CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 24 August 2019

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Doctrinal congregation to handle traditionalist Catholics

VATICAN CITY (CNS): Pope Francis closed the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, which had been responsible for the pastoral care of Catholics attached to the pre-Vatican II Mass, and transferred its tasks to a special section of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
 
And because the disputed issues at the heart of the Vatican’s ongoing talks with the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) “are mainly doctrinal,” the congregation will take full responsibility for them, Pope Francis wrote in a document released by the Vatican on January 19.
 
Pope St. John Paul II established the commission in 1988 to facilitate the “full ecclesial communion of priests, seminarians, religious communities or individuals until now linked in various ways to the fraternity founded by Monsignor (Marcel) Lefebvre, who may wish to remain united to the Successor Peter in the Catholic Church, while preserving their spiritual and liturgical traditions.” 
 
The late pope also insisted that “respect must everywhere be shown for the feelings of all those who are attached to the Latin liturgical tradition.”
 
At the time, Archbishop Lefebvre was still alive and, despite the pope’s warnings, he ordained four bishops without papal approval resulting in the archbishop and the four new bishops incurring automatic excommunication.
 
In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI gave wide permission for the celebration of the extraordinary form of the Mass, that is, Mass according to the Roman Missal published in 1962, before the reforms of the Second Vatican Council.
 
In 2009, Pope Benedict lifted the excommunications saying the remission “has the same aim as that of the punishment (excommunications): namely, to invite the four bishops once more to return.”
 
Pope Francis said that with all the developments over the past 30 years, the situation of Catholics attached to the extraordinary form of the liturgy has changed and the “institutes and religious communities that habitually celebrate in the extraordinary form have found their stability.”
 
Andrea Tornielli, editorial director of the Vatican Dicastery for Communication, said the staff of Ecclesia Dei would join the new section in the doctrinal congregation.
 
In July, Father Davide Pagliarani of Italy was elected as the society’s new superior general. Tornielli said the new leaders “have announced their desire for further discussions with the Holy See regarding the texts of the Second Vatican Council: a delicate issue which will be addressed by the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.”  

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