.- The leader of the Society of St. Pius X says the traditionalist group will respond to the Vaticanâs offer of reconciliation based upon âthe good of the Church and of souls.â
âOur Rosary crusade, which continues for several more months, must be intensified so as to enable us to obtain, through the intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church, the graces of light and strength that we need more than ever,â said the Societyâs Superior General, Bishop Bernard Fellay, after leaving the talks in Rome Sept. 14.
Bishop Fellayâs comments followed a two-hour meeting at which he was presented with a statement of principles, or âdoctrinal preamble,â by the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal William Leveda. The document outlined points of doctrine that the Vatican needs clarified before finally healing the decades-long rift between the two sides.
If the Society agrees they may be offered the status of a personal prelature within the Church - a jurisdiction without geographical boundaries designed to carry out particular pastoral initiatives.
âThe meeting was conducted with great courtesy and with equally great candor, because for the sake of honesty the Society of St. Pius X refuses to evade the problems that remain,â said Bishop Fellay in an interview posted on the Societyâs website.
The Society of St. Pius X was founded by Archbishop Marcel Lefebrve in 1970 as a response to what he described as errors that had crept into the Catholic Church following the Second Vatican Council. It has had a strained relationship with the Vatican since Archbishop Lefebrve consecrated four bishops against the orders of Pope John Paul II in 1988.
Yesterdayâs talks seem to leave open the possibility of the Society repairing its relationship with the Church, while still being allowed to express concerns over the legacy of the Second Vatican Council.
Bishop Fellay says this view confirms a 2005 conversation he had with Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, then President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, who told him that the Societyâs various objections to aspects of the Second Vatican Council âdoes not mean that you are outside the Church.â
However, Bishop Fellay also said that the doctrinal preamble does not spell out a âclear-cut distinctionâ between âthe inviolable dogmatic sphereâ and âthe pastoral sphere that is subject to discussion.â
While not giving a time scale for the Societyâs response, Bishop Fellay said he will reply to the Vatican as soon as he has âtaken the time necessary to studyâ the document and âto consult with those who are chiefly responsible for the Society of St. Pius X.â