August 10, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) —The Vatican has offered the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) a personal prelature and confirmed that certain documents from the Second Vatican Council are not doctrinal in nature, according to an Italian archbishop tasked with overseeing the canonically irregular group’s return to full Communion with Rome.
Archbishop Guido Pozzo, the Secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, told a German newspaper that Pope Francis has offered the SSPX a return to full Communion via a personal prelature within the Church. A personal prelature is a hierarchically-structured group of Catholic faithful not bound by a geographic location — essentially, a diocese without a territory that complements the work of local dioceses “to which the faithful who form part of a personal prelature continue to belong.”
Opus Dei is the Catholic Church’s most well-known — and indeed, only — personal prelature.
Pozzo’s remarks, which Dr. Maike Hickson translated at OnePeterFive, indicate that the SSPX could be fully reunited with Rome despite the society’s rejection of certain Vatican II documents because the documents it rejects “are not about doctrines or definitive statements, but, rather, about instructions and orienting guides for pastoral practice.” The Second Vatican Council’s documents themselves indicate that only the Council’s teachings explicitly related to faith and morals are binding to Catholics, Pozzo explained.
“It was already clear at the time of the Council” that different Council documents carried different dogmatic weights, Pozzo said. “The General Secretary of the Council, Cardinal Pericle Felici, declared on November 16, 1964: ‘This holy synod defines only that as being binding for the Church what it declares explicitly to be such with regard to Faith and Morals.’ Only those texts assessed by the Council Fathers as being binding are to be accepted as such.”