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Tuesday, September 01, 2015

The SSPX and Abortion

Pope Francis has given two incredible indults in preparation for the Year of Mercy: he has given all priests throughout the world the ability to forgive the sin of abortion and he has authorized the SSPX priests throughout the world to give a valid absolution in confession, something that no SSPX priest had been able to do up to this point.

The two indults are linked because both hinge on the priest's ability to forgive sins. A priest's ability to forgive sins comes from the bishop whose authority he lives under. If a bishop wishes to reserve the absolution for a specific sin to himself, his priests do not have the ability to grant absolution for that sin. It isn't a question of the priest deciding whether or not to absolve - even if he attempts absolution, the absolution would fail, because the bishop had not granted him the power to do it.

Thus, SSPX priests - who do not recognize the episcopal authority of the bishop installed by the Pope, but instead pretend they gain authority from some other unspecified source - have not ever been able to grant valid absolutions. Similarly, while American bishops have uniformly granted the ability to absolve abortion to American priests, not all bishops throughout the world have given their priests this permission. The Pope has essentially directed all bishops throughout the world to grant (1) faculties to SSPX priests, and (2) faculties for absolution of abortion to all priests, SSPX or not.

Over the centuries, various popes have considered the culture they lived in and have tried various methods by which to decrease the grievous sin of abortion, from granting the right to absolve to all priests, or only to bishops, or even only to the Pope himself. In 1588, for example, Pope Sixtus V tried discouraging abortion by reserving confession and absolution to the Holy See alone, a restriction used for only the most heinous sins.

Pope Francis has contemplated our current culture and decided that it is time to return the ability to absolve this sin to all priests everywhere. This doesn't change the gravity of the sin, it changes the Church's prudential decision about how best to help lessen the incidence of this particular grievous sin. Changes in culture often call for changes in discipline. This is an instance of that fact.

SSPX Absolutions
Many SSPX'ers and their supporters will now claim "the Vatican has realized that the SSPX are not schismatic revolutionaries but instead Catholic patriots who don't want to see 2000 years of Latin rite tradition and teaching tossed into the dumpster for the kumbaya mass and coloring book cafeteria Catholicism."

In fact, quite the opposite has occurred.

The Church has long recognized that the SSPX are schismatics who have trashed 2000 years of Church teaching into the dumpster when they dumped the Second Vatican Council.

However, in her mercy, She grants the SSPX mercies that the followers of that particular cult would simply never grant to other Christians, in the hope that by this example, SSPX hearts would be softened and they would return to full communion with the one true Church. By this decree, Pope Francis has given an extraordinary demonstration of the extravagant mercy of God.

And again, the two indults are deeply linked. Abortion kills a human person, false absolution kills the soul of both the one attempting to grant it and the one who fails to receive real absolution. By granting these twin indults, Pope Francis has engaged in both corporal and spiritual works of mercy. He is truly leading us by his example.

Let us hope those attracted to abortion and/or the SSPX hear him, understand what he has done for them, and turn from their evil ways.


Joan Haselman said...

Thank you, Steve, you NAILED IT. God bless you!

Jordanes551 said...

No, the Church has never formally said, nor does she regard the SSPX, as schismatics, but merely has said the illicit consecrations of 1988 were a schismatic act. The Church, however, has said (and has acted as if she regarded) the SSPX members are Catholics, that the problem of the Society's irregular status and their members' suspensions (including the disputed, dubious validity of their absolutions) is an internal matter, not an ecumenical one. The Church does not regard the SSPX and those who assist at their illicit Masses as a "cult," and has never said SSPX's adherents are following evil ways. That's nothing more than you acting as if you think you're holier and wiser than the Church. The pope's decree, good for one year only, explicitly extending the SSPX members faculties to grant absolution, does not constitute a declaration that the SSPX is schismatic, nor that the SSPX is not schismatic. It is, however, a generous gesture on the pontiff's part -- and only consistent, since it would be grievously uncharitable and unequitable for the pope who, out of a motive of wish to draw in the marginalised, washes the feet of transsexuals and women on Maundy Thursday in defiance or disregard of law, tradition and decency to be scrupulous of laws and doctrines pertaining to valid absolution rather than seek to reintegrate the SSPX.

Mike said...

You're as close to being Catholic ... as the south pole is from the north pole.

If you would like to know the Catholic Dogma ... that we *must believe* to get to Heaven ... I list it on my website.

Catholic Faith (pre-fulfillment) writing of Deuteronomy 31:21 >
"For I know their thoughts, and what they are about to do this day."

Catholic Faith (pre-fulfillment) writing of Job 21:27 >
"Surely I know your thoughts, and your unjust judgments against Me."

Catholic writing of Romans 1:21 >
"They ... became vain in their thoughts, and their foolish heart was darkened."

stev said...

Well Said Steve, concise and easy to understand. Not the professional "catholic" wonks on the radio.

thepiousstatesman said...

Mr. K.,

I am sorry to say that this is a big error you are proudly flaunting as the reality. So, the pope in his mercy grants the priests of the SSPX faculties to absolve for a period of one year, but does remember that along with confession, the SSPX faithful also marry. So, they are free to confess, but are not free to marry in the SSPX chapels. This compounds the mercy situation. How can the Holy Father give them mercy, but yet cause them to sin yet again by not recognizing their marriages?

I believe the SSPX have supplied jurisdiction which comes from canon law, because of the state of things in the Church for the last 50 years.. Since you will not do the work, I have gone to the SSPX website and brought in the appropriate information from the New Code of Canon Law (not that the SSPX uses it, but it is irony that even the new code has this information in it):

2) the general principles of canon law, which inspire the particular laws. The two principal ones are:

the salvation of souls is the highest law (NC 1752).
the Sacraments are on account of men.

3) recourse equity. This is recourse to the mind of the legislator (when there is nothing explicit in writing), who never wants his legislation to be too onerous (burdensome), but always wants it to be interpreted in a just and favorable manner. That it is indeed the mind of the Church to be generous in the granting of jurisdiction and not overstrict or onerous is also apparent from the following two canons:

OC 2261 §2 (NC 1335). The Church suspends its prohibition for an excommunicated or suspended priest celebrating the Sacraments or posing acts requiring jurisdiction, provided it be in favor of the faithful who request it for any reasonable cause at all, and especially if there is no other minister.
OC 878 §2 (NC 970). Ordinaries and superiors are not to restrict jurisdiction. If the priest is suitable and the good of the faithful requires his services this jurisdiction cannot be refused to him. Clearly traditional priests should in justice receive personal jurisdiction and that everywhere (NC 967).

It is clear that, given the present circumstances of crisis in the Church and the principles of Canonical Equity, given the general principles of the law, and the Church’s continuous practice of supplying jurisdiction for the good of the faithful whenever it foresees that this lack of jurisdiction would be to their detriment, traditional priests receive supplied jurisdiction from the law. This is with the understanding that personal jurisdiction is unjustly refused to them simply because of their attachment to the Faith and its traditional expression (inseparable from the Faith), and that the faithful cannot be expected to continually search out and judge for themselves which confessors in the Conciliar Church might be acceptable and might give them the spiritual advice they need (given that the vast majority do not).

In conclusion, therefore, it is obvious that, besides the case of common error, besides the case of probable and positive danger of death as interpreted in the broad sense of spiritual death, traditional priests receive a iure (from the law itself) a supplied jurisdiction for all cases in which this jurisdiction is required. This is simply the application of Canon 20, notably of Canonical Equity. There are no solid arguments against this and since there is at least a positive and probable doubt in favor of this argument, and we know that in such a case the Church certainly supplies jurisdiction, then traditional priests can and must act accordingly and the faithful can and should approach them for Confession.

In the case of marriage this conclusion need not be applied. For OC 1098 (NC 1116) describes situations when even a priest without jurisdiction can validly assist at a Catholic marriage, namely when there is a major "inconvenience" for more than one month (as, for example, the New Mass or the liberal pre-Cana classes).

Steve Kellmeyer said...

" How can the Holy Father give them mercy, but yet cause them to sin yet again by not recognizing their marriages? "

Classic - it is apparently the Pope's fault that people commit the sin of simulating a sacrament in an SSPX chapel. The Pope held a gun to their head and FORCED them to sin.

This is the level of your reasoning? Seriously? In your favor, and in the favor of those who commit the sin you describe, invincible ignorance IS a defense. It is your only defense, and, in your case, sufficient unto the day.