What does this statement mean?

15Dec.'15, St. Damasus, PC, Feria Advent
Sedes Sapientiae

Can someone please clarify for me in simple terms the following concerning Archbishop Lefebvre’s (Society of St.Pius X,) ordination of four bishops without Vatican approval. The “canonical excommunication for the illicit ordinations has been lifted from the bishops,” but “the sacramental de facto excommunication for schism remains.”

Thank You.

That quote comes from Cardinal Müller in an interview he gave. It was not a document of the Church and thus his words are more conversational than official.

Pope Benedict XV lifted the excommunication which means that they are not under that particular canonical situation, they can be considered to be Catholic clergy. They are essentially in the situation of a priest or bishop who is suspended from active ministry.

What Cardinal Müller was saying is that even though the lifting of the excommunication means that there is not an official canonical schism, in the practical reality of their situation it still is a kind of a schism since they refuse obedience to the Bishop of Rome.