The Vatican is again opening the door to a group of breakaway traditionalist Catholics, saying patience, perseverance and trust are necessary to end a quarter-century of schism.

The Vatican said in a statement Saturday that it understands the Society of St. Pius X needs more time to consider its offer to bring the group back under the pope's wing.

The late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre founded the society in 1969, opposed to the modernizing reforms of the Second Vatican Council. Pope Benedict XVI has spent the better part of his pontificate trying to reconcile with the group, fearing the spread of a parallel, arch-conservative church.

Three years of negotiations, however, stalled over the society's refusal to accept a core set of doctrinal principles.

This week the society expelled its Holocaust-denying bishop.