Tuesday, September 15, 2009

"Dialogue"... And Its "Non-Negotiables"

And so, the countdown's officially on -- this time next month will see the beginning of the long-awaited "doctrinal dialogue" between representatives of the Holy See and the leadership of the Society of St Pius X with an eye to securing one of Pope Benedict's most cherished internal priorities: the lead traditionalist group's return to full communion with Rome.

That said, eight months after the pontiff's de-excommunication of the Swiss-based Society's four bishops sparked a global firestorm, a member of B16's "kitchen cabinet" offered a sneak preview of the Curial line on the closed-door sessions, asserting that Vatican II's teachings on ecumenism, religious freedom and the Jewish people -- all of which have met resistance from the SSPX -- will be presented as "not negotiable" conditions for ending the two-decade-old split:
"It's not the case that Rome will let the Lefebvrists off easy for everything," [Vienna Cardinal Christoph] Schoenborn told the German daily Passauer Neue Presse, calling the traditionalists after their founder Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who broke with Rome in 1988....

The SSPX broke with Rome in a dispute over the 1962-1965 [Second Vatican] Council, especially its call for respect for other faiths. The Vatican said it would have to discuss this teaching before its priests could exercise any ministry in the Church....

"The SSPX will be told very clearly what is not negotiable for the Holy See," he said. "This includes such fundamental conclusions of the Second Vatican Council as its positions on Judaism, other non-Christian religions, other Christian churches and on religious freedom as a basic human right."...

Since the excommunications were lifted, SSPX head Bishop Bernard Fellay has hinted at possible minimal changes in the group's interpretation of the Council, but other bishops have maintained the group's traditional rejection of its reforms....

It is not clear what will happen if the SSPX does not accept the Vatican's conditions for reintegration. Its bishops and priests have only been readmitted to the Church as individual Catholics and are not recognised as official clergy.
Best known as the lead editor of what became the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Schönborn triangulated the Austrian church's response to the Lefebvrist remit amid especially heated reactions to the move there.

For his part, however, Fellay categorically stated in a July interview that the Society "will not make any compromise on the Council.

"I have no intention of making a compromise," he said. "The truth does not tolerate compromise. We do not want a compromise, we want clarity regarding the Council."

While three priest-theologians will reportedly represent the Holy See in the dialogue, the talks will be overseen by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, into which the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei -- the dicastery responsible for relations with traditionalist groups -- was integrated in early July.

PHOTO: Reuters