ASK FATHER: Can I go to a wedding at an SSPX chapel?

From a reader…


Is it permissible to attend an SSPX wedding? I thought that the couple (or priest) would first need to request permission from the local bishop and then also have a diocesan priest at the wedding, but I was recently told that these two things aren’t necessary anymore.

All things considered, yes, I think you can attend an SSPX wedding.   SSPX priests may still be – in some ways – though this is confusing in the time of Francis – suspended, but the same Francis has said that the priests of the SSPX can absolve validly and can, now, also witness marriages, so long as they work something out with the local diocese.

I am sure that local dioceses, local bishops, have been gracious in this regard.  If they haven’t… then…

Sorry, my words failed me for a moment as I sought something not vicious to remark.

We can go to them for confession now.  We can go to them for marriage.  We can attend their Masses to fulfill our Sunday obligation.  In justice we can even contribute to their collection for the service we received.

The SSPX priests teach the classic, constant doctrine of the Church concerning the ends of marriage.  They use the classic, perfect form for the exchange of vows.  Francis has said that they can be legitimate witnesses with the consent of the local ordinary.

I would say, yes, you can go to the wedding.

Unless… this is a same-sex wedding.



About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Akita says:

    Indeed, it sounds like you might even attend wearing bells! Promises to be jubilant, solemn and the bride won’t be letting it all hang out!

  2. LA says:

    More than 20 bishops in the various dioceses in the USA already have given this delegation to SSPX priests. Only one or two have caused difficulties.

  3. Prayerful says:

    One particular advantage of an SSPX chapel is that it will be available in a year’s time or whenever a wedding might happen.

    A diocesan TLM is, in too many places, exists under a degree of threat. Pope Benedict confirmed that the Mass of Ages had never been illegal, but all that it takes is a change of local ordinary for the TLM to be de-facto suppressed. Archbishop Léonard was replaced by Bergoglian appointee de Kesel who wasted little time in dissolving a vibrant traditional diocesan order and suppressing a successful TLM venue. Dublin has had a diocesan TLM for thirty years, which Archbishop Martin even offered himself a time or two, yet perhaps come a change of Archbishop under Francis, it could cease. There are a few old parishioners close to where it is offered, who are deathly hostile to the Mass of Ages, and who could give a pretext to suppress the TLM here.

    Never mind my grumbles and worries, this should be a wonderful and blessed wedding.

  4. mulieribus says:

    I don’t think it is as easy as this, Father. It is rather complicated to discern if one can go. My entire large family recently went through this, and it was painful. First – our pastor (FSSP) clarified the situation for us: “During the year of mercy, Pope Francis granted faculties to the SSPX for confessions, but not for marriages. However, he extended the faculties for confessions indefinitely beyond that year.
    Regarding marriages, he authorized that for individual marriages the SSPX priests could be granted delegation to witness the marriages, and even offer the nuptial Mass, but on a case by case basis, and they would have to seek for a regularized priest first. The Pope left that decision of implementation up to the individual bishops. For this diocese, the bishop spoke to me about it and he said if he got any requests from SSPX priests for that required, case by case delegation, he would send them to me, and I have not heard anything from them, so to my knowledge they have not sought that required delegation for any marriages. So as it stands, those marriages are not valid. For that reason, the faithful could not attend them, because they would be giving witness to something that is not actually forming a marriage bond, while acting as though it is forming that bond. It’s a horrible situation.” Hence, when my niece and her fiancé sought to have their wedding in the SSPX Chapel, the SSPX priests would have nothing to do with an FSSP officiating. So none of the family in the FSSP camp could attend the wedding or reception or even give a wedding gift. It was a sad day. Further, it is total craziness that Catholic weddings have become so very complicated, making it difficult to know if one could or shouldn’t attend.

  5. maternalView says:

    Yes, Catholic weddings have become so very complicated. And it used to be I could easily determine if I could go based on the venue– not in a Catholic church then I could assume it wouldn’t be a Catholic wedding. But alas there’s a push to be beach-friendly or mountain top-friendly and allow weddings in different places as long as the right boxes are checked and intentions are deemed good. Even my more traditionally minded family members don’t see it as a problem as long as a priest is there.

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