Rorate Caeli

SSPX asks for removal of excommunications
Official SSPX note. I.MEDIA. APIC

[Update-1600 GMT] The official news agency of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX), DICI, has published the first official communiqué of the Fraternity on current events:

On the matter of the ultimatum of Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos

On June 4, 2008, at the request of Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos, president of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, the Superior General of the Fraternity of Saint Pius X, Bishop Bernard Fellay, went to Rome, along with the 2nd Assistant General, Father Alain-Marc Nély.

In the course of the meeting, a memorandum, in the form of an ultimatum, was given to him, an answer being demanded by the end of the month of June. On June 23, contrarily to custom, Italian daily Il Giornale revealed the existence of this ultimatum and published its content, on the next day, in its electronic edition. The information was picked up in the following days by the entire international press. Therefore, in addition to the urgency of the ultimatum, there was media pressure.

The document of Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos included five demands: besides a positive answer asked for before the end of June, the Fraternity of Saint Pius X, in the person of its Superior General, should commit (1) to "a response proportionate to the generosity of the Pope"; (2) "to avoid every public intervention which does not respect the person of the Holy Father and which may be negative to ecclesial charity"; (3) to "avoid the claim to a Magisterium superior to the Holy Father and to not propose the Fraternity in contraposition to the Church"; (4) to "display the will to act honestly in full ecclesial charity and in respect for the authority of the Vicar of Christ".

It should be noticed that the very generic, not to say vague, character of the proposed demands contrasts remarkably with the urgency of an ultimatum. These conditions seem to aim at the achievement of a climate favorable to an ulterior dialogue, rather than being precise commitments on exact points. The Fraternity of Saint Pius X wishes that this dialogue be situated at a doctrinal level and take into consideration all questions which, if evaded, would run the risk of turning obsolete a canonical position established in haste. It considers that the prior withdrawal of the decrees of excommunication of 1988 would favor the serenity of such dialogue.

The Fraternity of Saint Pius X does not claim to exercise a Magisterium superior to that of the Holy Father, neither intends to oppose itself to the Church. Following its founder, it intends to transmit that which it has received, that is, "that which has been believed always, everywhere, and by all". It makes its own the profession of faith which Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre addressed to Paul VI on September 24, 1975: "It is to His Vicar whom Jesus Christ entrusted the mission to confirm his brothers in the faith and whom He demands to watch so that every bishop will faithfully guard the deposit, according to the words of Saint Paul to Timothy."

It is in this sense that Monsignor Fellay responded to the ultimatum in a letter to Pope Benedict XVI, on Thursday, June 26, 2008. Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos simply noticed the reception of this response on the following day.

Until further information is available, no comment will be made.

Father Alain Lorans
(Permanent link for the French text.)


[Update-1605 GMT] Swiss news agency APIC adds the following: " 'The letter is on the Pope's bureau,' it [the Pontifical Commisson Ecclesia Dei] has indicated, noticing that 'discretion' should be kept in this affair."


[Original text:] Agence France-Presse (AFP) publishes today the information that the Rome-based French religious news agency I.MEDIA reports that the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX) has asked the Holy See to lift the excommunications:

The Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X has asked the Vatican to lift the excommunications pronounced against it, an Integrist [sic] organization, to display its will to dialogue, according to religious news agency I.Media.

The Superior of the Fraternity, Bishop Bernard Fellay, sent Pope Bendict XVI a letter responding to the conditions posed by the Vatican to a reintegration of this organization, founded by schismatic [sic] bishop Marcel Lefebvre, the agency notes.

According to an internal note of the Fraternity mentioned by I.Media, Bishop Fellay asks that the dialogue "be placed at a doctrinal level" and that he may avoid every hastiness. He underlines that "prior withdrawal of the excommunication of 1988 would favor the serenity of such a dialogue".
"These conditions seem to aim the achievement of a climate favorable to an ulterior dialogue rather than precise commitments on exact points," the Priestly Fraternity considers in its note.
It seems step one of the "One-Two-Three Strategy" is about to be completely accomplished.