On the same day that the U.S.C.C.B. and the C.D.F. brought the hammer down on U.S. women religious because of their controversial taste in conference speakers, "radical feminism" and alleged lack of sufficient enthusiasm for the church's teaching on abortion, women's ordination and homosexuality, on an altogether different front the church was taking great pains to portray its recent overtures to the Society of St. Pius X as positive steps to end the schismatic group's reign of error. The Vatican has been trying to get the society to accept a doctrinal "preamble," a statement of mutually acceptable beliefs, that should herald the SSPXers return to the fold. Their previous response to the proposed preamble's could only be described as disrespectfully dismissive. Today Father Federico Lombardi, S.J., head of the Vatican Press Office, said that, with the society's latest response to the still undisclosed preamble, “steps forward have been taken, that is to say, that the response, the new response, is rather encouraging. But there are still developments that will be made, and examined, and decisions which should be taken in the next few weeks." Other commentators have said that no substantial barriers remain to a happy reunion--except perhaps that the SSPX still expects Rome to announce its return to the SSPX fold.
The society's comments on the same matter, issued out of the home office in Menzingen, Switzerland, were decidedly less enthusiastic than Lombardi's:
The media are announcing that Bishop Bernard Fellay has sent a “positive response” to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and that consequently the doctrinal question between the Holy See and the Society of St. Pius X is now resolved.
The reality is different.
In a letter dated April 17, 2012, the Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X responded to the request for clarification that had been made to him on March 16 by Cardinal William Levada concerning the Doctrinal Preamble delivered on September 14, 2011. As the press release dated today from the Ecclesia Dei Commission indicates, the text of this response “will be examined by the dicastery (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) then submitted to the Holy Father for his judgment”.
This is therefore a stage and not a conclusion.
It appears that the group, which considers the documents of Vatican II heretical, for that matter, Pope Benedict XVI to be a heretic, which has a soft spot for Holocaust deniers and Vichy apologists, somehow remains worthy of Rome's ardent pursuit. The U.S. nuns, however, who embraced Vatican II and remained true to its spirit while they built schools and hospitals and served the poor, are going to be rewarded for their efforts with years of "supervision" from Rome in order to effect their dependable "renewal."