Vatican official says no more talks with Catholic traditionalists

The Vatican has no more plans for further talks with Catholic traditionalists who insist the Church must revoke modernising reforms launched five decades ago, a report by Reuters quoted Archbishop Gerhard Mueller, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The Catholic News Agency (CNA), however, quoted Mueller as saying hope must be maintained for full communion between the Society of St. Pius X and the Catholic Church.

“I’m always confident in our faith and optimistic. We have to pray for goodwill and for unity in the Church,” Muller reportedly told Edward Pentin of the National Catholic Register in September.

The news came amid reports that the archbishop said there would be no further talks with the traditionalist society, after an interview with North German Radio which was aired October 6.

The Register’s two-part interview was posted online Oct. 2 and 4.

Mueller’s comments to North German Radio were the first from the Vatican on deadlocked talks meant to reintegrate the Society of Saint Pius X into the Church after a 21-year schism.

In the radio interview Mueller said: “I don’t believe there are now any more new discussions.”

“We can’t leave the Catholic faith at the mercy of negotiations. There are no compromises there,” he said.

He, however, added that “In a pastoral sense, the door is always open”, adding it is now up to Pope Benedict XVI to decide which position to take with regards to the movement.

The Society of St. Pius X, which claims about 150,000 followers around the world, broke away from the Catholic Church in 1970 and established a seminary in Écône, Switzerland.

The movement wishes to have the traditional Latin mass restored, and rejects the Church’s approach to religious freedom and ecumenism.

Relations with the Vatican have been strained since French bishop Marcel Lefebvre defied orders from Pope John Paul II in 1988 and consecrated four bishops.

This led to Lefebvre and the bishops being excommunicated. The excommunication was remitted in January 2009.

In recent weeks, SSPX leaders have indicated a two-year series of talks with the Vatican had hit an impasse because Rome’s insistence that they accept reforms of the 1962-1965 Second Vatican Council was a deal breaker for them.

Since becoming pope in 2005, Benedict has met the head of the society, promoted the old Latin Mass it champions and lifted excommunications imposed on the group’s four bishops.


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