Understanding SSPX and SSPV

Hi guys!

I am recently learned about SSPX and SSPV, and I am very confused on the differences between them and the present-day Roman Catholic Church. Thank you so much!! :slight_smile:

Another doomed thread. :popcorn::popcorn:

Why, may I ask, is it doomed? :shrug:

Because, this subject has been discussed many, many, many times. Unfortunately, eventually, tempers flare, and it’s downhill from there.

Please do a Search, you’ll find plenty.

The irony is, I posted this thread because, upon going some research, all I could find were arguments and strong opinions. :frowning:

Exactly! :wink:

OK, let’s try to be civil. I know this is not 100% accurate but my thought is to give a broad brush overview. If you want more specifics, use the search function. There have to be 500 threads. Hint: Look for responses from BrotherJR for the most accurate information.

The SSPX is a group of Bishops/Priests that “broke away” from the Church (the Bishops were ordained illicitly without the Pope’s permission). Consequently, the Pope has decreed that they are in irregular status and exercise no valid ministry in the Church. They are validly ordained Priests, but may not licitly perform the Sacraments unless in danger of death. They believe Francis is the current Pope but reject some of the writings of Vatican II and have, shall we say, issues with the Ordinary Form of the Mass.

The SSPV broke away from the SSPX. They are sedevacantists and believe Francis is not the real Pope and that the seat of Peter is vacant.

The Church has been trying hard to bring the SSPX back into the fold. The ball however is in their court. We need to all pray for each other.

I don’t think the SSPV want to come back. Saddest of all.

Because it never ends well.

:smiley: Thank you for the laugh. I needed it. :smiley:

:cool: That sums it up very well.

So I’ve tried to be as accurate in presenting their origins, please don’t shoot me! :smiley:
The Priestly Society of St. Pius X was founded by Archbishop Marcel Lefebrve in 1970, originally with full permission and legal recognition of their local Bishop of Fribourg, Switzerland, Francois Charierre. The aim, and continued aim of the group was/is to preserve the Traditional Latin Mass and the formation of Holy Priests, thus that is why initially only ran a seminary, first at the University of Fribourg, then securing their own place in Econe, which still operates to this day. From the beginning they were critical of CERTAIN aspects of Vatican II documents and there was much tension between the Society and French Episcopate, who refused to incardinate any of the priests who came out of their seminary. In 1974 the Vatican did a Apostolic Visitation, which reported favorably on the seminary and Society.

Yet, in 1975 the new Bishop of Friboug, Pierre Mamie, who wasn’t as sympathetic to the Society as his predecessor was, decided to withdraw his recognition of them, and they were asked to dissolve. This is where things start getting tricky and complicated. The Society refused to dissolve and continued to run the seminary, in 1976 Pope Paul reprimanded Archbishop Lefebrve, the Archbishop also decided to go ahead and ordain his seminarians, which the Holy Father also told him not to do, but the seminarians were ordained, and as a result the canonical penalties were that they were automatically suspended, including the Archbishop.

The situation remained as such for the next decaded the SSPX continued to ordain Priests, without canonical recognition, then, in 1987 Archbishop Lefebrve fearing that the end of his earthly life was near announced that he intended to elevate some Priests to the order of Episcopate to carry on his work. This of course was a problem in order to consecrate new Bishops, legitimately you need approval of the Pope, the then Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith, tried to work an agreement with the SSPX but it didn’t amount to much. Pope St. John Paull II tried to make personal appeal to Archbishop Lefebrve not to continue with the consecrations, but the Archbishop went ahead and on June 30, 1988, Archbishop Lefebrve along with a sympathetic Bishop Antonio de Castro Mayer consecrated 4 priests as Bishops. The two consecrating Bishops and the four who received the consecration were automatically excommunicated. Archbishop Lefebrve passed away in 1991.

In 2008 as a sign of goodwill the excommunication were lifted on the four Bishops, but no canonical recognition was given to the Society, which is now headed by Bishop Bernard Fellay. The stats according to them are, they have 6 seminaries, a memebership of 575 Priests, 3 Bishops( 1 of the original four was expelled in 2013),193 Seminarians, 102 Borthers. They are present on 6 continents, and organized into 15 districts.

The Society of St. Pius V, I am not too familiar with, but what I know is that were founded in Oyster Bay, New York when they split with the SSPX in 1983 because they did not agree with using the 1962 typical edition of the Missale Romanum, but wanted to use older editions. While not explicitly sedevacantist, they are certainly sympathetic to that position and many priest from their ranks have been outspoken as being so. From the SSPV many other splits and independent groups have arisen, as far the Catholic Church is concern their leader Bishop Clarence Kelly is not a Catholic Bishop.

Congratulations to all. Didn’t think it would last this long. The responses seem to have answered the questions, And it was a very pleasant discussion;


The fact that both organizations exist at all tells most of the story.

Thank you, this was very helpful!

Thank you to you too. I enjoyed reading you response, and it led on me on the search for more information! Very helpful! God bless! :thumbsup:


Don’t mention it.

Give a shout anytime I can be of assistance.


Bravo and kudos. A succinct answer without polemics!

A couple more details on the SSPV. They are most definitely sedevacantist and do not mention the current Pope in the canon of the Mass. Their original Bishop, Fr. Kelly, was allegedly consecrated in secret by a retired Bishop of Puerto Rico. Although over 30 years old, they are still comprised of only a handful of priests.

It seems like sedevacantism would not be “all or nothing”, but a matter of degree. For instance, someone could say “There has been no valid pope since 1963” while another sede could say “No valid pope since 1958” or 1914, etc. They are not all alike.

Or one person could say they are not a sedevacantist, but go on to say “I accept pope Francis, but only as a moral leader, not a teacher of doctrine”; while another could say “I accept this pope, but only when he teaches what I already know to be true”, etc. In other words, even people who “recognize” this pope, may not consider him a Pope in the sense they still consider Pius XII as a Pope. If someone has chosen to evaluate rather than obey the current pope, one can say they are a little bit sedevantist, in effect.

I’m not totally sure why SSPX is such a third rail subject on a “traditional Catholicism” thread?
Anyway, with some of the recent antics, making many think we are taking a bumpy ride back to the sixties and senties, the has been a renual of interest in the SSPX chapels.

The numbers of catholics who support gay marriage (Catholics having the highes at 60%) along with a general disdain for traditional Catholic customs from biships, and in the worst cases, bishops openly preaching heresy (German bishops) and American nuns that are more Wiccan than Catholic have caused many, particularly younger families to shift back to tradition. As traditional minded Catholics continue to be ridiculed and have pejoratives thrown at them (radtrad, frozen chosen, Pharisee, neo-pelgian, rosary counter, etc) the more they retreat to their “ghetto”.

Although many think a “traditionalist” is defined by the mass they attend (extraordinary form, vetus ordo, mass of St Pius V) I would, in charity disagree.

A traditional Catholic, in my experience, prefers the vetus ordo, but there are many at the local novus ordo, praying silently before and after mass.
In a nutshell, traditional Catholics believe and practice their faith with an idea that the faith began at the first pentavost, not the "New springtime"of the sixties.

I can’t speak of SSPV, but SSPX, being more common are recieving many faithful that try them out for their totally valid mass and Eucharist.

My advise to unite the “modernist leaning” folks with the :traditional minded", and stem the loss of traditional to SSPX, is to standardize the mass around the 1962 missal of John XXIII.

I know I went off topic here but, I hate to see the division, not to mention seeing tradition minded catholics (both mass forms) getting squeezed out to the margins.

Pray for the day when SSPX and the Curia make nice.
SSPX priets are some of the most faithful I’ve ever seen.

Edited my moderator

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