Vatican Official: SSPX Must Sign Doctrinal Declaration

 •  •  May 12, 2017   

Abp. Pozzo: The ball's in their court

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ROME ( - A top Vatican official is saying the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), headed by Bp. Bernard Fellay, must sign a doctrinal declaration involving Vatican II before they can reunite with the Church.

In a report published Thursday, Abp. Guido Pozzo, secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, the body tasked with facilitating the reunion with Rome of traditional breakaway groups like the SSPX, is saying, "The reconciliation will occur when Monsignor Fellay formally adheres to the doctrinal declaration that the Holy See presented to him. This is also the necessary condition to then proceed to the institutional regularization with the creation of a personal prelature."

Reportedly, Abp. Pozzo sees the proper interpretation of Vatican II as an essential element of this declaration. According to the report, "Guido Pozzo points out that the key to reconciliation lies in understanding the Second Vatican Council. The interpretations that were promoted by some theologians, intellectuals and the media have encouraged ruptures similar to the Lefebvrians."

The archbishop affirmed Thursday that the misinterpretations about the council's 16 documents led to misperceptions of the council by the SSPX, which diverged from Church teaching.
"This contradiction, this 'overlap,'" noted Pozzo, "has generated that climate of conflict, confusion and uncertainty about the Council's interpretation, which is at the root of the criticisms and difficulties raised by the Fraternity of St. Pius X."
During an interview in March, Abp. Pozzo likewise contrasted the so-called "spirit of Vatican II" as being essentially the problem rather than what the "true council" actually taught.

"The problem is therefore not the Second Vatican Council as such, but a certain way of understanding, applying and practicing the Council, the so-called 'spirit of the Council,'" he explained. "Pope Benedict XVI has spoken of a 'true council' and a 'virtual council,' the latter being the fruit of the mass media, the modernist currents of theology, in other words the 'conciliation ideology' that superimposed the genuine mens (mind) of the Council's Fathers."

In March 2009, Pope Benedict XVI wrote a letter explaining the SSPX separation is doctrinal in nature and not merely canonical or legal:

The fact that the Society of Saint Pius X does not possess a canonical status in the Church is not, in the end, based on disciplinary but on doctrinal reasons. ... In order to make this clear once again: Until the doctrinal questions are clarified, the society has no canonical status in the Church, and its ministers — even though they have been freed of the ecclesiastical penalty — do not legitimately exercise any ministry in the Church. ... In light of this situation, it is my intention henceforth to join the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei — the body which has been competent since 1988 for those communities and persons who, coming from the Society of Saint Pius X or from similar groups, wish to return to full communion with the Pope — to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. This will make it clear that the problems now to be addressed are essentially doctrinal in nature and concern primarily the acceptance of the Second Vatican Council and the post-conciliar magisterium of the Popes.

He continued:

The Church's teaching authority cannot be frozen in the year 1962 — this must be quite clear to the society. But some of those who put themselves forward as great defenders of the council also need to be reminded that Vatican II embraces the entire doctrinal history of the Church. Anyone who wishes to be obedient to the council has to accept the Faith professed over the centuries, and cannot sever the roots from which the tree draws its life.


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