Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Peace Talks Looming, SSPX Presents Gameplan: "Back to the Future"

With the much-anticipated "doctrinal dialogue" between the Holy See and the Society of St Pius X soon to get underway in Rome, the recently de-excommunicated head of the traditionalist group has taken to showing his cards.

From Paris, Reuters' Tom Heneghan sums it up:
“The solution to the crisis is a return to the past,” [Bishop Bernard Fellay] has told a magazine published by the SSPX in South Africa.

Fellay said Pope Benedict agrees with the SSPX on the need to maintain the church’s links to the past, but still wants to keep some reforms of the Second Vatican Council. “This is one of the most sensitive problems,” he said. “We hope the discussions will allow us to dispel the grave ambiguities that have spread through the Catholic Church since (the Council), as John Paul II himself recognised.”...

In the same interview with the magazine Tradition, he also indicated the SSPX was ready to add several new issues to the agenda of the talks that could drag on the sessions for years. The talks are due to start later this month....

Fellay then indicated the SSPX could also contribute to dragging out these talks as much as possible. “The issues are vast,” he told the magazine. “Our principle objections to the Council, such as religious liberty, ecumenism and collegiality are well known. But other objections could be posed, such as the influence of modern philosophy, the liturgical novelties, the spirit of the world and its influence on the modern thought that holds sway in the church.”
Intended that the Swiss-based Society might "resume the path of full communion with the church," the SSPX's "full recognition" of the Council's teachings on ecumenism, other faiths and religious liberty has already been identified as a "not negotiable" condition for its reconciliation with Rome.

In his March letter to the world's bishops following the January "remit" that lifted the excommunication of the Society's four prelates following their 1988 ordination without Vatican approval, the Pope said that "the church’s teaching authority cannot be frozen in the year 1962 – this must be quite clear to the Society."

At the same time, the pontiff added that "some of those who put themselves forward as great defenders of the Council also need to be reminded that Vatican II embraces the entire doctrinal history of the church.

"Anyone who wishes to be obedient to the Council has to accept the faith professed over the centuries, and cannot sever the roots from which the tree draws its life," B16 said.

What's more, against the double backdrop of the looming talks and the controversy wrought by the Society's best-known dissent from Catholic teaching -- namely, its stance on Judaism, which incited the bulk of the global outcry over the January remit -- a recent development on the Vatican side is of note: earlier today, the Holy See announced that Benedict will become the second Pope ever to visit Rome's Synagogue early next year.

Expected to attend a long-running Catholic-Jewish dialogue day -- which coincides with the anniversary of a sudden 1793 storm that allowed Rome's Jewish community to "escape an attack by the populace of the city" -- B16's 17 January stop will come amid the first anniversary of his decision to lift the SSPX excommunications.