From a strictly demographic point of view, one could argue that the intense interest surrounding relations between the Vatican and the Society of St. Pius X, popularly known as the "Lefebvrites," is terribly exaggerated. Worldwide, the society has a little under 500 priests, roughly the same number as the Diocese of Buffalo. It claims one million faithful, a number impossible to confirm but which, even if true, would represent less than one-tenth of one percent of the global Catholic population.
Yet for a variety of reasons, the Vatican's effort to put Humpty-Dumpty back together again by reconciling with the Lefebvrites carries a significance way out of proportion to those numbers.
Read Allen's full column here: Healing the schism with traditionalists .
This week's column also looks ahead to Pope Benedict XVI's trip to the Czech Republic Sept. 26-28.