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[size=12pt]SSPX could be reconciled with Rome without accepting all of Vatican II

August 10, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — The Vatican has offered the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) a personal prelature and confirmed that certain documents from the Second Vatican Council are not doctrinal in nature, according to an Italian archbishop tasked with overseeing the canonically irregular group’s return to full Communion with Rome.

Archbishop Guido Pozzo, the Secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, told a German newspaper that Pope Francis has offered the SSPX a return to full Communion via a personal prelature within the Church. A personal prelature is a hierarchically-structured group of Catholic faithful not bound by a geographic location — essentially, a diocese without a territory that complements the work of local dioceses “to which the faithful who form part of a personal prelature continue to belong.”

Opus Dei is the Catholic Church’s most well-known — and indeed, only — personal prelature. 

Pozzo’s remarks, which Dr. Maike Hickson translated at OnePeterFive, indicate that the SSPX could be fully reunited with Rome despite the society’s rejection of certain Vatican II documents because the documents it rejects “are not about doctrines or definitive statements, but, rather, about instructions and orienting guides for pastoral practice.” The Second Vatican Council’s documents themselves indicate that only the Council’s teachings explicitly related to faith and morals are binding to Catholics, Pozzo explained.

“It was already clear at the time of the Council” that different Council documents carried different dogmatic weights, Pozzo said. “The General Secretary of the Council, Cardinal Pericle Felici, declared on November 16, 1964: ‘This holy synod defines only that as being binding for the Church what it declares explicitly to be such with regard to Faith and Morals.’ Only those texts assessed by the Council Fathers as being binding are to be accepted as such.”

The SSPX was founded by French Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. The group supports traditional liturgy and seeks to share the truth of the Catholic faith in the modern world, a task they view as “especially necessary considering the spread of atheism, agnosticism, and religious indifference.”

Lefebvre was eventually excommunicated for validly but illicitly ordaining other bishops. In other words, the men he ordained did become bishops, but Lefebvre was acting against the Church’s rules by ordaining them without proper permission.

However, the SSPX is not currently “in schism,” or “excommunicated,” as is sometimes reported. Their canonical status is irregular; certain Vatican II documents are points of contention between the Vatican and the SSPX . 

In recent years, the SSPX has inched closer to canonical regularization. Pope Francis has continued negotiations with the Society that began during Pope Benedict XVI’s pontificate. Pope Francis granted SSPX priests faculties to hear Confessions during the Year of Mercy — a faculty that will reportedly continue after the year.

One particular Council document with which the SSPX takes issue is Nostra Aetate (“In Our Time”), a declaration on the Church’s relationship with other religions. Some interpret it as inconsistent with or at the very least muddying the Catholic Church’s teaching that it alone is the one true religion.

Pozzo said Nostra Aetate is not dogmatic and therefore no Catholic is bound to accept it as such.

“Nostra Aetate does not have any dogmatic authority, and thus one cannot demand from anyone to recognize this declaration as being dogmatic,” Pozzo said. “This declaration can only be understood in the light of tradition and of the continuous Magisterium. For example, there exists today, unfortunately, the view — contrary to the Catholic Faith — that there is a salvific path independent of Christ and His Church. That has also been officially confirmed last of all by the Congregation for the Faith itself in its declaration, Dominus Iesus. Therefore, any interpretation of Nostra Aetate which goes into this [erroneous] direction is fully unfounded and has to be rejected.”

The leader of the SSPX has not been shy in his criticisms of Pope Francis, but he has also expressed hope and deep gratitude toward the pontiff for his welcoming attitude toward Rome’s reunification with the Society.

After the release of Amoris Laetitia, SSPX Superior General Bishop Bernard Fellay decried the “great and painful confusion that currently reigns in the Church” and the promotion of doctrinal errors “by a large number of pastors, including the Pope himself.” 

“A deep division [over Holy Communion for the divorced and remarried] is forming within the episcopate and the Sacred College of Cardinals,” Fellay said. “The faithful are bewildered; the whole Church is suffering from this rift. … It is enough to make one weep.”

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http://www.onepeterfive.com/abp-pozzo-on...doctrinal/

Abp. Pozzo on SSPX: Disputed Vatican II Documents Are Non-Doctrinal

By Maike Hickson on August 9, 2016


In a recent interview published by the German weekly newspaper Die Zeit (32/2016), Italian Archbishop Guido Pozzo (64), Secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei (PCED), made some important statements concerning his qualitatively progressing negotiations with the Society of Saint Pius X — negotiations which fall under the purview of the PCED. His comments make it clear that the process of formal inclusion of the SSPX is advancing, and that Pope Francis has offered a personal prelature to the SSPX – similar to the structure under which Opus Dei operates.

There is a section in the interview that is especially worth noting, inasmuch as it may facilitate proper doctrinal discourse among a wide range of conservative and traditional Catholics. In it, Archbishop Pozzo explains why it may be possible for the SSPX to be fully integrated into the structures of the Catholic Church without their previously accepting some of the documents of Vatican II, namely Nostra Aetate, about interreligious dialogue; the decree Unitatis Redintegratio, on ecumenism; the Declaration Dignitatis Humanae, on religious liberty; and, finally, other texts relating to the question of the relationship between Christianity and Modernity. While saying that “the Council is not a pastoral superdogma, but part of the completeness [sic]of tradition and the continuous Magisterium,” Pozzo makes clear that there are some texts of the Council that are not doctrinal and are thus not binding on the Catholic conscience. Pozzo stresses that “the Church’s tradition is developing, but never in the sense of a novelty – which stands in contrast to the previous teaching – but which is a deeper understanding of the Depositum fidei, the authentic deposit of the Faith.” Pozzo continues, by saying that

    In this [same] sense, all [the] Church’s documents have to be understood, also those of the Council. These preconditions, together with the obligation to affirm the Creed, the recognition of the Sacraments and of the papal primacy are the basis for the magisterial declaration which the Fraternity has been given to sign. These are the preconditions for a Catholic, in order to be in full communion with the Catholic Church.

In discussing the question of the specific documents of Vatican II, Pozzo insists that certain documents are indeed binding upon Catholics for them to affirm and to accept, such as

    the teaching on the sacramentality of the Episcopal office and its consecrations as the fullness of Holy Orders; or the teaching on the primacy of the pope and of the college of bishops in union with its head [sic], as presented in the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, and as interpreted by the Nota explicativa praevia which had been requested by the highest authority.

With regard to the earlier-mentioned documents above – Nostra Aetate about interreligious dialogue; the decree Unitatis Redintegratio on ecumenism; and the Declaration Dignitatis Humanae on religious liberty – Pozzo explicitly says:

    They are not about doctrines or definitive statements, but, rather, about instructions and orienting guides for  pastoral practice. On can [thus legitimately] continue to discuss these pastoral aspects after the [proposed] canonical approval [of the SSPX], in order to lead us to further [and acceptable] clarifications.

When asked by the journalist as to whether the Vatican has now come to the idea that the varied Council documents have different dogmatic weights, Pozzo very importantly states:

    This is certainly not a [later] conclusion on our part, but it was already clear at the time of the Council. The General Secretary of the Council, Cardinal Pericle Felici, declared on 16 November 1964: “This holy synod defines only that as being binding for the Church what it declares explicitly to be such with regard to Faith and Morals.” Only those texts assessed by the Council Fathers as being binding are to be accepted as such. That has not been [later] invented by “the Vatican,” but it is written in the official files themselves.

In response to a possible critique that important Council declarations such as Nostra Aetate could thus be more fully and openly denied, Pozzo declares:

    The secretary for the Unity of Christians said on 18 November 1964 in the Council Hall about Nostra Aetate: “As to the character of the declaration, the secretariat does not want to write a dogmatic declaration on non-Christian religions, but, rather, practical and pastoral norms.” Nostrae Aetate does not have any dogmatic authority, and thus one cannot demand from anyone to recognize this declaration as being dogmatic. This declaration can only be understood in the light of tradition and of the continuous Magisterium. For example, there exists today, unfortunately, the view –  contrary to the Catholic Faith – that there is a salvific path independent of Christ and His Church. That has also been officially confirmed last of all by the Congregation for the Faith itself in its declaration, Dominus Jesus. Therefore, any interpretation of Nostrae Aetate which goes into this [unfortunate and erroneous] direction is fully unfounded and has to be rejected. [my emphasis added]

Pozzo concludes that the ongoing SSPX discussions should always now be about “a hermeneutic of the documents on the background of the continuous tradition.” He adds: “Tradition certainly is not a lifeless fossil, but it certainly also does not mean an adaptation to any kind of contemporary culture.”

Pozzo even shows his understanding and sympathy for the Society of Saint Pius X when he politely concludes his interview with these words:

    In such a difficult moment of confusion and lack of orientation as we have it today, it is the task of those who want to remain loyal to the tradition of the Church to promote the re-strenghtening of the Christian faith and of the mission. I hope that the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X – when fully integrated – will also thus be able to make its contribution to this missionary apostolate and to the strengthening of the Catholic Faith in our society and in our world.[/size]
Nice to hear this. Wonderful development.
This is terrrific news, especially because I am moving within blocks of an SSPX chapel in Miami in two weeks.  I would have attended anyway, but I very much look forward to being a member of the personal prelature.

Deo gratias!

However, if I recall correctly, there needs to be approval by a special chapter of SSPX bishops and priests.  That depends on how unilateral this offer is.
I'm not at all familiar with this society, but this is wonderful. Hope and prayers for their reconciliation. 
I am so glad things are working out between the SSPX and Rome. One everything is settled, I can attend their chapel 45 minutes away from me!
We've seen quite a bit about this in recent weeks but still no comment from the SSPX itself. When will we hear that?

C.