Are the faithful prohibited from attending Mass at the chapels of the SSPX? If so, why is it okay to engage in ecumenical prayer meetings with non-Catholics?
Image above: a group shot of the SSPX's superiors during a 2011 meeting at the SSPX's District Headquarters in Albano, Italy.
The Society of St. Pius X's District of Italy has published the press release below in response to the accusation of Bishop Semeraro of the Albano Diocese that the faithful are prohibited from attending the Masses offered by the priests of the SSPX or receive the sacraments from them, and to do so could be schismatic.
In addition to the canonical points ably made by the Italian District, we also offer for our reader's consideration the crucial Hawaii Six Case from 1993, which was decided in favor of the faithful attending the SSPX's chapel in Honolulu as not having incurred excommunication or of being schismatic.
Press Release of SSPX-Italy
In a notification dated October 14 of this year, Bishop Marcello Semeraro, Ordinary of the Diocese of Albano Laziale (Italy), made particularly odious statements about the Society of St. Pius X, for the purpose of keeping the faithful away from Masses celebrated by our Society and from the religious instruction given to young people, declaring that the Society was not “an institution of the Catholic Church”.
Bishop Semeraro cannot be unaware of the fact that the Society of St. Pius X was erected with the approval of the Bishop of Fribourg (Switzerland) on November 1, 1970, and that this establishment was ratified by Rome with a decree issued by Cardinal Wright, Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy on February 18, 1971. [see the SSPX's founding documents]
The house itself of the Society in Albano, with its semi-public oratory for the administration of the sacraments, was canonically erected by the decree of Bishop Semeraro’s predecessor, Bishop Raffaele Macario on February 22, 1974 (Protocol n. 140/74).
Despite the problems with the ecclesiastical authorities that developed following the deviations in the Faith and the liturgy brought about by the Second Vatican Council, and notwithstanding the illegitimate attempts to suppress our Society because of its fidelity to the Tradition of the Church, the Holy See itself, through the Roman Ecclesia Dei Commission, affirmed that one can perform one’s Sunday duty “by attending a Mass celebrated by a priest of the Society of St. Pius X” (January 18, 2003) and, as everyone knows, it no longer considers the bishops of that same Society to be not in communion with the Catholic Church.
It is very odd that Bishop Semeraro should intervene in this way when he has made himself the champion of ecumenism in his diocese. In 2009 he granted the Church of San Francesco in Genzano, which was built with the labors and sacrifices of our ancestors for Catholic worship, to schismatics and heretics. On January 28 of this year he organized an ecumenical vigil in the cathedral to pray with persons who are certainly not “in communion with the Catholic Church”, such as an Evangelical Lutheran pastor and an Orthodox bishop.
In the month of November alone, three [ecumenical] meetings are scheduled in the diocese, and the bishop will preside at one of them, thus supporting religions that deny truths of the Faith that have been defined by the Church and spreading the false doctrine of indifferentism, which says that every religion is helpful for salvation. He does not seem to care that this openly contradicts the teaching of the perennial Magisterium of the Church, in particular of Pope Pius XI in his encyclical, Mortalium animos.
Moreover from March 26 to 28 of this year the house of the Somaschi Fathers in Albano hosted the First Forum of Christian Homosexuals, at which the practice of sodomy was defended in principle as an act of true love!
All this is possible in the diocese... but not attending the Masses or classes of those who hand down the Church’s Tradition in doctrine and the liturgy!
This blatant inconsistency is an obvious symptom of the terrible crisis that is affecting the whole Church and that was manifested again recently in the last Synod, in which, under the pretext of mercy, there was discussion of the possibility of changing the Sixth Commandment of God and of abandoning the indissolubility of Christian marriage!
The Society of St. Pius X, following the example of its founder, will continue to transmit in its entirety the deposit of the Catholic Faith and morals, openly taking sides against all the errors that try to distort it, without fear of threats or of unjust canonical sanctions, because neither Bishop Semeraro nor any other member of the ecclesiastical hierarchy will ever be able to change this deposit. As St. Peter said, “It is better to obey God rather than men.”
All who wish to receive the sacraments as the Church has always administered them, or to receive authentic catechetical instruction for their children, adult formation, spiritual direction and comfort for the sick will always be welcome in our chapels.
Society of St. Pius X, District of Italy