The talks between the Vatican and the Society of St. Pius X have reached a new stage, according to the Vatican.
Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior general of the SSPX, sent his second response to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith April 17 regarding the doctrinal preamble he was asked to sign by that congregation.
Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office, told journalists the response will be studied and sent to the Holy Father for his approval. Fr. Lombardi also said that a curial official who had seen the document said it was “substantially different” from the reply Bishop Fellay submitted in March.
A Vatican committee was established in 2009 to hold doctrinal talks with the group and draft a “doctrinal preamble” outlining the elements on which the society and the Vatican would have to overcome differences. Bishop Fellay’s first response to that preamble was deemed “insufficient” by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and he was given until April 15 to submit a second response.
Both Fr. Lombardi and a spokesperson for the SSPX said Bishop Fellay’s reply does not mean the division between the Vatican and the society has been bridged, but the work towards ending the division has reached a new phase.
Fr. Alain Lorans, spokesman for SSPX in Paris told the French news agency APIC that because Bishop Fellay proposed some changes or clarifications to the Vatican document, the matter is still in a “study phase.”
With files from CNS Rome