French Bishops Open to Lefebvre's Followers

Will Do "Everything Possible" to Achieve Full Communion

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LOURDES, France, APRIL 7, 2006 (ZENIT.org).- The bishops of France expressed their willingness to receive Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre's followers, once they are reconciled with the Holy See.



In a note issued today, at the end of their four-day plenary assembly, members of the French episcopal conference said: "We know that Benedict XVI is concerned about" relations with the Society of St. Pius X, founded by Archbishop Lefebvre.

"In the forthcoming weeks or months, he should give directives to facilitate the way towards a possible return to full communion," they said.

"We will received them in faith and apply them with fidelity. Evangelically, everything possible must be done so that the Lord's word -- 'That they be one' -- is fulfilled," the bishops continued.

According to the bishops, "this communion must be sought in charity and truth. Charity means to try to know and understand one another, and to make false images disappear that we might have of one another."

"It means, at the same time, abandoning all systematic controversies and all desire for confrontation," they added.

Truth "implies being clear on our points of dissension. In fact, the latter affect acceptance of the magisterium more than questions of liturgy, in particular, that of the Second Vatican Council and of Popes of the last decades," they emphasized.

"Communion may be accompanied by questions, requests for precision or further reflection," they indicated. "It cannot tolerate a systematic rejection of the council, criticism of its teaching, or denigration of the liturgical reform decreed by the council."