Anonymous asked in Society & CultureReligion & Spirituality · 1 decade ago

Is the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) in schism from the Catholic Church?

Is the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) in schism from the Catholic Church?

6 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    The answer is not really a black and white, yes or no answer. Yes, Pope John Paul II used the word "schism" in his encyclical letter "Ecclesia Dei" - but there was no formal declaration of schism from Rome. The controversy arose when Abp. Lefebvre consecrated 4 bishops without direct approval from the pope. That being said - he DID have permission to consecrate bishops! The problem was they could not agree upon who would be so consecrated. As Abp. Lefebvre was nearing death - he saw this as an crisis situation and thus went ahead with the 4 he selected. The next day HH John Paul II came out with Ecclesia Dei. Now merely consecrating bishops is NOT a schismatic act! Can it be seen as disobedience? Yes. Is there ecclesial punishment for the act? Yes - by that act he excommunicated himself, according to Canon Law - HOWEVER - Canon Law also leaves room for debate here because if HE (Abp. Lefebvre) saw the act as necessary:

    However, Canon Law is far from judging things only according to their exterior aspects. Not to take into account the particular circumstances and the subjective disposition of the persons in question would also be in contradiction with the Church's current notion of justice. In the case of an episcopal consecration without papal mandate, the threatened sanction, according to the terms of Can. 1382, is very clearly an ipso facto sanction as stated above. Therefore, in this case one must apply the principle: "An ipso facto sanction does not apply if there exists an attenuating circumstance as laid down by law."

    There is thus need to consider attentively the rules of Canons 1323 and 1324 of the CIC 1983, which correspond to Canons 2205 (N.2,3) of the CIC 1917. These canons deal with the case of an act to which a sanction is normally attached, but which was done only in order to avoid a grave inconvenience or to provide for a necessity. Here is a quote from Canon 1323, N. 4 (CIC 1983): "No penalty is incurred by a person forced by a necessity to act against the law." The former Code (Can. 2205, N.2) speaks in the same sense. (For the restrictions in both cases, see VII to IX here below.)

    Can. 1323 The following are not subject to a penalty when they have violated a law or precept:

    4/ a person who acted coerced by grave fear, even if only relatively grave, or due to necessity or grave inconvenience unless the act is intrinsically evil or tends to the harm of souls;

    The act of consecrating a bishop is not intrinsically evil and note it states that the person is not subject to the penalty if they acted out of grave fear "even if only relatively grave." Abp. Lefebvre saw this timing of the consecrations as necessary and the fact that he was sick and old and not far from death, he saw this as a grave situation. Thus the same Canon Law, which condemns him, also exonerates him.

    From Rome, shortly after the consecrations:

    "The act of consecrating a bishop (without the pope's permission) is not itself a schismatic act," Cardinal Lara, President of the Pontifical Commission for the Authentic Interpretation of Canon Law, in La Repubblica, Oct. 7, 1988)

    Now, just because SSPX can justify themselves (to a point) does that mean everything is hunky-dory between them and Rome? No, by no means! SSPX is not in full communion with Rome at this time. Pope John Paul II made some efforts toward reconciliation toward the end of his life, but he became too sick to continue those negotiations. Pope Benedict XVI has since then picked up the baton and negotiations continue.

    Let us pray that there is true healing and reconciliation.

  • Daver
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Yes, the SSPX is in schism with the Catholic Church. Reason being, it "authorizes" it's own annulments.

    A declaration of annulment can only come from one course and that is the Vatican.

  • 1 decade ago

    Yes, the SSPX is in schism; the organization is not in full communion with the Apostolic See, however, discussions with the Holy See continue.

  • 4 years ago

    A cult is a physique that follows some charismatic chief as a replace of following God conversing via His Church. That society surely makes Lefebvre their basically authority, and that's the definition of a cult. The Church does not consult with them that way although if. It in simple terms considers them a schismatic group.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Yes, unfortunately...but the current Pope is making moves toward bringing them back into the fold. I pray that he succeeds.

  • Misty
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Yes, they are. Hopefully, at some point they'll return.

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