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SSPX not in schism...

Posted on Sep 19, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Michael Voris and his initiative Church Militant have been militating pretty hard these days against the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX – a society of priests, not lay people, having a less than perfect canonical status).

Michael is pushing hard that the SSPX is schismatic.

I have been saying for years that the SSPX is not.  Canonically screwed up? Yes.  Schismatic? No.

So, in a recent piece (HERE) Voris provides the headline:

CM EXCLUSIVE: A Canon Lawyer Speaks on the SSPX
Former canonist for Holy See confirms Society is in material schism

But if you read that piece, which is an interview with a good canonist, Marc Balestrieri, you find that you could post the headline:

Former canonist for Holy See confirms Society is not in de iure schism

Material schism is vague.  Maybe they are in material schism.  Maybe they aren’t.  Formal schism, on the other hand, is not fuzzy.  I think we should throw “schism” around and about the heads of the SSPX, even though we don’t want to minimize that they are in a decidedly bad canonical situation and confusion surrounds their status.

Some excerpts:

It is the more probable opinion among approved authors that refusal of obedience of a Catholic to the Pope which is not predicated upon a rejection of the principle of his authority as Roman Pontiff as Caput Romanae Ecclesiae constitutes material, not formal schism. However, if those lay faithful receiving the Sacraments from them at any one point in time also severed themselves entirely from, or refused submission in principle to, the Roman Pontiff and per can. 1330 of the Code of Canon Law manifested in word or in deed externally such actions, then they are presumed to have descended into formal schism.

I don’t think SSPX members or followers do that. At least the sane one’s don’t.

The Prefect’s use of the term de facto emphasizes the factual divide in communion between the Holy See and the SSPX Bishops. If he had intended to emphasize clearly the existence of formal schism on their part, he most likely would have employed the term de iure given the context of the assertion.

The absence of the use of such term on his part, however, does nothing to mitigate the gravity of the material schism by which souls are at grave risk of not being saved for as long as the situation perdures.

Agreed.  The SSPX is canonically screwed up.  But they are not formally schismatic.

Concerning the invalidly of absolution involves, he explains what “common error” is and what it isn’t.

SSPX priests are presumed at Universal Law only to possess jurisdiction or the faculty to absolve from sin in two exceptional circumstances.  First, pursuant to the norm of can. 976, “Any priest, even though he lacks the faculty to hear confessions, can validly and lawfully absolve any penitents who are in danger of death, from any censures and sins, even if an approved priest is present.” “Any priest” according to this norm would include validly ordained SSPX priests. Second, in conformity with the norm of can. 144, § 1, whenever (1) Common Error of Fact or Law and (2) Positive and Probable Doubt of Fact or Law have been verified to exist in a certain fact pattern, the Church “supplies” a iure universali the faculty required for SSPX priests to absolve from sins validly. “Error” in this norm means a state of erroneous judgment; “doubt” in this canon means a grave, positive and probable doubt asserted by numerous doctors of Canon Law of unimpaired reputation extant on the part of the SSPX priest acting as confessor.

While canonists find no controversy in the assertion that SSPX priests who are validly ordained and not otherwise impeded have the faculty to absolve the faithful from sin in danger of death of a penitent (cf. can. 976), the jurisprudence of the Roman Rota does provide some rare official light into the other question of whether SSPX priests possess the jurisdiction required to witness marriage validly.

The canonist lays out really well the situation of priests of the SSPX and that they don’t possess faculties (right now) validly to absolve and they cannot witness marriages (thus, making them invalid because of lack of form. He explains that judgments of the Church’s highest tribunal on marriage has consistently ruled that the marriages were invalid because SSPX priests cannot witness marriages.

The thrust here is that the judgments of the Roman Rota has found SSPX marriages invalid because of lack of form.  This provides a parallel for understanding also that the SSPX also don’t have faculties to hear confessions.  “Error” of judgment is excluded, because the teaching of the Holy See has been clear.  “Doubt” is excluded because canonists are in line.

Canon 144 only refers to the Church supplying “potestatem regiminis executivam”, the “executive power of governance”.

Keeping with confession as an example, and one that involves internal forum, can. 144 covers instances wherein a priest who lacks the faculty to hear confessions at all, or he just lacks them in a particular place or situation, nevertheless believes he has the faculty and the penitent also believes he does.   Thus, it doesn’t quite cover the situation of SSPX priests, who know very what proper authority as instructed about their state: they lack faculties.  They, however, do not obey proper authority.   They might honestly believe that they can receive confessions because of some state of “emergency” that the Church is in, but, intellectually, they know that the Church has told them that they don’t.  They aren’t ignorant of the facts, though they – even with sincerity – may not accept them.  Some lay people are up to date on the controversy, though most are not.

More HERE.

I thank Mr. Voris, because he laid out will with this interview many of the issues that plague the sacramental life of followers of the SSPX and he explodes the claim that the SSPX is formally schismatic.

I’ll repeat also what I have written may times.  I look forward to the complete reconciliation of the SSPX.  They have great contributions to make.  I also think that Pope Francis might be the one to resolve this formally.  It took Nixon to go to China.

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On the World Meeting of Families...

Posted on Sep 19, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Our guest blogger is Gina Loehr, who wrote about meeting Pope Francis in the May 2015 issue of St. Anthony Messenger.

It feels a bit like Christmas. I’ve been waiting a whole year to attend the World Meeting of Families and now the event is inching closer. Just a few more days! Finally, all of the planning and prayer is about to come to fruition. I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen.

It was September ninth, 2014, when the letter from Archbishop Chaput arrived inviting my husband and I to speak at the Congress. We’ve been working with the team of organizers ever since to prepare our talk, arrange travel plans, and explore the relevant theological themes. Well in advance of the logistics of event planning, however, the leaders of this global gathering put together a beautiful document, Love is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive. This “preparatory catechesis” outlines ten topics that affect families, laying the groundwork for the sessions that will be going on at the Congress.

But the Congress and the catechesis aren’t the only exciting part of this package. Pope Francis is coming too! I feel a special love for this man whom I had the privilege to meet in person while I was in Rome in October, 2013, the same month my father and I turned in the manuscript for our book about him, Saint Francis, Pope Francis: A Common Vision.

I see in the Holy Father such an authentic witness to Gospel joy, and such astonishing courage to listen and love. Presently, his attention is focused on listening to and loving families. Not only has he invoked the Synod of the Family, he has also given a weekly catechesis on the family since December of 2014. And I’m sure we are about to hear more of his thoughts regarding the daunting and delicate task of being family amidst the challenges of the modern world.

What exactly he will say remains a mystery. Like the wrapped presents sitting under a Christmas tree, I know something wonderful will soon be revealed. So stay tuned. When the big day finally comes, I’ll be sure to tell you all about it!

*****
Photo: Catholic News Service

The post On the World Meeting of Families appeared first on American Catholic Blog.

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On the World Meeting of Families...

Posted on Sep 19, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Our guest blogger is Gina Loehr, who wrote about meeting Pope Francis in the May 2015 issue of St. Anthony Messenger.

It feels a bit like Christmas. I’ve been waiting a whole year to attend the World Meeting of Families and now the event is inching closer. Just a few more days! Finally, all of the planning and prayer is about to come to fruition. I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen.

It was September ninth, 2014, when the letter from Archbishop Chaput arrived inviting my husband and I to speak at the Congress. We’ve been working with the team of organizers ever since to prepare our talk, arrange travel plans, and explore the relevant theological themes. Well in advance of the logistics of event planning, however, the leaders of this global gathering put together a beautiful document, Love is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive. This “preparatory catechesis” outlines ten topics that affect families, laying the groundwork for the sessions that will be going on at the Congress.

But the Congress and the catechesis aren’t the only exciting part of this package. Pope Francis is coming too! I feel a special love for this man whom I had the privilege to meet in person while I was in Rome in October, 2013, the same month my father and I turned in the manuscript for our book about him, Saint Francis, Pope Francis: A Common Vision.

I see in the Holy Father such an authentic witness to Gospel joy, and such astonishing courage to listen and love. Presently, his attention is focused on listening to and loving families. Not only has he invoked the Synod of the Family, he has also given a weekly catechesis on the family since December of 2014. And I’m sure we are about to hear more of his thoughts regarding the daunting and delicate task of being family amidst the challenges of the modern world.

What exactly he will say remains a mystery. Like the wrapped presents sitting under a Christmas tree, I know something wonderful will soon be revealed. So stay tuned. When the big day finally comes, I’ll be sure to tell you all about it!

*****
Photo: Catholic News Service

The post On the World Meeting of Families appeared first on American Catholic Blog.

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Always Count Your Blessings...

Posted on Sep 18, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Our guest blogger today is Melanie Rigney, author of Blessed Are You: Finding Inspiration from Our Sisters in Faith.

The Beatitudes. Doesn’t it just make you smile to say that out loud, to think of Jesus going up that mountain, sitting down, and then speaking those beautiful words?

The challenge is that to Jesus and therefore to us, the Beatitudes are more than words. They are a way to follow him. They lay out an exceedingly difficult road map to live. Be meek? Me? Be a peacemaker? Me? Find something positive in mourning? Me? Yes, you. And all of us.

I often speak about the female saints to Catholic women’s groups, and two things tug at my heart. The first is the little boxes we try to put these holy women in. They weren’t perfect, folks, and they would have been the first to tell you about their struggles with the loss of loved ones, their health, their dignity. The faith and confidence they had in the Lord make them bigger than those little boxes.

That brings us to the second thing: Like them, you are blessed. Not tomorrow, not when the kids go off to college, not when you get that next promotion. Now. Today. How do I know that? Because Jesus told us. Note the Beatitudes are not in the future tense, or the past, for that matter.

You are blessed now, today and always, just like the women on these pages. Believe it. The blessings abound, whenever two or more are gathered in his name. And as women, we are great at gathering, aren’t we?

For more on Blessed Are You: Finding Inspiration from Our Sisters in Faith. click here.

*****
Photo: Gustavo Frazao/Shutterstock

The post Always Count Your Blessings appeared first on American Catholic Blog.

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Our Whole Being Should Speak of God...

Posted on Sep 17, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Our blog today is an excerpt from Franciscan Media’s new book The Spirit of Saint Francis: Inspiring Words from Pope Francisedited by Alicia von Stamwitz.

In our cities and villages there are brave men and others who are timid, there are Christian missionaries and others who are asleep. And there are many who are searching, even if they do not admit it. Everyone is called, everyone is sent out. However, the place of the call is not necessarily the parish center; the moment is not necessarily a pleasant parish event. The call of God can reach us on the assembly line and in the office, in the supermarket and in the stairwell, that is, in the places of everyday life.

Speaking about God, bringing the message of God’s love and salvation in Jesus Christ to men is the duty of all the baptized. And this duty involves, not only speaking with words, but in all one’s actions and way of doing things. Our whole being should speak of God, even in the ordinary things. In this way witness is authentic, and thus shall it always be new and fresh in the power of the Holy Spirit.

“Every Christian can witness to God in the workplace, not only with words, but above all with an honest life.” –Pope Francis

Love Is Our Mission: Pope Francis in America is a rich collection drawn from Catholic News Service photographers and journalists to be released October 30. It will be a keepsake for anyone interested in the papal visit. Learn more about the book, and about Pope Francis’ visit, by clicking here.

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Photo by BABAROGA/Shutterstock 

The post Our Whole Being Should Speak of God appeared first on American Catholic Blog.

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"And now let us begin this journey, the Bishop and people, this journey of the Church of Rome, which presides in charity over all the Churches, a journey of brotherhood in love, of mutual trust. Let us always pray for one another. Let us pray for the whole world that there might be a great sense of brotherhood.

I will now give my blessing to you and to the whole world, to all men and women of good will."

-Papa Francis quote

He does not know you, yet he prays for you.
He will most likely never meet you, yet he loves you.

This is your chance to show your love, for as the Bible teaches, "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven."