Bishop Fellay’s Strange Theory about the Role of the Baptismal Character


Catholic catechisms and St. Thomas teach that a baptismal character (which is an indelible mark) does two things: 1) it marks us as belonging to Christ; and 2) it enables us to receive other sacraments.  Summa, IIIa, Q.63.


Not feeling himself limited to Catholic Doctrine, Bishop Fellay expounds the strange theory that the baptismal character also causes us to recognize the goodness of the traditional Mass.  Bishop Fellay says that, when we attend the traditional Mass, there is a “click” [his word], which is our baptismal character causing us to recognize that this Mass is pleasing to God and is truly Catholic.  Bishop Fellay then says “most of the time there is absolutely no ‘click’ with the new mass.”  Quoted from Bishop Fellay’s October 19, 2012 conference, sold by Angelus Press, disc 1, about minute 76 (emphasis added.)


Recently, Bishop Fellay reiterated his novel theory:


[Y]oung [conciliar] priests identify with this [Traditional] liturgy, precisely because it is timeless.  The Church lives in eternity.  The liturgy does also too [sic], which is why it is always young.  Close to God, it is outside of time.  So it is no surprise that the baptismal character makes this harmony resound even in souls that have never known the liturgy.


June 27 2015 interview found at (emphasis added).


There are two problems with Bishop Fellay’s “click” theory:


a)    Bishop Fellay’s statements are not the traditional Catholic teaching about the role of the baptismal character.  Catholics are led to recognize what is good and evil through grace, virtue and especially the gifts of the Holy Ghost, not by the “clicking” of our baptismal character.


b)    Bishop Fellay’s comments are soft on the new mass, because his comments indirectly say that at least occasionally our God-given sacramental character (which supposedly helps us to discern what is good) will give a “click” in recognition that the new mass is good!


One supposes that Bishop Fellay would say that this (purported) “click” occurs when the new mass is used under the “best”, strictest conditions. But if the new mass is good under strict conditions, then the new mass is good in itself!