Pope Francis through the office of the Holy Inquisition (renamed by progressives as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (Latin: Congregatio pro-Doctrina Fidei, or CDF) has conditionally approved marriages performed by a priest of the Society of Saint Pius the X (SSPX). I have seen erroneous reporting from popular neo-conservative media outlets, and thus I needed to clear up what Pope Francis has done.
First, let us take a step back. Most modernist and neo-conservative media outlets are funded and populated by people who suffer from SSPX derangement syndrome. They simply hate the Society so much that it confuses their thinking. Even some people comment on this blog have repeated erroneous beliefs about the Society the primary one being the SSPX is in schism. I said then, and I say now, lay people nor any individual priests have the authority to make that claim. Only the Holy Father of the Catholic Church, and or the Christian congregation can say who is in schism.
Church Militant TV and others have been wrong. Most Catholic media sites were wrong. That is important to remember when new information comes up. They have been wrong about the Society in the past. I think it is because many have “SSPX derangement” syndrome.
Now proving my assertion that the SSPX is not in schism the Pope has given authority, the authority the SSPX Priest say they do not need to give confessions. Now the Pope has given authority, an authority the SSPX says it does not need to witness marriages. That is the major thing. The details are important, but you also have to take a step back and look at the strategic view, the movement is the regularization of the SSPX in all their worship. For example the SSPX was told last summer that the Superior General “may licitly ordain priests of the Society without first receiving any explicit approval from the local bishop.”
Also what you do not see in the Catholic press is honest reporting. They do not represent the Society’s perspective honestly. The SSPX has always said it has permission to give absolution and witnesses marriages, because the Pope, the Bishop nor anyone can force us not to be Catholic, or not be Christian. Moreover, neither the Pope nor the Bishops can “redefine” what it means to be Christian or Catholic. Thus since the Church has moved away from its orthodox roots, the Society feels it must exist to offer the Sacraments, all of the Sacraments in the traditional, unchanging, unchangeable manner. I.e. supplied jurisdiction. They do this with a heavy heart, but they do it.
I am once again being proven correct now that the Pope and the Grand Inquisitor have given permission for the SSPX to witness marriages. The Pope and Holy Inquisition would not give this permission to any group of protestant Christians who are in schism. The average Christian Protestant church does not have the ability to witness marriages, hear confessions or create new Catholic priest. I do not believe even the Orthodox Christians who are closest to Catholics have the permission to give absolution through the Sacrament of Penance. The SSPX does. Now the details.
It is untrue when Church Militant said the SSPX can perform marriages “…only after other means have been exhausted…” and “…only be recognized if a diocesan priest is not unavailable.” That is 100% untrue. Remember they have been wrong about the SSPX before, and I have been proven right in every assertion about the SSPX. What the Pope and the Grand Inquisitor actually said was:
“…the Holy Father, following a proposal by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, has decided to authorize Local Ordinaries the possibility to grant faculties for the celebration of marriages of faithful who follow the pastoral activity of the Society, according to the following provisions.”
Thus first, the Holy Father and the Holy Inquisition has said local Bishops (Local Ordinaries) could grant faculties or permission to the SSPX priest to witness marriages. To the best of my knowledge, Bishops could not do this, even if they wanted to previously.
“Insofar as possible, the Local Ordinary is to grant the delegation to assist at the marriage to a priest of the Diocese (or in any event, to a fully regular priest), such that the priest may receive the consent of the parties during the marriage rite, followed, in keeping with the liturgy of the Vetus Ordo, by the celebration of Mass, which may be celebrated by a priest of the Society.”
What this says is that the local Bishop can send a delegation or “diocese priest” or any other “regular” priest to assist a Nuptial Mass or marriage, which would be run by an SSPX priest at an SSPX parish for the specific purpose of “…receive the consent of the parties…” To my understanding, the Pope and Holy Inquisition is authorizing Bishops to allow diocesan priests to attend and assist in Nuptial Masses (marriages) officiated by priest of the SSPX for the express purpose of receiving the consent of the parties. They have always been “valid” (proper form). Now these marriages can be licit (they have permission). What form this may take is an interesting point. Will the diocesan priests simply sit in the front row and witness the Mass? Will the diocese priest participate in the Nuptial Mass? I assume the Holy Inquisition is leaving the actual details to the local Bishops. This strongly suggests that these Nuptial Masses are licit (with permission).
“Where the above is not possible, or if there are no priests in the Diocese able to receive the consent of the parties, the Ordinary may grant the necessary faculties to the priest of the Society who is also to celebrate the Holy Mass, reminding him of the duty to forward the relevant documents to the Diocesan Curia as soon as possible.” [bold mine]
“Where the above is not possible…” is where Church Militant and other neo-conservative media sites fail. Some have only quoted the second part “if there are no priests in the Diocese.” That is not accurate. The full statement by the Holy Inquisition is “Where the above is not possible, or if there are no priests in the Diocese…” The above is ending a delegation to receive consent by a “regular” priest on behalf of the Catholic Church to a SSPX mass, in an SSPX chapel, officiated by an SSPX priest.
That may not be possible for many reasons. The SSPX pastor may not accept some modernist Novus Ordo priest dancing around in his sanctuary, the faithful getting married may not want “uncomfortable interactions” on their special day at their Nuptial Mass. Other neo-conservative priests including priests of the FSSP or ICKSP who have SSPX derangement syndrome may not consent to participate in SSPX masses in SSPX parishes. In truth, how many diocese priests even know how to participate in a traditional Nuptial Mass? Most don’t know how to conduct a traditional Latin Mass, thus I assume most do not have the knowledge to assist in a traditional Nuptial Mass.
I can easily see a case where an traditional FSSP or ICKSP priest (who do understand how to officiate a traditional mass) would say “I will do this, but you have to do it in my parish.” As a matter of fact that is exactly what I expect from my local community which includes both SSPX and FSSP parishes. It is my belief neither the Society priest nor most of the faithful who attend Society parishes will consent to this. It is not “when all else fails.” It is when “…the above is not possible…” for many reasons, which I think will happen in the vast majority of cases. In that case, the Bishop can just give the Society priests permission to witness the mass himself, without a delegation of diocesan approved priests. I doubt they will, but they can. The Society will need to start sending the appropriate documents to the local Bishops.
This is a major step. If you have a friendly or at least a bishop who does not hate the traditional Catholicism, then he has the right to give permission to the Society to perform marriages. Some will, many will not. He also has the right to send a “delegation” to these Nuptial Marriages for the express purpose of receiving the consent of the parties. Not to try and take over or officiate the ceremony. Again, it is my opinion that some Bishops will do this, and most will not. In their official response the Society demonstrates they understands this.
“The Society of Saint Pius X conveys its deep gratitude to the Holy Father for his pastoral solicitude as expressed in the letter from the Ecclesia Dei Commission, for the purpose of alleviating “any uncertainty regarding the validity of the sacrament of marriage”. Pope Francis clearly wishes that, as in the matter of confessions, all the faithful who want to marry in the presence of a priest of the Society of Saint Pius X can do so without any worries about the validity of the sacrament. It is to be hoped that all the bishops share this same pastoral solicitude.” The SSPX knows most modernist, homosexual Bishops do not share this attitude.
Personally I do not think this will come up very often. From my experience when two people who grew up in the Society marry each other, the majority are not going to ask that a Novus Ordo priest be involved. I am attending a SSPX wedding this summer, and both people have attended an SSPX parish either for their entire lives or for a very long time. I am fairly sure neither party could care less of the Novus Ordo priest “witnessed” anything about their ceremony.
From my personal experience, this mostly comes up when one marriage party attends a SSPX parish and the other person attends a non-SSPX parish, often a FSSP or ICKSP parish. Then half the family is concern about validity. This is when I anticipate this coming up. I say that from experience. The FSSP responsive has been “you must be married by us.” The SSPX family often rejects this and this causes the first major issue in their young marriage. This gives a licit way to address this situation. You can be married by an SSPX priest, in an SSPX parish, and the local Bishop can send a “regular” priest to witness the consent.
Now, why is this being done? You come here for my unique perspective and I have a unique idea. It is my opinion that this is being done to start the process of bringing the Society back into the life of the Diocese. Right now in most cases, there is no interaction what so ever between the traditional Society and local Bishops. None. Most Bishops have no idea what is going on in a Society parishes. Faithful that attend SSPX chapels has no idea what is going on in their own Diocese and it does not impact them at all.
By providing this guidance, for those Bishops who to take this opportunity, they now have permission and a reason to interact with the Society. It is a stroke of genius. It gives the Society something they have wanted, clarity on marriages by encouraging something Pope Francis seems to love communications and interaction between conflicting parties. Please continue to pray for Bishop Fellay as his decision will have a major impact on all of our lives. We will pray our family rosary for him today.
Here is the complete English translation of the Vatican letter Lettera della Pontificia Commissione «Ecclesia Dei» ai Presuli delle Conferenze Episcopali interessate circa la licenza per la Celebrazione di Matrimoni dei Fedeli della Fraternità San Pio X, 04.04.2017 sent by the Grand Inquisitor (now called “President” by modernists).
Here is the complete response by the SSPX to the Holy Inquisition’s letter concerning marriages of the faithful of the Society of Saint Pius X.