Speaking of Ultra Super-Pure Catholics

The SSPX spits on the Church, takes its marbles (or more accurately, loses them) and storms off in a huff.

As a mere mortal, simply speaking out of my emotional reaction to prideful, nasty, selfish people, my temptation is to say, “Good riddance.”

However, one of the things being Catholic *forces* you to do (if you want to be an actual disciple and not just a yakker) is to think with the mind of the Church. And the mind of the Church is, very obviously, “These are people for whom Christ died.” So their departure is a tragedy and I pray they will return and not continue this schism.

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  • Stephen Sparrow

    They sound a bit like the Donatist Church of St Augustine’s time. They had a view that said “Whoever is good enough can be in our Church” whereas St Augustine said more or less “whoever is bad enough can be Catholic.” Yes you’re right Mark, they must be a continuous target for our prayers.

  • Andy, Bad Person

    I have to say I predicted this the very same day Pope Francis was elected. For years Benedict went way beyond being reasonable with the SSPX because he really was interested in bringing them back into the fold. In my opinion, he had too much patience (far more than I would have had, but I’m admittedly not nearly as holy).

    I knew that when Francis was elected, the Society would rue the day they kept moving the goalposts on Benedict. Francis (again IMO, rightly) has no interest in placating a group that clearly has no interest in unity themselves.

    • vox borealis

      So their departure is a tragedy and I pray they will return and not continue this schism.

      They are a frustrating group, but the threat of a real schism is there. The four bishops are getting up there, and soon will feel compelled to consecrate more bishops. They already consecrate not an inconsiderable number of priests each year. And these orders are valid (albeit illicit). They have multiple seminaries. Perhaps the tipping point has been reached where they not only refuse to be reasonable about unity, but also much of the organization and adherents have grown up outside of unity. Then you have a firmly entrenched, schismatic group, and that is indeed a tragedy.

  • Stu

    I’ll give them this. Unlike many others, they are up front in stating their differences instead of weaseling about in trying to convince everyone else that their views are congruent with Rome.

    • jeff

      really? do these “many others” include traditional groups in full communion with the Holy Father such as the FSSP, ICK, Sons of the most Holy Redeemer, Wyoming Carmalites etc? I hope you weren’t insinuating that these guys are “weasels”

      • Stu


        • jeff

          Good to know!

          • Stu


            I attend an FSSP parish.

  • Anthony May

    This is totally irresponsible reporting. If you Mark or the Register or CNA where the story originated actually read the document the SSPX released you’d see this isn’t a definitive break or the end of the dialogue this is the end of the *current round of talks.* This is a diplomatic move, not a definitive move. These kinds of distorted reporting practices with willfully ignorant repetition from the blogosphere and social networking just reinforces people’s prejudices and makes reconciliation that much harder.

  • jeff

    Their latest declaration is a real shame. it is very different from the one bishop Fellay sent to Rome last year where he DOES affirm that VatII can be read and interpreted in continuity with the past. I say this without irony or sarcasm: I don’t know why +Fellay’s declaration last year was rejected.

    it happens that when you begin to trust someone and that trust is betrayed that you retreat into the “security” of a hardline position as the Three have sadly done here. I hope and pray that it won’t end him schism

  • In between the two parishes my Knights council covers, there sits Our Lady Of Fatima chapel, an SSPX Chapel. My current priest’s uncle is the priest there.

    One of the reasons my priests homilies are a bit off- is because that guy’s sermons are extremely off. A homily is supposed to be on the readings of the day- and my priest stays strictly on topic, to the point of not allowing his personal opinion or even usually modern connections into his homilies. His uncle on the other hand, inviting the family to mass one day, proceeded to spend his entire sermon telling his sister and niece that they were going to hell for coming to mass with heads uncovered on a hot day. Complete polar opposites, and an example of just how anti-Protestant some SSPX preachers can get.

    • wineinthewater

      “an example of just how anti-Protestant some SSPX preachers can get”

      And in doing so, just how Protestant the SSPX is. They are not the first Protestants who appealed to “tradition” to justify placing their private opinion above the authority of the Church. And when you really boil down Protestantism, that is what it is at its most essential: the placement of private opinion above the authority of the Church.

    • contrarian

      Certainly, if we are comparing notes on the craziness of homilies, the ones I hear in my NO parish will win hands down. And given how many more folks, on any given Sunday, will hear homilies that are a bit ‘off’ in a NO parish than in a SSPX parish (if even in the aggregate), perhaps we can agree that such anecdotes aren’t the best way to proceed.

      • The difference being, in an NO parish, you can always write to the Bishop about the priest ignoring the General Instruction and the meaning of the word “homily” as opposed to “sermon”. Well, you can. I can’t promise that you will get a response, but on matters pertaining to the liturgy, bishops are beginning to wake up to their duty as the least competent authority.

  • ivan_the_mad

    “either when Rome returns to Tradition and to the Faith of all time” Wow. No. Stop right there. Whatever happened to the Tradition that the Church is guided by the Holy Spirit? Did that suddenly cease? Did the gates of the netherworld prevail against the Church? Presumption to teach the Church is dangerous ground indeed.

    In language they might understand: Ubi est Petrus? Certe non est in Menzingen, sed in Roma.

  • contrarian

    I guess, having read the SSPX statement, I would characterize their actions as other than spitting or storming off in a huff. Seems quite measured and reasonable.

    Moreover, as to what constitutes losing one’s marbles….well, certainly, folks in the SSPX would have a slightly different idea about this..

    • I don’t get why people just say, “Well, you know, some folks, they jus’ think a little differently from you,” and then leave it at that.

      Everybody knows that people think differently. Opinions are like noses: everybody’s got one. Please, for the sake of all that’s holy, make a claim and argue for it. That someone thinks differently does not in itself constitute a reason for me revising my own belief.

      • contrarian

        You mean, as opposed to the post by this blog’s host?

        My point wasn’t to offer a thesis statement, but merely to point out that there are readers of this fine blog who disagree with the nose, er, opinion of its author, concerning the SSPX’s recent statement.

        Consider it the corollary to the ‘Right on!’ sort of comment, which are in abundance on this comment thread and others. As I consider the short comment of assent to be a perfectly legitimate form of commenting, I consider its corollary to be as well.

        Though I’m terribly happy to hash out the problems of the Mass of Paul VI and the novelty and confusion introduced through the second vatican council, and I would be pleased to discuss the legitimacy of the SSPX’s stand and status, right here on this comment thread, if you would like.

        In the meantime, please know that if a comment does not contain an argument, that it was not necessarily written to persuade.


    • Athelstane

      This statement does not, in fact, really say anything new, or anything that hasn’t been said anyway. We knew negotiations had reached an impasse, and weren’t likely to bubble up again for the time being under the new pontificate. I’m surprised that the NC Register is making so much of it.

      What it seems to be is a case of it being the 25th anniversary of the 1988 consecrations, and that they had to take the occasion to say something. More to the point, to say something refute the criticisms of the “resistance,” especially that around the new evicted Bishop Richard Williamson. That seems to be the real audience of this statement.

      But I share Mark’s prayer that this tragic situation is resolved soon.

  • John Mallon

    Mark, I agree with all that you said, and I could have said a few things stronger than “Good Riddance”. Instead, I posted it on my FB page with the comment, ” ‘K, bye.”

  • I believe that you are mistaken to call the SSPX, even in mockery, Ultra-Super Pure Catholics. Their stand against tradition in the East and in favor of latinization makes them revisionists and innovators no less so than those who speak out in favor of the hermeneutics of rupture regarding Vatican II. The fact that they’re working off an earlier date that’s 4 centuries back instead of last century does not make them traditionalists.

  • johnnyc

    I wonder why the same people who dislike and speak up against the SSPX do not also speak up against the other end of the spectrum e.g. liberal bishops?

    • Andy, Bad Person

      It’s true. Mark NEVER posts about these things because he’s secretly a Nazi-Communist-homosexual-loving-happy-clappy-loving-still-sort-of-protestant-cultural-Marxist.

    • jeff

      No, Mark has stated that Cardinal Mahoney belongs in jail. That was for his covering up of child sex abuse and nothing to do with his views. We have a crisis of bishops in the church today but I understand that we, the laity, should focus on what we can do rather than moaning about the woeful crop of bishops currently running the church.

  • Noah Nehm

    I recently read this Easter Vigil sermon from St. Augustine, wherein he compares the Church to the threshing floor mentioned in Luke 3:17. I believe it applies here:

    You older faithful, you listen too to what I’m saying. Any of you who are grain, rejoice with trembling, and stay where you are, and don’t leave the threshing-floor. Don’t attempt, on your own judgment, to shake yourselves free, as it were, from the chaff; because if you want to separate yourself now from the chaff, you won’t be able to stay on the threshing-floor. And when that one comes who distinguishes infallibly between grain and chaff, he won’t carry up to the granary anything he doesn’t find on the threshing-floor. So it will be no good at that time for grains to boast about the ears of wheat they come from, if they have left the threshing-floor. That granary will be filled and closed. Anything left outside will be gutted by fire.

    So then, dearly beloved, if you are good must put up with the bad; if you are bad, you must imitate the good. The fact is, on this threshing-floor grains can degenerate into chaff, and again grains can be resurrected from chaff. This sort of thing happens every day, my dear brothers and sisters; this life is full of both painful and pleasant surprises.