Traditionalists' response marks 'step forward'

Bishop Bernard Fellay ordains a priest during a 2009 ceremony in Econe, Switzerland.

CNS PHOTO | DENIS BALIBOUSE, REUTERS

Bishop Bernard Fellay ordains a priest during a 2009 ceremony in Econe, Switzerland.

April 30, 2012

In what the Vatican described as an encouraging "step forward," the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X has revised its response to a Vatican document laying out basic principles and criteria for interpreting Church teaching.

The response submitted by Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior general of the society, arrived at the Vatican April 17.

It will be examined by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and then "placed under the judgment of the Holy Father," said a brief communique from the commission that is handling the Vatican's discussions with the SSPX.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, told reporters April 18 that a curial official who read Fellay's response said it was "substantially different" from one he submitted in January; the doctrinal congregation and Pope Benedict had determined Fellay's first response was "insufficient" for healing the breach between the society and the Catholic Church.