30-June-2008 -- Catholic World News Brief |

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SSPX To Continue Talks with Vatican

Vatican, Jun. 30 (CWNews.com) - The head of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) has responded to a Vatican message setting forth the conditions that the traditionalist group must meet to achieve reconciliation with the Holy See.

Bishop Bernard Fellary, the SSPX leader, did not accept the terms presented in a June 2 letter from Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, the president of the Ecclesia Dei commission. But informed sources in Rome report that the response from Bishop Fellay showed a positive interest in continued talks with the Holy See.

In a letter that he sent to Cardinal Castrillon last week, Bishop Fellay did not accept what SSPX spokesmen called the "ultimatum" from the Vatican. But the traditionalist leader told a Swiss radio interviewer that it would be wrong to interpret his message as a rejection of the Vatican's efforts at reconciliation.

Bishop Fellay told the Swiss broadcaster that he saw the June 2 message from Cardinal Castrillon as a sign that the Vatican wishes to accelerate the pace of negotiations toward reconciliation of the SSPX. He suggested that he did not see an urgent need for a "hasty" approach. But he clearly indicated that he expected the talks to continue.

Cardinal Castrillon had said that in order to conclude successful negotiations, the SSPX would have to give a clear indication that its leaders would show respect for the Pope and the magisterium, avoiding offenses against "ecclesiastical charity." Suggesting that the Vatican message was an order to "shut up," Bishop Fellay said that his group would not accept the Vatican's conditions. However he did comply with the cardinal's demand for an answer from the SSPX before the end of June.

The traditionalist group has not revealed the contents of Bishop Fellay's response. It seems reasonable to infer that the traditionalist leader repeated the argument that the SSPX has made for several years: that reconciliation cannot be achieved until there is an agreement on theological issues, including questions about religious freedom, ecumenism, and the authority of Vatican II teachings.

Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos has spearheaded efforts to heal the rift that opened in June 1988 when the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre ordained three bishops for the SSPX in defiance of the Holy See. Although he had hoped for a more positive reaction to his message of June 2, informed sources in Rome say that the Colombian cardinal was not unhappy with the response from Bishop Fellay, and saw reason to hope that his talks with the traditionalist group might still bear fruit.

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