suicide and an historical falsehood. The rehabilitation of Luther belongs to the ecumenical utopia of the past fifty years, a utopia which is leading Catholics to an apostasy which is no longer silent, but deafening. I recommend you read a new book on Luther which came out recently, The True Face of Luther. It is written by one of our priests, Professor of Ecclesiology at the Seminary of Econe. When you read this book you understand the absurdity of this supposed rehabilitation.
IG: Do you see doctrinal reunification between yourselves and the Vatican as possible in the future?
FB: I am not a prophet. We hope that this will happen, especially for the salvation of so many souls who risk being lost for all eternity. But, if you allow me, I would like to tell you what we can do today in order to contribute to the triumph of Tradition in the Church. All of us – each Catholic, Bishop, faithful priest – all of us must return to the Catholic Tradition of all time. And no-one should fear having the impression of being against the authorities of the Church. Because, in fact, it is not going against them, but on the contrary it is the most effective means of helping them understand that we must return to Tradition, which is the sole and unique future of Holy Church.
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