The Vatican Press Office announced on Monday, April 4, in a communiqué issued by the vice-director, Greg Burke, that a meeting took place in the Casa Santa Marta on Saturday, April 2, between Pope Francis and Bishop Bernard Fellay, the Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X.
The Vatican press release seems to have telescoped two separate meetings described by the SSPX in their communiqué:
Pope Francis received Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X, accompanied by the Society’s Second General Assistant, Fr. Alain-Marc Nely, at Domus Sanctae Marthae [Latin name for the Casa Sancta Marta, now the papal residence], at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, April 1, 2016.
Bishop Fellay had not had an opportunity to meet Pope Francis since the Holy Father’s election in March 2013, except to exchange very brief greetings at Domus Sanctae Marthae on December 13, 2013. However, some priests of the Society were previously received by the Supreme Pontiff [in April 2015], regarding certain administrative difficulties in the Society’s District of Argentina.
Pope Francis had wanted a private and informal meeting, without the formality of an official audience. It lasted 40 minutes and took place in a cordial atmosphere. After the meeting, it was decided that the current exchanges would continue. The canonical status of the Society was not directly addressed, since Pope Francis and Bishop Fellay had determined that these exchanges ought to continue without haste.
The next morning, Saturday, April 2, Bishop Fellay met with Archbishop Guido Pozzo, Secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, in keeping with the normal relations of the Society with this commission following the 2009-2011 doctrinal discussions and the visits of several [Roman] prelates [to SSPX seminaries and priories] in 2015-2016.
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