From a reader:
Some relatives told me they were considering joining the Polish National Catholic Church. I see from what you have previously written they have valid sacraments (that’s good) but they don’t seem to be in union with our Pope in Rome (yikes!). Would their joining be the same as leaving the Roman Catholic Church for say a Protestant denominiation as in is this a sin? I doubt we could go from one to another without some spiritual ramification? Please explain very simply for me. Thanks for anything you can do.
Joining the Polish National Catholic Church (PNCC) is more dire than following priests of the SSPX. Unlike the SSPX, the PNCC is clearly in schism. To join the PNCC, especially formally, would mean abandoning the Roman Catholic Church. The person would likely incur the latae sententiae excommunication found in can. 1364.1 and could result in the eventual denial of funeral rites (can. 1184. 1.1). Mere attendance at a Mass or Masses of the PNCC would probably not rise to the level of a formal act of schism, especially if done as an ecumenical gesture, or solidarity with family. However, outside of the extreme cases mentioned in can. 844.2, a Catholic should not receive sacraments in a PNCC church.
The PNCC’s denies papal authority. The SSPX doesn’t deny it, they just don’t obey it. The PNCC does not have clerical celibacy, which is a bit quirky. Worse than than, however, the PNCC denies the dogma of original sin.
Just keep repeating “canon 1364 … can. 1184 … canon 1364 … can. 1184 … canon 1364 … can. 1184 …”.