Catholic World News

SSPX spokesman: Bishop Fellay to make decision on papal offer in a ‘few days’

June 14, 2012

The Vatican has confirmed that Pope Benedict XVI has made an offer of reconciliation to the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), and the Vatican has prepared a document that would establish a personal prelature for the traditionalist group.

Bishop Bernard Fellay, the superior general of the SSPX, will now weigh the Pope's offer, and has promised a prompt response. That response could be a simple acceptance of the Pope's position, or it could entail another round of discussions and negotiations.

Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Holy See Press Office, told reporters that a June 13 meeting between Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior general of the SSPX, and officials of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is a “step in a process that is still ongoing.”

Last September, the Vatican submitted to the SSPX a “doctrinal preamble” whose acceptance is a prerequisite for full communion between the Society and Holy See. The traditionalist group’s first response, in January, was considered “not sufficient” by the Vatican and the Pope, and Bishop Fellay delivered a second one in April, which has been reviewed by the Vatican’s doctrinal office and then forwarded to Pope Benedict.

The "doctrinal preamble" will be made public only after an agreement has been reached, the Vatican has indicated. The document would presumably be the preamble to a canonical document establishing an ecclesiastical structure for the SSPX. The Vatican has now confirmed the speculation that a new personal prelature would be formed, making the SSPX the 2nd body--following Opus Dei--to have that status within the Church.

During the June 13 meeting, which lasted for more than two hours, Cardinal William Levada, the Congregation’s prefect, submitted to Bishop Fellay a final offer from the Pope, according journalist Andrea Tornielli.

Father Alain Lorans, spokesman for the Society of St. Pius X, concurred with Father Lombardi, describing the meeting as “just a step.” Father Lorains said that Bishop Fellay will decide “in a few days” whether to accept the Pope’s proposal.

During the June 13 meeting, a Vatican statement noted, Bishop Fellay "illustrated the current situation of the Society of St. Pius X." That statement appeared to be a reference to the friction within the traditionalist group, which has now become public knowledge. While Bishop Fellay appears anxious to achieve a reconciliation with the Holy See, the three other bishops of the SSPX have expressed severe misgivings about the prospect of an agreement. The Vatican's official release after the June 13 meeting addressed those disagreements directly by repeating an earlier statement that "the situation of the other three bishops of the Society of St. Pius X will be dealt with separately and singularly."

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  • Posted by: demark8616 - Jun. 16, 2012 2:03 AM ET USA

    Well noted jimgrum, what the Doctrinal Preamble states will clarify for all the Catholic world, the points of divergence the SSPX must attend to and repair in order to enjoy full communion with the Church they ly claim to. Yes, let us pray to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus....for "the good of the Church and the salvation of souls."

  • Posted by: koinonia - Jun. 15, 2012 9:31 AM ET USA

    Gotta wait for the details. No one knows with certainty what the final version of the "Doctrinal Preamble" states. It appears that behind the scenes, something unprecedented has been going on. But it is also quite true that there are tremendous political pressures on both sides to hold fast. Today is not a bad day to petition the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus for an outcome that proves for "the good of the Church and the salvation of souls."

  • Posted by: demark8616 - Jun. 15, 2012 5:20 AM ET USA

    I respect the Holy Father's decision to bring these wayward back into the Mystical Body & pray for their true conversion to the True Faith and not the hybrid version they have marketed in the soil of disobedience for so many years. Incarnate??? "We also seek to call the attention of the Sovereign Pontiff to the existence of the Tradition. We wish to remind him that the Tradition is the Church, and that we incarnate the Church’s utterly Living Tradition." Bihop Fellay 2005 meeting with the Pope

  • Posted by: Chelle,SFO-MI - Jun. 14, 2012 8:27 PM ET USA

    They can’t even get along with each other…. Incidentally, if Blessed Pope John Paul II is not in Heaven…well, there’s no chance for me…