Vatican II reforms at the center of SSPX talks

Cardinal Christoph Schonborn
Cardinal Christoph Schonborn


Cardinal Christoph Schonborn has said that the breakaway Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) must assent to the non-negotiable reforms of the Second Vatican Council concerning religious freedom and interreligious relations with other Christians, with Jews and with other non-Christians.

Speaking with the German daily Passauer Neue Presse, the cardinal reported that negotiations between a Vatican commission and the SSPX will begin “in the next few days.”

However, a later report from Zenit said the talks will begin in the third week of October.

Speaking to Passauer Neue Presse, the cardinal said that Rome will not “let the Lefebvrists off easy for everything.”

Cardinal Schonborn, who is Archbishop of Vienna, referred to the group by the name of their founder, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who broke communion with Rome in 1988 when he illicitly ordained four bishops. The breakaway group disputes some of the teachings of the Second Vatican Council.

"The SSPX will be told very clearly what is not negotiable for the Holy See," the cardinal said. "This includes such fundamental conclusions of the Second Vatican Council as its positions on Judaism, other non-Christian religions, other Christian churches and on religious freedom as a basic human right."

In an attempt to reconcile with the SSPX, Pope Benedict XVI lifted the excommunication on the four bishops. One of the prelates, British-born Bishop Richard Williamson, became the center of controversy when it was revealed he made remarks minimizing Jewish suffering in the Holocaust.

Zenit reports that the Vatican negotiators include three theologians: Swiss Dominican Fr. Charles Morerod, German Jesuit Josef Becker and the vicar general of Opus Dei Fr. Ocariz Brana.

SSPX leader Bishop Bernard Fellay has hinted at minimal changes in the society’s interpretation of the Council, but other prelates have maintained the group’s rejection of the Council.

In June the SSPX disregarded Vatican warnings and ordained 21 new priests.

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