Interview with Archbishop Guido Pozzo: “At what point is the dialogue with Lefebvre?”

INTERVIEW WITH ARCHBISHOP GUIDO WELL: "WHERE IS THE DIALOGUE WITH Lefebvre?»

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«[…] the Society of St. Pius X is still in an irregular position, because it has not received canonical recognition by the Holy See. As long as the Society does not have a canonical status in the Church, its ministers do not exercise in a legitimate way the ministry and the celebration of the sacraments "

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Excellence, in 2009 Pope Benedict XVI lifted the excommunication to the Society of St. Pius X. This means that now I'm back into communion with Rome?

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Archbishop Guido Pozzo, Secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei

With remission by Benedict XVI of censorship of the excommunication of bishops of the Priestly Society of St. Pius X (2009), they are no longer subject to this serious of ecclesiastical penalties. By this provision, however the Priestly Society of St. Pius X is still in an irregular position, because it has not received canonical recognition by the Holy See. As long as the Society does not have a canonical status in the Church, its ministers do not exercise in a legitimate way the ministry and the celebration of the sacraments [Ed. cf. WHO, WHO]. According to the formula endeavored by the then Cardinal Bergoglio in Buenos Aires and confirmed by Pope Francis at the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, the members of the Priestly Society of St. Pius X is Catholic in the path toward full communion with the Holy See. This full communion will come when you will be the canonical recognition of the Fraternity.

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What steps have been taken by the Holy See in these seven years to promote the rapprochement of the Society of St. Pius X?

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Archbishop Guido Pozzo

Following the remission of the excommunication 2009, They have started a series of meetings between doctrinal experts appointed by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which it is closely linked to the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei after the Motu Proprio of Pope Benedict XVI Church unity [2009. Ed cf. WHO], and experts of the Priestly Society of Saint Pius X to discuss and exchange views on major doctrinal issues underlying the dispute with the Holy See: the relationship between Tradition and Magisterium, the question of ecumenism, of interreligious dialogue, of religious freedom and of the liturgical reform, in the context of teaching of Vatican Council II.

this comparison, It lasted about two years, It made it possible to clarify the respective theological positions regarding, to highlight the convergence and divergence points.

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Archbishop Guido Pozzo,during a celebration “ancient rite”

In subsequent years the doctrinal talks continued with some targeted initiatives deepening and clarification of the issues under discussion. At the same time contacts between the Superiors of the Commission Ecclesia Dei and the Superior and other members of the Priestly Society of St. Pius X have encouraged the development of a climate of trust and mutual respect, that must be the basis of a process of rapprochement. It must overcome mistrust and stiffeners that are understandable after so many years of fracture, but which can gradually be allayed if the mutual attitude changes and if the differences are not considered to be insurmountable walls, but as discussion points that deserve to be explored and developed into a useful clarification to the whole Church. We are now at a stage that I believe constructive and oriented to achieve the desired reconciliation. The gesture of Pope Francis to grant to the Catholic faithful of receiving validly and lawfully the sacrament of reconciliation and anointing of the sick by the bishops and priests of the Priestly Society of St. Pius X in the course of the Holy Year of Mercy [Ed. CF. WHO] It is clearly the sign of the will of the Holy Father to favor the path towards full and stable canonical recognition.

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What are the obstacles that still hinder the definitive reconciliation?

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Guido Pozzo Mass in the ancient rite in Trieste in the Madonna of the Rosary parish
Archbishop Guido Pozzo during a celebration “ancient rite” in Trieste, Parish of the Virgin of the Rosary

I would distinguish two levels. The proper doctrinal level, which covers some differences about individual topics proposed by the Second Vatican Council and the post-conciliar Magisterium, related to ecumenism, the relationship between Christianity and world religions, to religious freedom, especially in the relationship between Church and State, some aspects of liturgical reform. The level of mental and psychological attitude, that must pass by a controversial collision location and antagonist, to a position of listening and mutual respect, esteem and confidence, as it should be between members of the same Body of Christ, which it is the Church. We need to work on both these two levels. I think the rapprochement undertaken has given some fruit, especially for this change in attitude by both parties and it is worth pursuing that.

Guido Pozzo Sanctuary of Divine Motherhood
Archbishop Guido Pozzo, during una celebrazione al Sanctuary of Divine Motherhood (Portugal)

Even on the issue of Vatican II, I think the Society of St. Pius X should reflect on the distinction, which it is in my view essential and absolutely nullifying, between the mens authenticates Vatican II, his the intention of teaching, as shown by the official Acts of the Council, and what I would call the "paraconcilio", ie the set of theological and practical attitudes guidelines, that accompanied the course of the Council itself, then pretending to cover herself with her name, and in public opinion, thanks to the influence of the mass media, They overlapped often the true thought of the Council. Often in discussions with the Society of St. Pius X, the opposition is not at the Council, but the "spirit of the Council", which it uses some expressions or formulations of the conciliar documents to open the way for interpretations and positions that are far away and sometimes exploit the true thought reconcile. Also as regards the criticism Lefebvrian on religious freedom, to the bottom of the discussion seems to me that the position of the Society of St. Pius X is characterized by the defense of traditional Catholic doctrine against the agnostic secularism of the State and against secularism and ideological relativism and not against the individual's right not to be coerced or impeded the State in exercise of the profession of religious faith. However, these are issues that will be a topic for discussion and clarification even after the full reconciliation. What appears crucial is to find a full convergence on what is required to be in full communion with the Apostolic See, namely the integrity of the Catholic Faith Profession, the constraint of the sacraments and the acceptance of the Supreme Magisterium of the Church.

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Archbishop Guido Pozzo

The Magisterium, which it is not above the Word of God written and transmitted, but serves, It is the authentic interpreter also of previous texts of the Magisterium, including those of Vatican Council II, in light of the perennial Tradition, that progress in the Church with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, not with a contrary news (that would deny the Catholic dogma), but with a better understanding of the deposit of faith, always in the same doctrine, in the same way and in the same judgment [in the same doctrine, the same mind and the same judgment, cf. First Vatican Council, Const. Dogm. the son of God, 4]. I believe that on these points convergence with the Society of Saint Pius X is not only possible, but necessary. This does not affect the ability and the legitimacy to discuss and explore other special issues, I mentioned above, that do not concern matters of faith, but rather pastoral directives and judgments of prudential, and undogmatic, on which you can also have different points of view. So this is not to ignore or domesticate the differences on some aspects of the pastoral life of the Church, but it is aware that the Second Vatican Council there are doctrinal documents, intending to propose the truths of faith already defined or truth of Catholic doctrine [is. Cost. dogmatic. Dei Verbum, Cost. dogmatic. Lumen gentium], and there are documents that intend to suggest directions or guidelines for practical action, that is, for the pastoral life as an application of the doctrine [You. Our life?, Decree Bond, You. Human dignity]. The adherence to the teachings of the Magisterium varies according to the degree of authority and class of its own truth of magisterial documents. I am not aware that the Society of St. Pius X has denied the doctrines of faith or truth of Catholic doctrine taught by the Magisterium. The criticisms concern instead statements or claims regarding the renewed pastoral care in ecumenical relations with other religions and some issues prudential order in the Church and society relationship, Church and State. On liturgical reform, I will only mention a statement that Bishop. Lefebvre wrote to Pope John Paul II in a letter of 8 March 1980: "As the mass of the Ordo, Despite all the reservations that you have to do about it, I have never claimed that it is invalid or heretical ". Therefore reserves the rite of Ordo, that they are obviously not to be underestimated, They do not refer either to the validity of the celebration of the sacrament nor the straight Catholic faith. It will therefore be appropriate to continue the discussion and clarification of these reserves.

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On the occasion of Mercy arrived a conciliatory gesture by Pope Francis: the Catholic faithful can receive the sacrament of reconciliation even by priests belonging to the Fraternity. What does this measure? Believes that this gesture can actually re-open a dialogue that, for some time, He seemed to have stalled?

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Guido Pozzo sant antonio abate saint peter 17 January 2014
Archbishop Guido Pozzo in St. Peter's Square during the Feast of Sant'Antonio Abate [17 January 2014]

As I said above, the dialogue with the Society of St. Pius X has never stranded. It is rather decided that it would continue in a less official and formal, to give space and time to a maturing of relations in line attitude of trust and mutual understanding to foster a climate more suitable relationships where also place the time of theological and doctrinal discussion. The Holy Father encouraged the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei from the start of his pontificate to pursue this style of reporting and comparison with the Society of St. Pius X. In this context, the soothing and magnanimous gesture of Pope Francis in the Year of Mercy circumstance has undoubtedly helped to calm further the state of relations with the Society, showing that the Holy See has at heart the rapprochement and reconciliation, which must also have a canon coating. I hope and wish that the same feeling and the same will also be shared by the Society of St. Pius X.

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© Zenit

This interview curated by Luca Marcolivio was released from S.It is. Mons. Guido Pozzo Agency Zenit the 28 February 2016 [cf. WHO]

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We refer THE FOLLOWING DOCUMENTS CONTAINED IN THE PAST IN THE APPENDIX TO THIS ARTICLE ON OUR’ISLE OF PATMOS [SEE WHO]

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– «Letter S.S. Paul VI to Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre», 29 June 1975 [text WHO]

- Apostolic Letter of SS. Paul VI, «New admonition to S.It is. Mons. Marcel Lefebvre», 8 September 1975 [text, WHO]

- S, S. Paul VI, «Letter to Bishop. Marcel Lefebvre», 15 August 1976 [text WHO]

- Speech by SS. Paul VI «On the painful story of Mons. Marcello Lefebvre», 1September 1976 [text WHO]

– «Apostolic Letter Ecclesia Dei"The Supreme Pontiff John Paul II in the form of Motu Proprio, 2 July 1988 [text WHO].

- Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, Explanatory Note "On the excommunication for schism they face the adherents to the movement of Bishop Marcel Lefebvre», 24 August 1996 [textWHO].

- Congregation for Bishops: «Decree of remission of the excommunication latae sententiae to the Bishops of the Fraternity of St. Pius X», 21 January 2009 [text WHO]

– «Note from the Secretary of State about the four bishops of the Fraternity of St. Pius X», 4 February 2009 [text WHO]

Letter of the Holy Father Benedict XVI to the Bishops of the Catholic Church concerning the remission of the excommunication of 4 Bishops consecrated by 'Archbishop Lefebvre [text, 10 March 2009 WHO].

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