Francis extends an olive branch to the world’s Lefebvrites
Pope Francis may soon offer the Society of Saint Pius X regular canonical status within the Catholic Church without requiring acceptance of certain texts of the Second Vatican Council with which they disagree, a prerequisite that heretofore had been seen as a deal-breaker for the traditionalists.
It also appears the society may itself be poised to take such a historic step, urging that “perhaps only Pope Francis is able to take this step, given his unpredictability and improvisation”, according to an internal Society of St. Pius X document that was leaked to the press in recent weeks.
The Society of St. Pius X is a breakaway group founded by the late French Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who objected to some of the reforms that followed the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), including the introduction of a new Mass in vernacular languages and the broad expansion of ecumenical and inter-faith dialogue.
The memo, titled “Considerations on the Church and the position of the Society of Saint Pius X in it”, outlines six reasons why the group should accept an offer of regularization by Pope Francis, provided “an appropriate ecclesial structure” is ensured. It also addresses possible objections raised against such a move.
“It seems the time to normalize the situation of the society has come,” the memo reads.
The document, dated Feb. 19, was written by Father Franz Schmidberger, rector of the society’s seminary in Germany. Schmidberger had served as superior general of the society from 1982 to 1994.
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