An SSPX priest I really trust says that they are valid. Neal Webster mangles the essential words necessary for validity Big news out of Boston, Kentucky: This past Wednesday, July 29, 2020, Bp. Although theoretically it would be possible for a priest to celebrate sacrilegiously in the traditional rite by having a positive counter intention, it is hardly likely, given that the correct intention is repeated several times, which is not the case in the new rite. Things changed dramatically in 1988, however, when Lefebvre consecrated four new bishops without papal mandate, an act which caused the four men and Lefebvre himself to be declared excommunicated by John Paul II. Since they have no faculties to hear confessions, SSPX clergy cannot validly absolve penitents in the confessional. In general, SSPX clergy certainly think so! SSPX Marriages are Incontestable - District of Canada Conveniently missing from these sorts of analyses is any acknowledgement of the fact that the Holy Father himself reasserted just a few years ago (as seen in Part I) that the SSPX clergy have no canonical status in the Church, and thus do not legitimately exercise any ministry. –John. email@example.com As has been discussed in great detail in “Can a Bishop Forbid a Priest to Say Mass?” a validly ordained priest always possesses the power to consecrate the Eucharist, and thus to celebrate a valid Mass. As we saw in Part I, SSPX priests are able to celebrate validly the sacraments of Baptism, Holy Eucharist (because they can celebrate a valid Mass), and Anointing of the Sick. As we saw in “Are They Excommunicated? And like sacraments, for the most part, we just know a salad when we see it, and unless there’s a consistent problem, no one tries to legislate salads too closely. The Church supplies the jurisdiction for those of us who have nowhere else to turn. 986.2.). If the information on this website has helped you, please consider making a contribution so that it can continue to help others. Readers who find this classic statement (often referred to simply by its first two words in Latin, Ecclesia supplet) completely mystifying aren’t alone. SSPX priests don’t have this faculty, because they don’t have any competent ecclesiastical authority who can give it to them. Louie should be focusing on the validity of Francis’ “priesthood” and “episcopal consecration”….both of the New Rite of Paul VI. Marriage tribunals rarely encounter such clear-cut invalidity as this. There is no doubt about the validity of the ordination of the priests of the Society of St. Pius X. Private discussions have continued intermittently, as the Vatican has tried to induce the leaders of the SSPX to return to Rome. Sadly, however, this is not the case! They understand the significance of the territorial boundaries of the parish where they reside (or in the case of visiting-priests, where they want to celebrate the wedding), and the need to obtain delegation. Therefore, the seven Sacraments administered by SSPX bishops and priests, though usually administered illicitly, are valid, as long as the essential requirements for validity are met. So did the Catholic who entered his confessional really receive absolution? Pope Francis has fully regularized the Society of St Pius X (SSPX), James Bogle, the ex-president of Una Voce International, told Gloria.tv (video HERE). Website of the Society of Saint Pius X's USA District. In order to make this clear once again: until the doctrinal questions are clarified, the Society has no canonical status in the Church, and its ministers – even though they have been freed of the ecclesiastical penalty – do not legitimately exercise any ministry in the Church. Can I Attend an SSPX Church, Since My Parish is Closed? On Sunday mornings it can be hard to turn one’s back on an SSPX church in the neighborhood, complete with beautiful liturgical rites celebrated by an obviously devout priest and attended by an equally devout congregation—especially if the alternative Mass, at one’s Catholic parish, involves none of those things! None of the content of this website may be reproduced, either in whole or in part, without the advance written permission of the author. Note that the other elements of canonical form in this scenario were clearly met: the couple was married in the parish church, there were at least two witnesses, and the retired priest is definitely a priest! (Note that the priest in the confessional was truly a priest! While most engaged Catholics have no idea how serious the need for this delegation really is, priests do. The laity, especially families, attending the SSPX Masses and participating in parish life … What Happens When a Religious Who’s Vowed Poverty Becomes a Bishop? Confessions have only been valid since 2015. Are They Excommunicated? Under canon 144, the answer is yes. In light of last week's news from Rome regarding the SSPX and our marriages, we here present some initial reflections on what it means for us practically, the state of necessity, and the future. See “Can I Attend an SSPX Church, Since My Parish is Closed?” for a more recent discussion of the current law. Then we should be able to see whether it can be applied at all to SSPX priests, who lack faculties to celebrate Penance and Matrimony. He goes in, confesses his sins, and receives absolution from the priest there. Neal Webster consecrated Fr. Instead, let’s take a look at how it is relevant to the two sacraments we are discussing. Bogle stressed that the SSPX and the sacraments administrated by them, including marriages and confessions, have been formally recognized by Francis. If he had been an imposter who had gained access to the confessional, canon 144 wouldn’t have helped. One must have the faith pure and inviolate to be saved. While Pope Benedict was clearly hoping to reconcile the SSPX to the Church during his papacy, the fact is that this important item on his to-do list was left unfinished when he resigned in February. The Society is also allowed to ordain to the priesthood… The short answer to the question are the sacraments administered by the SSPX valid is that under a layman’s understanding of Catholic cannon law five of the seven sacraments baptism, Holy Eucharist, Confirmation, Anointing of the Sick including Last Rites and Ordination are valid but are illicit in most cases. Why is Google hiding the posts on this website in its search results? In the past Cathy has published articles both in scholarly journals and on various popular Catholic websites, including Real Presence Communications and Catholic Exchange. A: It would have been marvelous to be able to respond to John that the priests of the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) were now fully united to Rome, and thus had a status comparable to the members of any other religious institute in the Church. The couple, and their family and friends who attend, all assume the same thing. Put simply, they don’t. And precisely on this score, the Novus Ordo Missae (NOM) is most defective as was attested at the time of its promulgation by no less than Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci: The legal aspect here does not address so much the question of the suppression of the Old Mass, since its continuous e… The members and supporters of the SSPX now found that they had been handed one of the most significant items that they had wanted all along. Cathy Caridi, J.C.L., is an American canon lawyer who practices law and teaches in Rome. This was discussed more fully in “Can a Priest Administer the Sacrament of Confirmation?” In the case of the SSPX, however, it is largely irrelevant because they leave it to their bishops to administer the sacrament of confirmation.). The founder of the SSPX, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. They do not have authority to minister to the Catholic faithful, because such authority can only be given to them by lawful church superiors—and to this day, they still don’t have any lawful church superiors! As has been seen before in “Do Converts Have to be Rebaptized?” and other columns that addressed this sacrament, baptism is the easiest sacrament to administer validly. Most of them just think I am a stupid "meathead" (which is kinda true). Frequently they term it “supplied jurisdiction,” and invent convoluted justifications for their claims—justifications which in fact are sheer fantasy, pure and simple. That’s why in many questionable situations, it steps in to supply what otherwise might be lacking. Even while they were still under excommunication, these true bishops in turn could validly ordain priests. Nonetheless, Catholics should never abuse the Church’s generosity by pushing it to the limits: if possible, receiving sacraments at SSPX churches is to be avoided. 1.) The SSPX ignores this prohibition by continuing to claim a state of necessity, which the Society says requires that it offer the sacraments for the good of the Church and the salvation of souls. In other words, since these clerics have been given no authorization by competent ecclesiastical authorities to minister to the faithful, their ministry is illegal. Canon 966.2 notes that this faculty is given to a priest either by the law itself, or by competent ecclesiastical authority. The law regarding the valid administration of this sacrament couldn’t be clearer: canon 1003.1 states that every priest can validly administer it. Thus the confirmations administered by SSPX bishops, who routinely travel all over the world to administer this sacrament, are indeed valid. Part I – The SSPX Is Not in Schism With the recent coronavirus problem, many faithful Catholics are faced with a dilemma in their parish. This is why, for example, when a couple tells the pastor that they’d really like their wedding to be celebrated by the bride-to-be’s uncle, who’s a priest in another diocese, the pastor must delegate that priest-uncle the authority to do this. Orthodox sacraments are valid, and provide some unity. So how do SSPX priests fit into this equation? Matrimony and regular confession are not valid among the SSPX. Therefore, even when a priest says Mass against the wishes of the diocesan bishop in whose territory he is, the Mass is valid, as the Eucharistic sacrifice really does take place. Benedict XVI addressed this issue himself back in 2009: As long as the Society [of Saint Pius X] does not have a canonical status in the Church, its ministers do not exercise legitimate ministries in the Church…. The power to consecrate the Sacred Species can never be taken away from a priest by anyone on earth! Refusing First Holy Communion to Children Who Are Ill-Prepared, Ecclesia Supplet: Making Invalid Sacraments Valid, Invalid Baptisms and Unaccountable Clergy. Click here for more information. Rather, as has been seen before in this space, the Church is concerned above all with the spiritual wellbeing of the Catholic faithful. Why is Google hiding the posts on this website in its search results? Penance. In short, the cleric who officiates at a marriage involving at least one Catholic doesn’t merely need to be ordained; he must be either the bishop or the pastor of the parish, or have delegation from one of them. This is, however, definitely not the case with the remaining two sacraments, which cannot always be celebrated validly by all clerics everywhere—far from it! 4.) But let’s say that in his haste, the pastor worded his written delegation very poorly, stating that the retired priest “is delegated to assist at all weddings in St. Elizabeth’s parish for the next couple of weeks.” Of course the pastor meant the entire time of his vacation, which would include August 31; but if he dated the delegation August 16, it certainly isn’t clear whether August 31 should technically be included or not! The SSPX certainly has several validly consecrated bishops; the four men who were consecrated back in 1988, provoking their excommunication, are truly bishops, as Archbishop Lefebvre possessed the sacramental power to consecrate them even though he was ordered by Pope John Paul II not to do so. Thus the confirmations administered by SSPX bishops, who routinely travel all over the world to administer this sacrament, are indeed valid. But I have to say I disagree with Louie that Vatican always consider the Sacraments of SSPX are valid. This article also summarizes some of their errors and heresies. All rights reserved. As a result, some of their sacraments would not be valid (particularly confession and marriage). Please check the Archives first–it’s likely your question was already addressed. So far, so good. Their priests have no proper faculties for those sacraments. That naturally includes SSPX priests as well. Among other things, this means members could not obtain permission to minister in dioceses. Many other scenarios could certainly be described in which canon 144 would apply; but the question we should ask now is, does it supply the necessary faculty to an SSPX priest who doesn’t have it? But does this mean that the sacraments administered by SSPX priests are also invalid? Matrimony. What many may not know: The Lefebvrist Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) considers the Paul VI rite of episcopal consecration to be valid (for proof, see their Angelus article on the matter here, but be aware that it has been refuted in the articles we link above). 3.) But there are two other sacraments which haven’t been addressed yet. With the rare exception of absolution in danger of death (discussed in “Can All Priests Always Hear Confessions?”), priests of the SSPX do not administer any of the sacraments licitly to the people who approach them. If the information on this website has helped you, please consider making a contribution so that it can continue to help others. This had long been a key bone of contention between the SSPX and Rome—and by signing this motu proprio, Benedict instantly removed it. Joseph Pfeiffer a bishop for the SSPX-resistance. Note that it doesn’t specify that it must be the diocesan bishop, in whose territory the confirmation takes place, because any bishop can validly confirm. However, please allow me to emphasize that the SSPX is in a state of formal heresy and formal schism. We will cover such issues as schism, “full communion,” valid and licit sacraments, true obedience, Vatican II, excommunication and more. If they’re not valid, then every sacrament he performs is invalid regardless of his “intent”. This means simply that they are doing something that they shouldn’t be doing! Please check the Archives first–it’s likely your question was already addressed. The only thing that may have been lacking here was the faculty—and the Church supplied it. Consequently, if a Catholic marries in a ceremony conducted by an SSPX priest, the marriage is invalid, for lack of canonical form. The SSPX have erected their own churches in countries all over the world, but they are not parish churches. The penitent takes it for granted that the priest must have the ability—i.e., the faculty—to forgive sins, or else he wouldn’t be sitting in the confessional in the first place! We’ve been looking at the sacraments administered by priests of the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX), an institute which, despite numerous attempts at reconciliation, still has no canonical status in the Catholic Church. Sanctions, Part III, addressed this issue himself back in 2009. The Church supplies, in both the internal and external forum, the executive power of governance in common error, in positive and probable doubt, whether of fact or of law. But this did not automatically bring with it a reconciliation between the Catholic Church and the whole institute of the SSPX, which remains a separate issue. SSPX sacraments are problematic. The pastor has delegated a retired priest to celebrate weddings during this time. Ordination. 2.) Again, the law is perfectly clear, as canon 1012 states that the minister of ordination is a consecrated bishop. It’s not uncommon to find a diocesan bishop requesting help from (say) a retired bishop, when the diocese has so many parishes that its bishop is physically unable to travel to all of them and confirm everyone by himself! Cathy Caridi, J.C.L., is an American canon lawyer who practices law and teaches in Rome. But according to canon 144, the couple in these circumstances (which constitute a “doubt of fact”) doesn’t need to worry, because even if the retired priest didn’t have the necessary faculty, it was supplied by the law itself. In the meantime, Pope Benedict’s 2007 motu proprio document Summorum pontificum inadvertently confused the issue in the minds of many Catholics even further. Let’s say that the retired priest interprets the delegation the same way that the pastor did, namely, that it is valid until the pastor’s return on September 1. Which Mass Fulfills My Sunday Obligation? But to this condition must be added another of supreme importance and essential to make it a law: it must be for the common good. If anything, it was intended to encourage the members of that Society to regularize their status in the Church. Let’s say that a Catholic enters St. Margaret’s Church and sees a light on in the confessional. Can an SSPX priest validly hear confessions, and celebrate weddings, because Ecclesia supplet? Let’s say, for example, that a Catholic couple want to marry in their parish, St. Elizabeth’s, on August 31. firstname.lastname@example.org The SSPX was founded by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and is dedicated to the formation of priests and in … Logically, then, the Hosts which are consecrated at an SSPX Mass are truly the Body of Christ—so anybody who receives Holy Communion at such a Mass does so validly. (There is far more flexibility for salad than for sacraments.) As was seen in Part I of this article, all of the sacraments administered by SSPX clergy—with the exception of absolution in danger of death (c. 986.2, discussed in “Can All Priests Always Hear Confessions?”)—are administered illicitly. It seems reasonable to surmise that by allowing the Latin Mass to be celebrated by all Catholic priests everywhere, the motu proprio caused many of the lay-faithful to stop attending SSPX Masses, and to return to regular Mass-attendance at their proper Catholic parishes instead. 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