I look less and less often at the simply dreadful catholic media, such as Fishwrap and Amerika, Commonwelt and Crickey (Croix of Bobby Micky). I also try to avoid RU-486 (aka The Bitter Pill aka The Tablet). However, a tweet from the estimable Joseph Shaw of the LMS made me look at the latter.
— Joseph Shaw (@LMSChairman) October 4, 2020
I responded that this was another example of people who don’t know what they don’t know. That’s what happens when libs try to write about these complicated issues.
Mind you, I haven’t seen the whole piece at RU-486.
Note that RU-486 said that the SSPX is NOT now in schism.
They are right.
What they are wrong about is that they write implied that they WERE in schism. Let’s see with my emphases and comments.
“The SSPX, whose four bishops were excommunicated in 1988 and readmitted to the Church [wrong] by Benedict XVI in 2009, …. Benedict’s controversial concession ended the schism [no] the bishop’s ordinations had created [no] but left the society with no Vatican-approved mission.”
People who are excommunicated are still members of the Church. They are members who are not permitted to receive the sacraments until they have – in general – repaired whatever it was they did that was wrong. They have to have the censure lifted by the proper authority. When Benedict lifted the censures, the bishops were able to receive the sacraments again. They were members of the Church before and after.
The 1988 consecrations of bishops (without papal mandate, which incurred the excommunications) constituted a “schismatic act”. However, it takes more than one act to cause a schism. The SSPX was not in schism before or after the episcopal consecrations. The SSPX is not NOW is schism.
It is sort of true that the Society has “no Vatican-approved mission”. Francis gave the SSPX the faculties to receive sacramental confessions. That’s a mission. Moreover, in a way, they have a wider faculty than diocesan priests! Dioceses grant faculties to diocesan priests. If they travel outside the diocese, they are still able to absolve sins when asked for confession. If a priest travels to another diocese for an extended period of time, he should get faculties from that diocese, too. But the SSPX guys are, ironically, with the faculty to hear confessions but they are not incardinated anywhere. So, they can forgive sins … anywhere.
It amuses me to compare them to the Anglican “flying bishops”. They are bishops with a loose connect to a place but who move around to minister to people who won’t (rightly) accept the ministry of women priests and bishops.
Anyway, I wrote about the SSPX HERE.
Theirs is a complicated situation. And the issue of incardination is one of the most complicated elements in who the SSPX are.