By Cindy Wooden
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The superior general of the
traditionalist Society of St. Pius X said Pope Francis, rather than denouncing
errors in Catholic doctrine, has “encouraged” them.
“The Society of St. Pius X prays and does penance for
the pope, that he might have the strength to proclaim Catholic faith and morals
in their entirety,” said a statement published June 29, the feast of Sts.
Peter and Paul, patron saints of the church of Rome.
Bernard Fellay, superior
general of the society, issued the statement after a meeting June 25-28
of the group’s leaders.
The society has been in talks with the Vatican in a search
for a way to reintegrate it and its members fully into the life of the Catholic
Church. Bishop Fellay met personally with Pope Francis in April, which seemed
to signal that progress was being made.
Talks with the group began under St. John Paul II and
continued throughout the papacy of now-retired Pope Benedict XVI.
St. John Paul had excommunicated Bishop Fellay and other
leaders of the society in 1988
when they were ordained without papal permission. Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, founder of the society
and the bishop who ordained them, also was excommunicated; he died in 1991.
Pope Benedict lifted the excommunications in 2009.
In the statement June 29, Bishop Fellay said that “in
the great and painful confusion that currently reigns in the church, the
proclamation of Catholic doctrine requires the denunciation of errors that have
made their way into it and are unfortunately encouraged by a large number of
pastors, including the pope himself.”
The statement did not specify the “errors” it was
referring to or how the society believes Pope Francis is encouraging them.
While the society “has a right” to full canonical
recognition, he said, its primary aim is to teach the fullness of Catholic
faith, “which shows the only route to follow in this age of darkness in
which the cult of man replaces the worship of God, in society as in the church.”
“The ‘restoration of all things in Christ’ intended by
St. Pius X, following St. Paul (cf. Eph. 1:10), cannot happen without the
support of a pope who concretely favors the return to sacred tradition,”
the statement said. “While waiting for that blessed day, the Society of St.
Pius X intends to redouble its efforts to establish and to spread, with the
means that divine providence gives to it, the social reign of Our Lord Jesus
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