.- The schismatic Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) says the first step toward reconciliation and recognition of the group within the Church should come from Rome. The Society split with the Church in 1988 when its founder, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, ordained four traditionalist bishops in defiance of the Holy See.
“The Society of St. Pius X prays that the Holy Father can find the strength to bring an end to this crisis in the Church, establishing all things in Christ,” stated Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior of the Society in a communiqué after a 35-minute meeting with the Pope Monday, reported AGI (Agenzia Giornalistica Italia).
“The meeting was an occasion for the Society to express that it has always been attached, and always will be, to the Holy See,” said the bishop, who was ordained without papal permission.
A spokesperson for the Society repeated this notion in an interview with an Italian newspaper. This first conciliatory step should come in the form of “liberalization of the use of the Missal of St. Pius V,” Fr. Franz Schmidberger told Il Giornale.
While Pope Benedict XVI and the superior of the Society had a “very positive” meeting Monday, the two men did not agree on “the sources of the problem,” the priest said.
Fr. Schmidberger had accompanied Archbishop Lefebvre’s successor to the meeting at Castel Gandolfo, on August 29. The Pope met with Bishop Fellay upon the request of the Society.
Fr. Schmidberger said there was disagreement since, from the Lefebvrists’ perspective, the problems can be traced to the “deformations born out of Vatican II, and a certain way of understanding ecumenism and religious liberty.”
The priest also justified the controversial decision of Archbishop Lefebvre to ordain the bishops contrary to the decision of the Holy See as “necessary for the good of the Church.”
“We consider ourselves in union with the Church and her tradition, with the rite that has been celebrated for centuries, with all the saints in heaven," he said.