Substantial developments today in the SSPX - Vatican negotiations

KATH.NET - Katholischer Nachrichtendienst

UPDATE from 19.00 clock: a new statement from the SSPX: "The desire for further clarifications could usher in a new series of meeting" - The Vatican plans to offer a personal prelature

The Vatican on Wednesday evening consulted with the leadership of the SSPX on the progress of the ecclesiastical unity efforts. The prefect of the Congregation of the Faith, Cardinal William Levada, gave the Superior of the Priestly Society of St. Pius X, Bernard Fellay, in a detailed interview at the headquarters of his curial body, the official response of the Pope.

Benedict XVI had informed Levada and the Secretary of the Congregation, Luis Francisco Ladaria on Saturday of his decision on the course of dialogue with the traditionalists. It focuses on the so-called doctrinal preamble, which had been submitted by he Vatican to the SSPX, after one and a half years of expert consultations, as a basis for agreement. It is not clear yet, whether and and with what modifications, Fellay will accept this preamble- also unknown is the vote of the Pope.

The Vatican had handed over to the SSPX in mid September 2011 at the end of the theological discussions a document for signature concerning teaching and interpretation principles of Catholic doctrine. . This maintained fidelity to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, including the statements of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965).

The first two answers given by the traditionalists had been assessed by the Vatican as inadequate. A third letter from Fellay from mid-April, was discussed by the meeting of the Cardinals of the Congregation of the Faith on the 16 May and submitted to the Pope for a decision.

At the same time the Congregation of the decoupled discussions with Fellay from the three other traditionalist bishops who were also illegally ordained in 1988 by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre (1905-1991). These three, among them the Holocaust denier Richard Williamson, had ruled out an agreement with Rome in the near future in principle.

Recent public statements of Fellay have given rise to irritation in Rome that the Vatican no longer demanded from the SSPX the acceptance of the entire Second Vatican Council. In the Vatican, it is said, the complete adoption of the Magisterium of the Catholic Church remain the basis for an end to the breach between Rome and the traditionalists.

Meanwhile, the Rome correspondent of the French Catholic daily newspaper "La Croix" (Thursday) says that the offer document submitted by the Vatican offers to the traditionalists in the event of an agreement a reconciliation in the form of a personal prelature, similar to that of Opus Dei.
However, in the recent response of Fellay, there were still formulations that have been rejected by the Pope. Among other things, there was talk of "errors of the Council".

The newspaper claims to have learned that the document should be published after the agreement, although it had been agreed, not to publish the original one which is now altered by negotiations.

Now the next stage will be for Fellay to accept the changes made by the Vatican. It is not unlikely, that he asked on Wednesday at the Levada meeting for a renewed period of reflection for the SSPX. The spokesman of the French district of the Fraternity, Abbe Alain Lorand said, then told the press that an answer is scheduled in one week to 10 days. At the meeting of Wednesday, there had been just one more step in a process. In the event of a settlement, Vatican has said that it wishes to raise the SSPX to the rank of a personal prelature. A draft was also presented at the meeting.

UPDATE:The Vatican expects a response during the month of July from the SSPX to its recent settlement proposal. The Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said on Thursday to reporters. After discussions between Cardinal William Levada with the Superior General of the Priestly Society of St. Pius X. on Wednesday evening, the "ball is now in the traditionalists' park. They would need to decide whether they agreed with the Vatican's assessment of its response in April, according to Lombardi.

He would not provide substantive information as to whether the response was "positive" and thus an agreement was possible.

Update from 19.00 clock

The General House of the SSPX on Thursday evening also released a statement confirming the meeting in Rome. During this meeting, Bishop Fellay according to the SSPX heard the statements and notes of Cardinal Levada. Fellay laid out the "difficulties in matters of faith" that Vatican II and the Novus Ordo Mass apparently cause in his opinion apparently. "The desire for further clarifications could lead to a new series of interviews . At this meeting, the desire was expressed to continue the conversation," it says further in the statement.