Rorate Caeli

Pre-consistory discussion on "the question of Abp. Lefebvre"

By Andrea Tornielli, in Il Giornale:

Cardinal Dario Castrillón, who introduced the first theme, describing the state of the negotiations with the followers of Lefebvre -- the Traditionalists who criticize the Council and its reforms -- spoke of the possibility of making them re-enter into full communion with Rome through the concession of a structure of "prelature", dependent on the Pope.

The debate was lively: French cardinals Lustiger and Ricard and the Swiss Cottier discarded the idea of a prelature, preferring less compromising formulas which make reference to the associations of laypeople. Cardinal Bertone, former number two [Secretary] of the former Holy Office, recalled the past debates with the Lefebvrist Fraternity and emphasized the need to define well the doctrinal bases of an agreement.

All said that the re-pacification is promising, many reminded that the acceptance, by the Lefebvrists, of the Second Vatican Council is needed. Cardinal Francis Arinze then introduced the problem of the extension of the indult which would allow the Traditionalists in communion with Rome an easier use of the 1962 Missal. "The Church awaits for the Lefebvrists with open arms," declared at the end cardinal Castrillón, clearly satisfied.

A few thoughts come to mind.

(a) We do not know exactly who was Tornielli's source, but we believe that the canonical structure of the "Prelature" (or, in this case, the "Personal prelature") is not exactly what the decision-makers have in mind.

(b) Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos' last sentence has been repeated with some differences elsewhere -- in any case, it seems highly unlikely that he would use the word "Lefebvrist".

(c) Cardinal Lustiger's (and Cardinal Ricard's, despite some who thought otherwise) position was absolutely predictable. It would have been surprising if he had acted differently...