Communiqué of the General House about the letter from the Ecclesia Dei Commission concerning marriages of the faithful of the Society of Saint Pius X (April 4, 2017)
As with the measures taken by Pope Francis granting to the priests of the Society of Saint Pius X the faculty to hear confessions during the Holy Year (September 1, 2015), and extending this faculty beyond the Holy Year (November 20, 2015), the General House has learned that the Holy Father decided “to authorize Local Ordinaries to grant faculties for the celebration of marriages of faithful who follow the pastoral activity of the Society.” (Letter from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith dated March 27, 2017, published on April 4)
This decision by the Supreme Pontiff foresees that: “Insofar as possible, the Local Ordinary is to grant the delegation to assist at the marriage to a priest of the Diocese (or in any event, to a fully regular priest), so that the priest may receive the consent of the parties during the marriage rite, followed, in keeping with the liturgy of the Vetus ordo, by the celebration of Mass, which may be celebrated by a priest of the Society.”
But it also provides that: “Where the above is not possible, or if there are no priests in the Diocese able to receive the consent of the parties, the Ordinary may grant the necessary faculties to the priest of the Society who is also to celebrate the Holy Mass, reminding him of the duty to forward the relevant documents [attesting to the celebration of the sacrament] to the Diocesan Curia as soon as possible.”
The Society of Saint Pius X conveys its deep gratitude to the Holy Father for his pastoral solicitude as expressed in the letter from the Ecclesia Dei Commission, for the purpose of alleviating “any uncertainty regarding the validity of the sacrament of marriage." Pope Francis clearly wishes that, as in the matter of confessions, all the faithful who want to marry in the presence of a priest of the Society of Saint Pius X can do so without any worries about the validity of the sacrament. It is to be hoped that all the bishops share this same pastoral solicitude.
The priests of the Society of Saint Pius X will strive faithfully, as they have done since their ordination, to prepare future spouses for marriage according to the unchangeable doctrine of Christ about the unity and indissolubility of this union (cf. Mt 19:6), before receiving the parties’ consent in the traditional rite of the Holy Church.
Source: FSSPX/MG – DICI dated April 4, 2017
English translation of the Ecclesia Dei Commission letter at the Vatican website.