The traditionalist society, SSPX, is being brought more into the Catholic fold by Pope Francis, as this story from CruxNow reports, and that is very good news as they are a strong part of the history of the modern Church.
ROME — In what amounts to a category-bending gesture, Pope Francis, often seen as a progressive pontiff indifferent to the concerns of more traditionalist Catholics, reportedly has vowed to extend his recognition of the confessions heard by priests of a breakaway traditionalist group indefinitely.
Last September, Francis surprised many by extending an olive branch to the breakaway traditionalist group known as the Society of Pius X (SSPX) by decreeing that during his Holy Year of Mercy anyone who confesses their sins to a priest of the society will be considered validly forgiven.
Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior general of the society, said on Sunday as he was celebrating Mass for a group of pilgrims assembled in France that during a recent private conversation, Francis had confided that he wanted to extend this authorization.
According to the French blog Le Salon Beige, the first news outlet to report Fellay’s comments, in his homily the bishop also shared that Francis had said he’d never condemn the society, and that in his eyes, they were “part of the Church”.
The Vatican hasn’t released a statement confirming the report, but last week, through a one-sentence statement, they did confirm the private meeting between Francis and Fellay, which took place on April 1 at the pope’s personal residence in the Vatican.
At the time, the information provided by the society, also known as the “Lefebvrists” after their founder, the late French Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, said that the canonical status of the society hadn’t been directly addressed by Fellay and the pope, with both having determined that the exchanges have to continue “without haste.”