New attempt for an agreement

In the dispute between the Vatican and the conservative-traditionalist "Priestly Fraternity St. Pius X." movement has come. The Swiss-based grouping, formed around the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre (1905-1991), acknowledged an invitation from Rome to sign a five-point declaration by Saturday – a possible signal for overcoming the schism that has lasted since 1988.

Almost 20 years ago to the day, German Curia Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger failed in his attempt to reach an agreement with the traditionalists of the French former Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. Despite far-reaching promises of Pope John Paul II. Reconciliation did not take place. Contrary to Rome's urgent warning, Lefebvre consecrated the church on 30. June 1988 unauthorized four bishops for his "Priestly Fraternity Pius X." and was excommunicated. Schism resulting from opposition to Vatican II was perfect – 107 years after Old Catholics seceded after Vatican I. At present, the Vatican, this time with Ratzinger as Pope Benedict XVI., again around a rapprochement. A spokesman for Lefebvre's successor, Bernard Fallay, confirmed in Menzingen, Switzerland, that the Vatican had made some proposals that could be discussed by 28. June will answer. There is no question of an "ultimatum" to the traditionalists, as Italian newspapers headlined, according to curia circles. A new situation exists, however, in that the pope has clearly accommodated the Lefebvrians on questions of liturgy – one of the points of contention, but not the only one. A year ago, with his Motu Proprio, he gave the pre-conciliar Mass rite more space in the Catholic liturgy again. But this dispute is about more. Before the negotiations at the time broke down, Ratzinger and Lefebvre had discussed the 5. May1988 signed a five-point protocol. The "rebel bishop" declared "in his name and that of the fraternity": fidelity to the Catholic Church and to the Pope, acceptance of the Council's statements on the Church's Magisterium, renunciation of any polemic against Vatican II, recognition of the validity of the Mass and the sacraments in the manner established by Paul VI. and John Paul II. promulgated form, respect for canon law. In return, the Vatican granted the priestly fraternity the status of a "Society of Apostolic Life," which may continue to use its previous liturgical books. But overnight Lefebvre withdrew his approval, apparently under prere from hardliners in his movement. In a letter dated 2. June, he summarized his differences with "Rome contaminated by modernism" and justified his opposition: "False ecumenism, which is at the origin of all the Council's renewals, in the liturgy, in the new relations of Church and world, in the reception of the Church itself, leads the Church to her downfall and Catholics to apostasy". Despite the polite talks with Cardinal Ratzinger, "the moment of a free and effective collaboration" has not yet come. If Rome becomes Catholic Rome again and his 2.If the German state were to return to its 000-year tradition, the "problem of reconciliation" would become superfluous. So Lefebvre consecrated on the 30. June 1988, four bishops and incurred excommunication together with them. The fronts hardened. The Vatican allowed its own conservative priestly fraternity, Saint Peter, and others, and gathered into theirs those traditionalists who wanted to remain loyal to the pope according to the five-point protocol. In the Vatican, the commission "Ecclesia Dei" was created for this field of activity, which was again strengthened and upgraded after the Motu Proprio of 2007. The protocol of the 5. May 1988 should now also form the basis for further behavior and reconciliation efforts. By the way, Benedict XVI would. Thus continue the line, which he pretended at that time a few weeks after the eclat. The Church must make the schism "superfluous from within," he told bishops in Santiago de Chile at the end of July 1988. The "Lefebvre schism" will not endure if the "wholeness of the Catholic" is again more strongly expressed in the liturgy, in the evaluation of the Council and in the question of truth. For regardless of Lefebvre's clear errors, of "narrowing and one-sidedness", the church must ask itself where it has lacked unambiguity. Now it's up to Fellay and his acolytes to decide whether to take up the Vatican offer. Whatever the decision, for the priestly brotherhood of Pius X. the discussion meant a process of clarification and decision-making.

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