A very useful summary of the dialogue which has begun between Rome and the traditionalist Society of Pius X (SSPX) slipped out of a homily given in Argentina on 19 December by Msgr Alfonso de Galarreta, as reported by an Argentinian site called Panorama Catolico Internacional (h/t The Tablet's man in Rome, Robert Mickens).
According to Msgr de Galarreta, the first meeting -- to agree the framework and topics for discussion -- has gone well. The themes are purely doctrinal and do not include any discussion of a canonical nature with respect to the SSPX's possible future place in the Catholic Church (so no talk of SSPX ordinariates). The "common doctrinal point of reference" is the Magisterium prior to the Council. (Presumably, it's important to start with what both sides can agree on).
The "conversations" follow a systematic method. First, the topic. Then, the SSPX sends a paper laying out its doubts. The Vatican representatives answer in writing. Then both sides meet to discuss the exchanges.
The meetings will be filmed and recorded by both sides, which may indicate a healthy mutual scepticism but will make for fascinating material for future historians. The conclusions of each discussion are then taken to the Pope and the Superior General of the SSPX.
The frequency of the meetings will depend on whether the topic is a new one or has already been discussed: if the first, the conversations will take place about every three months; if the second, every two. The next meeting is scheduled for mid January.
According to Msgr de Galaretta, the theologians representing the Vatican are "people we can talk to" -- which no doubt means Thomists. It would be nice to know who they are.
Among the topics mentioned by de Galaretta that will be considered in the discussion are: the Magisterium before and after the Council; liturgical reform; ecumenism and interreligious dialogue; papal authority and collegiality; freedom of conscience, freedom of religion, secularism, as well as human rights and human dignity in the doctrine of the Council.
Even if they go fast, on this timetable it'll take a good three years to get through that number of topics.
It would be nice if they put the videos of the meetings on YouTube, so we could all follow them.