Does Catholic Answers think it is more Catholic than the pope?

Apparently Staples is assuming that the priests of the SSPX, and possibly other Traditional laity, are not united with the Church as a part of Her “visible bodily structure” or bonded to Her by “ecclesiastical government.” But is this true? The SSPX was instituted with full approval from the local bishop in 1970 and its ministers are currently under no censure of excommunication, but simply lack a canonical status. Rome has readily admitted that their situation is not like the Orthodox in that they are still considered subject to the Code of Canon Law and are not schismatic. Pope Benedict even went so far as to say in 2007 that the situation of the SSPX is, “a matter of coming to an interior reconciliation in the heart of the Church.”[5]

Of course, if Staples would look at paragraph eight of Lumen Gentium, he would learn that the “Church of Christ” merely “subsists in” the Catholic Church. Thus, even if the SSPX were not in “full Communion” with the Catholic Church, they could, according to Vatican II, still belong to the “Church of Christ” and thus contain “many elements of sanctification and truth.” Furthermore, even if the SSPX were formally schismatic, as Staples claims the sedevacantists are, paragraph fifteen of Lumen Gentium makes this seem like a pretty good state to be in:

The Church recognizes that in many ways she is linked with those who, being baptized, are honored with the name of Christian, though they do not profess the faith in its entirety or do not preserve unity of communion with the successor of Peter. For there are many who honor Sacred Scripture, taking it as a norm of belief and a pattern of life, and who show a sincere zeal. They lovingly believe in God the Father Almighty and in Christ, the Son of God and Saviour. They are consecrated by baptism, in which they are united with Christ. They also recognize and accept other sacraments within their own Churches or ecclesiastical communities. Many of them rejoice in the episcopate, celebrate the Holy Eucharist and cultivate devotion toward the Virgin Mother of God. They also share with us in prayer and other spiritual benefits. Likewise we can say that in some real way they are joined with us in the Holy Spirit, for to them too He gives His gifts and graces whereby He is operative among them with His sanctifying power…[6]

Thus, according to Lumen Gentium, even if the SSPX is not “fully incorporated into the Society of the Church” they can still “in some real way” be joined with the Catholic Church in the Holy Spirit, receiving gifts and graces whereby God “is operative among them with His sanctifying power.” If this is the case, what is the real importance of full incorporation “into the Society of the Church?” As this exercise demonstrates, trying to pin any precise definition on the shifting, ambiguous, and contradictory language of Vatican II documents is a recipe for utter disaster; hence, the Traditionalists’ critique of the Council texts themselves.

Read more

Editor’s note: There’s much more to this wide ranging article.


  1. For now, there is absolutely nothing that I could add to the excellent summation in the last (but far from final) paragraph, above, of this post.

    I look forward to reading the entire linked article.

  2. If I wanted to have my cake and eat it then I would be entirely accepting of the SSPX as a Christian society!
    If I supposed that Mother Church was simply ignorant of the elaborate maze of theological escape routes than I should join the SSPX.
    If I accepted that the Authority of The Pope and the order of Bishops was no more than their invalid opinion then I would join the SSPX freely!

    But reader I do none of these things. The SSPX is a pernicious group of heretics that even today lead good souls into eternal oblivion.

    The entire organisation is heretical. It was formed because the occasional French Bishop did not accept the ecumenical nature of the Second Vatican Council. Furthermore such persons whilst claiming fidelity to Pope and brother bishops refused publicly to engage with the wishes of the Council in any ecumenical move rather claiming singular authority from what was personally perceived as the wishes of past generations!
    Such an organisation led by such a disobedient bishop is finally excommunicate not just because the Pope may action public excommunication (even if this was later lowered but never fully rescinded as an attempt by a pope to offer the hand of Salvation from the Church before eternal punishment engulf these miscreants) but because they are in mortal sin by refusing to accept Papal Authority.
    The Delightful Lumen Gentium makes it possible for the Salvation of non Catholics (people not within the catholic church) providing they are of GOOD WILL only. This means they must be both sincere in their desire to live good lives and lead them according to the teaching of respective faiths.
    The SSPX since the demise of the damned heretic Lefebvre have produced various statements which include a holocaust denial and a statement of the Popes becoming anti-Christ! Such statements should fill any true Catholic with horror and a sense of fury that such objects are allowed to imagine they are freely part of the Catholic Church when they are well on the road to perdition!
    It is folly and wickedness that the Roman Catholic Church has not yet dealt with these anathema breeding slime buckets as they truly deserve! They are not Christians and they are less than devil worshipping idolaters! There will be no salvation for them unless they yield and turn back to Jesus Christ and accept his pope and his Councils in full!

    There is nothing else I can add to the above because it is a sham that such persons remain in sin grave and deliberate and yet deny this faith of Our Catholic Church. They shall only receive condemnation from the Saviour if they persist in their wickedness and idolatry.

    • It seems that you missed the writer’s point. If Protestants are accepted as Christians, according to VII’s liberal standards, then the SSPX people can’t possibly be the slime buckets you make them out to be, since all they are doing is standing up for the first 1950 years of infallible Catholic dogma – as opposed to the new, revised stuff, which is often totally at odds with it. The real question is: How does anyone – even a pope – get away with turning 1950 years of infallible Catholic teaching and tradition on its head – giving free reign to heretics of every kind – yet continue to crack down only on those who continue cling to and publicly defend all the old – and still totally valid Catholic truths – a position which used to be the very definition of martyrdom and heroic virtue? Now, do you see the paradox? For 1950 years, Catholic popes and bishops taught one, infallible, totally inerrant collection of Catholic truth, based on the teachings of Jesus Christ, as they were handed down to them from the apostles. Then – in 1965 – everything changed – even though Pope Paul VI said nothing really changed – since the council was merely “pastoral”. Somebody was obviously lying! Was it the church of the ages, or was it the modernist revolutionaries who are still apparently trying to conform the church to the world – rather than doing just the opposite? It’s no accident that both the church – and the world – are today, on a long, downward slide to only God knows where – and you can’t blame the SSPX guys for that!


      • Doug,

        No the Council does not suggest the SSPX are like Protestants! nor should we.
        The Protestants are legitimate and use Scripture for their own understanding albeit of certain limitations. Yet they are Christian brethren unless they show themselves to be against good will and oppose the Roman Catholic Church as an obstacle to Salvation.

        The SSPX is a group of former Catholics that in full knowledge of what they did turned against the authority of their leaders.
        One recalls the saints that have seen hell and written about it (inc. Teresa, bosco, faustina, Vianney with menedez and Fatima seers) whom have stated that the clerics in hell are nearly all damned for disobedience to their superiors. That once made a vow cannot be broken by convenience. In this way the SSPX bishops and clerics have shown that they do not care a less about obedience but presume they are the Church militant and triumphant! This is a gross error and unrepented is damnable!

        Whatever they presumed about the past it is irrelevant! They as Bishops (lefebvre) are sworn to obedience of the Central Head Bishop, the pope. It is the will of Christ that no matter what the pope tells them as their superior they must obey! Even if the advice is something they perceive as incorrect it is irrelevant! They are bound in obedience!
        When that wicked Bishop in France refused to acknowledge the Legitimate papacy in effect he made himself excommunicate. Whatever the official laws of Cannon law state he was and remained to death at odds with the Council and the Bishops majority, in effect the Magisterium. He continued to sin against Gods Church and by his bad example of disobedience to Pope etc he undoubtedly displeased Our Lord. never more than when Paul 6 in a desperate effort to bring his unfaithful cleric to heel reminded him publically that he was in denial of the will of The Holy Spirit!
        At that point any cleric indeed any Catholic should have realised it was no longer in their hands and fallen in behind the will of the bishops and the Pope. That wicked man refused and whilst claiming himself Catholic he continued to bring false admiration to his bench. Probably why one of the four Bishops is a holocaust denying cleric! Souls are lost because they follow this evil satanic cleric and refuse to stand in obedience and charity.
        Quite frankly Doug, the SSPX is the most sinful and abhorrent organisation on this earth. They are disgusting because they are led by Satan into rebellion against the Holy Apostolic Church. The very idea that they are suitable to take their place at the Table of Christ can only be considered if and when the Holy Spirit breaks into their darkened hearts and brings them to contrition. Otherwise I fear I cannot give one sigh of hope for any of them. They are offensive to the over whelming majority of Catholics and Christians through out the world. Their tiny band is by grace fortunately dying but like many evils and heretical movements they may still inflict their venom on Mother Church in the years to come!

        I hope that you understand that in my books they cannot be identified with any Christian group as they are anathema regardless of what some other commentators may suggest. I have not sat in individual judgement of these persons because I am aware that only God can know the true sanctity of the individual but as an unrepentent group, like the Nazis for example they are accursed for eternity.

      • And yet they can still celebrate Mass and confect the Holy Eucharist – something of which no Protestant is capable. I think you need to rethink your position on these people. As for being accursed – I don’t know where you got the authority to make such a statement. The SSPX people are presently considered Catholics in good standing by the Vatican, as the author of the article properly explained.


    • I note, once again, a hearty, blunt, eternal damnation issued in this comment by its writer toward one of his pet peeves. Seems like a risky habit to me. I recall reading somewhere a Divine injunction against just that sort of judging.

      • Mark,
        as a liberal Catholic (one that puts up with a considerable amount of nonsense from others I think my regard for the SPX is quite charitable! Indeed most Catholics I know would be far more violent towards these objects) it is alas a common thread in too many of Doug’s blogs because of the error perpetuated by the SSPX that they are in some ways justified! Taking a leaf from the (supposedly) traditionalist (not that I think they are in any way traditionalists) comment I suggest that these heretics should be burnt at the stake and their ashes scattered and books burnt beside them!
        The reason being as I stated above that they are evil and lead souls away from the ONE TRUE HOLY APOSTOLIC CHURCH.
        Yes I believe they are condemned by Gods revelation just as I believe the Nazis were damned or Satanists that worship juggernaut! I would be incorrect if I did not continue to beat the drum accordingly . . .apparently !!!
        It is not a case of judging individuals souls but of reminding the faithful to the ONE TRUE AND HOLY APOSTOLIC CHURCH LED BY POPES AND COUNCILS that these people have proven themselves wolves in sheeps clothing. That to follow their lead is a disaster for any of the faithful as they are in effect damnably evil incarnate!

      • (Replying to scampy22’s reply to me): You just went to a lot of trouble and great lengths to reinforce the point I made above quite briefly.

  3. Doug,
    NO the SSPX are not in good standing with The Roman Catholic Church! The article is misleading as all SSPX Propaganda is! They are outside the Church and any sacraments they may action are in effect null and void. UNLIKE the Protestant Church that is recognised in Baptism, Marriage (when in union with the RCs) AND all readings and meetings over Scriptural texts etc, and in common prayers together!

    The SSPX have not been accepted back into the Roman Church and they are still required to renounce their Schismatic views on the Council, The AUTHORITY of the POPE and their rejection of the Ecumenical movement addressed by the Second Vatican Council.

    For as long as they reject these things they have not a Catholic Mass but an evil abortion of Gods Laws. They are utterly heretical because they unlike the Protestants that totally split from Rome, insist that they are in effect the true Apostolic Church! That is ANATHEMA!!!
    They are accursed because they refuse to accept the Council and Popes and their proclamations on both other faiths and the ecumenical nature of the Holy Spirit!
    As scripture notes such false teachers are the enemies of Our Lord and every Good Roman Catholic MUST demand they are shown up for the wickedness they breed.

    In Jude we see the people FALSE TEACHERS that refused to believe in Israel and its commandments are destroyed, In ” John we learn of these false people that attempted to go against the Church and lead others astray. They are damned!
    In 1 John 4 we are reminded that we shall have nothing to do with false teachers that refuse to accept the word of God. They are Damned!
    Again in 1 John 2;19 we see rivals to the Church that came out of the church to preach evil against the Church. They are Damned!
    Again in 2 Peter 2 False teachers that come out the Church try to deceive the elect with their malice to the Church. They are damned!
    It is simply useless to suggest that the SSPX have a right to their ideas because they do not even though they would prefer to say they are Catholics it is an insult to the Massive majority – well over 99.9 % of the Catholic world. It is akin to Jehovah witnesses saying they are Christians .. simply to give themselves respectability!
    Unlike The JWs the SSPX have not accepted Gods laws in the Catholic Church whilst they claim (falsely) to be part of it!

    My wrath against these SSPX is in justified horror because NO CATHOLIC should tolerate these rebellious souls that are not in the Church of Rome but live and speak in mortal sin!
    I would have thought it was self evident to you Doug that as a Catholic the Laws of Obedience are not to be wavered simply because they rest uneasily on our shoulders. The SSPX is a full heretical movement and until its Bishops bow before the Pope and acknowledge their full error in contrite contrition they remain in eternal mortal sin!
    On this ground I accuse them . . .all of them as being the children of darkness and warn of their imminent destruction without reserve.

    I am afraid I have no understanding of how I reinforced your argument. Maybe some time we can sit down and speak about it because I do not see it myself!

    • The SSPX disagrees with the Vatican on matters of doctrine which had been settled for some 1900 years, until Vatican II turned things on its head. Under the previous papal edict, the SSPX masses were considered by the church to be valid but illicit. Today, since Benedict XVI’s formal rejection of that earlier, hasty and ill considered papal action, their status has improved. Please read this objective, unbiased article on Catholic Canon Law and the SSPX. It should makes things much clearer for you.


  4. Doug,
    No the Pope Benedict did not reject the earlier conclusion he offered the SSPX the terms the Vatican has always offered namely that they recant their schismatic views (I prefer the word Heretical) and accept The Will of the Pope as in Obedience they are required to do!

    I do not accept the premise that these objects are Catholic nor do I accept that even a stupid Catholic can defend this heretical crap trap! It is a Mortal Sin against God and Mother Church!
    I do not recognise in the past, Now Or in the Future any of these wicked persons as having anything to do with the God I worship! The God the Catholic Church recognises and adores.
    The SSPX are no more than Pharisees and like them can only receive Christ’s utter condemnation into hell itself! This modern brood of vipers these whited sepulchres are the thing of nightmares and I am sorry but the best we can hope to do here is agree to forever disagree.

    I will say I am rather sadly offended because I assumed that any intelligent Catholic with the least understanding or Christian Charity could only be reviled by that wicked organisation.
    At this time alas, I see no reason for changing this opinion!!

    • “The SSPX are no more than Pharisees and like them can only receive Christ’s utter condemnation into hell itself” (emphasis added)!

      This is quite astonishing. I had assumed—in tune with this commenter’s bent—that no one but the Vicar of Christ on Earth could validly speak for Him infallibly in matters of faith and morals. And even then, I am not aware of any pope’s ever having pronounced—in loco Christi— final judgment on anyone.

      I guess I have some catching-up to do. But then, don’t all of us “rad-trads,” according to the modernists.

      • Instead of “final judgment,” I should say “eternal damnation.”

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