Vatican confirms talks with traditionalists dead

Associated Press Published: October 6, 2012
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VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican's new doctrine czar says negotiations to bring back a breakaway group of traditionalist Catholics are dead and that no new talks are planned.

Reconciling with the Society of St. Pius X — thus ending the only formal schism created since the 1962-65 Second Vatican Council — had been a priority of Pope Benedict XVI since his tenure heading the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

That office's new chief, Monsignor Gerhard Ludwig Mueller, told Germany's Norddeutscher Rundfunk broadcaster, however, that "the talks are closed and I don't believe there are new ones."

"We couldn't of course expose the Catholic faith to negotiation," he said. "There are no compromises.'

The late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre founded the society in 1969, opposed to Vatican II's introduction of Mass in the vernacular and outreach to Jews. In 1988, the Vatican excommunicated Lefebvre and four bishops after he consecrated them without papal consent.

Benedict has spent nearly his entire seven-year pontificate seeking to accommodate the society, restoring the use of the old Latin Mass favored by the society's members, removing the bishops' excommunications and allowing them two years of theological dialogue with the Vatican.

Aside from being sympathetic to the society's point of view, Benedict fears the growth of a parallel church that is even more conservative than his own.

But the society, which boasts 550 priests and 200-plus seminarians, refused to sign off on a core set of doctrinal points required by the Vatican to come back into the fold.

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