Cardinal Pell dismisses comments by SSPX leader Bishop Fellay about the Pope and Church as rubbish, in an interview on the recent meeting of the Council of Cardinals with Francis, the reform of the Roman Curia, and the Lefebvrist leader.
- Vatican Insider
Bishop Fellay has denounced Pope Francis as 'a genuine modernist,' and charged that while the Church was 'a disaster' before he was elected, he is making it '10,000 times worse.' What do you say to this?
To put it politely, I think that’s absolute rubbish! Francis said he’s a loyal son of the Church, and his record shows that. He’s very, very concerned for the day-to-day life of the people, and for those who are suffering, those not well off and those in difficult situations. He’s a completely faithful exponent of Christ’s teaching and the Church’s tradition.
So people like Fellay have completely misread Pope Francis?
Yes, it is a gigantic misreading! In actual fact, the Lefebvrists – many of them - have misread the situation for decades. It was to Benedict’s great credit that he tried to reconcile with them, but they didn’t respond. Now the Church today accepts the Second Vatican Council. You don’t have to accept every jot and tittle of it, but it is part of Church’s life now, there’s no way around that.
An Argentinean theologian, Father Carlos Galli, recently told me that he sees 'the elder brother syndrome' emerging in the Church as Pope Francis goes out more and more to meet the prodigal sons. What do you say to that?
Well I think it is up to us elder-brothers, unlike the elder-brother in the parable, to get behind the father as he goes to meet the prodigal son. It’s our task to help him in that, to defend him.
You and the other seven cardinal advisors had an unprecedented opportunity to sit and discuss with the Pope for three days on matters relating to the governance of the universal Church and the reform of the Roman Curia. What did it feel like being in that meeting?
I think we were all very much aware of the significance of the occasion. Nobody seems to know how long ago it is since a Pope has had such a regular group of advisors outside the Roman Curia, or what you might call a regular consistory.