Vatican says open to accord with traditionalists

Wed Sep 14, 2011 2:31pm EDT
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By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The Vatican on Wednesday told an ultra-traditionalist splinter group it would have to accept some non-negotiable doctrinal principles before it could fully rejoin the Roman Catholic Church.

Leaders of the dissident Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) held several hours of meetings with the Vatican's doctrinal officials to discuss how to finalize two years of negotiations aimed at eventual reconciliation.

A statement said the Vatican told the head of the traditionalists, Swiss-born Bishop Bernard Fellay, that the SSPX must accept the principles outlined in a "doctrinal preamble," before moving on to a "hoped for reconciliation."

The Vatican did not release the text of the preamble handed to Fellay. But it said it included certain doctrinal principles and guidelines for interpreting Church teaching so that the SSPX was not fundamentally out of step with the Vatican.

The SSPX defied Rome in 1988 by consecrating four bishops, triggering their excommunication. In a gesture of reconciliation, Pope Benedict has lifted those bans and promoted the use of the traditional Latin Mass the SSPX favors.

But he has until now refused to grant the SSPX bishops the right to reject other teachings of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), such as its historic reconciliation with Judaism and other faiths, or assume official positions in the Church.


Fellay said after the meeting he would study the proposal and consult with the other SSPX bishops before responding.   Continued...

<p>Pope Benedict XVI waves as he arrives to lead the Sunday angelus prayer from the window of his private apartment in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican July 3, 2011. REUTERS/Max Rossi</p>