Will Catholic Traditionalists Finally Unite?
By Matt Abbott
Recent news reports have stated that Bishop Bernard Fellay of the Society of St. Pius X (www.sspx.org) will soon be meeting with Pope Benedict XVI, ostensibly to talk about a possible reconciliation. The traditionalist SSPX was founded by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who died in 1991.
Lefebvre, along with four bishops he consecrated and a co-consecrator bishop, was declared excommunicated in 1988 by Pope John Paul II for consecrating those bishops without papal permission. (See: http://www.cin.org/jp2ency/eccldei.html)
A reconciliation between Rome and the SSPX would be regarded by many in traditionalist circles as significant. Adherents of the SSPX assert that the 1988 excommunications were unjust and null; and they reject the doctrinal developments and liturgical reforms of Vatican II, claiming such developments and reforms are contrary to Catholic Tradition.
William Grossklas, a former SSPX adherent, is hopeful that a reconciliation can and will take place, but he isn’t optimistic about it.
“I don't think the conditions exist for a reconciliation at this time because of the personalities running the SSPX,” says Grossklas, whose website on the group is http://sspx.agenda.tripod.com/
John Grasmeier, a supporter of the SSPX who moderates the Angelqueen.org forum, says the following:
“Although the upcoming meeting may serve to set the stage for future progress, it most likely will not be the venue for full resolution of the issues at hand. Ultimately, in order for full reconciliation to take place, both parties must proceed with charity and wisdom, keeping our Lord, His Church and the flock as the primary beneficiary and motivating factor of any discussions.
“Both sides have much to gain. Our Holy Mother Church would experience an infusion of vibrant, well-formed and dedicated clergy and laymen at a time when she is in desperate need of doctoring. The Society would benefit in that they would be able to pursue their good works unencumbered by any real or perceived hindrances such as jurisdictional issues and having the full blessing from the Holy See.
“In any case, it will take much prayer and good will for an eventual reconciliation to be realized. There are many elements that will forcefully seek to usurp any unifying effort. The last thing the enemy wants is unity and good will in the Church our Lord founded.”
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