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By Deacon Keith Fournier

6/15/2012 (3 years ago)

Catholic Online (

Bishop Fellay, the Superior General of the Society of St Pius X was in Rome meeting with Cardinal William Levada

Pope Benedict's tireless effort to heal a rift within the Church which began 24 years ago - and finally end the division between the SSPX and Rome - is one more sign that his paternal heart beats with the desire for unity revealed in the Sacred Heart of Jesus. "Father, may they be one. so that the world may believe." (John 17:21) We add a hearty "Amen" to his efforts. We invite our readers around the globe to join with us in focused prayer for a fruitful result. 

The Logo of SSPX

The Logo of SSPX


By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (

6/15/2012 (3 years ago)

Published in Europe

Keywords: Bishop Fellay, SSPX, FSSPX, Tridentine, traditionalist, Lefebvre, Pope Benedict XVI, prelature, ordinariate, Deacon Keith Fournier

VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) - EDITORS NOTE: After publishing this story, the Holy See issued the following Communique about the meeting which clarifies a number of issues, including the juridic structure offered to the Society. It is a Personal Prelature. The entire statement issued by the Holy See is set forth below, followed by the original story.

Holy See Press Office communiqué

Bishop Fellay Visits the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

On the afternoon of Wednesday 13 June, Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and president of the Pontifical Commission 'Ecclesia Dei', met with Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior general of the Society of St. Pius X who was accompanied by an assistant.

Also present at the encounter were Archbishop Luis Ladaria S.J., secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Msgr. Guido Pozzo, secretary of the Pontifical Commission 'Ecclesia Dei'", according to a communique released today by the Holy See Press Office.

The purpose of the meeting was to present the Holy See's evaluation of the text submitted in April by the Society of St. Pius X in response to the Doctrinal Preamble which the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith had presented to the Society on 14 September 2011.

The subsequent discussion offered an opportunity the provide the appropriate explanations and clarifications. For his part, Bishop Fellay illustrated the current situation of the Society of St. Pius X and promised to make his response known within a reasonable lapse of time.

Also during the meeting, a draft document was submitted proposing a Personal Prelature as the most appropriate instrument for any future canonical recognition of the Society.

As was stated in the communique released on 16 May 2012, the situation of the other three bishops of the Society of St. Pius X will be dealt with separately and singularly.

At the end of the meeting the hope was expressed that this additional opportunity for reflection would also contribute to reaching full communion between the Society of St. Pius X and the Apostolic See".


It began early in the morning with a report from the usually reliable European Journalist and Vaticanisti Andrea Tornielli in La Stampa's "Vatican Insider". The article was entitled "The Pope's decision is now in Fellay's hands" and the news spread like wildfire in the blogosphere.

On Wednesday June 13, 2012, Bishop Fellay, the Superior General of the Society of St Pius X (FSSPX/SSPX ) was in Rome meeting with Cardinal William Levada, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. There he was presented with Pope Benedict XVI's response to the Society's proposed modifications to the Doctrinal preamble the Holy See had asked the Society to affirm.

Tornielli wrote: "The text of the doctrinal declaration is a top secret, but it will be published - this was assured from the beginning - if an agreement between the Holy See and the Society founded by Archbishop Lefebvre is formalized."

"It is not possible to know, therefore, if modifications or clarifications were added to the text that Bishop Bernard Fellay had sent to Rome in mid-April and that the Cardinals had examined and discussed on May 15, in the Feria Quarta [Wednesday meeting] of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. In the upcoming hours, the papal response may be delivered to the Lefebvrian superior.

"It will be up to him to give final assent to the preamble. ...  If Fellay, after having received the Vatican response, signs the doctrinal declaration, the agreement will be officially announced."

As the potentially historic news made its way throughout the European journalistic circles, bits and pieces were added to each article written and magnified in the specuation in the blogosphere. The best up to date account can be read on the always interesting and very reliable Rorate Caeli Blog here. Latest indications are that the response to what the pope delivered through the CDF will be forthcoming from Bishop Fellay within ten days.  

Tornielli speculated in the same article concerning the type of juridic structure which might be utilized to accomplish the reintegration of the Society into restored communion with the Church. He wrote, "The final decision is therefore now in the hands of Mgr. Fellay:  if he decides to accept the returned text, the agreement will be officially announced and the Society of St. Pius X will be given personal prelature status and will answer directly to the Holy See. "

However, as good a journalist as Tornielli is, there is no reliable source which confirms how the long sought reconciliation will be accomplished.There is no confirmation that the vehicle of a personal prelature, such as that which organizes the ecclesial movement Opus Dei, will be offered to the SSPX.

The canonical structure which  would best accommodate the return of the SSPX and enable them to be integrated while continuing their work is not known by anyone except the Pope and his few trusted advisors involved in this extraordinarily delicate matter.

I found the positive comments of Bishop Fellay toward the personal ordinariates established for returning Christians of the separated Anglican communities interesting. I found his his references to the military ordinariate of further interest. Both were given in response to recent interviews. 

However, before the matter of juridic structure is even addressed, the doctrinal issues need to be resolved. The news of the Wednesday meeting in Rome indicates that may very well occur very, very soon. We invite our readers around the globe to pray for just such an outcome.

Pope Benedict XVI is the Pope of Christian unity. On Friday, June 15, 2012, he will officially announce and name Australia's Personal Ordinariate for returning groups of Anglicans. It will be called the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross and be placed under the patronage of St Augustine of Canterbury.

This personal Ordinariate in Australia will join the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham in the UK and the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter in the USA. Clearly, this prophetic Pope has a vision for bringing many Christians from separated communities home to full communion in a Catholic Church committed to both orthodoxy and orthopraxy within legitimate diversity.

Pope Benedict's tireless effort to heal a rift within the Church which began 24 years ago - and finally end the division between the SSPX and Rome - is one more sign that his paternal heart beats with the desire for unity revealed in the Sacred Heart of Jesus. "Father, may they be one... so that the world may believe." (John 17:21) We add a hearty "Amen" to his efforts. We invite our readers around the globe to join with us in focused prayer for a fruitful result the next week to ten days. 


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