New developments on the SSPX situation (Updated)

Rorate Caeli reports that the Holy See Press Office has confirmed that the Holy Father received in audience Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior-general of the Society of St. Pius X, at Casa Santa Marta on Friday, April 1.


The SSPX has released a communique covering the meeting. The SSPX communique reads, in full:

Pope Francis received Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X, accompanied by the Society’s Second General Assistant, Fr. Alain-Marc Nely, at Domus Sanctae Marthae, at 5 p.m. on Friday, April 1, 2016.

Bishop Fellay did not have an opportunity to meet Pope Francis since the Holy Father’s election in March 2013, other than exchanging very brief salutations at Domus Sanctae Marthae, on December 13, 2013 (see DICI no. 296 of 5-16-2014). However, some priests of the Society were previously received by the Supreme Pontiff, regarding certain administrative difficulties in the Society’s District of Argentina (see DICI no 314 of 4-24-2015).

Pope Francis had wanted a private and informal meeting, without the formality of an official audience. It lasted 40 minutes and took place under a cordial atmosphere. After the meeting, it was decided that the current exchanges would continue. The canonical status of the Society was not directly addressed, Pope Francis and Bishop Fellay having determined that these exchanges ought to continue without haste.

The next morning, Saturday, April 2nd, Bishop Fellay met with Archbishop Guido Pozzo, secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, in keeping with the normal relations of the Society with this commission following the 2009-2011 doctrinal discussions and the visits of several prelates in 2015-2016. (See DICI no. 307 of 12-19-2014 and no. 311 of 2-27-2016)

(Emphasis supplied and hyperlinks in original.)

Originally, it had been reported—at least, we thought it had been reported—that the meeting took place on Low Saturday. We noted that there were several important Curial officials who had been received on Low Saturday. The updated reporting seems to be that the Holy Father met with Bishop Fellay on Friday, April 1. The meeting does not show in the official list of audiences for April 1, though.

While the official list of Saturday’s audiences does not show Bishop Fellay, it does show a very busy morning for the Holy Father: Cardinal Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops; Cardinal Sarah, prefect for the Congregation for Divine Worship; and Cardinal Braz de Aviz, prefect of the Congregation for Religious.