An Aleteia translation of these three questions from the official Vatican transcript of the pope’s inflight press conference
What did Pope Francis really say about the Fraternity of St. Pius X (the Lefebvrists)?
Nicholas Senèze [“La Croix” (France)]
Thank you, Holy Father. Let us return to Fatima, to which the Fraternity of St. Pius X has a great devotion. There is much talk about an agreement which would grant an official status to the Fraternity in the Church. Some had even imagined this announcement would be made today. Your Holiness, do you think that this agreement will be possible in the near future? And what obstacles remain? And what, for you, is the meaning of this reconciliation? Will it be the triumphant return of faithful who will show what it means to be truly Catholic, or something else?
But, I would throw away every form of triumphalism, no? Several days ago, the “feria quarta” of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, their session — they call it “feria quarta” because it is held on Wednesdays — studied a document, and the document, the study of the document, has still not come to me. This is the first thing.
Second: the current relations are fraternal. Last year, I gave the permission for confessions to all of them, as well as a form of jurisdiction over marriages.
But first, also, the problems, the cases they had — for example — that had to be resolved by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The Congregation has been moving them forward. For example, abuse: cases of abuse, they have been bringing them to us; also for the Apostolic Penitentiary; also for laicizing a priest, they bring it to us….
There are fraternal relations. I have a good relationship with Bishop Fellay; I have spoken to him many times … I don’t like to rush things. Walk, walk, walk, and then we’ll see. For me, it is not a problem of winners and losers, no. It is a problem of brothers who have to walk together, and of seeing the formula for making steps ahead.
Translated by Diane Montagna of Aleteia’s English edition.