Sunday, April 26, 2020

The SSPX Kerfuffle

In most areas of the country, and even the world, Catholics are deprived of the Mass.  Please spare me the drivel about "spiritual communion being just as good as receiving physically".  It isn't, for the very simple reason that we are both spirit and body, and we need to receive PHYSICALLY.  Read John 6.  Of course I salute the priests who are live-streaming Mass, etc.  Being under obedidence, they have no choice.

SSPX priests on the other hand are in obedience to their own bishops and many of them are offering Holy Mass while observing "social distance" regulations.  For the past several weeks, I myself have been attending such Masses AND receiving Holy Communion.  For the time being, I will not broadcast the location of the Mass. Suffice it to say that I drive a considerable distance - but receiving Our Lord, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, is well worth it.  I would not be doing so if I wasn't certain that such a Mass is being offered in conformity with the Magesterium.  The SSPX is NOT in schism, although their canonical status isn't regular.

That is why I look askance upon some attacks upon the SSPX that have arisen over these past few weeks.  With the Church in such disaray, thanks in no small part to the way that our bishops are bungling the response to this pandemic, I would think that the attackers might have more pressing matters to address. 

My friend and colleague at Les Femmes addresses this in a recent blog post.  I think it's worth studying.  I hope I needn't write anymore on this, but I will respond to any more nonsense if it arises.  I'm not sure why this arises at this moment, but I hope money is not an impetus.

Also study the text below.


"It cannot be said in correct, exact, and precise terms that there is a schism. There is a schismatic attitude in the fact of consecrating bishops without pontifical mandate. They are within the Church. There is only the fact that a full, more perfect communion is lacking – as was stated during the meeting with Bishop Fellay – a fuller communion, because communion does exist."


A recent letter stated that ecumenical dialogue with the SSPX will not be held because they are not considered schismatic.
"The situation of the members of this Society [SSPX] is an internal matter of the Catholic Church. The Society is not another Church or Ecclesial Community in the meaning used in the Directory. Of course, the Mass and Sacraments administered by the priests of the Society are valid. "
-- Letter from the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity Cardinal Edward Cassidy, President (3 May,1994)
Letter of The Sacred Congregation For The Clergy Under signature of Silvio Cardinal Oddi, President (17 March, 1984):
[In answer to a family attending Mass at an SSPX chapel as to whether such attendance fulfilled her obligation for Sunday Mass,]
"According to the New Code of Canon Law, 'The obligation of assisting at Mass is satisfied wherever Mass is celebrated in a Catholic rite.... I hope that settles your doubts."
DECREE OF THE CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH (HOLY OFFICE) Under signature of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect Known as the "Honolulu Decision" (Protocol No. 14428, 4 June,1993):
In response to an appeal by one of the Honolulu Six against the decree of the Bishop of Honolulu, the Congregation decreed:
"This Congregation has examined carefully all the available documentation and has ascertained that the activities engaged in by the Petitioner ... are not sufficient to constitute the crime of schism. Since [the Petitioner] did not, in fact, commit the crime of schism and thus did not incur the 'latae sententiae' penalty, it is clear that the Decree of the Bishop lacks the precondition on which it is founded. This Congregation, noting all of the above, is obliged to declare null and void the aforesaid Decree of the Ordinary of Honolulu."
LETTER OF THE PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY Under signature of Edward I. Cardinal Cassidy, President (May 3,1994):
"The situation of the members of this Society [SSPX] is an internal matter of the Catholic Church. The Society is not another Church or Ecclesial Community in the meaning used in the Directory. Of course, the Mass and Sacraments administered by the priests of the Society are valid. "
COUNT NERI CAPPONI, D.CN.L. - LATERAN (DOCTOR OF CANON LAW) LL.D. - FLORENCE (DOCTOR OF LAWS), Professor Emeritus of Canon Law at the University of Florence, Accredited as an Advocate of the Holy Roman Rota, Accredited as an Advocate of the Apostolic Signatura, (the Holy See's highest appeals tribunal):
"The fact is that Msgr. Lefebvre simply said: 'I am creating bishops in order that my priestly order can continue. They do not take the place of other bishops. I am not creating a parallel church.' Therefore, this act was not, per se, schismatic."
"Pope John Paul II, in 1986, asked a commission of nine cardinals two questions. Firstly, did Pope Paul VI, or any other competent authority, legally forbid the widespread celebration of the Tridentine Mass in the present day?
The answer given by eight of the cardinals in 1986 was that, no, the Mass of Saint Pius V has never been suppressed. I can say this; I was one of the cardinals."
"There was another question, very interesting. Can any bishop forbid a priest in good standing from celebrating a Tridentine Mass again? The nine cardinals unanimously agreed that no bishop may forbid a Catholic priest from saying the Tridentine Mass. We have not official publication, and I think that the Pope would never establish an official prohibition ... because of the words of Pius V, who said this was a Mass forever." -- Cardinal Alfons Stickler, Prefect of the Vatican Archives
Further, the Pope explains why the Society is not in schism by applying the very definition of schism to the Society’s case and recognizing they do not meet it:
"This gesture [remitting of excommunication] was possible once the interested parties had expressed their recognition in principle of the Pope and his authority as Pastor, albeit with some reservations in the area of obedience to his doctrinal authority and to the authority of the Council."

These words of the Pope are absolutely devastating to any Neo-Catholic claims of any type of schism, either formal or material. First, there has not been any official Vatican document declaring the SSPX to be in schism (as even Voris admits), thus no formal schism. Second, after this letter from Pope Benedict, one is no longer allowed to even hold the opinion that there is a “material schism.” For the Supreme Pontiff just applied the definition of schism to the Society right before our eyes and found the charge wanting. As the Society has been saying all along, in conjunction with previous Saints and canonists, in order to be schismatic, one must reject the authority of the pope in principle. Mere disobedience, even for a protracted period of time, does not make one schismatic. “Reservations in the area of obedience” do not equal schism.


  1. Thank you SO VERY MUCH for this! So much viciousness in these attacks against the SSPX. The Church has ALWAYS said that in emergencies we can rightfully and legitimately attend Mass at an SSPX Chapel and receive the sacraments.

  2. What part of sexual abuse of all kinds reported is hard to understand?

    1. How many religious orders, how many dioceses have been plagued by sexual abuse within the ranks? Do we jettison the entire groups because of those?

    2. I know folks in St. Mary’s and friends of the victum who killed himself—they said they never saw a note and that the daughter who said there was, was unfortunately a drug addict and not to be trusted. It was about said about the Jassy character that shes repeatedly attempted to gain the attention and lie. These are from the families who live there and know the situation well. The SSPX has answered the accusations in at least letters. Vox Cantoris has them. Accusations from an organization which has repeatedly calumnated the Society should not be believed. Btw, I’m not saying there aren’t abuse cases that are valid, and the Society admits that as well.

  3. What part of 'allegations' vs. 'factual documented evidence' is so hard to understand? There has been no fact finding re some of these allegations on the part of CM or anyone else for that matter. Let's see what the response is from the SSPX of which they've promised full disclosure on every allegation before we start forming lynch mobs. If these allegations prove true, then justice needs to be served, but that hasn't been done yet.

  4. I'm going to have to respectfully disagree, though I don't like your blog any less. I think Burke hit the nail on the head in his comments on the issue: the ordinations incurred excommunication as it would have in any other time in history by any other pope, they haven't repented one iota of those actions. Pope Francis's opening up confession and matrimony to their priests says more about Pope Francis, who doesn't believe in Canon Law or rules to begin with.

    1. I believe it was Benedict XVI who lifted the excommunications. Whatever else I believe about the current pope, he does have that authority.
      When our bishops recall their own Catholicism and open churches, then I will happily attend those Masses as before. Until then, I will continue to avail myself of the SSPX masses. At this present time, Sspx is putting the bishops to shame (although that isn't hard to do anymore).

  5. Great post, Janet and I appreciate the link. I hope everyone will watch the documentary about Archbishop Lefebvre. I believe, like Athanasius who was also excommunicated, to see Archbishop Lefebvre restored and raised to the honors of the altar. He lived an exemplary life. Compare his life to all the post Vatican II "pastoral" popes. I was particularly moved by the description in the video of his reaction to the Assisi debacle. Putting his hands over his face he said, "It's the death of the missions." Hasn't the Amazon Synod and Pope Francis' continuous assault on evangelization shown that statement to be prophetic. I pray every day for Holy Mother Church that I might, before I die, see her once again clothed in her rightful honor and glory.

  6. R DC C.....Thank you for pointing out that BXVI lifted the excommunications. No, the SSPX is NOT outside the Church, they are not completely Canonically regular but they are WITHIN the Church. They are NOT in schism!!!!

  7. "I'm not sure why this arises at this moment, but I hope money is not an impetus."

    According to Benedict Carter money could well be an impetus.

    To nopcspokenhere, who said:

    "What part of sexual abuse of all kinds reported is hard to understand?"

    What is hard to understand is why the reporting of sexual abuse didn't start closer to home. Opus Dei has had its fair share of abuse together with "paedophile enabling" coverups.

  8. With respect, Paul, +Burke missed the nail despite wielding a heavy hammer. While the act of consecrating bishops "can" be seen as schismatic, the intention of the individual doing the act is an absolute must in determining the truth of the matter. Canon law 1323 clearly addresses this issue that His Excellency would leave off.

    One may break and enter into a home without permission. That's a crime, but not when said house is on fire and there are people trapped inside. (John 7:24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge just judgment.)

    Please, look beyond +Burke's shallow argumentation. His outward appearance of authority is being misused. The man "fears" schism and, in his zeal to prevent it, appears to have no regard for misleading the faithful while calumniating others. That is shameful.


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