Conditions and circumstances change, but the dialogue continues with the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X founded by Monsignor Marcel Lefebvre, and with all those who have followed him, adhering to his liturgical spiritual motion. By now, the main core of this dialogue consists predominantly in doctrinal matters. This led Pope Francis, with the motu proprio made public on Saturday 19 January, to suppress the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei and to entrust its tasks to a special section to be established within the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. This section will be responsible for monitoring, promoting and protecting the work carried out so far by the Pontficial Commission.
It is not, therefore, a question of a total suppression, but of a transfer of competences, since the main axis on which it's activity will be based has been restricted to the doctrinal domain. This means that progress has been made in communion and therefore the current motu proprio offers implicit recognition to the Pontifical Commission, which with its efforts and activity has completed its tasks. The Pontifical Commission was established by John Paul II (2 July 1988), after the schismatic act carried out by Monsignor Lefebvre with the episcopal consecration without pontifical mandate of four priests at Ecône in Switzerland (30 June 1988), with the aim of collaborating with bishops and departments of the Roman Curia in order to facilitate full ecclesial communion with those who were attached to the Fraternity but who [at the same time] were eager to remain united to the successor of Peter in the Catholic Church, while preserving their own spiritual and liturgical traditions. This task the commission has carried out with great dedication and allowed [us] to arrive at the lifting of the excommunication.
On 7 July 2007 Benedict XVI, through the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, extended the authority of the Pontifical Commission on Religious Institutes and Communities that had adhered to the extraordinary form of the Roman rite and had chosen the previous traditions of religious life. Two years later, with the motu proprio Ecclesiae unitatem of 2 July 2009, Pope Ratzinger reorganised the structure of the Pontifical Commission because in the meantime the lifting of the excommunication of the four bishops had taken place. With this change, that Benedict XVI had organically bound the Pontifical Commission to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The reason that led to this decision was the observation that the questions dealt with were now of a purely doctrinal nature. Over the years, in fact, the institutes and religious communities that celebrate in the extraordinary form of the Roman rite have also achieved a certain stability both of people and of life. And this evolution has also gradually led to a reduction in the work of the Pontifical Commission. The additional step taken by Pope Francis with the suppression of the commission itself is part of this particular need to pursue dialogue on doctrinal issues, the competence of which lies with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.