Pope to discuss reconciliation with rebels

Pope Benedict XVI will meet with leaders of the Roman Curia this month to work out a strategy for reconciliation with the traditionalist Society of St Pius X (SSPX), founded by the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.

Catholic World News reports that during the first meetings of the conclave at which Pope Benedict was elected, several prelates suggested that it would be useful for the Pope to hold occasional "cabinet meetings" with top Vatican officials.

The 13 February meeting will be the first such general consultation. The Vatican has not announced plans for the meeting, nor given any indication of the topics that could be discussed. The Pontiff could be seeking opinions on a wide variety of subjects.

However, the Italian daily Il Giornale reports that the main topic will be the SSPX: the traditionalist group that broke with Rome in 1988 after its founder, the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre (pictured), ordained three new bishops in defiance of Rome's orders. The Vatican responded by excommunicating Lefebvre and the three bishops he ordained. Now the Pope reportedly wants to explore rescinding the excommunications.

Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, president of the Ecclesia Dei commission established by Pope John Paul II to coordinate the Vatican's pastoral outreach to Catholic traditionalists, has declined to comment recently on talks with the SSPX. However, an informed Vatican source has confirmed, in talks with the I Media news agency, that the Vatican will soon hold an important meeting to discuss a plan "the eventual reconciliation of the Church with the SSPX." Catholic World News suggests that the disclosure seems to match the reports regarding the 13 February meeting.

It says Bishop Bernard Fellay, the superior general of the SSPX, has recently given indications that substantial progress has been made in the latest negotiations with Rome.

"The discussions have been lengthy, but there have probably been the most fruitful that we have had to date," he told reporters at a press conference in Paris last month. The SSPX leader said that the talks were aimed toward the "regularization" of the status of the traditionalist group.

Pope, Curia to discuss reconciliation with SSPX (Catholic World News 2/2/06)

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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3 Feb 2006