One further step towards the resolution of the crisis willed by Benedict XVI: Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior of the Society of Saint Pius X, was in Rome in the past few days for a meeting of clarification with the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei. From what Vatican Insider has learned, some modifications to the doctrinal preamble proposed by Fellay were examined and discussed. The outcome of the meeting appeared to be positive. On Wednesday, May 16, in the morning, in the Palace of the Holy Office, the "Feria Quarta" meeting of the Cardinals and Bishops of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith will take place, called to express itself on the modifications to the text sent by the Lefebvrian Superior. The result of this collective discussion, which includes Cardinals and Bishops of the Roman Curia, but also of relevant dioceses - among others, Jean-Pierre Ricard, Archbishop of Bordeaux, and Christoph Schönborn, Archbishop of Vienna, will be present -, will be delivered to the Pope in the following days.
Benedict XVI will receive from the hands of the Prefect of the Congregation, Cardinal William Levada ... the opinions expressed by each one of the Fathers of the "Feria quarta" and will thus be able to evaluate not only the outcome of the final vote, but also the individual reasonings of each, in order to then make his decision in full autonomy.
From what has been learned, the modifications proposed by Bp. Fellay insist on underlining the importance of Tradition as a stable element. The essence of the preamble, the point of departure, was the nucleus of the doctrinal part of the agreement signed in 1988 by Abp. Marcel Lefebvre, who declared the "acceptance of the doctrine contained in number 25 of the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium of the Second Vatican Council on the ecclesial Magisterium and the adherence which is due to that magisterium." Regarding the dissent from some conciliar passages, he affirmed: "With regard to certain points taught by the Second Vatican Council or concerning later reforms of the liturgy and law, and which seem to us able to be reconciled with the Tradition only with difficulty, we commit ourselves to have a positive attitude of study and of communication with the Holy See, avoiding all polemics." [Rorate note: Tornielli is quoting the words of the May 5, 1988, protocol, not a present text.]
Surprises are always possible, but what already took place in the previous "Feria quarta" meeting dedicated to this matter, as also the opinions already declared by Bishops and Cardinals, lead to believe with great probability in a positive outcome. An outcime which would have been favored also by the latest meeting of Fellay with Ecclesia Dei.
What has on the other hand caused concern in the Vatcan was the content of the letter that Bishops Tissier de Malleraus, de Galarreta and Williamson sent one month ago to the Lefebvrian Superior Fellay. A very stern letter, opposed to the agreement, to which Fellay responded with a very significant missive, in which he provided the reasons for his decision, in response to a personal appeal of the Pope. The publication of the reserved correspondence between Fellay and the three confrères has caused not little concern beyond the Tiber, because it made clear the existence of a consistent opposition, against the re-entry into full communion with Rome, not only by individual priests, but also by three of the four Bishops ordained by Lefebvre in 1988. Bishops whose excommunication Benedict XVI had lifted in January 2009.