Doctrinal discussions between the Vatican and the traditionalist Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) will begin in the second half of October, Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi has said. He also confirmed the Vatican delegation will be made up of the Swiss Dominican Rev. Charles Morerod, the German Jesuit Rev. Karl Josef Becker and the Spanish vicar general of Opus Dei, Rev. Fernando Ocariz Brana. The Vatican Radio report gave no further details. (Photo: St Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City, 24 Dec. 2007/Max Rossi)
This shoots down one part of Vienna Cardinal Christoph Schönborn’s interview last weekend in the Passauer Neue Presse, where he said the first meeting would take place “in the next few days.”
It says nothing about his other point, that the Vatican will insist the SSPX accepts “such fundamental conclusions of the Second Vatican Council as its positions on Judaism, other non-Christian religions, other Christian churches and on religious freedom as a basic human right.” That point is far more important than the date, which is why our news item on Sunday led off with that angle, and it remains the main issue at these talks.
The Vatican Radio report in Italian spoke of “conversations” (colloqui) between the Vatican and the SSPX, but I still think Schönborn’s use of the term “negotiations” (Verhandlungen) is more appropriate. The SSPX wants full reintegration into the Roman Catholic Church and the Vatican has the power to decide if and how this happens. Sounds like a negotiation to me, no matter which language they use to describe it.