Are the SSPX considered Catholic?

Are the SSPX considered Catholic? What are they identified as if they are not in full communion with the Catholic Church?

What does Catholic mean?

Members of the Catholic Church

Yes they are Catholics within the Church. However, as bishops and priests, their holy orders are under suspension (meaning they are not allowed to administer the sacraments). To further complicate things, the Pontifical Council Ecclesia Dei has ruled that Catholics may attend their Masses under special circumstances.

Whenever I remember, I pray for their regularization.

Under circumstances of dire need.

The same as the Orthodox Church, or in different circumstances a laicized priest who is now married.

Is the Orthodox Church Catholic?

Without debating the merits of the SSPX, I think it is possible to clarify their status. A few facts:

Membership in the Society is restricted to priests, deacons, seminarians and some vowed religious. Other lay people are not, technically speaking, members.

SSPX clergy have received valid orders. They are, in that sense, Catholic. The Holy See considers them suspended however, and the Society itself is not fully in communion with the Holy See. As you probably know, there are rather protracted on again, off again discussions to see if they can be brought into full communion.

SSPX clergy are not excommunicated, which is what would place them officially outside the Church. Their four Bishops were excommunicated, but the Holy Father lifted the excommunications. Technically, the only thing this now allows these Bishops to do is to go to confession.

Scholars place the Society in an unusual in-between state, where they are de jure one thing, and de facto another. Is will, eventually all shake out one way or the other.


I do not think Rome is having any ecumenical dialogue with SSPX like they are having with the Orthodox, right? I have always been taught that SSPX is treated as a matter dealt with WITHIN the Church…

I am no expert but that is how I have been taught by some well educated friends who also take interest in the Tridentine Rite.

Not just technically speaking, neither the bishops nor the priests of the SSPX are allowed to celebrate Mass for the public because they are all still under suspension. Every Mass they celebrate is illicit, and their confessions are invalid.

The SSPX have no canonical status in the Church at present and therefore no jurisdiction. Their sacraments of marriage and confession are invalid.

" In a private letter to a member of the faithful, the president of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei stated that, in accordance with canon 144 someone who confesses to an SSPX priest while genuinely not knowing that the priest does not have the required faculty will be validly absolved, but that, with this exception, the sacraments of Penance and Matrimony in which SSPX priests are involved are invalid."

Interestingly, the SSPX used this same Canon 144 to justify the ‘emergency jurisdiction’ which they feel gives them the power to confer these sacraments.

The Society of St. Pius X members and congregations are Catholic. Those who belong to the Orthodox Church are not, by definition.:slight_smile:

Does that answer your original question, OP? The answer is yes.:slight_smile:

Correctly answered.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit