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Yum! Pope's letter...eat it for breakfast!
The pope is incredible. It is amazing how well he can write and communicate.I am so glad he clarified things for everyone.
...And of course the media (and at least one Bishops Conference) are only discussing the apology for the Williamson mess, not anything else. Typical. There was so much more to it than that, but I don't think they want it disseminated.
It is also interesting to note the tone of the letter. There is still quite a bit of bulldog in Benedict. He admits that things were poorly handled, but challenges the Catholics who have vehemently criticized the action. He insists that we have to seek reconciliation with SSPX but still makes it clear that they cannot reject Vatican II. He even calls them "a radical fringe". This is a Pope who is not afraid speaking the truth boldly.
For the sake of accuracy, I do not the Holy Father was referring to them as a radical fringe, so much as putting himself in the mind of his critics. The passage in question very clearly indicates this. This is a rhetorical device used very often by Benedict/Ratzinger.Incidentally, the superior general of the SSPX has responded positively to the letter:http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2009/03/communique-of-superior-general-of.html
"All the same, I do not think that they would have chosen the priesthood if, alongside various distorted and unhealthy elements, they did not have a love for Christ and a desire to proclaim him and, with him, the living God. Can we simply exclude them, as representatives of a radical fringe, from our pursuit of reconciliation and unity? What would then become of them?"From the context it seems he is saying that "radical fringe" is an incorrect attitude to take, especially since it follows the vocational, religious, and academic statistics which strongly imply that this is not a fringe group.I'm glad this document makes way for the doctrinal discussions that will happen with the SSPX. Hopefully some clarifications on Vatican II will follow from them that will help the Church as a whole, clearing up certain ambiguities that have been taken advantage of by dissenters. Hopefully it will make it clearer what Vatican II says, and what it does not say.From what I can tell, most of the issues of contention are not doctrinal. I would be interested to see what the Pope and Bishop Fellay regard as the main sticking point(s).
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