SSPX reaction to Pope Francis’ move on validity of marriages

15_09_01_SSPX_livesIn the wake of Pope Francis’ decision to have diocesan ordinaries see to validity of SSPX marriages (HERE) the SSPX issued a statement at their website (HERE)

At first the SSPX communiqué rehashes what the Holy Father did.   Then…

[…]

The Society of Saint Pius X conveys its deep gratitude to the Holy Father for his pastoral solicitude as expressed in the letter from the Ecclesia Dei Commission, for the purpose of alleviating “any uncertainty regarding the validity of the sacrament of marriage”. Pope Francis clearly wishes that, as in the matter of confessions, all the faithful who want to marry in the presence of a priest of the Society of Saint Pius X can do so without any worries about the validity of the sacrament. It is to be hoped that all the bishops share this same pastoral solicitude.  [Indeed, it is to be hoped!]

The priests of the Society of Saint Pius X will strive faithfully, as they have done since their ordination, to prepare future spouses for marriage according to the unchangeable doctrine of Christ about the unity [NB!] and indissolubility of this union (cf. Mt 19:6), before receiving the parties’ consent in the traditional rite of the Holy Church.

[…]

I like that bit about indissolubility.

The SSPX might not have had faculties to witness marriages, but I’ll bet none of their priests told couples anything screwy about the indissolubility of marriage.  The SSPX might not have had faculties to receive confessions (they do now), but I’ll bet none of their priests told penitents that they didn’t have to have firm purpose of amendment.

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19 Responses to SSPX reaction to Pope Francis’ move on validity of marriages

  1. Dan says:

    They may be irregular but only because it is irregular to be a faithful Catholic these days.
    That SSPX is given so much trouble, but Friar Tuck can dance around a church like a fairy on crack is beyond me. Those faithful to the faith truly must practice humility and patience.

    “Insofar as possible, the Local Ordinary is to grant the delegation to assist at the marriage to a priest of the Diocese (or in any event, to a fully regular priest), so that the priest may receive the consent of the parties during the marriage rite, followed, in keeping with the liturgy of the Vetus ordo, by the celebration of Mass, which may be celebrated by a priest of the Society.”

    That this guy http://wdtprs.com/blog/2017/03/franciscan-dancing-fail/ could be called into to validly receive consent for an SSPX marriage is a joke. Between the Franciscan ceremony? above, and this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=onogdJN_So4 from SSPX I wonder which one more people would consider to be Catholic?

  2. LeeF says:

    If the society were going for an ordinariate instead of a personal prelature, they wouldn’t need the participation of possibly hostile lib ordinaries for this or anything else. And in one fell swoop they could probably apply radical sanation to all past SSPX marriages on their own. I still cannot fathom why the society is going to agree to a canonical structure that leaves it under the thumbs of local ordinaries. I wonder if the SSPX really never liked the idea of an ordinariate, or if there would be a lot of pushback from ordinaries about same, especially in Europe.

    However since they obviously do seem to be heading for a prelature, then it cannot but help to slowly ease the ordinaries and local priests of same into some regular contact with the priests of the society.

  3. Mike says:

    Once this whole deal is sealed (God willing), I want to drive down to their Virginia seminary and thank them, and put a check in their hands for whatever amount I can spare.
    Lord, bless these priests, and bring their holy zeal into regularization with your Church, for the good of that same Church!

  4. asburyfox says:

    What if a bishop doesn’t play ball? Refuses to send a priest to witness or grant the SSPX faculties? I would hope that the SSPX can appeal to Rome. That a way can be found to grant them faculties by Rome through appeal. Better yet, that the SSPX become regularized with the prelature that takes them out of the jurisdiction and control of the world’s bishops. Subito!

  5. The (increasingly rare) instances of clowns and balloons at Mass notwithstanding, one thing worthy of note is the change in tone with this announcement, as opposed to the one regarding faculties for confessions. Where earlier their attitude was “we thank the Holy Father but we really don’t need this permission anyway,” now the simply confine themselves to being grateful, and committed to the Church’s constant teaching on marriage.

    The lack of humility on the part of the Society’s leadership was cause for comment from the late Cardinal Gagnon following an official visit many years ago, and they have come a long way since the departure of Bishop Williamson and his supporters, but they still have a ways to go. At some point, Bishop Fellay will have to answer to someone other than himself and/or his benefactors. Once he realizes that (and please don’t tell me it’s never about the money), there will be a reconciliation. Until he does, he will find a way to walk away from the table at the last minute.

    As he has so many times in the past.

  6. LeeF says:

    @asburyfox,

    A personal prelature only takes the members of the society out of the jurisdiction of local ordinaries for general stuff like the existence of the society and its ability to train seminarians and ordain priests, etc. Permission of local ordinaries is still going to be required for erecting chapels, schools, etc., even if existing ones were to be grandfathered. This is why in my comment above I said that I believe an ordinariate is a superior structure for their purposes. However I am sure Bp Fellay and others in the SSPX have considered this, and/or their potential use of the ordinariate structure is being blocked by others.

  7. Papabile says:

    Lefebvre himself never asked to be outide the jurisdiction of Bishops. A prelature solves practical problems, but also is more than Lefebvre ever asked for.

  8. Papabile says:

    Asditionally, this Prelate is likely to have distinctive characteristics that Opus does not have. Just standby.

  9. Athelstane says:

    Good point, Papabile.

    The Pope can modify the prelature (which is a fairly new canonical concept anyway) as he likes; and undoubtedly Bishop Fellay has insisted on some sort of modifications in the draft.

    As far as I can make out, the one thing the SSPX would be dependent on local bishops for is in the establishment of new apostolates (and even this might be modified in some way in terms of how those bishops can exercise a refusal – we will have to wait and see what the decree says).

    I would honestly be surprised if the provisions for matrimony in the personal prelature are as conditional as yesterday’s decree requires. I doubt that it would require the involvement of a diocesan priest to witness the marriage. The SSPX is not going to easily submit to changes in how they function and provide (or witness) the sacraments.

    But again, we shall see.

  10. Athelstane says:

    LeeF,

    The one difficulty with an ordinariate is that it is, by nature, territorially limited. The Anglicans have three ordinariates, independent of each other (located in the U.K., North America, and Australia). The same is true of military ordinariates. Whereas the SSPX is a global entity.

    I suspect that any canonical structure they get is going to be modified in some way to reflect their unusual nature.

  11. Ann Malley says:

    @manwithblackhat

    “…Until he does, he will find a way to walk away from the table at the last minute. As he has so many times in the past.”

    I’m sorry, but this statement is disingenuous as it does not take into account the legitimate reasons behind why the Society walked away from previous “deals”. You imply that money is a factor in +Fellay’s decisions, but, it would seem, you disregard that donations and the desire to appease those with deep pockets is not part and parcel of the institutionalizing of ambiguity afflicting Holy Mother Church.

    The tone in the SSPX’s current response is to acknowledge the overture made to appease the concerns of the faithful “may” have regarding the validity of marriages witnessed at Society chapels. That is nothing more than an acknowledgement of a kindness, not to say that Society marriages are invalid. Sorry.

    Your reference to clown masses, etc, that is only a mere symptom of deep crisis. The most grave crises are those which hide beneath, like those ambiguities that have led even the Holy Father to state on previous occasion that the majority of Catholic marriages could well be invalid. That, Sir, is crisis.

    This is why Holy Mother Church, in Her wisdom, does supply. And while having faculties in the usual way is more comforting and assuring, there is no denying that there is an ongoing crisis “within” the Church.

    Humility is something to be embraced on all sides. Humility being a ready acceptance of the truth. For it is no true humility to lie and pretend that one requires (despite a desire for it) something that is, despite another’s disagreement, already supplied.

    Is regularization desirable? Of course. Everyone is calmer when matters are seemingly normalized. But, alas, in times such as these, that is not always possible. This does not constitute some game of supposedly going along only to seek out a reason, at the last minute, to walk away.

  12. Grateful to be Catholic says:

    Two Sacraments down, five to go. Is this pontificate’s strategy a gradual regularization until the last step of establishing a canonical structure to contain what has already been realized? Bp. Fellay is quietly collecting his chips while not having to concede or agree to anything.

  13. Gabriel Syme says:

    Dan

    They may be irregular but only because it is irregular to be a faithful Catholic these days.
    That SSPX is given so much trouble, but Friar Tuck can dance around a church like a fairy on crack is beyond me.

    It is part of the diabolical disorientation which Our Lady warned us of, at Fatima.

    Other examples of the diabolical disorientation afflicting the Church presently include: the efforts to condone adultery, against the very specific teachings of Our Lord, and also talk of the need for “reinterpreting Jesus” (as we heard recently from the Jesuit Superior General).

    Have you heard of the “Duck Test”?

    It something looks like duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it’s probably a duck.

    The Duck Test is easily modified to reliably identify Catholics & Catholicism.

    I advise that all faithful Catholics employ a suitably adapted Duck Test, in order to keep their bearings during this time of disorientation.

  14. Joe in Canada says:

    “For it is no true humility to lie and pretend that one requires (despite a desire for it) something that is, despite another’s disagreement, already supplied.” It is sometimes true humility to say “thank you” and get on with things.

  15. Ann Malley, thou hast writ:

    “I’m sorry, but this statement is disingenuous as it does not take into account the legitimate reasons behind why the Society walked away from previous ‘deals.’ You imply that money is a factor in +Fellay’s decisions …”

    No, I imply nothing. I came right out and said it.

    The Society attracted much of the old Catholic nobility of Europe in its early years, and in such cities as Cincinnati, one of the great Catholic centers of the American Midwest, they maintain a huge presence, as some of the most generous families of that fair city took their support to the SSPX during the Bernardin era. We may wonder at times if anyone can blame them, but I digress.

    Whether there were legitimate reasons for continued dispute or not over the years, pride remained. Indeed, it was precisely the lack of humility, even in the face of many positive attributes, that was underscored in Gagnon’s official visit years ago.

    Pride is the deadliest of all the seven Deadly Sins, as it leads to the other Sins. Humility is the greatest of the seven Heavenly Virtues, as it leads to the other Virtues. This battle of good and evil, and this alone, hovers over the details of the negotiations.

    “Everyone is calmer when matters are seemingly normalized. But, alas, in times such as these, that is not always possible. This does not constitute some game of supposedly going along only to seek out a reason, at the last minute, to walk away.”

    The history of the Church is replete with far more in the way of curial gamesmanship. Just ask anyone who’s ever worked in the Roman Curia. When it happens, there are plenty of chess pieces on both sides to go around, and such frailties of the human condition are unlikely to be suspended “at the last minute, to walk away.”

  16. Ann Malley says:

    @manwithblackhat

    Not sure why you feel the need to digress into thou-speak except perhaps to project your own stereotype onto others. But, in the spirit of coming right out and saying things, I’ll say you may want to check yourself for the sin of pride. [Please consider how this opening helped this conversation in any way. And during Passiontide, to boot. This is the path that leads down into the fever-swamp style comboxes of lib sites like the Fishwrap, where there is hardly a comment that isn’t nasty.]

    “Whether there were legitimate reasons for continued dispute or not over the years, pride remained.” This could — just sayin’ — be a holdover of the pride of the one making the statement. Why? Because the focus is on projecting the sin of pride (the deadiest) onto another in order to dismiss the reality that there very well could be legitimate reasons for continued dispute over the years.

    I’m sorry that the aristocratic overtones overset you, or that you suffer heartburn over what you describe as the well-heeled in Cincinnati choosing to support the SSPX, but that is proof of pride. Especially not when you vault over your own penchant to prejudice and pride.

    As for a Church replete with curial gamesmanship, I find it rather humorous that you would say such a thing and then feign to lay the lion’s share of ruining agreements at the last minute on +Fellay. That is disingenuous. I’ll say that outright again. To state that it was merely money driving +Fellay is absurd, especially considering that the conditions that were slipped in at the last minute was a gag order in not reviewing that which is ambiguous in Vatican II documents. Especially interesting as now it is more common parlance to state that not all of the documents of Vatican II are not equally binding.

    Sorry, Black Hat. Perhaps you should humble yourself a little and seek the truth of the situation before casting the pride and money card toward others. Especially in light of “all the good” that others are currently doing. To include upholding the Sacrament of Marriage.

  17. Imrahil says:

    (And while I know what the deadly sins are, and even have heard once that people just take their contrary and call it a “heavenly virtue”, the neither is the contrary of the worst sin necessarily the highest virtue, nor have the heavenly virtues a very prominent place in Catholic theology and devotion. The highest virtue is charity, as St. Paul teaches; which belongs to the cardinal virtues.

    Pride, by the way, according to St. Gregory, is 1. ascribing the good, that is within oneself, to oneself as to an origin; 2. ascribing it to God, but as deserved through one’s own merits; 3. ascribing to oneself something good one does not in fact have; 4. parading virtues one finds within oneself in a gloating, disdainful manner.)

  18. Ann Malley says:

    @Joe in Canada

    Sometimes, yes. That’s why there was a thank you here. But at other times, it is not humble to undermine one’s own position, if that position is held for just cause.

  19. Vincent says:

    A few points still to be made here, I think: 1. This provision was made at Cardinal Müller’s behest, not the Holy Father’s (or at least, that’s my reading), which to me suggests that he has utilised the Pope’s favour of the Society to push forward with a ‘de facto’ canonical solution. Interesting, given that the good Cardinal was at one point pretty angry about the Society…

    2. I am, however, slightly uncertain about the target audience. If I wanted to be married by the Society, why would I care whether there was a diocesan priest there? [Because marriage is IMPORTANT, and everyone should want avoid the risk of defect of form!] On the other hand, if I were of Society upbringing (I am), but uncomfortable with the question of validity (I kind of am), why not just be married by a diocesan priest?

    3. Man in a black hat: I can only say that Bishop Fellay was one of the most reasonable, gentle, and humble men I have ever met. In fact, Cardinal Burke reminded me of him when I met him… Impute the Society all you like; certainly there’s internal politics, but Bishop Fellay has been instrumental in the negotiations with Rome. [Amen.]