Breakaway Traditionalists Send Pope Mixed Message

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press
Group is waiting for an serious debate before reconciliation

Pope Benedict XVI waves to faithful at a welcome ceremony at the airport in Silao, Friday March 23, 2012. Benedict's weeklong trip to Mexico and Cuba is his first to both countries. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)

VATICAN CITY (AP) -- A breakaway group of traditionalist Roman Catholics has sent the Vatican mixed messages about ending a quarter-century of schism, one of Pope Benedict's key priorities.

The Society of St. Pius X said it had approved the legal way it could eventually reconcile with the Holy See, but is waiting for an "open and serious debate" on what it views as the "errors" of the modernizing reforms of the Second Vatican Council.

The late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre founded the society in 1969 out of opposition to Vatican II's introduction of Mass in the vernacular and outreach to Jews and people of other faiths, among other issues. In 1988, the Vatican excommunicated Lefebvre and four of his bishops after he consecrated them without papal consent.

Benedict has spent nearly his entire seven-year pontificate seeking to accommodate the society and end the schism. He has restored the use of the old Latin Mass, removed the bishops' excommunications and allowed them two years of theological dialogue with the Vatican.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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