Benedict XVI conferred with the cardinals

Source: FSSPX News

On February 13, Pope Benedict XVI presided over a consultation with the cardinals and heads of Roman dicasteries (the 9 congregations – with doctrinal authority – and the 11 Pontifical Councils). This meeting usually takes place twice a year. From Vatican sources, it is said that there will be more coming. Thus the pope might have already convoked a second meeting around March 20 to carry on the discussions.

The meeting took place behind closed doors, the agenda was not published nor any communiqué given to the media.

According to leaks reported by the Vatican specialist of the daily Il Giornale, Andrea Tornielli, one of the topics might have dealt with the canonical standing of the bishops consecrated by Archbishop Lefebvre in 1988. Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy and president of the Ecclesia Dei Commission, was supposed to read a report on the subject, according to the Italian daily Il Messaggero.

According to the Italian press agency Ansa, Benedict XVI intends to grant a certain disciplinary autonomy to the members of the SSPX and allow them to keep the liturgy according to the rite of Saint Pius V. At the general House of the SSPX in Menzingen (Switzerland) they said they were informed of these rumors by the media.

It may be observed that if the information proves to be true, it would mean that Rome takes into account the two preliminary conditions to a doctrinal discussion which were proposed to the Roman authorities by Bishop Fellay: freedom for the Tridentine Mass for all priests and the lifting of the decree of excommunication against the bishops of the SSPX (see DICI n° 130).

While waiting for a possible confirmation, the French weekly L’Express, in its February 23 edition gave the following comment: "It looks like negotiations will be delicate, but in the gloomy context, the 460 priests and 150,000 faithful that the Society prides itself on having in 50 countries worldwide obviously represent a non-negligible argument in their favor. The Vatican will likely allow the traditionalists more freedom to celebrate their Masses in the Tridentine rite, in force before the Council. Presently, numerous services in Latin are celebrated almost everywhere in France, but priests must ask permission beforehand from their bishop. They might also obtain the annulment of the papal decree of 1988 which banned them from the Church. On the other hand, regarding the root problems, the rapprochement looks clearly more arduous. For the Lefebvrite integrists (sic), who cannot conceive of any other truth than that of the Catholic religion, interreligious dialogue and ecumenism smack of blasphemy. For Benedict XVI, they are the very heart of his pontificate".