Irish SSPX District says faithful should not attend ‘Motu Proprio Masses’

This is from this month’s newsletter (p. 6) of the SSPX in Ireland:

Motu Proprio Masses: One thing is to encourage priests to celebrate the true Mass, but it is another thing to encourage our faithful to attend such Masses. The reason being that in addition to the Traditional Liturgy, sound doctrine is also required, and this latter is called into question when a priest, albeit in good faith, accepts the doctrinal rectitude of the NOM in theory or in practice.

This development certainly does not augur well for the reconciliation process between the Vatican and the SSPX. While I love traditional liturgy, identifying the ‘true Mass’ so narrowly with the 1962 Roman Missal does seem suspicious, to say the least. (What would eastern Catholics make of that?) As for priests “accepting the doctrinal rectitude of the NOM”, I am no theologian but I do not see how it is possible for a Catholic to take any other view without repudiating (at least implicitly) the indefectibility of the Church. Is it even possible for the Church to promulgate heretical liturgical rites? And advising the faithful on which Masses they should and should not attend does seem needlessly paternalistic, and indeed offensive. Does Fr Paul Morgan genuinely fear ordinary Catholics will be corrupted by those dangerous modernist heretics like…errr…Fr Gerard Deighan or Fr Gabriel Burke?

Posted on April 2, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 30 Comments.

  1. Good afternoon,

    This comes as no surprise to me. I am a South African, a traditional Catholic who attends SSPX Masses – it was through the SSPX that I “discovered” the Tridentine Mass in the late 1990’s, and I remained a fervent supporter of the SSPX until a few years ago, when my misgivings increased to the point that my support for the SSPX has changed to a very qualified sympathy.

    However, until recently ONLY the SSPX (and two affiliated priests) offered the Traditional Mass in this country. There was an “Indult” Mass in Cape Town 1985-1991 and at one stage an elderly Redemptorist offering the TLM privately also in Cape Town, since deceased. Since 2009, in my home city, two local priests have begun offering the TLM when they can – one of them on Sundays, but on a very low-key basis.

    My city is visited by the SSPX twice per month – so we have no Mass two or three Sundays per month. Of course, the SSPX tells its people to boycott the Novus Ordo completely – but more than that, it now tells us to boycott non-SSPX motu proprio TLM’s too, even if it means doing without Sunday Mass.

    My family – and several others – pay no attention. Sadly, a good number of the SSPX chapel congregation follow the SSPX “rule” and repair to the chapel for rosary rather than darken the door of the “motu proprio” TLM.

    I can give other examples of the schismatic mentality, but for the present, this suffices.

    They are in real need of prayers….

    God bless

    • A very interesting comment, James. I did not know they have a rule about their faithful attending non-SSPX TLMs. (I am glad to know that many people ignore it!) I had been under the impression that it depended on the views of the individual priest, which is why I was surprised to see Fr Morgan’s comments. So I take it this is an official policy of the SSPX?

    • The Indult Mass is celebrated by a Novus Ordo priest who’s intention of offering the Mass is doubtful, therefore the validity of the Mass is doubtful. The right intention of the priest is required of the priest by the Church for valid sacraments.

      Besides, the sermon, though not a part of the Mass, is important. We don’t want our children to get unwittingly seduced or influenced by a liberal sermon.

      The Indult mass is offered by priests who accept the Novus Ordo Mass as the Ordinary form, which is a compromise and untrue. The Novus ordo Mass is valid, but the ritual expresses a Protestant Faith in the Mass and therefore ill-legitimate. It does not help the cause of the Social Kingship of Christ. One must not only be worried of personal spiritual welfare, but also on the welfare of the society as a whole.

  2. Shane,

    I would hesitate to call it an “official” policy of the SSPX. It is hard to pin-point what the SSPX policy would be – as it could easily be argued that their policies on this kind of question as set out in their literature, are simply the views of the priests who authored, or who authorised, the literature in question. There certainly is a spectrum of opinion on these and other questions – one of our local SSPX priests took a rather more friendly and tolerant view of non-SSPC TLM’s, but expressed his views very cautiously.

    However, I can say this:

    1. Other events here led to a “conference” at which the SSPX District Superior spoke, and at which this “policy” was made to seem as the official standpoint of the SSPX, at least in this part of the world. The same views have been expressed by individual SSPX priests to whom I have spoken.

    2. I wrote to Bishop Fellay on the question; his reply was evasive, and urged me to be aware of the doctrinal complexities of the modern crisis in the Church, and to be guided by the advice of the local SSPX priests.

    3. The “policy” seems to be in accordance with what was emphatically stated as the SSPX position by former SSPX superior in the US, Fr Peter Scott, both in his time as US superior in regard to then-Indult Masses, and since, in his Question & Answer column in The Angelus – the flagship English language SSPX periodical.

  3. I was a Novus Ordo orphan until I went to Saint Kevin’s, Harrington Street back in November 2007, for what I thought would be one Sunday only. That’s not what happened. I tell anybody who will listen that discovering the Latin Mass is the biggest blessing a Catholic can receive in these times.

    Those of us who have discovered the Mass of All Time owe a great deal to all the clergy and laity, whether in the Society of Saint Pius X or not, who guarded the pearl of great price in the catacombs for the rest of us.

    I’ve heard a lot of sermons in St Kevin’s since that Sunday and will bet the farm that there is never anything but very sound doctrine preached from the pulpit there. Anyone who attends Mass at St. Kevin’s will tell you the exact same. If only Catholics in every town in Ireland could hear such preaching.

    Really, every battalion in the fight forTradition needs to training their fire on the enemy.

  4. Shane, don’t forget that Fr. Deighan is very ably assisted by Father Nevin and Father Richardson.

  5. Il have to get into St Kevin and check it out, 46a and the Holy Spirit with me.

    OCEAN OF MERCY!!. Excellent Divine Mercy documentary

  6. I must confess to a large degree of ambivalence to the SSPX and to the societies it has spawned and which are now in full communion. On the one hand they have preserved the EF and by setting up such a strong pole, have dragged the OF back from some of the lunacies we used to see. On the other, theirs is an ecclesiology rooted in the time of Pius XII – and Abp Lefebvre in 1960 was not saying that there was no need for a Council.

    Ironically, the SSPX is much like the rest of the JPII new movements: decidely out of kilter with the centre, but one of the reasons that a large number of Catholics have stayed, however strangely, Catholic, and producing children and vocations as well.

    • Yeah, that’s interesting about Abp Lefebvre. He was originally quite supportive of the idea of convening a Council.

      • One should also mention Father Michael Cahill of Stacumney in Meath who is the chaplain of the Irish chapter of the Chartres pilgrimage. You will rarely hear a doctrinally sounder sermon at Mass, or make a better confession “en marche”, than with Fr. C.

        Yes, I know the SSPX have their own pilgrimage (in reverse!) but there is no hostility between the two groups (and many of us would of necessity have to be “bi-ritual”) such as this misguided opinion would seem to betoken. Ghetto siege mentality stuff. Unworthy.

  7. Archbishop Lefebvre’s book, An Open Letter to Confused Catholics is very well worth reading. In chapter 14 he deals with his initial role in the Council.

    “To begin with, I can say that in 1962 I was not opposed to the holding of a General Council. On the contrary, I welcomed it with great hopes…I was nominated a member of the Central Preparatory Commission by the Pope and took an assiduous and enthusiastic part in its two years of work…In them(the preparatory schemas) the Church’s doctrine is absolutely orthodox.”

    Tragically for the Church, events took a turn very much for the worst.

    As the Archbishop describes, “from the very first days, the Council was besieged by the progressive forces…We had the impression that something abnormal was happening and this impression was rapidly confirmed; fifteen days after the opening session not one of the seventy two schemes remained. All had been sent back, rejected, thrown into the wastepaper basket.”

    As has been well documented, a very well organized group, headed by Cardinals from the Rhineland countries orchestrated the introduction of schemas radically different from the originals. We are still living with the consequences.

    Later on Archbishop Lefebvre expressed the following opinion:
    “We would have had a splendid council by taking Pope Pius XII for our master on the subject. I do not think there is any problem of the modern world and of current affairs that he did not resolve, with all his knowledge, his theology and his holiness. He gave almost definitive solutions, having truly seen things in the light of faith…
    “Vatican II therefore is not a Council like others and that is why we have the right to judge it, with prudence and reserve. I accept in this Council and in the reforms all that is in full accordance with Tradition. The Society I have founded is ample proof…
    “But it is impossible to maintain it is only the later applications of the Council that are at fault. The rebellion of the clergy, the defiance of pontifical authority, all the excesses in the liturgy and the new theology, and the desertion of the churches, have they nothing to do with the Council, as some have recently asserted? Let us be honest: they are its fruits!”

    What would the Church have been saved from if the Archbishop’s proposal on 23 January 1962 had been implemented? He suggested that the Council should prepare two sets of documents, one made up of canons condemning the errors of the day and the second set of documents comprising a work that would constitute “a synthesis of the whole Catholic Faith, while dispelling in passing the principal errors of the times such as Teilhardism, naturalism, materialism, etc., but presented in a positive fashion.”

  8. I wouldn’t say that their ecclesiology is rooted in the time of Pius XII. They seem to me to go back much further – to the most extreme forms of nineteenth-century ultramontanism, to Veuillot and de Maistre.

  9. Shane, firstly thanks for your comment on my blog.

    As for SSPX – I think we’re approaching the end of the road on this one and it’s almost time for the Holy Father to declare a formal schism and for the Catholic faithful to stop attending their Masses. At that point Catholics who like the extraordinary form need to accept that ordinary form in a Catholic Church is preferable to extraordinary form in a schismatic church.

  10. One expects the SSPX to adhere to basics. So where has “ubi Petrus ibi ecclesia” gone with them? This line of thinking is a real pharisee approach. Stand at the top of the synagogue and repeat: “O Lord, I thank thee that I am not like them, a sinner”.

  11. I am praying that SSPX doesn’t end up in schism … but I don’t think they are helping themselves with statements like this (although I accept that this may be the opinion of an individual priest … but when things are at such a delicate stage keeping a tight rein on all public statements is surely advisable?)

  12. I am always concerned when people speak about avoiding ‘those Masses’ – whichever they may be – or the extreme that James noted about it being better not to go to Mass at all on a Sunday rather than one of ‘those Masses’.

    Once Mass is celebrated with proper Matter and Form it is a valid Mass – no more or less efficacious than any other validly celebrated Mass. The ‘accidents’ of the Mass may be different, at variance with the rubrics, banal or even appallingly secular – but if the essentials are observed it is THE MASS. I may not be inspired or spiritually refreshed by the ‘accidents’, but I am there to honor God – not for personal satisfaction. And God can work through the most unworthy instruments.

    Liceity is another matter, particularly as regards the SSPX.

  13. “True Mass” refers to any liturgical rite that sufficiently presents and preserves the Catholic Faith – which the New Mass does not. Thus the Eastern Rite Divine Liturgies (and other traditional Latin Rite forms) all fall under this category used to differentiate from the theologically-deficient and illegitimate Novus Ordo Missae (cf. “The Ottaviani Intervention” for details).

    • LT, Cardinal Ottaviani would later accept the ‘doctrinal rectitude’ (so to speak) of the Novus Ordo. This is from a letter of his to Dom Gerard Lafond I found in La Documentation catholique, 5th April, 1970 – p. 343.

      Rome, le 17 février 1970.

      Très Révérend Père,

      J’ai bien reçu votre lettre du 28 janvier et la Note Doctrinale, datée du 29 janvier. Je vous félicite pour votre travail qui est remarquable pour son objectivité et la dignité de son expression. Ce n’a pas été toujours, hélas! le cas dans cette polémique dans laquelle on a vu des simples chrétiens, sincérement blessés des nouveautés, mêlés à ceux qui se servent du trouble des âmes pour augmenter la confusion des espirits.

      De ma part je regrette seulement que l’on ait abusé de mon nom dans un sens que je ne désirais pas, par la publication d’une lettre que j’avais adressée au Saint-Père sans autoriser personne à la publier.

      Je me suis profondément réjoui à la lecture des Discours du Saint-Père sur les questions du Nouvel Ordo Missae, et surtout de ses précisions doctrinales contenues dans les Discours aux Audiences Publiques du 19 et du 26 novembre: après quoi, je crois, personne ne peut plus sincèrement se scandaliser. Pour le reste il faudra faire une œuvre prudente et intelligente de catéchèse afin d’enlever quelques perplexités légitimes que le texte peut susciter. Dans ce sens je souhaite á Note Doctrinale et à l’activité de la Militia Mariae une large diffusion et succès.

      Veuillez agréer, Très Révérend Père, l’expression de mes hommages distingués, accompagnés d’une bénédiction pour tous vos Collaborateurs et les membres de la Milita.

      A. card. OTTAVIANI.

  14. Shane

    There has been a lot of controversy about this particular letter that you quote. Michael Davies addresses it in his really excellent book entitled Pope Paul’s New Mass, in the chapter devoted to the Ottaviani Intervention.

    On the above letter to Dom Lafond, Davies says: “in this letter the Cardinal (Ottaviani) is purported to state that he has read the Note Doctrinale (a defence of the Novus Ordo Missae, written principally by Lafond), which contains scandalous calumnies concerning himself, that he not only approves it but congratulates Dom Lafond on the dignity of its expression; that he did not authorize the publication of his letter to the Pope; and that all his anxieties have been set at rest by two papal allocutions.”

    He notes that French intellectual and traditionalist Jean Madiran dealt with the matter in detail in his journal Itineraires no 142 of April 1970. Madiran had some very harsh words for
    Dom Lafond.

    Davies makes the point that Cardinal Ottaviani was almost blind and the time and tells us that “Madiran had no hesitation in claiming that Monsignor Agustoni (the Cardinal’s secretary) had tricked the Cardinal into signing and accused him of a public felony- challenging Monsignor Agustoni in the ecclesiastical courts if he disputed it. Monsignor Agustoni did not accept the challenge and soon after relinquished his position as Cardinal Ottaviani’s secretary.”

    On the contents of the letter itself, Davies has quoted Madiran as having received personal assurance from the Cardinal that he had authorized publication of his letter to Paul VI.

    Davies himself makes some very telling points, including:
    “No one has contested the fact that the Cardinal sent this letter to the Pope”(with accompanying critical study of the new Mass).
    “There is not the least doubt that he gave a great deal of thought to the Critical Study before endorsing it.”
    “A point which the apologists for the new Mass invariably pass over in silence is the fact that no claim was ever made that Cardinal Bacci had written one word modifying or retracting anything in the letter. The apologists for the New Mass have acted as if the letter came from Cardinal Ottaviani alone and conveniently overlooked the fact that it was a joint letter. But Cardinal Bacci was not blind and could not be deceived into signing a letter of retraction.”
    And, even if the Cardinal had retracted his charges, “this would not affect the fact that he had signed it, nor the validity of the conclusions in the Critical Study upon which the letter (to the Pope) was based.”

    The letter sent by two Cardinals to Paul along with the critical study should be widely read. The letter states that “the Novus Ordo Missae- considering the new elements, susceptible of widely differing evaluations, which appear to be implied or taken for granted- represents, as a whole and in detail, a striking departure from the Catholic theology of the Holy Mass as it was formulated in Session XXII of the Council of Trent, which… erected an insurmountable barrier against any heresy which might attack the integrity of the Mystery.

    “The innovations in the Novus Ordo Missae, and on the other hand the things of eternal value relegated to an inferior or different place (if indeed they are still to be found at all), could well turn into a certainty the suspicion…that truths which have always been believed by Christians can be altered or silenced without infidelity to that sacred deposit of doctrine to which the Catholic faith is bound forever. Recent reforms have amply shown that fresh changes in the liturgy could not but lead to utter bewilderment on the part of the faithful, who are already giving signs of restiveness and an indubitable lessening of the faith.”

    Why were these prophetic words not heeded?

    • Leo, I agree with most of what the Intervention says (and I’m no fan of the Novus Ordo at all) however the fact that he celebrated the Novus Ordo from its promulgation until his death is surely significant in itself. After all, would a man like Cardinal Ottaviani really celebrate a rite he believed to be doctrinally suspect?

      Don’t get me wrong, I believe there are good and valid reasons to criticize the Novus Ordo, but I don’t think this is one of them.

  15. dermot finnegan

    Strange how I feel kind of isolated here.The SSPX say the Mass into which I was baptised, made my first Holy Communion, was Confirmed and which I served as an altar boy and who hold tenaciously to the Catholic Faith as it was taught for millenia, are being charged as schismatics.Meanwhile, here in Ireland we have a group of hippy dressed Catholic Priests who dissent against the traditions and teachings of the Church,and who are of course, in good standing with the church.Similarly, in Austria, another group of priests in open rebellion against Church teachings and we have a Cardinal in Italy who supports gay relationships.
    Should not the question be when are these rebel groups going to be asked to sign a Preamble affirming fidelity to Dogma,Doctrine and tradition of the Catholic Church?

    • Dermot, I share your admiration for the SSPX. I think they have done a lot for the Church, and I think they have the potential to do a lot more. However they are not above criticism. Silly and petty statements like that quoted in the post above are counter-productive to their mission. I believe Archbishop Lefebvre would agree with me.

  16. That’s a fair point about Cardinal Ottaviani, Shane. I always assumed he would not have celebrated the New Mass. I wonder if Cardinal Bacci did so too? Also, I think it is correct to say that there were plenty of other orthodox Churchmen who went along with the Novus Ordo. There may have been much soul searching and crises of conscience. Who knows?

    I wonder though what their attitude would be today. I think we would all agree that the views and actions of the great man are not the only guiding light in this matter. There have been other forensic and convincing critiques of the New Mass.

    Any Catholic who cares to look can see the devastation wrought in the last 42 years? It’s far from a pleasant view, the rotten fruits on which to base an incontestable judgement – lack of believe in the Real Presence, lack of belief in the Mass as a propitiatory Sacrifice, lack of understanding of the unique, irreplaceable role of the ordained priesthood, deficiencies found sadly amongst many clergy as well as laity. In other words, Protestantisation of Catholics. What happened to Lex orandi, Lex credendi? What will it take for the Church to decide on a recall of the Bugnini Mass?

    To be fair to Father Morgan, Archbishop Lefebvre did also advise the faithful not to go to what were then known as Indult Masses, and gave his reasons for doing so. As everyone who is interested knows, the present difficulties between Rome and the Society very much involve doctrine, as well as the availability of the Latin Mass.

    On the other side, the point has been made earlier that there are good shepherds outside of the SSPX, priests who haven’t always had an easy life in the Church. It’s hardly tenable to maintain that a priest such as Father Michael Rodriguez, who was banished to the deserts of West Texas by his bishop, is anything but a great priest. The clergy who say the Latin Mass, including those of the Society, represent the best or indeed the only hope for the Church.

    Shane, your original post underlines just how difficult and complex this situation is. Rosaries are needed.

    And for what it’s worth, this very ordinary layman believes the SSPX are part of the small minority in the Church who have resisted the revolution, were treated to insults and calumny, and were chased into the hills for their troubles. The modernists are the only ones who really want to keep them there permanently.

    I agree completely with Dermot Finnegan. A week doesn’t seem to go by without fresh evidence of the diabolical disorientation in the Church. It just goes on and on. In June I fear we are going to get a scandalous example here when the upcoming Eucharistic Congress unfolds. There has barely been a whimper about the Ecumenical Liturgy of Word and Water, taking place on 11 June.

  17. I’m no liturgist much less a theologian. I’ve come to believe the biggest issue with the Novus Ordo has to do less with the Missal itself than with the hermeneutic of rupture with which it has been and is celebrated in 99% of the world. Personally, I believe the Ordo Missae of 1965 fulfilled the Council fathers desires for a streamlined liturgical reform. I’ve come to believe that there was therefore no need for a Novus Ordo in 1969. I few years ago I read an excellent article by Father Parsons about synchronising the 2 calendars and unifying the two forms of the Roman Rite. I mean I think the 1965 Ordo Missae would suffice. The bigger problem as Bishop Schneider sees it (and I agree with his analysis) is that the clergy especially the upper level clergy are content with the liturgical rupture:

    “For this reason we need new saints today, one or several Saint Catherines of Siena. We need the “vox populi fidelis” demanding the suppression of this liturgical rupture. The tragedy in all of this is that, today as back in the time of the Avignon exile, a great majority of the clergy, especially in its higher ranks, is content with this rupture.”

    The fact that Cardinal Siri had no scruple with using the Missal of Paul VI (however deficient it may be) is enough approval for me.

  18. dermot finnegan

    Shane I agree that no one is above criticism,however I would remind those who criticise the sspx that Archbishop Martin also celebrated the Traditional Latin Mass himself, and as for myself, I would not share Archbishop Martins view of the problems afflicting the Church and neither would I espouse his views of how to solve it.This is more likely in my view,of what Fr.Morgan intentions were.I am also aware that there are good and holy Priests who would celebrate the Traditional Mass here and would be mindful of Frs.Cahill, Deighan and would mention also Fr. O Reilly who celebrates Mass in Newry every Sunday.

  19. Breaking!!. Le Figaro — “Rome and Écône on the verge of reaching an agreement


    My point is if I continued to go to the NO I would have lost the faith, and that is the reason that millions of Catholics over 50 years have!

    We have no idea as to what a shambles the Church government really is in, my personal belief is that it is controlled by the Masons and simply tow the line……I believe that only the shedding of blood will change the situation

  21. If Archbishop Lefebvre had not held on to the traditional Latin Mass, we would not have it today. There are none so blind as those who don’t want to see the truth. The sspx did not break away from the one true faith handed down through the ages. Thank God for Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.

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