From a reader…
Are SSPX Masses and Eucharist licit for Roman Catholics? This Triduum was heart-wrenching as we had the “full band” (organ, piano, guitar, drums and cymbals) playing during Holy Thursday AND Good Friday!
There is no Tridentine Mass celebrated in my area. I have increasing doubts as to the validity of the NO. There is an SSPX parish several towns over, also a Ukranian Byzantine Catholic Church within 45 minutes of here. I love God, and I love my faith, but truly feel the NO has been protestantized (is that even a word?). Yes, I have spoken to our priests. Their responses were “I’ve heard that from several other parshioners as well”.
I’m sorry that you have had to suffer in that way.
Without question the Novus Ordo is valid. The Eucharist is confected and Holy Mass is celebrated. Sadly, the Novus Ordo lends itself to abuses. However, it can be celebrated reverently and in a traditional way. If it is possible to protestantize the NO it is also possible to traditionalize it. Way too much depends on the whims of the priest and those whom he designates to help.
And now to the question which has been answered here many times before.
Masses celebrated by the SSPX are valid. They have valid Holy Orders. They validly consecrate the Eucharist. They undoubtedly celebrate Mass using a Catholic rite, since it is the legitimate traditional Roman Rite which was never abrogated, even with the introduction of the Novus Ordo.
The Code of Canon Law for the Latin Church says:
can. 1248 1. The precept of participating in the Mass is satisfied by assistance at a Mass which is celebrated anywhere in a Catholic rite either on the holy day or on the evening of the preceding day.
This means that if you go to a chapel of the SSPX on the day of precept (such as a Sunday) or the evening before and attend Holy Mass, you fulfill your obligation… silly claims to the contrary notwithstanding.
The Holy See has clarified that this is so.
Also, there is no question that you fulfill your obligation by attending the Divine Liturgy of a Catholic (not Orthodox) Eastern Church, such as the Ukrainian Catholic Church or a Maronite Catholic Church, etc. They, too, celebrate in a Catholic Rite. You may go to these churches and you may receive Holy Communion. I suggest that you not be the first to present yourself for Communion if you are not familiar with how it is distributed. It is distributed by the priest with a spoon directly into the mouth. Watch others first. Do not close your mouth on the spoon! That’s a no no. Attending Eastern Catholic Divine Liturgy can be a tremendous experience, especially when the choir and acoustics are good.
I have never recommended that people regularly frequent chapels of the SSPX. A great deal depends on the priests of these chapels. If they get the “wrong guy” as it were, people can undermine their unity with the Roman Pontiff by taking in the wrong message. The risk of this erosion of unity could in part depend on the manner of preaching and many other factors.
Mind you, I think this erosion take place on a huge scale at “legitimate” parishes which lean liberal! For decades, countless Catholics have been starved of sound doctrine and their faith eroded by dreadful worship. It is a sad fact that the SSPX, which is so Catholic and reverent, must be… well… not avoided, but not entirely embraced yet, while there is no problem with going to a loony parish in manifest communion with the local bishop where all manner of soul-annihilating nonsense goes on unchecked. It’s just plain sad, and I hope that this will soon be resolved.
I still will not recommend frequent reception of Holy Communion at an SSPX chapel – yet – unless the conditions of your life are such that it would be very difficult, physically or morally, to get to another church or parish manifestly in union with the local diocese and Rome, even if it isn’t ideal. The obstacles must be serious, but they cannot be easily spelled out because the circumstances of people’s lives differ so much.
So, yes, you fulfill your Sunday Mass obligation at an SSPX chapel and at an Eastern Catholic church.
This question comes up fairly often and it bears review.