From the 9 November Our Sunday Visitor with my emphases and comments.
By Msgr. M. Francis Mannion
Father should be concerned about daughter’s involvement with Society of Pius X chapel
Question: My ex-wife attends Mass at a chapel of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), which was founded by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in 1970. Our daughter has been going with her and receives catechism lessons there. As far as I can tell, they don’t teach anything doctrinally suspect. What should I do, for example, if she wants to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation at her mother’s chapel rather than at a recognized Catholic parish? Am I being too legalistic about this?
– Name and address withheld
Answer: The liturgical needs of those Catholics who participate in the liturgy of the schismatic Society of St. Pius X [Well…. whatever their status is, the Holy See has backpeddled from calling them schismatic. I have in the past said they were in schism, and I think there are strong arguments for that. However, we must be guided by the Holy See and Card. Castrillon who is entrusted with these matters. Let’s avoid saying "schismatic".] should be assuaged considerably by Pope Benedict XVI’s 2007 motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, which further liberalized the use of the Tridentine Mass by Catholic priests. Pope Benedict has expressed the hope that there will exist one parish in each diocese in which the Tridentine Mass will be celebrated — if the need exists. [A gentle clarification must be offered. The fact of the matter is that there is no limit to the number of parishes that can have celebrations of Holy Mass with the TLM. Furthermore, they need not be established by the bishop. Any pastor can implement Summorum Pontificum. As Dario Card. Castrillon Hoyos, President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei said: "Even if it is not specifically asked for or requested, [priests] should make it available, so that everyone may have access to this treasure of the ancient liturgy of the Church. This is the primordial goal of the Motu Proprio [Summorum Pontificum]: a spiritual and theological richness." Our Sunday Visitor is a good paper and they publish excellent books. I have collaborated with them on a project. This is merely a friendly correction. ]
This Mass is (more or less) the same Mass celebrated by the SSPX bishops and priests. Thus there is no reason why Catholics should need to attend the SSPX Masses any more. [And if there is widespread and generous implementation of Summorum Pontificum that may be the case. However: many people want more than Holy Mass. They want all the older forms of the sacramental life of the Roman Church as well. We need a full and generous implementation of Summorum Pontificum especially where separated and independent chapels are operating.] One of the main reasons Pope Benedict liberalized the use of the Tridentine Mass was to invite back into the full communion of the Church those who attended the SSPX Masses.
Of course, some Catholics who are affiliated with the SSPX may continue this affiliation because of the fact that the organization rejects some important teachings of the Second Vatican Council. It is likely that Catholics who attend SSPX Masses have been taught disrespect for the Second Vatican Council and a version of Catholic doctrine that is narrow and sectarian. [This is sadly the case. However, we hope that with the change in the atmosphere, as Msgr. Perl famously said, a change in the climate will follow. We have to talk about their concerns openly.]
You should certainly be concerned that your daughter attends Mass at a SSPX chapel. While the sacraments of the sponsoring group are valid, nevertheless the fullness of faith is probably not being taught, and she is being educated in a version of the Catholic faith that lacks the richness and broadness of the Second Vatican Council. [And Msgr. Mannion is right… with a proviso. It may be that the people involved have little or no access to a parish where sound doctrine is preached and the liturgical life has gone off the rails. For the most part people are not longing for division and narrowness. They want is something on Sundays they don’t have to dread.]
Your best bet is to wait until your daughter is older and then to train her in proper Church discipline, so that she will join a legitimate Catholic parish. [Wouldn’t it be wonderful if their local bishop did confirmations in the older rite each year for the diocese?] You are not being too legalistic about this. The matters involved are weighty.
Msgr. M. Francis Mannion is a priest and theologian of the Diocese of Salt Lake City. Send your questions to Pastoral Answers, Our Sunday Visitor, 200 Noll Plaza, Huntington, IN 46750 or to firstname.lastname@example.org. Letters must be signed, but anonymity may be requested.
I want to repeat that Our Sunday Visitor is a good paper and they publish excellent books. I have collaborated with them on a project.
This is merely a friendly correction offered in good will for the sake of clarity.