It has always struck me as odd that we are encouraged to be nice to the Orthodox, the Church of England, the Methodists, Baptists, Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists but to shun the Society of St Pius X like a rabid dog. I do understand the offence that many Catholics have taken against some of the remarks of some members of the SSPX about Pope John Paul and Pope Benedict but I find the prospect of a reconciliation and some working agreement a fascinating one. As I have said before, the addition of a couple of SSPX priests would add spice to the average Deanery meeting.
The most puzzling quotation in the article is
"We would be a bit like the Chinese Patriotic Church, in the Church without really being there,"Bishop Fellay has made clear in the past what he thinks of the Patriotic Church. (It is a problem for the SSPX in China because the Patriotic Church has retained the Classical Roman rite and so the SSPX is in danger of being associated with them.) It is, of course, quite possible that he was simply using the Patriotic Church as an example in one respect - that of having a certain relationship with Rome but one that was juridically irregular. He might also be making the point that if Rome can bend over backwards to accommodate the Patriotic Church as far as possible, despite its links with the communist government, surely it could give the same consideration to the SSPX.
Archbishop Fellay is also quoted as saying
"There could be a relationship between Rome and us, but it would not yet be a juridical relationship."The juridical question is a major one for the SSPX. In the question of marriage law and faculties for confession, it is necessary to invoke extraordinary provision to justify the sacramental ministry of the SSPX. There is also the question of juridical procedure and appeal. If a member of the SSPX wished to appeal a juridical decision, the proper supreme tribunal would be the Apostolic Segnatura. Juridical regularity is presumably an important matter for many within the SSPX but perhaps Archbishop Fellay is working for a gradual rapprochment.
A significant problem is that within the SSPX, feelings run high. Archbishop Fellay would wish to avoid creating a schism within the SSPX itself if at all possible. Too rapid a solution could well see a "liberal SSPX" wing joining with Rome and a "radical SSPX" becoming more and more like the Holy and Apostolic Church of South Norwood. This might be inevitable but it is surely prudent to avoid it if at all possible.
It would be good to see the French text of Fellay's remarks to "journalists in Paris" and perhaps a bit more context so if anyone has a link, please drop it in the combox.