Rorate Caeli

For the record: new PCED letter on Sunday obligation
Update: important clarification - not listed as SSPX or SSPX-friendly venue

Clarification (2100 GMT): Following our request for a clarification, we have been informed by the US District of the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) that the chapel mentioned in the letter below is not a chapel of the Society and that, while its specific name was expressly mentioned by the sender in the deleted data, it is NOT included in the public list of chapels, including those other chapels identified by the Society publicly as 'Friends of the Society of St. Pius X'. It is very possible that this information, easily researched online on the website of the U. S. District, might have led someone in the Commission to believe that this specific chapel, which is not listed by them and not one of the "Friends of the Society of Saint Pius X" or "other traditional (non-SSPX) venues", is a venue with no affiliation whatsoever with  the SSPX and led to this different appraisal by the Commission. 

For the point of view of the Society of Saint Pius X on their masses and sacraments, please visit their website.
________________________

[Originally posted at 1207 GMT] Queen of Martyrs Press has publicized the following letter (dated March 28, 2012) from the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei. The full text of the original letter with dubia to which this is the response can be found here. (The dubia are also summarized concisely and completely in the PCED letter.)






It is difficult to interpret this letter (as some are now trying to do) as not in any way referring to Masses offered by SSPX priests. The author of the original dubia explicitly refers to the canonical status of the SSPX priests by way of introduction to his questions (thus establishing the context of the dubia) and towards the end of his letter refers to the "Friends of the Society of St. Pius X" chapel as a chapel "affiliated with the Society of St. Pius X" (that is, it is not a Chapel of the SSPX, but one of a friendly independent priest). Nonetheless, the answers of the PCED do not show any evidence of ignoring the clear context in which the dubia were formulated and sent to it. (2100 GMT: Please see clarification at the top of this post.)

This letter is an apparent reversal of earlier statements from the time when Dario Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos stood at the helm of the PCED, notably the 2003 letter to Una Voce America signed by Msgr. Camille Perl and explicitly affirming, also "in a strict sense", that attendance in SSPX Masses suffice to fulfill one's Sunday obligation. And just as the statements in the time of Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos reversed even earlier PCED statements that had strongly denounced attendance in SSPX Masses (notably a 1995 letter signed also by Msgr. Perl), so one is left to wonder whether this latest statement will also be reversed in a time not too far off. The history of PCED is a history of reversals and instability, which is a typical sign of the lack of any seriousness and of solid... tradition (small 't').

Refer also to the following Rorate Caeli post from 2006: Ecclesia Dei: SSPX priests and faithful are not excommunicates.

79 comments:

New Catholic said...

It's a reversal of the reversal of a reversal. Of other reversals? And all while the same Code is in force.

It is a lack of solid tradition (small t) and respect for precedent - which removes the seriousness of any legal system.

NC

David L Alexander said...

The 2003 Perl letter is worded in such a way, as not to be a blank check for those wishing to fulfill their obligation at an SSPX chapel. This would explain why the same letter takes great pains to discourage such a practice. It has been said before, and is simple and straightforward in its logic: "One cannot use an unlawful means to fulfill a lawful end." One would hardly expect the lawgiver, or his delegate, to encourage otherwise. That said, the most recent letter from Msgr Pozzo is neither an outright "reversal," nor should it come as a surprise.

Br. Anthony, T.O.S.F. said...

I believe both letters are in reference to chapels/churches "friendly" to the SSPX (e.g., Fr. Patrick Perez's church) and not chapels properly belonging to the SSPX. Nevertheless, the letter is sad indeed.

Augustinus said...

Br. Anthony TOSF:

The letter to which the PCED responded, and to which we link near the beginning of our post, clearly assumes that Masses in the chapel mentioned in this exchange are offered by SSPX priests.

Gerard Brady said...

It seems to me that if anybody is fool enough to ask these people for advice or direction regarding any aspect of the Catholic Faith they should hardly be surprised at the lack of a coherent response. I suppose it depends on who is in the office on the day and how he is feeling! Of course if this were a request for info regarding the attendance at one of the Soho 'Gay' masses or an event such as the opening 'liturgy' at the upcoming Eucharistic Congress in Dublin the response would be wholly different!

Knight of Malta said...

Pozzo, sorry, you are wrong under canon law.

I have a bit of legal training and experience. I'll trust a Cardinal and Canon lawyers over you.

But thanks for your kind reply!

Tom S. said...

One more reason the Holy Father needs to step up, step in, and clear all of this up once and for all.

As I learned years ago - Either YOU ride the horse, or the horse rides YOU.

I appreciate His Holiness slow deliberate approach, but sometimes wounds don't heal themselves - they fester. When that happens they require strong corrective action.

All of this ambiguity does no on any good and everyone much harm.

Doc said...

Maybe I'm just cynical and suspicious given various leaks and whatnot, but all the other Ecclesia Dei letters I have seen, the number after the "/" in the protocol number, always matches the year of the letter. This one says 2010 in that place, but the date of the letter is 2012.

Also, regarding the inconsistency, perhaps it is because this letter came after the Pope stated that the SSPX priests do not exercise any legitimate ministry in the Church in 2009 (Perl's came before, if I'm not mistaken). In that sense, you would have the ruling of a higher authority clarifying the rules. This is common in many serious legal settings.

This of course would hinge on whether canon law has in the past been interpreted in such a way that the Sunday obligation could not be fulfilled unless the priest offering the Mass does so with faculties. Historically, would a Mass offered by a priest without faculties be sufficient to fulfill the obligation? I would guess no, but I'm not sure.

New Catholic said...

Regarding the protocol year: for some reason this is common in letters in some Vatican dicasteries, the protocol number may be related to a number of things, including ongoing dossiers, archives, folders, etc.

Bernonensis said...

The timing of this dubium is interesting, but I think it's odd that it should be made at all, since the earlier responsa seemed clear enough. Why did anyone feel a need to revisit the matter?

The dubium and the responsum both state explicitly that what is under consideration here is the applicability of Canon 1248. The logical inference to draw from all this is that the Commission does not consider celebration according to the 1962 missal a celebration according to a Catholic rite. This is a remarkable position for a body established to deal with Catholics who use that missal exclusively.

Does this really surprise anyone, though ? It's the same conciliar ambidexterity that gave you paradoxes like:

"pro multis" means "for many," but "many" really means "all", even though Trent taught that it doesn't; and:

baptism is absolutely necessary for salvation for all men, but we can have good hope for the salvation of at least some of the unbaptized (infants). I suppose this is a case of "all" really meaning "many".

Cruise the Groove. said...

This response directly contradicts the present code of Canon Law [1983]

The Code of Canon Law for the Latin Church says:


"can. 1248 1. The precept of participating in the Mass is satisfied by assistance at a Mass which is celebrated anywhere in a Catholic rite either on the holy day or on the evening of the preceding day."

This means that if you go to a chapel of the SSPX on the day of precept or the evening before and attend Holy Mass, you fulfill your obligation. The SSPX celebrate in a Catholic Rite.


So until the Code is changed, in law, one may fulfill the Holy Day at an SSPX Mass.

Ceolfrid said...

So, does any one really know beyond a reasonable doubt whether or not the Vatican has said, clearly and unambiguously, that Catholics may or may not fulfill their Sunday obligation to assist at Mass by assisting at a Mass offered by priests of the F.S.S.P.X?

I mean, really, how hard is it to give a clear answer?

This is exactly the kind of treatment that leads many traditionalist Catholics to simply ignore most of the nonsense that comes out of Rome.

PEH said...

Sounds like the PCED version of the Abbott & Costello skit: "Who's on first?" The fact that we have not heard from the Holy Father directly on this matter is ominous indeed. How can he remain silent under such circumstances? Is he the Vicar of Christ and Successor of Peter or not?

Cruise the Groove. said...

If the Holy See says that one cannot fulfill the obligation at an SSPX Mass, they are saying essentially that the SSPX is not Catholic, which they have never said before.

If the SSPX is not Catholic, then under Canon Law, their confessions are valid, and one can validly recieve absolution from their priests.

David L Alexander said...

"So until the Code is changed, in law, one may fulfill the Holy Day at an SSPX Mass."

You won't have to wait that long. Interpretation of the law (including what constitutes a "Catholic rite") is in the hands of the lawgiver. This is necessary when any number of sects (including many "Old Catholic" movements which use some form of the old Missal) could be said to do the same.

Melchior Cano said...

I think we can all use a little peace here. We already knew that attendance at a Society chapel fulfilled one's Sunday obligation. We didn't need Ecclesia Dei to tell us in the first place; though it was an act of justice. Similarly, this response changes nothing of the reality; it is simply an act of injustice. We also know that Msgr. Pozzo is not exactly the best friend of traditionalists in Rome. Nothing new here either.

So, let's be at peace, continue our prayer and penance; at least we can rest happily assured that this opinion of Msgr. Pozzo (and maybe Cardinal Levada?) does not represent the thought of the Holy Father.

Cruise the Groove. said...

I kindly ask the moderators of Rorate Caeli to remove this misleading letter.
It only causes confusion amongst the faithful and is clearly opposed to Law and the Mind of the Holy Father.
Thank you.

New Catholic said...

Cruise, this letter was placed in the public domain by whomever received it. It will remain in the original blog that posted it whether we remove this post or not. So what would be the point?

NC

Cruise the Groove. said...

"This is necessary when any number of sects (including many "Old Catholic" movements which use some form of the old Missal) could be said to do the same."

Vast difference and no comparison.

The SSPX use the Missal of 1962, which is a Catholic Rite of Mass approved by the earthly lawgiver and the Old Catholics use a non Catholic non approved Rite of "Mass".

Until the Holy Father himself says, in law that the SSPX are not Catholic, one may peacefully fulfill his obligations at SSPX Mass.

Louis said...

See also Canon 844.2. Various bishops say that SSPX priests are schismatic. This means non-catholic, so this canon would apply.

Louis

someone said...

I have asked ED about the confession by sspx and they haven't answered.

Matthew Rose said...

Cruise wrote:

"If the SSPX is not Catholic, then under Canon Law, their confessions are valid, and one can validly recieve absolution from their priests."

Would you kindly explain this? If they are not Catholic (for ex. like the so-called Orthodox), they have no jurisdiction because of schism (and possibly heresy) and thus most certainly cannot validly absolve sins, right?

Cruise the Groove. said...

"Cruise, this letter was placed in the public domain by whomever received it. It will remain in the original blog that posted it whether we remove this post or not. So what would be the point?"

Thank you for your response kind sir.
The point is that your worthy site, by recopying this letter to Rorate, lend,in effect, some creedence to the lawful truthfulness of this letter which it is clearly not, and as such it will confuse many more people than if it was only on another site.

Rorate being a blog that gets a lot more viewers.

Ronald Packard said...

If the Holy Father is not responsible for Pozzo’s letter, who is? Whatever happened to “the buck stops here”?

Msgr. Pozzo’s letter is evidence that whatever the mind of the pope may be, he is surrounded by men who despise the old Mass and the SSPX. This does not bode well for Bishop Fellay’s gambit.

I do not see how the effect of the letter can be minimized or equivocated. The authorities in Rome have strongly insinuated that one commits a mortal sin by attending an SSPX Mass on Sunday — thereby neglecting one’s Sunday obligation.

All this whistling in the dark about how the ruling will soon be changed alters nothing in the present. Only a Protestant mentality can say to Rome, “Sorry we will disobey you and go the SSPX for Sunday Mass.” When these disobedient people go to make a valid confession are they going to neglect confessing their sin of missing Mass? Will they at least confess that they disobey Catholic Church authority?

Chris said...

The letter clearly asks about a "Friends of the SSPX Chapel." The original website linked to has a title which reads "SSPX - Affiliated Chapel."

The Society lists in its chapel directory in the US, many chapels which are not run by Society priests, but non-SSPX Traditional independent priests friendly with the Society. Yes, Society priests may occasionally or even frequently say Masses there, but these "friendly" chapels are typically run by independent priests.

In this context, the letter would make sense. The PCED cannot vouch for each and every independent Traditional chapel or priest and thus a distinction could be made in allowing a Mass at an official SSPX Chapel to count, since it is a known quantity, rather than giving the ok to any manner of independent affiliated chapel.

Once again, another letter of the PCED does more to confuse the faithful than anything else. The author of the letter should publicly state whether the pastor is a member of the SSPX and whether the chapel is owned by the SSPX to clear this up.

On a side note, it seems like this is yet more Roman politics. A shot across the bow to Bishop Fellay signaling that if no deal is done, this is what is in store for the Society from the PCED.

Cruise the Groove. said...

Louis,

Canon 844.2 says:

"Can. 844 §2 - Whenever necessity requires or a genuine spiritual advantage commends it, and provided the danger of error or indifferentism is avoided, Christ's faithful for whom it is physically or morally impossible to approach a Catholic minister, may lawfully receive the sacraments of penance, the Eucharist and anointing of the sick from non-Catholic ministers in whose Churches these sacraments are valid."

Again, according to Mons Pozzo's letter and according to this law, the SSPX can validly absolve and witness marriages, something the PCED has always maintained they could not do.
Contradictions and confusion.

VetusOrdoLover said...

"...and is clearly opposed to Law and the Mind of the Holy Father."

How clear is 'clearly opposed'?

Furthermore, whatever and however much we may speculate what the Pope *really* thinks according to Bishop Fellay or this or that Vaticanista or Curial Prelate, at the end of the day it is OFFICIAL letters and OFFICIAL statements that matter.

Augustinus said...

"by recopying this letter to Rorate, lend,in effect, some creedence to the lawful truthfulness of this letter which it is clearly not..."

Cruise:

Whether we post this letter or not, it comes from the PCED. It is the source of the letter that gives it whatever credibility it might have, despite what we think of it, and regardless of where it is posted elsewhere on the Internet.

Augustinus said...

"Again, according to Mons Pozzo's letter and according to this law, the SSPX can validly absolve and witness marriages, something the PCED has always maintained they could not do.
Contradictions and confusion."

Cruise, where does it say in the letter that the SSPX can validly absolve sins and witness marriages?

Cruise the Groove. said...

"Furthermore, whatever and however much we may speculate what the Pope *really* thinks according to Bishop Fellay or this or that Vaticanista or Curial Prelate, at the end of the day it is OFFICIAL letters and OFFICIAL statements that matter."

And this is not an official letter or statement as it was clearly only addressed to one person alone.
It is at best only holding of legal value to that one person.
And again it clearly conteradicts Canon Law.

NIANTIC said...

Confusion and contradiction. Like a drunk staggering down the street lurging from left to right and uttering incoherent noices.
Our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVl needs to make a clear statement to end this madness. Why should souls be suffering needlessly. The SSPX IS CATHOLIC,HER MASSES ARE CATHOLIC, HER TEACHING IS CATHOLIC AND THEY GIVE GREAT GLORY TO GOD. Let this be said from Rome loud and clear without further delay. Please God.

Augustinus said...

"The authorities in Rome have strongly insinuated that one commits a mortal sin by attending an SSPX Mass on Sunday — thereby neglecting one’s Sunday obligation."

The letter says something very different, namely, that attendance in an SSPX Mass on a Sunday, is NOT a sin, as long as the attendee goes to another Mass in the course of that Sunday, one that is offered by a Catholic priest in good standing.

We can, of course, debate whether this requirement is just, or makes sense. On the other hand it is clear that attendance in an SSPX Mass is in itself not a sin.

Cruise the Groove. said...

"Cruise, where does it say in the letter that the SSPX can validly absolve sins and witness marriages?"

The letter says that one cannot fulfill their obligation at an SSPX Mass, therby saying the SSPX is not Catholic.
"Can. 844 §2 - Whenever necessity requires or a genuine spiritual advantage commends it, and provided the danger of error or indifferentism is avoided, Christ's faithful for whom it is physically or morally impossible to approach a Catholic minister, may lawfully receive the sacraments of penance, the Eucharist and anointing of the sick from non-Catholic ministers in whose Churches these sacraments are valid."

This Canon says that one may validly be absolved by a non-Catholic minister [the SSPX] for the stated reasons.

That is if the Society is not Catholic.
[which Canon Law says they are]

Does a personal letter from the PCED circumvent or overide the Law of the Church?

JMJ Ora Pro Nobis said...

So now they don't actually fulfil the obligation? Even though previously they did, these people change their minds more often than a weathervane changes direction

Ceolfrid said...

Ronald Packard:
"The authorities in Rome have strongly insinuated that one commits a mortal sin by attending an SSPX Mass on Sunday..."

Yes, and those same authorities, apparently, have absolutely no problem with Clown "Masses", guitar "Masses", Easter Bunny "Masses", altar girls, & c.

JMJ Ora Pro Nobis said...

If memory serves me rightly the only commission that can give an 'authentic' interpretation of canon law is 'the pontifical council for legislative texts', the successor, several generations removed, of 'The Code commission' which gave authentic interpretations of the 1917 code, it seems logical that in a matter this important rather than writing to eclessia dei someone writes to them and asks them how they interpret the relevant canons. I doubt the response will be much different but at least then it would be the right 'department'. Besides its ridiculous that in a matter as important as this they haven't issued any relevant decrees.

Paul S. said...

Regarding the numbering system - it is my understanding that the number refers to files that the Commission maintains on all corresponders. This correspondent was assigned #61/2010 because he was the 61st new corresponder to write the Commission in 2010. For all of his future correspondence, that will be his reference number. By comparison, my number is XXX/2003, because I was the XXXth new corresponder who first
wrote in 2003. Because most people who write the Commission have written in the past, the number of first-time correspondents these days is low.

Jason C. said...

For those so inclined, there's nothing to get worked up about; the older private response in the affirmative that made the rounds was supposedly applicable only to its addressees, so this new response in the negative only applies to its addressees, right?

Easy peasy!

Ivan K said...

The modernist sleeper cells that have infiltrated the episcopacy and priesthood are being activated. There will be more 'leaks', 'scandals', dubious dubia, and more postponements of the regularization of the SSPX.

Peter said...

I cannot understand why, after all these years, anyone who attends Mass celebrated by a priest of the SSPX wants an opinion from Rome, which, this side of an agreement between the Pope and Bishop Fellay, is almost certain to be unfavourable.

You submit a dubium.
The dicastery issues a negative responsum.

You are hardly likely to return to the Novus Ordo simply because of the responsum.

So what do you do ? Carry on as before, or stop attending Sunday Mass altogether ? It's one or the other.

Well, unless you live near an FSSP church, or ICKSS, or similar, or a church where Summorum Pontificum really has taken root, then your options are stark.

People who do not have the luxury of the above must decide for themselves.

But there's not much point in seeking a coherent answer from PCED!

David L Alexander said...

"so this new response in the negative only applies to its addressees, right?"

Great. How about if each of us sends a letter to Rome asking the same question, and see if we all get the same answer? How could they possibly get tired of answering the same question the same way a million times?

Sounds pretty "easy peasy" to me.

gheg said...

I thought that only the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts has the power to issue "authentic" interpretations of canon law. If so, this letter from the PCED would be a private opinion--no more binding than Cardinal Castrillon's previous contradictory opinion, and it would be safe for the faithful to follow Cardinal Castrillon's opinion in practice.

Cruise the Groove. said...

David,

So you apparently do not believe that the Society is Catholic.

Well, its a point of view.

Augustinus said...

Cruise:

You will note that Canon 844 puts very strict limits on approaching non-Catholic ministers for the sacraments. Assuming for the sake of argument that the SSPX is indeed non-Catholic, then a Catholic must first be in the stringent conditions defined by Canon 844 for him to be able to approach an SSPX priest for the sacraments.

At the very least, such a situation does not justify your saying (as you did in an earlier comment)that "If the SSPX is not Catholic, then under Canon Law, their confessions are valid, and one can validly recieve absolution from their priests" without the necessary caveats.

JMJ Ora Pro Nobis said...

@gheg

Exactly my point, one wonders why people bother writing to eclessia dei instead of them!

Mary Kay said...

Once again, I suggest readers to look into the case of the Honolulu Archdiocese and the 'Hawaii 6'. I knew Patricia Morley, and I know her son. I believe this case was answered by then-Cardinal Ratzinger. Have a look at the answer:

www.sspx.org/diocesan_dialogues/honolulu_$_hawaii6.htm

Or google 'Patricia Morley and the Hawaii 6'.

Hilltop said...

The SSPX Website lists its United States Chapels on its website. Among the list it also includes several "OTHER TRADITIONAL
(NON-SSPX) VENUE"(s). It is likely one of these and ONLY one of these addressed by Mons. Pozzo. The Dubia and their responses are specific to a single Chapel.
I belive it is clear from the reading that no discussion of the validity of an SSPX Mass is addressed.

Cruise the Groove. said...

Augustinus:

Canon 844.2 reads:

"Can. 844 §2 - Whenever necessity requires or a genuine spiritual advantage commends it
[which is the case in many circumstances],
and provided the danger of error or indifferentism is avoided
,[usually if one wants to confess their sins they are not indifferent] Christ's faithful for whom it is physically or morally impossible to approach a Catholic minister,
[what does the "morally" part of this mean?
I have been to many regularised priests who have told me that masturbation is most likely not a sin and I was refused absoltion etc]
may lawfully receive the sacraments of penance, the Eucharist and anointing of the sick from non-Catholic ministers in whose Churches these sacraments are valid."

Again,
If the Society is not Catholic.

Martin Blackshaw said...

There is a vast difference between the letter of the (Canon)law and its spirit. It seems to me that there are a good many Pharisees in Rome too eager to waive Canonical writs at the SSPX while prelates and clerics elsewhere in the world are busy turning the House of God into a den of theives. The Holy Father has the spirit of Christ Our Lord in this matter of the SSPX, Mgr. Pozzo clearly does not.

David L Alexander said...

Mr Cruise:

It may be a "point of view," but such is not mine. I have not said that the SSPX is not Catholic, nor would anything I have said lead one to believe that. It is my understanding from statements of the Holy See, which I have read over the years (without the benefit of comboxes on the internet) that the Society is in a state of "imperfect communion" with the Holy See, that their Masses and priesthood are valid but illicit, and that they are not in formal schism, as would be the case with the Orthodox churches.

This is not the same thing as saying that they are or are not Catholic.

(Mary Kay: The Honolulu case was over whether the bishop had the authority to excommunicate your friend and her cohorts. He did not. That is another matter entirely. This response will open yet another can of worms in 5.. 4... 3...)

Tom said...

I thought that with Rome's permission, SSPX priests, with the Faithful in attendance have offered Masses at Roman Basilicas?

I thought that bishops have allowed the Society...on Sundays...to offer Masses at various churches throughout the world?

Example: October 30, 2008...and that was prior to His Holiness having lifted the SSPX excommunications!

http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2008/10/sspx-pilgrimage-and-new-crusade-of.html

"Pictures of the Solemn Mass, of the public recitation of the Holy Rosary, and of the Adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament, as the Sanctuary of Lourdes once again opens its doors and buildings to the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX) during the weekend of Christ the King. The four bishops of the SSPX, who were consecrated by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in 1988, were present in the pilgrimage."

Tom

Anonymous said...

LORD!!!Who opened up this can of worms.

Augustinus said...

"It is likely one of these and ONLY one of these addressed by Mons. Pozzo. The Dubia and their responses are specific to a single Chapel."

And what purpose would that have? If the question was about one specific locale served by one specific priest the questioner would likely have been told to refer to the local bishop instead.

The questions to which the PCED responded are clearly about attendance in SSPX Masses, albeit couched in somewhat localized terms. If the PCED's intention was NOT to pronounce in some manner on attendance in SSPX Masses then this should have been noted in the letter, which was clearly referring to a query that involves the question of attendance in SSPX Masses.

I understand that many of our readers would like to defend attendance in SSPX Masses. This, however, is not going to be accomplished by ignoring the clear intent of the PCED on this matter.

Jack O'Malley said...

Whether this is a reversal or not would seem to follow from any prior ruling which the PCED issued relating to the particular "Friends of the SSPX" chapel located in the particular city mentioned. The writer confined his question to that chapel only and very specifically at that. I think it may be at best premature and at worst illegitimate to generalise Msgr. Pozzo's reply to the Fraternity as a whole.

Perhaps the writer merely wished to stir the pot. But the more curious point is that there are still people out there who embrace such fulsomely purpureous prose as "Embracing the sacred purple of His Most Reverend Eminence, I am His Eminence's very humble and obedient servant."

Monsignore ha fatto una tempesta in un bicchier d'acqua.

Augustinus said...

Tom:

The fact that SSPX priests and bishops have been allowed to offer Mass in Roman Basilicas, by itself, doesn't prove anything except that the Roman authorities do not consider such Masses to be scandalous or sinful to attend. Eastern Orthodox and even Anglican prelates (such as Rowan Williams) have also been allowed to offer their liturgies in Roman basilicas in recent years.

redgoat said...

Cruise:

I think by "indifferentism" they mean syncretism (ie. one religion is as good as any other).

By "morally impossible" I think the textbook case would be severe such as if you were abused by a certain Priest as a child and now you found yourself at a Sunday Mass being celebrated by this Priest and you could not come to terms with this and left - you would not be guilty of sin.

I'm sure a lot of people here might have other moral impossibilities (it's not up for me to judge) and although I could attend the N.O. with abuses and all and not be scandalized (since I grew up with it and am a bit callous to it) I will not take my children to the N.O. nor my wife because they are genuinely scandalized as there are many things that are not Catholic and not part of Catholic Tradition - everything from women on the altar, to the manner of giving and 'taking' communion, et. al.

Those are my personal thoughts on this...

I am not Spartacus said...

If the response had been, affirmative, there would have been huzzahs and told-ya-so's and this Curial decision would have been promoted and cited repeatedly; but the response was, negative, and so many simply will choose to ignore, criticise the Curial Office, or make counter claims as though their personal opinions had equal authority.

Not only are their questions abut Curial competence and consistency, there are questions about those who succor the sspx and whether or not they will recognise as legitimate or authoritative any Curial Office which takes decisions contrary to their will; which is just another way of saying that some will only obey when the decisions taken are consistent with one's will; which is another way of saying, I am the authority.

A crucial Bona Fide of our Faith is obeying decisions that are opposed to our wills.

For the past one-half century the entire ball of liturgical and ecclesiastical wax is crushing many who find themselves in front of its wildly careening path but, as always, uncrushed are those who have always maintained the Bonds of Unity in Worship, Doctrine, and Authority.

By granting yourself liberty to sever one of those Bonds you have also forfeited any right to criticise others who sever a different one of those Bonds for those Bonds are the sine qua non of Catholicism.

And I write this as one who if a member of the Confraternity of the FSSP but one who very much desires the SSPX be regularised.

It is not a good sign for the prospects of Tradition when so many soi disant traditionalists can, with alacrity, slough-off Curial claims that one can not fulfill their Sunday obligation by going to a SSPX Mass.

Augustinus said...

"I think it may be at best premature and at worst illegitimate to generalise Msgr. Pozzo's reply to the Fraternity as a whole."

In which case, the same should apply to all other previous letters by the secretaries of the PCED on the same matter (not to speak of the widely-cited letter of Cardinal Oddi to one woman in 1985).

P.K.T.P. said...

No offence to anyone here but "I told you so". This is why we need a PUBLIC affirmation at law that Society Masses fulfil the Sunday obligation.

P.K.T.P.

Occasional Reader said...

But can one fulfill the Sunday obligation by attending the Prote-Masonic anti-Catholic Novus Ordo worship service? Not in good conscience, you can't.

These churchmen tell the US faithful that is is okay to vote for an abortionist sodomy lover as long as you have "formed your conscience." Well my conscience is old, uncontaminated and well-formed and I do not need a section from a Code of Canon Law (sic) designed to subvert the Catholic Faith to tell me how to be Catholic and what my obligations are and where and how to fulfill them.

P.K.T.P. said...

CONTRADICTION SOLVED

I have in my possession two letters from the P.C.E.D., dated 30 September, 2008, and 16 May, 2009. They ask general questions. The first confirms that S.S.P.X Masses fulfil the Sunday and holyday obligation provided that those attending have no schismatic intent. The second answers my interesting question and affirms that even the Masses of validly-ordained independent priests have the same effect, under the same conditions of attendance.

HOWEVER, these are general answers to general questions. The latest letter, published here, refers not just to any old affiliate of the S.S.P.X but to a particular one. Each of these letters is crafted to respond to the addressee and the addressee's conditions, as one poster here correctly said.

IT FOLLOWS that this latest letter only rules out one specific provider of Latin Masses OR under one unqualified condition of attendance, for the attenders must specifically have "no schismatic intent".

I conclude that nothing has changed and Society Masses, and generally those of affiliated and even unaffiliated priest, fulfil the Sunday obligation for those having no schismatic intent.

Case closed.

P.K.T.P.

Cruise the Groove. said...

This letter and its response only applies to a particular chapel that is called "Friends of the SSPX" not to the Society Masses as a whole.
There is absolutely no evidence in this letter that the Holy Day obligation is not fullfilled in say "Old St. Marys SSPX Church".

If the Holy See officially said that the obligation is not fullfilled in all SSPX Masses then I would obediently comply.
But it does not.

JabbaPapa said...

There really is no reversal at all, but the position regarding the attendance of SSPX Masses and the Sunday obligation has always, since the excommunications, had two apparently contrary elements, but ones that are in fact religiously coherent with the Catholicity of the Church as a whole.

1) Attendance of such masses is "irregular", so that those who knowingly participate in this irregularity are themselves committing irregular actions.

2) However, the Masses themselves are valid, because there is no heretical disagreement at all with the doctrine of the Mass -- for at the very least the precise reason why Orthodox Masses are also valid Masses.

3) So that in cases of licit and valid obligation to attend a SSPX Sunday Mass, which could reasonably and arguably include some licitly Catholic theological or liturgical reasons to do so, just as it might include pressing family reasons or social obligations and etc, then a lay Catholic attending such a Mass will have received a valid Communion, notwithstanding the abovementioned difficulties.

4) Priests celebrating such Masses do *not* OTOH benefit from the same conditions (they can have no excuse of obligation from a very strictly orthodox point of view, because their strict obligation is to obey the Magisterium and their diocesan Bishop), and a SSPX priest celebrating the Sunday Mass in such a way -- unless he is in the exceptional case of having been ordained prior to the excommunications AND of having specifically received permission to do so from his regular diocesan bishop -- will NOT have fulfilled his own Sunday obligation in this manner, strictly speaking.

---

The thing is -- the author of the questions used the adjective "strictly" ; so that one should not be at all surprised that the response provided is the "strict" one, that no SSPX Masses are valid, due to the excommunications and the state of rupture with the Church.

The Masses themselves are still valid Masses, according (ironically enough) to the very doctrines of Ecumenism that so many in the SSPX are in disagreement with...

P.K.T.P. said...

I shall soon publish here numbers on Latin Masses internationally. In the meantime, I suggest to Msgr. Pozzo that he spend less time shutting down the Institute of the Good Shepherd and the Sons of the Most Holy Redemmer and more time implementing S.P. and U.E. There are dozens of petitions sent to his office and, after countless months, we have almost no progress. We have a Mass for Zagreb thanks to his intervention. I know of no others. What I can prove is that the addition of Latin Masses have been increasing at a glacially-slow rate. No, in the case of the U.S.A., there is now negative growth. This would be like the growth of a cancer (like liberalism: there's a cancer for you), instead of growth of the plant.

Most obviously, the French Archbishops of Reims and Cambrai and Bishops of Verdun and Langres, for instance, are simply refusing the motu proprio. To them, Pozzo is nothing but a Bozo, and they will defy him and the Pope. What's he gonna do about it? Nothing. When will be use his authority to implement S.P. in Reims, Cambrai, Langres, Vedun, Viviers? How about never? Would never be a good time? Let's put down 'never'. Pozzo wiil 'never' have the guts to implement S.P. in those sees.

Bishop Pepe of Las Vegas? Who needs a Pope when you can have a home-grown patriarch in Nevada? But then Pozzo's boss is too chicken even to remove Fr. Raymond Gravel, who supports keeping abortion legal and announces this on television. What a spineless gutless wimp this Levada has proved to be.

P.K.T.P.


P.K.T.P.

Matthew Bellisario said...

Another reason why most of these "commissions" and "offices" in the Vatican need to be done away with. No one even knows who what anyone is doing anymore, and it is apparent the Holy Father has many enemies working against him in the Vatican. We need to pray that this reconciliation happens so that we will have at least a couple of bishops, and many priests, who will speak up about the nonsense going on in the Church. As long as the SSPX remain what most Catholics perceive to be "separated" from the Church, they will not have the impact that they would have within. This is what the modernists want to happen, so keep praying.

Not Soi-Disant said...

And the rationalizations begin...

P.K.T.P. said...

Had the Pope affixed his signature to a recognition on the Vigil of Pentecost, as expected, today would be the first reasonable time for its publication, as this is the commemoration in Whitsuntide) of the Coronation of our Lady. But there was no announcement today. Perhaps he signed it today. We do not know.

The next likely date for a signature or announcement would be next week between Trinity Sunday and Corpus Christi. But nobody expects this now; therefore, we should pray for it anyway. Just as God is never wrong, journalists are never right.

P.K.T.P.

Chris said...

Mr. Perkins (P.K.T.P.) ... would you be willing to please send me an email off thread [cslauer [at] gmail [dot] com. I would like to update you on my local situation.

New Catholic said...

I am closing this for comments for the moment due to some pending clarifications.

Thank you.

P.K.T.P. said...

Not Soi-Disant:

It is not about rationalisations. We know where this present crew stands, and it is not with tradition. The question is only where does the law stand. Since Bozo, um, I mean Pozzo, has not denied Perl's earlier letters, the best we can do is to combine all of them and then find the only way they avoid contradition. The answer is that Society and even independent T.L.M.s generally fulfil the Sunday obligation, but the specific group mentioned by the latest questioner offers Masses which, for some unknown reason, do not. That is where the law would seem to stand.

In the mean time, these letters are personal to each addressee. The two I have give me clear answers: I can go to the S.S.P.X or even an independent priest and fulfil my Sunday obligation there. A private letter to someone else in no way affects that. Until Pozzo tells me otherwise, I can do so. Period.

But if Pozzo does wish to contradict Perl, then we need to send a letter to the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts. The letter should point to the contradiction and ask for a ruling.

P.K.T.P.

New Catholic said...

Combox reopened following clarifications requested and responded by Queen of Martyrs Press and the U.S. District of the SSPX.

David L Alexander said...

"It is very possible that this ... chapel, is a venue with no affiliation whatsoever to the SSPX and led to this different appraisal by the Commission."

For reasons mentioned earlier, it is also possible that the "appraisal" has been the same all along, the only difference being how the question was asked. (Please refer to my earlier comments.)

New Catholic said...

Yes, it is. But in this case the deleted information was very relevant to the whole affair - therefore, we have to take this grave easily verifiable information (easily verifiable by anyone in the PCED - they must be very careful with information easily found online following the 2009 "events") into consideration. And it is very likely that they do, especially with letters coming from the United States, the worldwide paradise of "independent Catholic chapels"...

Timothy Mulligan said...

Why does the blog post heading refer to a "PCED letter on SSPX Masses" when that is precisely what it is not?

I'll be chanting at St. Jude's Chapel in Eddystone, PA, my SSPX chapel, this Sunday. Ciao, y'all!

Jack O'Malley said...

Excellent work, Rorate, chasing down this clarification.

No need now to post my comment to Augustinus emphasizing the restricted scope of the PCED reply.

Tempestas in poculo aquae!

May the Holy Father rule on the reconciliation soon before this Greek tragedy reaches the nadir of Atellan farce.

Uncle Claibourne said...

While the clarifications are all well and good, the misperception (and misuse) of the letter on the part of those opposed to an agreement, is now unavoidable.

Once again, extreme damage has been done. I genuinely wish well-intentioned people (assuming the best) would be more careful about the way their communications will be used, or abused.

someone said...

I wanted to say "mons. Pozzo can't assure this chapel as safe".

David, yes, it is a difference. In independent chapel you don't know, who will be celebrating, even if it is una cum or not.

Mary Kay said...

Mr. Alexander, you're right. I should not try to hurry a comment on a quick break without checking my facts. I confuse another judgment about the same time where it was stated clearly that one could fulfill the Sunday obligation at a SSPX Mass & that one could also contribute at the Offertory. I will try to locate that information.

Tom said...

Augustinus said...

"Tom:

The fact that SSPX priests and bishops have been allowed to offer Mass in Roman Basilicas, by itself, doesn't prove anything except that the Roman authorities do not consider such Masses to be scandalous or sinful to attend."
-----------------------------

Augustinus:

Catholics assisted at approved (by "full-communion" Catholic Churchmen) Sunday Masses offered by SSPX priests.

They would have had every reason to believe that their Sunday Obligations had been fulfilled.

After all, "full-communion" Churchmen had presented said Masses offered by the SSPX as 100 percent Catholic.
-----------------------------

Augustinus said...

"Eastern Orthodox and even Anglican prelates (such as Rowan Williams) have also been allowed to offer their liturgies in Roman basilicas in recent years."

Augustinus:

In the "Archbishop Rowan Williams" case, were Catholics given the impression by "full-communion" Catholic Church authorities that Rowan Williams was a Catholic priest who had offered a Catholic Liturgy?

Pax.

Tom