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For newchurch, Lutherans, Baptists, Islam (anything?) better than the SSPX August 18, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Ecumenism, episcopate, error, foolishness, General Catholic, Latin Mass, persecution, sadness, scandals, secularism, self-serving, Society, Tradition.

I wrote a rather strongly worded post last week in which I stated my rather firm belief that the postconciliar Church is a radical new construct implacably hostile to the “bad, old church.”   Another data point in that direction emerged recently from Pittsburgh, where, via CMR, the diocese appears ready to sell a parish it can no longer afford to anyone so long as they are not those damnable schismatics in the SSPX:

By fall of 2013, as the diocese was laying off employees due to a $2.3M deficit in their budget, the price of St. Michael’s had dropped down to $150,000 despite the readiness of our checkbook. At that time a local reporter contacted the diocese about the sale of St. Michael’s and asked why the diocese had previously sold churches to the Lutherans and Baptists while they would not sell to the SSPX. The response that was posted in the newspaper was, “those groups [Lutherans and Baptists] are not schismatic in the eyes of the Church.” What a losing battle this was! There was no use trying to reason with the diocese. It became clear that they might sell this church for Protestant “worship” or to a developer for making apartments, but not to a group that would use it according the purpose for which it was built—the Mass of All Time and the perennial teaching and sacraments of the Church.

Patrick Archbold notes that the SSPX agrees with far more of the sainted Council than does any lutheran or baptist.  That may or may not be true, as there are heretic baptists and lutherans as much as their are Catholics, the lutherans in particular having gone pretty heavy into sexular pagan indifferentism, but I get the point.  There is a special enmity reserved for the Society, as they are the living embodiment of what newchurch absolutely cannot countenance, which is the way things were.  It is interesting to note how much tolerance there is in the postconciliar Church for every kind of error, novelty, destructive trend, etc., imaginable, save for that most hated of enemies, the pre-conciliar religion.

None of the above is to say that there are not legitimate concerns over the SSPX and their conduct in given locales at times, but the same could be said of any organ within the Church.  Jesuits used to be known as heavy-handed and possessed of a superiority complex, too.  It might seem difficult for diocesan administration to consider allowing such a transfer of Church property, but the willingness to sell to destructive heretics over alleged schismatics (the schism being far from clear, especially officially, and even more especially since 2007) is, I think, more than just a bit revealing.

So is the willingness to turn down good money when it comes from just one particular organization, but should an even more problematic organization from within the Church, like some group of heretic female religious offer to buy the place, I would imagine the diocese would find a way to make it happen.  And what if the Orthodox desired to buy the parish?  Are they not schismatic “in the eyes of the Church?”  But do you think a very public row would be allowed to play out against our “ecumenical partners?”

So we see, once again, that there is an unfathomable animosity against the terrible old pre-conciliar Church and its supporters, once again.  Yes there are legitimate problems with the SSPX, but the above smacks more than just a little bit of a huge double standard.


1. David L Alexander - August 18, 2014

Tantumblogo: So, basically, as a faithful Catholic, I have only two choices; the heretical “post-conciliar Church,” or the SSPX. Are you SURE that’s what you mean to suggest?

And while you’re at it, you mind telling me where the Pope fits into all this?

Tantumblogo - August 18, 2014

That’s not even a remotely fair comment. I just said there is a huge disparity in how different groups are treated.

If you are reading this that I am a blanket supporter of the SSPX, you’re drunk.

Don’t appreciate the sloppy reading and failure to note distinctions.

LaGallina - August 18, 2014

“So, basically, as a faithful Catholic, I have only two choices; the heretical “post-conciliar Church,” or the SSPX.”

Hmmm, Mr. Alexander, I think you and I are reading two separate posts. I don’t see anything in this piece that hints at that. Where exactly did you read that we Catholics have only two choices — the post-conciliar church or the SSPX? It seemed to simply be pointing out the irony that the modern Catholic Church wants nothing to do with the Traditional Church.

Perhaps, sir, you are itching for a fight?

In any case, I do thoroughly enjoy a good SSPX debate.

2. Pseudodionysius - August 18, 2014

If I were speaking with the diocese, I would simply ask them the average number of children for SSPX families in the area they’re discussing and then the average number of children for the Protestant denominations they’re selling to and then ask how many priestly vocations they hope to generate from the sale to Protestants.

(Substitute “Biff” “Boom” “Pow” sound effects and animation from Adam West 60’s Batman series)

Sometimes there’s a way to hit someone just under the ribs so they don’t feel it until after they leave the conversation and then realize they’ve just had the Monty Python 20,000 lb anvil dropped on them.

As they say on Instapundit:


3. ChronicSinner - August 18, 2014

What are these “legitimate problems with the SSPX” that you speak of? I have followed your blog for the better part of the last 2 years, and you often allude to “problems” with the SSPX, but never go further than that to illustrate what you mean. Just what in your opinion, are the “problems” with the SSPX?

Tantumblogo - August 18, 2014

Number one would be a serious uncertainty regarding jurisdiction and faculties. I don’t take a strong stand either way, but there are those who say SSPX priests absolutely do not have faculties and thus cannot absolve sins, and there are those (usually associated with SSPX) who say they do. It remains a difficult matter. Other matters are a tendency for SSPX to sometimes open up chapels/parishes without permission of the Ordinary, which can lead to certain conflicts. Those are just a couple.

phlogiston1667 - August 19, 2014

Wait until October. I fear we’ll see just how bad it’s gotten. And if, as it appears, that the fix is in and actual practice of the faith will be divorced (pardon the pun) from Christ’s own words, the last hesitation I have to receiving any Sacraments from the SSPX will be eliminated. In my mind, if that won’t be a matter of necessity, I don’t know what will be.

4. David L Alexander - August 18, 2014

Tantumblogo: “If you are reading this that I am a blanket supporter of the SSPX, you’re drunk.”

I’m not, which is why I asked.

One might argue that the reader is obliged to have read it more carefully, or one might not. What determines a critical review, is whether the writer is operating from a sound premise. That is usually evident in the first paragraph.

The responsibility to make distinctions is the writer’s. Make them sooner, and it’s easier for the reader to reserve judgment. Or, the writer can make it harder. It’s up to him.

5. ChronicSinner - August 18, 2014

When Bishop Lefebevre ordained the 4 bishops back in the late 80’s that gave ruffled the feathers of the Vatican, he never conferred jurisdiction…he simply ordained bishops so the SSPX apostolate (which is to form priests in a way that they were always formed prior to Vat II) could live on, as he was nearing the end of his life. The SSPX was formed around in the wake of VatII with the express approval of the Holy See to form priests in the old tradional ways.

Faculties, as I understand it, can come either from the local bishop or from Rome and the faithful can, according to Rome, fufill their Sunday obligation and live a sacramental life by attendance at SSPX chapels. The SSPX are not now, nor ever have been in “schism”. Bottom line is, if it wasn’t for the SSPX, a good case can be made that the TLM would have been forever lost.

6. David L Alexander - August 18, 2014

“Bottom line is, if it wasn’t for the SSPX, a good case can be made that the TLM would have been forever lost.”

If it wasn’t for the Church that Christ established, with the authority given to Peter, the SSPX wouldn’t have a TLM to preserve.

“[T]he faithful can, according to Rome, fufill their Sunday obligation and live a sacramental life by attendance at SSPX chapels.”

Not exactly.

At present, the SSPX lacks jurisdiction, and its priests are without faculties, and are thus suspended a divinis. As for the circumstances under which a Catholic might meet his Sunday obligation at an SSPX chapel, they are not without serious reservations, as described in the 1995 letter from Msgr Perl to an inquirer. Given all of this, there is no suggestion that a formal schism exists. However, the letter warns of the danger of cultivating a “schismatic mentality” by regular attendance.

In general, one cannot use an unlawful means to accomplish a lawful end.

Now, that’s at least three more bottom lines right there.

richardmalcolm1564 - August 18, 2014

Ecclesia Dei has been rather consistent in responding to inquiries on this by affirming that an SSPX Mass *can* fulfill your Mass obligation, but generally seem to discourage it and warn of schismatic intent.

But they have also been clear that this is not the case generally for confessions. In individual cases Rome has been willing to give a confession with a Society priest a retroactive validity, but only in the way they might a priest suspended a divinis.

So it is not entirely true that, in the Holy See’s view, a Society chapel allows one to live a sacramental life, at least not in entirety. Obviously, the Society disagrees. But if the question is in regards to Rome’s position, it’s only a partial sacramental life, urged with caution.

ChronicSinner - August 19, 2014

Rome allows the laity to fufill their Sunday Mass obligations which includes reception of the Blessed Sacrament…they recognize their baptisms…they recognize their marriages…and recognize their confessions as you yourself said. Assuming a lay Catholic is attending a SSPX chapel out of a just moral cause and NOT as some way to make a schismatic type statement against Rome, then his actions are licit and he can receive Sanctifying Grace from the sacraments he receives there. Sounds like a sacramental life to me.

richardmalcolm1564 - August 19, 2014

Actually, very specific and extraordinary circumstances notwithstanding, PCED has been clear that while SSPX Masses and Baptisms (and extreme unction) are valid, Confessions and Marriages are not. This is due to the juridical aspects of these sacraments.

Of course, the SSPX disagrees. But Rome has said otherwise, like it or not.

phlogiston1667 - August 19, 2014

The “juridical” question of SSPX marriages never made any sense to me. Under Church teaching, as I understand it, the couple actually administers the sacrament to each other. How could the validity of that depend on the faculties of a validily ordained priest officiating?

7. ChronicSinner - August 18, 2014

The Ecclesia Dei Commision has said that Catholics can fufill their Sunday obligations and lead a sacramental life via SSPX chapels. That is simply a fact and has nothing to do with jurisdiction.

Our Lord established His Church to save souls, and if a lay Catholic thinks his soul is better served by the local SSPX than the local Novus Ordo heresy factory, he has the right to attend the SSPX which is concerned with basically three things…preservation of Catholic doctrine, preservation of Tradition, and the salvation of souls.

Now, that’s “at least three more bottom lines” back at ya.

8. ChronicSinner - August 18, 2014
ChronicSinner - August 18, 2014

Above link opens to a 2007 article originally from the Remnant about the SSPX and the non-schism.

Tantumblogo - August 18, 2014

Yeah I’m really not one to weigh in deeply on one side or the other. I know you can point to interpretations that claim jurisdiction is supplied but there are serious arguments on the other side as well, and not from progressives but other traditional Catholics. I am not looking to spark bad blood, that is the furthest from my mind, but just give a bit of a caveat that while SSPX is more in line with Vatican II in terms of belief and practice than most of the Church right now, there are concerns or problems out there that do have some justification. If you are deeply attached to the SSPX you may not see those or reject them, but that does not mean they are not there. That’s all I’m trying to convey.

David L Alexander - August 18, 2014


See what you made me do? Now I gotta print the whole darn letter.

+ + +

N. 117/95

29 September 1995
Dear …

Thank you for your letter of 4 September 1995 addressed to His Eminence Cardinal Ratzinger. It has been transmitted to this Pontifical Commission as dealing with matters related to our particular competence.

We are aware of the lack of authorized celebrations of the Mass according to the 1962 Roman Missal in [dioceses] and we can appreciate your desire to assist at the traditional Mass. We also recognize your earnest desire to remain in full communion with the Successor of Peter and the members of the Church subject to him, a desire which obviously prompted you to write this letter. In order to answer your questions we must explain the Church’s present evaluation of the situation of the Society of St. Pius X.

1. There is no doubt about the validity of the ordination of the priests of the Society of St. Pius X. They are, however, suspended a divinis, that is prohibited by the Church from exercising their orders because of their illicit ordination.

2. The Masses they celebrate are also valid, but it is considered morally illicit for the faithful to participate in these Masses unless they are physically or morally impeded from participating in a Mass celebrated by a Catholic priest in good standing (cf. Code of Canon Law, canon 844.2). The fact of not being able to assist at the celebration of the so-called “Tridentine” Mass is not considered a sufficient motive for attending such Masses.

3. While it is true that the participation in the Mass and sacraments at the chapels of the Society of St. Pius X does not of itself constitute “formal adherence to the schism”, such adherence can come about over a period of time as one slowly imbibes a mentality which separates itself from the magisterium of the Supreme Pontiff. Father Peter R. Scott, District Superior of the Society in the United States, has publicly stated that he deplores the “liberalism” of “those who refuse to condemn the New Mass as absolutely offensive to God, or the religious liberty and ecumenism of the postconcilliar church.” With such an attitude the society of St. Pius X is effectively tending to establish its own canons of orthodoxy and hence to separate itself from the magisterium of the Supreme Pontiff. According to canon 751 such “refusal of submission to the Roman Pontiff or the communion of the members of the Church subject to him” constitute schism. Hence we cannot encourage your participation in the Masses, the sacraments or other services conducted under the aegis of the Society of St. Pius X.

4. The situation of at least one of the “independent” priests . . . to whom you allude is somewhat different. He and the community which he serves have declared their desire to regularize their situation and have taken some initial steps to do so. Let us pray that this may soon be accomplished.

5. Finally, we may say that “the Hawaiian case” resulted in a judgment that the former Bishop of Honolulu did not have grounds to excommunicate the persons involved, but this judgment does not confer the Church’s approbation upon the Society of St. Pius X or those who frequent their chapels.

With prayerful best wishes, I remain
Sincerely yours in Christ,

Msgr. Camille Perl

+ + +

Yes, I know how old the letter is. Nothing in it has changed since then.

Yes, I know what Mr Mershon wrote. I also know what he didn’t write, or at least plays down, namely that, while the Commission acknowledged (in another letter to which he has referred, but which I do not have) that there are circumstances where one’s obligation might be fulfilled at an SSPX chapel, they do not recommend it.

And now you know why.

If you don’t, ask yourself why the lawgiver would endorse breaking the law, if only without a caveat of some kind. The “higher law” that is the salvation of souls (again) might, in a limited set of circumstances, require it. But for the reasons stated, it could not possibly be encouraged.

And if that’s not enough, given that the instances of a canonical celebration of the TLM are increasing, not decreasing, and given that the number of seminaries offering training in the TLM have literally exploded just in the last three years (and to know me, is to know how I know), some of us will eventually run out of excuses, don’t you think?

Or don’t you?

ChronicSinner - August 18, 2014

Canonical celebration of the TLM is indeed increasing…both inside and outside of the SSPX, as both SSPX and non-SSPX seminaries are growing…except of course, the FFI, and what can happen to the FFI can happen to the FSSP and all the other ED communities. And if that does indeed happen, because it has happended before, you won’t have any other traditional options but the SSPX since their irregular canonical status affords them some protection from the very unjust crap that has happened to the FFI.

richardmalcolm1564 - August 19, 2014

I don’t know which letter Brian Mershon is referring to, but there is this letter from Msgr Pozzo at PCED in 2003, with relevant excerpt:

“…In a previous letter to the same correspondent we had already indicated the canonical status of the Society of St. Pius X which we will summarize briefly here.

“1.) The priests of the Society of St. Pius X are validly ordained, but they are suspended from exercising their priestly functions. To the extent that they adhere to the schism of the late Archbishop Lefebvre, they are also excommunicated.

“2.) Concretely this means that the Masses offered by these priests are valid, but illicit i.e., contrary to the law of the Church.

“Points 1 and 3 in our letter of 27 September 2002 to this correspondent are accurately reported. His first question was “Can I fulfill my Sunday obligation by attending a Pius X Mass” and our response was:

““1. In the strict sense you may fulfill your Sunday obligation by attending a Mass celebrated by a priest of the Society of St. Pius X.”

“His second question was “Is it a sin for me to attend a Pius X Mass” and we responded stating:

““2. We have already told you that we cannot recommend your attendance at such a Mass and have explained the reason why. If your primary reason for attending were to manifest your desire to separate yourself from communion with the Roman Pontiff and those in communion with him, it would be a sin. If your intention is simply to participate in a Mass according to the 1962 Missal for the sake of devotion, this would not be a sin.”

“His third question was: “Is it a sin for me to contribute to the Sunday collection a Pius X Mass” to which we responded:

““3. It would seem that a modest contribution to the collection at Mass could be justified.””

So yes, while it is not recommended, PCED says you *could* fulfill your obligation at an SSPX Mass, if you have right intent. This does not seem to apply to other independent chapels that might be affiliated with the Society, however. And in neither case would the confessions be valid.

ChronicSinner - August 20, 2014

The confessions are completely valid via supplied jurisdiction from Rome, if the lay person has reason to believe that they are valid and has reason to believe his salvation is better served by a SSPX confessor.

9. maggycast - August 18, 2014

Even though I’m not SSPX and have never been to a chapel, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that they are being faithful to Our Lord’s true Church…the deposit of faith. The only reason the SPPX don’t have “jurisdiction” is b/c Rome is modernist. Jurisdiction applies via Canon Law when necessity (and boy are we in need of necessity in this age of insanity) demands it. Saying that the SSPX are in “schism” is like saying St. Athanasius was a true heretic. We follow Truth…so does the SSPX…God bless them:+)

Tantumblogo - August 18, 2014

I’ve never been to an SSPX chapel either. I met one SSPX priest for about an hour because I liked a book he had written on modernist philosophy. My feelings toward the SSPX are ones of respect and sadness. And also some gratitude. Naturally speaking, I strongly suspect there would be no TLM in the Church today if there were no SSPX. It is not a coincidence that Fraternity parishes almost invariably show up wherever the Society has reached a certain size and/or influence. Which maybe is a beautiful thing, seen a certain way.

ChronicSinner - August 18, 2014

I am fortunate to live in a city that has both a diocesan TLM and a SSPX chapel. I am a member of a local parrish that celebrates the TLM every Sunday and occasionally on high holy days, such as last Friday. So, although I do no belong to the local SSPX community, I do have friends in it and have gone to assist at Holy Mass there occasionally when my schedule does not permit me to go to my parrish TLM. When you walk into the SSPX church, there is no doubt you are in a Catholic church…even got a picture of Pope Francis front and center up and above that of Bishop Lefebvre. These people are as Catholic as it gets….they pray for the Holy Father, they love the Church, they love Our Lord and they love His Mom. If, God forbid, the next bishop who comes here somehow does away with the diocesan TLM, I will have no hesitation at all in throwing my hat in totally with the local SSPX community.

10. Steve - August 18, 2014

Dear ChronicSinner, in regard to your notion that without the SSPX, the Traditional Roman Mass may have been lost forever:

Are you familiar with Father Gommar DePauw?

I am.

I recall the tremendous international attention that he had drawn to the Traditional Roman Mass via his prominent work to preserve and promote said Mass.

Years before the SSPX existed, Father DePauw, a prominent priest and Vatican II peritus, had received international attention in regard to his holy work.

That is, the promotion of Traditional Catholicism via his unwavering attachment to the Traditional Roman Mass.

The Society, of course, has played an important role is having helped to preserve and promote the Traditional Roman Mass.

But years prior to the creation of the SSPX, Father Gommar DePauw and Catholics attached to his Traditional Catholic Movement were the primary human instruments who had secured the survival of the Traditional Roman Mass.

ChronicSinner - August 18, 2014

Thanks for the heads up about Fr. DePauw, Steve. I do not know anything about him but will look into him and his holy work. Any sources on him you would suggest? Fortunately for him, since he existed well before the SSPX, he did not have to face the ferocious opposition to Tradition and the TLM that the SSPX faced and still face in the wake of VatII and the protestantization of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

richardmalcolm1564 - August 18, 2014

Steve does well to bring up the name of Fr DePauw, who at least in the United States was the first courageous figure to stand up for tradition, well before the SSPX was even established, let alone present here. It’s a shame he’s largely forgotten now. He suffered a very great deal for his efforts, which helped lay a foundation for the revival of tradition, first by the SSPX, and then by Ecclesia Dei groups and beyond.

None of which is to deny the role Archbishop Lefebvre played in preserving the Traditional Mass. I am not SSPX, and remain critical of the consecrations, and their current position; but the more I have learned, the more I have been impressed with the role Lefefbvre played, which I think requires the gratitude of all traditionalists.

Tantumblogo - August 18, 2014

I’m pretty close to you on the SSPX, I suspect.

11. Lorra - August 18, 2014

Poor God would have been left in a pickle if it hadn’t been for the SSPX “saving” the Mass? That’s the attitude that finally drove me far away from them almost fifteen years ago. There’s only so much of it you can take.

Tantumblogo - August 18, 2014

Well God does work through people. As I said, from a natural perspective, it’s hard to see the TLM still being available absent the SSPX. I specifically left out supernatural considerations. I pray it is God’s Will that the TLM be around for centuries and grow and grow and grow! But I cannot claim to always clearly discern God’s Will from my personal preference.

Lorra - August 18, 2014


The Mass isn’t going to save you.

Tantumblogo - August 18, 2014

I pray I will be saved through the Grace that flows from the Mass! It would not be easy to be saved absent the Blessed Sacrament!

ChronicSinner - August 18, 2014

If the Mass isn’t going to save you, then what will? Just how, absent the Holy Mass, can the merits of Christ’s Passion and Death be applied to us sinners for the remission of sin? That’s its main objective for Heaven’s sake.

12. Steve - August 18, 2014

I have followed the Rome-SSPX saga for decades and in many respects, appreciate the Society.

As Pope Benedict XVI made clear, a great deal of good (from God) exists within and flows from the Society.

Said Pope also made clear that, unfortunately, there are negative and bid aspects to the SSPX.

The bottom line is that the Society could administer as many parishes as possible in 100 percent peace with the Holy See.

Rome has offered to the Society a structure that Bishop Fellay likened to a “Rolls Royce”…an agreement that would allow the Society to flourish with Rome’s approval and protection.

Unfortunately, the Society has refused said agreement.

The FSSP, for example, “plays” by Rome’s rules. That applies to the ICK…Bishop Rifan…and additional Traditional Catholics.

Unfortunately, the SSPX has elected to remain at odds with The Holy See.

ChronicSinner - August 18, 2014

Steve, think the FFI see things the way you do…playing by Rome’s rules got their order all but obliterated for doing nothing more than having a traditional trajectory.

As far as the FSSP…great order of holy men whom I support with my prayers and my money. Their order just celebrated their 25th anniversary, which is about how long ago that Bishop Lefebvre ordained the 4 bishops against JPII’s wishes. Think there’s any coincidence in that…specifically the FSSP and other ED orders get founded after the SSPX makes a stand for tradition? Not only can one make the case that if the SSPX wasn’t around, the TLM might not still be around, but you can make the case if the SSPX wasn’t around the FSSP wouldn’t exist. Not to mention, the FSSP was founded with a bunch of priests who came over from the SSPX!

richardmalcolm1564 - August 19, 2014

I think everyone here agrees that the FFI is being treated unjustly, and prays for the speedy end of this maltreatment. Do we worry that it could be done to other traditional groups? Sure. I think many of us remember the FSSP’s Protocol 1411 saga in 1999-2000, which has certain parallels with the FFI.

But to accept obedience to authority is to accept the risk that this authority may be abused. That has always been the risk in the Church, from day one. The Society is being asked to run those risks, and the risks a very real. But at some point, it will have to, even when Rome truly converts to tradition. And Archbishop Lefebvre repeatedly was willing to run the risk even before it did – indeed, his entire foundation of the Society under diocesan auspices in 1969 was just such a risk.

13. ChronicSinner - August 18, 2014

Question for you, Steve or David or anyone else for that matter…how are the SSPX not part of the Church? They aren’t schismatics, they aren’t apostates, they aren’t excommunicated, and they aren’t heretics. Indeed, Pope Benedict called Arch Bishop Lefebvre a great son of the Church. So just how are they not part of the Church?

14. David L Alexander - August 18, 2014


Pope Benedict referred to “the Lefebvrite schism” in an interview, although he undoubtedly meant it in the broader sense of the term. Other than that, their status (often referred to as a state of “imperfect communion”) is as stated in the 1995 letter from Msgr Perl that’s already on this thread.

That is the direct and unambiguous answer to your question, take it or leave it.

15. Steve - August 19, 2014

ChronicSinner, I did not say that the Society is not part of the Church.

The SSPX bishops and priests are Catholics. They are part of the Church.

That said, the Holy See has declared that the Society’s bishops and priests are suspended a divinis.

The Holy Catholic Church teaches that the Society’s bishops and priests do not exercise legitimate ministries within the Church.

The Faithful who assist at SSPX Masses are Catholics.

The Holy See has offered to Bishop Fellay a solution that would enable the Society to enjoy 100 percent peace with the Holy See.

The Holy See has offered to the Society a protective structure that Bishop Fellay described in glowing terms as akin to a “Rolls Royce”.

Unfortunately, the Society of Saint Pius X has refused to accept to the Holy See’s agreement in question.

16. Steve - August 19, 2014

ChronicSinner, the then-emerging FSSP did the right thing in that they remained obedient to the Holy See.

The FSSP exists for one reason: They remained obedient and humble unto God via His Holy Catholic Church.

One danger in our desire to link the preservation of the Traditional Roman Mass to this group or that man is that the danger of creating an unhealthy cult exists.

If anything, as I had noted, long before Archbishop Lefebvre involved himself in the Traditionalist Movement, Father Gommar DePauw led the way when it came to the “preservation” of the Traditional Roman Mass.

He founded the Catholic Traditionalist Movement.

That said, true credit for the above goes to God. He gave us the Mass. He gave us “Traditional” Catholicism as he gave us His True Religion.

He alone deserves all the credit for everything that is good and holy as we are mere stewards of that which is His.

The FSSP, SSPX, ICK…the Traditional Roman Mass…give all glory and praise to God alone.

The nonsense of…this man preserved the Mass…that group deserves all the credit for Traditional Catholicism…is utter nonsense created by man and gives rise to jealousies and divisions.

It is man-made arrogance.

17. JTC - August 19, 2014

One frequently hears of the SSPX that their only “crime” is “the attempt to defend and preserve the Catholic Faith and priesthood.” That is so NOT TRUE! The “attempt to defend and preserve the Catholic Faith and priesthood” was their founding INTENTION, but their CRIME was clear, unambiguous rejection of the authority of the Chair of Peter in matters that are UNDENIABLY within his jurisdiction. It is no small thing to ordain priests and consecrate bishops in EXPLICIT DISOBEDIENCE to the EXPRESSED DIRECTION of the Pope himself. Not a single priest or bishop of the SSPX is in communion with ANY PART of the hierarchical structure of the Church, a structure that is of divine origin. They are a branch that has separated itself from the Vine, placing in jeopardy not only their own souls but the souls of all whom they purport to serve as priests and bishops: they lack faculties to minister the Sacrament of Confession and to serve as witness for the Church of Catholic sacramental marriage. Pope Benedict XVI stated, authoritatively, in a motu proprio, that the SSPX have “no canonical status” and “no legitimate ministry” within the Church. The SSPX is not in communion with the Catholic Church, their own protests that their “status” is merely “irregular” frighteningly laughable.

Even though the SSPX and its supporters embrace more of Catholic doctrine than what is typical in many (most?) Catholic parishes today, their posture of disobedience and failure to submit to the authority of the Holy Father is a poison that undermines their whole endeavor. They justify their existence by appeal to a privately judged “state of emergency” that is at the heart of all rationalized disobedience. The “Non serviam!” of an ordained priest, alter Christus, offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in persona Christi disobediently is breathtaking. Please pause here and read, again, the preceding sentence. Think of what the Mass is. Think of what a priest is. Think of WHO the priest is as he offers the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. And then superimpose “Non serviam!” on that image. It should make your hair stand on end.

18. steve - August 19, 2014

JTC, you are correct in that the SSPX bishops and priests are suspended a divinis.

However, that does not mean that they not Catholic.

Each SSPX bishop/priest’s a divinis suspension is a penalty, not an excommunication from Holy Mother Church.

SSPX bishops and priests are Catholics. Each has been penalized (suspended a divinis).

They do not exercise legitimate ministries. But they offer valid Masses.

A Catholic may fulfill his Sunday Obligation at a Mass offered by an SSPX bishop/priest.

The Holy See has refused to accept the Holy See’s terms for peace.

Said peace would include a canonical structure in which under the Holy See’s protection, the SSPX would be free to operate within the Church.

Bishop Fellay likened said canonical structure to the greatness and quality of a “Rolls Royce”.

Unfortunately, the Society has refused to agree to the Holy See’s terms.

19. Rebecca Joan - August 19, 2014

I wish there was an SSPX near me. Given the choice, I would go to SSPX over a Novus Ordo any day. Pope Francis can keep persecuting people like the FFI but the SSPX is still there and the FFI should just join them.

LaGallina - August 19, 2014

I agree! As I sit back and watch this debate, I think about how my Novus Ordo parish is teaching my children to idolize Jesuit Pierre Tielhard de Chardin who believed that humanity and the universe are constantly evolving until they will soon reach the “Omega Point” which makes everything and everyone unified with the “Cosmic Christ.”

I think I’ll take those SSPX “schismatics.” It’s impossible for me to take the argument seriously that the SSPX is friends of the devil when I am watching the destruction of the Catholic Church on a daily basis before my very eyes. Should I obey Rome all the way to hell?

Hannah - August 19, 2014

No, you should obey Eternal Rome, Catholic Rome, guardian and mistress of the Truth. Modernist Rome is destroyer of the truth.

We must pray they return to tradition and stop persecuting the True Church of God.

We are friends of the devil to them because they know, deep down, that we uphold the truth, cling to it and love it to the point we’d lay down our lives for it. They know we hold to the same Faith of the Saints and Martyrs. They can’t have it because of their pride. They want to make God’s Holy Church into their image. That’s where we get “Church of Man.” Perfect example of “I will not serve.” They won’t serve a Church which is concerned only about saving souls and bringing them to the truth so they fashion it to their desires.

The Church is divine. So is the Mass. And so is every other aspect of our glorious Faith, given to us by God. The Church is a foretaste of Heaven on Earth.

I pray, one day, we’ll all be united in this so we can bring all souls to the True Faith.

ChronicSinner - August 20, 2014

Amen, Sister!

20. David L Alexander - August 19, 2014

“A Catholic may fulfill his Sunday Obligation at a Mass offered by an SSPX bishop/priest.”

As I have said (and proven) more than once in this thread, this is simply not correct, if only as a general practice. This issue is mentioned specifically in the letter from Msgr Perl that was posted above. Furthermore, it is beyond the scope of common sense, that one could use an unlawful means to accomplish a lawful end.

JTC’s explanation is right on the money. Full communion with the Church that Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself established on this earth, with Peter as her Visible Head, outside of which there is no salvation, is as much a part of Catholic Tradition as baroque vestments, Italian lace, and any particular set of books used for worship. Defiance of, or compromise with, that communion, to the extent that it persists, can only put one outside of the Church, as opposed to drawing nearer to Her. It’s either one, or the other.

The matter of the FFI is another one entirely, and involves a good deal more than which set of books they use for Mass. It is also an investigation that began under Pope Benedict, not Pope Francis.

senrex - August 19, 2014

“Full communion with the Church that Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself established on this earth, with Peter as her Visible Head, outside of which there is no salvation, is as much a part of Catholic Tradition as baroque vestments, Italian lace…”

Nasty little snot aren’t you? Your caricature reveals much of your personal animus.

The Sacred Penitentiary has dealt with sins reserved to the Holy See from SSPX confessor priests — and delivered the appropriate penances TO those priests to give absolution. They could have demanded that the penitent go to a New Rite priest for the absolution.

JTC - August 19, 2014

A priest suspended a divinis, or even laicized, can hear Confessions in a state of emergency. One cannot, however, generalize from the validity of the sacrament in such specific circumstances to faculties to do the same in “normal” circumstances.

If the Sacred Penitentiary supported appeals from the SSPX in matters reserved to their jurisdiction, that only means that, “for the good of souls,” in those very specific instances, the validity of the sacrament was upheld. That’s not unreasonable given the reality that any validly ordained priest, no matter his canonical state, can absolve sins in an emergency. It does not, and cannot mean that the “normal” situation of an SSPX chapel setting is, by definition, in a “state of emergency” such that sacramental faculties should be presumed as a matter of course.

The typical SSPX defense of faculties refers to the presumption of validity when a penitent has reason to believe that Confession to a validly ordained priest is valid. In other words, if one doesn’t know any better (that SSPX priests do not have faculties), sins are absolved validly. Sin, if there is any, is on the part of the SSPX priests who should be presumed to know better.

But if you follow this line of reasoning to its end, that would make ignorance a virtue. “Don’t tell anyone the Truth so that their ignorance will absolve them.” One might just as well say “Don’t preach the Gospel to anyone anywhere because invincible ignorance can save them.”

When “the good of souls” depends upon and is maintained by a policy of intentional ignorance, surely there is something seriously wrong there?

There’s no question that the SSPX, in general, is more faithful to Catholic teaching than most others who identify as Catholics. However, they render themselves more adjectives than nouns when they reject “the rock” on which the Church is built, which was and is a person and not a body of doctrine. They are not in communion with the Church, they have no canonical status, they have no legitimate ministry, and have refused every overture that would regularize their status. How can one not laugh when they claim to be Catholic? Maybe as adjectives, yes, but as nouns, no. Nominal Catholics are in union with Rome. Adjective Catholics are not. That’s no small thing.

I could not be more sympathetic to why the SSPX exists and why frustrated Catholics would seek refuge there. But they are not in communion with the Catholic Church. To seek to be Catholic in such settings is, at the level of practice, no different from what sedevacantists do. They are, as a local priest opined recently, “practical sedevacantists” with less intellectual integrity and honesty than the fully committed sedevacantists. Sedevacantists are consistent in their theory and practice. The SSPX are consistent in their theory but inconsistent in their practice. To call them Catholic is to be kind and an attempt to keep doors open to reconciliation.

How blinded by pride does one have to be to think that God would both choose and bless a path of disobedience as the way to save His Church from ruin? As noted earlier, one can never choose an invalid means to achieve a valid end. To think such is to think like the devil.

Lorra - August 19, 2014

JTC, thank you.

ChronicSinner - August 19, 2014

While the SSPX certainly is in a state of irregular cannoical status, they are most certainly not in a state of ex-communication. They have a legitimate ministry dating back almost 50 years and authorized by Rome to form priests and religious according to pre-Vatican II formation.

They are not sede-vacantists and are not schismatics, as they recognize the legitimacy of Pope Francis and his predecessors and recognize the legitimate authority of the Holy Father. They just happen to have thought a state of emergency existed 25 years ago thought forced them to disobey the Holy Father concerning consecrating 4 bishops with out Rome approval, which is something cannon law allows for in it the mitigation of the offense.

They are not heretics, they are not schismatics, they are not protestants, they are not pagans, and they are not apostates. In other words, they are as much a part of the Church as you are, JTC. They practice the faith exactly as it was practiced for centuries prior to VatII and the Novus Ordo and teach and live all dogmatic infalliable Catholic teaching as it has always been taught and lived. Not only are they Catholic in the adjective and noun sense of the term, they are most importantly, Catholic in the verb sense of the term because they put their faith into action.

JTC - August 19, 2014

In what language does “no” translate to “irregular”? How could it be any clearer: “no canonical status” DOES NOT MEAN “irregular canonical status.”

Certainly, at one time, the SSPX did have a “canonical status” AND a “legitimate ministry.” But now they do not. How do I know? Because that is precisely what Pope Benedict XVI said in his motu proprio. He also said, in that same document, that they are “invited to rediscover the path to full communion with the Church.” That means, according to the Pope, that they have wandered off that path and are no longer on it. They aren’t even on the PATH to full communion much less less IN full communion!

Similarly, someone is, indeed, excommunicated when such a judgment has been rendered. Such are not in communion with the Church. But it’s not just the excommunicated who are not in communion with the Church. The category “not in communion with the Church” is not limited to those who have been formally excommunicated. When the Pope himself says, formally and authoritatively, that the SSPX have “no canonical status,” and “no legitimate ministry,” and invites them to “rediscover the path to full communion with the Church,” then the SSPX cannot be said to be in communion with the Church. To argue otherwise is purely wishful thinking motivated by fear of facing the truth.

I don’t think the SSPX is either willing or able to face the truth of their situation, which is blindingly obvious. If they truly saw their real “status,” they would accept what has been offered to them, multiple times, by the Church they can’t even bring themselves to recognize as Catholic. “Eternal Rome” is a pious fantasy. The only “Rome” we have is the one we have. It may be true that the Church needs to return to Her traditional roots, but the way to get there can’t be through disobedience to the Vicar of Christ.

The SSPX are not in communion with the Church. Maybe we need some other word than “excommunicated” to say what they are, but to say that they are in communion with the Church is just plain crazy. It’s not unthinkable that the whole lot of them could be declared, formally, as schismatic and excommunicated. If that happens, they will reject that judgment and, when they do, they will merely prove that the Church has been right all along: they are NOT in communion with the Church. If you are not in communion with the Church, you are not Catholic. Period.

This all feels like the kind of rationalization one goes through when guilty of a mortal sin that you just can’t admit sets your destination for Hell. You find all sorts of reasons why God wouldn’t send you to Hell for what you did. You identify extenuating circumstances and other things to diminish your culpability so that your mortal sin is, to you, a serious but nonetheless venial sin. You appeal to “God knows my heart” etc. The SSPX can’t admit that they are not in communion with the Church because, if that’s true, then they are on the road to Hell. So they must deny the truth, claim to be in communion with “Eternal Rome” and even have the hubris to accuse the Church Herself of being not in communion with Herself!

It’s tough to admit that you are wrong about something fundamental when you are right about so much else. If you are not in communion with the Church, you are not Catholic. The state of the Church IS awful right now. I even wonder if the Pope himself is a believing Catholic. But he’s still the Pope. And the Church is still the Church. And Jesus was God even during the horrors of His Passion and Death. All but one of the Apostles fled from that. But all returned. THAT is what is required of the SSPX. Return to communion with the Church. THEN you can accomplish something. Stop asking the Church to return to YOU.

ChronicSinner - August 20, 2014

JTC…irregular is the Vatican term for the canoncial status of the SSPX and the excommunicated status was lifted back in 2009 by Pope Benedict, so thus, they are in communion with Rome. Not hard to understand really…unless you have a tough time admitting when “you are wrong” as you are in this case. Go back to teach English and adjectives and nouns or whatever it is you do…but give up the pitiful bashing of the SSPX.

21. David L Alexander - August 19, 2014

“Nasty little snot aren’t you? Your caricature reveals much of your personal animus.”

(Oooh, name calling. Way to raise the bar.)

It wasn’t a “caricature” so much as an attempt to clarify the essentials. They are not always obvious when we suffer from a lack of perspective. And I have no animus towards members of the SSPX. Some of them are friends, some are correspondents. As an MC for a TLM, one rubrician associated with them has been of tremendous assistance, and I have had occasion to endorse his published works.

“The Sacred Penitentiary has dealt with sins reserved to the Holy See from SSPX confessor priests — and delivered the appropriate penances TO those priests to give absolution.”

(JTC provides an excellent explanation. This is the short one.)

Well, that doesn’t sound like the whole story, does it,? Especially since even a suspended priest has the power to absolve when there is danger of death. Such if often the occasion for such confessions. So yes, that could happen, depending on the circumstances.

senrex - August 19, 2014

I said nothing about the danger of death. JTC presumed that and you stole his presumption. There’s a lot of presumption among the SSPX enemies. Frankly, I have not the strength to address the silliness in regard to the obvious which I state below.

The Church is in a State of Emergency. How do I know? Because Pope Paul VI and John Paul II both stated that the Church’s crisis was beyond the power of the Office of St. Peter to solve. When Popes say the crisis is beyond their Office to solve, ipso facto, there is a state of emergency. In conscience THIS can be acted upon.

JTC: you use many words to say little.

ChronicSinner - August 20, 2014

Brevity is the sould of wit….and JTC has neither.

22. Steve - August 19, 2014

Rebecca Joan, you said that you would wish that the Society was near you as you would assist at a Mass offered by the SSPX.

What SSPX chapel would is right for you?

A Bishop Williamson “true” SSPX chapel? Or a “liberal/modernistic” Bishop Fellay SSPX chapel?

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24. LaGallina - August 19, 2014

You all can argue until you are blue in the face. But to people like me who are absolutely fed up with the Novus Ordo and all of its rotten fruits there is no argument.

You can be obedient all day long to Pope Francis. Then when he retires you can be obedient to his successor who contradicts the former pope. Or you can be obedient to the true, ancient, unchanging magisterium (as taught by priests like those in the SSPX) and you will begin to prepare your soul for heaven.

After 10 years in a N.O. parish I have only heard one sermon. It goes like this: God loves us too much to judge us so we shouldn’t judge anyone else, especially if they don’t speak our language or have a different “orientation” than we have. (Ironically at Mass in Spanish.)

People who I know and love receive holy communion with their live-in girlfriend and their children from previous marriages (if they feel like getting up for Mass this week.) Everyone is welcomed. No one is “judged.” I am not making this up. That is the way an ordinary obedient-to-Rome parish works. Though actually the young unmarried couples are pretty few and far between since most people in the pews are over 70. And I truly love those elderly people and feel sad for them, as none of their children have retained their Catholic faith.

That is the church that the SSPX is “disobeying.” I still attend the N.O. Mass because I don’t feel like I can keep the family home on Sunday morning. But what would be better for their souls? This modernist garbage or the SSPX?

Tantumblogo - August 19, 2014

Thank you for your powerful testimony. And thank you for doing all you do to try your dead level best to practice the Faith and raise your children up to be good, holy souls.

I will just say this: I do not take strong stands for or against the SSPX. I will say I have a substantial amount of sympathy for them because of what you said above and for many other reasons. I do not take strong stands either way because the arguments tend to be endless and there is rarely any resolution. People tend to believe what they believe regarding the SSPX, and so many allied topics, and are not open to argument. I will say that I neither “judge” those who avail themselves of the SSPX, nor those who do not feel able to do so. I know people who absolutely love and swear by the SSPX, and others who refer to their 10 or 20 years there as “doing time.” All of these folks are good, pious souls, by and large. So I just don’t sweat it. I have my personal views, which I share a bit on this blog (but not entirely), I admit to having a pretty strong sympathy for the SSPX, but I’m not a diehard supporter nor do I think I’ll ever be a bitter opponent. With the Church in the state is is today, I just don’t see the status of the SSPX as being even in the top 50 of items that need to be dealt with.

LaGallina - August 20, 2014

Thanks for the encouragement regarding my family. I am so thankful that my sons are learning to serve the TLM. Today the children “played” Mass with one son playing priest and saying the Mass in Latin, the other serving as alter boy and practicing his responses, the girls in their veils kneeling to receive “communion.” It was so beautiful. Thank you, God!

Meanwhile our small group continues in its efforts to learn the TLM. (YouTube is a big help.) We had a Missa Cantata on the Feast of the Assumption. (It was sort of a Missa Cantata — I know God will bless our imperfect, yet sincere, efforts.)

But we had about 100 people show up!!!! I couldn’t believe it. On any given Thursday a.m. or Friday evening we are maybe 5 to 10 people — 15 tops. But 100 people came! I was amazed. It was quite awkward because no one had any idea when to sit, stand, kneel. I am learning, but I am quite definitely a beginner. But I did the best I could to “lead.” I need a training video myself on when to sit, stand, and kneel.

Sometimes I wish for angels to come down and give us some lessons on how to celebrate, serve, and assist at Mass! It’s ironic that we Catholics are having to try to learn from scratch the Mass that has lasted for so many centuries, but now is totally forgotten by many. I am thankful, though, for this opportunity. God bless.

senrex - August 20, 2014

Well said.

The issues are not as complex as some of the bombastic combox remarks would have you believe.

I’ve never been to a SSPX chapel in my life. But Alexander and JTC would have condemned Athanasius because he didn’t retire from the field after being condemned by Rome. Walter Kaspar is in communion with Rome; the priest with the clown outfit offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is in communion with Rome; but the SSPX isn’t? Catholicism, despite the likes of Alexander and JTC, is not void of common sense.

ChronicSinner - August 20, 2014

They would have also been on board with burning Joan of Arc as a heretic…assuming the Pope and the Church said it was OK.

ChronicSinner - August 20, 2014

Which, btw…they did.

senrex - August 20, 2014

Good point. Unfortunately for not a few “Catholics” today, history didn’t begin till 1962 — so historical parallels will be lost on them.

ChronicSinner - August 20, 2014

Nice post, LaGallina. Pax Tecum.

David L Alexander - August 20, 2014

“Or you can be obedient to the true, ancient, unchanging magisterium (as taught by priests like those in the SSPX) and you will begin to prepare your soul for heaven.”

Except that the SSPX doesn’t have a magisterium. Their bishops lack jurisdiction, and full (that’s FULL) union with Peter. Without that, they cannot, even by their own definition, be complete.

25. Anita Lay - August 20, 2014

Michael Voris for Pope!!!!!

26. TG - August 20, 2014

I don’t know much about the SSPX but I recall reading that Pope Benedict removed the excommunication of 4 bishops. Is that true?

Tantumblogo - August 20, 2014

Oh, yes, absolutely. Back in 2007, was it?

ChronicSinner - August 21, 2014

2009 was when the excommunications were lifted.

Tantumblogo - August 21, 2014

Thanks! God bless!

27. ChronicSinner - August 21, 2014

Looks like the SSPX just bought a “new” church building in Pittsburgh despite the attempts at the diocese to block their attempts.


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