Sacraments of SSPX


Ok so I know I have been posting a lot but this concern suddenly came to me.

I posted earlier about going to receive communion tomorrow for the first time in around 7 years. I stated that I had been baptized and received my first confession and communion. But then I realized that I had received all these early sacraments within the church of SSPX.

I did not learn until literally 6 days ago about the situation of SSPX. I had no idea it was considered anything bad, I always thought it was just an old school style church that didn’t think highly of Novus Ordo. But I have now heard, from apologetics on here and just about everyone, that the sacraments of SSPX are questionable at least.

So…does this…count? Am I actually baptized? Was I absolved of sin in my first confession 7 years ago? I have also heard that if one is unaware of the situation, then the sacraments are as valid as anything, so…am I good to go? Or what? I’m really confused.

I have made my decision to stay within the modern Catholic Church, and I went to confession today at my modern Catholic parish. I did confession “Being a part of schismatic groups” even though I didn’t really think it was a sin since I didn’t know about it. I have also received confession and communion at SSPV in the past (all my extended family is SSPV so when we visited we would attend mass there), again having no idea it was anything wrong, although i’m pretty sure all my initial sacraments were SSPX.

I have no idea, and I’m really pretty confused.


Baptism: You are certainly baptized. In fact it’s the simplest sacrament to perform validly. It was Illicit, but that’s on the priest, not your fault. Might be a bit of paperwork though registering it in the parish records (the real one, not the schismatic one), but it’s valid. I would consult your priest to get it registered, for the sake of record keeping processes, but you are certainly baptized.

Your confession and subsequent confessions were almost certainly valid, too, under supplied jurisdiction, because in good faith you believed the priest had jurisdiction even though he did not. I would talk with your priest if you have doubts, but the Church supplied jurisdiction because you did not know and the confession would have been valid but for the lack of jurisdiction. But If you were to go to their confessions now, then it would be invalid because now you know. I would suspect the same about the SSPV, though I would still ask your priest.

Most of all, relax, and welcome home!


Pope Benedict XVII said (March 2009) about SSPX that:“the Society has no canonical status in the Church, and its ministers – even though they have been freed of the ecclesiastical penalty – do not legitimately exercise any ministry in the Church.”

However, the Church may supply jurisdiction (Cannon 144) in cases of common error of the faithful, receiving the sacraments. My impression is that your sacraments would be valid when you received them, if all other factors were right, believing that SSPX was legitimate. I believe that this is the same for the SSPV as an offshoot from SSPX.Can. 144 §1. In factual or legal common error and in positive and probable doubt of law or of fact, the Church supplies executive power of governance for both the external and internal forum.
§2. The same norm is applied to the faculties mentioned in cann. 882, 883, 966, and 1111, §1.


Note that supplied jurisdiction applies only if but for the lack of jurisdiction, the sacrament would have been valid. But you don’t need to worry about that because the only thing that would have rendered the sacrament invalid was lack of jurisdiction on the part of the minister.


Not true.

The priests of the SSPX, along with having no jurisdiction, also have no faculties to absolve.

No priest can validly absolve without faculties to do so.


No. That is not the case at all.

Canon 144 only applies when there is “actual or legal common error and in positive and probable doubt of law or of fact,”
In the case of the SSPX, there is no doubt of either law or fact. The quote you provided from HH Benedict makes that clear.

The SSPX has no recourse to canon 144 (or the corresponding canon in the 1917 code as they so often claim).

They exercise no legitimate ministry in the Church.


While the confessions to the SSPX priests were meaningless, take heart. You posted that you confessed to a legitimate priest, so if he absolved you (and I’m going to presume that he did) then you were forgiven, absolved and reconciled to the Church. That reconciliation restored you to the life of the Church in full—the past no longer matters (but the future does).


I admire your courage for recognizing the importance of receiving the sacraments from those ministers who exercise a legitimate ministry in the Church. If you find that you miss the older forms with which you are familiar (the older form of the Latin mass, etc), there are parishes in full communion wtih Rome with completely licit sacraments that use the older forms. In fact, the FSSP (Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter) was formed by Blessed John Paul as an apostolic society for SSPX priests who wished to remain in full communion with the Church. An FSSP parish would be very similar to an SSPX parish in many ways, but their sacraments are 100% licit. On the other hand, if you are coming to appreciate the newer forms, that is completely fine as well.


I attend Mass by an FSSP priest but there are many diocesan priests who can administer sacraments in the old rite, and perhaps would if you ask them. Doesn’t hurt to ask.


It is an unknown at the time period of the subjects baptism, which was prior to 2009. I still believe it is a possiblity based upon the opinon of Cathy Caridi, J.C.L.,


I’m going to disagree for the following reason: Ecclesia Supplet only applies to ministers of the Church.

If an otherwise legitimate priest simply lacks the faculties to administer some sacrament (one that requires faculties, of course) but acts in good faith, then yes, the Church supplies.

But with regard to the SSPX, we’re not talking about ministers of the Church.

Asking the questions “do they have jurisdiction?” or “do they have faculties?” is putting the cart before the horse. No priest can have either unless and until he is a minister of the Church.

You see, here’s the problem with the reasoning in the article:
And since this can constitute “common error,” the Church can supply the faculty under canon 144. This is true even if the SSPX priest-confessor himself understands that he doesn’t have the necessary faculty to grant absolution.

Only, that’s not the case. It’s not a matter that the SSPX priest understands that he lacks the faculty to absolve because that’s part 2. Before even getting to that 2nd question, the first question “is he a minister of the Church, so that canon 144 (&c) can apply?” Since that question is answered with a definite “no” we stop right there and go no further.


You should speak with your parish priest about this. As you can already see, you’ll get a wide variety of responses here, which is not at all helpful for your concern.


Go discuss this with a local priest in person, not a bunch of people on an internet forum.


@ Fr. David, mostly. Some of them are ministers in the Church, hence the greater dilemma. Although many today would be ordained invalidly and illicitly, there are at least some (perhaps many) priest of the SSPX who are legitimate ministers of the Church.


Pope (then) Benedict was of the opposite opinion. I rather think that his judgement on who constitutes a “minister of the Church” is more reliable.

There is no dilemma. They exercise no ministry in the Church.


Fr. David is right.


That reminds me. Father, did you ever find out whether an SSPX priest can give the Apostolic Pardon?


I understand. The original poster asked about the validity of his baptism and confession. I believe the baptism is valid. As to the confession, according to J.C.L. Cathy Caridi comments on the validity of confessions: The confessions heard by SSPX priests, however, may be another matter. That’s because the average lay-Catholic isn’t expected to understand all the niceties of canon law regarding confessional faculties, or the canonically problematic situation of the SSPX overall. A typical Catholic would walk into the abovementioned (and fictional) SSPX “Saint Andrew’s Roman Catholic Church,” see a priest sitting in the confessional, and naturally assume that he could hear confessions! And since this can constitute “common error,” the Church can supply the faculty under canon 144. This is true even if the SSPX priest-confessor himself understands that he doesn’t have the necessary faculty to grant absolution. Obviously that priest-confessor himself has a lot to answer for, canonically speaking; but the penitent who honestly erred in entering his confessional should rest easy.


And so does (then) Pope Benedict comment on the validity of Confessions to SSPX priests.

He had this to say:
in order to make this clear once again: until the doctrinal questions are clarified, the Society has no canonical status in the Church, and its ministers – even though they have been freed of the ecclesiastical penalty – do not legitimately exercise any ministry in the Church.

The letters “PP” after the name “Benedict XVI” far outweigh the letters “JCL”

PS—I have do doubt that their baptisms are valid, since anyone can baptize.


No. I’m mulling it over now, but don’t want to derail this thread with the thoughts.

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