From Mr Alan Webber Sir, Katherine Dodd's report (Aug 17) on the discussions between the Priestly Society of St Pius X (SSPX) and the Vatican is highly inaccurate; indeed, it is hard to know which of its many errors to correct first. It may be easier for me to present my own
brief summary of the events in question. I write as a lay supporter of the SSPX. A year ago, the SSPX arranged a pilgrimage to Rome, attended by hundreds of priests and thousands of lay faithful. The pilgrims' reverence was noted by those men of goodwill still remaining in Rome. Meetings followed between the bishops of the Society and Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, the head of the Ecclesia Dei commission. The initiative came from the Vatican, but it is worthy of note that the supposedly "excommunicated" leaders of this allegedly "schismatic sect" did not hesitate to respond to a call from Rome. Unfortunately, the Roman authorities are, as yet, unwilling to engage in a deep theological debate about the problems of the modern Church and their relation to the Second Vatican Council. Therefore, the solution they proposed, lifting the so-called "excommunications" and granting special status to the SSPX did not reach the heart of the matter. If the SSPX were sectarian it would surely accept a deal which would give it prestige and confirm its right to use the traditional sacraments. However, the Society wishes to work for the good of the entire Church and therefore asked that Rome declare that all Catholic priests are able to use the "Old Mass" without any restriction.
Sadly, the Vatican, under pressure from Modernists, has so far been unwilling to grant this request. The society is not outside the Church, although it would desire a more regular situation. However, this cannot come at the expense of the struggle against the false ecumenism, religious liberty, liturgical barbarism and catechetical error which have made today's Church a shadow of its former self.
Yours faithfully, ALAN WEBBER York.