The Holy Father's long-desired goal of achieving an accommodation with the SSPX appears, now, to be close to becoming an answered prayer. Think of all he has done, working quietly and persistently, on this one case alone -- leaving aside the Anglicans and so much else. He issued the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum in 2007. He lifted the excommunication of the four bishops from the SSPX in 2009. He issued the decisive Instruction, Universae Ecclesiae in 2011.
If a canonical structure, perhaps a prelature like that of Opus Dei, is now in the offing for the SSPX, as it appears it may be, this will regularize the priests of the SSPX. Their faculties and sacraments will no longer be merely valid, but licit. Thus one problem will be solved, and for that one must share in the gratitude of the Holy Father at the successful resolution for which he has works and prayed for so long.
Yet if this canonical structure resolves one problem, it will inevitably precipitate others. We can assuredly count on the fact that not all will share in the joy of the Holy Father. This will be only the beginning of many new struggles surrounding the controversies at issue over Vatican II and the trajectory of the post-Conciliar Church through the last half-century in this 50th anniversary year of the Council.
We live in momentous times. We are in the midst of an election year in the United States. The Republic faces an hour of decision. The Church, too, by any reasonable account is faced with a crisis of vocations and apostasy in many quarters. It is welcome and salutary sight to behold a candle lit, now and then. Let us give thanks, certainly, but also continue praying for the good of Mother Church.
- Communiqué of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei": The text "will be examined by the Dicastery and submitted afterwards to the judgment of the Holy Father."
Father Lombardi, head of the Holy See Press Office: "It can be said that 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 that should be taken in the next few weeks. I think the wait will not be long because there is the desire to reach a conclusion in these discussions, in these contacts."
- Communiqué of the General House of the Society of Saint Pius X: "This is therefore a stage and not a conclusion." (Rorate Caeli, April 18, 2012)
- For the record: "The Pope will decide in May" (Rorate Caeli, April 20, 2012)