Sunday, June 11, 2006

Interview of Cardinal Ricard with Apcom, May 31, 2006

Vatican City, May 31st (Apcom) - "In the next months" we can expect a "gesture of benevolence" on behalf of the Pope with respect to the Lefebvrists, to show that the door is not closed. It is only afterwards, probably, that a gesture of a response could come on behalf of the traditionalist schismatic community; it is not possible that the gesture arrives before the July chapter [of the SSPX], which will have to
decide if Msgr. Bernard Fellay is confirmed [re-elected] as the head of the SSPX,
or if he has a successor: this is the analysis of the president of the French bishops, Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard.

Also, while specifying not to have particular information, Cardinal Ricard - archbishop of Bordeaux and Member of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei,
in charge of relations with the Lefebvrists - questioned during a work session in Rome affirms: "I think that the Pope wants to make a gesture to show that the door is not closed, a gesture of benevolence. In the next months, we will see what the concrete expression [of benevolence] will be. Then it will have to be seen whether the SSPX will take the next step". In the contacts with the movement founded by the French archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, Benedict XVI, from his accession to the Chair of Peter, showed signs of interest which proves his intention to heal the schism which
occurred in 1988 between Msgr. Lefebvre and John Paul II.

Cardinal Ricard indicated that there are two points on which the efforts at dialogue could concentrate: the confirmation of the possibility of celebrating the Mass according to the traditional rite of Pius V and the lifting of the excommunications which were brought against the four bishops consecrated by Msgr. Lefebvre without the agreement of the Vatican. There is "a climate of waiting", affirms the archbishop of Bordeaux. But each decision, he continues, will be made by the Pope alone and according to his usual style: "the pope gets information, he listens. And then he decides.

And what about the letter from Econe, general headquarters of the Lefebvrists in Switzerland, which would show their will to dialogue with Rome [requesting that the excommunications be lifted]? "In view of the declarations and homilies by Msgr. Fellay - the president of the Catholic Church in France answers - I am led to believe that he will not write a letter [to the Pope} to open the dialogue, unless it is after a gesture of openess from Rome first." "It seems to me, even if it moves slowly, that things today are starting to move; we are no longer in a situation of hostile distance; there are contacts ", Cardinal Ricard remarks." There
is a dynamic which has begun, but it takes time so that we can see a true rapproachment. "The important point, according to the Cardinal, is not juridical: "If there were to be a rapprochment bringing with the SSPX, it
would be necessary to find them their own administrative structure, he explains, by specifying that the predominant view is in favour of a "personal prélature" like Opus Dei. "the true problem - Msgr. Ricard highlights - is not of a juridical nature, but is doctrinal: to discover with what authority (the Lefebvrists) are ready to recognize the Second Vatican Council and the teachings of the Popes following the Council.

"Msgr. Fellay has confirmed several times, even very recently, that it is the Church which has the duty to correct the" serious crisis "which was born with Vatican Council II and the opening of the Church with modernity. It is there, according to Cardinal Ricard, where doubts could develop. The Lefebvrists "appreciate the person of Benedict XVI. They are perhaps a little mistaken, because if the Pope himself also denounces the false spirit of the Council, he nevertheless regards the texts of the Council as a source of light for the Church. There can be an agreement here (between the Lefebvrists and Pope Ratzinger, note from the redactor Apcom) on the
criticism of the results (of the conciliar spirit, note from the redactor Apcom) - concludes Msgr. Ricard - but then the agreements diverge."

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