ASK FATHER: Can I teach at an SSPX school?

From a reader…


Minimal background for context: Recently, the SSPX sent out an e-mail looking for teachers for their schools, including one in my area. […]  [S]o even after over 2 years of job hunting, I haven’t been able to get hired into ANYTHING, no matter how high or low on the ladder it is. Mid-level, junior-level, entry-level, minimum wage, I’ve been rejected for all of it because of a lack of “experience.” (What Catch-22?)

Question: Would it be “schismatic” or otherwise inadvisable to teach in an SSPX grade school? As desperate as I am for money, I’m asking about this because I value a proper relationship with Rome and my local See even more than anything else :(

God bless you and I thank you for your work!

Let’s think about this.

A Catholic can go to SSPX chapels for confession (thanks to Pope Francis).

A Catholic can go to an SSPX chapel to be married (thanks to Pope Francis).

A Catholic can fulfill his Sunday obligation at a chapel of the SSPX (thanks to Canon Law).

A Catholic can work for a non-Catholic church as a janitor or choir director.

A Catholic won’t be asked by the SSPX to reject the Pope or unity with him.

Can a Catholic teach for an SSPX elementary school?

I think so.

The rest, about unity with your local church, is up to you.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. GordonB says:

    … the list goes on… (sort of) and at an SSPX school you will be able to teach without having to cave to commom core. In the same way Archbishop Lefebvre protested the traditional Catholic Mass, today, the SSPX schools are one of the few places that also teach according to a traditional Catholic methodology (perhaps some bastions of good educational sense remains in some Catholic Diocese–just not mine).

  2. GordonB says:

    P.S. I should say not only is there no “Common Core” but importantly Catholic School all to often now model themeselvex to be like public schools, and that’s not a good thing. Catholic Education should be leading the way, forming the whole person, not just the sci-math wave of the future. IMHO SSPX schools are much better about forming the whole person and you’ll get to be a part of that too!

  3. JabbaPapa says:

    A sometime online friend and convert from Islam to Catholic Faith had a similar problematic, and as I was worried for her, I did at the time devote some considerable thought to the question — and the answer that came out of my investigations (and they did not lack pedantically detailed abstrusity) is something in the manner of the following :

    Obey your local Bishop in such matters. If he forbids it, you can’t.

    And seek the permission, his Bishop willing (and I mean Bishop — if your Ordinary is an Abbot he has not I believe the competence to judge in these matters, for the arcane technical reason that the SSPX is an Order so that an Abbot cannot legally interfere in its internal matters as they are foreign to his own Order — as I said, I have pursued this investigation into some abstruse detail) — I was saying seek the permission, of your Parish Curate, without which you can’t.

    These permissions granted though, nothing neither dogmatic nor canonical prevents it, unless the particular SSPX chapel in question has been the subject of a particular condemnation from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

    These are of course a few hoops — but since the lifting of the excommunications for schism by Pope Benedict XVI and the gracious mercies afforded to the Faithful attending those chapels by Pope Francis, they have at least been aligned into a more easy jumpthroughability than in decades past, so that it is very likely that your Catholic teaching vocation to that school shall be unproblematic.

    As to your question as to dangers of doctrinal schism, it’s very simple : do not embrace schism nor schismatic theology, and so keep it away from you — since even the earliest days of the Lefebvrist crisis, lay Catholics who are clear in the desire of their souls for the orthodoxy of the Faith are not beholden away from those chapel organisations.

    Only if your particular local SSPX priest and/or SSPX chapel has or have been specifically and individually condemned should you be more seriously concerned — but that is quite unlikely to be the case, unless they have aligned themselves with the Williamson.

    I cannot guarantee the absolute accuracy of this that I have written BTW, which is only to the best of my knowledge, so that formally the right person to ask is your Bishop.

    I hope that this is not too confusing, and God bless you.

    Do not be afraid — approach your Bishop humbly and gently with your request.

    You do in all cases anyway need to seek your Bishop’s and your PP’s permission, as well as that of the pastor of that SSPX chapel, if you are to lawfully provide catechetical or other instruction for the benefit of the children in your Diocese.

    And that’s your Bishop — not sundry men and women employed in some diocesan tasks for him.

    But given your admirable desire to do so in obedience to the Divine Law, you should accept that our prayers will be that you shall be granted the graces of such good vocation.

  4. APX says:

    Whomever wrote that transcript didn’t review it with the original recording, which I’ve been having issues trying to post the link from the page of the transcript. They left out some words.

    Let’s see if YouTube works.

  5. Fr. Vincent Fitzpatrick says:

    JabbaPapa: If the bishop is opposed to the existence of the SSPX, let him expel the priests and shut down the school. If he doesn’t do that, why should a layman go crawling to him, tugging at his forelock?

  6. Uxixu says:

    The biggest issue with SSPX is not their attitude with Rome, which is mostly workable… It’s the intrusion into the territories of the diocesan Ordinaries without permission, which is not allowed by Trent. All the more ironic that if they would sign the protocol of May 1988 that Abp. Lefebvre signed (before repudiating) and that FSSP abides, they get a blanket amnesty on all current houses.

    While some bishops have a slightly better relative relationship (See Bp. Conley versus say… Bp. Bruskewitz and the apology of Bp. Morlino). Their situation has always been illicit outside of the diocese of Fribourg…. One suspects if, for some reason, you tried to maintain communion with the local diocese (attending the most reverent novus ordo, perhaps in Latin) that the local SSPX may or may not wish to keep you on staff, and though they expel open sedevacantists, etc they still juggle elements that are at best uncertain, if not in open doubt about the new rites of ordination and episcopal consecration, to say nothing of the Mass, to the point of sometimes performing conditional ordinations and confirmations…

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