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Vatican Summons Traditionalists To Rome

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Priests and supporters of the controversial Society of St Pius X take part in a procession near the western German city of Fulda on Sept. 5, 2009. (THOMAS LOHNES/AFP/Getty Images) | Getty

By Alessandro Speciale
Religion News Service

(RNS) The Vatican has summoned the head of a traditionalist group to Rome to assess the results of a two-year doctrinal dialogue between the schismatic group and the Holy See.

Monsignor Bernard Fellay, superior general of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), will meet on Sept. 14 with top officials who are trying to normalize relations, including American Cardinal William Levada, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

In June, Fellay said the church is "full of heresies," and the group ordained its own set of bishops in the United States, Switzerland and Germany without Vatican approval.

Talks between the two sides began in 2009 after Pope Benedict XVI lifted the 1988 excommunications of four SSPX bishops, including Bishop Richard Williamson, who has denied that the Holocaust killed 6 million Jews.

The talks focused on the modernizing reforms of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), which SSPX opposes. Pope Benedict XVI maintains that Vatican II must be interpreted in "continuity" with church tradition.

According to Vatican Insider, a religion website of the Italian newspaper La Stampa, the Vatican intends to offer SSPX an special structure similar to the "ordinariate" created for Anglicans who want to join the Catholic Church. The deal would require SSPX to give "full recognition" to Vatican II reforms.

Like the structure created for the Anglicans, a special SSPX ordinariate would allow the group to keep some of its own traditions.

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