Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Al Sant'Uffizio, Deja Vu

And, well, just another day at the (Holy) Office.

According to a report from Catholic News Service, the superior of the Society of St Pius X, Bishop Bernard Fellay, entered the Palazzo del Sant'Uffizio -- the offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith -- at 5pm Rome time (11am Eastern) for the aforementioned meeting to possibly convey a papal decision on the breakaway traditionalist group's reconciliation with Rome.

According to the wire, the once-excommunicated head of the Swiss-based fraternity -- who arrived in a red Peugeot with French plates -- came with two other people.

Over the weeks of deliberations toward a potential accord with the Society -- based upon a "Doctrinal Preamble" which would state its acceptance of most of the teachings of Vatican II -- divisions emerged between Fellay and the other three prelates illicitly ordained in 1988 over a return to Rome. A subsequent statement from the Holy See said that Fellay's confreres would be required to "individually" clarify their positions on an agreement.

Known to be a keen priority of Pope Benedict's, should a reconciliation deal be reached, a special canonical structure to accommodate a restored Society (or, most likely, the portion of it that seeks to return) is almost certain to be established. Years of indications have most often pointed to an extraterritorial set-up akin to either a personal prelature -- a status currently enjoyed only by Opus Dei -- or the new Anglican Ordinariates as the likely arrangement. (On a related note to the latter, CDF is to establish the last of the national jurisdictions for Anglicans entering the Catholic church on Friday; to be known as Our Lady of the Southern Cross, the entity is expected to comprise Australia, New Zealand and other relevant areas of the Asia-Pacific region.)

The SSPX meeting comes little more than a day after another key CDF summit -- the dicastery's meeting to hear out the concerns of the leadership of the US' women religious, whose joint conference was ordered by the congregation to undertake a sweeping reform in April.

In comments to reporters earlier today, the lead Vatican spokesman, Jesuit Fr Federico Lombardi, said that "no information" on a decision had yet emerged.

Of course, Rome being Rome, the apparent gulf that exists between "no information" on a decision as opposed to "no decision" is to be considered.