Canon law on reconciling with SSPX

Canon law on reconciling with SSPX

Canon lawyer Ed Peters looks at some of the issues involved in a Vatican reconciliation with the separatist Society of St. Pius X.

As I see it, there are only three options here: either the Holy See decides that John Paul II’s decree of excommunication was insufficiently grounded in law and/or fact, and on that basis it lifts the penalty without addressing the merits of the situation today; or, the SSPX leadership somehow acknowledges its wrong-doing and repents sufficiently to allow lifting of the penalty under 1983 CIC § 2; or the SSPX remains fixed in its position and the excommunication remains in place while talks continue—or not, as the case may be.

The first option has the proverbial snowball’s chance of ever happening; a fourth option (that the SSPX remains contumacious of the penalty, but the pope simply lifts it anyway) is not realistic: Pope Benedict XVI cares about truth, even when the truth hurts.

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli