From a reader:
Howdy Fr. Z [Fine, thanks!]
I had a question about fulfilling my Sunday Obligation at an SSPX chapel. First let me say, I am 100% with the bishops and the pope. I prefer the Latin Mass. I am about 50-60 minutes away from the closest and only diocesan TLM in Dallas, and being a college student I cannot really afford to drive there every week. However, there is an SSPX chapel about 10 minutes from where I go to school. Since I have seen you write where SSPX confession are not valid, but their Eucharist is, could I go to confession at a diocesan parish and go to Mass at the SSPX chapel, would this fulfill my obligation? Please keep in mind this is strictly due to my preference of the TLM, not disobedience to the pope or bishops. Any help would be great.
In short order:
Yes and Yes.
You can go to confession at a regular parish (which is where you will find a confessor, that is, a priest with faculties and who absolves validly – unlike the SSPX priests except in danger of death when the law and situation give them faculties for that moment).
You can fulfill your Sunday obligation at a chapel of the SSPX. The Mass they say is valid (for valid celebration of Mass faculties are not needed – Mass is valid but illicit). The Mass is in a Catholic rite. That’s what canon law requires.
That said, some time ago there was a statement from the Holy See that attending Mass at chapels that were loosely associated with the SSPX did NOT fulfill the Sunday obligation. So, make sure it is truly an SSPX chapel.
Also, given the way the SSPX is going on these days, it may happen that the Holy See will adjust its approach. I hope that will not be the case, but one of these days I suspect that Rome will confirm in an official way what the SSPX seems to want (for one reason or another): to be separate.
Finally, it grieves me that you don’t have better access to TLMs there. How very sad that priests don’t care about the pastoral care of so many of the faithful, especially in a time when being “pastoral” (usually pronounced by liberals as “pastOral” or even – and I shudder – “pastO-ree-al”) is all the rage. They are really only concerned with those who think like they do.
And since I haven’t said it for a while: Benedict XVI was the Pope of Christian Unity.