By All Means, Attend Mass At An SSPX Chapel!

So, should we attend a SSPX Mass? Most people (even conservative ones) say “no”. Other people say “of course”. I personally say “by all means, but paying attention it does not lead you culpably go down the wrong path”.

The short, but already meaningful history of this little effort shows than not a few are the cases of people who start attending a TLM – which can easily be in a SSPX chapel – and after a while throw away the child with the bath water and become either Sedevacantists or so venomous against the Church that one does not understand what their understanding of Catholicism is.

I cannot – in the same way as Bishop Schneider – detect any area in which the SSPX are not Catholic. It is, therefore, a mystery to me how this previously unknown concept of “imperfect communion” may work. The SSPX are as Catholic as they come, and infinitely more Catholic than the Pope – as every good Catholic is, by the way – and they merely refuse obedience to the pope on matters in which a sound Catholic has always been entitled to refuse obedience. You can’t be half pregnant, and you can’t be in imperfect communion. Most of all, you can’t be something that never existed before, and the fruit of a verbal gymnastics invented after V II to describe someone who does not want to give in to Neo-Modernism (or outright Modernism) when the hierarchy in Rome does just that.

By all means, go to a SSPX mass if you can. Only pay attention, if you want my advice, that this does not create in you a siege mentality, according to which only a little moat separates the SSPX from the Whore of Babylon.

I find it a useful experience to also attend at NO Mass. It teaches me obedience. It tells me that the Church is my mother even when she nourishes me badly, and at times seems to hate me. It helps me to avoid the moat thinking, and the siege obsession. It reminds me that horrible as her state may be, this organisation that celebrates these NO Masses all over the world is, in fact, the Only Church; and I prefer to bring this kind of sacrifice as a penance rather than run the risk of slowly persuading myself I am too good for the Mass the Church gives me.

By all means, attend Mass at an SSPX Chapel. But do not think that there are too churches, of which the Vatican is the wrong one. There is only one Church, and he who does not see that the SSPX is 100% part of it probably cannot be helped anymore.



Posted on August 21, 2015, in Catholicism, Conservative Catholicism, FSSPX, Traditional Catholicism and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 26 Comments.

  1. Siege thinking can certainly be a problem. But in the 1980s SSPX UK engendered reciprocal cordial relations with diocesan clergy, not particularly the case now. The USA SSPX, under the +Williamson influence, tended to a sedevacantist, “moat” and “siege” extremist attitude, redolent of the approach many American sects. That +Williamson influence still lingers in the UK.

    These are very strange times and, in my view, it is essential that all ‘Traditional’ Orders and diocesan clergy refrain from squabbling and prepare for that which is to come, in the not too distant future.

    Screaming ‘lack of faculties’ at SSPX clergy, is akin to kids claiming “my bike is better then yours”. The Modernists use that legalistic ploy to split the orthodox Catholics – do not fall for it.

  2. Oh my goodness! My thoughts exactly with regards to the NO Mass – must be obedient and attend when there is no Latin Mass available but man does it ever feel like penance!

  3. I sincerely hope and pray for SSPX to receive jurisdiction, but until such time, the sacraments of penance and marriage which require jurisdiction of the clergy as a condition for validity except in an emergency situation are to be received from clergy who have jurisdiction.

    CDF head, Cardinal Muller has said that the SSPX are “not in formal Schism”, but Catholics have been instructed by the Vatican a few years ago that SSPX Masses are valid and can be attended but that TLM Masses by clergy who have jurisdiction are preferred when available.

    • The argument is a tad circular, but I get where you are coming from.
      It is not a coincidence, however, that the blog post limited itself to the Mass.
      Personally I would prefer to marry on the side of the SSPX, too. But I fully understand those who don’t.

    • With regard to SSPX marriage, I know of and have seen the wedding photos of a couple
      ( friends of a friend of mine) in South America who actually got married in both the SSPX and NO weddings on the same day in different church buildings…they wanted to be sure their marriage was valid but also wanted the SSPX wedding….. Strange but true!

    • Somebody I know went to confession at Westminster Cathedral once and confessed what he knew was a mortal sin and asked for absolution. The priest assured him that it was not a mortal sin and gave him absolution. Did this priest have jurisdiction ?

      This person then went the the SSPX for confession where he was told in no uncertain terms that it certainly was a mortal sin and was given a stiff penance and some good advice.

      “Do men gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles” ? It seems they do ! (/sarcasm)

    • Of course the absolution was valid. I am shocked that you even pose the question. As long as there can be a disagreement of judgment as to the concrete situation (which is never easy; you know your catechism) there is nothing surprising in this. but even if an idiot priest gives you absolution, you are absolved. As to the eternal destiny of the priest, that is another matter.
      It would be a funny Catholicism if we had to go out of the confessional weighing the pros and cons of the absolution we have received.

  4. Heard so many differing statements, so I decided to go and I was glad, and I’m going again. Such good teaching. Real Catholic Church militant teaching.

  5. Around here the same faces are likely to turn up at SSPX masses and archdiocesan approved traditional masses. Some of the people you meet at SSPX chapels might well have sedevacantist leanings or other tendencies specifically condemned by the SSPX but that can happen anywhere in this time of exile and persecution. I would certainly be a regular at the SSPX chapel in Oak Forest if it wasn’t so far away and I had better wheels. The way things are and the way our beloved bishops are trending one never knows how much longer any given traditional mass will be tolerated. Bishops and priests come and go, never Catholic of course, but some more tolerant Protestants or atheists than others. It is most unsettling to be at their mercy. One would like to be building something for the future and in SSPX chapels one feels that they will live on a few generations until the Church has recovered enough so that they can resume there rightful role in it in full communion.

  6. Mr. Mundabor, I very humbly do agree with you about these two options, attending a NO or a SSPX Mass. But I honestly would be concerned that when a layperson decides to attend a NO Mass he or she would be attending an unvalid Eucharistic celebration. First of all, the intention of a priest for consecrating the elements of the bread and wine into the Real Body and Blood of the Lord is essential to effect the validity of the Mass. I wonder how many priests and for whatever reason retain their intentions? And there can be priests who may actually do not believe on this Real Presence and this can affect the validity, but still I’ll make a research on this issue. My big question that I ask myself on this validity issue is to whether or not a “tango” or a “clown” mass among many other examples would be valid if not sacrilegious celebrations?

    • You are wondering whether the church is still the church? Now, this is worrying indeed.
      There can be invalid masses, and everyone with a bit of instructions can see the clues. But a Catholic will believe that the Church give valid masses to the faithful.

  7. Mundabor, what I was trying to explain is that with so many abuses and improvisations that are made in the NO Masses that can put into question mark their validity.

  8. Mundy,
    I enjoyed this post. While I lean more to the 1P5 link, my judgment is just a lowly opinion. Plus I have access to both a reverent N.O. and an indult Mass of which I attend both. I’m increasingly convinced that the “look at the fruits” analogy is over-used and not fully applicable. To me it seems more accurate that cockles (or tares) were sown by the enemy, not later at night, but during the day. But that’s where the analogy ends. We need to wade into the field of V II & the N.O. and separate the weeds from the wheat and if some of the wheat gets uprooted, I think it’ll grow back. I am sorry to hear from the SSPX that they are instructing people to stay away from the N.O. That’s not helpful. It’s widening the moat and adding barbed wire.

  9. When I last attended an SSPX Mass, my friend said “None of the women had on pants; everyone had on a veil and a skirt.” She critiqued everyone during Mass I’m sure. This focus on externals is driving me back to the ordinary form. I believe if Jesus came to some trad Masses in disguise in scruffy clothes, he’d get disapproving looks. .

    • I fully approve of your friend.

    • sue200012,

      First of all, Jesus would NEVER come to the Mass in ‘scruffy clothes’..N.E.V.E.R.
      Second, Jesus does come to the ALL the ‘trad Masses’ and all Masses in FULL GLORY.
      Third, “She critiqued everyone during Mass I’m sure.” …wow. Your ‘friend’ (she might want to rethink the relationship) made a singular comment about something extraordinarily beautiful at the Latin Mass that she NEVER sees at the NO, and you make an overarching, derogatory induction about her intentions, and thoughts.

      If you wouldn’t wear it to see the president, why the heck would you wear it to see the King? Externals mean something. And the fact that you’ve gone 180 from your comment posted on the 21st, to this one posted a day later, perhaps means some introspection on your judgment might be a tad needed.

      Your comment makes very clear why you might, perhaps, feel more ‘comfortable’ at a clown Mass.


    • I think the comment was a tad rash, and the author regrets it already.

    • “I fully approve of your friend.”
      … and of the women! 🙂

    • With respect Sue, it sounds like it is you and your friend who are obsessed with the externals. Are the women at traditional masses not entitled to wear a skirt and a veil if they wish? What exactly is wrong with having standards regarding dress code anyway?

      I often find the same people who criticise the concept of standards of dress at traditional masses would accept an imposed dress code without question, when it came to accessing a nightclub or entertainment venue.

      And no-one would dream of going to a friends wedding wearing a pair of jeans and a football top, yet many novus ordo Catholics seem to feel that is appropriate for the House of God.

      Traditional masses are not a “fashion parade” – no-one is expected to wear expensive or fashionable clothing. But people are expected to dress appropriately within their own means – I do not think this is onerous or unfair. If its good enough for our place of work, then surely it is good enough to meet Our Lord during mass?

      And I think people – and women in particular – need to realise that secular feminist notions of “I can wear what I want” are not an especially appropriate lens with which to consider Holy Mass through.

    • I did not have time to reply the first time, but now I feel I should.
      Externals count. They count a lot. With them, we show our respect and reverence. I wonder how many of those who criticise “externals” when in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament would present themselves in front of the Queen dressed in the same way as they appear… in front of the Blessed Sacrament.

      To this I must add (and I have written often on this) that Catholicism is a very factual, concrete thing. Catholicism is made of smells (incense), of visual inputs (the beautiful ornate churches), of aural inputs (our wonderful sacred music), of purely physical inputs (the slap of the bishop by confirmation, the cold of the holy water against our forehead), of physical activity (the continuous standing up, genuflecting, and so on). Catholicism is very visual, and very physical. Catholics (when properly instructed) know that these things count, because they create a reality that reflects on a bigger one.

      The original comment, more than the fruit of malevolence, is probably the result of sixty years of demolition of Catholicism.

      And no, if you decide today that proper appearance is an “external”, the next “external” may well be contraception…



  10. I attend with some regularity (at least once a month) the SSPX chapel in Buenos Aires. I don’t know and don’t talk with the other faithful, but at least from the priests I have never noticed any hint of sedevacantism or moat thinking. They pray for the bishop and the pope. So at least here there seems to be no such issues. Yes, it is impressive that, even though they have been excommunicated for 20 years, even though there have been internal disagreements and schisms (think of FSSP and SSPV), the SSPX has kept truly and fully Catholic, God knows how.

  11. Very interesting discussion. I believe the maxim”by their fruits…” and the fruits of the SSPX are obvious for all to see – as is the case with the FSSP, ICK and other Traditional orders: so end of discussion, almost. This obsession with pointing at the the SSPX and saying well they are verging on sedevacantism is really hair splitting compared to the moat of diabolical disorder in the Novus Ordo Church. Surely if Peter (Francis) was doing the job of the pope – vis-a-vis the pre VII ones – then there would be no need for the Traditional orders. End of discussion. It is because Peter has deviated from true catholic teaching and the faith that the Church is in the mess that she is in. Even with the sede tendencies of the traditional orders. I am afraid Mundabor I don’t have your strength of character to withstand the NO Mass. It is the TLM that brought me back to the faith and it is there that I will continue to go. When I go to my house in France it is to the SSPX in Narbonne that I go. Have you seen the wasteland that is the French NO Church? Shocking to behold. Fortunately in London I have a choice of Latin Masses to attend within the dioceses of Westminster and Southwark – even though the Bishop and priest who replaced Fr. Finigan removed the TLM from Blackfen.

    • The question poses itself: what would you do if you had no TLM to go to?

      As to me, I must say I have never seen in England the shocking things I have seen in Bruges.

      Generally (and with some exceptions) I have experienced reverent masses with at least not scandalous priests.


  12. I attend an SSPX Sunday Mass. Its by far the best decision I have ever made. Few of the Diocesan Parish Churches I have experienced stand comparison, in terms of liturgy, preaching, orthodoxy etc.

    Mass is a wonderful experience. Quiet reverence where we can concentrate on what is being said and done, instead of the “rowdy public meeting” atmosphere of the new mass, complete with ringing mobile phones etc.

    No distractions, no quasi-Christian nonsense, no eucharistic ministers or communion-in-the-hand to profane the Eucharist, no altar girls, no self-important old biddies cluttering up the sanctuary, no social work masquerading as Church teaching……just the Catholic faith.


  13. Thanks Gabriel. It is hard for me to put into words the difference. After being starved or parched in the desert, one despairs of finding relief. Suddenly, there it is. Just by attending a real Mass. I thank God every day of my life for having allowed me to attend a Mass offered by SSPX. I don’t deserve it, but God surely does.

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