Vatican: SSPX position “is not sufficient to overcome doctrinal problems” UPDATED

Invites Bishop Fellay to clarify his position “to heal the existing rift”

This morning the Holy See Press Office released a statement regarding the on-going doctrinal discussions between the Society of St. Pius X and the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Briefly outlining the most recent major developments in the dialogue—specifically, the CDF’s handing down a “Doctrinal Preamble” in September, and the SSPX’s official response to that document in January—the statement explains that Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior general of the SSPX, has been informed that the doctrinal position described in his group’s January response “is not sufficient to overcome the doctrinal problems which lie at the foundation of the rift between the Holy See and the Society of St. Pius X.”

The Vatican’s statement also expressed “concern to avoid an ecclesial rupture of painful and incalculable consequences,” and said that Bishop Fellay “was invited to clarify his position in order to be able to heal the existing rift, as is the desire of Pope Benedict XVI.”

As of yet there has been no official statement from the SSPX on the Vatican’s response to their response.

The full statement from the Vatican Press Office reads:

COMMUNIQUE CONCERNING THE SOCIETY OF ST. PIUS X

Vatican City, 16 March 2012 (VIS) – Given below is the text of a communique relating to the Society of St. Pius X, released this morning by the Holy See Press Office.

“During the meeting of 14 September 2011 between Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and president of the Pontifical Commission ‘Ecclesia Dei’, and Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior general of the Society of St. Pius X, the latter was presented with a Doctrinal Preamble, accompanied by a Preliminary Note, as a fundamental basis for achieving full reconciliation with the Apostolic See. This defined certain doctrinal principles and criteria for the interpretation Catholic doctrine, which are necessary to ensure faithfulness to the Church Magisterium and ‘sentire cum Ecclesia’.

“The response of the Society of St. Pius X to the aforesaid Doctrinal Preamble, which arrived in January 2012, was examined by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith before being submitted to the Holy Father for his judgement. Pursuant to the decision made by Pope Benedict XVI, Bishop Fellay was, in a letter delivered today, informed of the evaluation of his response. The letter states that the position he expressed is not sufficient to overcome the doctrinal problems which lie at the foundation of the rift between the Holy See and the Society of St. Pius X.

“At the end of today’s meeting, moved by concern to avoid an ecclesial rupture of painful and incalculable consequences, the superior general of the Society of St. Pius X was invited to clarify his position in order to be able to heal the existing rift, as is the desire of Pope Benedict XVI”.

UPDATE: The report on the statement posted on the French version of the Vatican Radio website includes a deadline for Bishop Fellay’s “clarification” not present in the English version: “Bishop Fellay is invited to clarify his position, in order to be able to heal the existing rift, as is the desire of Pope Benedict XVI, from now until April 15” (via Rorate Caeli).


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