Edward Pentin began reporting on the Pope and the Vatican with Vatican Radio before moving on to become the Rome correspondent for the National Catholic Register. He has also reported on the Holy See and the Catholic Church for a number of other publications including Newsweek, Newsmax, Zenit, The Catholic Herald, and The Holy Land Review, a Franciscan publication specializing in the Church and the Middle East. Edward is the author of “The Rigging of a Vatican Synod? An Investigation into Alleged Manipulation at the Extraordinary Synod on the Family”, published by Ignatius Press. Follow him on Twitter @edwardpentin
The Society of St. Pius X has clarified its constant position vis-à-vis Rome after a meeting of major superiors of the Society this week.
In a statement published today, the SSPX cited the "great and painful confusion that currently reigns in the Church", as well as the need for a supportive Pope who "concretely favors the return to Sacred Tradition."
It said that the proclamation of Catholic doctrine "requires the denunciation of errors" that have made their way into the Church, ones which are "unfortunately encouraged by a large number of pastors, including the Pope himself."
The Society said that it "does not seek primarily a canonical recognition", but rather to bring the light of the Church's Tradition to others "in this age of darkness in which the cult of man replaces the worship of God, in society as in the Church."
It added that it "intends to redouble its efforts" to establish and to spread "the social reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ," and will pray and do penance for the Pope, "that he might have the strength to proclaim Catholic faith and morals in their entirety." (See full statement below).
Last month, Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior general of the SSPX, told the Register that Rome was giving the Society everything they needed for reconciliation, and that some in the Vatican were looking to the Society to help rescue the Church from what Bishop Fellay called a "catastrophic" situation.
Just this week, the diocese of Regensburg, Germany, affirmed that the Vatican had said the SSPX would incur no sanctions if it went ahead with priestly ordinations in the diocese on July 2 without asking permission from Rome.
But Bishop Fellay made clear that there were two camps in Rome, each with differing approaches to the Society, with the Pope seemingly more lenient, and some members of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith taking a harder line.
This became visible just days after the interview, when Cardinal Gerhard Müller, prefect of the CDF (and formerly Bishop of Regensburg), said that he expected the SSPX to accept all the teachings of the Second Vatican Council that the SSPX disputes before canonical recognition could be given.
Differences over those teachings have meant that the Vatican continues to view the SSPX as not being in full communion with Rome.
Sources say the Synod on the Family and other confusing signals from Rome have led to this clarification of the Society's position, but that the SSPX still very much hopes for regularization.
It also hopes for clarification from Rome following Cardinal Müller's remarks, having been assured by Archbishop Guido Pozzo, Secretary to the Vatican's Ecclesia Dei Commission, that assent to all the Vatican II teachings would not be imposed on the Society.
This article has been corrected since its original publication.
At the conclusion of the meeting of the major superiors of the Society of Saint Pius X that was held in Switzerland, from June 25 to 28, 2016, the Superior General addressed the following communiqué:
The purpose of the Society of Saint Pius X is chiefly the formation of priests, the essential condition for the renewal of the Church and for the restoration of society.
1. In the great and painful confusion that currently reigns in the Church, the proclamation of Catholic doctrine requires the denunciation of errors that have made their way into it and are unfortunately encouraged by a large number of pastors, including the Pope himself.
2. The Society of Saint Pius X, in the present state of grave necessity which gives it the right and duty to administer spiritual aid to the souls that turn to it, does not seek primarily a canonical recognition, to which it has a right as a Catholic work. It has only one desire: faithfully to bring the light of the bi-millennial Tradition which shows the only route to follow in this age of darkness in which the cult of man replaces the worship of God, in society as in the Church.
3. The “restoration of all things in Christ” intended by Saint Pius X, following Saint Paul (cf. Ep.h 1:10), cannot happen without the support of a Pope who concretely favors the return to Sacred Tradition. While waiting for that blessed day, the Society of Saint Pius X intends to redouble its efforts to establish and to spread, with the means that Divine Providence gives to it, the social reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
4. The Society of Saint Pius X prays and does penance for the Pope, that he might have the strength to proclaim Catholic faith and morals in their entirety. In this way he will hasten the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary that we earnestly desire as we approach the centennial of the apparitions in Fatima.
Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the Society of Saint Pius X
Ecône, June 29, 2016
The Feast of Saints Peter and Paul