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Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Yes, Catholics, You May Attend an SSPX Mass!

Are empty churches a metaphor for the lost faith
of so many Catholics including bishops & priests?
My husband and I rise every morning, get dressed for the day, and head to our little parish church, St. John Bosco in Woodstock, VA to pray the daily Mass in our Magnificat and receive Communion spiritually. Thank God the bishop hasn't ordered us all locked out! This morning when we arrived there were two people in the church. When we left we were the only ones there worshiping, but two painters had arrive to work on repainting the interior of the church. (Proper distancing was respected.)

Although I'm grateful for televised Masses for shut-ins, I can't watch the Mass on TV without being disturbed and upset. Why is that, I've wondered? This morning, as I was praying, and reading St. Jean Vianney's 25th Eucharistic Meditation (on attending daily Mass) as the "sermon," I received the answer.

Watching a video of a priest saying a private Mass emphasizes to me that our bishops and priests (and the pope) have abandoned us. Of course I'm glad priests are still praying the Mass privately. I believe the world would end without it. At the same time, I think the bishops are acting like hirelings in many cases, fleeing the "wolf" of the virus and leaving the sheep to fend for themselves as best we can.

The clergy, from the pope to the loneliest priest in the world, can continue to be physically fed by the Eucharist while the sheep starve. Instead of looking for creative ways to offer the Mass (like the drive-in services encouraged by our evil governor -- what an irony!) bishops suspended all public Masses even before state governments required it.

Oh...but our shepherds remind us to keep sending in our money because the churches where we are restricted to no more than ten at a time (if we aren't locked out altogether) still need to pay the bills.

Get out the violins.

Larry and I have been discussing it.  We think we will imagine ourselves putting our monthly donation in the basket until the real basket reappears. A spiritual donation (We pray for our priests, deacon parish family) seems appropriate, while we give a real donation to groups like Mercy Chefs who are feeding real people with real food.

How many Americans are losing their livelihood? How many will lose their jobs (millions already), their homes, their savings, their pensions, their cars, etc.? Meanwhile our shepherds remind us to "pray" (remotely), pay (electronic payment especially desirable), and obey (the bishop suspended Masses, how dare you go to the SSPX!)! Clericalism is alive and well in the coronavirus church.

Remember the song Tradition at the opening of Fiddler on the Roof and the exchange between the beggar and Lazar?
"Alms for the poor, alms for the poor..."
"Here, Reb Nahum, is one kopek."
"One kopek? Last week you gave me two kopeks."
"I had a bad week."
"So, if you had a bad week, why should I suffer?"
Put your bishop's name in the place of Reb Nahum and then hear him advise you to give as many kopeks as possible to pay for his bloated chancery staff including, in my diocese, his recently hired Chief Operating Officer.

There are certainly serious reasons to exercise caution during the virus, but every situation is not the same. New York City is densely populated. The Shenandoah Valley is not. Every county in Virginia has a fairground that could be used for drive-in Masses with less risk than going to the grocery store. So why aren't our priests encouraged to look for safe alternatives rather than starving their flocks?

Is this the only alternative during the coronavirus? Selfies in the pews?
Real sheep need real grass. They won't thrive by eating pictures of grass during a drought. The Catholic sheep won't thrive on videos of the Mass and beautiful pictures of the Eucharist. Yes, God in His generosity will shower His graces on us if we ask, but many will grow indifferent to the real thing. A priest friend told me several of his parishioners described how much they "enjoy" the new arrangement. They can walk on the treadmill or drink coffee while they treat the Mass like Prime video! What will happen when the Mass is restored? Will they be back or figure watching Mass on TV is the same.

At least when my husband and I pray the Mass in the church in Christ's physical presence we can be near Him in the tabernacle. So that's what we're doing for daily Mass and we will continue to attend valid Masses on Sunday wherever we can find them with validly ordained priests saying them.

As for whether Catholics may attend SSPX Masses during this time -- the answer is an unequivocal yes!
Can. 844 §1. Catholic ministers administer the sacraments licitly to Catholic members of the Christian faithful alone, who likewise receive them licitly from Catholic ministers alone, without prejudice to the prescripts of §§2, 3, and 4 of this canon, and can. 861, §2. 
§2. Whenever necessity requires it or true spiritual advantage suggests it, and provided that danger of error or of indifferentism is avoided, the Christian faithful for whom it is physically or morally impossible to approach a Catholic minister are permitted to receive the sacraments of penance, Eucharist, and anointing of the sick from non-
Catholic ministers in whose Churches these sacraments are valid.
Catholics  aren't required to keep the Sunday obligation since the bishops have suspended it, a prudent decision on their part since there are many vulnerable people out there. But some of us spiritually weak sheep are starving and we're willing to take the minimal risk of attending a drive-in Mass where we can be fed the Bread of Life.

If there's no grass in our own field, we must go to another field where the grass is lush and the shepherds welcome us.

Sheep obediently following the social distancing guidelines. It's possible!
If you want to think about this more, here are some articles for consideration.

Is It Ever Okay to Take Shelter in an SSPX Mass?

Holy Week in the Era of Coronavirus

Two scourges: Coronavirus and abortion. One cure: the Mass.

A REMNANT INTERVIEW: Bishop Athanasius Schneider on Church’s handling of Coronavirus


  1. The SSPX in my state are also shut down. Alas.

  2. I received this via e-mail

    I just read your post: Yes, Catholics, You May Attend an SSPX Mass!

    I don't care for the live stream Masses either.

    I will start doing my daily Mass as you do. Our adoration chapel is open, but no exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.
    The picture of the priest saying Mass with the pictures in the pews shows just how silly the Mass facing the people is. In saying the Mass this way, he needs to have people to say the Mass to. I commented to a priest once that facing the people is silly - when he lifts the Blessed Sacrament at the consecration, to whom is he lifting it? To whom is he looking? Ad orientum has the crucifix right in front of the priest where he can't miss it and it keeps his focus.

    I pray that this lack of public Masses will impress upon the priests who still say the Mass facing the people how ridiculous it is.

  3. Send the bishop a video of you putting money in a basket.

  4. Thanks for the laugh, Father. We'll be putting a real check in the bucket at the SSPX Mass at the Fairgrounds -- the donation that would have gone to our parish.

  5. “To whom is he lifting it ...”

    That is the nut of the problem in six words.

    Here’s four more: “Why are we there”?

    If it is about us, then by all means, let’s face each other and celebrate us.

    If it is about God, and that truly is God (!!), Creator of all things, our Savior, He who created us and sustains our every breath, if it is Triune God on the Altar ... (wooh!) then by all means let’s face our Lord and our God, on our knees, behind our Pries, offering Him our best.

    We must answer your question - every Catholic must answer it: “To whom are we lifting it”?

  6. The SSPX is shutdown in my state also. The independent Latin Rite chapels and various Eastern rite churches are harder to track, but most of them seem closed as well. The states are threatening to arrest people who gather in certain places.

  7. Here's what's stupid to me. Our church is open for prayer and adoration, but last night, Holy Thursday, people were run out so priests could say mass and allowed to come back when it was over.

    Satan must have been dying laughing. Slapping his knees and losing his breath happy!

    Here's an idea that doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out. Every church has a parking lot for every family that arrives, so USE IT!!! All clergy needs to do is set up speakers and broadcast the sound to the people in their cars. If a fairground works, why not your own property? Let people receive Holy Communion in a drive by fashion like happens when parents pick up their kids from school.

  8. I have to disagree with Chriss Rainey on Holy Mass with cars.

    While I understand we are all trying to figure out a way to sustain Holy Mass in these times of persecution, my opinion is that this is an improper solution.

    We are a physical Church in which Mass requires our physical presence and we must physically receive our Lord in the physical Sacraments (visible sign of the invisible reality).

    When we approach the Altar inside of our machine, we are not physically there as intended by God. We are separated by the walls of our machines on wheels. There is something indefinable (I can’t quite put my finger on it) about cars at Mass that strikes me as profoundly wrong. The physical reality of that is - the cars are approaching the Holy Altar of God, even though we are in them, it is the car that is physically, visually present.

    I see this as a time of civil disobedience, especially for Catholics (“I will not comply“). God’s Law is higher than man’s law. If Bishop puts man’s law over God’s Law, then that ruling is not valid. I will always be ruled by God’s Law first. And so, take reasonable precautions (social distancing in the pews with more Mass times) but do not change the Mass (cars instead of people in the congregation) or cancel the Mass (no people at all in the congregation).

    I say this with all due respect. These times are not easy and are certainly confusing to us all. I don’t claim to have answers, am open to correction if proved wrong. These are my speculations and personal beliefs in accord, imo, with Tradition and Constant Church Teaching.

    1. I agree fully. Sadly, the Mass has been denigrated with this “ substitute” of live stream Masses and so forth in my opinion. Not that those death priests have that intention, nor the poor laity who do their best to assist. But.....I am afraid that Satan will make much mischief from this as the faith becomes more Protestants like with this “ substitute”.

  9. I'll think about that, Aqua. I don't think there is much chance that our bishops will engage in civil disobedience so drive-in Masses may be the only option for....well....a very long time. And despite Bishop Schneider saying priests do no have to obey their bishops demand to suspend the Mass, what priest will risk being removed by his bishop? We've seen what bishops can do to faithful priests many times.

    Very few bishops ever joined the ranks of those defending the unborn with their bodies. If all our Catholic bishops had gone to the abortuaries in 1973 we would not have abortion today. But they didn't and wouldn't.

    I think with affection of that great bishop, Austin Vaughan who is the only one I can EVER remember acting like he believed the lives of the babies were equal to his own. I'm asking for his intercession during this horribly sad time.

  10. Bishop Vaughan‘s stance is a very good analogy to our current crisis. It should guide us in this or any conflict between God and Man.

    There is man’s law: humans are randomly evolved from dirt with no guiding source or meaning; humans are functional beings whose value is determined by their functional contribution to the evolutionary reality.

    There is God’s Law: humans are made in the image and likeness of God; their life begins in the mind of God who ensouls them in a body created by his limitless creative power. Their life has worth because God has ordained it so and each life is answerable to God one day when we see Him face to face. As you say: the unborn baby’s life in the womb is *equally* valuable to Mario Cuomo’s life in all his “splendor” and “power”. No more, no less, because value is according to God and God’s Law.

    God does not care about secular law when we answer for what we have done at the Judgement Seat of God, before Jesus our terrible (in the awesome, sublime way) Judge. He especially does not care about excuses based on atheistic communist secular law.

  11. I think our pastoral leaders have made the church buildings look like Pizza Huts, and closed them like they are Pizza Huts. I was disappointed that in all of the mewling from our Chancery about church closings, there was nothing said about what to do if you're in danger of death during this deathly crisis. It's almost like they don't really think all this churchy stuff is important, but is merely stuff you have to do because in usual times people expect it.