(Vatican Radio) The Press Office of the Holy See on Monday confirmed that Pope Francis met on Saturday, April 2, 2016, with the head of the dissident traditionalist Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X (SSPX), Bishop Bernard Fellay.
The confirmation came through a one-sentence communiqué from the Press Office, saying, “The Press Office confirms that Saturday, 2 April, a meeting took place in the Vatican between Pope Francis and Bishop Bernard, Fellay, Superior General of the St. Pius X Fraternity.”
The SSPX, as it is commonly known, was founded in 1970 by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in order to preserve the centuries-old tradition of Catholic worship in the Latin Church.
In 1988, Archbishop Lefebvre consecrated four bishops in defiance of explicit Papal dispositions and in violation of an agreement reached a short time before, under the terms of which Lefebvre would have been permitted to consecrate one bishop (in order to guarantee continuity of leadership within the controversial Society).
Since that time, the status of the SSPX has been canonically irregular: efforts to repair the relationship between the SSPX and Church leadership in Rome have continued despite recurrent difficulties.
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