Traditional Mass advocacy commission “Ecclesia Dei” future in doubt? Pope says doctrinal congregation will dialogue with traditionalists

Pope Benedict XVI has placed the commission responsible for relations with traditionalist Catholics under the authority of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. With a brief apostolic letter issued “motu proprio” (on his own initiative), Pope Benedict said he wanted to “demonstrate paternal care toward the Society of St. Pius X,” founded by the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, so members could return to full communion with the church. The apostolic letter, dated July 2 and published July 8, was titled “Ecclesiae Unitatem” (“The Unity of the Church”). In a brief note published separately, Pope Benedict accepted the resignation of 80-year-old Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos as president of the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei,” which since 1988 has been charged with outreach to the Society of St. Pius X and assistance to Catholics attached to the pre-Vatican II liturgy.