Question for SSPX members and others

A question for those that go to a SSPX church. I just read the latest news on rorate caeli, and it looks like the SSPX will be regularized. I would expect some folks won’t follow Bishop Fellay. I wanted to know who owns the various SSPX properties in the USA? Is each one owned by a group of laymen or are they in the name of the society? I was wondering if there would be problems and lawsuits in the future if there is regularlization, like a group saying we aren’t following Bishop Fellay and we are keeping our church independent or such type problems

PS- I am on your side!!!

To put it in simple terms, each property is a corporation created by the laity with the governing Society of St. Pius X District (the U.S. District, for interest) having a controlling interest.

There are some properties that the Society owns outright.

Which side? Those who will presumably return to the proper obedience to Rome, or those who may continue in their unlawful disobedience?

In charity, I read this as a simple gesture of love towards our fellow Catholics who assist at SSPX chapels, nothing more.

Aren’t you normally the charity police around here…?

  • PAX

No lawsuits, probably. Those who don’t own the land will need to find new land.

After the sedevavantist split in 1983, they set things up so that they would never have to go through that mess again.

I have gone ocassionally to SSPX chapels for over 35 years. But mostly to FSSP parish lately. For many years I went to the local OF church.

The SSPX has many wonderful parish folks who will follow Bishop Fellay. Yes, some will undoubtedly fall again into schism. That is their choice. The SSPX will survive and be reconciled; smaller to be sure but they will make the journey.

Pray for all of them.

It’s interesting this one sentence shows your ill will.

You have to look at several things to determine the juridical personality of the property as it’s called in Church law.

Societies of apostolic life are allowed to own property. They do not make a vow of poverty. Any property that is owned by the individual, continues to be his own. The Church does not interfere with that. Any property that is owned by the society does not belong to any member. Where ever the society goes, that’s where the property goes.

For example, let’s say that there’s a split within the SSPX. Because the society is being split and the society owns the property, in the USA the same laws apply that would apply to any business that dissolves.

The other way that this can go down is for the one group to keep the name and the property, but in justice, give something to the smaller group. I say in justice, because it is common property. Their relationship with the Vatican does not mitigate their property rights.

What happens in other countries may be different, because they have different laws that govern 501©3 corporations or they may not have such corporations. They don’t have what we have in the USA where a religious institute can be a corporation without stockholders and without owners. It’s going to be a lot of work, because the SSPX is present in many countries and each country has different laws.

If the property belongs to a benefactor, there is nothing to be said. It continues to belong to the benefactor and he allows use to whomever he wishes.

In Canon Law there is a clause that says that if an institute ceases to exist, the property is surrendered to the Church and the Holy See decides what happens from there. This only applies to property that the institute owns. If there is a split of the SSPX, we don’t know the numbers on either side. The Vatican will have to make suggestions once it has an idea of how much property there is and how many people are affected.

Properties owned by an outside agent (corporation, board, private benefactor, etc) does not enter into the distribution of assets, because the SSPX has use, not ownership.

The property laws of each country are going to play into how assets are distributed, not just Church law, unless one side signs away their rights or one side buys out the other.

This happens a lot with the large religious orders such as Franciscans. Because we keep growing, we keep dividing into smaller obediences and each obedience is subdivided into provinces. Whatever property we “own” has to be signed over to each group. It’s like pulling a corporation apart and staring three new ones.

You divide, then you must create new corporations. Usually, the group that keeps the name, keeps the original corporation. The new groups incorporate under their new names. Hopefully, they will peacefully decide who gets the kids, dog, family car and house. :smiley:

I’ll take the cat. :stuck_out_tongue:


Br. JR, FFV :slight_smile:

I’m totally jumping the gun here but If a reconciliation comes down this month, how will we know which chapels are reconciled? And along with that, do the SSPX become legit in every sacrament as soon as the decision is announced? Could one go to confession to a SSPX priest the very next day?

I believe the answer is that ALL chapels will follow the reconciliation. No SSPX chapel can separate itself from the SSPX by a vote, for instance.

Of course, any priest may choose to separate himself from the SSPX or could be asked to leave. But no Society priest can take a chapel along with them.

Jurisdiction and faculties will be addressed by Rome which could elect to provide some interim canonical solution. I would expect for the sake of unity that Rome will provide guidance in advance of a formal canonical constitution which will take some time.

I think TO is right. There will be instructions with effective dates.


Br. JR, FFV :slight_smile:

So any deal with Fellay is binding on all SSPX unless a singular person (Bishop or priest) wants to separate off into something else, (not SSPX)?
So for all intents and purposes if and when a deal comes down, the neighborhood SSPX chapel will be legit unless you hear otherwise by the Chapel priest?
Just trying to get clarity.
Thanks Brother!

Well, here is how it normally works.

The superior general of any institute is its legal representative.

The superior general has the authority to make contracts and agreements in the name of the institute.

The institute in this case, is the Society of St. Pius X. This only includes clerics and laymen who are attached to it as third order or oblates and religious. If you’re not in one of those groups, you’re not covered by the agreement.

Once the Vatican says that the Society has canonical standing, every house and institution run by them will be included.

If the local SSPX priest (pastor) says that he is not following along, then he has excluded himself. In which case, I would not attend his mass.

I don’t foresee the Vatican speaking about each SSPX mission and school individually, because they’re too many. The ones that fall will fall because the priest or priests there will exclude themselves. The layman just has to observe where the local priest stands. I can’t foresee how they would have an immediate way of knowing who is in and who is out. That can take months.

If Father says, “I’m in,” his parishioners are good to go as of the effective date of the agreement.


Br. JR, FFV :slight_smile:

My SSPX priest has already said that he will follow Bishop Fellay’s decision, whatever it is. I’m very relieved, thanks be to God.

  • PAX

God bless your priest. Although hopefully what he would NOT follow Bp Fellay if he decided against the reconcilliation.

I will say a pray for that priest when I pray about the reconcilliation.

Mrs. Sally . . . once again, you hit a home run. :thumbsup:

I had not thought of that possibility. I guess the question to our local SSPX clergy is not whether they will follow Bishop Fellay, but whether they’re coming into full communion with the Holy See regardless.


Br. JR, FFV :slight_smile:

I thought it was the Pope who decides if there is a reconciliation, not Bishop Fellay. :rolleyes:

Bishop Fellay has signed the Preamble, there is nothing more for him to do. And all of his statements point to his complete trust in Pope Benedict XVI. He has said that if there is a reconciliation, the Holy Father gets all the credit.

Not exactly. Bishop Fellay can still reject the Pope’s offer.
There are yet discussions to come.

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