Pope Benedict meets rebel bishop

CLICK HEREPope Benedict XVI met yesterday with Bishop Bernard Fellay, head of the dissident Society of St Pius X, for talks aimed toward reconciliation between the Holy See and the traditionalist group founded by the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.

Catholic World News reports that Joaquin Navarro-Valls, director of the Vatican Press Office, reported that the meeting had been held "in a climate of love for the Church and a desire to arrive at perfect communion." He said that the Pope and Bishop Fellay were hoping to make gradual progress in overcoming differences, so that a full agreement could be reached "in a reasonable time."

In his own statement after the meeting, Bishop Fellay said that his visit to the Pope showed that the SSPX "has always been, and will always be, attached to the Holy See."

Echoing the Vatican's official statement, Bishop Fellay said that the 35-minute conversation had produced an agreement to work gradually toward a resolution of the differences between the traditionalist group and the Vatican, "in a spirit of great love for the Church."

The Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), founded by the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, broke from the Vatican in 1988, when the French prelate ordained four new bishops in defiance of a direct order from Rome. Pope John Paul II responded by announcing that the traditionalist group had committed a "schismatic act", incurring the penalty of excommunication for Archbishop Lefebvre and the bishops (including Bishop Fellay) he had ordained. But the Vatican has repeatedly sought means of restoring normal ties with the traditionalist group.

After the meeting Bishop Fellay said that members of the SSPX would pray "that the Holy Father will find the strength to bring an end to the crisis in the Church and 'restore all things in Christ.'"

Informed Vatican officials speculate that Pope Benedict may be prepared to grant the traditionalist request for a "universal indult" allowing the use of the Tridentine rite.

Pope meets traditionalist bishop (Catholic World News 29/8/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Society of St Pius X (General House)
Society of St Pius X - District of Australia & New Zealand
Holy Cross Seminary, Goulburn NSW
Society of St Pius X - USA

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30 Aug 2005