The SSPX and True Catholicism

Here is my rant:
Some of you may have noticed that this is the second post.
Apparently I copied and pasted incorrectly and my entire post had not been posted.

Anyway onto the Ranting.
You have been warned.

All my life I have been raised in a Traditional Catholic environment. It was not until I was about twelve years old that I had ever even known a Novus Ordo Mass existed. The only Mass I had ever known had been in the Traditional Rite and as for the Spirit of Vatican II…it has always been in my life, exactly what it claims to be…a spirit, a ghost, a mystery.

Who do I thank for my upbringing? Who am I eternally grateful towards for my traditional and orthodox childhood? It’s the SSPX, and believe it or not…they are in fact somewhat Catholic ;).

My rant today is about how the SSPX are treated as orphans, or treated somehow inferior to their fellow Catholics.

I’ll begin by some background information on my encounter with the SSPX (call it propaganda if you wish, or see it as simply as a biased opinion, it doesn’t matter to me)

My entire spiritual formation began in the walls of St. Micheal’s Roman Catholic Church. Amazing isn’t it…that the title does not read “St. Micheal Lefebvrist Radical Anti-Vatican II Crazy Sedevacantist Arena for Novus Ordo Bashing”
No, contrary to popular opinion, the SSPX chapel which existed and still exists down my street was simply “Roman Catholic”. Nowhere did they boast some sort of gigantic monument to Arch. Lefebvre or any Palmarian Anti-Pope. The exterior was simply Catholic, and the interior was as well.

It was there, under the guidance of those illicit and schismatic ‘priests’ of the SSPX that I learned both the cute Bible stories of the Old Testament, and the time tested values of the Saints. It was there that I slowly began to understand that the Jesus cookie was in fact Jesus himself, and it was there that I finally accepted the fact that the Biretta is not a ‘mickey-mouse hat’ but a solemn yet out-of-place part of the priestly Vestments. Today I snicker at the many such opinions that dominated my childhood, and marvel at the fact that the SSPX actually had time to teach me about Noah and the Ark.

How could they miss out on an opportunity to brainwash my seven year old mind into some sort of hateful raging sedevacantist. How could they!? Don’t they know what SSPX stands for!!!?? That being:
“Society of Sedevacantist Priests who want to “X” out the Novus Ordo”
….at least something along those lines.

Yes, well I continued to grow up in that SSPX chapel until my Father decided that it would be best for us if we moved to the newly established FSSP parish downtown.
Being 12 years old, and more occupied with chewing gum during the Mass then understanding the liturgy (provided it was Trident gum…anything else is far too modernist for SSPX standards) I followed along without protest to my new FSSP parish.

Nothing was different, nothing seemed different at all. Nothing was more Catholic or less Catholic than it had been at the SSPX chapel.
Nothing seemed different in the liturgy, and the homilies were so similar to my SSPX forebears that you couldn’t even tell they were different priests.
I continued to grow right where I had left off in my SSPX home.

It was that same year that our FSSP church was undergoing a renovation. Masses were held in a far away place at a crazy hour in the chapel of some cemetery for the time being. Our family couldn’t make it. So we settled for the NO, since my Dad didn’t want to return to the SSPX parish.

That’s where I found a change. That’s where things started getting radical. And that’s where I began to question….is this in alignment with what Rome teaches?

I remember how as an Altar server I had to cross seven Eucharistic ministers in order to get to the other side of the church. Naturally, as I had been trained to do by both the FSSP and the SSPX, I genuflected at each bowl and chalice containing Our Lord. Apparently this was extremely funny to many people in the parish, and at the moment I couldn’t quite understand why.

I wouldn’t understand till a bit later.

I voiced my objection to good ol’ Pop and he seemed to understand. I didn’t though. I couldn’t understand how if Our Lord is the same in every host (something my old parish priest taught me) he was treated differently in different parishes.

I recall the story of how a friend of mine, (we’ll call him Scott) snuck his hand into the tabernacle and touched Our Lord with his forefinger for a brief moment. Someone tattle-taled and Scott was given the worst punishment of his life when Father told his parents.

To be continued…


It is understandable then, how difficult it was for me to register in my oh so adolescent and incompetent brain that it was somehow okay for a Eucharistic minister in a Hawaiian T-Shirt to grab huge handfuls of Our Lord and dump them in empty bowls before communion. Then wipe her hand off on her afore-mentioned t shirt.

It didn’t make sense to me. It troubled me, and I was extremely happy to return to my FSSP parish after the renovation.

Things returned back to normal……and now for my point.

My post may have seemed to get ‘off-track’ towards the end. But Behold I return to the subject.

In all my short life as a Roman Catholic, I have never been taught anything contrary to the Catholic Faith. Years under the sheepherding of the SSPX and now the FSSP have formed me into a Roman Catholic. I never doubt that the SSPX taught me Catholicism any differently than the FSSP has; in fact I know they haven’t.

If there has ever been a time where I felt that I was somewhere ‘else’, if there ever was a time that I felt that I was doing something ‘non-Catholic’ it was at Sacred Heart Parish, altar serving at the Novus Ordo Mass.

So why, why, WHY! Are the SSPX called un-Catholic. Why are they considered Orphans.

Why is their salvation questionable, and why are their motives considered non-Catholic?

But what angers me the most is the Vatican’s new ecumenism.
The ecumenism that reaches out to everyone except those radical traditionalists.

After Vatican II Protestants and even Muslims and Jews are considered ‘brethren’, theologians like Hans Kung who deny dogma are considered ‘misguided priests’ and are removed from teaching posts but not excommunicated. Hans Kung has yet to be excommunicated till this day, but only a few days after Lefebvre consecrated Bishops he was kicked out?

It doesn’t make sense to me that the SSPX are in ‘spiritual danger’ yet Billy Graham’s eternal resting place is somehow debated here on these forums.

How could Billy have a better shot at Salvation than Marcel Lefebrve a valid priest and a solid Catholic?

How can priests who wish to remain Catholic as they had always been be treated with less charity than open heretics?

And furthermore….how can priests everywhere jump at the chance to foster inter-faith movements with Lutherans, Fundies, and the bunch yet shiver at any possible outreach to the SSPX? In fact the Universal Indult is being attacked by French Bishops because it sounds like a ‘reaching-out to the SSPX’.

If anything…. the Novus Ordo movement is schismatic.
If anything…. the Novus Ordo threatens the unity of the Church.

Sometimes I don’t understand how the SSPX could possibly be orphaned Catholics, radicals, schismatics, bereft of a clear shot at salvation, or somehow flawed when Protestants are merely ‘apart of the mystical body of Christ’.

The Rant is Over, go in peace.
And in case anyone hasn’t noticed, my post is dripping with sarcastic remarks.
Please don’t take offense.


Very moving post. Very insightful as well.

Thank you. :smiley:
Surprised im not banned yet :wink:

Some good points. It is indeed a paradox that we are open and welcoming to the Eastern Orthodox heretics and schismatics, the Protestant heretics and schismatics, and the Muslim infidel; and yet those who are in fact FAR more Catholic than any of these groups are treated by most like they have the plague.

Who said the Novus Ordo lacks mystery? :stuck_out_tongue:

can I ask what is the FSSP?
I know what the SSPX is but the other I am not familiar with:(

The FSSP was formed out of the SSPX when Lefebvre was (at least allegedly) excommunicated in 1988. Several priests from the order wanted to remain in undoubted full communion with Rome. They both celebrate exclusively the Mass and Sacraments in force in 1962.

The FSSP have I think it is 190 priests, and are the main traditional full-communion society, along with the Institue of Christ the King and others.

thank you both:)

Your welcome.

If you search around a bit on the fssp website
you can find the parish I talk about in my post.


Wow, Missa that is a sad story. I truly hope and pray that the SSPX is reunited in full communion with Rome. I am very grateful to the SSPX for preserving the traditions of the Mass. It is because of the SSPX that we have the FSSP and the Institute of Christ the King. I really believe Pope Benedict will be the Pope to accomplish this.

And then, I’m having’ a party!!:smiley:

Please invite me.

Yes Pope Benedict will go down in the history books if he manages to be the first Pope in a while to mend a large-scale schism.

You are invited! :slight_smile:

My only fear is that provided the SSPX is reconciled, they will never be given credit for their accomplishments in the preservation of tradition.

One day the SSPX will rightfully be known as the prophetic group who foresaw the destruction of tradition that would follow VII and the Pauline Mass.

Until then, pray for our seperated Brethren.

One of the groups that can ‘truly’ be called brethren.

It is a fact that they pray for us, and our father in Rome…:slight_smile:


I know young people who were raised on the pablum they gave us in the 1980’s CCD classes. These people, myself included, had an encounter with Catholicism in college that, to my best knowledge, is still going on. I call it the “Scott Hahn phenomena.” With internet access and widespread media circulation, wonderful groups such as St. Joseph’s Communications and Ignatius Press got the word out about what Catholicism has to offer the world. Many of us were like kids who had been denied candy their whole lives, and then being let loose in a candy store. We went nuts! The problem was, while we were embracing a certain degree of doctrinal traditionalism (“Our church goes back to the Apostles”), we didn’t see a problem with continuing on with our banal music, dress, and casualness in our worship.

However, as I got older, I ran into a different, more sublime view of Catholicism. It happened when I was at dental school in San Antonio. I attended an Anglican Use parish with a friend, and I was blown away by the reverence. The four-part choir, the vestments, the silence, the Elizabethan English, the multiple gestures (eg. signs of the cross, bows, etc…), the hard-hitting sermons, the devoutness of the congregants both in demeanor and in dress. Suddenly the scales fell from my eyes. Reverence wasn’t simply an interior motive, but an exterior manifestation. I realized that the guitar-strumming, bongo-drumming, bluejean wearing Masses I had been to would have horrified saints of years past. That parish taught me that I shouldn’t have to keep reminding myself, “I AM at a solemn sacrifice, I AM at a solemn sacrifice” over and over at a Mass. It should be self-evident. My wife and I joined the choir and were exposed to some of the richest hymns of Christianity and, in particular, ancient Catholicism. It was grand!

Alas, I came down from the mountain after I graduated from dental school and my wife nad I moved to the town I would practice in. It was a real let down. The music was now “Gift of Finest Wheat” and Marty Haugen-itis everywhere I looked. I felt like I was in the desert, and no one realized that things could be much better than how they were here. No matter how hard I tried, as a sacristan, to beautify the Masses I helped coordinate, it always fell flat, and I was left in the pews reminding myself, “This IS a solemn sacrifice, this IS a solemn sacrifice.” But, deep down, I knew there was a disconnect with what I knew to be true and what I saw others injecting into the Mass.

Then, it happened. I found a Latin Mass Magazine in our Adoration Chapel at our parish. I took it home and read it cover to cover. My heart leapt when I realized that we Romans had something that touched the same liturgical universe that my Anglican Use parish had touched. In fact, the Anglican Use liturgy was a loosely-translated version of the old Mass.

I knew that I could not expect our priests to say a Latin Mass, but I longed to share the hidden treasures I had stumbled on. So, my friend and I started a schola cantorum and our 3-man group has now grown to 9. We are enjoying much support from the local community parishes, and we have done a couple of NO Latin Masses at one particular parish.

I am currently praying that a TLM will come to town, but, in the meantime, I am trying to let people know that we need that link with our past. In fact, rather than being obsolete, the ancient truths and worship styles of the past are an antidote to the radical relativism and puritanism infecting many parishes.

I love your story, BTW. It just motivated me to share my own.

I love yours as well.

It was an excellent point you made when you mentioned how at a Novus Ordo you have to remind yourself that it is a sacrifice. In the TLM it is self-evident.

Perhaps this thread will turn into an oppurtunity to share stories about the TLM. :smiley:


Very good heartfelt post.

In my ignorance, I MAY be wrong in my answer but hopefully help you understand better why you feel you are treated as the “orphan child”. But at least from what I know and understand, I see the SSPX (or am I thinking SSPV?) it is an authority issue. Failure to acknowledge the authority of the Pope and bishops over them. It is not the perfectly wonderful way that God is worshiped but a failure to acknowledge those who now “sit in the chair of Peter”. Just as Christ told His apostles that they needed to do what those who “sit in the seat of Moses” told them to do. Is that right to treat them as orphans? No.

That does not take away the hurt. That does not change that you can clearly see that there are many who do not seem to have proper respect for Our Lord.

But just as you were raised in the environment you mention, there are those of us who have been raised in the environment that you were so appalled by. We have had it no different, and know no other form (unless we seek out places like this:thumbsup: ) And even if we wished to, there is no other place for us to worship, no TLM mass closer than 2 hours away, if that.

Does that change how you are made to feel? No. But if it helps at all, I do know how you feel. Coming from fundamental Protestant Churches whom treat Catholics as nominal Christians at best and not Christian at all as the norm gives me a good idea of what you go through.

Your sister in Christ,

Your post sounds well thought out. If it hasn’t already, it ought to be sent to every catholic/Trad & NO paper as at least a Letter to the Editor, or an Editorial itself.

That’s what I think. And of course I’m never wrong.

Im flattered.

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