Pius X Society gives initial reaction to Vatican offer

By David Kerr

Rome, Italy, Sep 16, 2011 / 10:06 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The leader of the Society of St. Pius X says the traditionalist group will respond to the Vatican’s offer of reconciliation based upon “the good of the Church and of souls.”

Society of St. Pius X Superior General Bishop Bernard Fellay

“Our Rosary crusade, which continues for several more months, must be intensified so as to enable us to obtain, through the intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church, the graces of light and strength that we need more than ever,” said the Society’s Superior General, Bishop Bernard Fellay, after leaving the talks in Rome Sept. 14.

Bishop Fellay’s comments followed a two-hour meeting at which he was presented with a statement of principles, or “doctrinal preamble,” by the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal William Leveda. The document outlined points of doctrine that the Vatican needs clarified before finally healing the decades-long rift between the two sides.

If the Society agrees they may be offered the status of a personal prelature within the Church – a jurisdiction without geographical boundaries designed to carry out particular pastoral initiatives.

“The meeting was conducted with great courtesy and with equally great candor, because for the sake of honesty the Society of St. Pius X refuses to evade the problems that remain,” said Bishop Fellay in an interview posted on the Society’s website.

The Society of St. Pius X was founded by Archbishop Marcel Lefebrve in 1970 as a response to what he described as errors that had crept into the Catholic Church following the Second Vatican Council. It has had a strained relationship with the Vatican since Archbishop Lefebrve consecrated four bishops against the orders of Pope John Paul II in 1988.

Yesterday’s talks seem to leave open the possibility of the Society repairing its relationship with the Church, while still being allowed to express concerns over the legacy of the Second Vatican Council.

Bishop Fellay says this view confirms a 2005 conversation he had with Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, then President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, who told him that the Society’s various objections to aspects of the Second Vatican Council “does not mean that you are outside the Church.”

However, Bishop Fellay also said that the doctrinal preamble does not spell out a “clear-cut distinction” between “the inviolable dogmatic sphere” and “the pastoral sphere that is subject to discussion.”

While not giving a time scale for the Society’s response, Bishop Fellay said he will reply to the Vatican as soon as he has “taken the time necessary to study” the document and “to consult with those who are chiefly responsible for the Society of St. Pius X.”