Sandro Magister has a long piece (in Italian) about the remarks made recently by SSPX Bishop and Superior Bernard Fellay. HERE The SSPX website has posted a video interview with Fellay, arranged according to some bullet point questions. HERE
One of the things that Fellay touches on is the seeming benevolent interest that Pope Francis seems to have in regard to the SSPX. After all, Francis, for the Year of Mercy, allows that the faithful can have recourse to SSPX priests for the Sacrament of Penance. We might have thought that Pope Benedict was the one who could reconcile the SSPX but, paradoxically, Francis might be the better candidate.
“Paradox” comes up in the Fellay interview.
I have wondered for a long time now if Francis isn’t interested in the SSPX because he sees them as a “periphery” which requires attention.
I don’t think that the SSPX wants to be thought of as a “periphery”, but that might be the key to figuring out Francis.
Back in 2014 I wrote:
For Francis, the “periphery” brings back to the core something that is vital, necessary. The problem is, how to preserve at the core the best that the core has always possessed while at the same time reaching outward to the “peripheries”? The danger is that the core will be forgotten, that a hole or vacuum will open up at the core and we will abandon and forget vast swathes of our identity and identity shaping patrimony.
The SSPX is simultaneously the doughnut hole and the doughnut. They are at the same time the core, preserving tradition and patrimony, and they have become a “periphery”. They are in danger of becoming irrelevant to the rest of the Church, and therefore they have to put their best foot forward, too, to make what they have to offer attractively useful.
My view has shifted a bit in this regard, but I still think there is something to this “periphery” idea for Francis. Fellay touches on this also.
One of the explanations is Pope Francis’ regard for everything that is put on the margins, what is called the “existential peripheries”. It wouldn’t surprise me if he considered us one of these peripheries to which he openly gives his preference. In this perspective, he uses the expression “take a journey” (‘compiere un percorso’) with the people on the periphery, hoping that one could come to an improvement of things. So it isn’t a firm desire to resolve (things) quickly: the journey goes where it goes, but in the end it’s calm enough, tranquil, without knowing too much what might happen. Probably, this is one of the deeper reasons.
Fellay’s point about time frame of the “percorso” is probably right.