Pope Invites St. Pius X Leader to Heal Rift

Group's Response to Vatican Offer Judged Insufficient for Overcoming Doctrinal Problems

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VATICAN CITY, MARCH 16, 2012 (Zenit.org).- A statement from the Vatican today says that problems continue with the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X.

Discussions between the Vatican and the society, founded by Marcel Lefebvre, had intensified recently, after the Vatican presented the group with a "doctrinal preamble" it hoped would be the basis for achieving reconciliation.

Today's statement explained: "During the meeting of 14 September 2011 between Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and president of the Pontifical Commission 'Ecclesia Dei', and Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior general of the Society of St. Pius X, the latter was presented with a Doctrinal Preamble, accompanied by a Preliminary Note, as a fundamental basis for achieving full reconciliation with the Apostolic See. This defined certain doctrinal principles and criteria for the interpretation Catholic doctrine, which are necessary to ensure faithfulness to the Church Magisterium and 'sentire cum Ecclesia'."

The preamble has never been released to the public.

The Society of St. Pius X considered the preamble and in January of this year, gave a response to the Vatican.

This response, today's communique continued, "was examined by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith before being submitted to the Holy Father for his judgement."

Bishop Fellay was today given a letter informing him of the Vatican's evaluation 

"The letter states that the position he expressed is not sufficient to overcome the doctrinal problems which lie at the foundation of the rift between the Holy See and the Society of St. Pius X," the Vatican note explained. "At the end of today's meeting, moved by concern to avoid an ecclesial rupture of painful and incalculable consequences, the superior general of the Society of St. Pius X was invited to clarify his position in order to be able to heal the existing rift, as is the desire of Pope Benedict XVI."