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Vatican gives SSPX doctrinal statement to sign

By on Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Cardinal Levada had a two-hour meeting with Bishop Fellay this morning (Photo: CNS)

Cardinal Levada had a two-hour meeting with Bishop Fellay this morning (Photo: CNS)

The Vatican has given the traditionalist Society of St Pius X a formal “doctrinal preamble” listing several principles they must agree with in order to move toward full reconciliation with the Church.

US Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, gave the statement to Bishop Bernard Fellay, head of the society, during a meeting at the Vatican that lasted more than two hours.

Although the Vatican did not give the society a deadline, leaders are expected to study and sign the preamble “within a few months”, according to Jesuit Fr Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman.

The cardinal and bishop also discussed possible “elements of a canonical solution” for the society after “the eventual and hoped-for reconciliation”, according to a statement issued by the Vatican after the meeting.

Fr Lombardi said: “Today the most likely solution would be a personal prelature,” which is a Church jurisdiction without geographical boundaries designed to carry out particular pastoral initiatives. It is led by a prelate, who is appointed by the Pope; currently the Church’s only personal prelature is Opus Dei.

The document given to Bishop Fellay to sign “states some doctrinal principles and criteria for the interpretation of Catholic doctrine necessary to guarantee fidelity” to the formal teaching of the Church, said a statement issued by the Vatican after the meeting.

At the same time, the statement said, the preamble leaves room for “legitimate discussion” about “individual expressions or formulations present in the documents of the Second Vatican Council and the successive magisterium” of the popes who came after the council.

Fr Lombardi would not respond to questions about specific Church teachings and developments listed in the preamble, but said Church tradition has always held there are varying degrees of Church teaching; some require an absolute assent while others are open to interpretation.

The talks were launched in late 2009 in an effort by Pope Benedict XVI to repair a 21-year break with the society. The Pope said that full communion for the group’s members would depend on “true recognition of the magisterium and the authority of the pope and of the Second Vatican Council”.

The Vatican statement did not mention any of the specific areas where Bishop Fellay’s group has said the Catholic Church and the popes since the Second Vatican Council had broken with true Catholic tradition. They object to the reform of the Mass, to much of the Church’s work in ecumenical and interreligious dialogue, and to the council’s stand on religious freedom.

Bishop Fellay had said his society went into the talks aiming to show the contradictions between the Church’s traditional teachings and its practices since Vatican II. That is “the only goal that we are pursuing,” he had said, adding that the dialogue with the Vatican is not a search for compromise but “a question of faith”.

In addition to the society’s rejection of many Vatican II teachings, members also objected to the beatification of Pope John Paul II and, particularly, to Pope Benedict’s convocation of another interreligious meeting for peace in Assisi.

Pope Benedict cleared the way for reconciliation talks with the Society of St Pius X in early 2009 when he lifted the excommunications of Bishop Fellay and three other society bishops ordained against papal orders in 1988. The Vatican said the dialogue was designed to restore “full communion” with members of the society, which was founded by the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.

The Vatican said the talks were to focus on the concept of tradition, liturgical reform, interpretation of Vatican II in continuity with Catholic doctrinal tradition, Church unity, ecumenism, the relationship between Christianity and non-Christian religions, and religious freedom.

The Vatican and the society appointed a commission to discuss the issues and members met eight times between October 2009 and April 2011, the Vatican said.

The meetings “reached the aim of clarifying the respective positions” of the two sides, it said.


VATICAN CITY, 14 SEP 2011 (VIS) – At midday today the Holy See Press Office released the following communique concerning the postion of the Society of St. Pius X:

“On 14 September at the offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the congregation and president of the Pontifical Commission ‘Ecclesia Dei’; Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer S.J., secretary of the congregation, and Msgr. Guido Pozzo, secretary of the pontifical commission, met with Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior general of the Society of St. Pius X, who was accompanied by Fr. Niklaus Pfluger and Fr. Alain-Marc Nely, respectively first and second assistant general to the society.

“Following the appeal of 15 December 2008, addressed by the superior general of the Society of St. Pius X to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, the Holy Father decided to remove the excommunication against the four bishops consecrated by Archbishop Lefebvre. At the same time, he approved the opening of discussions with the society in order to clarify doctrinal problems and to heal the existing rift.

“In order to put the Holy Father’s instructions into effect, a joint study commission was set up, composed of experts from the Society of St. Pius X and from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith who met in Rome on eight occasions between October 2009 and April 2011. Their discussions, which aimed to identify and study the essential doctrinal difficulties in the controversial issues, had the result of clarifying the positions of the two sides and their respective motivations.

“While bearing in mind the concerns and demands presented by the Society of St. Pius X about protecting the integrity of the Catholic faith against Vatican Council II’s ‘hermeneutic of rupture’ with Tradition (a theme addressed by Pope Benedict XVI in his address to the Roman Curia on 22 December 2005), the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith maintains that the fundamental basis for achieving full reconciliation with the Apostolic See is the acceptance of the text of the Doctrinal Preamble, which was handed over during a meeting on 14 September 2011. The Preamble defines certain doctrinal principles and criteria for the interpretation Catholic doctrine, which are necessary to ensure faithfulness to the Church Magisterium and ‘sentire cum Ecclesia’. At the same time, it leaves open to legitimate discussion the examination and theological explanation of individual expressions and formulations contained in the documents of Vatican Council II and later Magisterium.

“At the same meeting, certain suggestions were made for a canonical solution to the position of the Society of St. Pius X, with a view to achieving the desired reconciliation”.

  • KenjiroShoda

    Fortunatly, there was no mention in this “preamble” of any acknowledgement of Vatican II, it;s principles, the teaching of Vatican II popes that the SSPX has to acknowledge.  Rather, it states on the contrary that the principles and practices that came from Vatican II are open to legitimate discussion (and criticism).
    This is a big concession from the Vatican, and finally an acknowledgement that noting of Vatican II is infallible or etched in stone.
    It’s about time.

  • Moises Carvalho

    Leprechaun, (liked that name haha!)

    Man, forget this Stupidjae. He (or she, I don’t know) is a complete idiot that just barfes incoherences words without any logical sense.

    First: that idiot Stupidjae said that SSPX were sedevacantist. Later, the same idiot tried to say “I didn’t say that” after a proved to that stupid that SSPX is not sedevacantist… so, when the idiot saw the heigh of its ignorance, the idiot tried to convince me that that wasn’t what it “really said”. So, in that stupid head of Stupidjae, someone is a sedevacantist, not when the person declares it, but when the court of Neverland gives you that statement… So, in the head of that stupid, I am a sedevacantist… it just makes me laugh…

    Second: The Stupidjae insists to make the foolish comparison: SSPX-Luther in a complete ignorance and incoherence, since the Novus Ordo was made with SIX PROTESTANTS. But Stupidjae would call it a “theory of conspiracy”, because this kind of conflict would never exist in his fantasy world wich the church would be always free of her enemies.

    So, Stupidjae believes in his childhood fantasy world, but do not believe in Saint Pius X who said

    “. That We make no delay in this matter is rendered necessary especially by the
    fact that the partisans of error are to be sought not only among the Church’s
    open enemies; they lie hid, a thing to be deeply deplored and feared, in her
    very bosom and heart, and are the more mischievous, the less conspicuously they

    But Stupidjae, probably considers St Pius X a “Theoretical Conspiracy”. ‘Cause this kind of therm is the perfect therm you can use to try to disqualify something you can not answer.

    Also, I wonder what Stupidjae would think about the words of Our Lady, in La Salette:
    Rome will lose the Faith and become the seat of the AntichristNow, Our Lady is in danger, ’cause the court of Stupidjae’s Neverland may give Her the statement of Sedevacantist or, worst, like it already have sent to me, the simply excomunication!!!!Stupidjae is a so strange thing that it used to call me “friend” what I had to say: NO!!!!What have I done to have a friend like this?I saw that the Stupidone insists in sending replies to me, even I already told it I don’t want talk to it anymore… patience have limits. But I really tried to give it another chance. But I stopped when I saw this: Everybody knows you and SSPX position on matters of the Magisterial Authority, Pope , Vatican , CCC and Novus Ordo

    Have you seen, it, Leprechaun?

    EVERYBODY KNOWS ‘MY’, MY’, ‘MY’ position!!!!!

    I am starting to be afraid of Stupidjae… what kind of espionage is it doing? If Stupidjae knows my position in all that aspects, maybe he also knows what I eat in my lunch.

    And, of course, I am not going to reply that idiot anymore. If someone go read all this comments, I already have posted a lot of documents and books that could be read, while Stupidjae only makes its histerical attacks against SSPX and the traditionalists.

    If you pound a shit, it sticks on your foot. And that was my error. Stupidjae, as shit it is, more you pound it, more it sticks on you.

    May God bless you, my friend!

  • Crilly

    If Christ had acted according to the dictates of fundamentalist Catholics there would have been no reprieve for the woman caught in adultery, no healing on the Sabbath or indeed any act based on the spirit rather than the letter of the law. I am just stating this not as an accusation but because I really believe should any one who is searching come across some of the dialogue on this article they would turn and go, feeling lost and with little hope. This is not what Christ wants, of this I am sure.

  • Sweetjae

    As yet again Mr. Leprechaun, your ignorance is astounding! And so amazing as yet again as I have expected you have danced around in circles. So simply put your answer to the question: WHO holds the Authority if there exist a dispute/disagreement between 2 abiding catholics?

    Mr. Leprechaun’s answer: HIMSELF! 

    Jesus Christ God Himself said that if there is a dispute between 2 christians they should go to His CHURCH and not any individual nor SSPX and His Church will pass the final  judgment and a warning to those who  still obstinately and continuously oppose and ignore the ruling and Authority of the Church – EXCOMMUNICATION,  read (Matthew 18:15-18).

    This is the problem with you and SSPX that you seem to ignore or just couldn’t see where the ultimate authority to discern and determine what the Sacred Traditions truly says fall on the shoulders of each individual of the SSPX and Sedevacantists best described as the “primacy of conscience”.  Moreover, because of this false principle of yours you tend to mock and ridicule all catholics including the pope to the “diabolical disorientation” liberal group. In other words, those you agree with your interpretation of Tradition are the true catholics and those who don’t agree are liberal hags. Tha’s pretty much the vaunted twisted principle you and SSPX have. 

    Mr. Leprechaun, until now you haven’t have reasonable and logical answer to any point of argument. You can argue as long as you want Mr. Leprechaun but still at the end of the day like I use to say to protestants I used to debate with, your interpretation whether of the Bible or Tradition without Apostolic Authority just amounts to a fallible human opinion, nothing more.

  • Sweetjae

    Mr. Leprechaun, I’m saving you from further embarrassment but just to be quick it is not my standard that have proven you false and ignorant but the Teaching of the Catholic church. the Living Teaching Authority (Magisterium) is not based on Tradition but rather:

    84 The apostles
    entrusted the “Sacred deposit” of the faith (the depositum
    fidei),45 contained in
    Sacred Scripture and Tradition, to the whole of the Church.The Magisterium of the Church
    85 “The task of
    giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God, whether in its **Written
    form or in the form of Tradition*** has been entrusted to the living teaching
    office of the Church alone. Its authority in this matter is exercised in the
    name of Jesus Christ.”47 This means that the task of interpretation
    has been entrusted to the bishops in communion with the successor of Peter, the
    Bishop of Rome.”

    Mr. Leprechaun, do you want me to cite the Teaching of the Church about the Authority of each Ecumenical Council to which every member must assent his/her religious will and therefore one can’t “pick ‘n choose” according to one’s liking? I’m just saving you from further shame.

  • Sweetjae

    Oh by the way, the above quotations were taken from the officially ratified Catechism of the Catholic Church.

  • Sweetjae

    Mr. leprechaun said, “The fact that the SSPX exists simply to preserve the Church that Christ founded, and to protect its teachings from error, means that it cannot “go off and start its own Church” as there is nowhere to go other than to stay where it is! ”

    ILLOGICAL!  Tradition doesn’t mean only Teachings from the past in reference to one’s particular age and time. If we go by your false principle then there will be NO teaching whatsoever. There is NO Tridentine Mass during the time of Jesus ans Apostles, there is NO doctrine of Marialogy and communion of saints, there is NO doctrine of purgatory and indulgences etc, etc. which were developed and ratified hundreds and thousands of years later from the time of Apostles.

    So mr. Leprechaun, your assertioN as yet again found to be IRRATIONAL!

  • Anonymous


    Debating calls for the refutation of your opponent’s points. All I get from you is a boring reiteration of statements whose truth I have repeatedly exposed as unreliable. The Church relies on Tradition, Sacred Scripture and the Magisterium in concert, but you seem to want to separate them, putting greater emphasis on what you call “the living magisterium” whether a matter is declared binding or not and in this I include False Ecumenism and Collegiality, issues by which the properly formed faithful can never agree to be bound.

    May I now put a proposal to you?

    For your guide on the journey towards eternal life, why don’t you take the New Church launched circa 1968 AD by Vatican II and all that it stands for, and for my guide, I will take the Church founded by Christ circa 33 AD, and as we each arrive at the hour of our death, let us see which one of us made the wiser choice.

    Agreed, Sweetjae?

    I have infinite patience up to a point, but I do not intend to waste any more of my charity in trying to persuade you of the right course, as a man convinced against his will remains a man of the same opinion still.

    Goodbye Sweetjae and May God help you.

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