My Extraordinary form question

For the longest time I have been interested in going to a “latin Mass” I live in a big western state, most of the population is in one valley, the Bishop has seen fit to make a EF Mass available once a month in a little town, 5-6 hours away. That would be a 10-12 hour round trip on a Sunday, I have a wife and three small ones. My frustration is that in a state where there are many parishes in one area that could and would draw a favorable number of people to the EF why is it that the EF is offered out in the boonies. Almost as if it is a reluctant concession.
There is a SSPX Mass, 1 hour from my home. Would it be disobedient of me to go to the SSPX to educate myself and experience an EF Mass?


  1. I wish to be obedient to my Bishop and Rome.
  2. I have always had a sympathy to SSPX, not out of their disobedience, but out of their devotion to the Tradition. I dont condone their tactics, but I do respect their love. I want normalized relations with Rome. I side with Rome no matter what.

If you can go to a Protestant service to observe, why not the SSPX?

People will have varying opinions on this, but to be on the safe side just attend you usual Mass to fulfill your obligation, and don’t receive Communion in the SSPX chapel. Safest answer I will give you. I’m sure some will come in and say you can fulfill your obligation in the SSPX chapel and can receive the Eucharist. My opinion is of the opposite, so I advice that you play it safe. The valid priest, valid Eucharist doesn’t apply. The Orthodox has valid priests and valid 7 Sacraments, but we cannot fulfill our obligation with the Orthodox nor receive from them under normal circumstances.

The SSPX do have a valid Mass, although illicit. The only ambiguity would be if their confessions confer a valid absolution. To be safe, I suggest that you have your confession done in your local parish.

As far as I’m concerned this comment is uncalled for.

For those who might question the validity of the SSPX Mass in this situation. It reads in the Code of Canon Law:

§2. Whenever necessity requires it or true spiritual advantage suggests it, and provided that danger of error or of indifferentism is avoided, the Christian faithful for whom it is physically or morally impossible to approach a Catholic minister are permitted to receive the sacraments of penance, Eucharist, and anointing of the sick from non-Catholic ministers in whose Churches these sacraments are valid. (Code of Canon Law 844)

There is no question that a SSPX mass is valid, however it is illicit, or unlawful. I’ve heard that if say the only church in your area is a SSPX chapel, it is acceptable to attend the mass to fulfill your Sunday obligation, however, if there is a Novus Ordo parish in your area, there would be no need to go to an SSPX liturgy.

If there is a Novus Ordo parish in your area, I would bring it up to the pastor, and ask if he would mind starting to celebrate the TLM.

You should go. You are going for the right reasons and with the right state of mind. Be weary of what they might say (they don’t like the new Mass), but honestly, I’ve heard very orthodox teaching from the SSPX priests when compared to diocesan priests and even bishops if you can believe that! People in my opinion are too quick to judge the SSPX when their teachings are solid. It’s a beautiful Mass, the Mass of many saints, popes, and ancestral Catholics. At that time there was only the Mass…there was no NO, OF, EF, Latin Mass…there just was the Mass. If the SSPX Mass fulfills your Sunday Obligation and the Sacraments are valid why worry? You are not attending an Eastern Orthodox Divine Liturgy. You won’t regret it. I never did…

So many people justify going to SSPX liturgies because their teachings are “solid” and the priests are firmly based upon Catholic teaching.

One cannot be solidly or firmly based in Catholic teaching while being in schism and out of communion with the Pope of Rome.

I mean that’s just like saying it’s okay to go to a sedavacantist liturgy because they are solidly Catholic.

There is no solidity out of communion with Christ’s Vicar on Earth.

do you know for a fact that any of these nearer parishes expressed a desire for the EF and have pastors willing to offer it? Do you really have evidence to show Bishop’s only reason for choosing the more isolated parish was reluctance on his part?

One’s obligation to attend a valid Mass is the issue. No need to get involved in the politics of the matter. If I need to eat on the road, I don’t ask the restaurant owner what his views on the Afghanistan war are before I order a meal.

How come? Would you rather an analogy with the Orthodox?

My point was, if you are allowed to go as an observer to something thats completely different, completely non-Catholic, why would there be a reason for one not to be able to come and observe at a SSPX Mass.

The difference here is adherence to the Church in all aspects is important. If a good, solid Liturgy is all that is needed, why have the Pope at all? The Orthodox have valid everything, but even there we cannot go on a regular basis.

Im sorry, I didnt mean to imply that the bishop is hostile to the idea. In the interest of charity I cannot state that the Bishop is “hiding” the mass just that it is frustrating and can seem like that is the case. One could say that the Bishop would be no friend to the traditional movement. The EF is not available closer but it is in demand, several of us have tried. I was toying with the idea of writing the Bishop a letter seeking his guidance, but I’m not sure how that would go over.

If you’re not in communion with the Pope, you are not in communion with God. The Pope represents Jesus on Earth, and by going to a church not in communion with The Church, you are distancing yourself from the true Church.

There is no question as to whether an SSPX liturgy is valid, but it is illicit, or unlawful.

There is no question as to whether an SSPX liturgy is valid, but it is illicit, or unlawful.

Could you explain how four bishops can be in schism without being excommunicated ?

The clergy is under suspension. This is a known fact. Their Masses are unlawful. No one is denying that. But to fulfill your Sunday obligation, you must attend a valid Mass according to Canon Law. Persistent adherence to illicit activity and communion with the church are separate issues.

I have a question: what is going on with this beating of SSPX? I realize it is kind of a greyzone situation and that they are in talks with the Vatican.

But should we use every free moment to go bashing and smashing on them? To me, that is rather a not so courteous thing to do. But hey: that is my opinion.

Catholicpotatoe, have you tried asking the priest at your church directly? If he knows how to do a Latin Mass, he can preform one whenever he wants, as far as I know. A couple years back, if I remember correctly, the Pope said that priests could preform the Latin Mass without having to gain permission with their bishops. From what I had read about it, I’m pretty sure the reason the Pope did it was because bishops weren’t easily allowing priests to do it, so he went around them and just let the priests decide. And if you live where I think you live, I think I may live in the same place…Big western state, large population in one valley (at the bottom of the state, right?) one bishop over a bunch of us…I was thinking of asking the priest at my parish if he know anything about the Latin Mass, and I was going to ask around and see if anyone else wanted one, too. Good luck! If anyone knows I’m wrong about priests being allowed to do it, feel free to correct me!

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