ASK FATHER: What does SSPX stand for?

From a reader…


What does SSPX stand for?

That question can be taken in more than one way.

Firstly, what are the initials, the acronym?

As you know, most members of religious orders, societies and institutes, put the initials of their organization after their name, to identity who they are.  For example, O.F.M. Cap. comes after the name of one of the flavors of Franciscans, founded by St. Francis of Assisi, the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin. O.P would mean Ordo Praedicatorum, the Order of Preachers founded by St. Dominic, otherwise known as Dominicans. SJ after a name… well…

SSPX is an abbreviated acronym for FSSPX, which means Fraternitas Sacerdotalis Sancti Pii X (Decimi), the “Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X”. Hence, this is a fraternity or society of priests, not lay people. Lay people don’t belong to the SSPX.

That’s what SSPX stands for.

What does THE SSPX stand for?   You can read their own words about themselves at their site HERE, under “Mission” and “Key concerns”.  What it boils down to is a curt statement: ““The purpose of the Society is the priesthood and all that pertains to it and nothing but what concerns it.”

The Society stood for and stands for the formation of priests in line with the Church’s perennial teachings. Members of the SSPX are concerned that there are strong currents in the Church out of harmony with the Church’s Tradition. They are concerned to hand on the Church’s Tradition.

That’s what SSPX stands for and what the SSPX stands for.

The SSPX has an anomalous canonical status. I have written about that.   Some of Francis’ moves toward and about the SSPX has made their canonical situation both clearer and more complicated, but – ironically – in a positive way.

Here is more reading…

ASK FATHER: What’s the truth about the SSPX?

More about the SSPX and the heart

ASK FATHER: Does the SSPX “exercise legitimate ministries” or not?

A final point.  In 1988, when the founder of the SSPX, Archbp. Marcel Lefebvre, consecrated four bishops without the permission of Pope John Paul II, some of their priests formed their own group called the “Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter” or FSSP.  They have strong roots in the spirituality of the late Archbishop.  Therefore their mission is similar to that of the SSPX: “The mission of the Fraternity is two-fold: first, the formation and sanctification of priests in the cadre of the traditional liturgy, commonly called the Extraordinary Form of the Roman rite, and secondly, the care of souls and pastoral activities in the service of the Church.”

It could be said that the SSPX and the FSSP are in “competition”.  The fact is that the present landscape of the Church is extremely complicated and large.  Each group is clearly trying to preserve the Church’s Tradition and to form solid priests.  In that they are on the same page.  A major difference between the FSSP and the SSPX is that FSSP is formally recognized by the Church and the SSPX is not.  That doesn’t mean that the SSPX has no status whatsoever.  It means that their status is not as formalized and clear as that of the FSSP (and other traditional groups).

Our constant hope and prayer is that, soon, all these complexities will fall away as so much chaff in the wind and that we will all harmoniously cooperate together.

Please, Lord Jesus, High Priests… please, Mary, Queen of the Clergy… make it so.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  3. Tantum Ergo says:

    I’d like to thank Fr. Z for his healing approach to the status of the SSPX. He doesn’t use volatile rhetoric dismissing them as “heretics,” but rather points out the good while not discounting the complexities. I cannot for the life of me understand that some who value the protection of the Church’s heritage attack them without mercy. They are w-a-a-a-y closer to what I hold dear than anything the heterodox (to borrow a phrase) “Church of Nice” wishes to foist on us.
    A little charity goes a long way.

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  5. The Egyptian says:

    in this crazy age, when the Pope stands up for Judas of all things, at least the SSPX stands for SOMETHING!

  6. Jim Dorchak says:

    I love the Mass especially the Old Mass!

    The closest Mass to my house is over 12 hours drive away from me (Santiago Chile which is the center for satans rule in Chile…).

    This is the ONLY REGULAR MASS that has regularly continued since 2019!

    There are NO diocesan masses or ANY other mass available here in Chile in the past 14 to 15 months.

    My priest stopped by my house about 6 months ago to say hello. Not to hear my confession or bring communion or well anything other than to say hello. Very nice of him. He is a good and obedient man who does exactly what he is told by our local bishop.

    So do you understand what I am saying? NO MASS NONE (with some extreme exceptions) in the whole country of CHILE. None………….. except the SSPX!

    WOW! Just WOW….. what is that worth? Your Soul? Well it could and may mean that if you live in Chile. No one else is hearing confessions or offering the Mass or baptisms to confirmations or well being CATHOLIC!

    So to sum it up for ya. The SSPX is the ONLY Catholic Presence in Chile South America.
    Now for me they are a 3 to 4 day trip away! I can neither afford the trip or make the trip but Bless the Lord they are there doing what all Catholic Priests should be doing and for that I thank God.
    Now if I could just get them to visit more often then I could rest in peace. Until then I go to Mass online and have NO CONFESSION.
    Fr. Z says go to confession often…. think if you could not go at all ever again! That is kind of where my family is now.
    Jim in Chile.

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