I have suggested elsewhere on this blog, and not too long ago, that Pope Francis could be the one to show TLC to the traditional side. Benedict XVI was the obvious one to do so, but, after Summorum Pontificum – which was HUGE – he didn’t do too much more.
Could Francis be the one to say or be at a Pontifical Mass? I somewhat facetiously suggested that in my interview with Amerika. Somewhat facetiously, but not entirely. Could Francis be the unexpected one to reconcile the SSPX? That’s a long shot. It’s a loooooong shot, as a matter of fact, given what we have seen over the last few months. Still, I won’t denounce yet what I have written.
Now I read this.
Marco Tosatti, who has been doing yeoman’s work of late, has this at La Stampa:
Lefebvrians: “Rome doesn’t plan on imposing a capitulation”
In an interview with authoritative French weekly magazine Famille Chrétienne, the Secretary of Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, Guido Pozzo, discussed the state of relations between Rome and the Society of St. Pius X following Mgr. Fellay’s recent meeting with the Prefect of the Doctrine for the Faith. From the interview, it would seem that the Holy See does not intend to put any pressure on Mgr. Lefebvre’s followers but would like an agreement to be reached, although the timeframe for this is uncertain. [Some time between the opening of the 3rd and 4th Seals, perhaps.] What we are given to understand here, is that Rome intends to show greater flexibility on any aspect that does not regard doctrine. [But… isn’t that pretty much what the SSPX are concerned about? The excommunications were lifted, so that’s not a problem. They are all suspended a divinis because they have received ordination illicitly and do not submit to ecclesiastical authority.]
In 2009 Benedict XVI decided to revoke the excommunication of Lefebvrian bishops who had been illicitly ordained by Mgr. Lefebvre in 1988. This was a first and essential step toward the resumption of a constructive dialogue. Just a first step, however, because there were still some big doctrinal questions which needed to be addressed. The Ecclesia Dei Commission which has close links with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, is the main instrument in this dialogue process. [And the dialogue is about doctrine.]
Perhaps the most interesting part of the interview is that which addressed the sticking points in said dialogue. Mgr. Pozzo underlined that “any reservations or positions the Society of St. Pius X may have regarding aspects which are not related to faith but to pastoral questions [Would that include illicit witnessing of marriages, without faculties? Receiving confessions without faculties?] or the prudential teaching of the Magisterium do not necessarily need to withdrawn or relinquished.” [Could this be going the way that I have always suggested? I have always said that matters of religious liberty were really hard questions, that the Vatican Council’s documents raised quite a few questions, and that there weren’t easy answers. SSPXers should have the right to raise legitimate questions.] Here Rome seems to be showing an attempt to alter positions expressed in the past: According to Mgr. Pozzo, the fraternity’s reservations are linked to “aspects of pastoral care or the prudential teaching of the Magisterium.” The monsignor’s statement suggests that since these criticisms and reservations are no longer labelled as “doctrinal” the Lefebvrians could legitimately continue to express them. [!]
This approach is expressed more clearly in the following part of the interview: “The Holy See does not wish to impose a capitulation on the SSPX. [!] On the contrary, it invites the fraternity to stand beside it within the same framework of doctrinal principles that is necessary in guaranteeing the same adhesion to the faith and Catholic doctrine on the Magisterium and the Tradition. [“framework of doctrinal principles”… The Creed?] At the same time, there is room for further reflection on the reservations the fraternity has expressed regarding certain aspects and the wording of the Second Vatican Council documents as well as some reforms that followed but which do not refer to subjects which are dogmatically or doctrinally indisputable.” [This is a pretty big deal.]
Finally, one other very important clarification was made: “There is no doubt that the teachings of the Second Vatican Council vary a great deal in terms of how authoritative and binding they are depending on the text. So, for example, the Lumen Gentium Constitution on the Church and the Dei Verbum on the Divine Revelation are doctrinal declarations even though no dogmatic definition was given to them”, [and yet those declarations are in Dogmatic Constitutions…] whereas the declarations on religious freedom, non-Christian religions and the decree on ecumenism “are authoritative and binding to a different and lesser degree.” [Bless my buttons. This is what I have been talking about for decades now.]
It is unclear how long this process is going to take: “I don’t think it is possible to say yet when this process will conclude,” Mgr. Pozzo said. Both sides are committed to taking things step by step. “There will be no unexpected shortcuts; the clearly stated aim is to promote unity through the generosity of the universal Church led by the successor of Peter.”
I suspect the members of the SSPX these days, especially after the latest Synod, are having aneurisms and spittle-flecked nutties. The SPPX has been going on for ever about “eternal Rome” v. “modernist Rome”. The big move is going to have to come from the Holy See.
Moderation is ON.