Catholic World News

Bishop Fellay warns of potential internal split if SSPX reconciles with Holy See

May 14, 2012

The superior general of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) said in an interview that there may be a split within the society if it reconciles with the Holy See.

“There are some discrepancies in the society,” said Bishop Bernard Fellay. “I cannot exclude that there might be a split.”

“The thing is not yet done,” he continued. “We need some reasonable understanding that the proposed structure and conditions are workable. We are not going to do suicide there, that’s very clear.”

Bishop Fellay’s comments come amid widespread speculation that Pope Benedict XVI will soon approve a canonical agreement regularizing the status of the SSPX, thus ending a split that began in the 1970s and peaked in 1988 when the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, then the leader of the SSPX, was excommunicated after ordaining four bishops in defiance of orders from Blessed John Paul II. In 2009, Pope Benedict lifted the excommunications (which also applied to the SSPX bishops), but the traditionalist prelates remain suspended from ministry.

“Personally, I would have wished to wait for some more time to see things clearer, but once again it really appears that the Holy Father wants it to happen now,” Bishop Fellay added. “The Pope says that ... the [Second Vatican] Council must be put within the great tradition of the Church, must be understood in accordance with it.”

“These are statements we fully agree with, totally, absolutely,” Bishop Fellay said. “The problem might be in the application, that is: is what happens really in coherence or in harmony with tradition?”

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  • Posted by: justinswanton2559 - May. 15, 2012 1:37 PM ET USA

    “The Pope says that ... the [Second Vatican] Council must be put within the great tradition of the Church, must be understood in accordance with it.” The key issue. Parts of Vat II need a commentary, just as the phrase 'Extra Ecclesia nulla salus' needed a commentary. By commentary I mean an explanation that may not have been in the forefront of the minds of the original authors. And since not all the Council documents are ex cathedra (as stated by the Council itself), there is room for debate.