SSPX priest allowed to say Mass regularly by Italian Archbishop

From Eponymous Flower:

SSPX Clergy Invited to Help in Ravenna Archdiocese by Archbishop

(Rome) As auxiliary bishop of  Reggio Emilia-Guastalla (2006-2012)  Msgr. Lorenzo Ghizzoni was a bitter opponent of those faithful who sought to celebrate the Holy Mass in the Immemorial Rite of All Ages.   It was an opposition which undermined the Motu Proprio  Summorum Pontificum.

As Archbishop of Ravenna-Cervia,  Msgr. Ghizzoni is allowing, on the first and second Sundays in October, a priest of the Society of Saint Pius X (FSSPX) to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. 

The celebration will take place in the parish of Saint Maria del Torrione and follows from the formation of a stable group of  the faithful desiring the Traditional Rite, who’ve asked the Archbishop for it.

The celebrant was Father  Enrico Doria of the priory of  “Madonna di Loreto” in Rimini.

The online edition of the paper „Prima Pagina Reggio“ described it: “It seems that Pope Francis’ recognition of the legitimacy of the sacrament of reconciliation given by lefebvrian priests has also quickly led to a new course in the Italian Episcopate.  This, what was unthinkable yesterday, (the opening of parish property to Lefevrians, who had previously been regarded as lepers), are today not only tolerated but welcome.  Those of the faithful community close to Econe will celebrate, but also all other faithful of the Catholic Church, we are convinced, will make use of this.”

Msgr. Lorenzo Ghizzoni was named in Dezember 2012 by Pope Benedict  XVI. as Archbishop of Ravenna and enthroned in January 2013.

That’s interesting.  I know of at least one case like this from way before Summorum Pontificum.  But this is interesting.

It is unusual for a priest who has been irregularly ordained to be given permission to offer (technically, an illicit) Mass. There’s no indication in the article whether the archbishop has given him faculties, or is merely permitting him (looking the other way?) to offer Mass and permitting the faithful to attend.

This smacks of that gray chaotic area Pope Francis seems so fond of.

If it were to come out that the archbishop gave him faculties, then we’d be in a very interesting canonical ballpark.  It would likely have to be cleared through the Holy See and whatever irregularities that exist would need to be lifted (perhaps by the Pont. Comm. “Ecclesia Dei“).

Since he would have been ordained without proper dimissorial letters, he would have been ipso facto suspended from the exercise of Holy Orders (can. 1383). This suspension is a censure which presumably prohibits the licit celebration of the sacraments (can. 1333) and prohibits the reception of stipends and demands the return of those stipends even if they had been given and received in good faith (can. 1333, 4). This suspension would need to be lifted. It does not appear that this censure is reserved to the Holy See.  Therefore a bishop could probably lift it for one of his subjects, but only if that subject has purged his contempt (can. 1347, 2 and can. 1358, 1). This also might possibly require adjuration of the impaired communion the SSPX is currently in, as well some indication of a desire to return to the full, unimpaired communion enjoyed by other priests.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Priests and Priesthood, SSPX and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Imrahil says:

    In a way, our reverend host is right when he says that

    This smacks of that gray chaotic area Pope Francis seems so fond of.

    All the same, I’ll spiritually shout “Halleluja!” and actually will say a Gloria Patri. Right now.

    I’d have said a Te Deum but for that rather strange provision that this arrangement is to hold on first and second Sundays in October (in this and all the following years apparently?). Huh? Maybe there’s more to see here.

    — As for the censure, I do not know whether Papal action is needed to heal the suspension and all that follows; I think, though, that if episcopal action should suffice, then the bishop has just implicitly lifted it.

  2. MaryL says:

    Anyone can go through the motions of the mass, even I can – and no one would have offered up Christ’s body and blood to the Father in reparation for our sins, and no one would have received Christ in the sacrament of the Eucharist. What is at stake is the sacraments. There is one Priest and that is Christ. When he ascended into heaven he became invisible. Then the church trained and ordained men with the sacrament of Holy Orders, so that they could be the visible Christ to be present on earth and continue to offer his body and blood to the Father and baptise us, absolve us from our sins etc. Unless the Bishop has administered the sacrament of Holy Orders on this SSPX man, he wil not be able to administer the sacraments. This is what I understand about our faith.

  3. zama202 says:

    No matter how you slice it – this is great news!!!


  4. robtbrown says:

    This smacks of that gray chaotic area that has existed in the Church for the past 50 years.


  5. Maltese says:

    Great news: ‘brick by brick’.

  6. Gerard Plourde says:

    I’m not having any success locating the article on the web site for prima pagina reggio. Is there a corraborating source?

  7. sjmeinhofer says:

    Back in the early 90s I was a cathedral server at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC. Just a teen boy but I remember seeing strangely and elegantly clad clerics on the high altar “con-celebrating” with Cardinal O’Connor present. When I asked the MC who these men were, the good Monsignor told me they were Old Catholics invited to be near the altar at Solemn Pontifical Mass on Sundays. The Cardinal had hoped that inviting these valid, but illicit “priests” would lead to reconciliation and greater rapprochement between the archdiocese and these “Utrecht” line ministers. Eventually the old Catholics stopped showing up. Now His Eminence was hardly a fanatic ecumenist. In fact he was always roasted by the media for proclaiming catholic teaching clearly. So I think it’s wonderful that a SSPX is allowed to celebrate Mass there. True ecumenism is not celebrating our diversity, but publicly proclaiming our unity in Faith and the Sacraments. That’s why liberal Protestants and liberal Catholics want intercommunion. They know that we don’t share the same faith and that They don’t believe in the Sacraments. The Mass is treated as a communion service but not the holy sacrifice of Cavalry.

  8. Denis Crnkovic says:

    Disclaimer: I am not a canonist (nowhere near!). I agree with Fr. Zuhlsdorf ‘s assesment of Pope Bergoglio’s “grey area.” I would add that this is no surprise, since Bergoglio has a minimal regard for the letter of the law, interpreting it as somehow pharisaical. I am not usually impressed with his rather lax attitude about keeping to the rules. This move by His Excellency, Msgr. Ghizzoni, is clearly in line with the current atmosphere at the Vatican, the one that assumes that you err on the side of permission rather than be somehow hide bound to the law. Now, while I agree with Portia that mercy is a good thing, I also think that adherence to a set of reasonable and logical guidleines is a good way to approach serious problems (such as the licit perfromance of the Eucharistic mircale). The situation here in Croatia with the Summorum pontificum being abysmal, I welcome any and and all regularizations of the FSSPX. This move, however, is disturbing with its undertones of “mercy” above all.

  9. Raghn Crow says:

    This is so neat that I’ll leave my first comment on Fr. Z’s blog here: Deo gratias, ar fad ar fad! (The Irish “ar fad” = “altogether, indeed”.)

    It’s very early in reporting this and it could change significantly, but if it holds up, wow! Here in Budapest the Latin Mass (at least the one I know of) is with permission from the hierarchy but the local diocesan paper won’t advertise for it. Maybe now they will. The old baroque (what else, this being Budapest?) church that has it (noon on Sunday at Szent Mihaly on Vaci ut, downtown) really comes into its own with the trad Latin Mass (esp this one, with a specialized choir that is reviving old Hungarian Mass music). I’ve never liked Baroque myself, but once you’ve been to a Tridentine High Mass in a Baroque church, you realize what they were made for.

    It’d be great to see more of them “do what they were made for”, as it were. May this be a “sign of the times”, le cúnamh Dé! :D


  10. Legisperitus says:

    MaryL: A bishop did confer the Sacrament of Holy Orders on this man.

  11. Tony Phillips says:

    I suspect that most SSPX priests do ‘desire to return to the full, unimpaired communion enjoyed by other priests’…though don’t want the bargain to include a requirement to swear some sort of loyalty oath to things they don’t in conscience agree with.

  12. BenjaminiPeregrinus says:

    MaryL – priests of the SSPX are true priests, just illegal priests.

  13. Latinmass1983 says:

    “This also might possibly require adjuration of the impaired communion the SSPX is currently in…”

    Given that all “adjurations” or errors, heresies, schisms, apostasies, etc., went out the window in the late 50’s/early 60’s with regards to converts to the Faith, I would think that the New Order world/mentality can find a way to omit such adjuration … It might be possible that it would not be the first time … a Father d’Escoto comes to mind … sure he was old and wanted to celebrate Mass before dying, but that does not make him less or a heretic! Yet, the current Holy Father, in his very specific mercy, agreed to let him celebrate.

  14. S.Armaticus says:

    Ockham’s (Occam’s) Razor posits: Numquam Ponenda est Pluralitas Sine Necessitate.

    Simplist explanation is that Msgr. Lorenzo Ghizzoni recognized Francis’ gesture toward SSPX as confirmation that SSPX has supplied jurisdiction through a state of necessity that exists in the universal Church.

    Pretty easy, if you ask me.

    On an aside, our proof comes from a 14th century heretic. But his scientific methodology was superb. Widely used in economic and financial analysis presently :)

    PS Background to Monday’s “schism talk” –

  15. Ferde Rombola says:

    I hope this is not the beginning of the “a pope in every diocese” that Pope Francis wants to install in the global Church. Cardinal Arinze was clear about that.

    That said, I am all for a return of the SSPX clergy to the bosom of Holy Mother Church and the return to the Extraordinary Form of the Mass as well, so long as it’s canonically licit.

  16. Magash says:

    IANACL but my belief is that these men are real priests, merely ones who do not have a canonical relationship to the Church, hence no ability to validly celebrate any of the sacraments (baring special circumstances, such as imminent death for confession, etc.) The Holy Father has extended faculties to them to hear confession for at least the next year. If the archbishop has given him faculties, then he now has a canonical relationship to the Church, and I would think that his Masses are now licit as well as valid.
    I’ve often thought if some bishops would merely take the step to confer faculties to these men then Rome would have to make a choice. Either to support these decisions and so reintegrate the SSPX or to admit they are in schism and rebuke said bishops. In any case it would be better than this slow march to schism that has been happening for decades.
    This would also pin down the SSPX. They could hardly claim to both be inside the Church, and refuse faculties offered by a bishop, especial an offer with no strings.

  17. One would have to think (though, in today’s climate in the Holy See, one can not be sure…) that the proof will be in the reaction to this.

    No response (either up or down) from Rome, then one will have to assume that it is acceptable (de facto, rather than de jure) to the Holy Father that this is one way for the FSSP to be reintegrated into the bosom of the Church around the machinations of the Curia (which +Francis seems to have a dislike for).

    My own (admittedly ignorant) take is that this can only end well. Perhaps by this route (which, on the face of it, is no different than how distributing the Eucharist in the hand, EHMCs becoming wide spread without a demonstrated need, altar girls, and any of the other deformations of the last 50 years somehow attaining the force of common practice), this ‘stealth’ reintegration may end up bringing these good men back into the Barque of Peter.

    After all…from December 8th on for a year…they have been given faculties by the supreme legislator to validly hear confession and absolve sins around the recalcitrance of the hierarchy. I’m thinking that their approach will be a lot more rigorous than your nominal ‘regular’ confessor down at the local parish. I, for one, would love to have a confessor that put the fear of Hell into me for my sins rather than spout platitudes and offer tapioca-textured penances.

    Taking bets that, quietly, faculties will not be withdrawn at the stroke of midnight on December 9th 2016…and more bishops will take this as a sign that ‘all things to the contrary notwithstanding’, quietly reintegrating the FSSP into the full life of the Church will happen from the bottom up by the quiet acquiescence of Rome.

  18. Apologies for the brain fade, everyone…replace FSSP in previous comment with SSPX. Not enough coffee this morning…and wrote in haste.

    Mea culpa

  19. Eric says:

    Why would the mass be “technically illicit?”

    I thought SSPX masses are illicit because they don’t have the permission of the local ordinary. This one does.

  20. Pingback: Fr. James Martin & Fr. Thomas Rosica, Bad Priests - Big Pulpit

Comments are closed.