Cardinal Castrillon: SSPX Not in Schism


From an article by Brian Mershon ( :

FONT=arial,helvetica Later in the March 17 interview [with an Italian journalist], Cardinal Castrillón affirmed once again publicly, “The Fraternity of St. Pius X is not a consolidated schism per se, but its history has included some schismatic actions…” The Cardinal continues to explain the illegal consecration of bishops against the express will of the Holy Father and further warns about the danger of schism, and schism leading to heresy and vice versa, according to St. Jerome.

(…) He continued, “I hope the open arms of Pope Benedict XVI will be understood as a kairos, an opportune moment, and pacifying the consciences of the faithful and of the lay people, a full effective and affective unity of the Fraternity with the Church and the vicar of Christ will be reached.”

(…) In a much overlooked and little discussed interview published February 8, 2007, in the German Die Tagespost, Cardinal Castrillón said he rejected the term and idea of “ecumenism” from within the Church as a reasoning behind the continuing discussions and open communications with the leadership of the SSPX. Specifically, he said the following:

Please accept that I reject the term “ecumenism ad intra.” The bishops, priests and faithful of the Society of St Pius X are not schismatics. It is Archbishop Lefebrve who has undertaken an illicit Episcopal consecration and therefore performed a schismatic act. It is for this reason that the Bishops consecrated by him have been suspended and excommunicated. The priests and faithful of the Society have not been excommunicated.

Lots of other interesting stuff in the article. Just thought it might be helpful to quote the above sections, since I seem to recall seeing people on this forum using the term “schismatic” to describe the SSPX priests and faithful as a whole. I would hope that this settles the matter.

(This isn’t to say that there are no schismatics among the SSPX’s supporters… just that, according to the Cardinal’s repeated statements, the Society as a whole is not “a schismatic group.”)


Interesting. Any links to Church documents? I noticed the article only linked another blogger and secular media.


It doesn’t settle the matter, easily observed in your own caveat (“that isn’t to say…”). *Ecclesia Dei *is still in force and the faithful are warned against the sin of schism by association with them. AND the priests are suspended ad divinis and have no faculties (though not in formally determined schism):


The SSPX isn’t in schism, Vegas. The Novus Ordo bishops are.


Umm, I don’t know where you get this idea but it is the SSPX that is in schism, not the Novus Ordo bishops. :rolleyes:


So what you’re saying, then, is that Cardinal Castrillon is a liar?


No. There are shades between formal excommunication and schismatic actions. They are of no real interest to the rest of us but may be important to those who are caught up in problem and fear for their souls.


Ahhhhhhhh,did…did not…did…did not…

if the Proddies arent beating up on Micks…we will fight amongst ourselves":blush:

I remember the old school yard…:shrug:


I’d like to share a couple of links regarding the SSPX issue. The contents you will find there are about as consistent with the truth as you will find in my opinion. I’m not a “member” of the SSPX and for that matter in a technical sense there are no lay members of the society, merely those who attend society masses. I do though have very dear friends who have been attending SSPX masses for the past 14 years and I am very well acquainted with the mentality and arguments for it and against. I am not presuming here to resolve a thorough understanding on this or presume an authoritative objective judgement. I am only sharing a couple of sources that seem to affirm my own reflection based on my personal experience and close friendship with my friends in the society. They have for a very long time kept an open invitation to me to associate myself more closely with the society and I have for many years openly discussed with them most all the issues concerning it. I’ve only attended mass twice with them (once was at their wedding), but I have always maintained my attachment with my diocesan church and so my action speaks for itself. I’ve asked a couple of priests if attending a society mass would fulfill my Sunday obligation and some say yes and some say no. Msgr. Camille Perl Secretary from the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei says in answer to this question:
(links below)

“1. In the strict sense you may fulfill your Sunday obligation by attending a Mass celebrated by a priest of the Society of St. Pius X.”

His second question was “Is it a sin for me to attend a Pius X Mass” and we responded stating:

“2. We have already told you that we cannot recommend your attendance at such a Mass and have explained the reason why. If your primary reason for attending were to manifest your desire to separate yourself from communion with the Roman Pontiff and those in communion with him, it would be a sin. If your intention is simply to participate in a Mass according to the 1962 Missal for the sake of devotion, this would not be a sin.”


The above was NOT intended to allow the faithful a blanket permission to attend SSPX masses. It was addressing one isolated incident, one set of circumstances. Ecclesia Dei has not been reveresed.


He’s imply in error, but then, so usually is Cardinal Kasper. One pope trumps an entire handful of Cardinals. The good Cardinal’s opinion, given in an interview, doesn’t weigh a lot compared to a papal edict.


They set up chapels in competition with established Catholic churches without the permission of the local ordinary or the Roman Pontiff. In fact, they really answer to no one–they act totally independent of any ecclesiastical authority. When judging new religious orders, those are the textbook warning signs of one to be wary of. Whatever their technical canonical status is, I don’t know, but it’s not right.


That’s always the question I want to ask: If there’s no schism and everything is hunky dory, why all the effort to bring them back in? If they’re already reconciled, there’s no need to reconcile them.


And Brian Mershon’s story at RenwAmerica comes from The Remnant.

From the March 31 issue of The Remnant

See it sitting right there at the top? I’d think twice about anything inthe Remnant.


My post was not intended to imply that a “blanket permission” exists. I was not making an authoritative judgment. I was just presenting information which is already accessible but sometimes overlooked and which does seem congruous with my own personal experience in my acquaintanceship with my sspx friends as well as my conversations with several (non-sspx)priests.


We whould all think twice before accepting any secular new media, blogger or rumor as gospel. We should all know by now that there is also a lot of misinformation in the information age.


It doesn’t settle the matter, easily observed in your own caveat (“that isn’t to say…”)

My caveat had to do with individual Catholics, not with the SSPX and their supporters as a group*. * I think this is straightforward enough… i.e., “there are some bad apples in every bunch.”

But if you, and some others here, prefer to think the Cardinal is flat out wrong, or confused… or that his repeated statements, which have been published in a wide range of Catholic publications (look at the references… it’s certainly not just The Remnant), were actually made up… I guess that’s your choice. * :shrug:*

Although I have no affiliation with the SSPX myself, I can understand their belief that they act as a sort of bulwark to ensure that tradition and orthodoxy don’t totally get trampled on in these difficult times. (Reading Priest, Where Is Thy Mass? was a major eye-opener for me. The priests interviewed in the book were not SSPX – most were “Independent” – but the principle was the same. They didn’t choose to rebel against the Church; the local church hierarchy abandoned them, and the faithful for whom they were responsible.) Assimilating their chapels, schools, etc. into the local dioceses would be a pretty big risk for them to take at this point, given the attitudes of many bishops. It makes sense that they want to have some safeguards in place… and I hope that the Motu Proprio, and the proposal to reexamine the Vatican II documents in the light of Tradition, will go a long way toward achieving that.

Of course, there are some people associated with the Society who’ve actually come to *like *their bunker mentality, and will never be happy with anything that Rome offers them. I think that was what the Cardinal meant when he spoke of the danger of separation leading to schism. But you can’t paint the whole group with the same brush.


Believe me, this letter has hardly been overlooked. It’s been discussed to death. We have no idea what the original inquiry was because it’s been very carefully hidden while the response has been broadcasted far and wide. How does it go? He who frames the question wins the argument?

Again, if this was the scenario, what would the Church say? I’m a 95 year old shut in who would really like to attend an approved Mass but cannot get to one because of my infirmaties. There is an SSPX chapel right across the street and my young neighbor has said he’d be happy to carry me across the street to attend. Would it be a sin for me to attend here?

What do you think the Church would say? Of course it wouldn’t be a sin. Specific circumstances has been pointed out by the Vatican although we’ll probably never know what they are due to the fact that some people feel the need to keep that one a secret.


Before throwing the baby out with the bathwater, perhaps understand this writer has written for numerous Catholic and secular publications, has a master’s in theology and a bachelor’s in news-editorial journalism–Remant or not.

Perhaps it is best for people here to address the contents. How docile are you? The PCED has repeatedly said that Catholics incur no sin nor penalty for attending SSPX chapels out of necessity.

So address the contents of the article. Is it wrong. I checked with a well-known, reputable canonist, and he said it was thorough and well within the realm of orthodoxy.


Why? The Remnant isn’t a sedevacanist publication. It has lots of good articles from a traditional viewpoint. I guess that liberal Catholics wouldn’t enjoy them, though, anymore than traditional Catholics would read a liberal Catholic publication.

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