Signs Pope might extend SSPX Confession authorisation

Pope Francis has reportedly promised to extend indefinitely his recognition of Confessions heard by priests of the traditionalist Society of St Pius X.

Last September, Francis decreed that during the Holy Year of Mercy, anyone who confesses their sins to an SSPX priest will be considered validly forgiven.

Now, SSPX superior Bishop Bernard Fellay has said Francis told him during a recent meeting that he wants to extend this authorisation.

A private meeting took place between the Francis and Bishop Fellay on April 1 at the Pope’s personal residence at the Vatican.

In a homily at a Mass in France, Bishop Fellay also shared that Francis had said he’d never condemn the society, and that in his eyes, they were “part of the Church”.

In the April 10 homily, Bishop Fellay expressed “happiness” over his encounter with Francis.

“You are Catholics, you’re not excommunicated, and we must continue to work towards full communion”, is what the bishop claims the Pope told him.

The canonical status of the SSPX was not addressed during the meeting between Pope Francis and Bishop Fellay.

But both reportedly determined that the exchanges between them have to continue “without haste”.

In the homily, Bishop Fellay also spoke of Francis’s recent apostolic exhortation on the family, Amoris Laetitia.

The bishop says the document “makes us cry”, adding that its stance on access to the sacraments for divorced and civilly remarried couples makes this a “terrible document which harms the Church”.

Talks between the Vatican and the SSPX have been ongoing since 2000, so far with no success.

Last year, Cardinal Mario Poli, handpicked by Francis as his successor in Buenos Aires, helped the society earn recognition as a juridical person.


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