On the subject of this doctrinal preamble, to the extent that this does not concern its confidentiality, can you confirm that it contains, as announced in the press release, a distinction between what is de fide [essential to the faith]—to which the Society fully adheres—and what is dependent on a pastoral council, as Vatican II itself claimed to be, and thus could be subjected to criticism without calling the faith into question?
This new distinction was not only announced in the press release; I have personally heard it from various sources. As early as 2005, Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos told me, after I spent five hours explaining to him all the objections to Vatican II that the Society of St. Pius X had formulated: “I cannot say that I agree with everything that you have said, but what you have said does not mean that you are outside the Church. Write to the pope therefore and ask him to lift the excommunication.”
Today, for the sake of objectivity, I must acknowledge that in the doctrinal preamble there is no clear-cut distinction between the inviolable dogmatic sphere and the pastoral sphere that is subject to discussion. The only thing that I can say, because it is part of the press release, is that this preamble contains “certain doctrinal principles and criteria for the interpretation of Catholic doctrine, which are necessary to ensure faithfulness to the Church’s Magisterium and to "sentire cum Ecclesia" [thinking with the Church]. At the same time, it leaves open to legitimate discussion the examination and theological explanation of individual expressions and formulations contained in the documents of Vatican Council II and of the later Magisterium.” There you have it; no more and no less.