Just received this newsflash from Inside the Vatican magazine:
The January 21 document says that Bishop Fellay, the Superior General of the Society (one of the four consecrated bishops, photo left) had written in December to Cardinal Dario Castrillon-Hoyos, Prefect of the Ecclesia Dei Commission, requesting the removal of the excommunications, saying, “We are always firmly determined in our will to remain Catholic and to place all our efforts at the service of the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ, which is the Roman Catholic Church. We accept its teachings with filial animus. We believe firmly in the Primacy of Peter and in its prerogatives, and for this the current situation makes us suffer so much."
For his part, Pope Benedict, increasingly impressed by the attitude of the group to open a dialogue about remaining questions, and to respect the legitimate authority of the Holy Father, decided to lift the excommunications.
The document says this was the Pope's reason: “This gift of peace, at the end of the Christmas celebrations, is also intended to be a sign to promote unity in the charity of the universal Church and to try to vanquish the scandal of division.”