Catholic World News News Feature
SSPX leader rejects hopes for reconciliation with Rome April 21, 2008
The head of the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) has firmly rejected the notion that the motu proprio allowing broader use of the traditional Latin Mass will lead to a reconciliation between his group and the Holy See.
In an Easter letter to the faithful of the SSPX, Bishop Bernard Fellay reports that "nothing has really changed" with the release of Summuorum Pontificum , since the document failed to address key questions that the Lefebvrist movement has posed since its break with the Vatican in 1986.
The fundamental problem that bars the way to reunion with Rome is a problem of belief, Bishop Fellay said. "The liturgical question is not the primary one," he said; "it has arisen only as an expression of the alteration of the faith" in the wake of Vatican II. He argued that the teachings of Vatican II brought "profound, revolutionary" changes in the content of Church teaching," bringing about "a new liturgical rite, but also a new mode of the Church's presence in the world."
In his letter, written in French, Bishop Fellay added the argument that the teachings of Vatican II opened the way for a novel understanding of the relations between the Catholic Church and other faiths. He decried the expression used in the Vatican II document Lumen Gentium that the Church of Christ "subsists" in the Catholic Church, and the broad new understanding of religious freedom.
Bishop Fellay cited these doctrinal concerns to explain that the SSPX "cannot sign an agreement" with the Holy See.
The traditionalist bishop added that the resistance in many dioceses to implementation of the motu proprio-- "sometimes brutal"-- underlines the need for caution on the part of traditionalists hoping to achieve any meaningful agreement with Rome. Bishop Fellay argued that he still hopes for such an agreement, and the motu proprio has encouraged those hopes, but the time for reconciliation remains distant.