The positive response of the SSPX has arrived in the Vatican

This update from Rorate Caeli:

The Superior of the Society of Saint Pius X has signed the doctrinal preamble proposed by the Holy See, even if with some slight modifications

ANDREA TORNIELLI  for La Stampa
CITTÀ DEL VATICANO

The response of the Society of Saint Pius X has arrived in the Vatican and it is positive: according to the informal information gathered by Vatican Insider, Bishop Bernard Fellay would have signed the doctrinal preamble that the Holy See had proposed last September as a condition to reach full communion and canonical regularization.

An official confirmation of the received response should take place in the next few hours. From what has been learned, the text of the preamble sent by Fellay proposed some non-substantial modifications regarding the version delivered by the Vatican authorities: as it may be recalled, the same Ecclesia Dei Commission had not willed to make the document (of [only] two, yet complex, pages) public, precisely because the possibility remained of introducing eventual small modifications which would not, nonetheless, distort its meaning.

The preamble contains, subtantially, the “professio fidei”, the profession of faith [Rorate note 1] required of those who are put in charge of an ecclesiastical position. And it thus establishes a “religious submission of will and intellect” be given to the teachings that the Pope and the College of Bishops “enunciate when they exercise their authentic Magisterium”, even if not proclaimed and defined in a dogmatic sense, as in the case of the greater part of the magisterial documents. The Holy See has mentioned repeatedly to her partners in the Society of Saint Pius X that signing the doctrinal preamble would not mean putting and end “to the legitimate discussion, study, and theological explanations of specific expressions or formulations present in the documents of the Second Vatican Council.”

The text of the preamble, with the modifications proposed by Fellay, and signed by him as Superior of the Society of Saint Pius X, will be presented to Benedict XVI, who, on the day following his 85th birthday and on the even of the seventh anniversary of his election, receives a positive response from the Lefebvrists. A response long expected and desired by him, who, in the next few weeks, will put an end to the wound opened in 1988 with the illegitimate episcopal ordinations celebrated by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.

It is not ruled out that Fellay’s response be examined by the Cardinals of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in the next “Feria Quarta” [Wednesday] meeting, which should take place in the first half of May. Meanwhile, some further weeks will be needed so that a canonical arrangement can be established: the most probable proposal is that of establishing a “personal prelature”, a legal figure introduced in the Code of Canon Law in 1983 [Rorate note 2] and up to now used only by Opus Dei. The prelate depends directly of the Holy See. The Society of Saint Pius X will continue to celebrate Mass according to the ancient Missal, and to form its priests in its seminaries. [Source, in Italian]

Rorate note 1: Profession of faith, motu proprio Ad tuendam fidem, and CDF Doctrinal Commentary (1998)
Rorate note 2: actually first mentioned in an official ecclesial text in the very relevant n. 10 of the Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests of the Second Vatican Council, Presbyterorum Ordinis: “Present norms of incardination and excardination should be so revised that, while this ancient institution still remains intact, they will better correspond to today’s pastoral needs. Where a real apostolic spirit requires it, not only should a better distribution of priests be brought about but there should also be favored such particular pastoral works as are necessary in any region or nation anywhere on earth. To accomplish this purpose there should be set up international seminaries, special personal dioceses or prelatures (vicariates), and so forth, by means of which, according to their particular statutes and always saving the right of bishops, priests may be trained and incardinated for the good of the whole Church.”

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4 Responses to The positive response of the SSPX has arrived in the Vatican

  1. JabbaPapa says:

    The Vatican has officially confirmed this development.

    Here’s another view on the question :

    Paris: between Rome and the Society of Saint Pius X, “we are still in a stage of studies”

    Bishop Fellay’s spokesman confirms that the clarified preamble was sent to the Vatican

    Paris/Menzingen, April 18, 2012 (Apic) – Between Rome and the Society of Saint Pius X, “we are still in a stage of studies,” Father Alain Lorans, responsible for the communications of the Society of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX) in Paris declard on April 18 to Apic.

    Commenting upon the news published on the previous day by Vaticanist Andrea Tornielli on the website “Vatican Insider”, the spokesman describes as “positive” the fact the Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the SSPX, has responded, earlier in the week, to the demands of clarification posed by Cardinal William Levada, Prefect of the Roman Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. But “not everything is already fixed,” he underlines.

    Too premature

    Father Alain Lorans considers that Andrea Tornielli is perhaps speaking too prematurely, because Pope Benedict XVI and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith still ought to examine the clarifications brought forth by Bp. Fellay regarding the doctrinal preamble submitted in September 2011. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) had asked the Society of Saint Pius X on March 16, 2012, to clarify its position on this doctrinal preamble on the occasion of a meeting in the Vatican with its Superior General. The Society had until April 15 to give a new response, which was done.

    The man in charge, in Paris, for the communications of the Society expects the Vatican’s communiqué – which should be released, according to him, on Wednesday, April 18 – in order to release an official communiqué. If the information is confirmed, it would mark the end of a separation of almost 24 years, following the rift caused by the “Ecône schism” of 1988, with the excommunication of Abp. Marcel Lefebvre for the ordination of four Traditionalist bishops without Rome’s mandate.

    Source : http://www.kipa-apic.ch/index.php?pw=&na=0,0,0,0,f&ki=230863 (French)

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  2. JabbaPapa says:

    Father Lombardi, of the Holy See Press Office :

    Today’s news means that yesterday Bp. Fellay’s response, that had been requested by Cardinal Levada at the last meeting, was delivered to the Congregation, to the Ecclesia Dei Commission, to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Now, this response, it is a reponse that, according to the words of those who could see it, is a very different response from the previous one, and this is encouraging, we proceed forward. But, naturally, we also find in the response the addition of some details or integrations to the text of the doctrinal preamble that had been proposed by the Congregation for a doctrinal agreement, and this response will be discussed, it will be examined first by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in one of its meetings of the next few weeks and, afterwards, it will also naturally be examined directly by the Pope. It can be said that steps forward have been taken, that is to say, that the response, the new response, is rather encouraging, but there are still developments that will be made, and examined, and decisions that should be taken in the next few weeks. I think the wait will not be long because there is the desire to reach a conclusion in these discussions, in these contacts.

    1) SSPX has signed a text including particulars proposed *by* the CDF

    2) Greater clarity concerning the time frame

    3) (don’t be fooled by the apparently cautious tone, that’s just a feature of Italian, and is basically just simple politeness — mentally replace most conditionals with declaratives to get the sense of what he’s really saying)

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  3. James says:

    SSPX.org has just published a communique from the General House concerning Bishop Fellay’s reply.

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  4. JabbaPapa says:

    Yes, James.

    SSPX says :

    Communiqué of the General House of the Society of Saint Pius X

    The media are announcing that Bishop Bernard Fellay has sent a “positive response” to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and that consequently the doctrinal question between the Holy See and the Society of St. Pius X is now resolved.

    The reality is different.

    In a letter dated April 17, 2012, the Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X responded to the request for clarification that had been made to him on March 16 by Cardinal William Levada concerning the Doctrinal Preamble delivered on September 14, 2011. As the press release dated today [April 17] from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith indicates, the text of this response “will be examined by the dicastery then submitted to the Holy Father for his judgment”.

    This is therefore a stage and not a conclusion.

    Menzingen, April 18, 2012.

    Luckily, I understand the French sous-entendus that this short document is replete with…

    “The reality is different.” — this sentence is essentially meaningless ; it’s a deliberate overemphasis of something that is already implicit in the rest of the communication. It’s rhetorics, and nothing more besides (though I’m sure it has its internal political raison d’être). Also — it does NOT actually contradict the phrase “positive response”. A “positive response” (in both French and Italian) is not identical to “an agreement”. Yes, the English language works differently in this respect, English logic requiring that the adjectives “positive” and “negative” be interpreted oppositively instead of gradually. Ignore.

    That it is not the END of the process of reconciliation should have been obvious since last night, though I can understand SSPX’ desire to ensure maximum clarity concerning this fact.

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