Someone from the Linden SSPX chapel, or at least someone close to the situation, sent a question about marriages witnessed by SSPX priests to Fr. Z. He responded in his column on March 7th. The details in the letter and the fact that several marriages DID TAKE PLACE at the chapel recently after the bishop refused delegation for traditional nuptial masses in diocesan churches make it crystal clear we're talking about the Front Royal/Linden situation. Here's the question from Fr. Z's correspondent who obviously is familiar with the conflict:
I am from a town where the SSPX has recently established a vibrant chapel and has been extremely generous in providing Traditional Latin Mass and other Sacraments in the traditional rite. The local diocesan parish has also provided daily TLM but can no longer provide Traditional weddings. Recently there were a couple of weddings that took place at the SSPX chapel for which the local diocesan bishop had refused the necessary “permission”. The (diocesan) parish has announced that these couples’ marriage are of doubtful validity and that those who knowingly attended the wedding should go to Confession before approaching for Holy Communion.
Would you clarify what the canonical status of SSPX weddings (specifically those with denied permissions) is? Also is it true that attendance at such a wedding constitutes a sin? Thank you for all that you do those of us living in these confusing times.
And here's part of Fr. Z's reply. It's pretty obvious he was riled up by the "spiritual stinginess" of the denial. After all, how does this help win the salvation of souls? Shouldn't that be our primary objective?:
Such unnecessary nonsense. For cryin’ out loud! Just give the SSPX priest delegation already! What are these bishops so afraid of? Why are they so spiritually stingy?
Alas, from the point of view of the current Code of Canon Law for the Latin Church, without that delegation, these weddings are invalid. For the sake of proper form, there has to be a officiating witness to the exchange of vows with proper jurisdiction (such as a pastor in his parish) or delegation of that jurisdiction (such as a visiting priest who comes to do the wedding). SSPX chapels are not parishes and their priests are not pastors with jurisdiction to witness marriages. Francis opened this up and made it possible for local bishops to give delegation to SSPX priests for weddings are their chapels. Most US bishops have done this, I think, and they also have a priest who acts as a kind of liaison in these matters. Some bishops are rather more narrow-minded and cold-hearted when it comes to the desire of people to tie the knot with the Traditional Rite, probably in the chapel where they grew up. But why have a pastorally sensitive heart toward these people? Right? They are only the most marginalized and now purposely persecuted group in the entire Church.
On another point, I’m not sure why/how the priest at the parish determined that “knowingly attending” these weddings is mortally sinful. First, if the parish needs to inform people, then they did not “knowingly attend” and therefore they did not fulfill one of the portions of committing a mortal sin, that is, knowledge that the act is mortally sinful. Secondly, there’s no prohibition in Canon Law that prohibits the faithful from attending invalid weddings.
Thirdly, while there might be an issue of scandal, to maintain that every scandalous act is mortally sinful would shock even the most hardened Jansenist.
Fr. Z apparently was so disturbed that he recommended organizing a large group to go to the said priest for confession:
Here’s a thought. I recommend that everyone who attended these weddings go to confession. Get organized and go together. Go to confession, one after another, to the priest who, sua sponte, declared attendance at these weddings to be mortally sinful. It would be interesting to see his reaction as he walked into the church to hear confessions (assuming he does at all) and saw a hundred people already lined up, and have them, one after another, confess:
“Bless me Father. I attended a lovely wedding for which the cowardly and stingy bishop refused to give his permission.”
Even better would be lining up to go to confession to the bishop himself.
Fr. Z also points out that when the Vatican allowed delegation for witnessing marriages by the SSPX, there was not one word indicating that all the previous marriages witnessed by the Society were invalid. If they were, indeed, invalid; then the Holy See has allowed those couples to continue in a state of sin, not validly and sacramentally married in the Church.
|The SSPX chapel in Linden, VA where we pray at every Mass |
for Pope Francis and Bishop Michael Burbidge
According to a knowledgable source, one of the couples who married at the chapel (we attended that wedding) contacted the chancery the day before the ceremony requesting permission. They were told to go ahead with the wedding and get it validated later. I'll probably see the couple on Sunday and will ask them to confirm the accuracy, but I have no reason to doubt it's true. Another couple scheduled to marry in a few months were initially told there was no problem getting permission since another couple was able to celebrate their marriage at, I believe, St. John's in Mclean. But when they petitioned for permission, they were denied.
Really! Are things confusing and chaotic enough for you - not to mention cruel and mean-spirited? Do charity and love prevail in the Church these days?
Fr. Z didn't say anything about "applied jurisdiction," but I will address that in another post. I recommend reading his entire article. SSPX Weddings
In the meanwhile, please pray for the priests who continue to offer the traditional sacraments as well as those who don't. I recently attended a solemn requiem mass in a diocesan church in West Virginia. There is something grievously wrong when I can attend that mass in West Virginia, but in my own diocese next door couples can't celebrate a Traditional Nuptial Mass. Is a couple beginning their life together to establish a Catholic family less important than saying an earthly good-bye to a loved one? Where is the sense?
Pray for Holy Mother the Church. She is under vicious attack from within. Does anyone really believe the persecution of serious faithful Catholics is pleasing to Jesus Christ? Can someone explain to me how this helps bring about the salvation of souls which is the work of the Church?
Let all contention cease.
Be His the glory that we seek.
Be ours His holy peace.
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!
I have two friends in Winchester, VA who attend the TLM at Sacred Heart church there, now being celebrated in the gym without any notice in the bulletin. Hopefully the situation will not further deteriorate.
"Can someone explain to me how this helps bring about the salvation of souls which is the work of Church?"
Yes, it can be explained, but unfortunately you do not like the explanation.
It would be more accurate, Debbie, to say I don't agree with your explanation, i.e., sedevacantism. That simply adds to the chaos in my opinion, and the sedevacantists are already splitting like the Protestant sects.
The splits in the NO, Trads and Sedes are evidence of the truth of sedevacantism....there is no pope to unify. And really, where do practicing, traditional leaning Catholics take their cues from? Bp. Schneider, Card. Burke, Abp. Vigano, Trad Inc like Dr. Kwas, Taylor Marshall, The Remnant? Burke and most NO clergy say SSPX is schematic; the others do not. IF we had a true Pope these issues would be resolved by a Pope.
I'll stick with the SSPX interpretation which I find compelling:
The fundamental error
The American sedevacantists support their arguments by quoting some very good authors. But these good authors speak of something else. They speak of the authority of the law, and not of the authority of the one who rules. There is a difference. It is common knowledge that the ruler is not infallible and that his subjects are also endowed with free will. It can happen that an order contrary to reason or injurious to the common good might be given by the legitimate authority. If an individual comes to realize that the law is harmful, he must not obey; for it is not, in truth, a law, but a tyranny.
In order to bolster their private judgment through the use of good authors, the sedevacantist propaganda jumps from the “intentio promulgendi errorem [intention of promulgating an error]” to the “intentio evertendae Ecclesiae per promulgationem erroris [intention of overthrowing the Church by promulgating an error]” (Sacerdotium, p.47).
....And so forth
My ways are not your ways and my thoughts are not your thoughts. He’s got it in His Hands. He will take care of everything. Be patient.
I could not agree more Cynthia!
Thanks for being my spell check, Father. I think I got them all.
Sorry, this is not entirely accurate. EVERY priest, no matter which order, which parish, etc…must have permission to witness a marriage. To get married at the Christendom chapel a priest needs permission. In addition, the SSPX has no parishes, and every single marriage held in a chapel requires permission.
That said, I’m not sure when your children were married, but we were married in a solemn TLM in 1998. Things weren’t easy then, they’re not easy now. Invalid marriages are a scary thing. We’re so grateful to have regular TLM marriages at St John the Baptist. There’s one again this month!
Thank you, Karen. I'm glad to hear that TLM weddings are allowed at St. John's. I wonder if that would be happening if it weren't for the SSPX being nearby. I also wonder if there would be so many Masses being offered at Chelsea if the pastor didn't decide to go head to head with the chapel. It's clear that the end goal is the complete suppression of all the TLM sacraments. It's just a matter of time until it all ends in the diocese unless a new pope undoes what Francis has done. The current permission is temporary as the bishop has made clear on the diocesan website and in his podcasts.
You probably don’t know Father Gee, do you? If you did your “he wouldn’t be doing this” sounds laughable. Masculine, hard worker, the ultimate pastor who cares for his sheep, every last ones. He built that chapel. We’ve known him a long time. This is who he is. So many online people love to comment on Front Royal…even Fr Z, who isn’t in the trenches, and doesn’t know anyone here. I used to be a press secretary in the Senate. The advent of the internet has only made people think less and react faster…
And Fr Gee isn’t going head to head w/ SSPX, the SSPX decided to set up shop in a vibrant community, sowing division. Folks who would normally attend a daily TLM now won’t attend mass in the parish. Very selfish, prideful and narcissistic of the SSPX.
The bishop claims "humble obedience" to the Pope when kicking the traditional Masses out of the parish churches, but when a simply wedding delegation request is submitted, obedience goes out the door! How two-faced. He would rather have (at least from his perspective) invalid marriages performed than give an inch to the SSPX, even against the express wishes of the Pope. This type of spiteful behavior and lack of consideration for the just spiritual aspirations of the faithful under his care often has the opposite effect of driving more people to the SSPX.
As far as needing "permission" the SSPX claim supplied jurisdiction due to emergency in the Church. Given all that is going with the Church and the Pope currently, how can any sane person who calls himself a faithful Catholic claim there isn't an emergency in the Church?
I do know Fr. Gee and I like and respect him. My husband and I met with him to discuss the sad situation going on. We continue to pray for him and for the parish.
It does seems odd to me, however, that the bishop would allow the weddings in Front Royal while he denied the request for a wedding at St. John's in McLean where a couple was working with a diocesan priest there. That couple is now scheduled to wed at the chapel since they were refused a diocesan TLM.
For those, like the previous poster, who claim the SSPX "set up shop" in a vibrant community or claim that the SSPX is trying to poach parishioners off of St. John's, nothing could be farther from the truth. The SSPX were ASKED to come here by a group of the faithful who were dismayed at the total suppression of public Masses during Covid. The same faithful had to persuade them to stay (they were reluctant) after diocesan Masses resumed. They themselves have stayed above the fray, and desire only to provide the traditional Mass and Sacraments in their fullness. They never engage in polemics, encourage parishioner poaching, etc. I cannot speak for the actions of some of the faithful who attend, but the Society itself has acted above reproach. If there is any mean-spiritedness, it has been on the side of the local pastor and bishop, as is evidenced once again in this latest occurrence. And that tactic is obviously failing, as attendance at the chapel has been growing steadily. Like Mary Ann said, unless something changes, the endgame here is pretty obvious: the total suppression of the traditional Mass. Those who are criticizing the SSPX now may be singing a different tune should occur.
fr gee, 'the liturgy guy':
mass of installation @ st john baptist - pics of the n.o. mass - esp the last one of a man in shorts behind the bishop
Yet "in-person Mass" was the only part of the parish he shut down... [when did reopen mass:] could come to one of two services held on Saturday evenings, as well as every hour from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday. That’s nine Masses total: two Latin, two Spanish, five English.
“No reason for fear whatsoever,” Fr. Gee said, while emphasizing that what’s said in the confessional is confidential and that Catholics have the OPTION to confess BEHIND A SCREEN. “We can’t see you. And we don’t want to see you. And we don’t care who you are at all,” he said. “We just want to forgive your sins.” [forgiveness is all well and good but not w/out repentance and also should want to do more than forgive like give some guidance as to how to avoid future sins. Usually would want to give spiritual direction. And may be he is secretly opus dei w/running confession every day trying to get people that way.]
Former Chaplain Brings Christendom to St. Rita’s (apparently gee learned all he knows about tradition at Christendom which) "exists to help form lay people so they can go out and restore the culture."
Paul Scalia was pastor at St. Rita's b4 gee -- apparently he's a real trad 'liturgy guy' too and instituted 'reform of the reform masses.' But seems tie to opus dei w/federalist society/scalia: "My then-girlfriend (now wife and mother of our three daughters) and I were looking for a parish back in 2006. We first went to St Rita’s for two reasons — Supreme Court associate justice Antonin Scalia’s son Paul was the vicar there, and we heard it was a nice building. My wife was in the process of discerning a conversion, and as a big Federalist Society–type attorney, this was attractive on a number of levels."
Father Gee studied at the University of Oregon, where he majored in Spanish,
As far as I can determine you don't provide any reason why your parents rec'd a waiver or why bishop should allow someone a TLM marriage simply because they request it. You seem to consider it should be done as an 'act of charity.' However, what if someone requested a marriage at the Progressive Catholic Church (notice how they can use "catholic" in their name), would the bishop be uncharitable to refuse? Would it be mortally sinful to attend?
What if the shoe were on the other foot and the N.O. has now been banned because SSPX is in control. Someone has a Bible inscribed by Bishop So and So who married their grandparents the day after 911 using the N.O. and they want to go back to the time when women didn't have to wear a burka to church and have ten children to be holy, but both bride and groom could get married in combat fatigues (and they had the best marriage ever), would SSPX lack charity to refuse the request?
Fr Z gets money from people who ask him questions/internet blegger. He could get himself defrocked (and probably should) for making a mockery of the sacrament of confession.
Francis instituted policy of SSPX being able to ask permission of the bishop, but I would assume SSPX told him upfront, we will ask, but will perform marriages regardless. I am not sure that applies to the faithful who want to be under the local bishop but attend SSPX TLM. Why ask permission if you are going to do the deed regardless? [If your child asks you, but then goes ahead when you say no (?)] Certainly, if it is just a preference for you, it would seem you should mortify your desire and defer to the bishop.
I attend SSPV and they have no truck w/anyone who doesn't commit outright to not attending any mass of the local diocese ("New Mass, Indult Mass, Masses of the FSSP"). You can attend SSPV mass but you are asked not to receive holy communion. In some ways I think this is hurtful, at least one member of my family who lives out of town where no SSPV is anywhere near was quite hurt and refused to attend. My brother attended once and said, "I knew I could not do that" (he lives 70 miles from the chapel). However, at least I know who my bishops are and I agree w/what they stand for.
I was reading an article yesterday by Joe Scheidler about breaking w/Pavone and all the run around and lies on PLF website. And, of course, AUL broke first (Judy Brown and her $millions in print Catholic contracts which could be CNCL). All come out to kick a dead dog so O.D. can take control of PLF money. But when have either of them broken w/the so-called "Catholic" bishops despite the lies, financial malfeasance (spending on themselves, on their lovers, their pedophile lawsuits, the grooming, sodomizing of our catholic schools, universities, and parishes) faithlessness towards God and utter lack of morals not only on the abortion issue (how can anyone associate w/Cupich or any of them while Biden is promoting abortion? But there will be scheidler marching & 'praying' w/Cupich), but sodomy, transgenderism, pedophilia, euthanasia.
Nowhere in your article do you mention desire to please God.
3 generations - abortion, the family business
Re: "Nowhere in your article do you mention desire to please God." by anonymous, March 10, 2023 at 8:41 PM under "Charity and Love".
Nowhere in his lengthy post does anonymous mention "desire to please God"; except to attack another Catholic.
Richard W Comerford
Those are Fr. Gee’s own words. The SSPX would not be there if the bishop didn’t close down churches to begin with.
How is a TLM mass possible at St. John’s? I thought the one held last fall was past the deadline and needed special permission that was granted last minute?
Read 1983’s Canon 1116.
Fr. Gee is a real miracle worker, that’s for sure! He had an altar built in less than a month when it took my previous parish 8 months to have some woodwork done. God Bless him!
I think the most disturbing part of this matter is that Fr. Gee made comments during announcements. If he has a problem with an SSPX priest, has he personally talked with him? I mean Jesus gave us a method to help us approach each other for correction in Truth & Love in Matthew 18:15-17. This verse gives a precise formula and states specifically, “if (your brother) refuses to listen...., let him be to you as a Gentile & tax collector.” I think this means, let him go about his business and mind your own! It doesn’t mean to make public, scandalous remarks after mass & before the final blessing.
Fr. Gee and Fr. Carlisle have spoken more than once. They are both good priests. We are living in a time of crisis. I just wish there would be a mutual respect. Stirring the pot is not helpful. The diocesan church and the SSPX both have the goal of saving souls. It seems to me that, instead of fostering internecine warfare, fighting our mutual enemy, Satan, would be more productive. I respect the consciences of Catholics who have problems with the SSPX. I did myself at one time before I studied the matter. I just wish the people at St. John's would respect the consciences of those of us who have made an informed, good conscience decision to attend the chapel. I was not recruited and I have done nothing to recruit others. If people choose to come, it's because they see something true and good there. I have never received such clear teaching as they offer in the twice-a-month catechism class after Sunday Mass. I recently suggested to a novus ordo priest friend that it would be a blessing to introduce that practice in his parish.
Mary Ann, I noticed your chapel, IHM, was giving the catechism class yesterday on the SSPX marriages.
It’s a very current topic these days , after reading Fr Z, and reading your post.
I would love to know the points Fr Wiseman made.
You also were going to try to inquire with a newly married couple how the difficulties were worked out.
As an aside, we were married in 1965 with a TLM (that’s all we had then ).
I pulled out the booklet we gave all who attended , and noticed it said that when receiving Communion the priest said “Body of Christ” and we said “Amen”.
I thought that change came later.
Was the Mass being changed that early ?
ADW in Kensington MD.
Not sure about the changes. We got married in 1969 and I think our Mass was a hybrid. I think they immediately begin monkeying around, so I'm not surprised they were already introducing novelties. The TLM does not have the Communicant respond.
Fr. Wiseman's teaching was terrific. I'm working on a blog post. There are quite a few SSPX articles on line about marriage. Father disagreed with Fr. Z that there are no moral exceptions to the canonical process and considered that legalism. He talked about the shocking marriage preparation many couples were receiving and the desire of couples not only to make their vows at a TLM nuptial Mass, but also receive orthodox, moral preparation.
My husband and I were involved in marriage preparation for about 15 years: Engaged Encounter, Evenings for the engaged, conferences for the engaged, etc. I can affirm that many programs were seriously deficient and that some of the couples doing marriage prep and even RCIA were leading people down the primrose path of dissent and heterodoxy.
Was there a point to this?
Hi Dymphna, I saw in moderation that you were responding to "Unknown" but I'm not sure which one you were addressing. Can you clarify? BTW, I totally agree with your 75 days post. Such a sad situation.
Pardon me, Mary Ann. I meant to respond to Anonymous Anonymous said...
fr gee, 'the liturgy guy. Thank you!
I need to correct my comment March 9, 8:32 p.m. The couple was trying to arrange a wedding Mass at Christendom since he is an alumnus of the college. They were working with a priest from St. John's in McLean who was requesting permission, but there were not planning to have the wedding there. They ended up being jerked all over the place, no answers for months, and finally gave up and are now being married at the chapel in May.
This is all really about forcing everyone into the Novus Ordo. Fr. Wiseman received a letter from the bishop refusing delegation for a marriage saying he (the bishop) "preferred" that the couple be married at the Mass of Paul VI. So the Mass that Benedict says was never abrogated and never could be will eventually be annihilated in the Diocese of Arlington. It's just a matter of time.
Which is exactly why we need the SSPX here, Fr. Gee notwithstanding.
Anon@2:55 - The mass was changed again in 1965 and again in 1967 prep to 1969.
In 1965 they changed what the priest says in "communion for the people" vs "communion of the faithful" to 'the body of christ'
10. Communion – The longer formula once said by the priest for each communicant (Corpus Domini Nostri … ) was shortened to “The Body of Christ.”
My sisters attending St. Helen's in Dayton, Ohio both rec'd a "Peoples Mass Book" (1966 edition) which still have in all its hideousness. It doesn't give any of the priest's communion prayers, but just has in small type "as soon as he has rec'd Holy Communion, the celebrant invites his brothers and sisters to join him at the banquet of the Lord. The invitation and reply are given three times." ecce angus dei & non sum dignus "b4 a Christian receives the Body of Christ, he is reminded of what he is doing. His faith in the presence of Christ is stimulated (my srs were in 6th and 8th grade). He accepts his responsibility to be a better Christian to live more conformably to the Christ whom he receives by greeting his own communion with: "Priest: the body of Christ. Commumicant: Amen"
In May 1968 I rec'd a little missal printed in Belgium (U.S. military diocese) for my 1st holy communion. Before priest begins angus dei it contains a "Thought" "May the holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ HELP bring us who receive Him in Holy Communion to life everlasting in heaven." It breaks down Communion for the Priest and gives the words the priest says which are same as 1962 (except for I will take the bread of heaven and what return shall i make). But when it gets to "communion for the people" has "the Body of Christ." [There is a "thought" about real presence under appearance of both species which assures me I am receiving exactly the same as the priest even though under one species.] Worst thing about this missal: under "Consecration of the Wine" is not the "thought" Eternal Father, I offer You the most precious Blood of Jesus Christ to make up for my sins, and to help the holy souls in purgatory, and for the needs of holy Church." but "THIS IS THE CUP OF MY BLOOD" ...this blood is to be shed for you and for ALL men so that sins may be forgiven." People's Mass Book above has: "it shall be shed for you and for many to atone for sins."
Another 1965 missal
Dymphna, The point is that 'fr gee, the liturgy guy' is a novus ordo priest, who runs a novus ordo parish that follows novus ordo rules under a novus ordo bishop. Sure he says a 1962 mass, but he also says a novus ordo mass and a spanish mass -- to me that is not being faithful to Catholic tradition. Is God not there to see what goes on at the other masses? It seems to me the TLM attendees are pleasing themselves and the diocese like a hotel is glad to serve them for the money they bring in. 'fr gee' seems steeped in N.O. teaching on sacrament of penance and majored in Spanish/not traditional catholicism.
It was the same deal w/longtime msgr bastress at st. alphonsus ligouri. He said the mass in latin, the mass in lithuanian and the mass in english.
"Bastress says the church almost operates like three separate parishes: the English-speaking community, those who come to Lithuanian services at 8:30 a.m., and the Tridentine followers at 11:30 a.m. The latter is the largest service with up to 175 attendees each Sunday" (note the enthusiasm of the lay people vs coolness of the priest)
When Auxiliary Bishop John H. Ricard was named the head of the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee, Monsignor Bastress was asked to serve as interim delegate of the Urban Vicariate in 1997. During that time, he helped organize a popular evangelization event along Baltimore’s Inner Harbor area.
“That was really neat,” Monsignor Bastress said, “and a real accomplishment.” (but i'll bet not one bit trad'l evangelization)
until his retirement in 2017, at St. Alphonsus Shrine in the center of Baltimore City, where he was celebrating Mass…in three languages!
I have made a decision similar to blog poster to support priests who are going to continue the trad'l faith come hell or high water - not waste time and resources on diocesan efforts who have been perfectly clear esp Francis in TC but also Ben16 that they are trying to bring trads into the N.O. not convert N.O. to trad. A local priest gave a sermon that he believed in the Church he belonged to/agreed w/their positions and resented it when people thought he was a secret liberal/conservative, but was beginning to question giving communion to politicians over the prolife issue (you have to wonder what he is really saying as the church becomes ever more progressive). One has to believe that about fr gee also. Why would he sign up to be a priest of the N.O. if he didn't believe in the N.O.?
i have a great deal of respect for Fr.Gee and Monsignor Bastress. For a long time they, Fr. Scalia and Fr. Bork were the ones were offered the only TLM many of us could get to. Im sorry if Fr. Gee spoke against the SSPX because the Society priests Ive met were awe inspiring.
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