Society of St Pius X & Vatican II

Dialogika Resources

Decree from the Congregation of Bishops

Prot. N. 126/2009

Congregation for Bishops


In a letter dated December 15, 2008, and addressed to His Eminence Cardinal Dario Castrilion Hoyos, President of the Ecclesia Dei Pontifical Commission, Bishop Bernard Fellay, on his behalf and that of the other three Bishops consecrated on June 30,1988, requested again the lifting of the excommunication latæ sententiæ formally pronounced by a Decree from the Prefect of this same Congregation for Bishops dated July 1, 1988. In the above mentioned letter, Bishop Fellay, among other things, stated: "We are still as steadfast in our determination to remain Catholic and to place all our strength at the service of the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ, which is the Roman Catholic Church. We filially accept her teaching. We firmly believe in the primacy of Peter and in its prerogatives, and this is tile reason why the present situation makes us suffer all the more."

His Holiness Benedict XVI - touched with fatherly compassion over the spiritual difficulty manifested by those concerned by the sanction of excommunication and confident that the commitment they expressed in the above quoted letter of sparing no effort to go further in the necessary discussions with the Authorities of the Holy See concerning the issues still pending, and thus of being able to reach quickly a full and satisfactory solution of the problem raised at the origin - has decided to re-consider the canonical standing of the Bishops Bernard Fellay, Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, Richard Williamson and AIfonso de Galarreta with respect to their episcopal consecrations.

This act expresses the desire to consolidate reciprocal confidence in our dealings, to intensify and give stability to the relations of the Society of Saint Pius X with the Apostolic See. This gift of peace, at the end of the Christmas celebrations, is also intended to be a sign for the promotion of unity in charity in the universal Church, and to thereby remove the scandal of division.

Wishing that this step be followed without delay by the full communion with the Church of all the Society of Saint Pius X, in testimony of a true fidelity and genuine recognition of the Magisterium and of the authority of the Pope by the proof of visible unity.

According to the faculties expressly conceded to me by the Holy Father Benedict XVI, by virtue of the present Decree, I remit the censure of excommunication latæ sententiæ, pronounced by this Congregation on July 1, 1988, from Bishops Bernard Fellay, Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, Richard Williamson, and Alfonso de Galaretta from and, as of this day, I likewise declare void of juridical effects the Decree published at the time.

Rome, from the Congregation for Bishops, this 21st day of January 2009.

Card. Giovanni Battista Re
Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops