Thursday, June 26, 2008
OLIVE BRANCH REJECTED
An olive branch was extended to the SSPX to end the schism. Talk of a personal prelature was not confirmed, but the rumor was widespread. A deadline set for the end of June was being strongly enforced by the Vatican. It looked like the schism would at last come to an end.
Conditions that were part of the agreement would have included an end to the SSPX condemnation of the pope.
It appears the reconciliation is not to be. The SSPX has rejected the offer according to Reuters:
PARIS (Reuters) - The leader of a breakaway traditionalist Catholic group has rejected a Vatican offer to rejoin Rome, accusing Pope Benedict of trying to silence dissenting voices.
Bishop Bernard Fellay, head of the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) that broke with Rome 20 years ago, said conditions set by the Vatican amounted to muzzling the traditionalists who claim to be the only true Catholics since Church reforms in the 1960s.
Keen to end this schism, Benedict agreed last year to their demand to restore the old Latin Mass. But he insists they must accept the reforms of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) before he can lift excommunication decrees against them.
"Rome is telling us, okay, we are ready to lift the excommunications, but you cannot continue this way," Fellay said in a sermon last Friday now posted as an audio file on the U.S.-based Voice of Catholic Radio website.
"So we have no choice... we are continuing what we've done," the Swiss-born Fellay said in English at an SSPX seminary in Winona, Minnesota. "They just say 'shut up' ... we are not going ... to shut up. ...
"Vatican watchers say the ultimatum could split SSPX into a hard core of rebels and a larger group ready to return to Rome now that it has allowed wider use of the old Latin Mass.
"Most people want a reverent Mass and sound preaching. They care little for the loftier theological arguments," Rev. John Zuhlsdorf, a prominent conservative Catholic blogger, wrote in an analysis. "The identity of the SSPX is at stake now."
The ultimatum's deadline of June 30 is the 20th anniversary of the bishops' ordinations that sealed the schism.
Enough is enough. It's time to cut the ties and let the SSPX drift into the kind of obscurity that other groups of this sort have ended in. There are many wandering bishops who cannot agree with each other enough to form an organization. Each wants his/her own theology, as apparently Bishop Fellay wants his own. It doesn't work. There is only one hope for unity, and that lies with the pope.