From a reader:

i’m a reader of your blog and i want to ask you some questions.here they are:

1. is it a sin to attend to sspx chapels?
2. is it also a sin to receive the sacraments in their chapels?
3. in receiving these sacraments from sspx priests, does it constitute a sin also?
4. can a person be an altar server at the sspx chapels?


1. I don’t know.  It really depends on the circumstances and the reasons for going?  Some people go simply because they are interested in the older Mass. Some go and don’t receive Communion.  Some go because they are Sede Vacantists.  Some go because they were always brought there by their parents.  Etc.   There is no way to answer that easily.

2. I have to say the same as above.  People have to know they are doing something wrong in order to be guilty of a sinful act.  Most people know that SSPX Masses are valid, but their marriages and confessions aren’t… since the priests don’t have the Church’s permission to function for the Church.

3. Same.

4. Maybe, for reasons I state above.

I have the sense that the writer is young. 

These are times when we need to be a little flexible.  I suggest that, if you are going to SSPX Masses, to go to confession a regular parish where the priest has faculties and is in union with the local bishop and/or religious institute. 

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Jack Hughes says:

    Quick Question Fr

    Whilst I realise that in a regular situation the SSPX (sadly) do not possess faculties does the Church supply faculties in extreme situations i.e. danger of death? Also regarding a post earlier this year about the french bishops conference (allegedly) sayimg that non-sspx Catholics needed a dispensaion to marry sspx Catholics, in hyperthetical situation where the above happened (rare I know but possible especially with those on the sspx’s ‘liberal’ wing) what would it be prudent to do if the sspx partner insisted on being married in the sspx chapel?

    glad your enjoying fair London town of our fair isles

  2. Jack: what would it be prudent to do if the sspx partner insisted on being married in the sspx chapel?

    Convince otherwise.

  3. Crouchback says:

    Surely the SSPX masses are “at least” as valid as masses said by Bishops which include Liturgical Dancing, like one I witnessed at Lourdes last week.

    I also heard just today of a mass said by an English Bishop wearing a Lion King mask. This Bishop has since died.

    The fact that these guys are “in good standing” is what has me going to the SSPX. I would not support the SSPX, uncritically, all down the line, think Bishop Williamson. But in general, for Sunday mass, no problem. As for marriages and the like this is more a paperwork / bureaucratic problem than one of Faith. Although it could get more serious if the SSPX don’t at sometime kiss hands with Rome.

  4. Jack Hughes says:


    I sympathise with you to a tee, (although williamson has some good stuff to say, he just has a tendency to damage his own credibility with some wierd remarks).

  5. Childermass says:


    Would attending Mass at an SSPX chapel be morally justifiable if one were in a diocese in a terrible state, being wrecked by a bishop who encourages heresy and punishes orthodoxy?

    I ask this because I have some second cousins who go to an SSPX chapel back home (I live in Boston and do not). They and I are pretty much the only practicing Catholics in my family.

    When I visited the (seriously wreckovated) cathedral at home (an upstate NY diocese), I was disturbed by what I found in the cathedral bookshop (which is located in the nave just when you walk in from the vestibule). Prominently displayed for sale were books by such authors as:

    Joan Chittister
    Charles Curran (His “Loyal Dissent”)
    Richard McBrien
    James Alison
    Eugene Kennedy
    Garry Wills (“Papal Sin”)
    James Carroll

    AND (I wish I were kidding!)

    John Shelby Spong

    What kind of bishop allows this? One in communion with the Catholic Church and the Vicar of Christ? I can understand why my second cousins doubt this.

    And while their SSPX chapel booms, the bishop has closed 1/3 of the parishes of the diocese in recent years.

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