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Stop Talking About the SSPX’s Supposed ‘Schism’ and Focus on the Synod’s Proposed Schism

September 17, 2015 | 18 Comments

While I do not attend chapels of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), nor have I ever recommended anyone to visit one of their chapels, I admit that I have respect for this order of priests. They are unarguably some of the most Catholic priests out there. The SSPX is undoubtedly Catholic, but just in a state that is discussed by the Vatican as “canonically irregular”.

sspx symbol

To make matters even more confusing, Pope Francis has given the priests of the SSPX the authority to absolve the sins of any penitent who comes to them for confession during the Year of Mercy. Since words have meaning, I feel it is important that we properly define words. Schism, as defined in the Concise Catholic Dictionary of 1943 is:

“Formal separation from the unity of the Church, a separation from communion with the Church; separation from the head of the Church or from the jurisdiction of the Supreme Pontiff. The movement of any person or group of persons of the Church who refuse to recognize the central authority of the Church; a denial of the authority of the Pope of Rome.”

Using the above definition of Schism, the one in which the Church uses to determine if a group is actually in schism, I will analyze the SSPX sentence by sentence to show how they are actually not in schism.

Formal separation from the unity of the Church, a separation from communion with the Church; separation from the head of the Church or from the jurisdiction of the Supreme Pontiff.”

The SSPX has never had a formal separation from the Church. They have articulated their disagreement with the Second Vatican Council, specifically the articles of faith that have changed or diverted course from Catholic doctrine. While Archbishop Lefebvre was excommunicated along with the four bishops he consecrated without approval from the Vatican, these excommunications on the four bishops were removed under Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in 2009. This does not justify any formal separation from the unity of the Church or separation from communion with the Church. They are also not separated from the head of the Church (the Pope), and report to the Pope when he calls them, much like they had done under the papacies of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Pope St. John Paul II, and Pope Paul VI.

The movement of any person or group of persons of the Church who refuse to recognize the central authority of the Church; a denial of the authority of the Pope of Rome.

As stated above, the SSPX does recognize the authority of the Pope. Pope Francis is recognized by the Society as a validly elected Pope. If Pope Francis was to ask the SSPX to meet him for an audience, they would submit to his request and meet with him. They also recognize the authority of the Church, and are faithful to the Magisterium. They have qualms with parts of the Second Vatican Council, but seeing as there are contradictory statements rooted in Modernist rhetoric, than it is perfectly acceptable to disagree. Bishop Athanasius Schneider has called for a Syllabus of Errors for the Second Vatican Council. He has also spent time with the Society and released a statement saying that “there are no weighty reasons in order to deny the clergy and faithful of the SSPX the official canonical recognition”. Thus, it is clear that the SSPX is not in formal or “objective” schism.

earthquake schism

A particular Catholic media outlet is spending this entire week to discuss the supposed “schism” that the SSPX is in. Seeing as we just outlined what a schism actually is and demonstrate that the SSPX is not in schism, it seems like this is a complete waste of time, both for this Catholic media outlet, as well as their subscribers. With the Synod of the Family only two and a half weeks away, one is left wondering why the spotlight isn’t being pointed at the heretical Cardinals and bishops who are being invited personally by Pope Francis. Perhaps because this particular media outlet has taken the approach that they will not critique the Pope, or any of his actions. Since the Synod of the Family is Pope Francis’ baby, any heretics at the Synod will be ignored.

Seeing as this media outlet won’t point out who will be in attendance, I suggest you read Voice of the Family’s write up. Included are:

  • Lorenzo Cardinal Baldisseri, the General Secretary of the Synod, who ordered the interception of copies of “Remaining in the Truth of Christ” sent to all Synod attendees.
  • Reinhard Cardinal Marx, Archbishop of Munich and Freising (Germany), who declared the German Catholic Church will separate from the Catholic Church (schism) if the Synod does not allow the divorced, remarried, and active homosexuals admittance to Holy Communion.
  • Vincent Cardinal Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster (England), who celebrated the “Soho Mass”, a Mass that “celebrated” homosexuality.
  • Walter Cardinal Kasper, President Emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, who has been handpicked personally be Pope Francis as having serene theology when Cardinal Kasper declared that the Church should change her teachings.

These are the prominent players at the Synod of the Family. These are the men who are proposing actual schism from the Catholic Church in two and a half weeks. These men and the Synod of the Family needs to kept under a close watch for the next month. Every move these prelates make should be held to the highest scrutiny during this unprecedented time in the history of the Church. The SSPX is not the enemy of the Church that we should be spending our energy on during this critical time, but the above men, the men mentioned in the linked Voice of the Family article, and Pope Francis, who invited most of these men personally.

Don’t waste your time with this SSPX nonsense. Focus on the Synod of the Family. All efforts to discredit the SSPX during this time are coming directly from Satan. The SSPX is not our enemy in this time of crisis, but rather, our ally.

18 people are talking about “Stop Talking About the SSPX’s Supposed ‘Schism’ and Focus on the Synod’s Proposed Schism

  1. “The SSPX is not the enemy of the Church that we should be spending our energy on during this critical time, but the above men, the men mentioned in the linked Voice of the Family article, and Pope Francis, who invited most of these men personally.” The SSPX is not the enemy, but neither is Pope Francis our enemy, as this statement seems to insinuate. The Holy Father is not the enemy.

    • If Pope Francis isn’t the enemy, then why is he mostly inviting Pro-Divorce, Pro-Remarried, and Pro-Homosexual bishops and Cardinals to the Synod? Why is Cardinal Kasper, an open heretic, the Holy Father’s right hand man? Pope Francis said that Cardinal Kasper’s theology was “serene” and an example of “doing theology on one’s knees”. How do you rectify his positions as NOT being that of the enemy’s?

  2. Michael Voris needs to focus his energies on the Synod from hell instead of viciously attacking good Catholic priests. His videos this week strike me as satanic in nature. The one from yesterday chilled me to the bone.

  3. Amen, Jeff. Couldn’t agree more. Voris’ witch hunt is bizarre and pointless. Sadly, it’s causing me to lose (more) respect for him. The SSPX is not an issue, whereas there are hundreds, if not thousands, of things that ARE issues.

  4. As an interesting aside, CMTV keeps censoring and removing my comments. So immature. If I were using foul language or ranting like a deranged person, that would be understandable, but I’m simply making a few points for discussion. All opposition must be silenced!!

  5. Jeff, I have to disagree with this. Pope Benedict has stated that “until the doctrinal questions are clarified, the Society has no canonical status in the Church, and its ministers – even though they have been freed of the ecclesiastical penalty – do not legitimately exercise any ministry in the Church.”

    “Because the Society itself (in the second sentence quoted at the top of this answer) has set itself to be the authority to determine if “time-honoured teachings are obscured or seemingly contradicted,” it remains schismatic.”

    This is what schism is. Its not adhereing fully to…which is exactly what they are doing in stating that they are “above the pope in certain matters.”

    Not a fan of any of the men mentioned in this article. But I would state that its still not good to defend people who are celebrating the sacraments illicitly and that better time would be focused on not praising any society that does so. Upholding tradition yes, but coming to the defense of Pius X…Pray yes…praise no.

    • Just because they “do not legitimately exercise any ministry in the Church” as Pope Benedict stated, this does not imply that they are in schism. They are canonically irregular as I stated earlier in the article. Your second paragraph is the opinion of a commenter on a Christianity.Stackexchange forum, hardly a reliable source.

      I outlined what a schism is earlier in the article, as well as how the SSPX does not fit this definition. Additionally, Bishop Athanasius Schneider has stated after doing a full fledged investigation into the SSPX that they should be accepted as they are. They haven’t changed their minds on anything. If they should be accepted as they are today, than they should have been accepted as they were the last 30 or so years.

      Pope Francis is even giving the SSPX authority to hear confessions and validly absolve sins. If they were truly in schism, then why would he allow this? He isn’t giving any other schismatic sects authority to do this, so why the SSPX?

      Finally, I wrote this article as a response to a particular Catholic news agency who spent an entire week lambasting the SSPX when they should instead be focusing on the schismatic acts of the bishops and Cardinals I mentioned earlier in the article. That was the point of the article. Stop talking about the SSPX and focus on the fact that bishops, Cardinals, and even Pope Francis are OPEN TO THE POSSIBILITY OF CHANGING CHURCH DOCTRINE on the matters of divorce, remarriage, and homosexuality. So let’s focus on the heresy and schism that the Synod of the Family is about to unleash, no?

      • But I do still have one quick question though…Do you think that it would be safer as a Roman Catholic in the church to join this society? If they are now heading toward unity, should one consider joining the this society?

      • I know the article isnt about the society. But Im asking because the article got me thinking about it, and doing more research on the society the last few days here since posting, Im beginning to realize that this group actually does have things more right than I thought. I guess what Im wondering is if they are not in schism, would it be okay for a Roman Catholic to join the society? It’s the whole notion between the sacraments being celebrated illicitly vs our prelates themselves and their schismatic teachings. What do you think?

      • Do you see what Im saying? You might state that this its about these four cardinals. But the reader goes away from this thinking: well hey: If we have all these problems in the church, and this group is moving toward unity then maybe id be better off with the Pius X society.

        Tradionalism in the Church is something important. Its good to have. But not to an extreme. Jesus didnt speak Latin at the last supper he spoke Hebrew. The disciples were reclining at table not on church kneelers….Maybe im just over charasmatic. In fact I know I am. Im one to pick up books on near death visions and hear testimoneys of people who say that there are animals and believe it….Or firmly believe that there is salvation by Gods mercy for everyone…That while salvation is in the church and with those who have faith in christ, non christians as well who are seeking the truth and are leading good lives in the state of grace can be saved…Confession wasnt even around until…well hundreds of years after the ressurrection. Christ stated that his greatest mercy occurs in that sacrament, but he is not limited by the sacraments.

        The point is that we cannot be so rigorous in teaching that we forget the human element of the church. Traditionalism, is a good thing. The Pius X scoeity’s love for traditionalism is a good thing. But there is a balance. Your articles would be a lot more effective if they were more focused on Catholic tradition itself and less on defending the church from the evils of Pope Francis and the designs of his sinister cardinals who shoot turtle doves in the deep yards of the vatican.

        • Let me reply in parts.

          1. Lay members can’t “join” the SSPX. Similar to the FSSP, it is an order of priests and sisters. The Mass that the SSPX is currently, from my understanding “illicit”. The Mass is valid, but illicit. Sadly, it is on the same page as those Novus Ordo Masses that are valid but take so many “liberties” with their abuses which make them illicit. I would only go to the SSPX if there were no other Mass options available (i.e. all the Novus Ordo Masses in the area are very liberal and liturgical abuse abounds, and there is not other TLM to attend, or even Eastern Rite to attend as well). It’s a very fine line, though, with Pope Francis’ announcement that they will have the ability to validly absolve sins, it makes me wonder what has changed? Each week I seem to be more open to the SSPX. I hope this helps?

          2. Jesus spoke Hebrew at the Last Supper, but St. Peter said the Mass in Latin when he went to Rome, where he was crucified upside down. The disciples were ordained, and at this point bishops of the Church, thus we can not compare their actions with the actions of the laity. Jesus gave His Church the authority to bind and rebuke. The Church, through her dogmatic councils, had solidified what the Mass is and isn’t. Thus, yes, traditionalism is more important than the “human element”. I don’t limit God to the sacraments, but God has given us the sacraments so that we can be united to Him. Certainly, God, in His ominpotence, can do whatever He very well pleases, yet it makes little sense to believe that He is just going to outpour His Mercy upon everyone, even if they choose to reject it. This goes against justice. Imagine a society in which no criminal is ever punished? When they have their court date, the judge always throws out their case in a plea to being merciful? This entails no consequences to actions. And confession always was around. It was instituted in the upper room when Jesus breathed upon the disciples! It just wasn’t done in the way it is today, because the Church (through the authority given to her by Christ) proclaimed that how we see it today is the way it is supposed to be.
          Finally, this is my blog and I’ll write however I choose. The fact is Pope Francis has set up a Synod in which he is only inviting enemies of the Church. Should we just shut up and ignore it? Or does Truth and Justice demand that a light be shed upon the darkness?

  6. I am not a member of SSPX, but after the dustoff I cancelled my small monthly donation to Voris. None of his vitriol this week makes sense. His claim that every priest and bishop saying a mass commits mortal sin every time is completely nuts and totally baseless. If so, their bishops wouldn’t be bishops, as recognized by Benedict, and their priests couldn’t hear confessions in the Year of Mercy – a nod to SSPX that just occurred two weeks ago.

    Voris is barking up the wrong tree. Worse, he has ignited a firestorm of twisted and misguided thoughts against very faithful people.

    This article is right on, thank you.

  7. Thank you Jeff! Great article. We have the world crumbling under our feet, people we should be able to rely on, betraying our trust at every turn and these are are the people being verbally battered? It seems more like a personal agenda with that once awesome Catholic news source. I miss the old Michael Voris!

    • The FSSP split away from the SSPX when Archbishop Lefebevre ordained four bishops without the approval of Rome, incurring an automatic excommunication for the five of them. The SSPX is in a state of irregularity, though their Masses are valid, but if I understand correctly, illicit, because of their irregularity.

      Pope Francis has said that during the Year of Mercy their confessions are valid.

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