Folks, this as reported by Phil Lawler for Catholic World News:
Vatican, Jun. 27, 2008 (CWNews.com) - Leaders of the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) report that they will not respond directly to what some observers have called an "ultimatum" from the Vatican. But the SSPX has not ignored the Vatican's message, either. The talks continue.
A spokesman for Bishop Bernard Fellay, the superior of the SSPX, has confirmed to the French newspaper La Croix that the traditionalist bishop has written to Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos (bio - news), the president of the Ecclesia Dei commission, responding to the cardinal's message setting forth the conditions that the SSPX must meet to achieve reconciliation with the Holy See.
"The Fraternity has no intention to respond to this ultimatum," said Father Alain Lorans, the SSPX spokesman. Yet Bishop Fellay did respond. The conversations continue.
What are we to make of this odd response-- or non-response?
Last week, before Vatican-watcher Andrea Tornielli revealed the contents of Cardinal Castrillon's letter, Bishop Fellay told an audience at an SSPX seminary in Winona, Minnesota, that the traditionalist group would not accept the Vatican's demands. In a remarkably inelegant summary of those conditions, Bishop Fellay said: "They just say, 'Shut up!'"
In fact, Cardinal Castrillon's letter had urged the SSPX to avoid personal attacks on the Pope and any public responses that would offend against "ecclesiastical charity." Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office, observed that the requirements set forth in the cardinal's letter were "the minimum conditions for a relationship based on respect."
But once the content of the cardinal's letter became public knowledge, Bishop Fellay ceased making public statements. In Winona, he said that he did not expect any breakthrough-- that, in fact, "I frankly believe that nothing will be done and that our answer will be negative." But he did not give that answer. Contrary to widespread media reports, Bishop Fellay had not rejected the Vatican stand.
Please, continue reading here.
Commentary. Despite Mr. Lawler's best efforts to cast the answer from Bishop Fellay, leader of the SSPX, to the Holy Father's invitation to reconcile with the Catholic Church, thereby healing the schism and restoring communion between the SSPX and the Church under the best possible light, I hold no such illusions. In fact, I can't say that I am surprised. This schism has its deepest root in the attitude of pride and deep-seated pharisaic arrogance permeating the SSPX, dating from the very origin of the schism.
Look, those who read this humble work know that I don't hide my intense dislike for the SSPX schismatics. It is easy to blast the "progressives" in the Church because we know that their contempt for the Magisterium of the Successor of St. Peter comes naturally to them. But from a group of so-called "traditionalists" who pride themselves as being "the real Roman Catholics," for whom fidelity to Holy See should be as naturally as breathing, to behold their utter contempt for the Pope, particularly this Pope who has gone out of his way to call them back to the bonds of charity, I find Bishop Fellay's reaction utterly contemptible.
The gentlemen ruling the SSPX must get this through their august but thick skulls: it is the SSPX that must return to the Church, not the Church to the SSPX; it is they who must reconcile with the Successor of St. Peter, not the Pope with them. The sin of schism is grave enough, so they must not continue gathering charcoals upon their heads.
I am convinced that the Lord will begin slowly and gently calling his own out of the SSPX and that the SSPX will soon become an empty shell, populated by recalcitrant priests and a smattering of religious and lay people, clinging not to Tradition, but to special revelations and conspiracy theories which, in their mind, would confirm their delusion of being a remnant of the True Church and justify in their mind their continued disobedience to the Sovereign Pontiff. Upon their passing, the SSPX will wither in the Lord's vineyard and those responsible for the schism called before Him to account for their sins.
I hope for the Holy See to change their approach to the SSPX and to adopt a missionary stance that will enable us to begin extricating the stray sheep from the SSPX one at a time, now that the SSPX shepherds have decided to cling to hatred, disrespect, and schism from the Church of Christ.
There's more joy in heaven for a single sheep to be found after being lost than for the majority that stayed within the flock. Let's do our part in bringing joy to heaven by rescuing an SSPXer from the clutches of schism and bringing her back to the Church where she can find redemption, forgiveness, healing, wholeness, and restoration.