Archd. of Santa Fe out over its skiis

Interesting factoid from the Archdiocese of Santa Fe.  Archbishop Wester has solemnly pronounced that the SSPX is “not Catholic” and that Catholics may not attend Mass or receive sacraments at the SSPX chapel in Albuquerque.  HERE

“Not Catholic”… that goes beyond anything the Holy See has officially pronounced.

The statements says:  “The following churches do not accept the Holy Father or meet this criteria.”

The problem is that the SSPX does accept the legitimately elected Popes from Paul VI onward.   As far as unity with the local bishop is concerned, I’ll wager that the SSPX chapel went by the Archdiocese’s decrees concerning dispensation of Mass obligation during the COVID lockdown.   I’ll bet that they’ve had recourse to their local tribunal.

The statement says: “It is not licit for Catholics to attend Mass or to receive sacraments at these churches, for the Roman Catholic Church does not recognize them as valid.”

What planet is the writer of the statement from?  No one who has the slightest knowledge of the SSPX says that their ordinations, Masses and, without question now, their absolutions are invalid.

This statement from the Archdiocese directly contradicts what Francis stated, namely, the faithful may go to priests of the SSPX for sacramental confession and their priests can receive delegation to witness marriages and to celebrate the Nuptial Mass.

If the SSPX were schismatic, that could not have happened.

Hence, Wester – if this was Wester and not just some flunky on his own – has acted ultra vires in making this pronouncement.  This is, surely, an error of an underling who didn’t understand what he was doing.  Still, the Archdiocese of Santa Fe seems to stand in contradiction to Francis on many points.  Surely that wasn’t their intention.

Also, we read: “Most Reverend John C. Wester, Archbishop of Santa Fe, has not
appointed any pastors or priests to the churches, communities or organizations listed below:…”

So, another criterion is whether or not the Archbishop appointed the priest?

That means that if there were a Church of, say, the Ordinariate of St. Peter (Roman Catholics of the “Anglican” use with their own bishop and structures) there, in the eyes of the Archdiocese they wouldn’t be Catholic either, since Wester would not have appointed the priest there.

That’s pretty insulting.

Look.  I think reasonable people will admit that public figures like Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden are really lousy Catholics, scandalously, so scandalously that bishops are obliged to apply can. 915 in their cases.  They are bad Catholics, but they are still Catholics.

But the priests of the SSPX and the Latin Rite Roman Catholics of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter aren’t Catholics?  Because Wester didn’t appoint them?

Who wrote this thing?

What I find really interesting is the large number of independent chapels people have set up there.   That suggests to me that, had there been adequate pastoral care for these people, they might be in union with the local church.

One indication that pastoral care for these people is not of interest to them is in the fact that they admit that for one place they don’t have current information.  You would think that before issuing a public statement like that they would have at least gotten the facts.

To be fair, this list does not go after only the traditionally minded Catholics, but also “Catholics for Choice Organization”. And there’s, “Bread of Life Catholic Charismatic Church of Canada” (I’m not making that up).  Who knows what they get up to.

Still, the pronouncement about the SSPX chapel there is surely wrong.  It is obvious that they are Catholic even from the consistent previous statements from the Holy See that people fulfill their Sunday obligation by attending their Masses (cf. can. 1248 §1)


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  1. Zach says:

    I just wanted to support your assumption that a considerable percentage of those who attend TLM or SSPX do so because they feel the diocese has nothing for them. They boast of inclusion and providing services for every minority group except those who love beauty and reverence in the liturgy.
    We moved from the Diocese of Arlington to the archdiocese of Pittsburgh. I assumed that I could find a beautiful and reverent mass to take my family too with a good community. After 3 years of searching I now attend the FSSP parish here.
    We just visited the diocese of Arlington again and it was amazing. The liturgy had: Missa de Angelis mass parts, ad orientem, optional communion on the tongue at the altar rail, incense, 6 vested altar boys and incense. If there were a parish mass like this in the entire Archdiocese of Pittsburgh, I would attend it. I am, or was before TC, a reform of the reform advocate and think the NO can be beautiful and reverent and can be reformed to curtail abuses. But it seems the middle ground is disappearing and I am being pushed to the TLM, which is fine.

  2. redneckpride4ever says:

    In all seriousness, how many practicing Catholics even pay heed to the current events in their Diocese beyond going to Mass when obligated?

    I have no clue, but it might be worth polling. An example poll question could be specifically for those in the Diocese of Santa Fe: “Are you aware of your bishop’s statement about the SSPX?”

    If a huge majority don’t know about the existence of the SSPX because they haven’t heard the bishop’s statement, it might indicate a different issue we haven’t considered: communication between the shepherds and the sheep.

    Are practicing Catholics truly following the faith or is it like a Sunday social club for them?

    Just my 2 cents.

  3. eamonob says:

    This seems to be a very common misperception among both laity and clergy that the SSPX is schismatic, sede, not Catholic, etc. It’s gets a little frustrating to have to continually point out the Vatican’s approval of attending Mass and receiving other sacraments there, not to mention they’ve always prayed for the pope in the Canon. I have never even attended an SSPX chapel (we attend the diocesan TLM and Dominican Rite), but I would have no anxiety about whether I’m attending a valid or licit Mass if I went to the local SSPX chapel in our area.

  4. iamlucky13 says:

    “It is not licit for Catholics to attend Mass or to receive sacraments at these churches, for the Roman Catholic Church does not recognize them as valid.”

    Does it still count as pastorally rigid if a pastor is treating the truth as flexible?

    Moving on, while I do see one SSPX parish in the list, I also see quite a few others that almost certainly should be on the list

    – Several Old Catholic churches, which seem to be more common in general in that region than the rest of the US.

    – The Catholic Charismatic Church of Canada (how’d they end up in New Mexico?)

    – Catholics for Choice

    – New Mexico Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice

    A serious mistake was made by including the SSPX in the list, but hopefully the bishop can be assured that it really is a mistake, and they should not be listed.

  5. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Re: communication, I don’t think that if an individual Catholic isn’t glued to his archdiocesan website, that he is somehow a Sunday-only Catholic.

    First off — many Catholics have no access to the Internet. Any Internet-only strategy is leaving out a lot of devout Catholics, many of them poor or old.

    Second, it’s the archbishop’s job to stay in touch with the flock, not vice versa. The flock has other jobs.

  6. PaulusFranciscus says:

    I’m no canon lawyer, but this might be an opportunity.

    Is there no process by which an affected SSPX priest could bring a cause in a canonical court to have this “edict” set aside? It could be a way to force the Vatican into admitting the legitimacy of the SSPX and preventing the corralling of traditionalists there so that they can all be declared in schism.

  7. mibethda says:

    A few years back, Cardinal Castrillon, while President of the PCED, refuted the claim that the SSPX was schismatic.
    Incidentally, the SSPX chapels in Florida never suspended the Mass during the Covid crisis even though most diocesan Masses in the state were suspended for a number of months

  8. BH says:

    This is my diocese.

    I cannot find any statement from His Excellency re-implementing the Sunday obligation that was thrown out at the beginning of COVID. To be fair, as redneck said, difficult to keep up with the diocese at times, so maybe I’ve missed it, but I’ve looked. As far as I know we are the only diocese in the US that still isn’t requiring Sunday Mass.

    So if the Sunday obligation isn’t important, then why release this statement? Why does it matter if going to Mass doesn’t matter? I know the local SSPX has grown by leaps and bounds recently, perhaps that’s the core of the issue. All other Latin Masses are gone from this area.

  9. Luke23:39_43 says:

    I’m always amazed at the hate the SSPX receives. I’ve been attending an SSPX mission for almost a year and have been grateful for unapologetic, authentic Catholic teaching, of which I and the generations after me have been robbed, and our excellent priest with a spine.

    I have had several doubts about Pope Francis (re: Pachamama and more) being the pope, have considered sedevacantism and have confessed as such a few times. The three priests to whom I’ve confessed have never agreed with or encouraged my thoughts in any way and have affirmed Francis as being the pope. So, no, the SSPX is not schismatic.

    I also have zero desire for a penny of mine to support the bishop – especially any bishop who closed his diocesan churches and cut off the faithful from the sacraments because of C19. Perhaps with rare exception, the SSPX didn’t do that. They never stopped caring for their flocks, even in California under Newsom.

  10. JonPatrick says:

    Of course the obvious solution if the bishop is concerned about people attending the “schismatic” SSPX is to start a diocesan TLM or perhaps invite the FSSP to come into the diocese and establish a chapel there. I won’t hold my breath waiting for this to happen.

  11. Mojoron says:

    Our Archbishop, Joseph Nauman, has given his blessing to those churches who perform the Latin Rite and does not intend to stop them. We also have a very large SSPX community here in Kansas who are building the largest Church evver in Kansas and will be completed next year. I hear it’s upwards of $20 million, in any event, the SSPX community at St Mary’s is flourishing despite the accusatory sexual misconduct of some former priests and more power to them. It will be interesting to see if Nauman has anything to do with the new church once it is completed.

  12. Benedict Joseph says:

    This is not the first time this error has been published by the Archdiocese. I found myself rather shocked when I first noticed “the list” published in the Archdiocesan “magazine” perhaps as long as four years ago. At that time I resisted the urge to write them and provide a correction knowing well it would be disregarded and, within our context here, perhaps this episcopal misstep is the least of our problems.

  13. Eriugena says:

    The Benedictine Monks at the Monastery of Abiquiu (NM), Diocese of Santa Fe, can’t all have been ordained by the bishop, surely? Just an example. There are quite a few religious communities in Santa Fe…

  14. Gabriel Syme says:


    Good point about inclusion for everyone except Catholics who prefer the traditional rite.

    I looked at the webpage for the Archdiocese of Washington and, under the mass finder, there are 31 options listed for masses in various languages – including, to be fair, 4 tridentine mass locations.

    However, we are to believe that all these options are worthwhile and for the benefit of the Church, except the traditional form of worship used throughout the ages.

    What a lot of baloney. A nonsense.

    What a waste of resources for a Diocese to be offering liturgy in 30-odd languages. Imagine how much easier it would be, if all the priests could say the latin mass which would suffice for everyone.

    In the Country I live in we have a rich and diverse Catholic population – as is the case in many places. As well as English speaking Catholics from the British Isles, we have Catholics from Italian, Polish, Indian, Chinese, Nigerian backgrounds.

    But sadly I do not know many of my Catholic brothers and sisters from different backgrounds to myself. This is because the modern liturgy splits us all up by language group and ensures we almost never meet.

    Other than some Polish people who I meet at latin masses, I do not know any Catholics with a different background or ancestry to myself. This seems a shame.

  15. Gabriel Syme says:

    Regarding Archbishop Weser’s comments which contradict what Church authorities have said:

    It is very concerning to me how easily some prelates lie to the faithful. I have gradually become aware of this over recent years.

    – lies that the traditional mass had been formally banned (ultimately debunked by Benedict XVI)

    – lies that Catholics sympathetic to tradition are not Catholic at all (contradicting Church authorities and also reason).

    – lies that Catholics who are inclined to tradition are extremist trouble makers (as recently exposed by journalist Diane Montagna)

    Its all very sad.

    This – along with never ending abuse cover-ups – has very much shaken my trust in the Church hierarchy, whom I now tend to view with suspicion.

    We should be able to fully trust and respect these men, but some of them make it so very difficult.

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