Wednesday, April 23, 2014
SSPX SCHISMATIC OR NOT? VATICAN SPEAKING OUT OF BOTH SIDES OF THEIR MOUTH: GERMAN CARDINAL-HEAD OF THE CDF SAYS SSPX IS DE FACTO IN SCHISM!
Cardinal Gerhard Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, to Italian daily Corriere della Sera, published Sunday 22nd December, 2013, states SSPX is in Sacramental Schism, de facto:
With the failure of discussions, what is the position of the Lefebvrians?
“The canonical excommunication due to the illicit [episcopal] ordination was lifted from the bishops, but the sacramental one remains, de facto, for the schism; because they have removed themselves away from communion with the Church. That being said, we do not close the door, ever, and we invite them to reconcile. But they also must change their approach and accept the conditions of the Catholic Church and the Supreme Pontiff as the ultimate criterion of belonging.”
MY COMMENTS AND COMPLETELY SOUND AND ORTHODOX AND NON SCHISMATIC EDITORIAL OPINIONS:
I have already written previously that the SSPX is schismatic, if not completely in schism ,where the latter is legitimately debated.
But as Cardinal Muller states in his answer above, they are de facto in a sacramental schism because they have removed themselves from full communion with the Church. In the previous post on this, no one can deny the truth that while the Sacraments of Holy Baptism and of the Holy Eucharist (Mass)are valid but illicit due to the canonical suspension applied to the bishops and priests of the SSPX, these are nonetheless valid.
However, the Sacraments of Penance and Anointing of the Sick (except in a life or death emergency) are invalid as are the attempted celebrations of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. A priest must have faculties from the LOCAL bishop in union with the Pope in order for penance and Holy Matrimony to be validly celebrated by any priest. These faculties could be removed from a priest, although the bishop could allow him to celebrate Mass and Baptism. A bishop may also remove the faculties of a priest to preach a homily, although he could celebrate Mass.
An SSPX parish, such as the one in Roswell, Georgia, cannot have a bishop other than the Archbishop of Atlanta. Only the Archbishop of Atlanta can give the priests of the SSPX parish faculties to preach, hear confessions and witness the marriages. No other bishop, especially the SSPX bishops, have the authority to give faculties to a priest or bishop, only the Archbishop of Atlanta can do that. For any priest or bishop, including the SSPX, to celebrate sacraments he does not have faculties could render them invalid but the act of celebrating them without faculties is a schismatic act although the priest may not be in complete schism with the Church, such as joining any branch of the Eastern Orthodox Church which is in schism de facto, but with valid sacraments.
The Eastern Orthodox de facto schism has led the Vatican to recognize, though, their sacraments of Penance and Holy Matrimony (for the first marriage only) as valid and licit. Interesting, no? Thus in this regard, the actual Eastern Orthodox Church is in more "Communion" with Rome, than the SSPX currently are. Interesting, no?
Another interesting fact is that the marriages of Protestants (their first) are recognized because the Holy Roman Pontiff has stated that Protestants are not under Roman Catholic Canon Law with regards to who it is that witnesses their marriages, whether that be their own ordained minister, a justice of the peace or even common law. This does not apply to SSPX! Interesting, no?
For example, a visiting priest or even an outside bishop from another parish or diocese who wants to celebrate a marriage in my parish has to have my delegation as pastor of my parish. If I do not give delegation to him, that marriage, if he celebrates it nonetheless in my parish, is invalid!This does not apply to the Greek Orthodox parish or any Protestant Churches in the boundaries of my parish. Their marriages (if the first for both) are completely valid and sacramental. But not for the SSPX! Interesting, no?
To be schismatic does not necessarily mean being in schism, but certainly heading in that direction. An individual in the Catholic Church could be schismatic for simply rejecting a goodly amount of the dogmas and morals in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, but they are not de facto schismatic until some formal censure or excommunication is placed upon them.
For example, could we say that a Catholic who divorces their husband or wife (in a marriage presumed to be sacramental) and then remarries in an illicit and thus invalid marriage outside the Church is de facto schismatic in the technical definition of the term. A censure is automatically placed against them (not an excommunication though) that prevents them from licitly receiving Holy Communion or any other sacraments (except in a life or death situation).
Schism and heresy are not necessarily one in meaning. SSPX doesn't teach heresy except in promoting a Catholicism that doesn't have to obey the pope in certain disciplines.. But liberal or progressive Catholics have been teaching that a long time too. I know of no doctrines, except the obedience due to the Holy Roman Pontiff in faith, morals, canon law and the decrees of an Ecumenical Council legitimately approved by the Holy Roman Pontiff (even non-infallible decrees), that the SSPX reject. Their schismatic acts are based on ecclesiology and rejection of non-infallible statements of the Second Vatican Council regarding religious liberty and ecumenical and interfaith dialogue. In these, one may legitimately have differing views when privately held. But when these private views go viral and communities form around the rejection of this teachings and it leads them to form schismatic groups opposing the Supreme Pontiff on these matters.
Secular definition of schism:
A separation or division into factions.
A formal breach of union within a Christian church.
The offense of attempting to produce such a breach.
AND A QUESTION AND ANSWER FROM FR. Z'S BLOG A FEW YEARS BACK:
QUESTION: Greetings! I am writing in order to ask you about the SSPX’s canonical status. I’ve heard that they certainly are in schism, as Bishop ___ (my bishop) said, yet I’ve also heard from you that the Prefect of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei has said that they’re not. My question is as follows: would there need to be any talks going on between them and Rome if they are not in schism? Isn’t the point, as Pope Benedict XVI said, something about…”as they discover the path to full communion“? First, that seems to imply that they are not in full communion with the Church. And, as noted earlier, it seems like the whole purpose of the Vatican-SSPX discussions is to bring them into communion. Do you see the seeming conflicts? Nevertheless, I’d refuse to associate or attend their Masses until they learn to trust the Magisterium and learn the humility to keep their minds and hearts publicly and officially in syncronization which that of the One Church.
FATHER Z'S ANSWER: Since the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei” has competence in this area, I will opt for the position of the PCED rather than the opinion Bishop of X diocese.
The situation is confusing. In the 1988 Motu Proprio Ecclesia Dei adflicta Pope John Paul used the word “schism“. It looks like a schism, to be sure. But officials of the PCED have affirmed over the last few years that while Archbishop Lefebvre’s actions in 1988 were schismatic acts, the SSPX did not in fact go into schism. I don’t really understand that, but I will take the PCED’s word on this.
What we need to do is pray pray pray that the SSPX will accept the CDF’s “Doctrinal Preamble” and some eventual canonical structure which could be offered to them.