SSPX Not Heretical?

I’m confused as to how the SSPX can be considered schismatic, but not heretical. By claiming that our last few popes and the Second Vatical Council are all invalid/wrong/heretical/antiChrists, I’m confused as to how they aren’t heretics? Isn’t the idea of papal infallibility and the infallibility of councils that are presided over by the pope, dogmatic? As such, I’m confused as to how one can reject a council and not be a heretic? Then again, the basic premise of my concern can very well be wrong by either a) papal/concilliar infallibility not being dogmatic or b) the SSPX not having the stances I’ve noted as being official (I know several SSPX adherents who claim what I’ve noted).

Regardless, it’s sad to note that almost every council in Church history has led to schisms. Every group leaving Mother Church, because they felt they knew/know better than her, is very sad and short sighted. This to me seems no different than any of the Protestant reformers. It simply boils down to authority and as pious as they may try to act, the SSPX isn’t more Catholic than the Pope.

The SSPX to my knowledge has never ever stated that any of the popes were invalid, so i don’t know where you got that info from, but it is innacurate. Aslo note, that not one single priest has ever stated that they are more Catholic than the church or the pope! where did this innacurate info come from??? oh, by the way, where has it been stated that any bishop in the SSPX has stated they were more Catholic than the pope or the church? please provide credible links.

The invalidity of popes was presented by individual SSPX members, presented in a way that seemed to speak for the whole group (I’m not saying they had the authority to do so.) Also, the saying “More Catholic than the Pope” is a figure of speech to describe the SSPX attitude that they know the truth about Vatican II and our last few Popes don’t.

well whomever it was that made those statements is wrong. the SSPX never claimed to be more Catholic than the pope, they never denied the popes, nor did they ever state any of the popes were invalid. they do not state that the seat of Rome is vacant. i believe the SSPV does, but certainly not the SSPX.

By the way, SSPX members are the bishops and the priests. Not the laity.

Could you help me by making a distinction between the SSPX and the SSPV, please. :o


The SSPX doesn’t have a problem with the council … it was a validly called council by a valid Pope. It was a pastoral council, meaning that there was nothing dogmatic passed in the council. There were no dogmatic decrees where the Pope invoked his powers of infallibility. In other words, there was nothing strictly binding on Catholics that came from the Second Vatican Council. The Pope may issue opinions and letters of all kinds for guidance, but unless he invokes his infallibility (using the formula set in the First Vatican Council), they are just opinions and guidances. The Pope can remark, for instance, that Limbo doesn’t exist. Catholics are not oblidged to believe that, even though the Pope thinks that way. However, if the Pope issues a directive anathamatizing all those who do not believe in the Immaculate Conception, then we are bound under the seal of Peter to believe it as Catholics. The Pope does not have the power to teach contrary to what the church has previously taught and/or dogmatically proclaimed. For instance, Pope Benedict cannot reverse the Pope Pius proclamation on the Immaculate Conception.

The problem with Second Vatican Council was not the council, per se, but what transpired as a result of the council, along the lines of liturgical abuse (condemned in many publications by Cardinal Ratzinger and more recently by Cardinal Arinze) and a modernistic trend towards religious indifference (in other words, all religions are basically equal paths to salvation and if you are Lutheran, for instance, there is no real reason for you to convert to assure yourself of salvation). This is contrary to what the church has always taught. This was not strictly proclaimed by the Council (although possibly alluded to in Lumen Gentium).

Heresy in simplest terms, is disagreement with the church on a matter of faith or doctrine. No new infallible doctrine has been declared during or since the Second Vatican Council. The Holy See has never taken issue with the doctrinal teaching of the SSPX.

Hope that helps.

Dr. Bombay would be best to answer this one because he is far more knowledgeable then Iam. The SSPV as far as I know are sede vacantists,
they believe as far as i know, and anyone here can feel free to correct me,
do not believe that any popes forward from PiusXII are valid.They believe as
far as i know, that the seat of Rome is vacant. The SSPX are traditionalists
that are not in communion with Rome because of what happened in 1988 when
ArchBishop Lefebvre ordained 4 bishops without papal approval. That you can
read in Ecclesia Dei. But at no time have they ever declared that there are any invalid popes, nor have they ever declared that they are better than Rome, or know more than Rome.

With this said, I am going to make the assumption that what I have experienced/read that brought up this concern has more to do with the SSPV than the SSPX. Unless there is any other input, I appreciate the info. :thumbsup:

hot topic on CAF!!! you’ll get alot of replies:) :thumbsup:

The SSPV (Society of St. Pius V) were a group of nine priests who broke from the SSPX in 1983. They particularly did not want to use the 1962 Missal and preferred the 1945 Missal which was prior to several changes make by Pius XII where he shortened parts of the Breviary and also made changes to the litrgical celebrations of Holy Week.

In the the 1945 Missal, there are frequently two or three Collects, Communion, and Post-Communion proper prayers that were omitted in the 1962 Missal, including the second Confiteor, after the Communion of the Priest.

Even more disturbing to Archbishop LeFebvre at the time, these priests also questioned the validity of Holy Orders given by the Novus Ordo. They contended that the matter and form of bestowing the Sacrament was significantly changed after Vatican 2 so that the validity could be called into question. At the time, priests from the Novus Ordo were being allowed to come into the SSPX without being conditionally ordained in the traditional rite and these nine priests protested that practice. So, they were expelled from the SSPX and went on to form the SSPV. Of the original 9, I believe only 5 ended up remaining in the SSPV. The SSPV are not self-declared sedevacantists, but some of them do question whether the Pope is really consecrated.

I would not expect that they would want to be included in a regularization of the SSPX with The Holy See.

The SSPV broke from the SSPX for this very reason.

By the way, SSPX members are the bishops and the priests. Not the laity.

This is incorrect as the SSPX have set up a Third Order. So laity can be members of the SSPX.

wrong as that is not what i was told when i spoke to an SSPX priest.

Well then the SSPX priest is mis-informed as we have a member of the Third Order of the SSPX posting here and here is a link to it on their website.

SSPX ThIrd Order

As of 1980, when this third order was founded, the laity has been able to be members of the SSPX.

When I read that the SSPX is in the Bishops and Priests not the laity, I took that to mean that if a layperson (TO) is making statements to the effect of the Papacy being vacant, or being more Catholic than Roman Catholics, that such statements would carry no authority whatsoever.

That’s how I understood it, but its not important right now. To get back on topic for a moment, there are a few instances in which a church is schismatic but not heretical.

The Eastern Orthodox Church for example. There was a time when they were considered heretical, but the mutual excommunications have been lifted, the only thing seperating East and West presently is political. (Eastern Patriarchs have enjoyed autocephalous status, they aren’t too keen on submitting to Papal Authority) but there is nothing heretical about their teachings.

With such a breakdown, who is celebrating Mass for laity who maintain these beliefs? Perhaps many laity who go to SSPX Masses are really SSPV sympathizers?

They now have several priests who fly to their chapels to offer Mass. They also have a Bishop, who was consecrated by a retired South American bishop in San Diego. He ordains priests at their seminary outside of New York City.

David is right. Like many religious orders, the SSPX has an order for laity. The conditions include giving up TV and other impure/worldly entertainment, increasing one’s prayer life with multiple hours from the Breviary (I try to do daily Prime, Sext, and Compline) and the rosary, attending religious retreats on a regular basis, etc. AND … practicing charity … so please help me if you feel I overstep that boundary.

SSPX is not heretical because they have not rejected any of the teachings of the Church.
They are schismatic because of disobedience to the Pope when they ordained some Bishops against the explicit instructions of the Pope not to do so.

I don’t believe you are entirely wrong. One of my coworkers attends the local SSPX chapel, and the things he tells me re: the members of the congregation indicate that many of them are sliding considerably towards sede vacantism. He tells me he has heard more frequent homilies warning against going completely into sede vacantism. While I don’t believe the clergy in the SSPX are sede vacantist, I do believe that more and more of the laity are heading that way. I’ve heard my coworker say that he is horrified by what he hears in conversations with his fellow SSPX-ers. There are many who have decided that the Mass of Pope Paul VI is invalid, and that it is a mortal sin to attend a Mass by a priest ordained during or after the 2nd Vatican Council.

This might be a case of actions speaking louder than words.

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