The Vatican is close to an agreement with the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) that would regularize the status of the breakaway traditionalist group, according to a report in Le Figaro.
Jean-Marie Guenois, the veteran religion correspondent for the French daily, predicts that a September 14 meeting between the SSPX leader, Bishop Bernard Fellay, and key Vatican officials will lead quickly to a resolution of the split that began in 1998 when the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre ordained 4 traditionalist bishops without permission from Rome, resulting in the excommunication of the SSPX leaders. Pope Benedict XVI lifted the excommunications in 2009, but the bishops and priests of the SSPX remain under suspension. That suspension could be lifted, and the SSPX given formal approval by the Holy See, under the terms of the agreement the Figaro writer envisions.
The Vatican and SSPX recently concluded a series of talks on theological issues, designed to identity the points on which the SSPX questions the teachings of Vatican II. According to Le Figaro, the proposed agreement would state that the issues raised by the SSPX are not fundamental doctrines of the Church, and it is possible to question them without challenging the authority of Church teaching. [more]