Pope prepared to lift excommunication of SSPX bishops
January 22, 2009
According to multiple reports from reliable Vatican-watchers, Pope Benedict XVI will soon lift the decree of excommunication imposed upon four traditionalist bishops who were consecrated by the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in 1988. Italian journalists report that the Pope's action will be made public within a matter of days. The move would be a major step toward reconciliation with the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX).
SSPX leaders-- including the bishops living under the decree of excommunication-- have consistently stated that before ending their break with the Holy See, they would insist on the removal of that excommunication and the right of every Catholic priest to celebrate the Mass using the traditional rite. With the publication of Summorum Pontificum in 2007, Pope Benedict fulfilled the latter condition; lifting the excommunication would satisfy the former SSPX demand. Still to be resolved, however, would be the serious disagreements over the authority and interpretation of Vatican II documents.
The Rorate Caeli blog is carefully following the latest reports, from Rome and elsewhere, on the Pope's reported plan.