UPDATE 24 June
I had a note from Peter Vere which, with his permission, I should add to the post.
A number of folks have sent me the following link, in which you mention my name directly, regarding the SSPX.
A few points:
The individual cites my previous position, back when a clear schism existed between the SSPX and Rome. In light of Pope Benedict’s subsequent lifting of the excommunications, the SSPX’s expulsion of Bishop Williamson and those within the SSPX loyal to him, and subsequent rapprochement under Pope Francis, I’m now on record publicly as stating my previous position on this issue is now moot since the SSPX are no longer in a state of schism or display a schismatic mentality.
Likewise, in response to your reader in the comments section, the SSPX are back in communion with Rome. They have even re-established limited canonical ties with Rome in the practice of canon law like any other Catholic diocese or major institute of consecrated life.
Thus the SSPX remain in an irregular canonical situation, but it is slowly being regularized. As such, they can no longer be considered schismatic, or outside of communion with Rome.
Please note my canonical opinion expressed above applies to the main SSPX only. It does not extend to the so-called SSPX Resistance and other groups that broke away under Bishop Williamson from communion with the SSPX.
Thanks to Peter Vere for sending this in!
___ Originally Published on: Jun 23, 2019
From a reader…
I’ve always had the impression that Cardinal Hoyos and Msgr. Perl have affirmed that so long as a person is not developing a schismatic mentality, that he/she may fulfill their sunday (and assumedly holyday?) obligation at an sspx mass, regardless of whether there’s a novus ordo mass nearby or even a licit tridentine mass (fssp, etc) nearby.
However, I’ve recently come across arguments made by Peter Vere and others to the contrary, i.e., that attendance at an sspx chapel can only be justified if there’s no other catholic mass nearby at all, and even then, one’s duty towards a sunday obligation is waived anyways.
What do you think? This has left me confused.
Mr. Vere and others are confused and have drawn incorrect conclusions.
I worked at the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei” for a long time. It was always the position of the PCED that people could attend Masses at the chapels of the SSPX, that people would on a vigil of or day of a holyday of obligation (e.g., all Sundays – can. 1248 §1) fulfill their obligation, and that they could also contribute, out of justice, to the collection. The letters often hedged saying that the PCED wouldn’t recommend Communion at the chapel, but that language doesn’t forbid Communion either!
Yes, you can fulfill your obligation at an SSPX chapel. No, you don’t need to be in a situation where you can’t get to another Mass at a recognized church or chapel. Wanting to go is reason enough.
Of course God cannot be deceived.
People shouldn’t go to these or any other chapel if their Faith and their unity with their proper pastors is being undermined. It seems to me that thinking, “I really dislike Card. C__, so I won’t go to a parish Mass. I’ll go to the SSPX instead”, would be a deficient motive. It seems to me that if you attend the SSPX chapel and all you hear is harangues against Francis and the “modernist Church” blah blah blah and you are sensing that that scandalous preaching is affecting your unity with the local church, then that would be a reason to reflect on why you were going to the SSPX chapel.
You can go to confession and be validly absolved by SSPX priests, just as with regular priests.
It is now in most places possible validly to marry at an SSPX chapel, so long as they are working in harmony with the local diocese in the matter of marriages. I don’t know of a US diocese where this is not the case.
In 99% of cases, lay people want reverent worship and solid, trustworthy preaching. And in 99% of cases, that’s what they will get at chapels of the SSPX. There are rotten lay apples and rotten clerical apples in our big barrel. They are rare. But a rotten apple can do a lot of harm to the rest of the barrel.
And remember that God cannot be deceived when it comes to motives.
I suppose now that some will jump in with all sorts of notions and assertions that you can’t fulfill your obligation. They are all wrong and I am right.
And, as my old pastor used to say, “When you’re right, you can’t be wrong.”