Is he a Catholic.. or not? (Canon Law Question)

Not sure this is the right forum, but here’s a question pertaining to canon law:

If a non-Catholic Christian (validly Baptized) is received into the Catholic Church by a Priest who, while having a valid but illicit ordination from one of the schismatic lines, does not have faculties from the local Ordinary (ie, the Priest is SSPX or serves at an “independent” Catholic parish). Is that person actually received into the Church? If so, is their first confession valid, since the Priest doesn’t have faculties to hear confession?

I can’t seem to find any answers in Canon Law or from anything the USCCB has on their website.

A related question regards the status of a person who is baptized by a SSPX priest.

I don’t believe there is a definitive answer to these questions.

A person who is validly Baptized is Baptized, it matters not who or their relationship to the Catholic Church.

The other questions a person cannot be received into union with the Catholic Church by someone who is not authorized by the local Bishop to receive them or Confirm them. A priest who does not have faculities to hear Confession by the Local Bishop cannot licitly celebrate the Sacrament, except in emergency situations.

I’ve been of the same opinion. I figure if a Priest needed faculties to hear confessions validly, then they’d almost certainly need them to receive someone into the Church. I haven’t been able to find anything definitive to back up my assertion, though. Does anyone know where I can find the applicable Canons or directives? (Thanks, Br. Rich!)

The concrete question comes up when such a person is married by an SSPX priest, and later divorces and wishes to (re?)-join the Catholic Church - is their marriage invalid due to lack of canonical form?

Oh, throw ANOTHER sacramental monkey wrench into it, whydontcha?? :wink:

Seriously, though, if this person thought they were received into the Church, they’d be receiving valid communion from the ‘irregular’ Priest (sacrilege, right?), or, potentially going to Mass at a diocesan Catholic Church where he could go to confession (which, if he were not Catholic due to the aforementioned problems, is an issue) and receive communion there (once again, serious problem if he’s not actually a Catholic).

Basically, what I’m thinking is this person is still a protestant (or whatever), but believes he’s a Catholic in good standing. Obviously, I’d want to point this out to him so he could be regularized, but I’d need some evidence to back up my claim (which he would find incredible, possibly deeply offensive, without objective evidence)

I don’t have the official answer, but I just want to point out the distinction between liceity and validity. Priests without faculties may not be able to celebrate the sacraments licitly (i.e. “lawfully”), but that doesn’t mean they are not valid (i.e. that they actually work).

Just think of the celebration of the Mass. Even if the priest was acting without the necessary permissions, it doesn’t mean the Eucharist isn’t still the Eucharist. As long as he is a validly ordained priest following the proper form and using the proper matter, the sacrament is still valid.

I’m not sure how all this plays out with Marriage and Confession. I’d have to brush up on Canon Law. :o

Yeah, I know the Priest in question is validly but illicitely ordained, therefore when he confects the Eucharist it is valid but illicit. I’d have to look it up again, but IIRC Canon law is pretty clear that a Priest without faculties from the local Ordinary CANNOT offer absolution except in emergencies. The problem is, if that same principle applies to receiving non-Catholics into the Church, then not only is the guy in question not absolved of his sins before receiving the Eucharist, he’s also not even technically Catholic! (and receiving communion!) :eek:

I would vote, yes, the Marriage was not witnessed by someone authorized to witness it by the Church.

Ask your pastor if he would accept a letter for Fr. XYZ over at St. Unknown, Independent Catholic Church, requesting him to up date the Baptismal/Sacramental records (with Holy Communion and Confirmation) for someone who was Baptized in his parish 30 years ago.

I would guess his answwer would be , NO.

But only Catholics are bound to marry according to canonical form. So you are saying that this person, baptized by an SSPX priest or accepted into the Church by an SSPX priest, is considered Catholic as regards the Catholic canon law of marriage?

Since you said “(re?)join” I assumed that they were originally Baptized Catholic. I believe that the SSPX is considered a schismatic Church, Baptism in the SSPX would be considered Valid and Catholic, so the person would be required to follow the Catholic Marriage laws?? However the SSPX priest would not be able to receive someone into Catholic unity, (representing the local Catholic Bishop) or witness a Marriage again being a representive of the local Catholic Church. Or hear regular Confessions. (again the facility to do so within his diocesan boundries being granted by the local Catholic Bishop) This is my opinion reflecting on this question.

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