For the Year of Mercy Pope Francis has (in an indirect way) granted to the priests of the SSPX the faculty validly to absolve penitents in routine sacramental confession. HERE
Under normal circumstances, the priests of the SSPX do not have this faculty, without which they cannot validly absolve. They can in case of danger of death, as even “laicized” priests can, of course.
The SSPX Superior, Bp. Fellay, has at their US website, a series of Q & A during which he speaks of Pope Francis’ concession. HERE
Q: On September 1st, Pope Francis, on his own initiative, decided to allow all the faithful to make confessions to priests of the Society of St. Pius X during the Holy Year. How do you interpret this gesture? What does it mean for the Society?
FELLAY: We were in fact surprised by this action of the Holy Father on the occasion of the Holy Year because we, like everyone else, learned about it through the press. How do we understand this gesture? Allow me to make use of an image. When a fire is raging, everyone understands that those who have the means to do so must endeavor to put it out, especially if there is a shortage of firefighters. So it is that through all fifty years of this terrible crisis that has shaken the Church, particularly the tragic lack of confessors, our priests have devoted themselves to the souls of penitents, invoking the case of emergency foreseen by the Code of Canon Law.
As a result of the Pope’s act, during the Holy Year, we will have ordinary jurisdiction. In the image I mentioned, this has the effect of giving us the official insignia of firefighters, whereas such a status was denied us for decades. In itself, it adds nothing new for the Society, its members, or its faithful. Yet this ordinary jurisdiction will perhaps reassure people who are uneasy or others who until now did not dare to approach us. For, as we said in the communiqué thanking the Pope, the priests of the Society wish for one thing only: “To perform with renewed generosity their ministry in the confessional, following the example of untiring devotion that the saintly Curé of Ars gave to all priests.”
Bp. Fellay has taken the usual line that they don’t really need faculties from Holy Church. They, of course, do… just like every other priest.
Of course it is hard to know when the Year of Mercy actually begins. The year is supposed to begin on 8 December. That’s when Francis is to open the Holy Door in Rome. However, Pope Francis opened a door during his trip to Africa. So, I guess it’s underway there. The rest of the world is supposed to get things started on 13 December.
So, do SSPX priests in the Africa where Pope Francis opened the door have faculties now? Will any who are in Rome have them on 8 December? And do priests in the rest of the world have to wait until the local diocese starts things up?
In any event, everyone… GO TO CONFESSION!
Bp. Fellay also makes some comments about the Synod of Bishops, including: ” I will not conceal from you the fact that to me the sorry spectacle that the Synod presented seems particularly shameful and scandalous on more than one count.”
How I look forward to the full reconciliation of the SSPX. Hopefully Pope Francis is the man who can get it done.