Reports are circulating out of Rome that Pope Benedict will revoke the excommunications of four bishops consecrated by the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X.

The society, under the leadership of the late French Archbishop Marcel LeFebvre, disagreed strongly with the Church hierarchy regarding liturgical reforms and some other aspects of the Second Vatican Council.

The four excommunicated bishops, who include Society of St. Pius X superior general Bishop Bernard Fellay, were consecrated by Archbishop Lefebvre in 1988.

Relations between the Vatican and the society have improved in recent years, particularly following the Pope’s authorization of more widespread use of celebration of the extraordinary form of the Mass in Latin through his 2007 motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum.

Two Italian newspapers, Il Giornale and Il Riformista, said today the Pope has already signed decrees lifting the excommunications, Associated Press reported.

According to the Italian newspapers, the decrees will be made public soon.

A Vatican official contacted today by the Register declined comment about the reports.

— Tom McFeely