From The Catholic Spirit of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis comes this statement of the Chancellor of the Archdiocese about the SSPX.
My emphases and comments.
Lifting of bishops’ excommunication doesn’t mean they are in full communion with church
By Jennifer Haselberger For The Catholic Spirit
Wednesday, 25 February 2009
Canon 1382 of the Code of Canon Law imposes the penalty of latae sententiae (automatic) excommunication on both the ordaining bishop and the ordinand when the consecration of a bishop occurs without a pontifical mandate. Only the Holy See can remove this penalty. On June 30, 1988, the penalty was incurred by Bernard Fellay, Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, Richard Williamson and Alfonso de Galarreta of the Fraternity of St. Pius X after they received illegitimate Episcopal consecration at the hands of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.
On Dec. 15, 2008, the four men requested that the excommunication be lifted, citing the suffering that it has caused them and affirming their belief in the primacy of the Holy Father and their willingness to accept the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. Therefore, Pope Benedict XVI, taking into account the “spiritual distress of the parties” and “trusting in their commitment . . . to spare no effort in exploring as yet unresolved questions,” authorized the removal of the penalty of excommunication. This became effective on Jan. 21, 2009, with the Decree of the Congregation for Bishops.
The decree frees the four bishops from the penalty of excommunication, but it does not change the status of the Society of St. Pius X, which is not recognized by the Roman Catholic Church. [Indeed, this is the case.] While no longer excommunicated as a result of their illegitimate Episcopal consecration, the four bishops are not clergy of the Roman Catholic Church and may not exercise ministry on behalf of the church.
All baptized Roman Catholics are obliged to maintain communion with the Roman Catholic Church. This communion is expressed through the bonds of the Profession of Faith, the sacraments and union with the Roman Catholic hierarchy. When someone does not profess all of the faith, or rejects one or more of the sacraments, or rejects the ecclesiastical governance of the hierarchy, they are no longer in full communion. The remission of the excommunication of the four bishops, which was an act of charity on the part of the Holy Father, did not bring the individual bishops or the Society of St. Pius X into full communion with the Catholic Church. That will only happen when the society demonstrates its recognition of and fidelity to the Magisterium and the authority of the pope, and is visibly united to the Roman Catholic Church. [Right. They can state all they want about their fidelity to the Holy Father, but formal adherence is another.]
Subsequent to the lifting of the excommunication, the Holy Father further clarified that Bishop Williamson’s viewpoints on the Holocaust are unacceptable and firmly rejected by the Holy See. Moreover, while regrettably Bishop Williamson’s statements do not result in the imposition of additional penalties under canon law, the Holy Father has specified that Bishop Williamson must unmistakably distance himself from such viewpoints before he can be admitted to Episcopal functions in the Roman Catholic Church.
Jennifer Haselberger is archdiocesan chancellor for canonical affairs and director of the Office of Conciliation.
Accurate in its details. I like this because it doesn’t say more than it has to.
There is an SSPX presence in the Archdiocese and it was probably a good idea to say something.
The only thing I might want to quibble with is the idea that it might be in some way desirable for Bp. Williamson ever to have "functions" as a bishop in the Church. Even should he be fully reconciled with the Church, he should quietly retire.