Saturday, April 7, 2018

QUESTIONING THE CATHOLICITY OF THE SSPX AND MAIN STREAM POST VATICAN II CATHOLICISM



In the helicon days of the Church prior to Vatican II in 1950's USA, Catholicism was at its apex in being catholic. Over 90% of Catholics, the good, the bad and the ugly, attended Mass each Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation and even the most tepid Catholics treasured the cultural aspects of being Catholic.

Today, in our less catholic Catholic Church, some places in the once powerful, majority Catholic states and cities like New York are lucky (dare I say blessed) to have 12% of Catholics actually attending Mass. Not very catholic, no?

That brings me to the SSPX who value Catholicism prior to Vatican II especially its 1950's expression. They don't get the catholicity of Catholicism of that period. Parishes were not elitist fighting against other members of the Church. As long as no one bragged about their peccadilloes, went to Confession in order to worthily receive Holy Commuion, or simply did not go to Holy Communion, parishes were dragnets of the good, bad and the ugly of Catholicism.

SSPX, though, has become elitist and thus not catholic. They have done so by design.

The post Vatican II Catholic Church has become less catholic not by design or choice but by attrition and loss of Catholic identity and the culture of Latin Rite Catholicism. Liberalism in the Church, in religious orders and in people's lives has been an unmitigated disaster pure and simple, but the aging "hippie" Catholics of the 1960 and 70's, my age and much, much older, either have brain cells that have hardened, or they remain in a grotesque form of denial, or they have a death wish for the Church. I pray it isn't the latter!

What has made the post Vatican II mainstream Catholicism less catholic?

1. Telling Catholics that if they aren't speaking, singing and actively participating, they aren't good Catholics and deserved to be shamed even if spiritually there is a superabundance of actual participation. You'd think a priest, bishop and pope would be grateful that even a "bump on a log" kind of participating Catholic is better than not having that bump there at all!

If they aren't doing something more than attending Mass on Sunday, like being an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, a lector, a catechism, an usher, a choir member, a cantor, an altar server, a volunteer, they aren't really good Catholics!

Never mind that they have strong Catholic families and live their Catholic lives in the public square and observe the precepts of the Church. But because they are institutionally churchy, they aren't good Catholics.

2. Loss of Catholic idenity based upon ignorance of the faith, history, culture and expectations of what it means to be a Catholics. When Catholicism assimilates the secular agenda, why be Catholic?

There might be other reasons that we are less catholic today, what would you say?

And how do we get SSPX parishes more catholic?  

31 comments:

Victor said...

Fr Mc:
I do not follow how the SSPX has become elitist. Moreover, even if it were so, I do not see how elitism in one important sense is wrong, except perhaps for many Americans. Is not a Catholic an elitist simply because he is gifted, in contrast to everyone else on this planet, with the wholeness of Truth of his Church?
But as far as fighting against other members of the Church, did not the post VII Church do that to the extreme, the one who started it, of shunning if not ostracising those other members of the Church who worshiped God in the traditional manner of the Saints? For the first time in Church history the elites at the top forced down upon the ignorant masses called the laity their elitist perspective of what a liturgy should be according to their pet theories. The Novus Ordo is elitist in the worse sense from the ground up because it came exclusively down from the ivory towers up.

Henry said...

"And how do we get SSPX parishes more catholic?"

Never having been a member of an SSPX parish, I may be nearly as ignorant about them as you appear to be. But since SSPX parishes appear from without to look like parishes in the halcyon days preceding the chaos brought on by Vatican II, I wonder . . . What precisely do you mean by this question? Specifically, on what basis do you consider SSPX parishes elitist? Merely because membership in them is intentional? As it may be beginning to look in those 12% areas.

TJM said...

Off topic, but what does this say about the Pope's negotiating skills with the Red Chinese?

https://www.cnsnews.com/blog/michael-w-chapman/communist-china-bans-online-bible-sales-crosses-removed-churches

On line sales of Bibles are banned and Crosses are being removed from the Churches! Any minute, MT will rush in to defend his golden calf.

Anonymous said...

Also off topic.
This article might help us understand a danger - "Ukraine’s Experience With A Puppet Church Prefigures Francis’s Capitulation To Communist China".

http://thefederalist.com/2018/04/05/ukraines-experience-puppet-church-prefigures-franciss-capitulation-communist-china/

Mike

J. P. Sousa said...

HELICON days? HELICON days?

Helicon - a large spiral bass tuba played encircling the player's head and resting on the shoulder.

Yeah, those were the days with oompah Masses, accordions accompanying the Ave Maria, and priests in Black face singing "What a friend we have in Jesus."

Mark Thomas said...

Father McDonald said..."And how do we get SSPX parishes more catholic?"

If Cardinal Burke is to be believed in regard to the SSPX, priority one is to pray that the SSPX ends its schism from the True Church.

The SSPX is unorthodox, according to Cardinal Burke. It is not legitimate for Catholics to attend SSPX chapels, according to Cardinal Burke.

Cardinal Burke declared:

"The fact of the matter is that the Priestly Society of St. Pius X is in schism since the late Abp. Marcel Lefebvre ordained four bishops without the mandate of the Roman Pontiff.

"And so it is not legitimate to attend Mass or to receive the sacraments in a church that's under the direction of the Priestly Society of St. Pius X."
========================================================================

However, Cardinal Burke has contradicted His Holiness Pope Francis' teachings related to the SSPX.

Pope Francis has declared that Catholics are free to receive from the SSPX the Holy Sacraments of Penance and Matrimony.

Pope Francis has also termed as "faithful" those (Catholics) who attend SSPX chapels.

Anyway..."it is not legitimate to attend Mass or to receive the sacraments in a church that's under the direction of the Priestly Society of St. Pius X," according to Cardinal Burke.

Pax.

Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas said...

I have engaged in Church-related discussions with several Catholics who attend SSPX chapels. I do not say that the folks in question represent everybody who attends SSPX chapels.

What has concerned me about the Catholics in question is the spirit of rebellion against the Vicar of Christ (and additional Churchmen) that has marked them.

-- Among the Catholics in question are those who believe that Pope Francis is an anti-pope...Pope Benedict XVI is Pope.

-- The elevation of Archbishop Lefebvre as someone whose declarations trump the declarations of Popes.

-- The notion that the SSPX is right about everything...everything...and has the right and duty to resist and correct "modernist Rome."

-- The SSPX alone possesses the "traditional" Faith. The FSSP, ICK...diocesan priests who offer the TLM...are third-rate "indult/Ecclesia Dei" communities/peasants to be shunned.

The more that I've interacted with folks who attend SSPX chapels, the more concerned that I've become about the SSPX...or, at least with certain laymen who attend SSPX chapels.

Pax.

Mark Thomas

Marc said...

We’re concerned about you too, Mark.

Signed,

An SSPX attending layman

George said...

It would seem by the actions Pope Francis has taken, that, their irregular status notwithstanding, he considers them to be part of the Church. Pope Francis granted the SSPX faculties to hear confessions and to perform weddings, which means that the Holy Father, the voice of authority in the Church, considers them to be under Canon law. Under Canon law, the necessary jurisdiction had to been given and proper faculties granted to SSPX priests to perform weddings and hear confessions. This was done. Prior to Pope Francis's authorizations, the SSPX considered their priests to have held "supplied" jurisdiction for confessions and marriages.

As for performing marriages, there are conditions.

In a letter published by the Vatican April 4 2017 s the Pope allows Catholic bishops to appoint priests to assist at SSPX marriages and formally receive the consent of the couples. The nuptial Mass then would be celebrated by the SSPX priest. The priest appointed by the bishop serves as an official witness for the Church for the marriage ceremony. In addition, Pope Francis gave bishops the option of granting an SSPX priest the necessary faculties to officiate validly over the marriage rite "if there are no priests in the diocese" available to do so. It is under these conditions that a couple can be validly married in the eyes of the Church in a ceremony performed by an SSPX priest.

One very important characteristic that distinguishes the Catholic church from all others ecclesial communities (even the Orthodox with their valid sacraments) is the office of the papacy. To that end, a group such as the SSPX has shown enough sense not to declare themselves separate, and therefore place themselves in the situation of being in formal schism. Simply put, if you are no longer under the authority of the Pontiff, you are no longer part of the Catholic church.

The SSPX is in an ecclesial and canonical limbo - neither officially in schismatic status, nor objectively in full communion. There is always hope that one day they will be in full communion with the Catholic Church, perhaps with their own prelature.

Now, as far as the view within the SSPX about all this,I know not.

Marc?


Tradical said...

Something to consider:

"... Loss of Catholic idenity based upon ignorance of the faith, history, culture and expectations of what it means to be a Catholics. ..."

"... And how do we get SSPX parishes more catholic? ..."

Have the Catholics who attend the SSPX Mass Centres lost their sense of Catholic identity?

As a Catholic who, in the wasteland of a diocese in which I live, seeks the Sacraments from the SSPX, I would say that I have a very clear and firm grasp on the Catholic faith, history, culture and expectations of what it means to be Catholic.

Setting aside the prejudice and ignorance put forward in the op(after 35+ years I will agree that there is a spectrum of people who take refuge at the SSPX), what more would you have from us?

Accept things that are not of the Catholic Faith?

Accept Amoris Laetitia? Accept that there is no Hell and that the souls of the damned are annihilated?

Perhaps it would be a good idea to remove the beam from your own eye prior to attempting to remove the splinter from ours.

P^3

Mark Thomas said...

An additional concern that I have with certain folks attached to SSPX chapels is the obsession that said folks have with conspiracy theories.

Said folks are convinced that...

-- "Modernist Rome" is controlled by the Jews...Masons...homosexuals.

-- Vatican II was a Jewish/Masonic conspiracy.

-- "Modernist Rome" has lied about the third secret of Fatima.

-- The Novus Ordo is part of the Jewish/Masonic conspiracy to destroy the Church.

-- Pope Venerable Pius XII was the last "true" Pope.

-- Anybody who believes Catholic Social Teaching is a communist.

-- The TLM is the "true Mass."

-- Said folks trash "Novus Ordo Cardinals, bishops, priests," "Novus Ordo Catholics".

-- The FSSP, ICK, TLMs offered by "Novus Ordo priests"...are to be shunned as said TLMs are third-rate, "indult/Ecclesia Dei" Masses.

Sadly, the SSPX-attached folks with whom I've interacted are hooked on bizarre conspiracy theories.

The Jews...the Jews...the Jews..."modernist Rome," "NewChurch, "conspiracy theories...

I pray that said folks are in the minority among Catholics who attend SSPX chapels.

Pax.

Mark Thomas

Anonymous said...

AB Lefebre was greatly responsible for the missionary work of the Church in Africa. The Catholic Church is strong and getting stronger there today. Cardinal Arinze and Cardinal Sarah plus many nameless priests, religious and lay Africans are grateful spiritual descendants of the great French AB. The SSPX is a priestly association of the same AB. It was once recognized but now it is in an irregular status but nevertheless, it is within the Church as baptized Catholics. They have some minor quibbles with V-2 but in general more accepting of the letter of the council documents than the so called "Spirit of the Council" dissenters, especially those in favor of regularizing adulterous unions and teach other heretical ideas. (Of course the latter are currently in charge of the copying machines in the Vatican, a temporary problem.)

I am not a member of an SSPX parish. However, they cling to tradition and the Church as formed over 2000 years. They reject the Lutheran-Calvinist and various other deviations from the True Church. On January 30, 2017 Bishop Fellay of the SSPX reportedly said in an interview (1Peter5):
"He also stresses that the SSPX has fought against any development towards a schism, and is against “the establishment of a parallel church.” He says that he is working with Pope Francis on the practical side, and that there are certain “practical dispositions in place which practically render impossible a schism.”

Moreover, Fellay says that the SSPX has shown in the recent past and in daily acts “our submission to Rome,” that “we are recognizing Rome’s authority,” and not only by praying for the Holy Father in the Canon of the Mass. In a practical way, says the Superior General, “we have normal relationships” with Rome, inasmuch as the SSPX was told last summer that the Superior General “may licitly ordain priests of the Society without first receiving any explicit approval from the local bishop.” Additionally, the SSPX may now licitly hear confessions. Also, in other juridical, canonical fields, the SSPX Superior General has been given authority over his priests, for example, if and when they commit a serious violation. He says that “the juridical, the canonical acts are already in place” which effectively “suppress the possibility of schism, but, obviously, one always has to be watchful.”

So, heated rhetoric aside, yes the SSPX are Catholic as leftist baptized dissenters are Catholics too. However, those Catholics who cast aside Tradition willy-nilly in the name of the "Spirit" of the last Ecumenical Council have a harder case to prove than their SSPX brethren.
Anon-1

George said...


Mark Thomas:

I haven't interacted with anyone who attends SSPX services so I haven't been personally exposed to the things you list in your comment. What you say is very disturbing. The question is, how many believe these things ? Are they part of a fringe element? Then again, it must be acknowledged that there exist people not only within the Catholic Church, but other ecclesial communities as well, who unfortunately believe these or similar sort of things. One must look at what the SSPX teaches and not what certain individual members believe to be true. It would be wrong to conclude from your comments that these sorts of view are widespread and acceptable to the leadership within the SSPX. It tells me though, that if an agreement with Rome were to eventually be reached which would result in full communion with the Church, there are are those within the SSPX who would reject it.

ByzRC said...

MT,

What Cardinal Burke states (not a declaration, please, already, look this up) regarding the SSPX's status is nothing novel. My respect for them aside, their status is irregular. The Vatican, while not recommending that faithful Catholics attend their masses also doesn't denounce those that do so long as their intention isn't to separate themselves from the pope.

ByzRC said...

And, MT,

While I find it hard to believe that ALL SSPX adherents maintain the attitudes you mention, I think it is fair to be equally as concerned about those progressives who, at every turn, seek to minimize, change and pervert Catholic tradition, liturgy and practice.

Dave P. Q. said...

Let me just say I was never a SSPX sympathizer.... until the papacy of Francis. In the last 5 years I found myself becoming very sympathetic and supportive of the SSPX.

Anonymous said...

Was MT ever expelled from the SSPX?

Mark Thomas said...

ByzRC said..."And, MT, While I find it hard to believe that ALL SSPX adherents maintain the attitudes you mention..."

Please note that I said:

"I do not say that the folks in question represent everybody who attends SSPX chapels."

What I find alarming about the SSPX folks with whom I've interacted is that they've said SSPX chapels are packed with people who share their views in question.

But I am convinced that there are Catholics attached to SSPX chapels who are not obsessed with conspiracy theories...who believe that Pope Francis is Pope...

...who don't believe that George Soros and the Jews, Masons, communists, Trilateral Commision, Bildergers, and homosexuals don't control the Vatican and world.

Oh, my! I HOPE that SSPX chapels aren't packed with conspiracy theory fanatics!

Pax.

Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas said...

ByzRC said..."What Cardinal Burke states (not a declaration, please, already, look this up) regarding the SSPX's status is nothing novel."

His statements related to the SSPX are beyond novel. He has charged SSPX bishops and priests with the grave of schism. If Cardinal Burke's comments in question are to be taken seriously, then souls are at risk in regard to the "schismatic" SSPX.

It is also disturbing that Cardinal Burke said that "it is not legitimate to attend Mass or to receive the sacraments in a church that's under the direction of the Priestly Society of St. Pius X."

Pope Francis has made it clear that Catholics are free to receive from the SSPX the Holy Sacraments of Penance and Matrimony.

Pope Francis has made it clear that the Faithful are permitted to attend Mass offered by the SSPX.

Pax.

Mark Thomas

ByzRC said...

MT -

I understood that you were not providing a broad-brush assessment of the SSPX and the potentially extremist views that might be maintained by some there. My point, however, is that those who consider themselves to be "progressive" could very well maintain views that are equally "alarming" particularly within the social justice space. I challenge you, therefore, to at least entertain the notion that extremists exist everywhere.

ByzRC said...

MT -

Cardinal Burke said that it was not legitimate (note: he didn't say illicit) to attend masses or, receive the sacraments as offered by SSPX priests. A sacramental irregularity persists here otherwise Pope Francis would not have felt the need to offer the latitude provided within Misericordia et Misera. To the best of my knowledge, the Society continues to lack canonical recognition by the Church which hinders legitimacy but, not necessarily licitness. Lacking complete unity where once it existed is, by definition, schism.

TJM said...

ByzRC,

Good luck but I doubt you will get a straight answer from Mr. Non Sequitur!!!!

Marc said...

On the eve of their ordination to the priesthood, every future SSPX priest must swear an oath that they are not a sedevacantist.

Are there sedevacantist laity amongst the SSPX lay faithful? Probably. I suspect that Francis has increased the number of sedevacantists amongst many groups of Catholics, though.

I think one of the major misconceptions about the SSPX is the idea that the priests and the people constantly groan about Vatican II, modernism, and New Church. In reality, the priests rarely discuss these things in sermons or otherwise, although our chapel recently had an adult catechism series on the crisis in the Church. As I understand it, that series was given because our pastor discovered some of the high school children didn't even know who Abp. Lefebvre was!

Most of the people are simply trying to live a Catholic life and raise their many children in a Catholic environment. At this point, especially in our chapel, the families are multi-generational SSPX supporters who have never been to a Novus Ordo service. Those issues are completely removed from their experience -- as evidenced by some of the children not knowing about the founder of the Society.

As for the idea of "conspiracy theories," I'm not sure what that really means. I think everyone would agree that the Third Secret of Fatima has not been revealed. Bp. Fellay has given conferences on that -- There is a very healthy devotion to Our Lady of Fatima within the SSPX because that revelation helps us comprehend the present situation in the Church. As for the rest -- masonic and other influences on the Council and the New Mass -- I think most everyone would agree that is true too. And, yes, the SSPX very clearly directs its faithful to stay away from the New Mass and from the Ecclesia Dei groups. That is not a fringe opinion in the SSPX -- that has always been the clear directive. I suspect that most of the faithful never attend the New Mass and would not do so (my family would not do so and never will). But some of the faithful do attend Mass with the Ecclesia Dei groups sometimes (my family does and we have seen other families at those places too).

ByzRC said...

MT -

Another point.

"Anyway..."it is not legitimate to attend Mass or to receive the sacraments in a church that's under the direction of the Priestly Society of St. Pius X," according to Cardinal Burke"

Please note that Cardinal's statement was from the standpoint of legitmacy, not licitity. At the writing of the Apolostic Letter dated 1, Sept, 2015, there persisted (and, perhaps still does) within the Society a sacramental irregularity otherwise, Pope Francis would not have felt compelled to address the sacrament of reconciliation in the way that he did. Despite this and to the best of my knowledge, the canonical status of the SSPX remains unchanged (e.g. the Society itself is not legally recognized as a legitimate structure within the Church). Without this recognition, faculties do not exist allowing for the administration of sacraments. Also, where once you had unity and now that unity does not exist is, to me, the fundamental definition of schism. Know that the penalty of excommunication, formerly imposed upon the four society bishops, did not extend to the faithful under their care.

The SSPX, their status, legitimacy, licitity and, the way they and the Vatican respectively interpret Canon Law is complex...complex to the point where I am not attempting to fully address their structure and interpretations as to its legitimacy. You can research that for yourself.

https://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/letters/2015/documents/papa-francesco_20150901_lettera-indulgenza-giubileo-misericordia.html

ByzRC said...

Apologies for the dual postings that are effectively the same. Fr. AJM must be having a busy day while at the same time, I thought my first response had gotten lost in blogosphere.

Anonymous said...


"As for the idea of "conspiracy theories," I'm not sure what that really means. I think everyone would agree that the Third Secret of Fatima has not been revealed. Bp. Fellay has given conferences on that -- There is a very healthy devotion to Our Lady of Fatima within the SSPX because that revelation helps us comprehend the present situation in the Church. As for the rest -- masonic and other influences on the Council and the New Mass -- I think most everyone would agree that is true too."

There's your classic conspiracy theory nonsense. The Masons did it!

Marc said...

The pre-conciliar popes were very concerned about Masonic plots to infiltrate the Church and change the liturgy. I suppose it’s possible their concerns were completely unfounded, but they did release a document purporting to be an actual Masonic plan in that vein. So they at least thought it a credible enough plot to make it known publicly. It doesn’t seem that far-fetched to me — but, I don’t think (and as far as I’m aware no one claims) that Masons are wholly to blame for the council and its resulting liturgical upheaval.

In the end, it’s clear someone did something and that resulted in the present situation. Who did what is of little import to me. But I find the level of perfidy among churchmen at present and over the last several generations to be an interesting phenomenon, so I am somewhat curious why they bother with the Church at all. I don’t think a Masonic plot quite explains the whole of it.

Adam Michael said...

Marc,

Sorry for this being off-topic, but do you attend the SSPX now? I thought you returned to the Orthodox Church.

Marc said...

Adam, My religious life is complicated. My family and I attend an SSPX parish.

Anonymous said...

Name of the document and the pope who release it regarding Masonic plan please.

TJM said...

Anonymous Kavanaugh at 9:50,

Hey you still owe Bee research, so until you deliver that, please don't ask others to do what you fail to do!!!