April 29, 2016

Will Pope Francis Regularize the SSPX?

Pope Francis may end the rift between the Vatican and the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX). An influential SSPX leader, Father Franz Schmidberger, has written a memo that recommends accepting any offer by the Pope that would grant "an appropriate ecclesial structure" to the Society. Hopes were high during the papacy of Pope Benedict XVI for just such a rapprochement. The National Catholic Register reports:
Pope Francis may soon offer the Society of St. Pius X regular canonical status within the Church, without requiring the acceptance of certain texts of the Second Vatican Council with which they disagree.
It also appears the SSPX may itself be poised to take such a historic step, urging that "perhaps only Pope Francis is able to take this step, given his unpredictability and improvisation," according to an internal SSPX document that was leaked to the press in recent weeks.
This would be a tremendous development and a positive fruit of Francis' "big tent" view of the Church. Fr. Schmidberger's memo: "Considerations on the Church and the Position of the Society of St. Pius X in It," notes that while the Society desires to "return from its 'exile'", more discussions should be expected: "We will not be silent, moreover, we will point out the errors by name. Before and after our normalisation."

Vatican observers speculate that the normalisation of the SSPX would be accomplished by recognizing the group as a "personal prelature", as is the case with Opus Dei. One of the reasons the SSPX wants normalisation is the fact that it will need new bishops in the future and such consecrations would be licit. Saint Josaphat, martyr for Christian unity, pray that in this matter the Church may soon be one!

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