Several Traditionalists, including one who commented on my last post, have asked my opinion as to whether or not attendance at the Mass at a Chapel of the Society of St Pius X (SSPX) is permissible. I write this post with the proviso that this is only my opinion based on my reasoning concerning the facts at hand and Traditional Roman Catholic principles. I am not a theologian, nor have I ever claimed to be one. Neither I, nor anyone else, can answer questions such as this one with authority. This is an area where reasonable Traditionalists can disagree since there is currently no hierarchy with Ordinary jurisdiction, because of the defection of the hierarchy following Vatican II. I hope and pray that Christ will lead us all to the right conclusions in areas where there are no clear answers in an era of unprecedented apostasy and confusion. In the days before the death of Pope Pius XII, you could always ask the Supreme Pontiff for a definitive answer to any query concerning our Faith, but we are now in a time of sedevacante. With that said, I will outline my thoughts on the subject.
Always Evaluate the Particular Priest(s) Who Function At The Church/Chapel
Do NOT be concerned with the Traditionalist group (if any) to which they belong. Being a member of a Traditionalist group does not mean that the individual priests all subscribe to the "party line" of the leadership. All my readers know that I call the SSPX "pseudo-Traditionalist" because they want to be with "Pope" Francis, yet think they can decide what they will and will not accept from him, and that is simply not Catholic. I also recognize that many SSPX priests have not/do not adhere to this principle of the official leaders. Therefore, find out about the priest himself, and not the organization. There are basically three groups that run Traditionalist Churches and Chapels; The Society of St. Pius V (SSPV), The Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen (CMRI), and independent Bishops and Priests. The SSPV and CMRI are both sedevacantist--the CMRI is declared as such and the SSPV is "open" to sedevacantism. As I attend the SSPV, I know all the priests (with one possible exception), and both Bishops are sedevacantists.
It is only in embracing sedevacantism that we will avoid the pitfalls of being drawn into Modernism and someday bring back a real pope with an imperfect General Council. Therefore, what principles should be employed when evaluating a priest who runs a Traditionalist Church/Chapel?
- You should always attend the Mass and receive the sacraments from a sedevacantist priest or Bishop, if at all possible.
2. You must NEVER attend a Church or Chapel in actual union with Modernist Rome.
Avoid like the plague the Fraternal Society of St Peter (FSSP), and any other so-called "indult" or "Motu" organization which accepts Francis not merely in theory but in actual fact. Being in union with Francis means they must accept the legitimacy of Vatican II and its heretical teachings. To go there would be to accept the errors, like attending the services of the Greek Orthodox or Protestants.
3. Make sure the priest has valid orders.
In the case of the above mentioned Modernist-sanctioned chapels and churches, most have invalidly ordained priests over and above the problem of union with heresy. You must be sure to have a real priest to avoid worshiping mere bread in an invalid Mass. In the case of the SSPV and CMRI, all are validly ordained. In the case of independents, ask who ordained them. If they were ordained pre-1968, or by Abp. Lefebvre (and his lineage), Abp. Thuc (and his lineage), or Bishop Mendez (and his lineage), you are dealing with a properly trained and validly ordained priest. In the SSPX, you must ask if he was ordained by Abp. Lefebvre, or one of the four Bishops he consecrated, and that the Traditional Rite of ordination was used. The SSPX has been letting Vatican II sect "priests" join without getting a conditional re-ordination! They are invalid and all the sacraments they attempt to confect (except for baptism and matrimony) are invalid as well. Once, at the request of the candidate, Abp. Lefebvre used the new rite of ordination, which means he left the ceremony as just a deacon. Be sure of which Bishop ordained him and that the Traditional Rite was used. N.B. Those independents who are ordained by the "Old Catholic" sect "bishops" are dubiously ordained, as there are problems with their orders in America. You must not go to priests so ordained!!
4. The priest must accept Baptism of Desire (BOD) and Baptism of Blood (BOB).
Ask if he rejects the heresy of Fr. Leonard Feeney, who denied BOD and BOB. The priest must accept this doctrine as explained by the Holy Office under Pope Pius XII or you must not attend.
5. He must expressly reject Vatican II's heresies
Ask him if he rejects, as alien to the Divine and Catholic Faith, Vatican II's teachings on ecumenism, collegiality, etc. If he claims that Vatican II contains no heresy, but was merely "misinterpreted" or that Vatican II was only "pastoral" and such teachings are "not binding" you must press the issue and ask him if he rejects those "misinterpreted" or "non-binding" teachings. If he doesn't, he's in heresy.
6. Priests that use the Missal of 1954 are preferred over those that use the Missal of 1958. Those who use the Missal of 1958 are preferred over those who use the Missal of 1962.
The SSPV uses the 1954 Missal, with the calendar and rubrics of 1954, before the pre-Vatican II changes that were inspired by men who wished to further the Modernist agenda. Not heretical in and of themselves, the changes of Pope Pius XII in the calendar and rubrics were used by duplicitous individuals to get the faithful used to change. Thus 1954 is superior to the 1958 Missal used by the CMRI. The SSPX uses the rubrics and calendar of Roncalli (John XXIII), but some keep parts of his changes out and do not recite the name of St. Joseph in the Sacred Canon as added by John XXIII.
Summary and Conclusion
- Judge the priest(s) theological positions, not the organization.
- Always attend the Mass of a Traditionalist sedevacantist priest whenever feasible. (Some SSPX priests are "crypto-sedevacantists" who can't say what they believe or face expulsion).
- Ask the priest the name of his ordaining Bishop, and if the Traditional Rite of ordination was used to make sure he is a valid priest.
- NEVER attend the Mass of a "priest" who is in union with the Modernist Vatican (even if validly ordained).
- Ask if he rejects the errors of Vatican II (he must or he is a heretic)
- Ask if he accepts BOD and BOB (he must or he is a heretic)
- Ask what Missal he uses. 1954 is best, then 1958, then 1962.
- Any priest who refuses to answer such questions has something to hide and must be avoided at all costs.
Using these principles, if there is no option for you except an SSPX chapel, you may attend provided he rejects Vatican II's errors in principle and was validly ordained in the Traditional Rite. All SSPX priests are taught to reject the Feenyite heresy and they use the 1962 Missal with some pre-1962 rubrics. I know there are those who will disagree with my positions on the validity of Thuc Bishops and attending the so-called "una cum" Mass (using the name of Francis in the Canon). However, I am comfortable before God with the positions I have taken and conclusion I have drawn. I hope this helps Traditionalists in deciding where to attend Mass and receive the sacraments.
Remember too, that you should be strong in the Faith. Do not let the position of the SSPX on the "pope" make you soft. Rather, use it as an opportunity to forge friendships and influence others in that chapel (including the priest) to re-think their position on Francis with some well placed questions. In so doing you might get others to reject Antipope Francis and further expose his sect of darkness. Deo gratias.