Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A Note to Fr. Paul Nicholson on the Issue of the SSPX

I came across an article by the Reverend Father Paul Nicholson today which was commenting on the recent events in Oklahoma City concerning the devil worshipers [???] and the response to their insanity and blasphemy. Now I don’t claim to be infallible or a theologian by any means but there are a couple things that stuck out like a sore thumb in the article and need to be corrected.

First saying that a Mass offered by a Society Priest is a greater evil than the mockery of a black mass is an unfortunate, and over-the-top exaggeration.  Catholics, in good faith, can assist at their [SSPX] masses and not come under the condemnation of any code of law or binding issue put forth by the church.  People constantly write to Fr. Z on this matter, and (having done his due diligence on the matter) he again and again relates that there is no restriction (aside from intention against the Holy Father) on going to the SSPX for Mass. 
Now perhaps Fr. Nicholson holds the view that the SSPX are in Schism.  Assuming that he might be ignorant on the point, let us look at the relevant issue.  If they are indeed schismatics then their confessions and marriage are valid just as the Eastern Orthodox and Orientals retain their sacramental jurisdictions.  Often the same people that say the SSPX are schismatic are the ones that deny they have jurisdiction to offer confession and marriage to people assisting at their chaples.  You can't have it both ways… either they are schismatics or they are not.  And according to many in the Vatican that are familiar with the situation, and have personally been involved with the reconciliation process, the Society is not formally schismatic or materially so by any means. 

On the charge that they are “Catholic Protestants”, I cannot shake my head enough.  This is the same rhetoric that made me stop holding Vericast with any validity when Tim Haines and Wilson Oreuella made the exact same mistakes in the broadcasts again and again, and when corrected continued to propagate the calumny. First, Protestants are heretics, Father, can you name one position that the SSPX takes that that is heretical?  Just name one.  Second, there is no such thing as a Catholic Protestant, which is the same logic that give us the Pro Choice Catholic. 

The article by Father, which you can read in its entirety HERE (and increase his stats because it’s petty at this point) is probably put together in good faith with well-meaning intentions. I don’t claim to know his intention, but objectively these attacks are sins against charity, calumny and slanders that are below this good priest.  I do have a theory that when the SSPX decided against the personal prelature in 2012 many people saw it as a personal attack and used scapegoating to attack the SSPX without asking for the why?  What do you want the SSPX to hold to, to sign to in order that they be reconciled?  What do they hold to that is not Catholic?  Have you any clue as to why they lost their status to begin with (I gave a sneak peak just a few days ago in my Ten Days of Davies piece on Lefebvre)?

Please, I beg of you knock it off with the rhetoric and pray for the Pope and the Society that they may come to an agreement that will benefit the Church as a whole. 

A couple articles you might be interested in reading are as follows:

Rene Girard’s Mimetic Theory and the Scapegoat: HERE

Understanding the Vatican Statement: “SSPX already is in ‘Full Communion’, but in a State of ‘Imperfect Reconciliation’: HERE

Lefebvrianism: HERE


  1. Great post, but I think that you meant to say "You CAN'T have it both ways...".

    There is also the case of the Hawaii Six, adjudicated by Cardinal Ratzinger himself:

  2. Here is juicy quote that the excommunicate flounder of the society pronounced. Is it heretical? It sure is ... and the saintly society has never contradicted it. So does schism lead to heresy? I affirm it does ... but here we have heresy before the schism. A quote from the excommunicated Archbishop:“Rome has lost the Faith, my dear friends. Rome is in apostasy. These are not words in the air. It is the truth. Rome is in apostasy… They have left the Church… This is sure, sure, sure.” (Retreat Conference, September 4, 1987, Ecône)

    1. Very well people should take that into account. I do wonder if that is actually the position of the society however since the excommunicated (big assumption there) archbishop left it to his successors to continue the talks which makes no sense if he meant it was forsaken. There is a greater context to quotes like that. Plus look at the preamble offered by the society to the cdf a few years ago and let me know if there is something you object to.