Tuesday, April 04, 2006

SSPX leader hopes Vatican will take "first step"

[And back to the main event... Let's hope and pray for eventual regularization of the SSPX, but regardless, my main interest are Bishop Fellay's comments about the current rumours which may give some further insights into what is potentially going on inside the Holy See, and what could be coming.]

Apr. 04 (CWNews.com) - Bishop Bernard Fellay, the superior of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), says that a Vatican initiative allowing wider use of the Latin Mass would be a welcome "first step" to satisfy the demands of traditionalist Catholics. But the leader of the Lefebvrist group says that it is still "premature" to speak about a full reconciliation between the SSPX and the Holy See.

In an exclusive interview posted on the DICI web site, Bishop Fellay acknowledged the widespread rumors that Pope Benedict will soon issue a "universal indult," allowing priests anywhere to celebrate Mass using the Tridentine rite, which prevailed throughout the Roman Church before the liturgical changes that followed Vatican II. The traditionalist leader said such a document could help to "create a new atmosphere in the official Church." He explained: "It would be a first step toward making traditional Catholic life possible again."

In talks with Vatican officials, aimed at restoring full communion between the Holy See and the breakaway traditionalist group, SSPX leaders have demanded that the Vatican allow free use of the Latin Mass throughout the world, and rescind the decrees of excommunication issued against Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and the four traditionalist bishops he ordained in 1988.

Those two steps, explained Bishop Fellay (who is one of the prelates involved), would help restore traditionalists' confidence in the Vatican. "The traditional Mass being no longer on probation and the ministry of traditional priests no longer clouded by the suspicion of excommunication," he said, would give traditionalists reason to trust Vatican negotiators in further talks.

However, the SSPX leader discouraged further speculation about a Vatican move setting up an apostolic administration to serve traditionalists. Such a move, he said, would be "premature" until a climate of trust had been restored.

Bishop Fellay told his interviewer that SSPX leaders believe that they are fulfilling a crucial need for the Catholic Church, by "safeguarding what is first and foremost the patrimony of the universal Church." He said that SSPX leaders are not deterred by the decrees of excommunication issued by the Vatican, "to which we never ascribed any canonical validity."

[Here is the entire interview with Bishop Fellay of the SSPX:]

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