CBCP official initiates meeting with SSPX in PH

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QUEZON City, Nov. 25, 2014—Episcopal Commission on Interreligious Dialogue (ECID) of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) executive secretary Fr. Carlos Reyes, along with the Catholic Faith Defenders (CFD) Manila, met with some members of the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) on Tuesday, Nov. 18, at Our Lady of Victories Church in New Manila, Quezon City in a bid to foster cordial ties with the traditionalist group ‘ut unum sint’ (that they may be one”).

Fr. Carlos Reyes, CBCP – ECID executive secretary, recently met with members of the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX). (Photo: CFD – Manila)

“Our encounter was more of a ‘getting-to-know-each-other’ thing … Cardinal Müller and Bishop Fellay of SSPX held an earlier meeting last September, so this one in Manila was just in keeping with that,” the priest told CBCPNews in an interview.

For more than an hour, Reyes talked to SSPX members Fr. Thomas Onoda; Fr. Allan Nely, Assistant to the Superior General; Fr. Emerson Salvador; Fr. Michael Fortin; Bro. Andre Demafelis; and Bro. Hyacinth Pereño

Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, the current prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Bishop Bernard Fellay, SSPX superior general met in the Vatican on Sept. 23 to discuss matters that “stand in the way of full communion”.

Reyes stressed the Archdiocese of Manila (RCAM) is committed to enforcing the decision made by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in July 2, 2009 to show “fatherly solicitude to the ‘Society of St Pius X’ in order that it rediscover full communion with the Church”.

While he admits the Church’s relationship with SSPX lies beyond the competence of CBCP-ECID, Reyes believes it is his duty as a Catholic priest to reach out to the group.

“Some canonical issues were taken up during the meeting and I will refer those matters to CBCP President Abp. Socrates Villegas and Cardinal Orlando Quevedo, head of the CBCP Doctrine of the Faith,” he shared.

“It is hard work and requires much patience and truthful charity. It would be retrograde therefore to demonize the SSPX,” the priest added.

Robertson T. Poblete, CFD Manila president, stated their encounter with SSPX was a sincere effort at “permanent and renewed dialogue within the Church”.

Quoting Pope St. John Paul II in the 1984 apostolic exhortation “Reconciliatio et Pænitentia” (Reconciliation and Penance), Poblete asserted “listening to one another, respect, refraining from all hasty judgments, patience, the ability to avoid subordinating the faith which unites to the opinions, fashions and ideological choices which divide … are all qualities of a dialogue within the church which must be persevering, open and sincere”.

Zenit.org reported that during the meeting between Müller and Fellay, “various problems of a doctrinal canonical nature were examined, and it was decided to proceed gradually and over a reasonable period of time in order to overcome difficulties and with a view to the envisioned full reconciliation.” (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCPNews)

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