.- A senior figure in the breakaway traditionalist group, the Society of St. Pius X, says it could be “very, very difficult” for the Vatican and the Society to agree on terms for reconciliation.
“Assisi III and even more the unfortunate beatification of John Paul II but also many other examples make it clear that the leadership of the Church now as before is not ready to give up the false principles of Vatican II and their consequences,” said the Society’s First Assistant, Father Niklaus Pfluger, in an interview posted on the Society’s website Oct. 2.
“Therefore,” Fr. Pfluger said, “any ‘offer’ made to Tradition must guarantee us the freedom to be able to continue our work and our critique of ‘modernist Rome.’ And to be honest, this seems to be very, very difficult. Again, any false or dangerous compromise must be ruled out.”
“Assisi III” refers to a planned meeting between Pope Benedict XVI and other religious leaders in the Italian town later this month.
Fr. Pfluger’s comments come only weeks after the Vatican presented the Society with a “doctrinal preamble” which outlines points of doctrine that Rome needs clarified before the decades-long rift between the two sides can be healed. If they agree, it is thought the Society could be offered a personal prelature status within the Church - a jurisdiction without geographical boundaries designed to carry out particular pastoral initiatives
Fr. Pfluger revealed that the superiors of the Society of St. Pius X will meet next week in the Albano Laziale suburb of Rome to discuss the offer. He stressed that they will not compromise on their criticism of the Second Vatican Council “and other ways of doing things for the sake of ‘pluralism.’”
“For how can we avoid giving the impression that this amounts after all to a tacit acceptance, so to speak, that would in fact lead to this parallel diversity and relativize the one truth,” he asked, adding, “that is indeed precisely the basis of Modernism.”
The Society of St. Pius X has had a strained relationship with the Vatican since its founder, Archbishop Marcel Lefebrve, consecrated four bishops against the orders of Pope John Paul II in 1988. Archbishop Lefebrve founded the Society in 1970 as a response to what he described as errors that had crept into the Catholic Church following the Second Vatican Council.
Fr. Pfluger also suggested that the Society of St. Pius X is in a stronger bargaining position in relation to the Vatican than in 1988.
“We have four bishops and meanwhile 550 priests worldwide. And the structures of the official Church are breaking down faster and faster. Rome can no longer confront the Society as it did more than twenty years ago,” he said.
“For forty-one years the Society has grown steadily, even in spite of being beaten with the ‘excommunication’ stick.”