VATICAN CITY (CNS): Pope Benedict XVI presided over his first major meeting with top Roman Curia officials on February 13, an encounter that sources said focused on a proposal to reconcile with followers of the late French Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.
More than 20 heads of congregations and pontifical councils attended the meeting, which was to be followed up by a similar session in late March.
A Vatican source said the Pope and other department heads listened as Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos outlined a possible solution to the 18-year-long impasse with the Society of St Pius X, a self-styled traditionalist order founded by Archbishop Lefebvre. Its members reject modern liturgical practices and several teachings of the Second Vatican Council.
Head of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, Cardinal Francis Arinze, said in a recent interview with Catholic News Service that while he favoured reconciliation it could not be offered at any price.
The papal audience prompted a flurry of speculation about reconciliation.
Afterward, Cardinal Castrillon said in an interview with the Italian magazine 30 Giorni that the Lefebvrites should not be made to fear that they would be silenced if they reconciled with the Vatican.
He said they were rightly concerned about liturgical abuses in the post-conciliar period.
One Vatican source who participated in this month’s meeting of curial heads said he thought the Pope wanted to make one big push for reconciliation at the beginning of his pontificate.