“No deal” Vatican tells traditionalists

The Vatican has rejected a submission from the traditionalist Society of St Pius X (SSPX) on terms for which SSPX’s reconciliation might be possible.

On Friday, Head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal William Levada, met with Bishop Bernard Fellay, SSPX leader. The meeting was held at the Vatican and lasted for two hours.

The Vatican told SSPX they must accept non-negotiable doctrinal principles within a month or risk a painful break with Rome that would have ‘incalculable’ consequence.

Vatican spokesman, Fr Federico Lombardi S.J., told reporters “the question isn’t considered closed” but the SSPX statement, delivered to the Vatican in January “is not sufficient to overcome the doctrinal problems that are at the foundation of the fracture between the Holy See and the Society.”

Bishop Fellay has been invited to “clarify his position with the aim of closing the existing fracture, as hoped for by Pope Benedict XVI,” a Vatican statement said.

Lombardi would not give examples of the points on which the Society of St. Pius X and the Vatican still differ since the original preamble was never published, however among the known differences include SSPX opposition to the Vatican’s outreach to Jews, Muslims and its ecumenical efforts, recognition of the authority of the Pope, and what it sees as the liberal reforms introduced at Vatican II.

The group has been given a month to respond.

Despite Benedict’s openness to the traditionalists being controversial and meeting with resistance inside the Church, the Pontiff has nevertheless wanted to avoid a permanent schism and pursued reconciliation between SSPX and the Vatican as a cherished goal.



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