Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Thanks To Pope Francis For Allowing SSPX Priests Faculties For Hearing Confessions

In a statement released today, Pope Francis made two important pronouncements in relation to the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy that begins on December 8th of this year.  First, he has granted to all priests the faculties to absolve the sin of abortion, provided that their is the requisite contrition on the part of the penitent.  Abortion has always been a sin that carried the penalty of automatic excommunication and accordingly could only be absolved by a bishop. It so happens that most bishops in the United States have extended that faculty to their priests but now that ability will be conferred on all priests regardless of locale.

Secondly, he has granted to priests of the Society of St Pius X faculties to hear Confessions and grant absolution.  As of December 8, confessions to these priests will be valid and licit, something that previously was not the case.  We hope and pray that this situation will continue and that this society will one day find itself in full communion with Rome.

There has been much controversy regarding the SSPX over the past few months among faithful Catholics.  On the one hand there are those who hold the SSPX to be in schism from the Church.  Today's letter from the Pope makes clear the inaccuracy of that supposition for if the SSPX were truly in schism, the pope would be unable to grant any faculties whatsoever to them.  On the other hand, there are those who hold that SSPX confessions were always valid and licit.  SSPX themselves held and still hold that position.  They are relying on something they call "the extraordinary jurisdiction conferred by the Normae Generales of the Code of Canon Law".  I cannot help but notice that they don't supply the Code number.

For this move the Pope deserves thanks.  We all pray that women who've aborted will return to God and receive sacramental forgiveness AND that the divisions between the Vatican and SSPX will be rectified.


  1. "It so happens that most bishops in the United States have extended that faculty to their priests but now that ability will be conferred on all priests regardless of locale."
    Pope Saint John Paul II extended that faculty to forgive the sin of abortion to all priests during the Jubilee Year 2000. The late Cardinal O'Connor of the Archdiocese of New York extended this ability to all priests in his diocese in the 1980's or early 1990's. I think that Missionary order priests, even at that time already had this ability, regardless of which diocese in the world they were assigned to.

  2. I have never been to an SSPX Chapel, nor would I ever consider it until they are in full communion with Rome, but I absolutely do understand their complaint about Vat ll. The fallout from the 'New Mass' and the 'Spirit of Vat ll' has been a catastrophic disaster for the Church. Who couldn't agree with that!? Even Bishop Schneider has said that they need to have a new and indepth look at Vat ll and how it really should be interpreted and applied. I pray that this olive branch given to the Society will be the catalyst for bringing them back into the fold. We NEED THEM to become part of the Church Militant. I think they would prove to be invaluable. This is indeed a very hopeful sign, thanks to Pope Francis.


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