What is the Society of Pius X Standing with the Church?

Archbishop Gerhard Muller Interview, the Vatican’s Head Official on Doctrinal Matters


Archbishop Gerhard Muller

Archbishop Gerhard Muller

Source CNA: The interview continued with a brief discussion of the Society of St. Pius X, which was founded by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in 1970 to form priests, as a response to what he described as errors that had crept into the Church following the Second Vatican Council. Its relations with the Holy See became strained in 1988 when Archbishop Lefebvre consecrated four bishops without the permission of Pope John Paul II.

The illicit episcopal ordinations resulted in the five being excommunicated, though in 2009 Benedict XVI, acting through Cardinal Giovanni Re, remitted the automatic excommunication from the four surviving bishops. After that time, doctrinal discussions between the Society and Rome were conducted, until the discussions effectively broke down in 2012.

Asked about the position of the Society of St. Pius X, Archbishop Müller said that while “the canonical excommunication” was revoked, “the sacramental one remains, de facto, for the schism: because they have removed themselves from communion with the Church.”

“Having said that, we do not close the door, ever, and invite them to reconcile. But they also must change their approach, accepting the conditions of the Catholic Church and the Supreme Pontiff as the definitive criterion of belonging (to it).”




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11 comments to What is the Society of Pius X Standing with the Church?

  • Graham Bailey

    Can someone please explain the difference between excommunication and schism. To my limited way of thinking schism is what Martin Luther did – completely rejecting the Pope and Church teachings and dogmas.
    That is schism! Excommunication is means you can no longer receive the sacraments but are free to still follow the church in every other way. The SSPX had been excommunicated due to the illicit ordination of Bishops. Pope Benedict XVI lifted the excommunication. As far as I know the SSPX follow the full traditions and dogmas of the church and follow The Pope as leader. Why all the fuss if the SSPX want to continue with the Latin Mass that the church was built on over the last 1500 years or so.

  • Jason R.

    Let them back in.

  • James

    The Roman Rite Latin Tridentine Holy Sacrifice of the Mass following the discipline and rubrics

    of the Rituale Romanum is liturgically SUPERIOR.

    Holy Communion in the hand is a sacriledge. All receiving Holy Communion should be kneeling before

    thier God. Holy Communion is the body, blood, soul and divinity of the sacrosanct Son of God –


    Please pray for His Holiness, Pontifex Maximus Franciscus I to Pontifically Decree the return of

    the Roman Rite Latin Mass to every Roman Catholic Church, Cathedral and Basilica ‘Urbi et Orbi’.

    Thank you.

  • TerryC

    Does the SSPX think they are the first people to have problems with obedience? THe history of the Church is full of tales of great Saints forced to practice humility in the face of unreasonable superiors. What made them great Saints was the willingness to humbly obey. Then there is the other group who’s initial intnetions were probably good, but they lacked humility and eventually because fo pride broke away and became Protestant. How much of their original protest agianst poor practice by superiors became unimportant in the light of later false beliefs?
    Poltiticians who support intrinsic evil doom themselves. Bishops that fail to correct them risk their own souls and those of their flocks. That still does not excuse the laity from ignoring the facts. The facts are: SSPX priest lack the faculties to absolve sin. Only the local ordinary can give the faculties, it’s part of their power to bind and loose given by Christ himself to the apostles and their successors.These priests also do not have the faculties to witness Sacramental Marriage. A Mass said by an SSPX priest is valid but illicit, since only the local ordinary can give permission to celebrate Mass within his jurisdiction. These are the facts, inconvienient as they might be.
    THe SSPX have probably missed their chance for reconciliation with the Church. Benedict was sympathetic to them. I doubt Francis is. The local ordinaries and the SSPX have not had a very good relationship in South America from what I’ve read. The Church could only have benifited from the inclusion of many of the SSPX priest, who individually are mostly good and holy men. They must be careful or they are likely to go the way of the Old Catholics.

  • alaskamom

    I am fairly confident that Cardinal Hoyos (I believe that is how to spell it) who was the head of Ecclesia Dei was interviewed in the Wanderer several years ago as stating that the Pius X was not in schism. He was quoted in that article as having compared the situation of Pius X to with the Church to writings of St. Augustine where St. Augustine spoke of being united in spirit even while not physically united and the opposite being part of the physical body, but being disunited in the heart. Who was really separated? The tragedy is that the situation is so complex. We need the reverence of the Pius X in our day to day parishes and we need faithfulness from our local community/diocesan representatives who preach and teach such heretical ideas that they are certainly not IN UNION with Rome, except by structure. The poor church is in a mess and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI accurately described her as a soiled lady. There is only one real way to correct this mess and that is to pray, offer sacrifice and be faithful while the Church goes through what Our Lady of Fatima called the great apostasy. At Akita, Our Lady said priests would be against priests and Bishop against Bishop. I cant imagine how we could see anything else but this happening in the Church today. Even to have a website called Courageous Priest states something of what we are witnessing in the Church today, namely the lack of courage. On this the feast of the Epiphany, may the courage of the wise men inspire us to seek the light of Christ in our lives and in the Church


    Just to be clear. Pope Benedict did address this issue very clearly.



    “The fact that the Society of Saint Pius X does not possess a canonical status in the Church is not, in the end, based on disciplinary but on doctrinal reasons. As long as the Society does not have a canonical status in the Church, its ministers do not exercise legitimate ministries in the Church. There needs to be a distinction, then, between the disciplinary level, which deals with individuals as such, and the doctrinal level, at which ministry and institution are involved. In order to make this clear once again: until the doctrinal questions are clarified, the Society has no canonical status in the Church, and its ministers – even though they have been freed of the ecclesiastical penalty – do not legitimately exercise any ministry in the Church.”

  • tg

    I read SPPX are not out of the church. They do accept the pope unlike sedavacanists. I agree that they are being disobedient but they sure are treated harshly compared to the nuns on the bus and other heretical priests and bishops. Tradition is just not in style. Just ask those poor friars in Rome.

  • Leslie Rabbitt

    On the mailing list for “Fatima Crusader”, I recently received their book and media catalog. Was very disturbed to see many of the offerings labeled “SSPX”. So, concerned about going down that road and ending up out of communion with Rome, I threw away the catalog (although some of the “SSPX” titles seemed very much in line with beautiful devotions and I have no idea why they were labeled thus).

    Bottom line = humility and obedience. It is possible to remain obedient and yet be dissident and “speak truth to power” as guided by the Holy Spirit.

    SSPX may have some worthy concerns and complaints. I think their error is in rejecting the “cross” of obedience and forebearance with the Magisterium, in rejecting communication and Communion… in love in spite of difference.

    • Blind Obedience=False Humility. Look at Thomas More vs King Henry…More swore allegiance to King Henry, yet failed not in his Catholic duty to admonish (disobey) him for his errors against the Church and Sacramental Marriage (and for which he was persecuted and eventually martyred.) IMHO, there is very little difference here with the SSPX, the martyrdom excepted (though I suppose one could consider it a spiritual martyrdom.)

  • Rachel

    AMEN toTHAT AND AWESOME analysis of theROBLEM,

  • Until the church starts applying Canon 915 to Catholic Politicians who openly violate Church Teaching as vigorously as they attack the SSPX for being “outside the communion of the Church”, the entire SSPX matter will remain unjust and uncharitable. It is hard to give credence to Card. Mueller – or any other Church authority for that matter – when they fail to punish politicians who send Souls to Hell by their public approval on abortion/contraception/SSM and yet can find time to ostracize and marginalize a priestly Society who simply does what they are supposed to do – Save Souls from Hell.

    If my own Father suddenly started to promote practices that turned the good order and discipline of a family on its head, and caused some of my siblings to become desensitized and complacent about centuries old family traditions, I would have to declare my non-compliance to those practices and do all I could to change my siblings mind on the matter, all the while still calling him “Father” and remaining very much a part of the Family and invited to all its activities – I would remain “in full communion”.

    The SSPX matter is just plain old Church politics, which is validated by the Church’s impotence in applying Canon 915. All the world knows it and laughs in their face – especially Catholic politicians, who apparently have the last laugh.

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