Home   |  About Us   |  Contacts   |  Products    
 News Items
 Top Stories
 News Briefs
 Also Featuring
 Movie Reviews
 Sunday Scripture
 CNS Blog
 Links to Clients
 Major Events
 2008 papal visit
 World Youth Day
 John Paul II
 For Clients
 Client Login
 CNS Insider
 We're also on ...
 RSS Feeds
 Top Stories
 Movie Reviews
 CNS Blog
 For More Info

 If you would like
 more information
 about Catholic
 News Service,
 please contact
 CNS at one of
 the following:
 (202) 541-3250


 This material
 may not
 be published,
 rewritten or
 except by
 linking to
 a page on
 this site.

 CNS Story:

SSPX-ONGOING May-16-2012 (530 words) xxxi

Vatican says reconciliation talks with SSPX still ongoing

Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior of the Society of St. Pius X, delivers a blessing during an early morning Mass at the society's headquarters in Menzingen, Switzerland. (CNS/Paul Haring)

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Reconciliation talks between the Vatican and the Society of St. Pius X have not reached their conclusion but will continue, the Vatican said May 16, after members of its doctrinal congregation examined the latest communication from the head of the breakaway traditionalist group.

"Some observations were formulated which will be kept in mind in further discussions," said Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, following a meeting of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Those observations regarded the SSPX's official response to a "doctrinal preamble," prepared by the Vatican in September, outlining "some doctrinal principles and criteria for the interpretation of Catholic doctrine necessary to guarantee fidelity" to the formal teaching of the church, including the teaching of the Second Vatican Council.

The response was submitted in April by Bishop Bernard Fellay, the society's superior general. While Bishop Fellay has been generally positive about the possibility of reconciliation with Rome, leaked letters show that the society's three other bishops have had serious reservations about the process.

"In consideration of the positions taken by the three other bishops of the Society of St. Pius, their situation will have to be treated separately and individually," Father Lombardi said in a statement.

In addition to the hesitancy of the three bishops to support fully Bishop Fellay's efforts, Father Lombardi said, Bishop Richard Williamson's public denials of the Holocaust and anti-Semitic statements also would require discussions separate from those of reconciliation with the SSPX as a whole.

"It is not that this is a process that necessarily will reach a solution that embraces all the positions" found among all the SSPX members, Father Lombardi said.

Even if the SSPX as a whole is reconciled with Rome, he said, "the individual bishops each must make a commitment" to full communion with Rome. "It's not as if there will be one solution that automatically extends to all."

Many observers of the process had expected the May 16 doctrinal congregation meeting to mark the penultimate step in the reconciliation talks. It appeared that congregation members would review Bishop Fellay's response and forward their opinions about it to Pope Benedict XVI for his final action.

Father Lombardi, however, said officials at the doctrinal congregation informed the pope of the results of the day's meeting but did not believe the reconciliation process was nearing its end.

"Obviously, the decision is in the pope's hands" and he can act when and how he wants, "but despite how it may have seemed -- that we were talking about a brief amount of time -- it is a process that continues," Father Lombardi said.

"It would be premature to guess when the process will end," he added.

Pope Benedict's latest efforts to bring about reconciliation with the traditionalist group began when he lifted the excommunications imposed on Bishop Fellay and other SSPX bishops after they were ordained without papal permission. The pope also established a Vatican committee for doctrinal talks with society representatives in 2009, and drafted the "doctrinal preamble" to explain the "minimal, essential" elements on which the society would have to agree for full reconciliation, Father Lombardi had said.


Copyright (c) 2012 Catholic News Service/USCCB. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed.
CNS · 3211 Fourth St NE · Washington DC 20017 · 202.541.3250