20 November 2016

SSPX Faculties

Fr Zed acutely reminds us* of the strange statement by the Holy Father at the start of the Year of Mercy that the Faithful could go to Confession to priests of the SSPX. Father pointed out that this, apparently, was not a formal and juridical granting of faculties. Indeed, it appears that it was not.

However, such a statement by a Roman Pontiff must inevitably create a common opinion that those clergy must have faculties to absolve, otherwise the Vicar of Christ would not have urged the laity to visit their confessionals. And Canon 144 makes clear that in cases of common error, the Church supplies the necessary jurisdiction. Hence there can be no doubt about the validity of such absolutions, however peculiarly roundabout the canonical means adopted by the Pope to achieve this end.

It would, surely, be simplest, in this age when so few are accustomed to make use of this sacrament, if every priest had jurisdiction to absolve vi ordinationis unless he had been explicitly denied that jurisdiction by a competent tribunal or superior, and except where the law itself witholds jurisdiction in the case of particular offences. I am surprised that 'liberals' do not agitate for this. Is it because they don't care about Confession?  

If the Holy Father wishes to leave a real Monument of his Year Of Mercy, I think this modest canonical adjustment would demonstrate serious intent. 

A broad solution of the status of the Society would be even more significant.

UPDATE I wrote this piece after reading Fr Zed's piece on Tuesday 15 of this month. There are more exotic rumours afloat now!

I know one should not look a Guest Horse in the Mouth ... but I would scratch my head a bit, and meditate upon Vergil's alliterative warning about Danai and their dona, if a 'regularisation' were to be accompanied by either (1) "We've let these chaps off believing loads of Vatican II so it's only fair to let the other lot off believing most of the Catholic Faith; or (2) "Now that I've been Merciful to these liturgical eccentrics in their irrelevant ghetto, we don't want any more of that ad Orientem et cetera stuff in the mainstream Church."

14 comments:

Tom Broughton said...

Fr. Hunwicke,

Do you think that Rome will final grant the SSPX canonical status in the Catholic Church? They should! It would be the Church's loss if the SSPX were not allowed some sort of personal prelature or something similar. It Papa Bergolio is sincere about saving souls, then he should allow this priestly fraternity to have canonical status in the Church.

Konstantin said...

"and except where the law itself witholds jurisdiction in the case of particular offences"
I assume you mean other offenses beyond being ordained without dimissorial letters...

Sadie Vacantist said...

If Le Pen is elected, ambassadorial postings to Italy and the Vatican will be of interest. A youthful former member of the French armed services asking questions about contemporary Roman attitudes towards the Society may not be welcomed. We are living in the best and worst of times.

Woody said...

I am sure that you will have seen Rorate's brief statement to the effect that unless a surprise occurs, the Holy Father's letter to be released Monday will say something about the SSPX. Rumors are running rampant that it might even be the erection of the anticipated prelature, but we must await the release of the letter to know. Oremus--and hard.

Prayerful said...

I had a largely internet free weekend short break. Now this is something surprising to return to. I thought the Dubia and developments was the only show in town for the moment. We'll find out soon.

DJR said...

Konstantin said..."'and except where the law itself witholds jurisdiction in the case of particular offences'. I assume you mean other offenses beyond being ordained without dimissorial letters..."

A non-issue.

The Catholic bishops of the U.S. allowed Chinese priests of the communist Patriotic Association to minister in Catholic parishes for many years, and with full knowledge of the Vatican.

It is an established fact, easily demonstrated, and reported in the U.S. Catholic press years ago.

Jacobi said...

I am not sorry that the Year of Mercy has ended and the doors have been shut. As it was run, it caused much confusion.

Mercy is reserved to Christ at the Last Judgement and all that we have to know about forgiving our neighbour is set out quite precisely in the Our Father . We do not need anything else.

xsosdid said...

They will only be allowed in order to gain control.They are currently one of the fastest growing groups in Christianity. PF will do to them what has been done to the FSSP. SPX!! run!!

Woody said...

An update from Rorate says that their sources indicate that the letter will only grant some extension on confessions. As much as one wishes for more radical action regularising the Society, it makes sense that the complete regularisation would occur only upon joint agreement as to the structure and statutes of the prelature, or at least a fairly extensive heads of agreement addressing key issues, such as appointment of the prelate and possibly other bishops, relationship with local ordinaries, and the like. I forget what happened exactly with Campos, but believe it was the heads of Agreement, followed afterwards by the approval of statutes.

neilmac said...

I share your fears. I note today the Pope's criticism of the cardinals submitting the "dubia". It seems it is only "excessive legalism" when it challenges his views. It is fine, it appears, to be (falsely) legalistic over "ad orientem" and the Friars Immaculate...I could go on.

TLMWx said...

Hello Father,
I would be uneasy about the sacrament of penance not requiring faculties. I think the more regulation surrounding it the better. You do have renegade priests and the Bishop has an active information wire which he can use for due diligence checks. So I think it quite important to keep the faculties rule.

When I read the report of Pope Francis's assurance that the faithful could attend confessions with SSPX priests, I was of the opinion (possibly erroneously) that his mere assurance does not make it so and that he would have to grant faculties. Since I heard no further report of faculties being granted and knowing that PF says all sorts of strange things and then the opposite I was of the view that I could not attend a doubtful sacrament. Is it possible for me to decide to go to SSPX confession under canon law because there exists this "common error" rule, or must I also be unaware of the facts of the matter to be covered by the common error. If I know for sure that the Pope has not issued faculties to the society priest am I covered by rule on the basis that some people might not be aware that he had not? Must the Pope issue faculties at all? It seems to me this is is like an invention of a new rite where we can be sure of our sins being forgiven on the word of a Pope against the traditions of the Church, is that too harsh?




Anne B said...

@Jacobi
Have you read St Faustina's Diary "Divine Mercy in My Soul"?

Anne B said...

@Jacobi
Have you read St Faustian's Diary, "Divine Mercy in My Soul"?

Jacobi said...

No, and too busy now. Summary please?

jacobi