"On Monday 26 October in the Palazzo del Sant'Uffizio, headquarters of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei", the study commission made up of experts from "Ecclesia Dei" and from the Society of St. Pius X held its first meeting, with the aim of examining the doctrinal differences still outstanding between the Society and the Apostolic See. "In a cordial, respectful and constructive climate, the main doctrinal questions were identified. These will be studied in the course of discussions to be held over coming months, probably twice a month. In particular, the questions due to be examined concern the concept of Tradition, the Missal of Paul VI, the interpretation of Vatican Council II in continuity with Catholic doctrinal Tradition, the themes of the unity of the Church and the Catholic principles of ecumenism, the relationship between Christianity and non- Christian religions, and religious freedom. The meeting also served to specify the method and organisation of the work".(Oh, to be a fly on that wall ...)
More on Rome's talks with the Lefebvrists by way of the newsletter of Dr. Robert Moynihan, editor-in-chief of Inside the Vatican, on the perspective of Bishop Fellay, Superior General of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX), as well as the fundamental question, that of "Rupture, or Continuity?":
What is the real, fundamental issue of these talks?(You can subscribe to Dr. Moynihan's daily newsletters from Rome here).
It is this: Did the Second Vatican Council teach new doctrines not in keeping with prior Church teaching, and so lead the Church into error (as the Society of St. Pius X, and other traditional Catholics, have often argued)?
Or did the Council develop doctrines based on what the Church has always taught, and so open up new, legitimate aspects of old doctrines?
To put it another way: Did a "new Church" come into being after Vatican II, a Church which broke with the "old Church" of the pre-conciliar period?
Or is it still the same Catholic Church of all time, which has simply been passing through a confusing period as it attempts to find a way to live in and bear witness to the modern world?
Benedict has been calling for a reinterpretation of Vatican II for almost 40 years. In book-length interviews when he was Cardinal Ratzinger, in major studies of the liturgy and in addresses as Pope, he has denounced interpretations of Vatican II which claim it as a rupture with the Catholic faith of all time.
The Lefebvrists have maintained that is is difficult, if not impossible, to interpret Vatican II as being in continuity with all prior Church tradition.
But Benedict has said he believes this interpretation can be made.
And he has sent his chosen men into this dialogue to show the Lefebvrists how it can be done.