ROME, OCTOBER 30, 2012 (Zenit.org).- In a statement released over the weekend, the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei” accepted the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X’s request for more time to prepare its response to two documents presented to them by the Holy See: namely, a doctrinal declaration, and a proposal for the canonical normalization of the Fraternity’s status within the Catholic Church.
The Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X made this request for more time in an official communication dated September 6, 2012, in which they “indicated that additional time for reflection and study is needed on their part as they prepare their response to the Holy See’s latest initiatives.”
The Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei was established in 1988 by Blessed John Paul II to facilitate ‘full ecclesial communion of priests, seminarians, religious communities or individuals until now linked in various ways to the Fraternity founded by Archbishop Lefebvre’ and to promote the pastoral care of the faithful attached to the ancient Latin liturgical tradition of the Catholic Church. In 2009, the Pontifical Commission was structurally linked to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to address the doctrinal issues in the ongoing dialogue between the Holy See and the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X.
“The current stage in the ongoing discussions between the Holy See and the Priestly Fraternity,” the document said, “follows three years of doctrinal and theological dialogues during which a joint commission met eight times to study and discuss, among other matters, some disputed issues in the interpretation of certain documents of Vatican Council II.”
Once this period of dialogue concluded, the statement continued, it then “became possible to proceed to a phase of discussion more directly focused on the greatly desired reconciliation of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X with the See of Peter.”
“Other critical steps in this positive process of gradual reintegration had already been taken by the Holy See in 2007”, the document went on to say, “with the extension of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite to the Universal Church by the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum and in 2009 with the lifting of the excommunications.”
Another important step was made in June of this year, when “the Pontifical Commission presented to the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X a doctrinal declaration together with a proposal for the canonical normalization of its status within the Catholic Church.”
“At the present time, the Holy See is awaiting the official response of the superiors of the Priestly Fraternity to these two documents. After thirty years of separation, it is understandable that time is needed to absorb the significance of these recent developments.”
The statement concludes: “As Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, seeks to foster and preserve the unity of the Church by realizing the long hoped-for reconciliation of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X with the See of Peter – a dramatic manifestation of the munus Petrinum in action – patience, serenity, perseverance and trust are needed.”