Vatican hands SSPX doctrinal statement for assent

Hopes for response "within a few months"

At a meeting today with Vatican officials, including the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s Cardinal William Levada, leaders of the Society of St. Pius X were given a “doctrinal preamble” detailing principles of the Catholic faith to which assent must be given in order for the traditionalist group to achieve reconciliation with the Catholic Church.

In addition, the leaders discussed what a “canonical solution” to the SSPX fissure might look like, should the group accept the doctrinal statement. After the meeting, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi, SJ stated that a personal prelature for the SSPX, similar to the one in place for Opus Dei, looks like the most likely solution at this point in time. Father Lombardi also expressed the hope that the SSPX would respond to the Vatican’s offer “within a few months.”

Catholic News Service’s Cindy Wooden has a full report here.  She writes:

The document given to Bishop Fellay to sign “states some doctrinal principles and criteria for the interpretation of Catholic doctrine necessary to guarantee fidelity” to the formal teaching of the church, said a statement issued by the Vatican after the meeting.

At the same time, the statement said, the preamble leaves room for “legitimate discussion” about “individual expressions or formulations present in the documents of the Second Vatican Council and the successive magisterium” of the popes who came after the council.

Father Lombardi would not respond to questions about specific church teachings and developments listed in the preamble, but said church tradition always has held there are varying degrees of church teaching; some require an absolute assent while others are open to interpretation. …

Bishop Fellay had said his society went into the talks aiming to show the contradictions between the church’s traditional teachings and its practices since Vatican II. That is “the only goal that we are pursuing,” he had said, adding that the dialogue with the Vatican is not a search for compromise but “a question of faith.”

The Vatican’s official statement on the meeting and the doctrinal statement can be read here.


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About Catherine Harmon 573 Articles
Catherine Harmon is managing editor of Catholic World Report.