Would I be sinning by being ordained SSPX

Question… why would you want to join an organization that is not in full communion with the Catholic Church?

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[quote=“HomeschoolDad, post:8, topic:578836”]
I detect irony here. Please be aware that some people cannot comprehend this.

Sometimes a little irony helps people on both sides to lighten up. I admit some of my posts on this and other topics at times are a bit polemical, stir up more heat than light.

Setting aside for the moment the theological issues related to “partial communion” within the Catholic Church, I’ve been trying to come up with a good explanation for why this question is so unhelpful.
Obviously no Catholic in their right mind would align themselves with a non-Catholic group. Imagine if every time you mentioned you go to the Novus Ordo I’d say “why would you want to be in communion with the Pope?”
I believe your question sets up a false dichotomy between people who frequent the SSPX and people who attend the Mass elsewhere.


I don’t think it’s a question of “partial communion” at all. They’re in full communion with only a few legalities left to be ironed out. The SSPX began in the bosom of the Church, and has never left that bosom. The excommunications of 1988 have been lifted. The SSPX denies no doctrine or dogma. They question certain things about Vatican II and the Novus Ordo Missae, and they set up chapels (where those who attend, as noted elsewhere here, are simply “guests”) outside the diocesan framework. But that’s it. They have been given permission (and faculties where needed) for all seven sacraments, though technically they are supposed to approach the local bishop for matrimony faculties.

Are the SSPX the only priests in the Church who are not 100% “on point” with the teaching Church in all matters? Are there priests who teach contrary to Humanae vitae? Are there priests who give communion to divorced and invalidly “remarried” couples? What is worse?


That is not the question to ask IMO. Since all FSSPX/SSPX priests are in suspension, is there hope during your seminary studies that this suspension is lifted soon? I mean FSSPX priests are allowed to hear confessions so it can’t be a mortal sin to join the fraternity per se. But I don’t want to make that judgment.

I do not mean to divide… I honestly have a difficult time understanding why a Catholic would join an organization that is not in full communion with the Church.

  • Their founder was and is still excommunicated
  • They reject the the Church’s Ordinary Mass… and literally call it evil and teaching their people not to attend because it will do them harm
  • They reject the Church’s teaching on ecumenism
  • They reject the Church’s teaching on the sources of revelation
  • In general, they reject the 2nd Vatican Ecumenical Council altogether.

The Society uses the harshest language and condemns the majority of the Church… but asking a simple question about why someone would want to enlist in an org that is not in full communion with the Church is taboo? Seems like a double standard.


In theory, laity who happen to visit the SSPX chapel this week are encouraged to continue supporting, and getting most of their pastoral
guidance from, their parish (not the chapel). In theory the guests are getting their primary overall guidance from (not just praying for) their bishop Ordinary, and diocese, and ideally offering their volunteer service to that parish and diocese.

This is true even of those guests who were baptized and went to school K - 12 in SSPX.

In theory.

They did indeed leave the bosom of the Church. The founder and leaders were excommunicated for years… that would be outside the bosom… The illicitly ordained bishops were reinstated by a great act of mercy by the Pope. Lefebvre remains excommunicated.

Probably not… they remain in at minimum irregular state though and they continue to follow the line of an excommunicated bishop. Preaching that the standard mass of the Church is evil.

I’m going with the irregular ones on this question.

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  • The excommunication was lifted as far as the living bishops were concerned. Can the Church even lift an excommunication upon a deceased person? After a person dies, does the fact of excommunication in this life even matter anymore? It is a juridical penalty, not a statement about the person’s soul.
  • They may take the stance on the OF that you cite, I will grant that (though what they actually say is a bit more nuanced than that, and I’m not sure “evil” is the best word to describe their stance on the OF).
  • They affirm traditional teachings and have questions about how Vatican II conforms to them.

Excommunication does not remove someone from the Church. This is a common misconception.

I must respectfully disagree with you. The two practices I cite are deeply harmful to souls and can even threaten their salvation (all completed sins of the flesh are objectively grave, and mortal if all three conditions are met).

No, you’re allowed to join an organization not in full communion with the Church (e.g. Amazonians who worship Pachamama). People will defend them till the cows come home and even condemn anyone who interferes with that organization engaging in False Idol worship in a Catholic Church!

You’re just not allowed to join a Traditional Catholic organization not in full communion with the Church

A lot of nuance to these rules.

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Here are Fellay’s words: “It is has never been our intention to pretend either that the Council would be considered as good, or the New Mass would be ‘legitimate. The New Mass is bad, it is evil.”

His words don’t leave room for nuance.

The definition of excommunication goes something like this…the action of officially excluding someone from participation in the sacraments and services of the Church.

What do you think being excommunicated means?

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But not remove one from Canon Law and the remedy for the excommunication.

No, that’s pretty definitive. I was not aware of this statement. The question then would be “does someone who calls an approved liturgy of the Church ‘evil’ cease to be in full communion with the Church?”.

Just for the heck of it — and I have never heard anyone say this — what would it be like for a diehard adherent of the Novus Ordo, one who thinks the OF is the best thing that ever happened to the Church, to say that the TLM/EF was a “bad thing” (I’m not going to put the world “evil” in my hypothetical interlocutor’s mouth), that the Church sinned grievously for so many years, not allowing the people to pray in their own vernacular, by making the Mass into a distant, mysterious ritual that had nothing to do with the everyday lives of the faithful, and by not allowing the faithful to stand like adults and feed themselves with both the Host and the Precious Blood, taken into their own hands? That the Church may have had the legal right to promulgate the TLM/EF, but she did not have the moral right to perpetuate these errors (according to our commentator) in her liturgy and rubrics?

Would that be something so grievous as to put the interlocutor out of the Church, or would it just be an extreme, temerarious point of view that needs to be repudiated and corrected?

It means precisely what you said, but that does not constitute “removing someone from the Church”. The excommunicated person remains a Catholic, does not become “not a Catholic anymore”, and still has all of the obligations that any other Catholic has — Sunday Mass obligation, contribute to the support of her pastors, etc. — that can still be fulfilled by someone who cannot receive sacraments. It does not mean “placing someone into schism”. The Church fervently hopes that the excommunicated member will make the needed corrections in his life, manifest the needed repentance, and allow the Church to lift the excommunication. The Church doesn’t “throw people out”.

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I don’t think that would qualify for excommunication, but that is not what Lefebvre was excommunicated for. Fellay’s words are at best harmful to those who are exposed to them.

I would say that your hypothetical should draw the same criticism that Fellay should. He or she would be wrong and should be corrected… He or she would not be kicked out… but that is an apples and oranges comparison when thinking of your hypothetical and the SSPX, right?

That’s right… the Church declares authoritatively when someone has separated themselves from the Pope and the Church like Lefebvre did.

But even if that were the case, things are healed now almost to the point of “full communion” (whatever that term means…). The Church has granted faculties to the SSPX to celebrate all seven sacraments, and the Church does not grant faculties to entities that are not in union with her, and that are not under her jurisdiction. Archbishop Lefebvre has gone on to his eternal reward and can no longer be “reunited” to the Church. His lieutenants can and have been (Bishop Williamson is another story).

A partially applicable secular analogy might be Taiwan as seen from the standpoint of the People’s Republic of China — part of the PRC, theoretically subject to the PRC, not a separate country, if Taiwan ever declared independence, it would be a casus belli, but they’re not going to do that. As a practical matter they “do their own thing”, nobody (except they themselves) takes seriously their claim to be the true government of all China, and somehow, everyone on both sides “muddles through” the situation and things about halfway work the way they should —both sides occasionally bare their swords and gnash their teeth, but that’s only to be expected, it doesn’t mean they’re about to go to war. Taiwan has business interests in the PRC and Taiwanese travel freely to the PRC and back again.

Again, an imperfect analogy, not so much “apples and oranges” as “oranges and tangerines”, but an example of how two adversaries can work together, and at least in theory, act as though they are one entity — even if the two sides disagree on the ideal structure of that entity and what that means.

I don’t believe that is true. When Pope Benedict lifted the excommunication of the four bishops, he did so in the hope they would take further steps toward unity. Benedict always stressed that the Lefebvrite bishops remain suspended until they accept the work of Vatican II. I don’t think that has happened, has it? The leaders of the society will need to offer an act of contrition before they can be called in communion with the Catholic Church… they remain in an irregular state because they do not accept the fullness of Catholic teaching.

Technically speaking, they may still be “suspended”, but things are far closer to resolution than they have ever been. The SSPX are in kind of a sui generis situation.

They accept the fullness of Catholic teaching as it existed before Vatican II, and they express doubts and seek clarification about some of the things Vatican II taught. They are not the only ones to see it this way.

That was my point exactly. I meant that there are major theological issues with the CONCEPT of partial communion.
Thanks for catching the baton while I got me some shuteye :wink:

If you substitute Vatican 1 in the above paragraph, that would describe the Old Catholic movement, when they were the age SSPX is now. They have developed since then, as more generations grew up in that movement.

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