Ratzinger calls Lefebvrist schismatics narrow-minded
Talks between the Church and followers of traditionalist Marcel Lefebvre have failed to end the 12-year-old schism.
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger said on Monday: "There has been an acute hardening in this movement. I perceive a narrow-mindedness that makes the process of reconciliation problematic, at least in the short term."
Cardinal Ratzinger is a recently appointed member of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, established by the Holy Father to maintain contacts with the schismatic Pius X Fraternity.
"I desire, hope and pray that this wound will heal, but the road is still very long," he said. "We must do everything possible to return to these brothers their lost confidence. We must accept that the same essential elements of the liturgy can also be expressed in different ritual forms. However, they must understand that the renewed liturgy [of Vatican Council II] is not that of another Church."
These sentiments were expressed in stronger terms by Cardinal Pierre Eyt, archbishop of Bordeaux, who responded to the Letter to Our Brother Priests, distributed by the St Pius X Fraternity in France, with the suggestion that the Lefebvrists make "a sad caricature of the Catholic theology of the Eucharist".
The break between the Vatican and the Fraternity took place in 1988, when Archbishop Lefebvre (1929-1991) ordained four bishops without papal approval. Two days later, the Pope wrote the apostolic letter Ecclesia Dei, in which he referred to the ordination as a schismistic act.