SSPX And Mass Obligation: Why I think The CDF Is Right

It is rather easy to say “friends”….

This blog post from Queen Of Martyrs Press is now everywhere, but I think the excitement is very probably undeserved.

I do not read the letter that you can see by clicking on the link as saying that Mass attendance at an SSPX chapel is now not in order anymore.

If you read the letter attentively, you will see the question is very short and very dangerous:

[…]  would a Catholic fulfill his Mass obligation by assisting at Holy Mass by attending this “Friends of the Society of St. Pius X” chapel called __________ Roman Catholic Church in _______,_______?

Mind: a “chapel” of “friends” of the SSPX. Now by definition a friend of the SSPX is not a member of the SSPX. If a priest is a member he is a member, not a “friend of”.

Who are, then, these “friends” of the SSPX? For what we – and the CDF – know, it can be any sedevacantist group on earth, as I assume many of those – and many of those attending by them, possibly in perfect good faith – would define themselves without any great difficulty as “friends” of the SSPX. Are they enemies of the SSPX? Certainly not. Do they think they would refuse an invitation to lunch from an SSPX priest? I don’t think so. Granted, you will find Sedevacantists saying they are not friends of the SSPX because they support a usurper etc., but in real life I think it far more probable even the majority of Sedevacantists would express their disagreement with the SSPX, but still consider them “friends”. This is in my eyes confirmed by the well-known episode of Archbishop Lefebvre adopting the Missal of 1962 to avoid having the SSPX chapels invaded by Sedevacantists, a clear sign the SSPX’s acceptance of the Pope as the head of the Church would not have stopped the Sedevacantist “friends” of the SSPX from filling their pews!

Now put yourselves in the shoes of the members of the CDF who had to answer the question as it was posed: if they had answered yes, a simple open claim of friendship with the SSPX would have been enough to consider the attendance at such masses fulfilment of the Sunday mass obligation.

Is it so surprising the CDF answered the question in the negative?


EDIT: from Rorate, the confirmation from the US District of the SSPX the chapel in question (deleted in the letter, but known to them and clearly to the CDF) is not among their “friends”. Therefore, they simply call themselves – or were called by the writer of the letter – in that way. Which is, understandably, not enough. Even if they had been, I would still say there is a difference for a faithful Catholic whether he attends to a SSPX chapel or to a chapel of friends, but not part of the order.

Posted on May 31, 2012, in Catholicism and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I question the general applicability of this. Both the dubium and the response carefully specify ONE particular chapel.

    • Anita,

      I’d say the answer is generally applicable to all the chapel of those who call themselves “friends” of the SSPX without being part of it.

      I think that CDF answer makes a lot of sense…

  2. Sorry, if I am asking a dumb question, what does the acronym “CDF” stand for?

    • “Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith”. Formerly popularly called “Holy Office” and, before that, “Holy Inquisition”.

      The use of the abbreviation “CDF” is in my experience extremely frequent, so I have left it that way.


  3. He who holds and teaches the Catholic Faith that comes to us from the Apostles and (1) who believes and transmits what the Church has immemorially taught, (2) who acknowledges the primacy of the Roman Pontiff and (3) who is validly ordained to the Sacerdotium/Presbyteratum by a validly ordained/consecrated Bishop is (a) in union with the Roman Pontiff and with ‘omnibus orthodoxis atque catholcae cultoribus’ and, given the Catholic intention ‘facere quod facit Ecclesia’, using the proper elements and following a Rite that fully and unambiguously portrays and lays forth the intention of the Church and that employs – in the case of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass – the immutable Words of Institution uttered by Our Lord, Himself, can be sure of confecting the Sacrament of the Sacrifice of Calvary on the Altar and may be sure that both the species of bread and wine contain and have become theundivided Body and Blood of Christ, sub utraque specie. That being so, there simply can be no doubt that any who assist at such a Mass assist at a valid Mass of the Roman Rite and they entirely fulfil their obligation of attending Mass. I suggest to the CDF that, with burning sorrow, such assurances may not safely be given to far too many hoodwinked and innocent souls in parish churches throughout the world, today. The SSPX does not defraud Catholics. It does not teach lies or half-truths, It dispenses the Sacraments of the Catholic Church to those who seek them. It proclaims Christ and Him Crucified, Risen and Ascended. It does not give stones when a Christian soul expects the Bread of Heaven. It teaches and preaches the need for the social Kingship of Christ as the only legitimate and Holy aspiration of civilised society. Ad multos annos, plurimusque annos, vivat.

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