REX! Interview with Fr. Martin Fuchs (2014)
March 30th, 2014
Motto: “Trust in the Superiors is now...shaken, it is destroyed”. (Fr. Fuchs, Resignation Letter)
Fr. Martin Fuchs is a former member of the Priestly Society of St. Pius X (SSPX). He left the Society on December 30th 2013. He explained his move in his Resignation Letter (English version here). Fr. Fuchs was an SSPX priest of the Austrian district. Given that the Czech Republic, technically-speaking, belongs to the same district and is a neighbouring country, we are very interested in his case. More importantly, the step taken by Fr. Fuchs is a breakthrough in Central Europe. Fr. Fuchs now lives in Aigen, close to a Czech-Austrian border. One essential reason to request an interview with Fr. Fuchs was to bring some freshing information from this corner of the world, and make it available to all like-minded people in the global Resistance as well as to those who still remain hesitant, or far worse, ignorant as to what is happening. We think that Fr. Fuchs, once a highly respected priest within the Austrian SSPX district, has much to teach us.
(Note: The whole interview was conducted in English, which is not Fr. Fuchs´s mother tongue.)
REX!: Father, would you please tell us how your departure was received by your District superior? Was it full of bitterness, as in the case of some other priests, or was it somewhat more civilised?
P. Martin Fuchs: I told the new superior about my personal opinions about the relations of the Society with Rome when he came to the Austrian district last summer. So it was not completely new to him.
REX!: In your Resignation Letter you wrote: “Trust in the Superiors is now...shaken, it is destroyed.” Can you briefly say why this is so?
PMF: I had noticed during the last 14 years how the superiors deviated from the path of our Founder, Archbishop Lefebvre. At first, I couldn’t believe it. I excused them and sought to give their ambiguous declarations a good interpretation, but I realised that these speeches became more and more frequent, and that their decision to seek a canonical solution was fixed, without regard to solving the dogmatic differences.
If we look back, we realise that there were at least three main lies:
Lie No.1: They asked for the liberation of the “old” Mass. The Tridentine Mass was never forbidden, it was always free. Therefore, there was no need for liberation.
Lie No.2: They asked for lifting of the “excommunications”. Our Founder had always regarded these so-called excommunications as null and void. Yet that which is null and void surely does not require to be lifted. In asking for the lifting of the excommunications, they admitted that the excommunications imposed in 1988 were absolutely justifiable. In this case, this would mean that Archbishop Lefebvre and Bishop de Castro Mayer had undertaken an unjust action.
Lie No 3: They went into discussions with Rome, because the two conditions that they had asked for were granted, although they had not been granted. The “old” Mass is not free, nor can it be offered at any time.
I asked myself: Can the blessings of God be upon these lies?
REX!: You cited several major reasons for your departure in your Resignation Letter, too. Would you summarize them in a few words or highlight any particular point?
PMF: Archbishop Lefebvre showed us how to negotiate with Rome. He spoke clearly about what he thought of the New Mass, what he thought of the “excommunications,” what he thought of future dialogue with Rome, and what he thought of a practical arrangement. All his answers were precisely stated, and were important for the protection of the Society of Saint Pius X. However, the superiors did not follow his approach, and they did not want to follow it. Read the sermon of Father Jean of Morgon on January 26th of this year, and you will see how Mgrs. Fellay, de Galarreta and Tissier de Mallerais have changed their point of view. If you take the Declaration of these Three Bishops – Point 11 – you must admit that a practical agreement is an option. If this agreement is made, the Pope will appoint a Visitor, who will demand the acceptance of the Second Vatican Council, and will also grant bishops according to his judgement in the future. It would be only a question of time before the Society of Saint Pius X disappeared.
REX!: If I remember well, you were also responsible for an SSPX chapel in Budapest, Hungary? What about the faithful there? Do they support you, or have they at least understood your step? What do they think of bishop Fellay’s policy?
PMF: Yes, I was responsible for the SSPX chapel in Budapest. As far as I could see, they had observed exactly the relations between the SSPX and Rome. The superiors did not inform the faithful about the situation, so the faithful obtained information via the internet. They found the letter of the three bishops, and the answer of the General house, and they were very disappointed with the latter’s content.
Most of them have understood my step very well. They have completely lost confidence in the superiors of the Society.
REX!: I believe that you are now staying in Aigen, Austria. How has your life changed since you left the SSPX? I believe that there is a small chapel in Aigen which you serve.
PMF: In the past, I often listened to the sermons, and read the books, of Archbishop Lefebvre. I don’t wish to follow the new ways. I only wish to follow our Founder, because of his uncompromising Catholic teaching.
Here in Aigen, I wish to be a priest for everyone who asks for my priestly services.
REX!: Let us return to the matter of your departure. What was the final straw for you in your decision to leave SSPX, and can you explain how hard it was for you to take that final step? (In your Resignation Letter you wrote: “With a very heavy heart, I communicated to the Superior General my resignation...”) It is, of course, much easier for the faithful to say good-bye and leave their chapel; we can only assume how hard it is for a priest. How much did your present faithful help you in your decision?
PMF: I am 52 years old, so it was not at all easy to leave the Society. I had to search out a new priestly existence. Otherwise, I would have been obliged to give up priesthood, and this I had no intention of doing. I entered the Society to restore the Catholic faith. I became a priest in the Society, because I knew that only Archbishop Lefebvre was forming truly Catholic priests.
The faithful of the chapel in Aigen support me in whatsoever way that they can. As the chapel in Aigen belongs to a private family, the change was very easy.
REX!: Can you give us more detailed information regarding the situation of Tradition in Austria at the moment, in respect of both the priests and the faithful?
PMF: The situation of Tradition in Austria is certainly different from other countries. The distances [between Catholics] are very large. The number of faithful is not especially high, and their age is high, though it varies from region to region.
I have the impression that many faithful did not understand that the truly important question is not the Holy Mass, but rather the Second Vatican Council, and the novel definitions of religious liberty and the new ecumenism. It is upon these documents the other changes are based: the New Mass, the New Sacraments, the Ecumenical Bible, the new Code of Canon Law, the New Catechism etc.
REX!: Would you, Father, agree with my feeling that the atmosphere in today´s SSPX is poisoned with fear, mistrust, spying and denunciation? My own experience is that when I used to pass some vital information to a priest from your former district in the not so distant past, he always used a personal, rather than official SSPX, email address. And one more example from your former district: A few weeks ago I wrote an email to another priest. He had replied, but when I sought to answer for a second time, my reply was repeatedly refused as a spam. However, when I used another email address of mine, and did not use certain “key words”, there was no problem at all. Thus, I am convinced that all the official SSPX correspondence in the Austrian district is permanently monitored just like in France, Switzerland, Benelux or Germany.
PMF: Unfortunately, I must say there is an atmosphere of mistrust. If you do not agree with the new course you are being supervised. Look at the process of Father Pinaud. The superiors created an email address in his name, and sent emails to his friends.
The superiors know clearly and consciously that they have abandoned the mission of Archbishop Lefebvre. They will not tolerate any criticism of their new course, so they oblige the priests to be obedient and loyal. I remember distinctly that this was how the new Rome treated the Society after the Second Vatican Council. When I visited my parish priest in 1987, to explain him my position, he said: “You and Archbishop Lefebvre are disobedient. You must obey the Pope!” If Archbishop Lefebvre had listened to this, he would never have founded the Society of Saint Pius X.
The superiors have forbidden the sale of Father Pivert’s revealing book, Our Relations with Rome, which explains and highlights the views of Archbishop Lefebvre precisely.
The information given to Society priests during the past 12 years has been insufficient and out of date. They gave as their reason for this that relations with Rome had to be kept secret. Our Founder, to the contrary, always spoke publicly and unambiguously. A matter as important as the Faith cannot ever be dealt with in secret.
REX!: How would you respond to those who accuse the Resistance of dividing an already small flock?
PMF: We are here on earth to go to heaven. That is why we must preserve the Truth and live according to that Truth. The faithful, who supported the Society of Saint Pius X, always did so because of Faith and Truth. Now, however, both these things are in great danger if this betrayal continues much longer.
REX!: Father, imagine an SSPX priest who is in serious doubt about what to do – whether to stay or to go. What would you tell him? What should he consider?
PMF: So long as the superiors do not speak clearly and truthfully, and so long as they do not steer clear distance of modernist Rome, I can give him no other answer than: leave the Society!
I ask the faithful of the Resistance to support departing priests, and to establish places where they can say Holy Mass.
I have the impression that many priests have not truly studied the situation, or that they are too taken with their duties, whilst others of them might not want to see the reality because of the consequences.
REX!: A great part of the priests in SSPX are probably convinced that bishop Fellay´s line is disastrous, yet they, together with bishop Tissier, think it is necessary to wait until the next General Chapter. Do you think that this strategy can change anything, given that we know that the majority of the Chapter members have been appointed by bishop Fellay?
PMF: If you reflect upon the change of the three bishops, you cannot stay any longer. Their intention is to make an arrangement with Rome. You will come to the same conclusion if you read the statements and answers of the district superiors – of this, there is no doubt!
REX!: Father, what is your opinion of the six preliminary conditions agreed to at the last General Chapter?
PMF: They are wholly insufficient to protect the Society as it was founded by Archbishop Lefebvre. The third condition sine qua non is ridiculous: at least one bishop – Only one bishop? And what a bishop? According to the ideas of Rome? This would be the end of the Society!
And the first desirable condition: an own ecclesiastical court of first instance – this condition goes in the same direction: The second instance may cancel the judgments of the first instance at any time.
REX!: What do you think of the idea that bishop Williamson should assure the continuation of Operation Survival by consecrating one or more bishops? Do you support this idea?
PMF: Yes, I do. I have encouraged him to consecrate bishops as soon as possible. He doesn’t want to tread any path other than that of Archbishop Lefebvre.
REX!: Is there anything special you would like to tell our readers by way of conclusion?
PMF: We should follow our Founder! We should form a new society, or a structure where priests and faithful work together based upon a clear declaration of Doctrine and Aims. There should be found a house, a kind of centre, where the apostolate is organised, co-ordinated and guaranteed. There should also be a foundation for the needs (health insurance etc.) of the departing priests in order to assure their priestly livelihood.
Thank you, Father, for your time, and thank you also for what you do! We are happy that there is a brave priest like you in our area. May God bless you!
Interviewer: D. Grof