On the necessity of the SSPX

Lisa Johnston | lisajohnston@archstl.org Seth Marton has participated in Seders his whole life, but this Passover he will host one for the first time at his home. Marton broke matzah during the hunger seder at the Cardinal Rigali Center as part of the Arc

Many faithful, thoroughly orthodox Catholics will say things like this: “The SSPX needs to ‘return to the Church’ (i.e., regularize their canonical status) in order to help us fight from the inside. They don’t do any good on the outside.” Putting aside, for the moment, the mistake of thinking the SSPX is not already in the heart of the Church, the fact is that the SSPX would never be allowed to say things that need saying if they were under the control of the modernist hierarchy. Theirs is an indispensible voice at the present time.

Let’s take just one real world scenario, which I mentioned in an earlier comment. On April 8 in Saint Louis, the diocese recently co-sponsored a Jewish Seder meal, with prayers led by a local rabbi, purportedly to combat hunger. Catholics were encouraged to attend. Naturally, this kind of thing has long been forbidden by the Church, the danger of indifferentism for Catholics being rather obvious, and the negligence of permitting Jews to believe that the Church does not desire their conversion being still more scandalous. A good priest would warn his flock that they should not under any circumstances attend this event. But how likely is it that the bishop would tolerate one of his own priests, or even a priest of the traditionalist orders, publicly issuing such a warning? Such insubordination is naturally intolerable. Only the SSPX is in a position to act freely against this kind of scandal.

It’s wrong to say, as some in the Society occasionally do, that the Ecclesia Dei institutes cannot combat errors or fight for tradition. They can and they do, but on a different front. The work of these institutes is also very necessary. They teach and sanctify, reaching thousands who cannot be reached by the SSPX and who might have been lost otherwise. A congregation that has been well instructed by them already understands that attendance at the “interfaith Seder” would be scandalous. But these institutes cannot publicly oppose the bishop upon whose generosity they depend. The SSPX remains a necessary voice 25 years after the consecrations.


7 thoughts on “On the necessity of the SSPX

  1. JMJ you are a first to say this, brave! I agree and Michael Davies (RIP) would also agree. I hate the PC let your yes mean yes and your no no. To be or not to be. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the model and to his own 12 and you do you want to walk away as well?


  2. “It is impossible to conceive of the Catholic Church as anything but continuity, as tradition, as the heir of her past. It is impossible to understand a Catholic Church that breaks with her past, with her tradition, and precisely because of the impossibility of imagining such a thing, I find myself in a rather strange situation: that of a bishop who has been suspended for having founded a seminary in Switzerland, a seminary that was legally, canonically erected, a seminary that welcomes many vocations; and eight years after its foundation we have many houses in the United States, one in Canada, in England, in France, in Switzerland, in Germany, and even in Italy here in Albano.

    How can it be that while continuing to do what I myself have done during fifty years of my life, with the congratulations and the encouragement of the popes, and in particular of Pope Pius XII who honored me with his friendship, I should find myself today considered an enemy of the Church? How is this possible, how is it conceivable? I had the opportunity to say this to the pope in the last audience I had on September 11.

    I told him: I cannot understand the reason why, unexpectedly, after having formed seminarians for my whole life the way I am forming them, whereas before the council I had all sorts of honors, excluding only the cardinalate, now, after the council, I find myself suspended a divinis, practically considered a schismatic, practically excommunicated as an enemy of the Church. I do not think such a thing is possible or conceivable. Therefore something in the Church has changed, something that was changed by the men of the Church, in the history of the Church.”

    –Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in 1977 (as quoted in “The Second Vatican Council: An Unwritten Story” by Roberto de Mattei, Loreto Press (2012), pp. 555-56).


  3. The SSPX needs to stay the course, of that it is certain. Their “no compromise” position – of which others both within and now without the Society have said they compromised on – has been the mainstay of my personal support. Much like my maneuvering the never-ending maze of divorce & annulment from outside the divorce box and making more than a few gaffes along the way because of it, so the SSPX maneuvers and winds its way through the maze of Modernism – and suffers the same ostracizing result. I wrote on a similar theme back in January:

    “It doesn’t take a moral theologian, or even Michael Voris, to make the distinction that VII has been an unmitigated disaster for the Church. Unless you are a low-information Catholic and are content to set in the pew and nod your head up and down occasionally to let the lector-of-the-day know you are paying attention to his/her reading, you will understand the former statement is true by simply reading the Headlines on Pewsitter or Rorate Caeli. I would dare say that if one produced a reverse-timeline chart of the problems in today’s Catholic Church, the ending point would probably fall somewhere between 1962 and 1965, with a couple notable spikes in the 70’s and 80’s (a meteoric rise in annulments being one of the more notable). Decimation of convents, lack of priestly vocations, decrease in Mass attendance, the increase of cafeteria Catholics…the New Springtime has been wonderful and glorious to behold, has it not?

    Is it any wonder, then, that Rome and most of the Roman Curia have little Love for the SSPX? The Society has produced everything that the New Springtime of VII did not: over-crowding at their seminaries, abundant vocations in their convents, young families with their stair-step kids in the pews, increase in baptisms and weddings, a growing world-wide apostolate, a massive and successful publishing apostolate, increased enrollment in their schools, etc.

    …What is going on with the SSPX – and probably the FFI as well – is nothing more than heavy-handedness in trying to shore up the fallacy that is VII and force it work, àla Obamacare. For Rome to do otherwise would be to jeopardize the Rodney King “can’t we all just be friends?” meme of VII that has been so ballyhooed as a success over the last 5 decades. They [Rome] are locked into a no-win scenario and must be exhausted at the end of each day…”

    Pope Francis and Bp. Fellay – indeed Rome and the SSPX – need our prayers. Any reasonable Catholic that reads the news and understands their Faith as handed down from and by Christ and his Apostles will see the necessity for the SSPX – and the other Traditional Orders like them – to balance the errors and indifferentism coming from the Modernist Rome, until such time as She re-gains her foothold in Tradition. The SSPX doesn’t reject all of VII – just the parts that veer from the Tradition that had been the glory of Catholicism up until 1962.


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