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SSPX near purchase of headquarters in Rome; rumors swirl of agreement with Vatican

February 27, 2017

The traditionalist Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) is reportedly close to an agreement to purchase a parish property in Rome that could become its headquarters, and rumors are swirling in Rome that the Lefebvrite group is also close to an agreement with the Vatican that would regularize its status.

Archbishop Guido Pozzo, the secretary for the Ecclesia Dei commission that has been conducting talks with the traditionalist group, met with Pope Francis on Monday, February 27. Last month Archbishop Pozzo confirmed that the talks were aimed toward the creation of a personal prelature for the SSPX.

Bishop Bernard Fellay, the superior of the SSPX, has also said that an agreement is close. Bishop Fellay said that the SSPX is anxious to reach an accord that would establish its canonical status. He said that the group would not wait for a perfect situation, but would agree to an acceptable deal.

A personal prelature is a new canonical structure, envisioned by Vatican II, that is established for a special pastoral purpose. The prelature is a non-territorial structure under the leadership of a prelate—who may or may not be a bishop—named by the Pope. The prelature has its own clergy, but lay members of the prelature remain under the jurisdiction of their local diocesan bishops. To date the only personal prelature in the Catholic Church is Opus Dei.

According to a report in the Italian daily Il Foglio, the SSPX has reached a tentative agreement to purchase the property of Santa Maria Immacolata all’Esquilino, a large complex in the center of Rome, roughly midway between the Victor Emmanuel monument and the basilica of St. John Lateran. The complex could be used as a center for studies and a headquarters for the newly established prelature. Il Foglio reports that Pope Francis played an important role in paving the way for the agreement to purchase the new property.

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  • Posted by: koinonia - Mar. 02, 2017 7:06 AM ET USA

    The questions to be asking are how can the Holy Father be so supportive of the SSPX in light of his track record? How can he condemn rigorism and yet be so accommodating? If they're not among the most rigorist, nobody is. What is the Holy Father hoping to accomplish by this? He has admitted they're "Catholic", but he opposes much they hold dear. Things do not seem to be adding up logically. Perhaps Bishop Fellay sees the hand of God in this centenary of Fatima. Is this a leap of faith?

  • Posted by: atto6084 - Feb. 28, 2017 8:33 PM ET USA

    And what of the absolutely horrible things Fellay has said about the Novus Ordo being "evil" and his consistent carping criticism of Vatican II? I certainly hope they've had to recant their schismatic statements and will now submit to the Magisterium- and not the "Tradition of all time" of their imagination.

  • Posted by: Jim.K - Feb. 28, 2017 6:02 PM ET USA

    And what would become of the FSSP? Those priests who chose to remain within the Church, faithful to the Holy Father and not risk excommunication? Sure, we have to rescue the "lost sheep" and, of course we should rejoice over the "prodigal son's return," but... ??? Oh well, I don't think Bishop Fellay will ever sign any deal anyway. He just keeps getting better deals and then pulls back at the last minute. Now he will own this beautiful Church and still be his own little dictator-Pope!