Vatican talks with a controversial Catholic splinter group are nearing an end without any accord on reintegrating the ultra-traditionalists, including a bishop whose denial of the Holocaust has embarrassed Pope Benedict. Bishop Bernard Fellay has said his Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) has not succeeded in convincing Vatican officials to turn Church teaching back half a century to where it stood before the reforms of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965).
Benedict sparked off a wave of protest in 2009 by lifting excommunications imposed on the four bishops in 1988 without first requiring them to accept his authority on Church doctrine. His decision also prompted widespread protests, from Roman Catholics and Jews, because one of the bishops, Richard Williamson, had publicly denied the Holocaust. He has since been convicted and fined for hate speech in Germany.
“We are coming to the conclusion (of the talks), because we have made the tour of the major questions raised by the Council,” Fellay told the United States district of the SSPX in an interview posted on its website.
Asked if Vatican officials had changed their minds during the talks, which began in late 2009, he said: “I don’t think that you can say that.” He said the pope “has a certain sympathy for us, but within limits.”