Bernard Fellay, SSPX (born 12 April 1958) is a Catholic Bishop and superior general of the Traditionalist Catholic Society of St. Pius X. Fellay was declared excommunicated latae sententiae in 1988 by the Roman Catholic Church because of his unauthorized consecration by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, deemed by the Holy See to be "unlawful" and "a schismatic act".[1] The excommunication was lifted by the Holy See in January 2009.[2]

Early life and ministry

Fellay was born in Sierre, Switzerland in 1958. In October 1977, at the age of nineteen, Fellay began studies for the priesthood at the International Seminary of Saint Pius X at Ecône, Switzerland. On 29 June 1982 he was ordained a priest by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. After his ordination, he was named Bursar General of the SSPX and was stationed at Rickenbach, the headquarters of the SSPX in Switzerland. He continued in that position for the next ten years.

SSPX Superior General

In July 1994 the General Chapter of the SSPX met at Ecône and elected Fellay Superior General in succession to Father Franz Schmidberger. On 12 July 2006, he was re-elected to another twelve-year term, which expires in 2018.

On 29 August 2005 Fellay was received in audience by Pope Benedict XVI at Castel Gandolfo.[3] The audience was also attended by Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos and Father Schmidberger. They discussed the present state of the Church and of the SSPX, the Society's concerns about Modernism in the Church, the re-allowance of the Tridentine Mass, and the possible recognition of the SSPX by the Holy See.

By a decree of 21 January 2009 (Protocol Number 126/2009), which was issued in response to a renewed request that Bishop Fellay made on behalf of all four bishops whom Lefebvre had consecrated on 30 June 1988, the Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, by the power expressly granted to him by Pope Benedict XVI, remitted the automatic excommunication that they had thereby incurred, and expressed the wish that this would be followed speedily by full communion of the whole of the Society of Saint Pius X with the Church, thus bearing witness, by the proof of visible unity, to true loyalty and true recognition of the Pope's Magisterium and authority.[2] The canonical situation of the four bishops thus became the same as that of the other clergy of the Society, who are suspended a divinis.[4]

The remissions have not been unanimously welcomed by all members of the SSPX. Fr. Florian Abrahamowicz, a SSPX's dean of Northeastern Italy, called the action "insulting," since it claimed to remit an excommunication of these four bishops that the Society had officially maintained since 1988 did not exist.[5] Abrahamowicz was very soon expelled by the Italian chapter of the Society of Saint Pius X, whether for this reason or his Holocaust-related remarks.[6]

Speaking in relation to the upcoming talks with Rome in an interview in July 2009, Fellay said of the significance of the Second Vatican Council that: "'We will not make any compromise on the Council. I have no intention of making a compromise. The truth does not tolerate compromise. We do not want a compromise, we want clarity regarding the Council.'"

Episcopal Lineage
Consecrated by: Marcel Lefebvre
Date of consecration: 30 June 1988


  1. Apostolic Letter 'Ecclesia Dei'
  2. 2.0 2.1 Remissione Della Scomunica Latae Sententiae Ai Vescovi Della Fratertinà Sacerdotale San Pio X, 24.01.2009
  3. Interview with Bishop Fellay about Papal Audience
  4. Letter of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei of 29 September 1995)
  5. Homily on 25 January 2009
  6. "Father Florian Abrahamowicz has for some time been expressing opinions differing from the official views of the Society of St. Pius X. The painful decision to expel him has become necessary in order to avoid having the image of the Society of St. Pius X further distorted with consequent harm to its work at the service of the Church" Lefebvriani, Fraternità San Pio X espelle prete negazionista 5 February 2009

External links

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Bernard Fellay. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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