Would I be sinning by being ordained SSPX


  • 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.

There have always been those who accept the Church as it was before an Ecumenical Council.

Maybe an imperfect analogy, what if I said I accepted my wife before she got pregnant or I accepted my son before he learned to drive or I accepted my uncle before he started losing his memory?

The Catholic Church is a living tradition. It has always been and will continue to be that way.

As already mentioned… expressing doubts is one thing. Calling it evil is another all together.

Yes they are suspended. I don’t see what you see here. Things haven’t been healed. The Vatican has extended multiple olive branches to the protesters at SSPX and have acted with great grace across multiple pontificates now.

the Holy See has declared in a letter to the society dated 26 June 2017 and approved by Pope Francis that full re-establishment of communion is conditional on its members making the 1998 profession of faith accepting explicitly, with the degree of adhesion due to them, the teachings of VII and subsequent church teachings, and recognising not only the validity but also the legitimacy of Mass of St Paul VI and the other sacraments celebrated according to the liturgical… none of that has happened…

I hope and pray that the SSPX come back to full communion with the Church

I was told on this forum that SSPX do not have any valid Confessions. I think that should be an isssue.

Except the Old catholics claimed that the Dogma declared in Vatican I were false and therefore they denied the legitimacy of the Pope. They have since gone on to ordain women and some have joined the Anglican “communion.”

The SSPX on the other hand deny a CHANGE in doctrine, and they’re right to state the Vatican II didn’t set up any new dogma. They’re following Church teaching, the Old catholics are making it up as they go along.

The SSPX committed a schismatic act and rejected the authority the Pope. They reject the Church’s teaching authority on a number of items and declare as evil the Mass. You’re right that the situation between the Old Catholics and SSPX are a bit different, but they are substantially the same… more alike than different even

I’d argue it’s substantially different.
Imagine two scenarios:

  1. You’re an underage kid who’s living at home. Now your father says: “listen to your mother.” Now, the rest of your siblings have all gone along with what their mother tells them, she’s always been in a position of authority over you in practice, but now that your father has made it an order, you disagree in principle. You dissent from the teaching that you should listen to your mother.
  2. In this example, you’re still a kid living at home. Now, your father has always told you that you should not have sex before marriage. But today he tells you that you should go out and get some sexual experience. The sooner the better.
    When you say “I think the original teaching was better, with all respect father, I believe you are wrong.” he responds with: “pre-marital sex or you are no longer my son.”

What would be the right thing to do in scenario 1? How about scenario 2?
If you think the two scenarios are comparable, I’m inclined to agree. If you think the answer to the two scenarios should be the same, I wholeheartedly disagree.

That is incorrect. Their confessions are both valid and licit. Pope Francis himself gave them faculties to hear confessions during the Year of Mercy and then extended them from that point on.


The SSPX did not have the ability offer a valid sacrament of reconciliation until Pope Francis granted them that ability during the year of mercy. He has since extended that ability. The SSPX went years without being able to hear a valid confession

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False dichotomy and not a relevant scenario for our discussion.

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