The always interesting Rorate as well as the experts of liturgical eye-candy NLM, not to mention the Italian site messainlatino.it all get my biretta tip for this. I share it here to make it known to a wider group of readers.
My emphases and comments:
The follwing is a synthesis of remarks made by Bishop Alfonso de Galarreta, head of the SSPX delegation for the discussions, on the occasion of recent ordinations of the SSPX at its Argentinian seminary of La Reja. [de Galarreta has in the past been one of the hard liners.]
1) The outcome of the first meeting has been good.
2) Primarily the agenda and the method of discussion were established.
3) The issues to be discussed are of a doctrinal nature to the express exclusion of any canonical question regarding the situation of the SSPX. [So, they are not discussing whether the 1988 excommunications were legitimate, they aren’t dealing with the fact that SSPX clerics are suspended or whether they validly absolve sins (under normal circumstances), etc.]
4) The common doctrinal reference point will be the Magisterium prior to the Council. [Before the Council the Church said X. Now the Church seems to be saying Y. Can these two positions be harmonized or not? Actually, that’s a very good project.]
5) The talks follow a rigorous method: an issue is raised, and the party raising it sends a paper substantiating its doubts. The Holy See responds in writing, after prior email exchanges among the technical advisers. At the meeting, the issue is discussed. [Good methodology.]
6) All meetings are taped by both parties and filmed.
7) The conclusions of each topic will be submitted to the Holy Father and the Superior General of the SSPX. [Not that there is any equivalence between them, of course.]
8) The timing of these meetings depends on whether the topic is new or is already being discussed. In the first case, it will be approximately every three months. In the second, every two. The next meeting is planned for mid January. [This is going to take a while… depending on the number of questions. I suspect they will limit themselves to key issues, such as the claim by the SSPX of an anthropocentric starting point in the Council’s documents, rather than a christocentric. They will surely discuss religious liberty and ecumenism, which are probably two sides of the same coin.]
10) The theological representatives of the Holy See "are people you can talk with", they speak "the same (theological) language as we". (meaning presumably they are Thomists). [Very good.]
11) Some of the topics mentioned by the bishop in his homily, not exhaustively, are:
a) The Magisterium of the Council and after the Council.
b) The conciliar liturgical reform. [I suspect that will be more easily dealt with.]
c) Ecumenism and interreligious dialogue.
e) Papal authority and collegiality. [Right.]
f) Freedom of conscience, religious freedom, secularism and the social reign of Jesus Christ.
g) Human rights and human dignity according to the Council’s teaching.
The Bishop repeated that the results of the first session are good, compared to the previous situation. The parties talked entirely freely and only about doctrinal issues in a Thomist theological framework.
No one can foresee what will happen in the future. One will move forward day by day, as prudence and evangelical spirit direct.
How many times did I write about the need for men of good will to sit down and start talking?
One of the real benefits of these meetings and discussions for the whole Church will be greater clarity about the continuity between the pre-Conciliar teaching and Conciliar together with post-Conciiar teachings on a range of important issues. I suspect that in some points the talks may reveal that there seems to be a discontinuity which requires greater explication. Certainly some ecclesiological questions need to be worked through. It is the constant claim by (usually) liberals that the Council changed the Church’s ecclesiology (theology of the nature of the Church). This new ecclesiology undergirds the post-Conciliar liturgical reform and the revision of Canon Law, as well as what is taught in seminaries, etc.
In other words: Cult, Code and Creed.
No one should fear these talks or their results. Everyone benefits from an honest and intelligent search for answers to the burning questions of our time.
Also, I urged you on many occasions for pray for the parties involved. Please keep them on your list.
Finally, I am pleasantly surprised by the positive tone of the remarks by SSPX Bishop de Galarreta.