BY ANNA ARCO
THE BREAKAWAY Society Of St Pius X has failed to either accept or reject the conditions set by a leaked Vatican ultimatum for the traditionalist group's return to Rome, it emerged this week.
A Communique" issued by the group this Tuesday, in answer to the rumours and speculation unleashed by a leaked memo, said that the group wanted to talk about doctrinal issues and called for the excommunications on its four bishops to be lifted.
It said: "The Society of St. Pius X wishes that the dialogue be on the doctrinal level and take into accounts all the issues, which, if they were evaded, might jeopardise a canonical status hastily set up. The SSPX considers that the preliminary withdrawal of the 1988 decrees of excommunication would foster serenity in the dialogue."
Negotiations between the Church and the traditionalists came to a head earlier in June, when Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, the president of the Vatican's Ecclesia Dei Commission. presented Bishop Bernard Fellay, who leads the traditionalist group, with an ultimatum during a meeting in Rome.
The society's founder Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre was excommunicated when he ordained the group's four bishops on June 30 1988 against Pope John Paul Ifs express will. The bishops were automatically excommunicated.
This week's efforts to redraft the terms of the dialogue on the part of the SSPX have provoked reactions which range from optimism to anger.
One Vatican observer said: "They're not interested in returning to Rome and they're not interested in complying with the conditions the Vatican has set. The cardinal made it fairly clear that it was an ultimatum, but I think that they are taking the same position as always."