From a reader:
Greetings! I am writing in order to ask you abou the SSPX’s canonical status. I’ve heard that they certianly are in schism, as Bishop ___ (my bishop) said, yet I’ve also heard from you that the Prefect of the Pontical Commision Ecclesia Dei has said that they’re not. My question is as follows: would there need to be any talks going on between them and Rome if they are not in schism? Isn’t the point, as Pope Benedict XVI said, something about…”as they discover the path to full communion“? First, that seems to imply that they are not in full communion with the Chuch. And, as noted earlier, it seems like the whole purpose of the Vatican-SSPX discussions is to bring them into communion. Do you see the seeming conflicts? Nevertheless, I’d refuse to associate or attend their Masses until they learn to trust the Magisterium and learn the humility to keep their minds and hearts publicly and officially in syncronization which that of the One Chuch.
Since the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei” has competence in this area, I will opt for the position of the PCED rather than the opinion Bishop of X diocese.
The situation is confusing. In the 1988 Motu Proprio Ecclesia Dei adflicta Pope John Paul used the word “schism“. It looks like a schism, to be sure. But officials of the PCED have affirmed over the last few years that while Archbishop Lefebvre’s actions in 1988 were schismatic acts, the SSPX did not in fact go into schism. I don’t really understand that, but I will take the PCED’s word on this.
What we need to do is pray pray pray that the SSPX will accept the CDF’s “Doctrinal Preamble” and some eventual canonical structure which could be offered to them.
I suppose that now all sort of people will jump in with over-the-top declarations that they know with certainty how wrong the Holy See is, the Pope is, the SSPX is. Ho hum. Someone will forget to exercise reason and self-editing, I will delete comments and ban a couple people, and the pattern will repeat itself. Oh well… forest fires renew forests too.
Benedict XVI is the Pope of Christian Unity.