Rorate Reports: SSPX bishops and Mass at Lourdes – Rosary CRUSADE re: the excommunications

Our colleagues at Rorate have this stunner.  Be sure to visit their site.  My emphases and comments.

SSPX: pilgrimage and a new Crusade of the Rosary

Pictures of the Solemn Mass, of the public recitation of the Holy Rosary, and of the Adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament, as the Sanctuary of Lourdes once again opens its doors and buildings to the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX) during the weekend of Christ the King. The four bishops of the SSPX, who were consecrated by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in 1988, were present in the pilgrimage.

Regarding developments in the ongoing conversation between the leadership of the Fraternity and Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos, President of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei", the SSPX will start this Saturday a "Crusade of the Rosary" to "obtain from Our Lady the removal of the Decree of Excommunication", a "crusade" which will last from November 1 to Christmas Day.  [OKAY!  Well… this is a good initiative.  But let us not forget that grace builds on nature.  Hopefully some of that prayer will be dedicated to softening hearts, not just in the Holy See, but also in the SSPX and its followers so that they will submit in concrete ways to the Roman Pontiff.]

This is a most auspicious development, considering that the last time a Crusade of the Rosary was proposed by the SSPX (in July 2006), its main intention was to "obtain from Heaven for Pope Benedict XVI the strength required to completely free up the Mass of all time, called the Tridentine Mass". [I hope they are not thinking that all the credit goes to them, though I don’t hesitate to affirm that PRAYER HELPS!] All eyes to Heaven, and to Rome, in the next few months.


I will participate in this Rosary "Crusade".  It would be a joy to see the excommunications lifted.

I urge you to do the same.  Add this intention to your daily recitation of the Rosary.

In the meantime… I guess you can say the old Mass at Lourdes after all!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Woody Jones says:

    Based partly on past personal experience, I would say that what is most needed now is a softening of hearts on both sides, and the Rosary Crusade is no doubt the best way for this to be brought about. Prayers to the Holy Archangel Michael, and the guardian angels of all concerned, would not hurt either. For that matter, please add the intentions for reunion of the Traditional Anglican Communion with the Holy See to that list.

    If the ROCOR and the Moscow Patriarchate could be reunited (humanly speaking a project that had much more baggage to overcome, due to the past complicity of the patriarchate with the murderous Communist regime), so can the SSPX, and the Traditional Anglicans be reunited with the Holy See.

  2. Howard says:

    Maybe I’m missing something, but what real good does it do to reverse the excommunication of someone who died while excommunicated?

  3. Cristero says:

    I will add my prayers and Rosaries until Christmas for this intention.

  4. Chris says:

    I will pray as many rosaries as I can for this cause.

    I’m glad they were finally allowed into the church (that is a church, right? looks more like a basketball arena).

    How did this come about? Why the change? Are there not enough non-traditionals left in France to keep them out?

  5. Ken says:

    Well that’s one banner hanging in a church I can support!

    Seriously, I am stunned. What’s the intel on this getting organized there?

  6. Howard, they refer to the excommunication of the four bishops consecrated by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre because it was done without Papal authority.

  7. My understanding is that the authorities at Lourdes take the pragmatist view that they can’t shut the door on the huge numbers of traditionalist pilgrims, so they let them in.

    The reverence and devotion of the traditionalist pilgrims is most impressive.

    I pray for a successful outcome to the Rosary crusade for the lifting of the excommunications. An agreement between Rome and Menzingen, whatever the obstacles, and however far off a canonical regularisation may be, is far from impossible.

  8. Kradcliffe says:

    Well, you have to give them some credit for wanting to worship in such a non-traditional space.

    I will also join the rosary crusade, but I am a cynical and I know I lack charity. Ahem.

  9. Maureen says:

    Re: what good will it do?

    “What is bound on earth will be bound in heaven, and what is loosed on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Supernatural
    delegated powers actually are, you know, supernatural in their effects. And when you’re dealing with matters of eternity, retroactive application is dead simple.

    Re: Rosary Crusade

    Obviously a good idea and a heart-softener in itself. A lot of people who don’t want to submit to anything will be perfectly willing to accept presents from the hands of the Blessed Virgin, or better yet, victory trophies won by Our Lady. ;) No matter. As long as people come home and do the right thing, I don’t care how much face-saving they do. And frankly, it’s better to have coming home be their idea, because then they have a stake in it.

    There’s some bad stuff going on in the world, and the more of the flock is together, the better.

  10. Old Salt says:

    Does anyone know if it is possible to offer the TLM in the upper more beautiful church at Lourdes?

  11. Calleva says:

    The trouble is, I think, that the SSPX seem to want everything their own way – to be fully recognised by the Vatican but to remain on the sidelines harping about ‘Nuchurch’ and the so-called ‘modernism’ of Benedict XVI.

    I was one of those who were praying intently for a joyful reunion – the SSPX could add so much to mainstream Catholicism, but again they refused. It was a bitter disappointment. I will admit that the SSPX and traditionalists in general have been treated far more harshly than they deserve. I can sympathise with the bitterness of trads who think that a de facto banning of the TLM while allowing heresy to run rampant was the cause of the church’s current problems. But these days are ending, and the Benedictine reforms are here. Decision time, guys.

    The time has now come for closer ties. Excommunion should be lifted when the SSPX come back fully to the fold (as the Transalpine Redemptorists have done).

    BTW, the four bishops are shown in the basilica of St Pius X at Lourdes – the massive part-underground church built to accommodate tens of thousands. it’s so big they need screens at Mass to show the main altar, so everyone can see. There are great banners of many saints, inc. Bernadette, St Pio, St J-M Escriva, the Cure D’Ars. By happy coincidence you can see St Pius X’s banner behind the SSPX bishops. I think the basilica was finished in the late 50s – it’s mostly concrete so rather austere, but would have been too costly to construct from anything else.

  12. Lori Ehrman says:

    To Chris: Yes that is the Underground Basilica of St. Pius X. It is beautiful for very unique reasons. Thousands of wheelchairs and stretches can easily be moved about due to the sloping ramps and there is still plenty of room for those who can walk. The Basilica can easily accommodate 35,000!!! During Pope Benedict’s visit in September, the underground basilica was opened for a place of repose so that priests, nuns and lay people could find shelter in Lourdes. The beds may have run out in the hotels but room at the Inn was provided by the Bishop himself. Lourdes by “super”nature is a place of healing, internally as well as externally. What a great place during the Jubilee for the SSPX to go!! UT UNUM SINT

    P.S. I am a North American Lourdes Volunteer. I go every year to assist pilgrims in the Baths (piscines). Come see that “basketball court” for yourself.

  13. cato_the_younger says:

    Wonderful news! I will pray as well

  14. paul says:

    It is awesome seeing priests face ad orientem- the sacrificial nature of the Mass shines out powerfully.

  15. RedShirt says:

    Sorry to be ignorant, but why out of the four is Bp. Williamson without mozzetta and with stole? Also, is there some reason all four are in black house cassocks rather than purple choir cassocks?

  16. pelerin says:

    Old Salt – In August this year I was able to attend daily Mass celebrated by the FSSP in the upper Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. From the llth to the 16th August coinciding with the French National pilgrimage, three Masses a day were offfered by the FSSP two of which were Sung in the upper basilica, the third being a Low Mass in the Crypt.

    The singing of the Schola was magnificent, and each Mass I attended was packed with many standing. At the back youngsters backpacks were piled up as many of the congregation were young people.

    The two priests there, one of whom I found out later was the secretary general of the FSSP, also led the Way of the Cross and the Jubilee Way. It was the first time I had waited to cross a road whilst singing the Ave Maria!

  17. Lori Ehrman says:

    To Old Salt:

    The beautiful TLM is offered every Sunday at 9:30am in the Immaculate Conception Basilica(upper Basilica over the Rosary Basilica and the Crypt Church) by a Fathers of Mercy priest from the U.S. I forgot his name. He will be there for the next 3 years I believe. So as an American I was privileged to attend the TLM in Lourdes and the homily was in English! This same priest also offers Confessions in the St. John Vianney Confessionals Monday – Friday. He absolved me in the old form. I just love this thread…I just love Lourdes…

  18. I’ll be sure to pray for this.

  19. Geoffrey says:

    I don’t understand. Why were they allowed to say Mass in a Catholic place of worship? I ask because the SSPX attempted to say a Requiem Mass at our local Catholic cemetery’s chapel but it was promptly canceled once the diocese learned who would be saying the Mass.

    And wouldn’t the lifting of the excommunications require a spirit of repentance on the part of the SSPX? You know, the little matter of illicit bishops and all!

  20. schoolman says:

    There is the small matter of the SSPX giving a “positive response” to the “Five Points”. I think our prayers should
    include this petition as well — as a preliminary to lifting the excommunicatins.

  21. Audrey C. Amberg says:

    We will add this intention of the lifting of the excommunications to our Rosary Novena to defeat the anti-life candidate on Election Day.

    And now, a plea for help, although it is “off-topic.” Could anyone direct me to a source for the sung simple propers for the Tridentine Mass (EF)? We have one copied book of the Rossini 13th edition Propers, and would like one or two more.

    An anticipatory THANKS!


  22. dcs says:

    Sorry to be ignorant, but why out of the four is Bp. Williamson without mozzetta and with stole? Also, is there some reason all four are in black house cassocks rather than purple choir cassocks?

    And here I was wondering why Bp. Williamson was not wearing the pontifical dalmatic while offering Holy Mass.

  23. Flambeaux says:


    I believe they each offered Pontifical Low Mass at the side altars, so pontifical insignia, like the dalmatic, gauntlets, buskins, mitre, and crozier are forbidden under the rubrics. The links at Rorate include photos of all four offering the Sacrifice.

    I can’t answer the earlier question regarding Bp. Williamson’s vesture. No clue.

  24. Joshua says:

    Well the rubrics do not call for pontifical insignia and extra vestments as low Mass, but they also don´t forbid them either.

    A bishop actually can wear black cassock, with violet trimming. On days of fasting, penance, mourning, during requiems a bishop may, but need not, wear black cassock with violet trim, black mozzetta or mantelleta. If they were doing something in reparation for offenses or something…

    I am surprised any of them wears the mozzetta. All bishops wear a mantelleta where they have no jurisdiction. The mozzetta is worn only by cardinals, archbishops in their own province, and bishops in the diocese in which they are the ordinary; it symbolises jurisdiction. Yes I know that the mantelleta was mostly gotten rid of by Paul VI, but these are SSPX bishops.

  25. Aelric says:

    A question for thought:

    Suppose Fr. Dresser is excommunicated (for heresy). Should he be allowed to celebrate Mass at Lourdes? I don’t mean for this to devolve into a discussion of the differences between the two cases, quite the opposite; the objective question is this: should the sentence of excommunication be a bar to offer worship at a Catholic altar (independent of whether an individual believes the excommunication to be just or not)?

  26. Rick says:

    The Church is One, and as One, the Church cannot be both within and without Herself. For if the Church is with Bernard Fellay, Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, Richard Williamson, and Alfonso de Galarreta, she cannot be with the Pope. But if the Church is with the Pope, who succeeds the first Bishop of Rome, Peter, by lawful ordination by Christ Himself, then Fellay, de Mallerais, Williamson and de Galarreta are not in the Church, nor can they be reckoned as bishops, who succeeding to no one, and despising the evangelical and apostolic tradition, sprang from themselves, thus incurring excommunication and sprung also from Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who also incurred excommunication for having proceeded with the illegal act of carrying out the act of consecrations without the permission of the Pope, for they who have not been ordained in the Church can neither have nor hold to the Church in any way.

  27. Ken says:

    Goodness gracious, people. Will anyone actually be praying the requested Rosary crusade, or just re-hashing the 1980s?

  28. Rick says:

    The Truth of God is Immutable.

  29. Peter, Slovakia says:

    I was at Lourdes on October 15-17 and by a chance saw the traditional Mass at the crypt of parish church in the town on 16-October. Unfortunately I had to follow my group and didn´t stay for TLM. Doesn´t anybody know who were those people at TLM on Tuesday morning 16-October?

  30. Breviarylover says:

    I will offer up my rosay.

  31. Michael says:

    Fr. Z. I don’t think the excommunications should be lifted, because, unfortunately, (1) they do not share the faith of the Pope and of all those who do share it with him, and (2) they do not even admit that they are excommunicated.

    But we must all pray and hope that they would realize their errors and return to the full communion with the Church thus making the excommunications obsolete.

    True, many other bishops probably do not share the faith of the Pope, but it is difficult to prove it, because they cunningly avoid public statements. All we know is that they keep on tacitly approving false teaching of those under their care. The two recently reported scandals: denial of divinity of Christ etc in Australia, and presence of homosexual priests at the Episcopalian “bishop” lecture.

  32. p. says:

    To the guys above: no one can die excommunicated – excommunication is automatically lifted in the moment of death, because at that moment it is Gods business. That’s just how every excommunication works.

    What they want is to resolve the issue whether the four living bishops are excommunicated, and if so, lift the excommunications. The problems is that pope John Paul II didn’t excommunicate them, he has just stated that they are excommunicated due to being ordained without papal mandate, and when they were ordained msgr Lefebvre claimed that there is a state of necessity… so, there are many ways to resolve the issue without any humiliation and sese of defeat on both sides.

    Rick: you’re ignorant on the basic nature of the Church and the canon law. SSPX, as cardinal Hoyos stated recently, is a part of the Roman Catholic Church, and is in the Roman Catholic Church (eg. you cannot fulfill the obligation of hearing Mass on Sunday in any schismatic group, and you can fulfill it by hearing Mass celebrated by a SSPX priest). The legal difference between the rest of the “mainstream” Church is that SSPXs situation is canonically irregular, and SSPX priests are suspended. But the penalty was never declared, so canon 1335 applies. Especially the second sentence of the canon:

    “If a latae sententiae censure has not been declared, the prohibition is also suspended whenever a member of the faithful requests a sacrament or sacramental or an act of governance; a person is permitted to request this for any just cause.”

    Furthermore, you are following the error of the so-called “orthodox” church, which is not only schismatic, but also heretic. Jurisdiction and mandate has nothing to do with the validity of the sacrament of the Holy Orders. They claim the opposite. These four men are valid bishops. To ordain a valid bishop you must:
    1. Be a validly ordained bishop yourself.
    2. Have correct intention.
    3. Keep the correct form and matter.
    That’s all. Without papal mandate it is just illicit (in nearly all cases – but not in every case), but still valid.

  33. p. says:

    Consider the case of the Utrecht schism (so-called “old catholics”) vs. the Anglicans, and validity of their orders. They’re real schismatics and heretics, not the SSPX. Still the, old Catholics have valid orders. Or at least had.

  34. Brian Mershon says:

    My family and I will be joining in the Rosary Crusade, just as we did before when the Catholic faithful contributed 2.5 million rosaries to Pope Benedict XVI, happily reigning.


  35. QC says:

    I think that might actually be Pio Nono on the banner (he, the Immacualte Conception, and Lourdes and its messages (and not just about the IC) are linked together in a special way. Anyway, I think it is a good gesture on both sides–for the SSPX to be allowed to say Mass there and for them to use a “modern” looking church without complaining.

  36. Brian says:

    Peter Dresser of Coonamble, who writes that Jesus is not the Son of God, remains a parish “priest” in the Diocese of Bathurst;
    80% of “modernist” Catholics support women’s “right” to kill their unborn children;
    Catholic politicians who support abortion are given communion;
    SSPX Bishops remain ex-communicated.

    I don’t get it.

    Time to pray.

  37. Geoffrey says:

    I see no difference between Milingo’s act of defiance and Lefebvre’s act of defiance, they just had different “reasons” for doing so, neither of which were legit.

    We need to pray for the conversion of their hearts. The lifting of the excommunications will follow.

  38. Ben Whitworth says:

    Accordng to Fr Michael Brown’s Forest Murmurs blog (he just got back from there) the TLM can now be offered at any altar in Lourdes except the Grotto. I guess someone felt the line had to be drawn somewhere.

    The welcome extended to the SSPX shows how far we have come from the days when the shrine authorities blamed the SSPX for planting a bomb in the Grotto (it turned out to be Basque separatists), but bear in mind that an Anglo-Catholic pilgrimage was given the run of the place a few weeks ago, so the shrine seems to have fewer ecclesiological scruples than some commenters on this post!

  39. Jane says:

    I am puzzled by this. I am all in favour of the SSPX reconciling with the Catholic Church and will pray for this intention.

    There are a few things that I would like explained about this particular Mass at Lourdes and I hope that someone can explain the circumstances and legitimacy or otherwise of this situation. The Mass is always pleasing to God, but lawful authority must be obeyed. It is not clear who celebrated the Mass.

    One of my relatives apparently took it into her own hands to secretly baptize her grandchild, because her daughter is with someone (the father of the baby) who because of the religion that he belongs to, will probably never agree to this.

    If she did the baptism properly, it would be valid, but it has been done without the permission of the Church. There is a disorder here. (I sympathise with my relative but don’t agree with her actions).

    Being an Australian I take on board the comments made in this thread about the other big problems being perpetrated by various priests in my country, i.e. denial of Christ’s Divinity etc., but each of the issues must be dealt with separately.

  40. Sid says:

    For those of us who love “The Mass Of Gregory the Great”, unity with the SSPX ought be a top priority. And so very high on our prayer lists. Our own actions and words ought be carefully considered so that they may promoted this unity.

  41. Jane says:

    I would like to clarify my posting. TLM is not the issue that I am concerned about. I am concerned about whether or not the SSPX celebrated the Mass or someone who is in union with the Catholic Church.

  42. Chris says:

    Lori: It is beautiful for very unique reasons.

    I disagree.

    People with wheelchairs made their way into beautiful basilicas and cathedrals for years.

    This hideous room does not grant the beauty and majesty our Lord is owed.

  43. Brian Mershon says:

    Jane, See “p.’s” post above. The SSPX are part of the Catholic Church. The Church authority with the highest level of competence in this area (Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos) has said so repeatedly.

  44. Nick says:

    If it wasn’t for Archbishop Lefebvre’s act of treason against the Novus Ordo I doubt that this blog would exist or that the Tridentine Mass would be available everywhere by an act of the Pope.

    I believe the problem is that while Archbishop Lefebvre was part of the Church’s power structure with buddies everywhere, these four Bishops were consecrated outside the structure and remain outside the structure today. And so while under current circumstances the Archbishop would have gladly acted to return to the jurisdiction of Rome, these four bishops have not — and are still acting as outsiders because they (in reality) are outsiders.

    But this is a good step in the right direction.

  45. Rick says:

    Dear “p”:

    “Ecclesia Dei
    His Holiness Pope John Paul II
    Apostolic Letter
    July 2, 1988 …

    In itself this act was one of disobedience to the Roman pontiff in a very grave matter and of supreme importance for the unity of the Church, such as is the ordination of bishops whereby the apostolic succession is sacramentally perpetuated. Hence such disobedience–which implies in practice the rejection of the Roman primacy–constitutes a schismatic act. [Code of Canon Law, 751.] In performing such an act, notwithstanding the formal canonical warning sent to them by the cardinal prefect of the Congregation for Bishops last June 17, Archbishop Lefebvre and the priests Bernard Fellay, Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, Richard Williamson and Alfonso de Galarreta have incurred the grave penalty of excommunication envisaged by ecclesiastical law. [Cf. Code of Canon Law, 1382….
    Given at Rome, at St. Peter’s, July 2, 1988, the 10th year of the pontificate.
    John Paul II”

    2. Msgr. Lefebvre had no authority to declare the “state of necessity.” He was told by the Supreme Pontiff in advance not to move forward with the episcopal consecrations and that they would incur the penalty.
    3. Yes, His Excellency Cardinal Hoyos has said that one may fulfill the Sunday obligation by attending Mass offered by an SSPX priest. The SSPX priest may not administer the Sacrament of Penance ( Confession) nor officiate at the Sacrament of Marriage.
    4. Yes, the four men “ordained” as “bishops” are valid priests, they are not bishops. The elevation to the Episcopacy ( Bishop ) is not in itself a Sacrament, but the possession of the fulness of the Priesthood, of Holy Orders, established by the Blessed Savior. To validly receive the fullness of the Priesthood, the position of a Bishop, one must be in the state of sanctifying grace. When one commits a schismatic act they have committed a mortal sin. The four men who are priests and who “accepted” the rite of ordination to the position of Bishops did so after having committed a schismatic act, thereby incurring the penalty of excommunication.
    5. Yes, to validly “ordain” a bishop you must be a validly ordained bishop yourself, have the correct intention, and keep the correct form and matter. There is another element which cannot be separated or neglected, which is to receive permission from the Supreme Pontiff. To do otherwise is to incur the penalty of excommunication.
    6. These actions of Msgr. Lefebvre inflicted a wound on the Body of Christ and so thus declared the Supreme Pontiff, “With great affliction the Church has learned of the unlawful episcopal ordination conferred on June 30 by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre…..This affliction was particularly felt by the successor of Peter, to whom in the first place pertains the guardianship of the unity of the Church…”

    7. The situation of the position of the SSPX is most unfortunate and a resolution is hopefully near. It will require the four “bishops” to declare their obedience to the Supreme Pontiff as was requested and reject their errors, confess their sin and do penance for creating a division in the Body of Christ. There is no other way then to obey the Pontiff who is the Vicar of Christ. To do otherwise leads to spiritual darkness.

  46. leo says:

    a word of defence for the underground basilica, its the height of clever engineering and sparse design . Its a pity that the shrine did not provide the original liturgie big six and fittings which were used at the consecration by john xxiii shortly before his election. The sacrament is reserved on an altar dedicated to st pius x which im sure had great significance for the faithful present. In the treasury the vestments designed for the consecration are preserved which look very heavy , the photgraphs show cardinal roncalli not wearing them but a very skimpy roman cope and frilly lace alb

  47. Ottaviani says:

    Yes, the four men “ordained” as “bishops” are valid priests, they are not bishops. The elevation to the Episcopacy ( Bishop ) is not in itself a Sacrament, but the possession of the fulness of the Priesthood, of Holy Orders, established by the Blessed Savior. To validly receive the fullness of the Priesthood, the position of a Bishop, one must be in the state of sanctifying grace. When one commits a schismatic act they have committed a mortal sin. The four men who are priests and who “accepted” the rite of ordination to the position of Bishops did so after having committed a schismatic act, thereby incurring the penalty of excommunication.

    Unless you know something that the Ecclesia Dei commission doesn’t, I think you had better quit with this argument. Cardinal Hoyos refers to them as “Bishop Fellay” or “Bishop Tisser de Mallerais” and has said over 10 times now publically that the SSPX are not in a state of schism.

    Rome recognises the episcopal consecrations of Orthodox bishops, even they are truly schismatic beyond doubt.

  48. Ottaviani says:

    I don’t understand. Why were they allowed to say Mass in a Catholic place of worship?

    Perhaps for the same reason why the Arch-layman of Canterbury was allowed to preach a sermon at the grotto of Lourdes – a quintessentially Roman Catholic Marian shrine.

  49. Michael J says:


    I must admit that I too am a bit confused about elevation to the Episcopacy. It does not seem to be a Sacrament, but many treat it as if it were. It also seems to be more than a mere “job promotion”, but what it is, exactly, I cannot say

    If, as you state though, the consecration of a Bishop is not a sacrament, how is it that the state of ones soul can be an imediment?

  50. Brian says:

    If the four SSPX Bishops are not Bishops, would it not follow that the priests they ordained are not priests, and that His Excellency Cardinal Hoyos has committed a grave error in telling Catholics that they can meet their Sunday obligation by attending mass at SSPX chapels?

  51. dcs says:

    Consecration to the episcopate is indeed a Sacrament as was taught by the Second Vatican Council (it was widely held to be a Sacrament before then). It is simply not true that only one who is in a state of sanctifying grace can receive episcopal consecration – indeed, the Council of Trent taught that one can only know one’s state with moral certainty anyway. So yes, the SSPX bishops are true bishops (though not possessed of jurisdiction) and to argue otherwise frankly isn’t Catholic, or at least not based on Catholic principles.

  52. Michael J says:

    So there are *eight* Sacraments?

  53. dcs says:

    So there are eight Sacraments?

    No, ordination to the diaconate, priesthood, and episcopate are all one Sacrament: Holy Orders.

  54. Michael J says:

    Ok, but Trent (Session7, canon 9) rather emphatically states that the sacrament of Holy Orders cannot be repeated. How is it that a man could then receive this Sacrament twice – once when becoming a priest and once as a Bishop?

  55. Gerry says:

    Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. This is a request to Our Lady for a “removal of the DECREE of excommunication.” This is a matter of justice.

    After that, the SSPX will be willing to engage in doctrinal discussions.

    Now, why would Rome not want to engage in doctrinal discussions before a supposed canonical “unity” is achieved?

    Are we to believe that we are truly unified if there is merely a canonical unity and we don’t believe in the same things?

    Do I believe in the same Catholic faith as the most modernist-minded priests who deny the Divinity of Our Divine Lord and Savior?

    Here’s the crux of the matter; Doctrinal discussions lead to the exposure of errors. The exposure of errors forces the Pope and the bishops to do their duty and condemn those errors. Condemning those errors prevents those errors from remaining in the Church with any advantage. Silence in the face of such errors becomes manifest consent, and malfeasance in high office.

    If the Pope would condemn the errors outright, there would be no need for doctrinal discussions, no need for doctrinal discussions, no need for the SSPX to resist.

    It’s all on the Pope.

  56. Jane says:

    Hi Brian Mershon, if Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos says that the SSPX is part of the Catholic Church and the Cardinal is the highest authority on the matter, I won’t argue with him, but does that that mean that I am permitted to attend their Masses?

    The answers is a big fat NO.

    They are in rebellion against the authority of the Catholic Church, the very church that Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos says that they belong too.

    My brother years ago went to one of their Masses and my dad had a fit and told him not to, which he obeyed.

  57. Papist says:

    The answer is a big fat YES. Attendance at an SSPX Mass fulills the Sunday obligation. This comes from the PCED as well, who have authority on these issues.

  58. Jane says:

    Hi Papist,
    If attendance at an SSPX Mass fulfills the Sunday obligation as you have been advised. What are the conditions?

    Does anything go?

    I suspect not.

  59. dcs says:

    Ok, but Trent (Session7, canon 9) rather emphatically states that the sacrament of Holy Orders cannot be repeated. How is it that a man could then receive this Sacrament twice – once when becoming a priest and once as a Bishop?

    But session 7 canon IX cannot be understood in contradiction to session 23 canon II:

    CANON II.–If any one saith, that, besides the priesthood, there are not in the Catholic Church other orders, both greater and minor, by which, as by certain steps, advance is made unto the priesthood [N.B.: bishops possess the fullness of the priesthood]; let him be anathema.

    When session 7 canon IX says that the Sacrament cannot be repeated it means that a man cannot be ordained to same order twice.

  60. dcs says:

    If attendance at an SSPX Mass fulfills the Sunday obligation as you have been advised. What are the conditions?

    How could there be conditions? Either attendance fulfills the obligation or it does not. If one is physically or morally impeded from fulfilling the obligation, one is not bound by it.

  61. Jane says:

    Hi dcs,
    When I referred to conditions, I was referring to the following: under what circumstances could a person could go to a SSPX Mass to fulfil his/her Sunday obligation?

    To give you a better idea of what I was saying, I will offer the following example: you can fulfil your Sunday obligation by attending Mass at an Orthodox Church, if you are 200 miles from a Catholic Church.

    This means that if a Catholic Church was nearby, you could not go to an Orthodox Church to fulfil your Sunday obligation.

    This is definitely what I would call a condition. I heard of one Catholic who was on a trip to Russia who fulfilled his Sunday obligation in this way.

  62. wsxyz says:

    Jane, I do not think that there has been any definitive answer to your question from the Holy See. Individuals have asked questions of the PCED, which has responded approximately so: It is legitimate to attend an SSPX Mass solely out of a desire for the traditional Mass, without any intention of adhering to schism.

    A couple of years ago, I asked my local FSSP priest about attending an SSPX Mass while traveling to a location where there was no other traditional Mass. He permitted this and, while my local priest does not have the authority of the PCED, it seems reasonable to me that the case of a one-time visit while traveling, even given the general availability of NO Masses, is adequately covered by the statements of the PCED.

  63. Rick says:

    Dear Brian and dcs:

    If two people marry in the Church and they are in the state of mortal sin at the time of the marriage, they do not receive sacramental graces, they are in a state of grave sin against God and His Church. If they repent, confess their sin, the Sacramental grace of Matrimony will flow. If a man knowingly allows himself to be “ordained” knowing that the one ordaining has himself committed a schismatic act and has been excommunicated by the Supreme Pontiff, that man has been ordained illegially, that is his ordination is illicit and therefore sinful. The priest who has also “accepted” to be raised to the position of a Bishop by an illegal act, has also sinned and offended God. He cannot receive the graces that he otherwise would had his ordination been licit. Yes, he may receive Actual graces from God allowing him to perform salutary acts as a man and a priest , but he will not receive Sacramental or Sanctifying Grace by virtue of his ordination as Bishop until he is Sacramentally absolved of having committed the illicit and schismatic act. It is dangerous to persist in this state as there is a significant risk that the behavior of that person will become increasingly unruly, such as persistant and open defiance of the Supreme Pontiff,publically chastising the Vicar of Christ, highly suggestive and evil remarks to the faithful about secret and undercover actions by presidents and governments against its own people such as the destruction of property and lives, the cunning design of a parallel set of canonical rules and laws to serve one’s own purposes. These are all signs of separation from the See of Peter and the result of the destruction of Sacramental grace that would otherwise prevent such actions.

  64. dcs says:

    To give you a better idea of what I was saying, I will offer the following example: you can fulfil your Sunday obligation by attending Mass at an Orthodox Church, if you are 200 miles from a Catholic Church.

    No, someone who is physically impeded from fulfilling the Sunday obligation (such as being 200 miles away) is not bound by it. Attendance at an Orthodox church does not fulfill the obligation. One may attend to gain some spiritual benefit but it does not fulfill the obligation. So if an SSPX Mass fulfills the obligation (and it does), one need not be physically or morally impeded from assisting at Mass elsewhere in order to fulfill one’s Sunday obligation there.

  65. dcs says:


    I don’t think I said otherwise, though I am not sure I agree with everything you write. I was simply responding to the claim that the SSPX bishops are not true bishops.

  66. Greg says:

    Fr. Z wrote: [I hope they are not thinking that all the credit goes to them, though I don’t hesitate to affirm that PRAYER HELPS!]
    No, no, Father, of course not: but that all the credit goes to God, and His grace, obtained, in part, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

  67. Malta says:

    remember, all, that SSPX were persecuted for nearly 40 years primarily for refusing to say a fabricated liturgy. BXVI, of long memory, vindicated their position w/ SP–you just don’t trash 2000 years of Catholic Tradition with 1960’s liberal “feel good”. Soon, I ardently pray, the illicit “excommunications” will be lifted, and the example of SSPX may begin to infuse tradition back into Christ’s bride….

  68. Patrick says:

    Calling the excommunications “illicit” is stupid. When the Supreme Legislator issues an interpretation of canon law as it pertains to a specific action, it is, by its very definition, licit.

  69. malta says:

    patrick: as is calling “licit” consecrations “illicit.”

  70. Jordanes says:

    And schismatic consecrations are certainly never licit, Malta.

  71. Patrick says:


    When the Supreme Legislator issues a decision motu proprio it is, again by its definition, licit. To claim otherwise reflects a total ignorance of canon law.

    Even IF the consecrations were “licit” as you claim (which magisterial documents contradict), the excommunications would still be licit in light of the motu proprio.

  72. dcs says:

    Right, the declaration of excommunication was certainly licit, but it does not follow that it was valid. Of course even if the excommunications are invalid, the SSPX bishops should act as though they are valid, not exercise their ministry, and seek to have the declarations lifted.

  73. Malta says:

    right as you are about my illicit use of the word “illicit” certainly you dont disagree that sspx was, historically, treated in a most rough and rude manner–unbecoming to the dignity of the Church…

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