Rorate Caeli

For the record: La Croix [Updated]

Chapel of the headquarters of the
French Episcopal Conference, Paris
The semi-official daily of the French episcopate, La Croix, reports the following today:

Questioned Thursday, April 12, by La Croix, Fr. Alain Lorans, spokesman of the SSPX [Society of Saint Pius X], said that "Bp. Fellay [Superior General of the Society] will not speak on this matter (note: the letter sent to Rome) before the Holy See's response is known", leaving to Rome the responsibility for the publication of the final decision.


If the Society signs the agreement, the Holy See will propose to it a particular canonical statute, in the form of a personal prelature, as that of the Opus Dei. Before erecting a personal prelature, the Holy See must, according to Code 294 of Canon Law [sic], previously consult with "the concerned episcopal conferences".

Nonetheless, the dossier is made complicated by tensions that exist within the Fraternity, some being violently opposed to an agreement with Rome. Among the possible scenarios, one or several Lefebvrist bishops could refuse to join, in which case they would be excommunicated once again. [sic]

"If they say no, it will be necessary that they explain why not and, in such case, their refusal will involve doctrinal questions. They thus risk not schism anymore, but heresy," explains Fr. Laurent Touze, vice-dean of the University of the Holy Cross in Rome [and member of the Prelature of the Holy Cross and Opus Dei].


According to converging sources, the conclusion of a settlement would be on the right track. In Rome asd in Écône, it is said that, "if the Society does not sign now, it will never sign."

Conscious of the tensions within the Fraternity, Bp. Fellay insisted on the theme of obedience in his homily of [the Chrism Mass in] Holy Thursday. "We grow the habits, precisely, of independence. We do not notice it anymore. We wish to do what we want. These are defects, bad habits, that are the result of the situation in which we find ourselves and to which attention must be paid." [For an audio of the relevant Écône sermon in French, click here.]

On the side of the dioceses, particularly in France, the signing of the agreement will quite probably provoke strong reactions and incomprehensions. "I fear the triumphalism of the Society and the reaction of my parishioners," a young priest who came from the Traditionalist ranks said worriedly on Thursday, April 12. "Most will behave like the older brother of the parable, unhappy with the return of the prodigal son, and this even more because the prodigal son may not arrive with the lowered head, in an attitude of asking for forgiveness."

CÉLINE HOYEAU [Source: La Croix; Tip: Fecit Forum]

[Update: Other declarations, granted to Italian news source TMNews:]
"We are sending the response to the Vatican, then we expect a response from the Vatican," declared [Father Lorans,] ... "only after that we will be able to communicate officially with journalists."
The spokesman of the Lefebvrians specifies at the moment that the temporal indication [the April 15 date] "was not an ultimatum, but a due date". Regarding the communication that Bp. Fellay is sending these days to Rome, it would not consist in a true and proper second response, but in some "clarifications", that, in any event, "do not modify substantially the first reponse". For Father Lorans, consequently, "things will be clarified in the next few days." [Source and tip: Papa Ratzinger Blog]