Thursday, August 20, 2015

IF YOU HAVE BEEN GOING TO CONFESSION IN AN SSXP PARISH (OR HAVE GOTTEN MARRIED THERE) IT IS CLEARLY INVALID, NO IF'S AND'S OR BUT'S ABOUT IT

 Could this actor, Montgomery Clift, from Hitchcock's "I Confess" hear a valid confession? Just like the SSPX priests, no, however, if the penitent didn't know that the actor wasn't a priest (the star of this great movie, I Confess) and went to him for confession on the movie set, it might be possible that the penitent's sins are forgiven, if the penitent was in invincible ignorance. Of course, once he discovered the truth, he shouldn't go back to Montgomery Clift for confession, because the invincible ignorance would be gone. This holds true of SSPX priests and penitents!
But here's a good question! SSPX priests' confessions are invalid, so could that priest be brought before a civil magistrate and forced to divulge what he heard in an invalid confession?Does the seal of the Sacrament of Confession hold when the confession is heard by a priest who has no faculties for hearing confession and thus all confessions he hears are invalid, like those that Montgomery Clift might have heard on the set of "I Confess!"?

Fr. Z sets the record straight and thus the case is closed. You can read his entire post on it HERE.

These are some excerpts:

...The SSPX might have a chapel, but they don’t have a parish.  Parishes are officially established by proper authority.  The SSPX doesn’t have authority to establish parishes.

...The 1983 Code of Canon Law says that:
Can. 966 §1 For the valid absolution of sins, it is required that, in addition to the power of order, the minister has the faculty to exercise that power in respect of the faithful to whom he gives absolution.
§2 A priest can be given this faculty either by the law itself, or by a concession issued by the competent authority in accordance with can. 969.
From this we see that priests must have permission of the Church to absolve sins.  The Church, by the way, gets to determine how the sacraments are administered.

My Comments: Of course a penitent who is completely ignorant of the fact that an SSPX priest can't validly absolve sins (and also in the case of a priest who isn't validly ordained, or let's say someone who is in the priest's part of the confessional and is pretending to be a priest) may well have the Church supply what is lacking, that one's sins are forgiven, at least through the concept of "perfect contrition."

The sin isn't on the ignorant one who is confessing, but on the SSPX priest who hears confession who has no excuse for not knowing that the Sacrament of Penance isn't valid when he hears confessions unless it is an extreme emergency of someone who is dying. But then even a laicized "defrocked" priest could anoint and hear the confession of a dying person when no other priest is available. 



23 comments:

John Nolan said...

Not a good comparison. The church cannot supply jurisdiction on account of common error or positive and probable doubt to anyone who is not a validly ordained priest.

I admire Fr Z but he would not be so arrogant as to claim 'Zuhlsdorf locutus est, causa finita est.'

Vox Cantoris said...

Father,

The Church where this was filmed was Saint-Zéphirin-de-Stadacona. It is not the parish of the Fraternity of St. Peter invited into the wasteland of Quebec by Marc Card Oulette.

Anonymous said...

I know the Masses that are celebrated in SSPX chapels are valid but illicit. My question is: I attended Mass a few times in an SSPX chapel, not because I reject Vatican II,but out of friendship with a priest there and because sometimes I just can't take the abuses found at a regular parish, is it sinful?

Anonymous said...

So if I need Last Rites and I call St. HappyClappy's down the street and the priest is too busy to come (this has happened), and I call Our Lady of Fatima SSPX bc I desperately need my confession and last rites, this isn't valid? I have a hard time believing God would do that. I don't go to an SSPX chapel but they seem more Catholic than 80% of the non FSSP parishes I've been around...

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Vox, I presume you meant to say that it is now, not "not" a parish of the FSSP which is wonderful news and yes, quite sad what has happened to the Church in Quebec! Let me ask you though, the Church in Quebec was very strong until the 1960's and has collapsed after Vatican II through the same secularization occurring in Europe and now here in the USA--they were ahead of the USA in this in other words.

Was the melding of Church and State and the resentment this caused politically in a large number of Catholics the major problem for what has happened or can one completely blame it on Vatican II's miserable implementation which I know for a fact that Canadian Church in the 1960's and 70's was far more liberal or progressive than the American counterpart at the same time as radical as we were in some places.

To A: in the case of an actual emergency, meaning death could happen is dying is happening and no other Catholic priest can be found, an SSPX priest could validly hear that person's confession as can a laizcized priest and and Orthodox priest if willing should do so also!

I think one can attend Mass in an SSPX parish to fulfill the obligation but should not join that chapel and if there is outward preaching against Rome, they should not attend at all. It is a judgement call though I think. If going leads you to join, that's the problem.

Jusadbellum said...

Ecclesia supplex is how the penitent gets a valid absolution.

But before we start there, we need to determine if we're talking 'illicit' or invalid.

In other words, are the SSPX priests illicitly ordained or invalidly ordained?

I think - but am by no means an expert - that their bishops were illicitly ordained by Archbishop L... illicit because they were ordained without the Pope's permission. But validly ordained inasmuch as they were genuine priests and the archbishop was a validly ordained bishop.

Schism is a concern because of the illicit nature of the rupture not so much because they're invalid.

Now, if two women dressed up and tried to effect ordination that would be invalid.

If I tried baptizing someone with molten chocolate that would be invalid (and a waste of perfectly good chocolate).

So... assuming that SSPX clergy are ordained priests by valid (but illicit) bishops, they are validly priests (but illicit).

It follows that their sacraments are valid but illicit. Ditto with Orthodox clergy! Don't we accept that we're in schism with the Orthodox? Don't we also accept that their sacraments are valid albeit illicit?

Why isn't it the same for the SSPX (other than as they're a relatively young schism and are Westerners it's more of a perceived threat to us?)

As I've posted innumerable times, I'm no devotee of the Latin Mass. I appreciate it, I attend occasionally, and I sing Gregorian chant. But for me what is essential is fidelity to the deposit of faith and morals, not so much the particular language and rubrics used in Mass. So I confess to know quite grasp the heat and anger that seems to be under the surface when the SSPX is mentioned. It strikes me as just a tad bit too petty or too spiteful to be a healthy reaction.

So this is what I suspect: Archbishop L's critiques of Vatican II were unpopular precisely because he scored hits, because he had many valid complaints while everyone else were adamant that "all's well". He wasn't a cheerleader. But neither was he a heretic. He erred by ordaining bishops without authority but that's a separate matter from the other critiques.

So with respect to SSPX, the Latin Mass is largely a side issue as is the illicit ordinations. The real hot potato is their unanswered challenge to the presuppositions prevalent about the doctrinal justifications for particular pastoral applications of Vatican II (and the Media/Modernist spin of Vatican II).

The Mass - as crucial as it is - seems to be a side issue from the bed rock presuppositions undergirding SOME claims of rupture and doctrinal 'evolution'.

See, if Vatican II was entirely pastoral and did not attempt or claim to change doctrine, then Trent is still valid. Any pastoral practice can be measured against criteria established by Trent not the NYT or Commonweal magazine. If a given pastoral practice fails, then it can (and should) be jettisoned and the area revert to the status quo ante. This is SSPX's claims is it not?

That puts them "in the right" and most of the Latin world in the wrong to the degree people presume doctrine and morals changed at Vatican II and there can be no 'going back'.

A win on this level overturns the entire apple cart whereas merely changing the language or rubric of the Mass does not.

Jacob said...

I attend a traditional parish that is in union with Rome. At my parish we are very sympathetic to the SSPX and want them reconciled but we understand they do not have faculties for the sacraments of penance and matrimony. Our priests make this clear to us. When traveling I often have to attend a SSPX mass and receive communion because there are no traditional masses in the area, Ecclesia Dei has said it is OK to attend the masses in such circumstances. So you can do so without scruple of conscience. Even we traditional Catholics in traditional parishes while being sympathetic to the SSPX, we understand they act without approval of the local ordinary. I think this is the widespread opinion of those of us in parishes run by the ICKSP,Bon Pastor, FSSP, etc. If they reconcile they could do so much good and they would have to build a dozen new seminaries and convents.

Joe Potillor said...

I know in certain situations, in certain dioceses, the SSPX priests have gone to the local ordinary and obtained faculties...not universally true, but has been done before...I don't see why this situation can't be solved with subsidiarity.

Vox Cantoris said...

Hi Father,

Yes, I meant "now" not "not." It IS the FSSP parish.

The Church in Quebec has been hit on two fronts; indeed, the same problems everywhere as a result of rampant secularism and the mistakes of interpretation and implementation of the Council but also from what is known as "The Quiet Revolution," essentially the French Revolution without the blood and gore, except for the terrorist FLQ (Quebec Liberation Front) and the late Pierre Laporte, whom they murdered. When questioned on what he would do, Pierre Elliot Trudeau responded "just watch me" and he invoked the now repealed War Measures Act in 1970, essentially invoking marital law. Well, it was the last terrorist attack on our soil until Parliament last October; but that needs to serve as a warning for America -- some in your government may hope for another 9-11, just to tighten the screws!

There was an almost merging of Church and State in Quebec and it was very pronounced under the Premier Maurice Duplessis. There is to this day though a crucifix about the Speaker's Chair in the Quebec Legislature. It remains as a "cultural symbol."

The foolish Quebecois don't get it, the Church preserved them from assimilation by a sea of English in Canada and North America. The Church built was their "culture" which they whine about constantly. It preserved their "language" which they whine about constantly. It nurtured them and taught them that victory lay in the cradle, and they have now turned on Her.

Well, Quebec has the lowest birth rate in Canada and the lowest rate of marriage. It has an aging population and the highest rates in Canada for abortion, common-law relationships (shacking up as we say) and the highest rate of suicide in Canada.

We are in an election and two of the three come from Quebec and are both Catholics who believe in same-sex marriage and the right to choose to murder your child up to a birth when it finally becomes a person and to allow it to be dissected and sold at the highest bidder. Both of these, Trudeau and Mulcair, will not allow a candidate that does not support abortion and Mulcair, a Socialist, is also a citizen of France.

I will hold my nose and vote for the Stephen "status quo on abortion" Harper, because it he will do the least evil, at least he will not bar a Member of Parliament or candidate from expressing their pro-life views.

Oh my, we are in a mess...

Anonymous said...

I have attended 1 (one) SSPX Mass ever 50 or so years ago. So, ....

I pretty much agree with Jusadbellum on the current situation and wish the Pope would listen to Bishop Schnider and just announce that as of Advent this year they are a canonically regularized priestly association.

Our Vatican 2 Church is in de facto conflict with Trent and other approved councils on a number of doctrinal points that are ignored by critics of the FSSPX. The latter's arguments directed at Bp. Fellay et al are invariably weak (based mainly who is in charge here?!) as Bishop Schnider points out in his report to the Holy See.

Pope Francis is almost the only active high ranking churchman who has acted with fraternal charity when dealing with them. Furthermore, one might find it utterly ironic that Society's most severe critics like to point that the sacrament of holy matrimony and confessions in SSPX chapels are both illicit and invalid.

So, which side defends the marriage bond most vigorously, the SSPX or the mainstream Church? A: SSPX.

Which side takes going to confessions regularly more seriously, the SSPX or the mainstream Church? A: SSPX.

Something is just not right in this situation. anon-1

Anonymous said...

I have attended 1 (one) SSPX Mass ever 50 or so years ago. So, ....

I pretty much agree with Jusadbellum on the current situation and wish the Pope would listen to Bishop Schnider and just announce that as of Advent this year they are a canonically regularized priestly association.

Our Vatican 2 Church is in de facto conflict with Trent and other approved councils on a number of doctrinal points that are ignored by critics of the FSSPX. The latter's arguments directed at Bp. Fellay et al are invariably weak (based mainly who is in charge here?!) as Bishop Schnider points out in his report to the Holy See.

Pope Francis is almost the only active high ranking churchman who has acted with fraternal charity when dealing with them. Furthermore, one might find it utterly ironic that Society's most severe critics like to point that the sacrament of holy matrimony and confessions in SSPX chapels are both illicit and invalid.

So, which side defends the marriage bond most vigorously, the SSPX or the mainstream Church? A: SSPX.

Which side takes going to confessions regularly more seriously, the SSPX or the mainstream Church? A: SSPX.

Something is just not right in this situation. anon-1

Jusadbellum said...

The bombshell bottom line is that if Vatican II was "just" a pastoral and not a doctrinal council (as it's champions and defenders insist), it follows that any doctrinal "development" that arises due to "pastoral" initiatives at odds with the status quo ante, CAN be jettisoned without the faithful's faith being utterly gutted.

It's about the Baby and Bathwater. Did the Council just change the bathwater or was it about substituting a new baby for the old one?

If Vatican II did what the progressive/secular media/modernists insisted it did which was to overturn doctrine and replace it with brand new doctrine, it follows that all that came before 1963 was wrong and can be dispensed with. "The times" are now the bedrock criteria for right and wrong rather than the Gospel, Tradition and previous Papal Magisteria. "The times" are just the opinion of other people (curiously not the faithful). Putting them in the drivers seat is foolish.

Now, most of us have heard BOTH claims: that Vatican II changed nothing doctrinally just tinkered with pastoral application...AND that Vatican II changes everything and that's why we "can't go back" even on minor things like the liturgy.

But again, if the whole point of the council was to IMPROVE the interior life of the Church and provide an incentive to dramatically expand the numbers of Catholics vis a vis the world.... it would follow that the criteria for judging the success of this or that "pastoral" change would be precisely in the numbers and quality of Catholic involvement and the number and quality of Catholic conversions.

Recall, Gaudium et Spes goes long about the challenge of atheism and modern states that use scientific propaganda to debase and corrupt their populations. It plants the global situation in a way so as to talk up how the Church can more effectively make the case for Christ both 'ad gentes' and internally. Everything to be tinkered with "pastorally" was justified by this desire to improve quality and quantity. The expectation was NOT THAT there'd be a massive exodus from the priesthood, a massive collapse in the number of religious and seminarians, global chaos and confusion as to what being Catholic meant, liturgical illiteracy, fads and crazes for women priests, legalized sodomy, abortion, and euthanasia "on demand".

The point was to usher in a hopeful season not a collapse.

The SSPX is thus important in that they've staked out a position that makes a lot of Catholics look bad. That's why they're despised and FEARED. The people who have prided themselves on intellectual and moral superiority for 50 years can't face the grim prospect of being proven incorrect or wrong in their presumptions and life-work. It takes saintly humility to admit to having made a mistake of this size. Many would rather argue that the Church of all centuries was wrong about any number of doctrinal and moral issues rather than accept that they were wrong.


Invalid is Bliss said...


I think thou protesteth SSPX too much.

rcg said...

jusadbellum helped me coalesce a thought: Vatican II was not mandatory, so a bishop, even a priest and parish could have ignored it concerning altar rails, music, even the missal. The changes were, essentially fads. It seems the priest, parishes, and bishops who made the changes in "branding" experimented in hopes of improving their situation. What I do not understand is how it was allowed to continue when the decline was so pronounced.

Anonymous said...

Jusadbellum said "It follows that their sacraments are valid but illicit. Ditto with Orthodox clergy! Don't we accept that we're in schism with the Orthodox? Don't we also accept that their sacraments are valid albeit illicit?

Why isn't it the same for the SSPX (other than as they're a relatively young schism and are Westerners it's more of a perceived threat to us?)"

The difference between the Orthodox (who are in formal schism) and the SSPX who are in irregular communion with the Church means that because of that like any Catholic priest they have to have faculties from the local bishop for the sacraments of matrimony and penance.

Jan

Anonymous said...

The majority of people attending the Traditional Mass very much desire the reconciliation of the SSPX. However, the rhetoric on the SSPX official webstites seems to me to place an impediment to such a reconciliation. If one does a Google search, for example, "SSPX and Fraternity of St Peter", there are numerous condemnatory articles by the SSPX of the Fraternity and other tradtional orders.

As recently as December 2013 there is a scathing article recommending their followers not attend and not to attend Moto Proprio Masses. Unless the SSPX are willing to give up this kind of rhetoric I can't see any hope of reconciliation. I don't think the good Bishop Schneider would be happy to read this article either. Is Bishop Fellay supportive of such rhetoric? If the SSPX is of goodwill and want to be considered seriously they need to desist from such rhetoric and take down these articles.

http://sspx.org/en/news-events/news/question-principles-sspx-vs-fssp-3062

Having attended an SSPX chapel on about four occasions, I have to say that the sermons on at least three occasions left a bad taste. The Church was referred to as "the new church" and St John Paul II The Great was roundly condemned (I think largely because he was the Pope at the time when Archbishop Leferbvre incurred automatic excommunication for illicitly ordaining bishops). A booklet on confession instructed that anyone attending a Novus Ordo Mass must confess that as a mortal sin. One person who attended the chapel who had been recently baptised was told he would have to be rebaptised and re-confirmed. So to me that smacks of their own magisterium and so I express grave doubt that they will ever be reconciled because I think there are only the hardliners left in the SSPX nowadays. At least that is my experience.

Jan

John Nolan said...

Jan, I would be interested to know where were the SSPX chapels you attended. I have only been to SSPX Masses in France and Belgium and have found the preaching orthodox and the literature available at the back of the church uncontroversial.

Ironically, some of the practices would appear modern to those who attend the EF here in England. At a Missa Cantata the celebrant sang the Epistle in Latin and then immediately turned to the people and read it in French. Likewise the Gospel. And at low Mass the congregation joins in the responses.

Mark Thomas said...

"Having attended an SSPX chapel on about four occasions, I have to say that the sermons on at least three occasions left a bad taste. The Church was referred to as "the new church"..."

Countless "full communion" liberals in the Church insisted throughout the Vatican II Era, that the "old" Church is history as a "new" Church has been brought into existence.

For decades, many "full communion" priests and laymen in my diocese have declared with glee that the "old pre-Vatican II Church" is dead. A "new" Church has come supposedly into existence.

Pope Benedict XVI/Cardinal Ratzinger, for example, noted that it was common throughout the Church to have encountered the claim from Churchmen that Vatican II had ushered in a "new" Church.

Therefore, if a priest of the SSPX used the term "new" Church, then he simply repeated that which many "full communion" Churchmen have long employed.

I reject, of course, the notion that we have today a "new" Church.

Pax.

Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas said...

Jan..."...I express grave doubt that they will ever be reconciled because I think there are only the hardliners left in the SSPX nowadays. At least that is my experience."

Jan, remain hopeful that the Holy See may regularize the SSPX. Keep in mind that your experience with the SSPX may not represent the overall condition of the SSPX.

Pax.

Mark Thomas



Anonymous said...

John, yes, the same here the SSPX at Low Mass and Missa Cantata read the Gospel and Epistle first in Latin and then in English but at Low Mass the congregation doesn't join in. They also stand for the Preface. I have been told the group in this country is pretty hardline. The priests who have given the offputting sermons are American and Canadians. The French and Belgium priests I found very good and they tend to stick to non-conroversial subjects.

The articles on the US Chapter of the SSPX website leave a lot to be desired. There has also been a physical attack on a Fraternity of St Peter Chapel in Mexico where grafitti was daubed on the walls.

"The SSPX laymen came to the FSSP church the morning before the Mass on Wednesday Jan 20th, 2010, and they spray painted the walls around the church! A first hand account wrote, "Ecumenismo no! Judas!" was spray painted in huge letters three times, almost all the way around, and one time on the side walk. One was in black and the others in red." Parishioners at the church then had to use gasoline to try and remove the graffiti from the walls and the sidewalk before Mass. That however was not the end of the malicious attack. Once again, a first hand account wrote, "We had arranged for the Choir to sing so we could have a High Mass, using the 'missa pro Ecclesiae Unitate'. As Mass was beginning we could hear a lot of noise outside: there was a bunch of people and someone with a megaphone or loudspeaker saying the rosary and singing hymns as loud as they could." Apparently one of the FSSP priests then went outside to try and talk to the SSPX protesters, but to no avail. Others carried signs around the church which said, "Outside the Church there is no Salvation!" (in Spanish)." The protesters also handed out fliers to those around the FSSP church, which labeled them as being evil, and as being in support of false ecumenism. The FSSP priests are in complete dismay over the vandalism committed and public disturbance incited by this SSPX group.

My name is Edgar Fernandez, I am the President of Una Voce Guadalajara and even though I was not the source for this news article I can corroborate that it is 100% accurate as I was present at the mass (a beautiful missa cantata) and I saw with my own eyes everything that is described here. To answer your questions Fr. Puga from the FSSPX was the one leading the mob with a loud speaker and Fr. Romanoski tried to talk with the people who told him that they didn't want to speak with him"

http://catholicchampion.blogspot.co.nz/2010/01/sspx-group-in-mexico-attacks-fssp.html

Jan

Anonymous said...

Mark Thomas, yes, of course you are right. There is not a new church, which is my point. In my view, when liberals say there is a new church and the SSPX say the same thing, then to me both groups are signalling that they do not belong to the one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. They are making the claim and that's why I stare clear of both groups. It is often said that both the liberals and the SSPX are opposite ends of the same coin which you clearly demonstrate Mark.

Jan

George said...

Jan:

I agree with your comment @ 1:58 A.M. It doesn't matter which side of the Barque of Peter you fall out of, you are still out of the boat. There is always hope. Perhaps they can work out an agreement with Rome that what is contained in Vatican II documents that they disagree with represents a "Pastoral Interpretation" and not a repudiation of what came before it. More humility, enlightenment, and prayer and less obstinacy are what is needed to resolve this.

Anonymous said...

George, I completely agree. If they were reconciled the SSPX can do so much more to rebuild the Church, as the other traditional orders are doing. Many of us do not support some of the Vatican II documents which appear to have broken with tradition but I doubt thereis going to ever be a backdown from the Vatican on that. Mons Gheradini and others petitioned Pope Benedict that the Vatican II Council documents be revisited but in his wisdom he decided not to do it. Perhaps he feared an even bigger onslaught from the liberals if he attempted to do so. Concretely, as it stands, much of what the SSPX say about the Vatican II documents is correct and I think that is no doubt recognised by Cardinal Burke, Bishop Athanasius Schneider, Mons Gheradini and others. But it may be for another Vatican Council to sort those out. In the meantime the SSPX needs to, as you say, put obstinancy aside and get onboard and rebuild. I feel that Bishop Fellay would do so in a flash but he is obviously held back by a powerful group in the SSPX and going by the website of the US Chapter they would be some of them.

Jan