Vatican Talks to Continue With Society of St. Pius X

Each of Group’s Bishops to Be Considered Individually

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 16, 2012 ( Though talk has been circulating for weeks of an imminent reconciliation with Rome for the Society of St. Pius X, a statement today from the Vatican press office indicated that discussions with the group will still be ongoing.

The statement reports: «Early this afternoon, the Holy See Press Office issued the following communique regarding the Society of St. Pius X:

«‘As reported by news agencies, today, 16 May 2012, an Ordinary Session of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith met to discuss the question of the Society of St. Pius X.

In particular, the text of the response of Bishop Bernard Fellay, received on 17 April, 2012, was examined and some observations, which will be considered in further discussions between the Holy See and the Society of St. Pius X, were formulated.

«‘Regarding the positions taken by the other three bishops of the Society of St. Pius X, their situations will have to be dealt with separately and singularly.'»


Dialogue has been ongoing with the splinter group since it was established with the illicit ordination of four bishops by founder Marcel Lefebvre. 

It is known that reconciliation with the Society is a desire close to the Pope’s heart, as he was at the forefront of the Church’s efforts to bring reconciliation during his years leading the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

In recent months, the dialogue moved to a new level, with the doctrinal congregation proposing to the Society last September a «doctrinal preamble» that the Vatican hoped would be the basis for finally achieving reconciliation.

The Society of St. Pius X considered the preamble and in January of this year, gave a response to the Vatican, which was examined by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and judged insufficient by Benedict XVI.

The Society was informed in mid-March of the problems with their position and asked for further clarification. In April, a Vatican communiqué stated that the leader of the Society, Bishop Bernard Fellay, had responded to the Vatican and that «the text of the response will be examined by the dicastery then submitted to the Holy Father for his judgement.» Today’s statement comes after that «exam[ination] by the dicastery.»

Last week, letters between Bishop Fellay and the other three Society bishops surfaced on the internet, indicating that Bishop Fellay is open to reconciliation, but the other three are resisting.

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