Tuesday, February 14, 2006

SSPX: What Rome Gets

Andrea Tornielli runs his summary of yesterday's meeting in today's Il Giornale, reporting that the summit ran "several hours."

The summit of the dicastery heads "did not solve the argument," Tornielli writes, saying that a second meeting of its kind -- scheduled for 23 March -- "represents a novelty in the Vatican and indicates that the Pope intents to listen to and value the work of his collaborators in the Curia, just as he did when he led the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith," while at the same time not letting slip one bit of his own desision-making authority.

Tornielli relates that two notable interventions were made.

According to the report, the first came from Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments who, according to Il Giornale, said something along these lines: that "freeing the Old Mass" in the hoped-for universally mandated wide sense (i.e. Roman legislation which gives no degree of discretion to the bishops in their local churches) "is not possible," while it remains necessary that some sort of "instrument" can be found in light of the request of the faithful disposed to the Pian Rite. The advocated solution was said to be "a new indult... which explicitly repeats to the bishops the appeal voiced long ago by John Paul II, who told them to be 'generous' towards the Traditionalists." And, as part of the conditions, priests who celebrate the Old Mass would be obliged to, "at the very least," participate in the concelebration of the (Novus Ordo) Holy Thursday Chrism Mass with their bishop.

The other side was, predictably, taken by Cardinal Dario Castrillion Hoyos, the prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy and president of Ecclesia Dei (which handles the implementation of the indult) who has been the Holy See's point man on discussions with the SSPX. According to Tornielli, Castrillion took the line that Bernard Fellay did in his August audience with Benedict XVI -- that the Holy See "cancel" the excommunications "as Paul VI did when meeting with the Orthodox," at which point the mutual excommunications of 1054 were simultaneously expunged.

Lastly, after several weeks of reports -- broken here -- of what the Society would receive in exchange for its return to communion with the Catholic church: the nullification of the excommunications, autonomous juridical status, etc., Tornielli runs for the first time what Rome would demand from the Society in exchange, according to Castrillion's line of argument.

In sum, it would involve three consents and acknowledgments from the Society's leadership:

1. The acceptance of the Second Vatican Council (seemingly as a valid ecumenical council whose decrees carry weight in terms of Tradition, as opposed to a simply pastoral one which lacked force).
2. Obedience to the Pope
3. The validity of the postconciliar liturgy

And there you have it.... More as it comes in.