Recently there has been some slightly turbulent discussion in the blogosphere about the canonical status of the Society of St. Pius X, that is, whether or not the SSPX is in “schism”. Some people refer to them as “schismatic”.
That isn’t quite accurate.
First, remember that the the full name of the SSPX is “Fraternitas Sacerdotalis Sancti Pii X… the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X”. So, the true membership of the SSPX are the bishops, priests and, I suppose in a tangential way, the seminarians and religious. Lay people who frequent their chapels aren’t really members.
When I worked for the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei” we avoided using the word “schism”. There hasn’t been any official determination that they are in schism.
That said, it must be admitted that Pope John Paul II wrote of the 1988 illicit consecration of bishops as a “schismatic act”. The 1983 Code in can. 751 describes schism as “withdrawal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or from communion with the members of the Church subject to him”. And I think that the “duck argument” could apply, at least as a warning of what could come in the future.
Moreover, in 2013 Card. Mueller of the CDF – also the President of the PCED – referred to them as being is schism. That said, there hasn’t ever been any official ruling and declaration that the SSPX is, formally, in schism.
In any case, I think it is not helpful refer to the SSPX as being schismatic until such time as that Holy See comes down on that side openly. Surely is isn’t a good idea to come to digital blows about it.
Folks… we have far bigger problems. We need to close ranks rather than bicker about this sort of thing.
I, for one, pray for a reconciliation. And soon. If things remain the way they are for much longer, I don’t see how reconciliation will come. After all, there is now a whole generation raised up in their chapels who have never known clear and unambiguous unity and harmony with the Roman Pontiff and the bishops in communion with him. That’s not good.
The moderation queue is ON. I’ll probably let a lot of comments pile up and release them at once, after some filtering. So, review and think before posting.