Rorate Caeli

PCED letter on fulfilling the Sunday obligation by attending an SSPX Mass and diocesan seminarians as subdeacons

The Polish Traditionalist Catholic blog Nowy Ruch Liturgiczny published yesterday the November 6, 2012 response of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei to two queries (which that blog reproduced in the original English): 


1. Is it possible to fulfill the Sunday obligation by participating in a Mass celebrated by a priest from Society of St. Pius X, if the participant is not "against the validity or legitimacy of the Holy Mass or the Sacraments celebrated in the forma ordinaria or against the Roman Pontiff as Supreme Pastor of the Universal Church" and this is the only opportunity in the local area to participate in the Mass in forma extraordinaria (which the participant is highly devoted to)? 

2. Do the decree of Sacred Congregation of Rites (no. 4184) and the decision of Pontifical Comission ‘Ecclesia Dei’ (no. 24/92), concerning the possibility of serving as a subdeacon during the Mass in forma extraordinaria, apply also to diocesan seminarians (who are not seminarians of the institutes erected by Pontifcial Commision 'Ecclesia Dei') who wear clerical clothing?

The response:


79 comments:

Whats Up! said...

The PCED gives no answer as to first question.
None.
It just quotes the Holy Father as saying the SSPX have no canonical mission.

Why are not they clear????

Say yes or no.
Is that so full of toil?

Samuel J. Howard said...

On fourth and long the PCED punts! (Not that that's neccesarily a bad thing.)

The Rad Trad said...

Reply to first question was a vacuous disuasion, not a canonical command. Why can't this office be clear with regards to the Society?

Happy to hear answer to second. A new acolyte friend of mine is getting subdeacon lessons!

archivist said...

The author of the letter is presumably in fact referring to SCR 4181:

http://archive.org/stream/decretaauthentic06cath#page/77/mode/1up

Demasi said...

To me it is an answer to the reply that Don Fellay gave to the CDF and made public in a recent homily.
Christ rebukes "eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth".

Good could be if the Holy Father attended this supplica to celebrate a TLM

http://www.change.org/petitions/to-the-holy-father-pope-benedict-xvi-petition-supplica-to-celebrate-a-public-mass-according-with-the-1962-missal

Thanks, Demasi

Frascati said...

The second response potentially makes it vastly easier to celebrate a Solemn Mass. There are numerous diocesan seminarians who are already allowed to wear clerical clothing but who are not yet instituted acolytes who are interested in the Forma Extraordinaria.

pastoranxius said...

I wish that the clergy and faithful would stop asking this question, which invites ambiguous or erroneous answers. The current code of Canon Law is clear enough:
Can. 1248 — § 1. Praecepto de Missa participanda satisfacit qui Missae assistit ubicumque celebratur ritu catholico vel ipso die festo vel vespere diei praecedentis.

note: "wherever it is celebrated in a Catholic rite"

The chapels of the SSPX celebrate in a Catholic rite, so the obligation is fulfilled according to the present code. The question of canonical mission is not the issue here. In fact, according to the Ecumenical directory one fulfills one's Sunday obligation by assisting at an Orthodox liturgy as long as there is a good reason to attend. Whether one should receive communion is of course a different issue, as well as the question of scandal, that is, I may be able to hear an imprudent harangue and not be mislead, but my wife or children or friends may not be, so whether I go to an SSPX chapel might depend on circumstances. In any case, it is obvious, by the simple sense of the law, that assisting at Mass with the SSPX fulfills the obligation, even if there may be other reasons to assist or not to assist. We are not legalists. Thanks. You might publish the canon on the blog and not just on the comments in order to make the point. The code is very clear "Ubicumque" means "wherever"!

Matt said...

Usually, as it's been explained to me, if Canon Law isn't clear or doesn't address a given matter, it then becomes prudential and the matter is thus a take-it-or-leave-it one and no sin is incurred, provided it is not done or omitted just to be uncharitable.

As we see it here then, Rome's unanswer it thus an answer in the affirmative because NO is not affirmed and so as we have understood all along, attending an SSPX on Sunday fulfills the Obligation.

Anyway, I thought this was cleared up a couple years ago already according to the PCED. I think Ranjith was still there. ??

Spero said...

A very cautious answer..."limit itself," in this case, seems to be a prudential refusal to answer the question. But perhaps a canonist might interpret it otherwise.

Perhaps the question could be rephrased, "Can it ever, in any case, be tolerated that Catholic fulfill their Sunday obligation at a Mass celebrated by a priest who is suspended 'a divinis' when a Mass celebrated licitly is available?"

Or better yet:

"Would a Catholic who, on Sunday, knowingly attends a Mass celebrated by a Catholic priest who is suspended 'a divinis' be guilty of not fulfilling his Sunday Mass obligation?"

The followup question would be (perhaps this would be better sent to the Apostolic Penitentiary):

Would a Catholic who attends a Mass celebrated by a Catholic priest who is suspended 'a divinis,' by doing so, be guilty of sin under the following conditions:

1. In the attendee, there is no formal approval of the decision of the priest to persevere in a state of disobedience to legitimate authority, including the decision to continue exercising ministry under suspensions (Could such an intention truly be compatible with attendance?).
2. The desired aim is only to attend a Catholic Mass according to the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite.
3. The Mass is celebrate validly and apart from the priest's suspension, the Mass is celebrated so as to conform to all the norms of the Church's liturgy.
4. There are no licit Masses offered in the area according to the EF.
5. Efforts are being made to obtain licit celebrations of the EF.
6. There are licit Masses offered in the area according to the Mass of Paul VI.
6a. Would the reply change in the case that all available Masses by canonically regular priests contain departures from liturgical norms not touching validity, and the attendee finds these departs to be a burdensome or scandalous(e.g. ad-libbing of certain prayers, extraordinary ministers who receive communion at the same time as the priest, excessive numbers of extraordinary ministers)?

Crouchback said...

I take it that means that We are OK . .

I'll continue with the SSPX, only sane thing to do really.

HadrianvsIV said...

The first point does not answer the question.

The second point just muddies the water yet more with the possibility of those who have not been ordained as subdeacons pretending they have been during Mass.

Pignatelli said...

"Anyway, I thought this was cleared up a couple years ago already according to the PCED. I think Ranjith was still there. ??"

Ranjith was never at PCED. He was the Secretary of the CDW.

Spero said...

HadrianvusIV,
I don't think the situation is as bad as you make it sound.
Before Vatican II, it was already widely held that subdeacon, while considered entry into major orders, was not a sacrament. Therefore it doesn't seem such a stretch that a seminarian who is formally "instituted" by his bishop into the "ministry" of "acolyte" by means of a "constitutive blessing," be able to substitute for a seminarian who is "ordained" by his bishop into the "order" of "subdeacons" by a "non-sacramental ordination" (which looks a lot like a constitutive blessing).
I will grant that Paul VI's abolition of the minor orders greatly muddies the waters...but I am not sure that the use of acolytes as subdeacons is, given the already muddied waters, that big of a stretch.

c.f. Paul VI: "Two ministries, adapted to present-day needs, are to be preserved in the whole Latin Church, namely, those of reader and acolyte. The functions heretofore assigned to the subdeacon are entrusted to the reader and the acolyte; consequently, the major order of subdiaconate no longer exists in the Latin Church. There is, however, no reason why the acolyte cannot be called a subdeacon in some places, at the discretion of the conference of bishops."

K Gurries said...

The answer to the first question seems clear in the words of the Pope. One can never have an obligation to participate in an illegitimate action. That is a different question than whether or not it is permissible to attend such a mass -- but it can't be considered obligatory (i.e., necessary in order to fulfill an obligation) insofar as it is illegitimate.

Whats Up! said...

K Gurries said...
"The answer to the first question seems clear in the words of the Pope. One can never have an obligation to participate in an illegitimate action. That is a different question than whether or not it is permissible to attend such a mass -- but it can't be considered obligatory (i.e., necessary in order to fulfill an obligation) insofar as it is illegitimate."

That is not what the questioner asked though.
He asked "if it is possible" to fulfill the obligation by assisting at an FSSPX Mass.
Not "we are obligated to go an FSSPX Mass"

Many of us who are attached to the TLM have no other access to the TLM but at FSSPX Mass.

Sylvestrus said...

Question asked with no guile:

If the PCED were to say "Yes, attending an SSPX Mass would fulfil your Sunday obligation"
would this mean that any Catholic to whom the precept to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation applies would then be obliged to attend the SSPX Mass if that were the only Mass available within a reasonable distance. Or would the obligation not stand in such circumstances? (I speak as one who is happy to go to Mass celebrated by SSPX priests)

Loyolakiper said...

Was there any question as to whether an instituted acolyte could substitute as a Subdeacon in the Traditional Latin Mass? As the dubia cited, the question had already been answered in 1992. A copy of Fortesque goes into greater detail as to the decorum and actions at Mass that the "straw subdeacon" can perform. I would suggeest everyone to read it as Ecclesia Dei has suggested. Card. Castrillon said that Fortesque is to be the norm in implemnting the EF post Summorum Pontificum.

Seraph said...

The PCED had already answered this question years ago under Cardinal Hoyos when they actually stated that it did fulfill the Sunday obligation and money could even be given at the collection plate.

That answer from Ecclesia Dei still stands. This response is a non answer and absolute gibberish.

NIANTIC said...

This nonsense of "yes, no or maybe" must be stopped. The Pope should make an official statement that states crystal clear that the SSPX is either Catholic or not. That her Masses and sacraments are either valid or not. To let a million Catholics who love the Church and her Tradition hanging and twisting slowly in the wind is uncharitable and unacceptable. Enough is enough.

Kenneth J. Wolfe said...

On the second part, concerning the role of subdeacon, should this be taken to mean that the bare minimum requirement to fulfill the role of subdeacon is to be wearing clerics in a seminary?

If there is lemonade to be made out of those lemons, then it is the Vatican implying (declaring?) that ONLY seminarians can be "straw" subdeacons -- and NOT non-seminarian laymen.


Samuel J. Howard said...

In fact, according to the Ecumenical directory one fulfills one's Sunday obligation by assisting at an Orthodox liturgy as long as there is a good reason to attend.

That was true, I believe under the 1967 Ecumenical Directory, but it is not true under the current 1993 one:

"115. Since the celebration of the Eucharist on the Lord's Day is the foundation and centre of the whole liturgical year, Catholics—but those of Eastern Churches according to their own Law—are obliged to attend Mass on that day and on days of precept. It is not advisable therefore to organize ecumenical services on Sundays, and it must be remembered that even when Catholics participate in ecumenical services or in services of other Churches and ecclesial Communities, the obligation of participating at Mass on these days remains."

Jason C. said...

If there is lemonade to be made out of those lemons, then it is the Vatican implying (declaring?) that ONLY seminarians can be "straw" subdeacons -- and NOT non-seminarian laymen.

Don't hurt your wrists straining the lemons that hard!

Besides, even if this letter could be read so broadly, I wouldn't call that lemonade. Straw subdeacons are hardly an abuse and, with the relative rarity of solemn TLMs with a lay straw subdeacon, nothing to get worked up about. If a layman serving as subdeacon is what it takes to have more solemn TLMs while we winter in the vocation desolation, I'll take a layman any day. Now that's lemonade.

authoressaurus said...

Failing to find clarity in the current response, I think we may safely revert to the previously well stated position that as long as the priest nor the congregation have the intention to place themselves out of union with the church and the Holy Father, one may safely satisfy the Sunday obligation by attending mass in an SSPX chapel. To vacuously prevaricate is to strain credibility and invite ridicule. I am content not to be held spiritually hostage to the back and forth tensions of curial beurocrats and their political hijinks. Long live the Pope, and the continuity of magisterial tradition.

Truth Searcher said...

Would this canon mean that a Catholic who prefers the Extraordinary Form would fulfill his obligation by attending an EF mass celebrated by a Polish National Catholic Priest?

PEH said...

Intent to sin is the most important thing and perhaps the only thing IMO. Yes, they disobeyed but WHY did they disobey? Did they intend to separate themselves fron the Vicar of Christ and establish a parralel Church? Methinks not. Remember there is also the state of necessity argument with respect to the so-called suspensions levied against the FSSPX.

The Fraternity to my knowledge has never had their case fully adjudicated in the Church court system so it seems unlikely that they are, in fact, w/o canonical status at least in the eyes of Our Lord who is, after all, the final Judge and the court of last resort. Still, one would hope that this matter can be resolved during this period of crisis in the Church by those charged with leadership responsibilities.

So, I beieve the statement that the Fraternity has no canonical position in the Church is disingenuous at best. We shall see what the future holds in this regard.

Patrick said...

Everything is so upside down these days. I have a good friend who as a minor seminarian (high school)often served as a sub-deacon at solemn high masses. He did not wear the maniple and did not hold the paten with the humeral veil but he did everything else that that order did. That of course was then. Now, even women hold the chalice and distribute Holy Communion so I fail to see the problem with seminarians being "straw sub-deacons" when the real sub-diaconate was done away with and the laity now do much more than the old sub-deacons ever were allowed to do. It's like being with Alice in Wonderland I declare.

Adfero said...

There was a response from the PCED a few years ago in the negative as to whether lay straw subdeacons were licit in the TLM. This letter has not been made public but it exists.

Loyolakiper said...

Why are we still asking the same questions over and over concerning instituted acolytes serving as "straw subdeacons"? Afterall, it doesn't seem the PCED has not forgotten their 1992 response to a similar dubia... In fact Fortescue mentioned this ruling in his book on the Roman Rite as a footnote. In the footnote he even describes the decor and actions that may be performed during the Sacrifice of the Holy Mass.

Also to mention, Fortescue's book according to Card. Castrillon Hoyos, is the standard by which the 1962 Roman Missal is to be actualized.

poeta said...

"I'm going to revert to my written statement again."

- William J. Clinton

Infallibilis said...

Quodcumque ligaveris super terram erit ligatum et in caelis.

Bernadette O'Hanlan said...

The local ordinary, a Roman Catholic bishop in communion with the Holy Pontiff, will be able to clarify the response to the questions posed. My local ordinary answered very clearly: a Roman Catholic CANNOT fulfill his Sunday obligation at an SSPX Mass. A Roman Catholic may attend an SSPX Mass, but NOT in order to fulfill his or her obligation to worship Our Lord as a Roman Catholic. This is the firm position of my bishop, in whose jurisdiction I reside, and to whose authority I submit as a Roman Catholic. My husband and I teach our children to do the same. I will not risk my eternal salvation, or the salvation of my children, by doing otherwise. The key question is whether or not an SSPX Mass is considered to be a Roman Catholic rite, that is, whether or not SSPX priests and bishops are part of the Catholic Church, or outside of it. If they are not outside of the Church, then why do they need to be reconciled? As with so many critical matters, the CDF is reluctant to make a clear declaration that might get people a little upset. As a result, confusion reigns, and many souls - we are now talking hundreds of thousands - find themselves in mortal danger of losing their eternal salvation. I know plenty of SSPX members who have easy access to Mass in the EF but who would never dream of attending a non-SSPX Mass. There are very few SSPX chapels in the US that are not within a few miles of approved diocesan Latin (EF) Masses. I know SSPX members who travel three hours - one way - to attend an SSPX Mass, when there is a licit Traditional Latin Mass offered by a diocesan priest - dedicated to this community - only minutes from their home. There is something else in play here, other than access to an EF Mass.

johnv said...

Well, it looks like the pope has to walk over the dead bodies of many cardinals, bishops and priests before a change in mindset can be effected.

Bernadette O'Hanlan said...

I would like to add that the March 10, 2009 letter of the Holy Pontiff makes clear, AGAIN, that the SSPX priests and bishops are strictly forbidden from offering PUBLIC Masses in the Roman Catholic rite. To do so is to openly and brazenly defy the Vicar of Christ on Earth.

Augustinus said...

"Was there any question as to whether an instituted acolyte could substitute as a Subdeacon in the Traditional Latin Mass?"

"Why are we still asking the same questions over and over concerning instituted acolytes serving as "straw subdeacons"?

The present letter is not about whether instituted acolytes can serve as straw subdeacons, but about diocesan seminarians who are already allowed to wear clerical dress serving as such. Many of the latter are not yet instituted acolytes.

Common Sense said...

I don't think that people need permission and approval from the rat-infested chanceries of the Novus Ordo establishment to attend the immemorial Tridentine Mass. This is our birthright and we don't need to be concerned about gobbledegook and modernistic charades. May God grant to the Church holy and worthy priests who will celebrate the Most Holy Eucharist in a worthy manner - that is, offering the Tridentine Latin Mass.

Veritas said...

"Would this canon mean that a Catholic who prefers the Extraordinary Form would fulfill his obligation by attending an EF mass celebrated by a Polish National Catholic Priest? "

The Polish Nationals dissent from Church teaching on birth control. I don't think one would want to go there (not that I'm assume you do).

Pignatelli said...

The first response looks like the PCED's way of trying to say "No" without actually having to say it.

Prof. Basto said...

So, if you have no ministry in the Church, your rite is not a Catholic rite, even though the form of Mass is the same as a Catholic Mass in the usus antiquior.

That's my understanding of their first response. They are implicity giving a negative answer, and are doing so by implying that SSPX Masses are legally not Catholic rites, because the SSPX has no place in the Church (yet).

Gregory XVI said...

It behooves priests to be subject to the bishops, whom "they are to look upon as the parents of their souls," as Jerome admonishes.[10] Nor may the priests ever forget that they are forbidden by ancient canons to undertake ministry and to assume the tasks of teaching and preaching "without the permission of their bishop to whom the people have been entrusted; an accounting for the souls of the people will be demanded from the bishop."[11] Finally let them understand that all those who struggle against this established order disturb the position of the Church.

-- Mirari Vos, 8.

happyhockeymom said...

Can anyone post a link to the original PCED letter that said we can fulfill our obligation at an SSPX Mass? I have searched on line and cannot find it.

MOre and more confusion and it is certainly frustrating. We have a local EF community and that is where I go 99% of the time. But the preaching and teaching is tepid at best and the priests rotate - we don't have a permanent pastor for our EF community.

The local SSPX chapel has First Fridays & Saturdays as well as a mother's group after Mass on Sundays, catechism, parish potlucks and feast days. None of this at our EF community - which is barely tolerated by our diocese. To top it all off, the local SSPX priest gives excellent homilies - meaty, straight and to the point, with explicit ways to apply Church teaching to your life. Now out of obedience, I stay at the local EF community, but I would be at the SSPX chapel in a heart beat if I could be SURE it was permitted to fulfill my obligation there.

I have also never heard anything by this priest against the Holy Father or anything that deviates from Church teaching. I have gotten great advice from him in the pastor on certain questions and would love to have him as a spiritual director, but I want to be able to have my director be my confessor as well and I am just not sure about the jurisdiction issue.

I wish the Church would hurry up and figure this all out for all of the other souls like me.

ARRRGH!

Catholic Mission said...


Ask Ecclesia Dei if the SSPX can accept Vatican Council II without the error of the dead being visible on earth

The Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei in a letter, responding to queries by a priest, has stated that :

As long as the Society does not have canonical status in the Church,its ministers do not excercise legitimate ministries in the Church.There needs to be a distinction then,between the disciplinary level which deals with individuals as such,and the doctrinal level at which minsitry and instituion are involved.In order to make this clear once again: until the doctrinal questions are clarified, the Society has no canonical status in the Church...- Ecclesia Dei.

This is the time for the SSPX to respond. Doctrine is in their favour, if they only understand!

Ask Ecclesia Dei if Vatican Council II can be accepted as a continuation with Tradition, with the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus according to Fr.Leonard Feeney and the Syllabus of Errors. We do not know any case of a non Catholic being saved with implicit desire or in invincible ignorance for these cases to be relevant to the literal interpretation of the dogma on salvation.

Ask them if the SSPX can accept Vatican Council II without the error of the dead being visible on earth. So Lumen Gentium 16 on invincible ignorance and a good conscience, would not contradict the thrice defined dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus. Nor would it contradict Ad Gentes 7 which says all need faith and baptism for salvation.

Vatican Council II would be in agreement doctrinally with the SSPX position on other religions and ecumenism.( Cantate Domino, Council of Florence 1441, Ad Gentes 7, Catechism of the Catholic Church 845 and 846 etc).

Ask them if it is a new doctrine and not part of the deposit of the faith to hold the view, that there is explicit implicit salvation and- then to claim that this is mentioned in the text of Vatican Council II.

If Ecclesia Dei can throw away the dogma because of allegedly known cases of the dead saved and visible to us, then they should not expect Catholics not to throw away Church teachings on, abortion and contraception.

A Mom said...

Bernadette O'Hanlan said...
"There is something else in play here, other than access to an EF Mass."

I agree, and I think the 'something else' is the ability to live a fully traditional Catholic life (Sacraments, devotions, etc.). So many seem to think the issue is ONLY the Mass. I agree that it is the most important issue, but it's not the only one - particularly for those of us who are raising Catholic children.

Yes, many of us can find an approved EF Mass on Sunday. What about Holy Days of Obligation? What about daily Mass? What about First Friday and Saturday Masses? What about Sacraments according to the Traditonal Rites? What about not having to jump back and forth between calendars?

For those who will not go to the SSPX, unless one has been blessed with an FSSP chapel nearby, it is very difficult to pass on our traditions because we are not able to fully live them out.

My family has never attended an SSPX chapel, but I am beginning to wonder why. The longer this drags out, the longer liberal dissent in the church is ignored, and the longer that seemingly little care is shown for the souls at stake, the more I wonder what is holding me back.

Sixupman said...

The English & Welsh Bishops' Conference issued a document which clearly stated that should I reside in a rural area, or wherever, I could fullfil my Sunday/Holyday Obligation by attendance at the local CofE, Methodist, or Free Church chapel.

In such light the discussion is a pure nonsense.

Dr. Timothy J. Williams said...

Yes, Bernadette O'Hanlan, you are correct is stating that "There are very few SSPX chapels in the US that are not within a few miles of approved diocesan Latin (EF) Masses." That is precisely why many traditionalist Catholics will not attend these "indult" liturgies. They have clearly been set up to draw attendance away from the SSPX chapels, and when they have succeeded in attracting the faithful away from stable parishes, the indult can just as easily be taken away, leaving the faithful back at square one, with nothing.

Stanley Sprocket said...

Textbook Romanita'

Marko Ivančičević said...

@Catholic Mission

Feeneyism is a heresy...

Whats Up! said...

Here is the letter where the PCED officially confirms that Catholics my fulfill the Holyday obligation at SSPX Masses:

http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/mershon/080711

Inquisitor said...

@Spero and HadrianvusIV,

The idea that the subdeaconate is non-sacramental, is only a theological opinion that seemed to gain traction in the 19th century.

Before the 19th century, the great majority opinion was in favor of the minor orders being sacramental degrees of Holy Orders, in fact two ecumenical councils, Trent and Florence, list the subdeaconate as being among the "seven" degrees of Holy Orders. The Council of Florence, in fact, flat out calls the subdeaconate an order of the sacrament of Holy Orders, says that it confers divine grace on the recipient, and goes so far as to list its sacramental matter and form for conferring the subdeaconate. St. Thomas Aquinas also says the minor orders are sacramental.

The Ordinary magisterium of the Church through two ecumenical councils has thus solemnly taught that the minor orders, and the subdeaconate in particular, are sacramental. And unless Catholics have a legitimate reason for saying that these teachings of the ordinary magisterium of two ecumenical councils are not true, they are bound to give religious assent of will to the decrees of an ecumenical council.

However, quite tellingly, you will not find ANY ecumenical council or infallible papal statement that says that the minor orders are not sacramental. If you're going by magisterial documents, I would say that the argument for the minor orders being sacramental degrees of the priesthood is far stronger than the assertion that they are only ministries and the more traditional doctrine.

Thus HadrianvusIV's concerns about acolytes serving as subdeacons are well founded from a doctrinal perspective, and using non-subdeacons for the TLM most certainly seems to run against the entire ethos and tradition of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, much like using female altar servers in a TLM would.

SSPX Wannabe said...

Bernadette and Mom,

I think you are overlooking what is actually the biggest issue, and a major draw for SSPX, as important as the mass and sacraments are.

DOCTRINE.

SSPX is tenaciously holding to the fullness of traditional doctrine, which does not seem to be the case with the Vatican these days.

CredoUtIntelligam said...

After reading the responses to the PCED's response to question 1 here and at Father Z's blog, I'd like to offer yet another interpretation.

Perhaps the reason PCED copied and pasted from the Holy Father's statement was that the PCED itself simply doesn't know the SSPX's status in the Catholic Church.

Rather than "nuance" or "Romanita," the response might just be: here is the latest relevant statement on the SSPX's status; make of it what you will.

Seraph said...

This what Msgr. Camille Perl of Ecclesia Dei wrote in a letter to Una Voce America in 2003:

http://www.cfnews.org/sspx-obl.htm

"...Points 1 and 3 in our letter of 27 September 2002 to this correspondent are accurately reported. His first question was "Can I fulfill my Sunday obligation by attending a Pius X Mass" and our response was:
"1. In the strict sense you may fulfill your Sunday obligation by attending a Mass celebrated by a priest of the Society of St. Pius X."

His second question was "Is it a sin for me to attend a Pius X Mass" and we responded stating:
"2. We have already told you that we cannot recommend your attendance at such a Mass and have explained the reason why. If your primary reason for attending were to manifest your desire to separate yourself from communion with the Roman Pontiff and those in communion with him, it would be a sin. If your intention is simply to participate in a Mass according to the 1962 Missal for the sake of devotion, this would not be a sin."

His third question was: "Is it a sin for me to contribute to the Sunday collection at a Pius X Mass" to which we responded:
"3. It would seem that a modest contribution to the collection at Mass could be justified.
"

James said...

I do not know whether this is SSPX policy worldwide, but I imagine it is pretty standard - here in South Africa, the SSPX has said that people should rather miss Mass altogether on a Sunday or Day of Obligation, than attend a Traditional Latin Mass said by non-SSPX priests. This is the situation in my home city, where the SSPX chapel is visited twice a month, and on other Sundays we have ready access to a TLM in a local parish. The Mass is said "by the book" by a very orthodox young priest. Yet, supported by the SSPX clergy, half the SSPX congregation refuse on any account to fulfill their Sunday obligation at such Masses, preferring to visit their chapel and say the Rosary.

B. said...

How can a secretary (or someone else) of a pontifical commission overrule an Ecumenical Council?
And how can the Vatican demand acceptance to Vatican II from the SSPX, if it does not itself accept the Council of Trent?

Regarding minor orders the Council of Trent clearly teaches that
the holy Synod, burning with the desire of restoring the pristine usage, ordains that, for the future, such functions shall not be exercised but by those who are actually in the said orders
(Council of Trent, Session 21, Chapter 17)
The Council gives no exceptions from this rule.

Jordanes551 said...

B., as you said, that is a "rule," not a "teaching." That's why it says the Holy Synod "ordains" . . . It's a disciplinary matter, something able to be changed or dispensed by competent authority, not an irreformable exposition of a doctrine. Nowhere did the Council Fathers of Trent decree that the Church from then on would be forever bound to follow that rule.

Floschi said...

Doesn't this response of the PCED illustrate why it is virtually impossible for the SSPX to have any fruitful dialogue with Rome? The SSPX are still living in a world where words mean something and arguments follow some sort of logic. The Vatican these days, meanwhile, is incapable of stringing two meaningful. Vatican II has addled the brains of the Roman curia.

Catholic Mission said...

The issue is doctrine.
REUTERS MAKES FACTUAL,OBJECTIVE MISTAKE TOO

Reuters assumes that the SSPX has rebelled against Vatican Council II since for Reuters correspondents the dead are visible to us on earth and so these cases saved are explicit exceptions to Tradition. For Reuters those saved in invincible ignorance and a good conscience (LG 16) or elements of sanctification(LG 8) etc are examples not of implicit salvation but explicit implicit salvation.This is an objective, factual error. We cannot see the dead on earth and Vatican Council II does not claim that we can.It has to be implied by Reuters and the other media.

Tom Heneghan, Religion Editor at Reuters,Paris, writes:

The Swiss-based SSPX broke away from Rome in 1988 in protest against the 1960s reforms that replaced Latin with local languages at Mass, forged reconciliation with Jews and admitted other religions may also offer a path to salvation-Sep 30, 2012 By Tom Heneghan, Religion Editor Pope's bid to win over Catholic rebels seems at dead end (Additional reporting by Philip Pullella; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/30/us-pope-traditionalists-idUSBRE88T08S20120930

Vatican Council II admits that other religions may offer a path to salvation but does not claim that we personally know any such case or that they are defacto exceptions to the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus. or the Syllabus of Errors. Reuters has to imply it. Tom HeneghaN assumes that we can see the dead saved who are not visble exceptions to Tradition.

He does not state that Vatican Council II (AG 7,LG 14) is in agreement with the Society of St.Pius X(SSPX) position on other religions. The Council says all need faith and baptism for salvation. While LG 16 does not state that invincible ignorance or the baptism of desire are explicit cases known to us or that they contrtadict the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus. Heneghan has to assume all this. This is factually wrong and an irrationality.

So the SSPX are not rebels as he calls them. Since Vatican Council II without the premise of the dead saved being visible to us, is in accord with their traditional position.

He writes:
Benedict insisted they must declare the Vatican Council and Church doctrine since then as valid Catholic teaching. Denying this has been a core principle of SSPX beliefs from the start
The SSPX has stated many times that they accept Vatican Council II as an historical event in which Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre participated. They do not deny that Vatican Council II happened.They deny the interpretation of Vatican Council II with the doctrine error of being able to see the dead saved. It is this false premise which makes Vatican Council II modernist and a break from the past.

Tom S. said...

The impressive thing about this is that Question #2 is even being asked. The fact that there ARE regular dioscean seminarians who WANT to act as subdeacons in the True Mass is a thing of utter beauty and amazement to me.

After decades of remembering what the Church was - and living through what it was becoming - I never dreamed that this would be happening.

From the perspective of those living in the SSPX world, this might not be a big deal. But for the rest of us, it is amazing and beautiful.

It reminds me of Luke 15:32... "But it was fit that we should make merry and be glad, for this thy brother was dead and is come to life again; he was lost, and is found. "

Athelstane said...

Mr. Howard is right: It's a punt. And that's not necessarily a bad thing.

So long as there's the prospect of some kind of deal with the SSPX, I expect the PCED to continue to say nothing, eloquently, on this subject.

One would like a clearer affirmation, even a limited one, that attending SSPX masses fulfills the mass obligation. But they haven't denied it here, either.

OKC Catholic said...

James,
Spend some time at a local non-SSPX TLM and talk to some of the parishioners and the priests and you will see that doctrine is by far NOT the reason they attend the TLM. Most of them just simply like the aesthetics. Many of them will also attend the Novus Ordo and find nothing wrong with it. The SSPX rightly warn against attending non-SSPX TLMs because absorbing this mindset (aesthetics versus doctrine) is very dangerous.

Marko Ivančičević said...

@Catholic Mission...

Engage in the discussion in a profitable way or stop writing at all. You are just trolling...

The Rad Trad said...

Why the harsh reaction by some to the second answer from PCED? We should be quite happy, as this will enable more solemn high Masses.

While the subdiaconate was consider a degree of Holy Orders it was not followed very strictly. Someone mentioned, quite rightly, that Dr Fortescue provides for any seminarian fulfilling the role of subdeacon. Really, all the orders below deacon as results of historical incidence, as before the Council of Trent, which established the seminary system, most training for the priesthood was done like training in an apprenticeship. Porters would care for the Church, exorcists would clean and bless vessels and water, acolytes would serve private Masses etc. This clarification is not a big deal.

You'd think some people just want a Sunday low Mass and a few private devotions....

Kenneth J. Wolfe said...

RadTrad -- I much, much, much prefer a Solemn High Mass to either a Sung Mass or a Low Mass, but if it means someone dressing up as a subdeacon who has no right to do so, then give me the Missa Cantata.

The role of subdeacon at Mass contains several functions that ought not to be performed by just anyone. Otherwise, what is to stop an altar boy at the age of 10 from tossing on a tunicle and biretta? Subdeacon at Mass is a role to earn, not just serve.

Bernadette O said...

I am going to repeat the comment by James in case anyone overlooked it:
"I do not know whether this is SSPX policy worldwide, but I imagine it is pretty standard - here in South Africa, the SSPX has said that people should rather miss Mass altogether on a Sunday or Day of Obligation, than attend a Traditional Latin Mass said by non-SSPX priests. This is the situation in my home city, where the SSPX chapel is visited twice a month, and on other Sundays we have ready access to a TLM in a local parish. The Mass is said "by the book" by a very orthodox young priest. Yet, supported by the SSPX clergy, half the SSPX congregation refuse on any account to fulfill their Sunday obligation at such Masses, preferring to visit their chapel and say the Rosary."

The same is true of any SSPX community in the United States that I have experienced. The SSPX is outside of the Catholic Church, and they have now embraced heresy. SSPX priests regularly teach their faithful that it is perfectly acceptable to God to stay home and pray rather than attend a non-SSPX Mass on Sundays. Glad to see that someone in South Africa is courageous enough to bear witness to this fact, as well. I rest my case.

Athelstane said...

Hello OKC Catholic,

Spend some time at a local non-SSPX TLM and talk to some of the parishioners and the priests and you will see that doctrine is by far NOT the reason they attend the TLM.

With all due respect, that's usually not been my experience at "authorized" TLM's.

There's bound to be a range of motives for attendance at masses like this. In my experience, doctrine is a top concern among attendees at Ecclesia Dei priestly society masses (esp. FSSP, ICK, IBP) - they desire a TLM not just for aesthetics or reverence, but because it embodies sound teaching the best.

There may be more of the aesthetic or reverence motive in diocesan TLMs - but even there, the catechesis level is far above that at a typical parish.

If I may say so, the SSPX warning against attending ED authorized masses on these grounds is overwrought and frankly insulting (even if that is not the intent) to those of us who do attend such masses. I *do* understand the concern, which had some real validity pre-Summorum Pontificum, that there was a danger that such masses would be scheduled to draw in traddies, then yanked away once they had been sucked in. But that seems less of a concern now, especially where a personal parish or oratory has been set up - these are not easy to get rid of. It smacks too much of an ivory tower attitude among some in he Society - that only there is the faith, Catholic Tradition, preserved unsullied, and everywhere else is a wasteland.

Athelstane said...

Hello Ken,

The role of subdeacon at Mass contains several functions that ought not to be performed by just anyone. Otherwise, what is to stop an altar boy at the age of 10 from tossing on a tunicle and biretta?

I think this is a valid concern, even if it doesn't happen often - yet.

Ideally, we wouldn't even need to talk about straw subdeacons. There would be plenty of men in major orders available to supply the need.

Yet we aren't. Even a regular low mass is a struggle to schedule. Having three priests on hand with sufficient facility is even harder.

I think the PCED letter strikes a fair balance here. It recognizes the manpower situation. It wants to make solemn masses available to the faithful where possible. Yet it also points to certain limits. Not just any layman is really appropriate for this role. I've always thought that it needs to be instituted acolytes, at a bare minimum, and better yet seminarians who are well into formation.

Long-Skirts said...

Bernadette O said:

"The SSPX is outside of the Catholic Church, and they have now embraced heresy."

What heresy?!

Bern also said:

"Glad to see that someone in South Africa is courageous enough to bear witness to this fact, as well. I rest my case."

I will always cherish the initial misconceptions I had about you.


by Christopher A. Ferrara
November 7, 2012

"Yet, in the midst of this apocalyptic collapse of the Faith in what was once Christendom, the Vatican continues to dicker with the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) about its "reconciliation... with the See of Peter." Irony of ironies, while vast regions of the Catholic world no longer pay any heed to papal teaching deemed inconveniently restrictive of one's preferred "lifestyle," the clergy and faithful of SSPX, who actually practice what the Popes preach, are deemed to be in need of "reconciliation" with Peter."

again Bern:

"SSPX priests regularly teach their faithful that it is perfectly acceptable to God to stay home and pray rather than attend a non-SSPX Mass on Sundays"

You are a black-and-white mind working on a color-coded problem.

James said...

Thanks, Bernadette.

When I have said this on internet fora before, SSPX apologists will often launch into criticism of non-SSPX TLM locations and question the motives of those who attend these. I disagree with these criticisms. But even IF there were some validity in the criticisms, we're not just talking about attending a diocesan TLM (for want of a better term) instead of the SSPX - but BOYCOTTING Sunday Mass altogether....i.e. rather skip Mass altogether than attend a lawful TLM. Sorry, that is wrong.

It goes beyond the Mass and fulfilling the Sunday obligation too. At least it does here, where;

1. The SSPX has told us OFFICIALLY here, that we should only confess to non-SSPX priests in danger of death when non SSPX priest is available. In between visits of the priests (in our city, at most twice per month - sometimes longer gaps) - if we are conscious of mortal sin, we must rather make an act of perfect sorrow and await the next visit. Needless to say, my family and I - and several others in the chapel - disregard this advice, and gladly confess to a couple of very orthodox, TLM-saying local priests.

2. Under a previous superior of the SSPX a rule was made that marriages between SSPX and non-SSPX Catholics were to be treated as mixed marriages, and the strictest of preconciliar regulations (which in fact I understand and respect when involving non-Catholics) was to be applied - marriage in the sacristy, etc. I don't know how often this rule had to be applied, but it has not, to my knowledge, ever been withdrawn.

Micha Elyi said...

Seems clear to me. The Pope clearly states that at present SSPX masses are illicit in the eyes of the Church.

As Catholics were are obligated to seek out and assist at a valid and licit celebration of the Holy Mass to fulfill our Mass obligation, if possible.

There is no need for canon lawyer hairsplitting.

Bottom line: Avoid SSPX.

Sixupman said...

Bernadette O:

Your report as to the statement of SSPX clergy stating that congregants should stay away from NOMs. I cannot agree with that as a blanket comment by SSPX clergy, but it might depend upon what NOM is available to people locally.

I suggest you get hold of September, October and November copies of Christian Order and read the three-parter "Chronic Convergence of Scandal and Mafias in Church and State".

Will you be happy with a practising homosexual celebrating Mass?

Will you be happy with a practising homosexual bishop doling-out faculties to his confreres?

Are you happy with "Gay Masses"?

Kindly put the SSPX situation in a proper perspective.

Stuart Reiss said...

As I understand the question is ( and I paraphrase) : if one is a tradywhack and would only attend a Tridentine rite mass, and one can't be found in the area, could they fulfill their Sunday obligation by going to an SSPX mass?

The answer is clear: No

The reason: the Holy father points out, that the SSPX "priests" are not recognised as priests in the Catholic church.

So please stop splitting hairs and find something useful to do, like praying a rosary for the unity of people to our church separated by the age old sin of pride.

Forever Faithful said...

Bernadette O... I read your comments whenever you write, and I am sorry to see that you seem to ALWAYS be negative and your understanding of the SSPX very, very shallow. I should think that anyone could see why attending the N.Ordo on a Sunday when no TLM offered by the priests of the SSPX is very dangerous -- just look around in the N. Ordo churches: the "faithful" (and often times the priests, as well) are by-in-large bored to tears and don't even attempt to show any interest in the fact that they are at a Holy Sacrifice. It is so painfully obvious why those who attend the SSPX TLM should not "mix" with N. Ordo Masses: it can lead to a loss of faith! Please, please don't comment here any more until you can take a moment to put on your glasses and thinking cap. God bless you...

Long-Skirts said...

Athelstane said:

" I *do* understand the concern, which had some real validity pre-Summorum Pontificum, that there was a danger that such masses would be scheduled to draw in traddies, then yanked away once they had been sucked in. But that seems less of a concern now, especially where a personal parish or oratory has been set up - these are not easy to get rid of"

Oh, how quickly we forget!

Posted by Augustinus at 11/22/2012
on RORATE COELI

"One of Rome's oldest running Traditional Latin Masses to be stopped?

The every-Sunday Traditional Latin Mass in the Chiesa dei SS.mi Nomi di Gesù e Maria along the Via del Corso, usually known simply as Gesù e Maria, is scheduled to be replaced beginning on December 2 of this year with a Portuguese Mass. Ironically, this is the titular church of Domenico Cardinal Bartolucci, who said in 2009 that he always celebrated the Traditional Latin Mass since his ordination...The TLM in this church dates back to the early 1980's and has been taken care of by the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest since 1992...
-- an exponential improvement over the pre-Summorum situation, but also an indication of the distance which the restoration of the Roman liturgy still has to travel. It is against this background that the potential loss of the TLM in Gesù e Maria should be seen."



Dymphna said...

I hate all this slick talk. Why get the laity get a simple yes or now answer?

The Rad Trad said...

@Mr Wolfe

I was not making light of "straw subdeacons." I was unaware of the phenomenon of lay persons pretending to subdeacon Masses, but this letter seems to confirm the long standing practice in my diocese of seminarians acting as subdeacon at Solemn Mass.

@Stuart Reiss

His Holiness does indeed recognize them as Catholic priests. You conflate validity, communion, and canonical standing into one giant heading and then dismiss the entire Society. You should consider making distinctions, doing so might lead you to a better informed opinion n the matter.

Re: all those saying the SSPX is some exclusive sect.... Someone mentioned marriages. I have never heard of the SSPX treating marriage between a chapel attendee and a non-SSPX person as "mixed." Quite the opposite, I have heard that they refuse to marry people who do not attend their chapels because they want to establish the canonical requirement that one be impeded from seeing one's pastor for marriage for 30 days. The SSPX canonists believe (rightly or wrongly) that this brings about canonical validity of their marriages.

Really, rather than looking at them as a group of people who need formal canonical standing why do some many here look at them as a parallel church or another religion? Far be it from Christ being the physician who heals the wound caused by their situation within the body of His Church, some seem to look at them as a distinct body, and possibly one that ought to be stoned.

Stuart Reiss said...

Dear Mr Rad Trad,
The Holy Father clearly say that "it's ministers do not legitimately excercise a ministry in the church"

We in the Catholic church don't recognise holy orders of any other Christian church that is NOT in communion with the Catholic church.

No need to split hairs here. Mr Williamson has never been a catholic, he joined from one heretical Christian sect directly into a schismatic movement. He is not at all and never will be a priest of good standing in the catholic church. I don't know if Mr. Bernard Fellay was ever a Catholic.

They can prance about in clerical garb, but doesn't make them priests anymore than my postman.

So, unless SSPX agree to join the one Holy Catholic church, then their Mass is not valid, and does not fulfill a catholic's Sunday obligation.

Lex Orandi said...

So, unless SSPX agree to join the one Holy Catholic church, then their Mass is not valid, and does not fulfill a catholic's Sunday obligation.


The validity of the mass does not depend on the person being a good Catholic in union with the pope, it depends on the celebrant having valid Holy Orders and correct Sacramental, Matter, Form, and Intent.

Historically, the Vatican has recognized as valid the Holy Orders of those people who have been ordained, even though they have been ordained outside of the law of the Catholic Church, so long as the correct sacramental form, matter, intent, and minister were used in confecting the ordination. This is why the Catholic Church considers certain non-Catholic churches such as the Eastern Orthodox to have valid sacraments and holy orders, even though they are considered schismatic.

In the case of the SSPX, the correct sacramental matter, form, intention, and minister appear to have been used to ordain the SSPX's bishops, so they are almost certainly validly ordained bishops of the Church. Consequently, since the SSPX ordinations are probably valid their masses are also probably valid, although they would be illicit under Canon Law.







The Rad Trad said...

@Stuart Reiss

That's not how holy orders work, but you have stated the Russian and Greek ecclesiology with remarkable precision!

Mar said...

Well, Mr. Reiss, I sure do hope that as a surgeon you *will* split hairs. I mean, if you were operating on someone whose heart was diseased, I hope that your solution would not be to remove the heart...

Then again perhaps you should split hairs about Bulgakov: a true schismatic, twice-divorced and one-time friend of Stalin. How any true Catholic could read, let alone hold in high esteem, any of his works I just don't know...

Martyjo said...

I have never had scruples about attending Mass at an SSPX chapel or of confessing to an SSPX priest and receiving Holy Communion. Why? Because I see what goes on in the average parish under the so-called forma ordinaria and my Catholic sense tells me where my soul is safer. All this nonsense about canonical status is just that - nonsense! How can the Roman authorities even dare to suggest that it is the SSPX which is under a cloud while all those liturgical horrors are going on unchecked during their watch. It is the very height of hypocrisy and completely unjust before Our Blessed Lord.

I will continue undaunted to attend SSPX, as I have done these past 25 years, until the Roman authorities recognise and repent of the damage they done to the faith by their conciliar reform, reform of the reform and, doubtless, this New Evangelisation. No Catholic who tolerates this constant liberal assault on the faith will be able to stand before Our Lord at their judgment and say "I was only obeying orders".