> ANSA English > News

Vatican to maintain improving ties with Lefebvrists

'Relations to pass on to next pope'

21 February, 13:55
Vatican to maintain improving ties with Lefebvrists (ANSA) - Vatican City, February 21 - The Vatican will maintain its improving ties with the ultra-traditionalist Lefebvrist breakaway group once a new pope is installed, a Church spokesman said Thursday. "Relations with the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) will be passed down from the Holy Father to the next pope," said Father Federico Lombardi. The Vatican forged a draft with the SSPX last June that aims to formally reunite the group with the Catholic Church.

SSPX broke away from the Church over theological differences stemming from the changes it adopted with the Second Vatican Council of some 45 years ago.

In 2009, Pope Benedict XVI lifted the excommunication imposed on four SSPX bishops which he said "could have prejudiced the opening of a door for dialogue" with the leaders of the society.

The move came just days after one of the four, British Bishop Richard Williamson, was shown in an interview with Swedish television claiming that the facts were "hugely against six million Jews having been deliberately gassed" during the Holocaust, sparking a wave of controversy and strong protests from Jewish communities across the world. The excommunications were imposed when the four bishops were consecrated in 1988 in defiance of Rome by the SSPX's late founder, French Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.