From SSPX, A Response "In A Reasonable Time"... Or....
On Wednesday, June 13, 2012, Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the Society of Saint Pius X, accompanied by the First Assistant General, Father Niklaus Pfluger, was received by Cardinal William Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, who delivered to him his dicastery’s evaluation of the Doctrinal Declaration sent in by the Society on April 15, 2012, in response to the Doctrinal Preamble submitted on September 14, 2011, by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
During this meeting, Bishop Fellay listened to explanations and further details from Cardinal Levada, to whom he presented the situation of the Society of Saint Pius X and spelled out the doctrinal difficulties posed by the Second Vatican Council and the Novus Ordo Missae. The desire for additional clarifications could result in a new phase of discussions.
At the end of this long, two-hour interview, Bishop Fellay received a draft document proposing a Personal Prelature, in the case of a possible canonical recognition of the Society of Saint Pius X. During the meeting the situation of the three other bishops of the Society was not discussed.
At the conclusion of that meeting, it was hoped that the dialogue might continue so as to allow the parties to arrive at a solution for the good of the Church and of souls.
On the afternoon of Wednesday 13 June, Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and president of the Pontifical Commission 'Ecclesia Dei', met with Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior general of the Society of St. Pius X who was accompanied by an assistant. Also present at the encounter were Archbishop Luis Ladaria S.J., secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Msgr. Guido Pozzo, secretary of the Pontifical Commission 'Ecclesia Dei'.According to early buzz, Fellay's response would be unlikely to come until after the lead traditionalist group's next general chapter, scheduled for 11-13 July at its headquarters in Econe, Switzerland.
The purpose of the meeting was to present the Holy See's evaluation of the text submitted in April by the Society of St. Pius X in response to the Doctrinal Preamble which the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith had presented to the Society on 14 September 2011. The subsequent discussion offered an opportunity the provide the appropriate explanations and clarifications. For his part, Bishop Fellay illustrated the current situation of the Society of St. Pius X and promised to make his response known within a reasonable lapse of time.
Also during the meeting, a draft document was submitted proposing a Personal Prelature as the most appropriate instrument for any future canonical recognition of the Society.
As was stated in the communique released on 16 May 2012, the situation of the other three bishops of the Society of St. Pius X will be dealt with separately and singularly.
At the end of the meeting the hope was expressed that this additional opportunity for reflection would also contribute to reaching full communion between the Society of St. Pius X and the Apostolic See.
As previously noted, the status of a personal prelature -- an extraterritorial entity that, in practice, may establish its own churches, seminaries, schools and other institutions independent of the local diocese -- is currently enjoyed by only one organization: Opus Dei, which was given the standing in 1982 by Blessed John Paul II. The global "Work of God" is headed by a bishop who, for juridical purposes, is referred to as the Prelate.
(On a semi-related note -- perhaps even more interesting now in retrospect -- toward the end of John Paul's 27-year reign, some rumors maintained that the late pontiff considered extending the status of a prelature to the Legionaries of Christ, who markedly rose in favor at the end of the Wojtyla papacy before a precipitous fall on Pope Benedict's watch.)
In an extended interview with the Society's official news organ released last week, the SSPX superior said that "Rome no longer makes total acceptance of Vatican II a prerequisite for the canonical solution" of the fraternity's return.
"[T]he attitude of the official Church is what changed," Fellay said. "We did not."
He added that the Society "were not the ones who asked for an agreement; the pope is the one who wants to recognize us."