Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Pope Benedict weighs in on the the remission of the excommunication of the SSPX Bishops

  • Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church concerning the remission of the excommunication of the four Bishops consecrated by Archbishop Lefebvre March 10, 2009:
    The remission of the excommunication of the four Bishops consecrated in 1988 by Archbishop Lefebvre without a mandate of the Holy See has for many reasons caused, both within and beyond the Catholic Church, a discussion more heated than any we have seen for a long time. Many Bishops felt perplexed by an event which came about unexpectedly and was difficult to view positively in the light of the issues and tasks facing the Church today. Even though many Bishops and members of the faithful were disposed in principle to take a positive view of the Pope’s concern for reconciliation, the question remained whether such a gesture was fitting in view of the genuinely urgent demands of the life of faith in our time. Some groups, on the other hand, openly accused the Pope of wanting to turn back the clock to before the Council: as a result, an avalanche of protests was unleashed, whose bitterness laid bare wounds deeper than those of the present moment. I therefore feel obliged to offer you, dear Brothers, a word of clarification, which ought to help you understand the concerns which led me and the competent offices of the Holy See to take this step. In this way I hope to contribute to peace in the Church. ...
  • Commentary on the Letter by Fr Federico Lombardi, SJ, Head of the Press Office of the Holy See March 12, 2009:
    The “Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church concerning the remission of the excommunication of the four Bishops consecrated by Archbishop Lefebvre” is definitely an unusual document and deserves all our attention. Never before in his Pontificate has Benedict XVI expressed himself in such a personal manner and intensity on a controversial subject. There isn’t the slightest doubt: this Letter bears his mark, from beginning to end. ...
  • Communiqué of Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X, in response to Pope Benedict's letter.

Responses

Coverage

  • The Pope Speaks His Mind. A Cardinal Explains Him, by Sandro Magister. (Chiesa): "In the letter in which he defended lifting the excommunication from the Lefebvrists, Benedict XVI has confirmed the indispensable aims of his pontificate. Cardinal Ruini has analyzed these one by one. Here's what they are, and why."


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