- Following on our pilgrimage to Rome this summer, Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos made first direct contact with the bishops of the Society in August.
- During the month of November, the same cardinal, under mandate from Pope John Paul II, invited the Superior General to come and see him “to prepare for a visit to the Pope.”
- On the 29th December Cardinal Castrillón proposed various elements to Msgr. Fellay that might help towards an eventual accord between Rome and the Society, and the Superior General expressed his viewpoint, his distrust and apprehension.
- On the 30th December, the Superior General saw the Pope for a few moments in his private chapel (no words of significance were exchanged).
- On the 13th January a special meeting of the General Council, Society bishops and Msgr. Rangel’s delegate, during which the principles were laid down that will guide us in the present situation.
- On the 16th January a new meeting with Cardinal Castrillón during which the Superior General highlighted the need for guarantees from Rome before going any further in the practicalities of eventual discussions or of an accord: “That the Tridentine Mass be granted for all priests throughout the entire world. That the censures against the bishops be annulled.”
The principles guiding us through this somewhat novel situation are the following:
- Since Rome initiated this process, it is natural for the Society to examine it with the care it merits.
- Having before our eyes the very recent example, on the one hand, of the Society of St. Peter, and on the other the continuity of the post-conciliar line constantly reaffirmed by Rome, our mistrust is extreme.
- The Society has no intention at all of modifying its principles and line of conduct. The superabundant fruits of grace on the one hand, and the conciliar disaster on the other, serve only to strengthen its determination to preserve Catholic Tradition.
- Any accord that is concluded can be considered only from the perspective of giving back to Tradition its legal standing, even if the final triumph is reached only gradually.
- The prayers asked for from members of the Society must not be taken to mean that we intend to resolve everything during this period or with any kind of haste. What is in question here is a time of prayer during which we implore Our Lady with greater insistance that she open the hearts of the Roman authorities and of the bishops, that she help us avoid any trap, and that she make triumph in the Church the rights of her divine Son.
Msgr. Bernard Fellay
Menzingen, 22 January 2001
In a communiqué from Menzingen dated 2nd March Bishop Fellay said that negotiations were suspended due to an unsatisfactory response by Cardinal Castrillón to the two conditions required by the Society: “In a new proposal, the cardinal made more precise the solution offered to us; however the two prerequisites were not satisfactorily resolved, in particular the first [permitting every priest to say the Tridentine Mass].
In consequence Monseigneur Fellay has communicated to the Cardinal his will to suspend contacts for the moment whilst waiting for the realisation of the first prerequisite…..