.- Several months after Pope Benedict lifted the excommunications of four Society of St. Pius X bishops, the Director of the Holy See's press office, Father Federico Lombardi, announced today that the first meeting with representatives of the society will take place in Rome on Monday, October 26.
The meeting will be attended by a number of individuals, including Archbishop Guido Pozzo, secretary of the Ecclesia Dei Pontifical Commission; Archbishop Luis Ladaria Ferrer, secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF); Dominican Father Charles Morerod, secretary of the International Theological Commission and consultor with the CDF; Archbishop Fernando Ocariz, Vicar General of Opus Dei and consultor with the CDF; and Jesuit Father Karl Josef Becker, also a CDF consultor.
According to Father Lombardi, the meeting will take place at the Palace of the Holy Office, which is where the CDF is housed. “The conversations will focus on open doctrinal questions and will remain confidential. A statement will be released at the conclusion of the meeting,” Lombardi explained.
After Pope Benedict XVI lifted the excommunications of the four Lefebvrist bishops, the Vatican Secretary State issued a statement on February 4, 2009, explaining a series of demands that the Lefebvrists must meet including “full recognition of the Second Vatican Council” and of the magisteriums of all the Popes since Pius XII.
On March 10, the Holy See released a letter from Pope Benedict XVI to the bishops of world in which he explained the reasons for lifting the excommunication, noting that “until the doctrinal questions are clarified, the Society has no canonical status in the Church, and its ministers – even though they have been freed of the ecclesiastical penalty – do not legitimately exercise any ministry in the Church.”
Despite this clear warning, the Lefebvrist bishops ordained a group of priests at the end of June, which prompted a statement from the Holy See’s Press Office reiterating what the Pope said in his letter to the world's bishops.