Fellay and Müller discuss a “gradual” move towards full reconciliation
The meeting between the Superior of the Fraternity of St. Pius X and the heads of the Ecclesia Dei Commission lasted two hours. The Secretary of the former Holy office, Luis Ladaria, was also present.
Their meeting lasted two hours, from 11a.m. to 1 p.m. CET. The Superior of the Fraternity of St. Pius X, Bishop Bernard Fellay and Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and President of the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei” (the body that handles relations between the Holy See’s and the Lefebvrians), discussed “problems of a doctrinal and canonical nature” which need to be resolved in order for the Fraternity to enter into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church. This was the first time Fellay held a face to face meeting with Müller since the latter was appointed head of the doctrinal Congregation. The Holy See announced the meeting, which took place at the premises of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
The Holy See’s press release informs that the talks were “cordial”. Müller was joined by archbishops Luis Ladaria and Augustine Di Noia, respectively secretary and adjunct secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faithand Guido Pozzo, secretary of the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei”. Bishop Fellay was accompanied by two assistants from the Society of St. Pius X, Rev. Niklaus Pfluger and Rev. Alain-Marc Nély.
“During the meeting,” the statement says, “various problems of a doctrinal and canonical nature were examined, and it was decided to proceed gradually and over a reasonable period of time in order to overcome difficulties and with a view to the envisioned full reconciliation.” This phrase is important as it indicates that communication channels between the Holy See and the Lefebvrians remain open. Some in the Vatican and in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith called for a drastic decision to bring about a formal split between the two again. But Francis does not intend to close the door on dialogue with the Fraternity.
Readers will recall that on 13 June 2012, the former Prefect of the Holy Office, Cardinal William Levada, had delivered a doctrinal preamble to Fellay to sign. However, four days later, the Lefebvrian superior wrote a letter to Benedict XVI informing him that he could not agree to the terms laid out in the document. Benedict XVI replied on 30 June 2012 communicating his disappointment and repeating his request to the Lefebvrians to recognize that “the magisterium is the authentic interpreter of the Tradition,” that the Second Vatican Council agrees with Tradition and that the Novus Ordo Missae, the post-conciliar liturgical reform promulgated by Paul VI, was not only valid but also legitimate.