The intrepid Andrea Tornielli has the five points which the Holy See has offered to the SSPX. Here is my translation:
I have gotten hold of the letter (written in French) which Dario Card. Castrillon Hoyos wrote with the five conditions sent to [Bp.] Fellay in view of a return to full communion with Rome. Contrary to the first leaks, there is no mention of acceptance of the Council or the new Mass: they are prior general conditions. In fact the Holy See, showing a great generosity, asks that they not attack the person of the Pope. [Bp.] Fellay asked Benedict XVI for the revocation of the excommunication, so the request to respect authority without first pretending to be the recipients of a a "superior" Magisterium to that of the reigning Pontiff seems to me to be a commonsensical condition! This is the text of the letter which bears the signature of the Cardinal President of Ecclesia Dei:
Conditions resulting from the 4 june 2008 meeting between Dario Card. Castrillon Hoyos and Bishop Bernard Fellay:
- A commitment to a proportioned response to the generosity of the Pope.
- A commitment to avoid any public speech which does not respect the person of the Holy Father and which can be negative for ecclesial charity.
- A commitment to avoid the pretense of a Magisterium superior to the Holy Father and to not put forward the Fraternity [SSPX] in opposition to the Church.
- A commitment to demonstrate the will to behave honestly in full ecclesial charity and in respect to the authority of the Vicar of Christ.
- A commitment to respect the date – fixed at the end of the month of June – to respond positively. This will be a required and necessary condition for the immediate preparation for adhesion to have full communion.
Okay. Huge stuff here.
Isn’t this basically a papal "offer you can’t refuse"?
Let’s parse some of this.
The Holy See has not made any theological requirements beyond those inherent in having a proper relationship of respect with the Vicar of Christ. The office of the Vicar of Christ, the Petrine Ministry, is a theological point in itself, a constitutive dimension of the Church willed by the Lord Himself. Therefore a proper attitude of respect for a) his person and b) his teaching office, are both practical and theological. Union with the Roman Pontiff must at least fulfill these points, at the very least.
There are practical aspects here too. Not long ago, speaking in Paris, Bp. Fellay said some harsh things about the Pope, calling him a "perfect liberal" in a sermon. I posted on that here. This must stop, clearly. Also, recall that some people said "But Father! But Father!", in high dudgeon, "you shouldn’t talk about what Bp. Fellay said! That’s unhelpful!" No, friends. This was an important point that had to be taken care of. It concerns ecclesial charity.
Also, and I think this must be brought out – though some will bridle at the suggestion the question implies: Could some dissenter such as, say, Kung accept these conditions? I suspect not.
We have now moved firmly to the real point of the conflict: Who is Peter in the Church?
Denial of unity with Peter is now the serious problem to be overcome and it must be done in charity, which means at times some difficult questions and corresponding sacrifices.
The basis of all union in the Church has to be charity, first exemplified by Jesus on the Cross in His great act of self-oblation.
There is no mention in the conditions of doctrinal details.
Also, the word "adhesion" needs some thought. In my days at the P.C. Ecclesia Dei, all that meant was that you signed a document which had the Creed and a statement that the New Mass was valid and that you didn’t deny the Second Vatican Council. Nothing more. It didn’t require that you like the New Mass or that you had to celebrate Mass in the Novus Ordo. It say you had to think everything in the Council was peachy. It was simple. Like the word idoneus in Summorum Pontificum, the standard is always the minimum necessary.
Keep in mind who the Pope is. He is a highly gifted theologian who was in charge of the CDF for a very long time. He did his own scholarly work on Augustine and Bonaventure, learning from them the nature of the Church and how to resolve conflicts. He had practical experience in dealing with theologians.
Pope Benedict respects theological differences and debates, so long as they are conducted fairly and in charity. He has never been out to hammer people who disagree either with him personally or with the Church in doctrine if there can be a discussion and a meeting of minds. That has been his modus operandi for years.
I sense from this that theological discussions about doctrinal points can take place at some time down the line, but this first step must be undertaken.
The bickering must cease right now. Then we can move forward.
O God, our common Father who knows us better than ourselves,
pour graces through the Holy Spirit into the hearts of the members of the SSPX
to bend what is rigid and warm what is cold,
that in union with the Vicar of Christ,
to whom Your Son our Lord gave His own authority to bind and to loose
and whom He gave as a gift to the Church as a visible point of of unity,
we may together in ecclesial charity strive in grace and zeal to renew
Your people in our Holy Catholic Church.