It’s Official

by | Jan 24, 2009 | Uncategorized | 9 comments

The Holy Father has lifted the excommunications placed on the Bishops ordained by Lefebvre!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Decree of the Congregation for Bishops

By way of a letter of December 15, 2008 addressed to His Eminence Cardinal Dario Castrillón Hoyos, President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, Mons. Bernard Fellay, also in the name of the other three Bishops consecrated on June 30, 1988, requested anew the removal of the latae sententiae excommunication formally declared with the Decree of the Prefect of this Congregation on July 1, 1988. In the aforementioned letter, Mons. Fellay affirms, among other things: “We are always firmly determined in our will to remain Catholic and to place all our efforts at the service of the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ, which is the Roman Catholic Church. We accept its teachings with filial disposition. We believe firmly in the Primacy of Peter and in its prerogatives, and for this the current situation makes us suffer so much.”

His Holiness Benedict XVI – paternally sensitive to the spiritual unease manifested by the interested party due to the sanction of excommunication and trusting in the effort expressed by them in the aforementioned letter of not sparing any effort to deepen the necessary discussions with the Authority of the Holy See in the still open matters, so as to achieve shortly a full and satisfactory solution of the problem posed in the origin – decided to reconsider the canonical situation of Bishops Bernard Fellay, Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, Richard Williamson, and Alfonso de Galarreta, arisen with their episcopal consecration.

With this act, it is desired to consolidate the reciprocal relations of confidence and to intensify and grant stability to the relationship of the Fraternity of Saint Pius X with this Apostolic See. This gift of peace, at the end of the Christmas celebrations, is also intended to be a sign to promote unity in the charity of the universal Church and to try to vanquish the scandal of division.

It is hoped that this step be followed by the prompt accomplishment of full communion with the Church of the entire Fraternity of Saint Pius X, thus testifying true fidelity and true recognition of the Magisterium and of the authority of the Pope with the proof of visible unity.

Based on the faculties expressly granted to me by the Holy Father Benedict XVI, in virtue of the present Decree, I remit from Bishops Bernard Fellay, Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, Richard Williamson, and Alfonso de Galarreta the censure of latae sententiae excommunication declared by this Congregation on July 1, 1988, while I declare deprived of any juridical effect, from the present date, the Decree emanated at that time.

Rome, from the Congregation for Bishops, January 21, 2009.

Card. Giovanni Battista Re
Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops

The Vatican has said that, “The Holy Father in this decision was inspired by the wish that full reconciliation and full communion can be achieved soon.” Isn’t this wonderful?!?! What a perfect end to a rather depressing week.

Let us continue to pray for unity of all Christians!!

UPDATE: Click here to read Bishop Fellay’s Texts on the withdrawal of the Excommunications.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Fr. Z has posted a great explanation on exactly what this means. We need to just keep praying that it won’t be long until the SSPX is reconciled with The Holy See.


  1. Shelly

    stop by when you’ve got a moment – i’ve got a little something for you.

  2. Anonymous

    You’re so handy with the computer and internet! Thanks for the post!

  3. Jamie Jo

    Wow, I’m surprised it was not my parents who called me to tell me the news! SO, what does this mean for those SSPXers?

    This is good news.

  4. Jessica Gordon

    It doesn’t mean much yet… (I added the link to Fr. Z’s post which explains that.) But it is a step towards reconciliation!! We just need to keep praying! =)

  5. Jamie Jo

    Thank you so much Jessica, Father Z explained everything perfectly for me!

  6. Aubrey

    I’m glad you posted about this. I think that I actually saw it on Facebook first. It inspired me to go read and to find out more. I didn’t know anything about this situation. This is good news for our church!

  7. queen of the castle

    This is huge, is it not? And signed on the Feast of St. Agnes!

    BTY, we attended Mass last Sunday at the Church of St. Agnes where they were celebrating their parish feast day. The choir and orchestra did Gounod’s Mass for St. Cecilia which is gorgeous operatic roof-raising music and I’ve been meaning to post about it all week!

    Anyway, hearing this news stirred appreciation in my heart for the Church of St. Agnes and how they have held onto traditions within the framework of Vatican II. This is a church that did switch to the New Mass after VII but continued the Latin and facing ad orientum. We have visited several times but have attended Mass there more regularly after they started doing the Traditional Mass again – first time in 40 years!

    Thank you St. Agnes up there in heaven and continue to pray for us and this situation!

    Now after all the official reconciliation takes place between SSPX and the Holy See, I wonder how long it will be before the laity accept one another as legitimate Catholics?

  8. Thought and Action

    The Holy See have to look at doctrine and what has brought about the crisis in the Church. Many Americans will have to overcome prejudices against the Society of St Pius X also.

  9. Melissa @ Homegrown Catholics

    Sounds like a long journey ahead, but worth every effort on all our parts. I’ll be adding this to my prayers. More effrts towards unity amongst “Catholics”, sounds wonderful.

    PS – I got something for you at my “Growing in Grace” blogspot.


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