What formalities exist for those returning to the Church?

A bit of a backstory for me here. My husband and I were both baptized in the Catholic Church. While we were both very young children, our parents made the decision to become sedevacantist and they raised us in the sedevacantist community. A year and a half ago, we decided we needed to reject the schism and return to the Church. We didn’t think about any particular formalities we might have to go through. We just started going to our local diocesan parish and receiving the sacraments there. Recently, my husband wondered in a thinking out loud sort of way whether or not we should have ever confessed having left the Church. I really never thought about it before, because as anyone familiar with sedevacantistism knows, they believe they are the “real” Catholics and that the present day Church is not the real Church anymore. However, all this aside, we never stopped practicing Catholicism, and what is more, it was never our decision to leave in the first place. We were children and we had to do what out parents decided. I definitely don’t think we are guilty of any sin, nor does he. But mainly as a point of interest, is there some form we should have followed when we decided to come back to the Church?

Welcome home! And thank you for being honest with your faith journey. I’ll leave the sin aspect to priests as well as any official way of returning. My own opinion is that I think it would have been good to speak with the priest where you attend Mass, perhaps make an appointment with him, and lay it out for him. I’m sure once he knows all the ins and outs, he’ll be able to advise you accordingly.

With that said, perhaps @edward_george1 or @InThePew who are two priests who visit the forums would be the best ones to offer you advice here.

God bless both you and your husband!


Since the question has now come up for you, I think discussing it with your priest would be a good idea. He may suggest you confess it, because the belief that the sedevacantists have that they are the correct church is wrong, or he may suggest something else.

Welcome back :smiley:

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You are correct, you don’t bear responsibility for leaving the church. As children this was not an act of your will, but your parents.

As for anything formal, no, not beyond confession for those that need it.

I would definitely sit down with your local pastor, or possibly even contact the diocese and speak with someone at the chancery. Depending on which group you became part of, some of your sacraments may or may not have been valid, depending on the status of the clergy involved and how the Church views their status. For example, until recently a Catholic could not validly receive Reconciliation or Marriage in an SSPX chapel (yes I know the SSPX are not sedevacantist, it’s just an example of one group I know lacked proper faculties for these sacraments.)

This is not meant to alarm you. If there is anything to be done, your pastor can help you clear it up.

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Thank you! Yes we are aware of the invalidity of certain sacraments. We made general confessions, have been married again and I am working on getting confirmed, since I know for certain that the Church does not accept the episcopacy of the “bishop” from whom I received confirmation.

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Well I’d say you are doing all you need to do!

There is no doubt that priests of the SSPX lacked ordinary faculties for these two sacraments prior to 2015, but there does not seem to have been a common consensus in the Church that these two sacraments were necessarily rendered invalid.

I’ve known people who were married in SSPX chapels where the priest was not delegated by the local ordinary, and who later tried to obtain a declaration of nullity on the grounds of defect of form. The tribunal reached a negative decision and no declaration of nullity was given. It seems like the Church does recognize a situation here where Ecclesia supplet applied…perhaps based on “common error” for the laity attending SSPX chapels who do not comprehend the canonical issues involved.

Which, at least in my opinion, makes sense.

I apologize for derailing the thread a bit, but I found this piece of information interesting and thought I’d mention it…without starting a new thread that would likely lead to unnecessary conflict on the forum!


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