Movement on all Fronts
"Nam oportet et haereses esse, ut et qui probati sunt, manifesti fiant in vobis." ("For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.") —1 Corinthians 11:19
They went very well.
In short, many eyes are now on Benedict, wondering what he really intends here.
The answer seems simple enough: Benedict is trying energetically to "get his house in order."
But on a second level, considering world events and the evolution of the world's economy and culture, something else is also at stake.
Benedict, from his high room in the Apostolic Palace, seems to be trying to rally the West in the twilight of an age, so that what was best in the West may be preserved, and shine forth again after the struggles of our time are past.
The Lefebvrists have maintained that is is difficult, if not impossible, to interpret Vatican II as being in continuity with all prior Church tradition.
What is at stake is how the Church of the future will judge and interpret Vatican II.
"In a cordial, respectful and constructive climate, the main doctrinal questions were identified. These will be studied in the course of discussions to be held over coming months, probably twice a month. In particular, the questions due to be examined concern the concept of Tradition, the Missal of Paul VI, the interpretation of Vatican Council II in continuity with the Catholic doctrinal Tradition, the themes of the unity of the Church and the Catholic principles of ecumenism, the relationship between Christianity and non-Christian religions, and religious freedom. The meeting also served to specify the method and organisation of work."
This dialoge has been nine years in the preparation.
A sympathetic Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos, President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, approached the SSPX bishops during the pilgrimage and, according to Bishop Fellay, told them that the Pope was prepared to grant them either a personal prelature (the status enjoyed by Opus Dei) or an apostolic administration (the status given to the traditionalist priests of Campos, Brazil). The SSPX leadership responded with distrust. They requested two preliminary "signs" before continuing negotiations: that the Holy See grant permission for all priests to celebrate the Tridentine Mass; and that its statement that the 1988 consecrations had resulted in excommunication for the clerics involved be declared void.
In 2005, Benedict XVI became Pope. In August 2005, Benedict met with Bishop Fellay for 35 minutes, at the latter's request.
In July 2007, the Pope issued Summorum Pontificum, which liberalised the restrictions on the celebration of the Tridentine Mass.
In April 2008, Bishop Fellay issued Letter to Friends and Benefactors No. 72, informing the SSPX faithful that, in spite of both Summorum Pontificum and the recent Vatican documents on the true meaning of Lumen Gentium and evangelisation, the Society still could not sign an agreement with the Holy See.
By a decree of 21 January 2009 (Protocol Number 126/2009), which was issued in response to a renewed request dated 15 December 2008 that Bishop Fellay made on behalf of all four bishops whom Lefebvre had consecrated on 30 June 1988, the Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, by the power granted to him by Pope Benedict XVI, remitted the automatic excommunication that they had thereby incurred, and expressed the wish that this would be followed speedily by full communion of the whole of the Society of Saint Pius X with the Church.
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