Whither the Lefebvrists?

Tomorrow, September 14th, a meeting will take place between Cardinal Levada, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and leaders of Archbishop Lefebvres Society of St. Pius X, at which will be communicated the Vaticans summary of the results of the doctrinal conversations that have taken place between the Society and select Catholic theologians over the last couple of years. It is not known whether the results will go beyond a clarification of the doctrinal issues and include a proposal for some sort of canonical regularization of the Societys position vis-a-vis the Catholic Church. Traditionalist sites have been pessimistic that any great progress has been made, and there are more than a few suggestions that any capitulation by the Societys leadership will be met by schismatic tendencies within the organization. Bishop Williamson clearly will reject any recognition of the Second Vatican Council. Even if there were to be some sort of accommodation, e.g., on the variety of interpretations of Vatican II, there are other issues on which many members of the Society are adamantly opposed: e.g., the beatification of John Paul II and Pope Benedicts intention to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the gathering of leaders of the various religions at Assisi in 1986. For an example of how fierce the opposition to the spirit of Assisi is, read this piece by the Societys District Superior for Grance, Fr. Regis de Cacqueray.

Tomorrow, September 14th, a meeting will take place between Cardinal Levada, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and leaders of Archbishop Lefebvres Society of St. Pius X, at which will be communicated the Vaticans summary of the results of the doctrinal conversations that have taken place between the Society and select Catholic theologians over the last couple of years. It is not known whether the results will go beyond a clarification of the doctrinal issues and include a proposal for some sort of canonical regularization of the Societys position vis-a-vis the Catholic Church. Traditionalist sites have been pessimistic that any great progress has been made on the doctrinal positions, and there are more than a few suggestions that any capitulation by the Societys leadership will be met by schismatic tendencies within the organization. Bishop Williamson clearly will reject any recognition of the Second Vatican Council. Even if there were to be some sort of accommodation, e.g., on the variety of interpretations of Vatican II, there are other issues on which many members of the Society are adamantly opposed: e.g., the beatification of John Paul II and Pope Benedicts intention to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the gathering of leaders of the various religions at Assisi in 1986. For an example of how fierce the opposition to the spirit of Assisi is, read this piece by the Societys District Superior for France, Fr. Regis de Cacqueray. It is hard to see how any reconciliation with such views could be possible.

Rev. Joseph A. Komonchak, professor emeritus of the School of Theology and Religious Studies at the Catholic University of America, is a retired priest of the Archdiocese of New York.

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