"It is...Our will that Catholics should abstain from certain appellations which have recently been brought into use to distinguish one group of Catholics from another. They are to be avoided not only as 'profane novelties of words,' out of harmony with both truth and justice, but also because they give rise to great trouble and confusion among Catholics. Such is the nature of Catholicism that it does not admit of more or less, but must be held as a whole or as a whole rejected: 'This is the Catholic faith, which unless a man believe faithfully and firmly; he cannot be saved' (Athanasian Creed). There is no need of adding any qualifying terms to the profession of Catholicism: it is quite enough for each one to proclaim 'Christian is my name and Catholic my surname,' only let him endeavour to be in reality what he calls himself." -- Pope Benedict XV, Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum 24 (1914)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Fellay visits Rome ahead of cardinals’ decision on proposed modifications to doctrinal preamble

The Superior of the Society of St. Pius X was received by the Ecclesia Dei commission last weekend


One more step has been taken towards a resolution of the crisis, which the Pope has been pushing for. Bishop Bernard Fellay, the Superior of the Society of St. Pius X was in Rome this weekend, for a meeting with Pontifical commission Ecclesia Dei. Vatican Insider has learnt that during the meeting, attendees discussed some of the modifications Fellay had proposed for the doctrinal preamble. The outcome seems to have been positive. In the morning of Wednesday 16 May, the Feria Quarta meeting will be held in the Palace of the Holy Office. The Feria Quarta is a meeting between cardinals and bishops of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, who have been called to express their views on the modifications to the text that was sent to the Lefebvrian superior. The result of the discussions will be communicated to the Pope a few days later. The meeting will be attended by cardinals and bishops of the Roman Curia and from important dioceses, including Cardinals Jean-Pierre Ricard, Archbishop of Bordeaux and Christoph Schönborn, Archbishop of Vienna.

The Prefect of the Congregation, William Levada, who has reached the end of his mandate, will deliver the opinions expressed by each one of the fathers of the Feria Quarta, to Benedict XVI by hand. The Pope will then be able to assess not only the outcome of the final vote, but each individual’s decision as well, in order to make a completely independent decision. Apparently, the modifications proposed by Mgr. Fellay stress the importance of tradition as a stable element. The preamble, which was the starting point for the discussions, formed the core part of the doctrinal aspect of the agreement that was signed in 1988 by Mgr. Marcel Lefebvre. Lefebvre said he “accepted the doctrine contained in point No.25 of the Second Vatican Council’s dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium, on the teachings of the Church and the compulsory compliance to these teachings.” With regard to the disagreement over some conciliar passages, he stated: “In terms of certain points taught by the Second Vatican Council or which regard subsequent liturgical and law reforms that do not seem to correspond with tradition; we strive to adopt a positive and communicative attitude towards the Apostolic See, avoiding any disputes.”

Last minute surprises are always possible, but judging by the last Feria Quarta meeting on this issue, and the opinions expressed by bishops and cardinals, there is a good chance that the outcome will be positive. Fellay’s recent meeting with Ecclesia Dei is said to have contributed to this likelihood.

What concerned the Vatican, was the content of the letter sent a month ago to Lefebvrian Superior Fellay by bishops Tissier de Mallerays, de Gallareta and Williamson. It was a tough letter which showed aversion to an agreement. Fellay replied to this letter with an important missive in which he outlined the reasons for his decision, in response to the Pope’s personal appeal. The publication of the confidential correspondence exchanged between Fellay and the three bishops caused a great deal of concern within the Holy See because it brought to light the existence of considerable opposition to the Fraternity’s return to full communion with Rome not by individual priests but by as many as three of the four bishops ordained by Lefebvre in 1988. The very bishops whose excommunication was revoked by Benedict XVI in January 2009.

More about the content of the letters and comments mentioned in this article can be found here.

Cardinal Koch who is responsible for the dialogue between the Holy See and the Jewish world, reassures Vice-President of the Bundestag, Wolfgang Thierse. Read about this here.

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