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SSPX spokesman explains remaining difficulties in talks with Vatican

September 21, 2012

A spokesman for the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) has said that the group declined a Vatican offer of reconciliation because of a requirement that the traditionalists must acknowledge both the validity of the Novus Ordo Mass and the continuity between Vatican II and previous Catholic doctrinal statements.

Father Franz Schmidberger, the German superior of the SSPX, said that these two requirements had been added after the SSPX had nearly reached agreement with the Vatican on a “doctrinal preamble” that would have provided the basis for a reconciliation agreement. Father Schmidberger said that the SSPX could not accept the statement that the teachings of Vatican II are in continuity with the teachings of previous Church councils, since the group sees flat contradictions.

Father Schmidberger hinted that the two added requirements had been added to the "doctrinal preamble" by Cardinal William Levada, who at the time was prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). But he gave no reason for optimism that the new CDF prefect, Archbishop Gerhard Müller, would be more inclined to favor reconciliation with the SSPX. In fact Archbishop Müller has not been forthcoming in his dealings with traditionalists, he said.


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  • Posted by: AgnesDay - Sep. 24, 2012 1:09 PM ET USA

    @jimgrumby--hope you are wrong about the Holy Father's being in no hurry. People die in rebellion against the Church Jesus founded every day. They are at great risk of damnation. SSPX took a stand against Vatican II very early, and there is a gigantic lack of humility in the continuation of their society which was born in disobedience.

  • Posted by: koinonia - Sep. 23, 2012 6:41 PM ET USA

    Fascinating interview. There is great candor and honesty, and it is clear that resolution will be difficult. The Holy Father has clarified personally that the additions were in accord with his intentions. With a big 50th anniversary celebration upcoming for Vatican II, it is doubtful that any meeting of minds "halfway" will take place. It is a fascinating interview nonetheless to anyone interested in Church history. The Holy Father appears to be in no hurry to lower the boom.

  • Posted by: koinonia - Sep. 23, 2012 8:49 AM ET USA

    One concern of the SSPX is that in the history of the difficulties there have been some who would set them up for failure. Thus, there has been great caution not so much to revolt as to protect the organization from canonical and political demise. Most accounts have identified that there was an eleventh-hour addition to the preamble conditions that scuttled an expected agreement. The pope must be aware of the concerns at this point, and the prayers must continue for the good of the Church.