Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, an Italian expert on the Second Vatican Council, said members of the breakaway Society of St. Pius X must understand that council fathers were guided by the Holy Spirit.
The archbishop made his remarks in Rome during the recent presentation of a book he co-authored, titled “Benedict XVI’s Keys for Interpreting Vatican II.”
Gaudium et spes, one of the conciliar documents of Vatican II, was signed by the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who eventually went into schism and founded the Society of St. Pius X.
Archbishop Lefebrve began the Society in 1970 as a response to what he described as errors that had crept into the Catholic Church following the council. The Society has had a strained relationship with the Vatican since Archbishop Lefebrve consecrated four bishops against the orders of Pope John Paul II in 1988.
In his comments to EWTN News, Archbishop Marchetto insisted that Vatican II was “aided by the Holy Spirit, who cannot speak or commit errors or proclaim things that are against the Gospel or the history of the Church as part of the deposit of faith.”
“Therefore, the action of the Holy Spirit during the course of Vatican II could be a source of reflection for the Lefebvrists as well, although we could say that up to now that has not worked.”
Archbishop Marchetto – former secretary of the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Itinerant People – said he hopes an agreement can be reached with the society, but that they would first have to accept Vatican II.
“We can’t say now that this document – Gaudium et spes – should be left out,” he said.
“Benedict XVI’s Keys to Interpreting Vatican II” was written by Archbishop Marchetto, Cardinal Walter Brandmuller, former president of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences, and Italian priest Father Nicola Bux.
During the presentation of the book at Vatican Radio headquarters, the director of the Holy See’s Press Office, Father Federico Lombardi, called the event a sort of “vigil of preparation for the anniversary of the Second Vatican Council and teaches how to analyze its meaning” under the guidance of the Church and the faith.
Cardinal Brandmuller, who hails from Bavaria and is an expert on Church history, said the book aims to be a “source of dialogue to unify the Church.”
On the possible reconciliation of the society with the Catholic Church, Cardinal Brandmuller said he was hopeful. “Let’s see if a door is opened regarding talks on the documents,” he said.