Is it true that SSPX marriages are invalid?

I’m asking in order to advise a friend…

If someone has resources on this, I’d like to read them too. Thanks :smiley:

Canon Law made Easy

This link should answer your question. The short of it is because it does not follow canonical form it is invalid.

Thanks. So that pretty much means that, everything else aside, one ought not to get romantically involved with someone who’s SSPX… since you pretty much couldn’t get married.

Am I the only one who finds that problematic? It is essentially the fact that they are traditionalists that makes it invalid. But a civil marriage is assumed to be valid. Those who believe what the Catholic Church has always believed have invalid marriages while atheists have valid marriage.

Strange way to phrase it. Atheist are not obliged to follow Church law Catholics are.

As marriage within the Church requires the marriage to have be witnessed by the parish priest (or diocesan bishop) or another priest (or deacon) who has been delegated by either the parish priest or deacon. SSPX priests are not parish priests, there is no such thing as an SSPX parish, and as it is extremely unlikely that a parish priest or diocesan bishop would give delegation to an SSPX priest (would that even be possible given that the SSPX has no canonical status within the Church) it would follow that a marriage by an SSPX priest would not be canonical.

On the other hand the actual ministers of a marriage are the couple themselves, but the Church does require the parish priest, or diocesan bishop, or another priest delegated by them for the marriage to be canonical.

If your friends are thinking of getting married and they are devoted to the Traditional Latin Mass, then they would be better off seeking out a priest from a society in good standing with the Church (such as the Fraternity of St Peter) and then approach the bride-to-be’s own diocesan parish priest of the diocesan parish in which she lives (regardless of whether or not she likes that parish) and ask him if he would be willing to delegate the priest (from the Fraternity of St Peter etc.) to marry them.

Marriage within the Church is tied up in legal jurisdiction and this will lie within the geographical diocesan parish boundaries of where the bride-to-be is living and the diocesan parish priest of that parish has jurisdiction.

I just find it odd that a matter of jurisdiction only applies to traditionalists. The state can encourage gay marriage and anything else, but a justice of the peace can still provide a valid marriage. An sspx priest can perform the liturgy and the sacrament exactly according to the Church’s tradition and believe exactly what the church teaches about the sacrament, but it is invalid because the local bishop didn’t approve.

It does not just apply to traditionalists but to all Catholics.

The state can encourage gay marriage and anything else, but a justice of the peace can still provide a valid marriage. An sspx priest can perform the liturgy and the sacrament exactly according to the Church’s tradition and believe exactly what the church teaches about the sacrament, but it is invalid because the local bishop didn’t approve.

If they were truly performing according to the Church they would not be separated. They would be under the Bishop. This is not a small matter. It is a matter of obedience. Did you read the article I linked. If you did , the you know that no all sacraments are invalid, illicit but not invalid.

A matter of jurisdiction applies equally to all. Just look on the Internet and you will find rogue Catholic priests who were validly ordained, but were suspended or laicized and now they’ll do any kind of “marriage” you can imagine. Second, third marriage, homosexuals, father-daughter. Now of course the shams I listed all have diriment impediments, but some others don’t. If some unsuspecting couple hires an Internet priest for their “Catholic wedding” on a beach, that is also invalid for the same reason as SSPX. Make sense?

IT’s not a matter of just being traditionalists. Our “home parish” (actually a school chapel literally a 2 minute walk from where we all live) has a daily EF Mass, that she attends. He, however, will not go to that EF Mass (because the priests also celebrate the OF), and drives quite a ways to get to an SSPX chapel. So, I don’t think he’d be willing to be married by a priest with the faculties to do so, even if though several ar more available and very willing. That, to me, seems like pure disobedience.

I think that, as far as my original intention goes, I’ll advise her to stay away. She was already hesitant because of several things (like… only attending illicit Masses, and what on earth to do with the children) but I think the impossibility of actually getting married makes the answer obvious.

I am aware of the distinction between licitity and validity. It said five of the sacraments are valid but illicit in sspx churches. My problem is simply with the fact that one of those invalid sacraments is valid if all involved happen to be atheists and it is performed in a secular courthouse.

Why is that weird that Catholic baptism, not only brings one into the body of Christ, and forgives original sin (and all sins), but also subjects one to Ecclesial law? If you are not baptized in the Catholic church, you cannot be held to the same rules as Catholics. At this time Catholics are required to be married in a Catholic ceremony/church, a dispensation of form can be granted, but for two Catholics this dispensation would, in practice, never be granted.

The other issue here is the nature of marriage. Marriage originates from God, but precedes Judaism, and certainly precedes Christianity. How therefore can we say that those who enter into marriage as Natural institution are not validly married? Marriage is a natural understanding of the human condition, you can understand it even without God revealing it.

Marriage is also a public juridic act, meaning that it publicly confers rights and obligations on the parties entering it, and is subject to the laws which sanction it, whether church or civil governments.

Civil weddings are also subject to jurisdictional issues. If your uncle is a judge from Florida, and he conducts your wedding in New Jersey your marriage is invalid, because the judge from Florida has not been authorized by the state of New Jersey to witness marriages on it’s behalf. In this case it is even a more clear cut case. This is a priest who has not been given jurisdiction by the person (ie the bishop) in charge of the both the geographic area and responsible for the soul of the person attempting marriage.

Therefore, SPPX priests have not been given the jurisdiction to witness the marriages of Catholics (other rules prevent them witnessing the marriages of non-Catholics) and this lack of jurisdiction results in an invalid marriage because a legal act was attempted outside the law which governs both the persons and the act (marriage) in that area.

It isn’t because they are traditionalists. There are plenty of Catholics who get married by very liberal priests who, while still having valid orders (like the SSPX), do not have faculties for marriages. Those marriages are also invalid due to form.

No, it’s because they were in validly ordained by an SSPX bishop, so they can’t perform any of the sacraments. But your friend could be married by an SSPS (society of St.Peter ). They are properly ordained and celebrate the TLM Masses. I believe there are also some parishes that have these priests.

This is not true, they can validly confect the Eucharist, and baptize (heck anyone can validly baptize), the can give absolution in emergencies/danger of death (this would include last rites). And the bishops can validly confirm and ordain.

Agreed… In Las Vegas, Elvis impersonators are performing marriage ceremonies, and they are valid civil marriages. Ridiculous but true!

What if the marriage is performed/witnessed inside a sspx chapel by a deacon who was licitly ordained?

It still doesn’t make sense to me. What makes an Orthodox marriage valid, and a sspx marriage invalid? The same can be said of any Protestant church? What makes the schism of the sspx different in regards to marriage than the Orthodox or Protestants? Why is it that the sspx priest is subject to a jurisdictional matter when everyone else isn’t? Why is it that an Orthodox priest doesn’t have to get permission from the local ordinary but the sspx priest does? I don’t see the difference, except maybe that the sspx is more in line with Rome than the Orthodox. Are they somehow no longer considered schismatic; so they are within the Church and therefore are subject to the canons while everyone else isn’t?

If they were Catholic Athiests, it wouldn’t be valid because they would still be bound to marry according to the laws of the Church. Two non-baptized people can validly enter into a natural marriage in a court house by a JP because they are not canonically bound to marry according to Canon Law.

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