Friday, October 23, 2009

For SSPX, Eyes on the Prize

In a statement late last week, the Society of St Pius X might've said that its doctrinal dialogue with the Holy See, "will demand the discretion necessary to ensure serene talks"... even so, though, CNA relays that the breakaway group's head, Bishop Bernard Fellay, is already talking up likely canonical solutions for the Society's reintegration as a result of the exchange, which begins Monday:
In an interview with the Chilean daily, “El Mercurio,” the Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X acknowledged that the Vatican is considering the possibility of converting the Lefebvrist group into a personal prelature as part of the discussions aimed at bringing about reconciliation....

Asked about the speculation that the Society of Pius X could be made into a personal prelature similar to Opus Dei, Fellay responded, “There is a lot of truth to that. I think the Vatican is moving towards that kind of canonical solution.”
Under the provisions for a personal prelature, groups which "accomplish particular pastoral or missionary works for various regions or for different social groups" are permitted to operate their own seminaries and apostolates and ordain their own clerics under the oversight of a prelate named by the Holy See. That said, a personal prelature may only operate in a particular church with the consent of its bishop.

While Opus Dei has been the lone personal prelature in the church since 1982, the arrangement has provided the rough canonical framework for the future "personal ordinariates" announced earlier this week to give disaffected Anglicans a home in the Catholic fold. Yet unlike the 90,000-member Work -- led worldwide by a bishop-prelate based in Rome -- the foreseen Anglican arrangement will see several ordinariates established on a national or regional basis.

In its pre-dialogue statement, the SSPX announced that one of its four bishops, Alfonso de Gallareta, will lead its four-member delegation to the Vatican talks. Ordained without papal mandate in 1988 and, as such, freed from the excommunication the act incurred earlier this year, the rector of the Society's Argentinian seminary will be accompanied by two other heads of SSPX houses, and a theology professor at the group's main seminary in Econe.

PHOTO: Getty