Did you notice?

What with all the talk the last few days about Amoris Laetitia, we might have missed seeing, or if seeing, missed the significance of, a brief note on the Lefebvrist Society of St Pius X (SSPX). It was published in La Croix, and picked up by the Rorate Caeli blog. I quote it below:

Abp. Pozzo, Secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, spoke to the semi-official daily of the French episcopate, La Croix, on the relations between the Holy See and the Society of St. Pius X, and among other relevant things said the following:

“The difficulties raised by the SSPX regarding Church-State relations and religious freedom,the practice of ecumenism, and the dialogue with non-Christian religions, of certain aspects of the liturgical reform, and of its concrete application, remain the object of discussion and clarification, Abp. Pozzo [of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei] added, but they are not an obstacle for the canonical and legal recognition of the SSPX.”

This really does seem very significant. It implies quite clearly that one can disagree with elements of the Second Vatican Council’s documents and still be visibly and canonically in communion with the Church under the pope. Even a corporate body such the SSPX can disagree and still be visibly and canonically in communion with the Church.

Not every letter of Vatican II is dogma. The dogmatic parts are those which affirm or develop that which is already dogmatic teaching. Anything novel must stand the scrutiny and judgment of time, experience and deeper reflection.

Of course this is statement from a senior curial official, not the pope himself. But Pope Francis has very recently met with Bishop Fellay, superior of the SSPX. Update: Moreover, as a commenter below has noted, the pope seems set to extend the jubilee faculties granted to SSPX priests to hear confessions beyond the Year of Mercy. This pope continues to evade easy categorisation.

The implications could be considerable. A space to watch.



7 thoughts on “Did you notice?

  1. I was also intrigued by the little noticed comments of Pope Benedict before he left office regarding Nostra aetate: ” In the process of active reception, a weakness of this otherwise extraordinary text has gradually emerged: it speaks of religion solely in a positive way and it disregards the sick and distorted forms of religion which, from the historical and theological viewpoints, are of far-reaching importance; for this reason the Christian faith, from the outset, adopted a critical stance towards religion, both internally and externally.” So can not other texts of the Council be viewed as somewhat lacking at times?


    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree that this is interesting. On the other hand it had occurred to me that this could be another sign of what I call the Anglicanisation of the Church. By this I mean that it could be a sign that in the Franciscan Church objective truth is relegated to a level of such insignificance that what one believes is no longer essential for one’s being thought Catholic. I always remember the wonderful Anglo-Catholic book “The Rivers of the Flood” by the Anglican Benedictine, Dom Anselm Hughes. In this book he rejoices at the fact that things which once were banned by Anglican bishops (tabernacles, eucharistic vestments, benediction etc) are now allowed and widely practised in the Anglican Church. From the perspective of the 1950s this looked like the start of the triumph of Anglo Catholicism. In reality it was only the start of the indifferentism which has made the Anglican Church what it is today. A Church which could encompass both the SSPX and the Kasparites would be about as comprehensive as Anglicanism was around 1985.


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