A very nice video over on EPONYMOUS FLOWER of the SSPX Pontifical High Mass in the Concrete Submarine at Lourdes. When they were there in 2008, they were only allowed a presbyteral High Mass, which naturally irritated them because (this was before Benedict's Ordinariate had swept us Anglicans into full communion) our Anglican pilgrimage a few days previously had generously been given all possible facilities. As an Anglican, I felt rather ashamed of the nastiness of this treatment of the SSPX, even though, of course, it was in no way our fault. But now there is a new Bishop of Tarbes and Lourdes. We were told that it was the old bishop who made the 2008 decisions, to humiliate SSPX and to direct that, contra legem, during the International Mass Archbishop Rowan preached after the Gospel had been solemnly sung by an Anglican deacon (Cardinal Kasper presided at that Mass). So this year's decision in favour of the SSPX must be by authority of the new bishop. How civilised.
But the news is not all good. An Italian bishop has informed his diocese that people should not approach SSPX clergy for Sacraments. If they do so, says his excellency, "si porra di fatto nella condizione di non essere in communione con la Chiesa Cattolica". What, canonically, does this mean? Does Canon Law say that, by receiving the Sacraments from a priest who lacks faculties, one incurs Excommunication latae sententiae? If so, why does the bishop not explicitly say this and cite the canon concerned (I can't find it in my little book). Or does he mean that he is himself excommunicating such lay people? But wouldn't he have to say "I, Bishop of X, by virtue of such-and-such, hereby excommunicate etc.."vel simile? I'm mystified.
He says that such people will "not be in communion with the Catholic Church" (and goes on to tell them how they can get back into communion). But I rather thought that nowadays one spoke about non-Catholics as being not in full communion? The bishop speaks in the way hard-line Catholics did before Vatican II (Unitatis Redintegratio). Or are SSPXers somehow more out-of-communion with the Catholic Church than are (ex.gr.) Lutherans and Methodists? Again, I am mystified.
It all seems to me very strange. But who am I to judge? I find Canon Law so mystifying.
One final point about SSPX. One of the basic principles of Ecumenism in the twentieth century was that the various and variously divided communities of Christians each had their own particular strengths, charisms, to bring into Unity for the good of all. The essential charism of the SSPX, as it seems to me, is its resolute and manly witness to the Kingship, to the Social Rule of Christ.
Rarely has the Church Universal stood in more need of this particular charism.
(1) Does anybody know where to find the full text of Cardinal Pell's recent homily in Rome, read for him by his secretary? UPDATE Thanks to all of you who replied to this. I didn't think of Zenit.
(2) In answer to an enquiry sent to me without an email address for me to reply to: I know no reason why a Catholic should not attend the Divine Office in an Anglican Church. I would myself warmly encourage it (although, of course hearing the Office in an Ordinariate church would be even better). But if you're in Italy, you'd better check with the local bishop.