ASK FATHER: Can a diocesan priest say Mass in an SSPX chapel?

From a reader…


Is it OK for a diocesan priest to offer Mass in an SSPX chapel on a regular basis?


Let’s consider a couple points.

Can. 932 §1 states:

“The eucharistic celebration is to be carried out in a sacred place unless in a particular case necessity requires otherwise; in such a case the celebration must be done in a decent place.”

The law says that Mass can be celebrated in a decent place. There is no question that a SSPX chapel is a “decent place”. One might debate about what “necessity” means. That’s a pretty flexible term. It seems to me that it could include the fact that Father wants to say Mass and he needs a decent place to do it and have proper furnishings, etc.

I don’t think there is a problem with this in a “one off” situation, or even a few times. Say a priest is traveling and the local SSPX priest says that the priest can use their chapel for private Mass.

If there is question of public Masses, it seems to me that the priest should have the good will of the local bishop where the SSPX chapel is located even for ONE public Mass.

While Francis has greatly altered the situation of the SSPX through his concessions regarding faculties for confession and for marriages in their chapels, there is still a ways to go. I think this situation requires the knowledge and consent of the diocesan bishop. Of course the SSPX superior should know about it, too.

That said, if the bishop is okay, and the SSPX superior is okay, then… why not?

After all, if a church has to close for some reason, sometimes a neighboring Protestant church will generosity lend their space for Masses. If in Protestant churches, why not in a clearly Catholic SSPX chapel?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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This entry was posted in 1983 CIC can. 915, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, SSPX and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Couldn’t a local bishop cut the Gordian knot in his own diocese by the simple expedient of granting to all SSPX priests within his territory all the faculties that (ceteris paribus) all the other priests in the diocese have?

    [Yes, he probably could. However, that bishop would more than likely receive questions from his brother bishops and from some offices in Rome.]

  2. JesusFreak84 says:

    The last paragraph is literally where the Shrine of Christ the King in Chicago is; after the 3-alarm fire a few years ago, Mass has been in the attic of the PCUSA community right behind the church.

  3. KateD says:

    We stayed “on base” one time at Easter and went for a Sunrise hike put on by a chaplain. We met at the chapel and had breakfast together. Really a beautiful experience….Anyway, the chapel had the altar set up ad orientim and more appropriately than many Novus Ordo Catholic parishes we’ve visited. When I inquired, the Protestant chaplain explained he had been raised Anglican or Episcopalian and this was how the altar felt ‘right’ to him. It would (and did on occasion) serve as the altar for the Catholic Mass.

  4. Father, thank you for your response. I suppose cutting the Gordian knot might not be the politically expedient thing to do; but surely it would be the pastoral thing to do.

  5. William says:

    If a Mass can be said at Yankee Stadium – that veritable den of thieves – why not an SSPX chapel?

  6. Animadversor says:

    Your Reverence writes

    [T]hat bishop would more than likely receive questions…

    Well, then all he would have to do would be to answer them. After all, His Excellency would know the reasons why he is following this superbly charitable suggestion for going to the peripheries, no?

  7. Fr_Sotelo says:

    I doubt that an SSPX congregation would want a diocesan priest offering Mass for them, as past district superiors of the SSPX have taught that it was mortal sin to attend OF Mass or EF Mass offered by non-SSPX priests.

Comments are closed.