Sunday, April 23, 2023


 A pilgrimage group from the SSPX's chapel in Noisy-le-Grand, France, had the privilege of attending Mass offered by their chaplain, Fr. Michel Sivry, at the altar of St. Pius X at St. Peter’s Basilica. Not only has it been reported that this occurred with the prior knowledge and consent of the basilica's "highest authority", but a video team even filmed the event for the French District's website,, where it may be watched.

There’s something fishy about the brouhaha in Rome about Anglo-Catholics with their bishop celebrating their “Eucharist” on our altar at the pope’s cathedral in Rome, St. John Lateran. It is said this group met with Pope Francis prior to this celebration. Would they have informed the Holy Father that they were looking forward to celebrating “their” “Eucharist” on his altar later in the day?

Then they did. But then there was a brouhaha, especially from Catholics in full communion with the pope who celebrate the TLM but would not be able to get the same permission to celebrate “our” valid Eucharist on a papal altar despite the fact they are in full communion with the pope and the Catholic Church!

Then we find out that the Coptic Orthodox Church in Rome will see their bishop and community allowed to celebrate the Divine Liturgy there. Before the Anglicans got there first, it was touted as the first time a non-Catholic liturgy would be celebrated at the pope’s cathedral. Now they will be the second.

But one codicil. Their Eucharist is valid as are all their sacraments including Holy Orders and Apostolic succession. So is the SSPX and even certain “Sedevacanists” groups still are more in full communion with the pope than Eastern Orthodoxy. Where’s the ecumenism with them???

But let’s face it, it is plausible for Italians to be a bit nonchalant in Rome about who celebrates Mass in all of the basilicas there. I know for a fact that Episcopalians and their priests simply ask to be allowed to celebrate at St. Peter’s and they can. The Italian who allowed it thought they were Catholic because their minister was dressed like a priest.

The same is true for the SSPX. A large pilgrim group was allowed to celebrate Mass at St. Peter’s a few years back.

In my diocese I recently celebrated Sunday Mass in a Methodist Church and on their “altar” on Jekyll Island, Georgia.

The parish from which I recently retired, allowed in the 1980’s an Episcopal Congregation to rent the church building for a Sunday after noon Episcopal Eucharist celebrated on our Catholic altar by an Episcopal priestess who was their pastor. Believe it or not, their congregation name was Saint Elizabeth of Hungry Episcopal Church. They now have their own building up the road from St. Anne’s.

So, what is valid ecumenism and what isn’t and shouldn’t we be more ecumenical with our own groups like the SSPX and TLM communities? Just wondering. 


Paul said...

The Babylon Bee site has apparently reported the following:

A recently constructed Aztec rite of worship which includes the simulated sacrifice of a dozen children to an Aztec fertility goddess has applied for and been granted permission to celebrate this Rite at the Basilica of St Mary Major; while it is alleged also that members of the Nesta Sonora de la Santa Muerte Cult of Mexico which has been condemned by some Mexican Catholic bishops and ALL Mexican evangelical leaders - a Cult that conflates folk Catholicism and Mexican Neopaganism - has successfully applied to celebrate their main feast for Our Lady of Holy Death ie Santa Muerte with a new rite invented, just last week, at the Basilica of St Paul outside the Walls.

Such celebrations at 2 of the 4 major Basilicas of Rome are expected to coincide with Pope Francis making 2 infallible statements from the Chair/Throne of St Peter's Basilica that in summary involve a:

Solemn declaration that with our new appreciation of the nature of our new "God of Surprises" ecumenism has NO limits !!

And a second declaration, using all the words, language and terms of papal infallibility that for any young Catholic with an orientation towards the TLM such orientation must be considered a disordered orientation towards what is intrinsically sinful and also that henceforth any sinful, defiant attendance of a young Catholic at any TLM or any theologically outdated liturgy must be regarded as a mortal sin requiring absolution from a specially approved and chosen American Jesuit priest and confessor.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Ecumenism refers to non-Catholic Christian denomiations. It does NOT refer to schismatic or semi-schismatic Catholic groups.

You are trying to compare apples and oranges.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

You must not have heard of the Great Schism. All the Orthodox are in schism and there are ecumenical relations with them. You are saying ecumenism does not apply to the schismatic Catholics who are Eastern Orthodox!

ByzRus said...

Orthodox, Byzantine, have celebrated Divine Liturgy in the Vatican, in a chapel in the catacombs, I believe.

Agree with Fr. MJK, ecumenism and being schismatic are two separate concepts. The former is a goal, the later a state.

Must one be in schism to warrant ecumenism should conditions for doing so be right?

One better versed than I would have to pass judgement however, it seems that the SSPX received a courtesy for the sake of ecumenism. They remain "irregular" I believe Benedict XVI concluded.

I don't see how ecumenism can progress with certain protestant groups. They no longer are anywhere near the Tiber.

Ecumenism is a nice and appropriate gesture towards the Orthodox, their acceptance at this time is mannerly, however, the ultimate goal of shared sacraments seems so very far off. The current occupant of the chair has added generations to any potential sharing of sacraments IMHO.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

"You are saying ecumenism does not apply to the schismatic Catholics who are Eastern Orthodox!" Nope. You often complain about the confusion in ecumenism, but with posts like this, you contrubute to the misunderstanding. It's a silly little game you play.

The Orthodox are not schismatic Catholics. They are the Orthodox.

If you don't understand the difference I have to say I am not surprised, given the poor formation your tell us you received at St. Mary's Seminary, Baltimore.

Paul said...

One understanding of ecumenism = reaching out with fraternal love, and with the goal of fruitful dialogue, applies only or primarily to a thousand and one different kinds of Protestant heretic - but cold shouldering a fellow Christian who might easily have been labelled schismatic or “semi schismatic” by various or certain modern clerics, who themselves mostly would be regarded by historical standards as either heretics or apostates - phew! sounds and seems rather messy and confused! And with apostates, schismatics and heretics etc just which, possible, heretic or heretics or semi heretics etc gets the job of defining the terms/labels and declaring who is who?

By the way:

What is the correct theological term to describe the words and deeds of modern liberal progressive Catholic priests and nuns who can reach out with a love and respect (they could never show to Latin Mass Catholics) to Muslims, Jews, voodoo priests and witch doctors et al ?

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Paul - You, by ANY historical standard, may regard me a heretic or apostate or a varietal schismatic until the ecclesiastical cows, chewing their Gregorian cud, come home. It. Doesn't. Matter.

Apostate, Heretic, Schismatic are all defined by the Church. And it is the same church, not some disgruntled traditionalist, that makes the declarations of who is an apostate, heretic, and/or schismatic.

The Church has determined that the use of the term "heretic" is not properly applied to members of Protestant communities today.

By the way, relations with non-Christian religions are termed "interfaith" or "interreligious" relations

Paul said...

A heretic by any other name smells the same...?

No...A heretic by any other name has still chosen -whether in ignorance, folly, malice or pride - what is at least in part either most seriously false or dangerously incomplete...

- well said, noble sir!

A paraphrase of:

Othello, Act 2, scene 3...

Paul said...

What is the term or terms for relations (relations both intellectual and at times
biblically physical) between modern Jesuits and Paulists and:

Wicca witches.
New Age Warlocks.
Followers of the earth Godess Ghia.
The Extinction Rebellion Cult.
Followers of the LGBT+ alphabet soup cult.
And the Cult of disillusioned Marxists and disillusioned liberation theology nuts who to have others join them in their misery created the great modern Cult of Intersectionality.

Inter non-faith relations?

Paul said...

I can recommend the one extant text of the great but not well known venerable monk and mystic Basil the Blameless who in the 5th century lived for 3 decades in a cave on the island of Lesbos.

He originated the hermeneutic of common sense to counter the uncommon nonsense of priests East and West whose thinking was still contaminated by Arianism.

When he left his cave and instructed novice monks for the last decade of his life he taught them many great things - including the ability to discern the difference between attempts at serious theological debate and playful light banter, and the rare occasions when the 2 can be combined...

ByzRus said...

Didn't Paul VI lift any stain/notion of schism in the '60s meaning without question one could attain salvation via an Orthodox Church?

Cannot one fulfill one's Sunday obligation at an Orthodox Church should a Catholic one not be available? Note: I wouldn't approach the chalice without being invited to do so...which I wouldn't expect.

Doesn't the missalette note that Orthodox as well as Polish Nationals are welcome to fulfill their respective obligations at mass though they are encouraged to respect both their tradition as well as our own?

If the aforementioned is true, which I believe it to be, why are we having this discussion?

Paul said...

If my neighbour Harold, a retired Uniting Church pastor and myself, a Catholic seminary drop out, but order of merit winner in history and philosophy, and members of our local pub's trivia night committee form a new Protestant Cult called The Reformed Protestant Society of St Anne Boleyn and wrote out own new 2023 Creed under the influence of copious quantities of beer, wine and spirits - actually our new liturgy requires the inebriation of all our Church elders - regarded only the Prophet Amos and the NT epistle of James as true scripture etc..and then all moved to Georgia, USA could a famous local ecumenical warrior Fr ......reach out to us as Christian brothers and Christian pastors of equal standing as any Catholic, Orthodox or Protestant pastor or religious group in Georgia?

TJM said...

Ecumenism is so important to pursue when institutional Catholicism is cratering because the Church is being mismanaged by a bunch of aging leftwing loons. Hell, only about 30% of Catholics of the 15% who bother to go to Mass believe in the Real Presence.

Fr K who votes for the Party of Moloch and Transgenderism is hardly a person one should pay attention to when it comes to understanding Catholicism. Fortunately his ilk will be gone in 10-15 years and then the Catholic Renaissance can begin in earnest.

Yvonne said...


A Catholic cannot fulfill his Sunday obligation at an Orthodox church. However, if a Catholic church is unavailable the obligation is lifted (we are not bound to the impossible).

This is from the Code of Canon Law (Latin Church):

"Can. 1247. On Sundays and other holy days of obligation, the faithful are obliged to participate in the Mass.


Can. 1248 §1. A person who assists at a Mass celebrated anywhere in a Catholic rite either on the feast day itself or in the evening of the preceding day satisfies the obligation of participating in the Mass.

§2. If participation in the eucharistic celebration becomes impossible because of the absence of a sacred minister or for another grave cause, it is strongly recommended that the faithful take part in a liturgy of the word if such a liturgy is celebrated in a parish church or other sacred place according to the prescripts of the diocesan bishop or that they devote themselves to prayer for a suitable time alone, as a family, or, as the occasion permits, in groups of families."

The Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches states:

"Can. 881 §1. The Christian faithful are bound by the obligation to participate on Sundays and feast days in the Divine Liturgy, or according to the prescriptions or legitimate customs of their own Church sui iuris, in the celebration of the divine praises.

Can. 883 §1. As regards feast days and days of penance, the Christian faithful who are outside the territorial boundaries of their own Church 'sui iuris' can adapt themselves fully to the norms in force where they are staying.

§2. In families in which the parents are enrolled in different Churches sui iuris, it is permitted to observe the norms of one or the other Church, in regard to feast days and days of penance."

Although the Eastern Code does not specifically mention a Catholic rite, from what I have read this is interpreted as such. Since the Eastern Code covers multiple Churches, a person needs to refer to the specific requirements of the Church to which he belongs.

Православный физик said...

ByzRus, the excommunications were indeed lifted in either the late 60's or early 70's (The exact date escapes me right now)

A Latin Catholic can't fulfil their obligations at an Orthodox church, however an Eastern Catholic the situation is a bit different. (Before I became Orthodox, I was allowed to receive Communion as an Eastern Catholic with a blessing from an Orthodox priest)...You are also right in the Roman Missalette it does say Orthodox and Polish nationals are welcome to receive, but respect the canons of the individual churches. I am with you, most of most of these modern discussions are rather pointless.

I would love to see the East and the West reunite one day. With things like this happening, I don't anticipate this happening in my lifetime, save God's direct intervention. Church relations aren't exactly black and white as they're often portrayed in the Latin church.

If they used their own altar, this would have been less of a deal to me, but the fact that they used the papal altar is a huge deal. It seems to me this whole mess should have been avoided.

I suppose the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Christ is Risen!

ByzRus said...


Thank you what you provided. Can. 881 §1 is what I was thinking of.


Your understanding and mine are the same. I wouldn't approach the chalice in a jurisdiction outside of my own (or any other that is Catholic) without speaking with the priest first. I wouldn't just expect to be communed. As you mentioned, some communities are such (perhaps small or, sharing limited resources) such that an Orthodox priest will commune an Eastern Catholic.

I too, dream of unity such that the Eastern Catholic churches are no longer needed and I would simply rejoin my then unified ancestral church. That dream will remain in my head, I'm afraid, save for the circumstance you mentioned.

Indeed he is risen!

ByzRus said...

Православный физик said:

"Church relations aren't exactly black and white as they're often portrayed in the Latin church."


The Roman Church has this corporate notion of things neatly fitting into specific boxes that isn't germane to the Eastern mindset or reality. Until the Roman Church acknowledges this, these "breathing with both lungs" platitudes, so often bandied about by smiling prelates that think they truly understand us will remain as empty as they mostly have been.