A traditionalist blog in Italy has revealed that 'sometime in the past few months' Francis received the Superior of the Society of St Pius X, Bishop Bernard Fellay, reports Vatican Insider.
On Saturday the website Rorate Caeli revealed the news but gave no information regarding the sources and circumstances surrounding their encounter. Authoritative religious news blog Il Sismografo, edited by Luis Badilla, reported the news on Saturday evening.
Rorate Caeli writes that the meeting 'was not a merely fortuitous event' in the sense that the Pope was informed about Mgr Fellay’s presence in St Martha’s House, giving the impression that that meeting had been planned and 'apparently short and cordial'.
Vatican Insider has learnt that the meeting apparently took place in the first few weeks of 2014. Mgr Fellay was invited to dinner at St Martha’s House by Bishop Guido Pozzo, Secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei and Archbishop Augustin Di Noia, Vice-President of the same commission.
French priest Emmanuel De Taveau was present alongside the traditionalist prelate. De Taveau has kept communication open between the Catholic Church and the fraternity since the days when Lefebvre was still alive.
The Holy See’s relations with the fraternity have remained frozen since 2012, when the former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Levada, delivered a preamble - approved by Pope Benedict XVI – asking the traditionalist group to sign it, as a condition for entering into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church and gaining legal status with the establishment of a 'personal prelacy'.
Although the fraternity’s excommunication was lifted in January 2009, disagreements remained over certain doctrinal points and so the status of the Lefebvrian hierarchy and its priests is still irregular. Not only have the leaders of the SSPX criticised the Second Vatican Council since Francis took over from Benedict XVI, but they have even written and published some very harsh comments against Pope Francis.