The speech, however, is far from clear, and full of ambiguities. If it is true that at certain times Bishop Fellay seems to be saying that there are no negotiations between Ecône and Rome, at other moments he appears to be saying that there is some back and forth between the two sides.
For instance, has the SSPX asked to have the excommunications lifted? The following excerpt shows that the Society has -- at least -- asked the Holy Father to withdraw the excommunications:
"[And then Castrillon Hoyos said:] 'I ask you to write the pope to ask him to lift the excommunications.' ...[Fellay:] We have always refused to recognize the validity of these excommunications, therefore we could not ask for the lifting of something which does not exist ... we asked, of course, for the withdrawal of the decree of excommunication, its annulment, that is to say, nullifying it...would already mean that something is recognized. ... For the first time, Rome seems to follow the way which we had proposed to them at the beginning, in the year 2000."(*Please see the unedited excerpts below)
It is interesting to notice that the Superior of the Society, who is always very straightforward, seems to be struggling to express his thoughts: first he says "we could not ask for the lifting...", and then goes on to say "we asked, of course, for the withdrawal of the decree of excommunication...". Which one is true? I do not know. But, if it is true that the Society has asked for the withdrawal of the excommunications, Rome seems to be going along ("...Rome seems to follow the way which we had proposed to them at the beginning, in the year 2000." )
*23: 18 [Castrillon Hoyos] Je vous demande d'écrire au pape pour lui demander qu'il enlève les excommunications." Et depuis nous en sommes là. Car évidemment nous n'allons pas demander qu'on enlève quelque chose que nous ne reconnaissons pas. Nous avons toujours refusé de reconnaître la validité de ces excommunications, donc nous ne pouvons pas demander qu'on enlève quelque chose qui n'existe pas. Et avant même de poser cet acte nous avons demandé, bien sûr, le retrait du décret d'excommunication, son annulation et le même, dire annuler cela[?] voulait déjà dire qu'on reconnaîtrait quelque chose... et bien nous avons demandé depuis le début , c'est un des préalables que nous avions posé au départ. Pour la première fois, Rome semble prendre ce chemin que nous les avions proposés au début, à l'an 2000. 24:41[Transcript of what could be reasonably heard]
"[Castrillon Hoyos] 'I ask you to write the pope to ask him to lift the excommunications.' And there we were. Because, evidently, we would not ask for the lifting of something which we do not recognize. We have always refused to recognize the validity of these excommunications, therefore we could not ask for the lifting of something which does not exist. And even before doing this we asked, of course, for the withdrawal of the decree of excommunication, its annulment, that is to say, nullifying it [unintelligible] would already mean that something is recognized. And, well, we had demanded [it] since the beginning, it is one of the preconditions which we had proposed at the beginning. For the first time, Rome seems to follow that way which we had proposed to them at the beginning, in the year 2000""
So, is there a contradiction in the bishop's words? It is certainly true that the previous reports on the sermon have been hiding this most important part -- which is the most important portion of the sermon. One should emphasize NOT the canonical form chosen (which, according to the Society's own view of itself, must be the withdrawal of the effects of the excommunication), but rather its effects, which are the same as the lifting of excommunications: the end of the censures against the bishops involved in the 1988 consecrations.
This is truly the most important part of the sermon because it is well known that the matter is being discussed this week in Rome by the competent dicasteries and will be the main theme of the meeting on Monday with the Holy Father -- we know, then, that there was a previous, formal, request for the lifting of excommunications (or, rather, if one supports the view of the Fraternity, the withdrawal of the effects of these excommunications).