Documents Intervention of Father Josef Bisig at the Synod of European Bishops, 8 October 1999
First of all, I would like to express my most sincere thanks to His Holiness for his benevolence towards the Catholics attached to the Latin liturgical and spiritual tradition. I am honored and happy to be able to represent these many Catholics, priests and lay persons, in this Synod of Bishops. Allow me to also express my gratitude to the bishops who opened their arms and accepted us into their dioceses.
Here is a brief presentation of our priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter, (of which I am the superior). It was erected in 1988 by the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei. We number 105 priests and we have in our two international seminaries 140 seminarians, of which 29 new this year. We are building two new facilities for these houses of formation, one in Germany and the other one in the United States. To our great joy, the Holy Father himself blessed, here in Rome, the cornerstones for these new seminaries.
Therefore, we are at the service of the faithful who are attached to the Latin liturgical tradition, their number in Europe is rather large and is constantly increasing; unfortunately, an important group remains bound to the Society of Saint Pius X and have not yet returned into communion with the Successor of Peter. This Synod is placed under the sign of hope: let me express to you my hope in seeing these brothers in the faith return to union with the Catholic Church. Our Fraternity works and makes efforts - in close cooperation with the bishops - to achieve this goal. It also participates willingly with its own charisma to the great task of evangelization. It places itself at the service of the transmission of faith through the catechetical teaching whose importance has already been underlined by the Holy Father during the promulgation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Many youths have a great thirst for knowledge; and to transmit the doctrine of the faith correctly means to give them hope, to open the hearts to grace, and to anchor them in the Charity of Christ.
I would like to say a word about number 69 of the lnstrumentum laboris: we cannot identify ourselves with this image that is given of the traditionalist faithful. Our experience is another one: these faithful are helped by the traditional liturgical forms in their spirituality and feel themselves more closely united to the mysteries of the Cross and of the Resurrection, celebrated in the Holy Mass. Our priests who make every effort to center their priestly life around the Holy Sacrifice of Mass, exercise undeniably considerable attraction to youths who aspire to serve the Church as future priests.
In conclusion, it would seem to me that for a pastoral of hope, our Churches in Europe cannot put aside what makes up their spiritual patrimony; the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter was founded in an act of hope. Far from being nostalgic, its attachment to the Latin liturgical tradition is the bearer of a humble source of continuity. Thus, the living use of the Latin liturgy will have as its effect that of not allowing the language of the Church to be reduced to the literary form of official documents, but to allow a "Cor unum" and an "anima una" of those faithful to Christ.