Cardinal Hoyos on SSPX Discussions with Rome ( 2008 )

Interview of Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos granted to
L’Osservatore Romano on March 27, 2008

L’OR: Eight months have passes since the promulgation of the document [Motu Proprio]. Is it true that it has aroused agreement also in other ecclesial entities [than the Society of St. Pius X]?

Cd. H: The Pope offered to the Church a treasure which is spiritual, cultural, religious and Catholic. We received letters of agreement also from prelates of Orthodox churches, from Anglican and Protestant faithful. Also, there are some priests of the Society of St. Pius X who, individually, are seeking regularization of their position. Some of them have already signed a formula of adhesion. We are informed that there are traditionalist lay faithful, close the Society, who have begun to attend Masses in the old rite offered in the churches of their dioceses.

L’OR: How is return to “full communion” possible for people who are excommunicated?

Cd. H: The excommunication regarded only the four bishops, because they were ordained without the mandate of the Pope and against his will, while the priests are only suspended. The Mass they celebrate is without question valid, but not licit and, therefore, participation is not recommended, at least when on Sunday there are other possibilities. Certainly neither the priests nor the faithful are excommunicated. I would like to underscore the importance of a clear understanding of these things to be able to judge them correctly.

L’OR: Aren’t you worried that the attempt to bring into the Church men and women who don’t recognize the Second Vatican Council might provoke a distancing of the faithful who instead see Vatican II as a compass by which we navigate the barque of Peter, above all in these times of continuous change?

Cd. H:Above all the problem about the Council is not, in my opinion, as grave as it would seem. In fact, the bishops of the Society of St. Pius X, with their head Mons. Bernard Fellay, have expressly recognized Vatican II as an Ecumenical Council and Mons. Fellay underscored this in a meeting with John Paul II, and more explicitly in an audience of 29 August 2005 with Benedict XVI. Nor can we forget that Mons. Marcel Lefebvre signed all the documents of the Council.

I think that their criticism of the Council regarding above all the clarity of some texts, in the absence of which the road to interpretations out of accord with traditional doctrine is opened up. The biggest difficulties are of an interpretive nature or they have to do with some gestures on the ecumenical plane, but not with the doctrine of Vatican II. We are dealing with theological discussions, which can have their place within the Church, where in fact there exist different discussions of interpretation of conciliar texts, discussion which can go on also with groups who return to full communion.

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