A Jesuit, a Dominican and…
…an Opus Dei priest walk into a bar. They order their drinks. The Jesuit looks at the Opus Dei priest and says, “That’s a first. We’re on the same side.”
The composition of the team chosen to lead the Vatican’s side of the doctrinal talks scheduled between the Lefebvrists later next month reads a bit like a classic joke about the stereotypes of different religious orders. But much energy has gone into the Church’s efforts to find a way of healing the rift between the traditionalists who were separated after Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre’s priestly ordinations in 1988 and it is no joking matter.
The Ecclesia Dei commission which dealt with traditionalists and was established after Pope John Paul II’s Motu Proprio Ecclesia Dei to serve as a go-to-point has been subsumed into the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith because the second stage of a possible rapprochement between the Church and the Lefebvrists; doctrinal talks. Many words have been spent in speculating on their nature, but that remains to be seen.
The three key players are:
The first is Fr Charles Morerod, a respected Dominican from the Fribourg Province who was recently appointed secretary of the International Theologica Commission and rector magnificus of the Angelicum:
The second is a German Jesuit Fr Karl Josef Becker, who according to John Allen is trusted by Pope Benedict XVI (who came to his 70th birthday in 1998 at the Greg) from his time in the CDF and is an emeritus professor at the Gregorian University in Rome. Fr Becker SJ is over 80 and a scholar of the Second Vatican Council. His speciality is Lumen Gentium (The dogmatic constitution of the Church). (Sadly I couldn’t find a pic or a YouTube video to go with it. )
And the third is a French-born Spaniard who is the Vicar General of Opus Dei and a theologian involved with the CDF, Mgr Fernando Ocáriz (pictured here) To read an interview with Mgr Ocariz go here
But there are new clouds on the horizon which could threaten doctrinal talks between the break-away group and the Church. Much like the media storm that broke in January when the Pope lifted the excommunications incurred by the four Lefebvrist bishops at the same time as a Swedish broadcaster aired a programme about one of the four bishops, who denied the extent of the Holocaust. new plans have emerged to air a follow-up programme on September 30. Rorate Caeli which broke the story, has the details.