New institute for former schismatic priests

The Holy See has announced its approval for a new institute that has been created for a group of French priests who have returned to the Church after leaving the traditionalist Society of St Pius X which refused to accept Vatican II changes.

The group of five priests and some seminarians had been part of the movement founded by the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre who was excommunicated in 1988 after he consecrated four bishops without Rome's consent, the International Herald Tribune reports.

Lefebvre had founded the Swiss-based Society of St Pius X (SSPX) in 1969 in opposition to the liberalising reforms of the 1962-65 Vatican Council II, particularly allowing Mass to be celebrated in local languages instead of Latin.

Pope Benedict XVI has indicated he wants relations with SSPX to be normalised, reportedly indicating he wants to explore rescinding excommunications of Lafebvre and the three bishops he ordained.

He met last year with the current head of the society, Bishop Bernard Fellay.

The Vatican emphasised that the priests joining the new institute had already left SSPX.

Vatican approves institute for French priests who broke from ultraconservative movement (International Herald Tribune, 8/9/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Marcel Lefebvre (Wikipedia)
Society of St Pius X Australia and New Zealand

Pope to discuss reconciliation with rebels (CathNews 3/2/06)
Pope Benedict meets rebel bishop (CathNews 30/8/05)
Pope's fresh attempt to build bridge with rebels (CathNews 24/8/05)
Schismatic society lobbies Australian priests on Tridentine rite (CathNews 3/2/05)
Schismatic group expels its own rebels (CathNews 14/9/04)
Traditionalist leader attacks Pope's ecumenical vision (CathNews 4/2/04)
Tridentine rite Mass for Roman basilica this month (CathNews 5/5/03)

11 Sep 2006