The following comes from an April 26 Catholic News Agency article by Anian Christoph Wimmer:
Pope Francis may soon offer the Society of Saint 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.
The memo, titled “Considerations on the Church and the position of the Society of Saint Pius X in it”, outlines six reasons why the group should accept an offer of regularization by Pope Francis, provided “an appropriate ecclesial structure” is ensured. It also addresses possible objections raised against such a move.
The document, dated Feb. 19, was written by Fr. Franz Schmidberger, rector of the SSPX’s seminary in Germany. Fr. Schmidberger had served as superior general of the SSPX from 1982 to 1994.
In the memo, Fr. Schmidberger asserts that the Vatican has been “gradually lowering its demands and recent proposals, no longer speak of recognizing neither the Second Vatican Council nor the legitimacy of the Novus Ordo Missae.”
On April 10, Bishop Bernard Fellay, the current superior general of the SSPX, said before some 4,000 pilgrims in the French city of Le Puy-en-Velay that there is a “profound change” in the Society’s relationship with the Vatican, triggered by the “dire situation” of the Church: “in the midst of this disorder … comes this whisper: ‘No, we cannot force you to accept the Council.’ They perhaps will not say it so clearly, but they did indeed say it to us after all.”
Albeit carefully, these assertions are to some extent matched by similar utterances from Rome.
Archbishop Guido Pozzo, secretary for the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei – the Vatican office of the responsible for doctrinal discussions with the SSPX – said in an April 6 interview with La Croix that “as far as the Second Vatican Council is concerned, the ground covered in the meetings over the past few years has led to an important clarification: Vatican II can be adequately understood only in the context of the full Tradition of the Church and her constant Magisterium.”
“Certain questions can remain ‘subject to discussion and clarification’,” Archbishop Pozzo added.
Archbishop Pozzo said “the difficulties raised by the SSPX concerning the Church-State relationship and religious freedom, the practice of ecumenism and dialogue with non-Christian religions, certain aspects of the liturgical reform and its concrete application, remain subject to discussion and clarification but do not constitute an obstacle to a canonical and juridical recognition of the SSPX,” the Vatican official said.
The archbishop noted that following the canonical regularization of the Society, the declarations of Vatican II will “remain subject to discussion and deeper study, in order to obtain greater precision and avoid the misunderstandings or ambivalences that we know to have spread throughout today’s ecclesial world.”