A lot of poison and bile is being passed around the blogosphere as of late, using good and holy bishops' words and statements to advance Radical Catholic Reactionaries' (a.k.a trads behaving badly/mad trads: rad trads ...) causes. While I've remained hesitant to pounce on these issues, One with regards to the Latin Mass and those non-canonical rebels, the SSPX, has come up. This I feel, is a necessary issue to comment on, in order to demonstrate the viewpoint of a young adult layman involved in the Latin mass, who disapproves of Radical Traditionalism that stains the movement and the Holy Tridentine Mass with the foul stench of moneylenders and Pharisees. In addition, this does concern my archdiocese as there is a known SSPX chapel in Toronto quite close to where I live in the west end of the city, so they ARE a concern in my archdiocese.
SSPX: who are they?
For those who are new, please refer to this Wikipedia article for basic historical information. As to their status in the church, one could consider them "personae non gratae", as they are Catholics in literal, liturgical practice with their usage solely of the Tridentine/1962 liturgy (EF). However, they are not canonically approved in the Church, and have no ministry in the Church as per Benedict XVI 2009:
"....The fact that the Society of Saint Pius X does not possess a canonical status in the Church is not, in the end, based on disciplinary but on doctrinal reasons. As long as the Society does not have a canonical status in the Church, its ministers do not exercise legitimate ministries in the Church ...."
Depending which (biased) critic or theologian you read, their Masses are valid, but illicit/illegal and they might have the ability to consecrate the Eucharist. Personally, I go with Benedict XVI and say that NO, they don't have sacramental ministry on this matter. And if I am wrong, every consecration of the Eucharist is in disobedience to Holy Mother Church and again her laws, hence the term, illicit, which also means illegal. As lay people, it would be highly imprudent to consume this Eucharist, giving support to their separation from Christ and his Church. You cannot have the Church without Rome.
Further, they smacked away the hand of Benedict XVI when he offered them canonical reconciliation in a doctrinal preamble, although it's contents are not open to the public. Regardless, they still hold that the Novus Ordo Mass is intrinsically evil (said during part of their leader, "bishop" Fellay's notorious New Hamburg speech here on YouTube(tm) (while the words individual adherents use might vary, the sentiment is still there in some way or form,) and have called Pope Francis a modernist. On the Popes since Vatican II, while they might not be so vocal publicly, there is a possible indication that they express sede-vacantism in these remarks.
They also are against the council of Vatican II and do not acknowledge it's validity. Some say that they or their founder, Archbishop Marcel Lefevbre, acknowledge(d) 95% of Vatican II, but still, rejection of ecumenical councils are an all/nothing issue. Further, rejection of one council, calls into question ALL councils, and is part of a slippery slope to rejection of Holy Mother Church. Until the Magisterium specifically defines what is not doctrinal and is from the Vatican II Council (perhaps in a syllabus of errors II,) it is schismatic in action to reject an ecumenical council outright (which differs from disapproving the pastoral parts), even if it's that 5%.
The Recent Kerfuffle
In Italy, Bishop Marcello Semeraro of Albano, and in Argentina on a peripheral diocese, Bishop Óscar Sarlinga of Zárate-Campana have essentially banned the faithful from going to SSPX worship centers under de facto penalty of excommunication from the Church. See here for the Italian with a hat tip to Fr. Z, and here for the Argentinian Bishop's communication (despite that I detest linking to Rorate Caeli, they have the full communication in Spanish from the letterhead.
Whereas in past these canonical penalties only extended to the organization/"priests", now according to those bishops within their diocese, in essence, all those who partake in services with the SSPX including laity are bound under this pain.
Two major laity-organizations have spoken out against these actions, the Latin Mass Society of UK and Wales, and the Worldwide Una Voce Federation. The LMS has spoken out here and given their canonical analysis, and in similar argument in a posting on November 5, 2014, so has the FIUV/Una Voce International. Read both links for their argumentation, but my take home points are that it is essentially a case by case basis for each member of the laity, and that you cannot uphold someone until they are 16 years old to such grievous penalty of excommunication.
Something Smells Fishy??? ... On both sides???It is possible that the bias of both sides of this argument makes this situation not that plausible in some senses. On the Pro-Latin mass sides, numerous blogs including those of the Pharisaical, Radical Catholic Reactionaries, are posting about this. Very few if any orthodox/conservative catholic blogs see this as a concern to blog about. Therefore the coverage is biased. In addition, the head of the LMS is Dr. Joseph Shaw, who is a regular poster on Rorate Caeli, a venomous and disparaging blog that fellow SCCB blogger Spike is best has correctly outed in past as:
"... the schismatic-but-without-the-guts-of-declaring-it blog that on the very heels - within minutes in fact - of the public declaration of the election of Pope Francis posted "The Horror" as their reaction, and did not offer any sort of apology stating their filial obedience to the Holy Pontiff. Thus, everything they post, write, disseminate, can be dismissed out of hand without second thought whatsoever, in the full comfortable knowledge that the neo-orthodoxy which they present is entirely floated."
So needless to say, the reliability of the pro-Latin Mass side is not as good as can be. There are obvious biases here. However the two bishops, according to that poison known as Rorate Caeli, are connected highly to Pope Francis in some way according to Dr. Shaw:
Bishop Marcello Semeraro of Albano, Italy, ...
Bishop Semeraro is coincidentally the Secretary to the Council of Cardinals set up to advise the Pope. Albano is the location of the Italian headquarters of the SSPX ....
Check the links out yourself. Again I am not giving Rorate Caeli blog hits if I can avoid it.
So while I don't like to acknowledge RCR crazy conspiracy theories, it gives the appearance that the "word on the street" is "Francis hates traditionalism," or his competence in governing bishops like these isn't as strong, or is he OK-ing this kind of banning, possibly without consultation from canonists, PCED, or the CDF. Then again, there will always be bishops who abuse their power, no different than any other king in history or ruler of nations.
Please check the next post for my commentary on these bans ... Part II. Comments are off and this post is "red flag" if you try to harass me via my e-mail.