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 Do the SSPX teach/believe any heretical teaching? 
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New post Do the SSPX teach/believe any heretical teaching?
From a small discussion I'm having with someone. I don't believe they do and I believe they are still fully Catholic, though with a mistaken understanding of some concepts but I don't know how to address some of the following:

You're confusing "declaring" them non-Catholic with recognizing that they're not Catholic. I cannot make an authoritative declaration, but this is not the point at issue. The SSPX departs from the Faith manifestly - incl. infallible teachings. For example, the SSPX, considered subjectively from their own standpoint, is a textbook example of schism. Let me quote Fr. Igantius Szal's dissertation on the communication of Catholics with schismatics. Fr. Szal defines true and proper (pure) schism as meeting the following requirements (I quote):

(1) One must withdraw directly (expressly) or indirectly (by means of one's actions) from obedience to the Roman Pontiff, and separate oneself from ecclesiastical communion with the rest of the faithful, even though one does not join a separate schismatic sect;
(2) one's withdrawal must be made with obstinacy and rebellion;
(3) the withdrawal must be made in relation to those things by which the unity of the Church is constituted; and
(4) despite this formal disobedience the schismatic must recognize the Roman Pontiff as the true pastor of the Church, and he must profess as an article of faith that obedience is due the Roman Pontiff.

(p. 2)

Aside from that, the SSPX spreads errors regarding the nature and infallibility of the Ordinary Universal Magisterium, the papacy itself, the infallibility of the universal disciplinary laws of the Church, the nature of the Church herself, etc. This is often evident, for example, in the writings of Bp. Richard Williamson.

We are not free to deny teachings of the Church or the common doctrine of theologians on the grounds that they are not "infallible." Canon Smith once wrote a very good summary regarding what we are required to believe:

http://www.strobertbellarmine.net/believe.html

Another distinction the SSPX promotes and one the Church does not know is the distinction between "dogmatic" and "pastoral" ecumenical council -- with the idea that the "pastoral" council need not be submitted to, even though the Roman Pontiff solemnly promulgates it, on the grounds that a certain group of people can't square it with what they find in Denzinger. The SSPX is full of absurdities, such as the idea that the Holy See's encyclicals and decrees are subject to review by a bishop in Switzerland. Absurd.


Wed Jun 25, 2008 6:08 am
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New post Re: Do the SSPX teach/believe any heretical teaching?
The SSPX certainly teaches some rather serious errors, but do these venture into outright heresy? I really don't think so.


Wed Jun 25, 2008 6:30 am
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New post Re: Do the SSPX teach/believe any heretical teaching?
Dear Colin,

What's the purpose of the discussion? If you don't know, ask your correspondent.

Colin Fry wrote:
... the SSPX, considered subjectively from their own standpoint, is a textbook example of schism.

Schism is not a matter to be determined "subjectively." Schism is a refusal of subjection to the Roman Pontiff or a refusal of communion with those who are subject to the Roman Pontiff. The SSPX maintains a position which can be summarised as, subjection to the Roman Pontiff except where it is impossible (e.g. say the New Mass, believe in V2). This is classical as far as it goes, and therefore beyond criticism. Every traditional Catholic began his journey with this position, so that if it is so perverse, every traditional Catholic held a "schismatic" position at some point. The implications of this claim for ecclesiology are immense and catastrophic.

In any case, the question is to be determined objectively. Since there is no Roman Pontiff there can be no schism by failing to submit to him. There can still be schism by refusing communion with Catholics, of course...

Entering into the subjective side of this, purely for reasons of justice and charity, we ask, what is the true cause of the failure to submit fully to the man regarded as the Roman Pontiff? The answer is, the Catholic Faith residing in the souls of the SSPX clergy causes them to refuse the reforms of V2. Everybody, including Fr. Cekada, knows that this is true. This is the true cause of the apparent anomaly in view here. Denying it is a form of grave injustice.

You might read the following article by John Daly with profit: Is the SSPX in Schism? http://strobertbellarmine.net/forums/vi ... ?f=2&t=621


Colin Fry wrote:
Aside from that, the SSPX spreads errors regarding the nature and infallibility of the Ordinary Universal Magisterium, the papacy itself, the infallibility of the universal disciplinary laws of the Church, the nature of the Church herself, etc. This is often evident, for example, in the writings of Bp. Richard Williamson.

This is true, although the nature and gravity of these errors is often exaggerated or misrepresented by enemies of the SSPX.

Fr. Cekada and Bishop Sanborn spread serious errors regarding ecclesiastical unity, and also in regard to the necessity and value of the sacraments. They do this in good faith because they have erred in relation to their former brethren in the SSPX.

So, what can we do? Surely the best response is patiently to work away at correcting errors wherever we identify them (or think that we identify them!) in a spirit of diffidence and humility, honestly before God hoping to promote His glory.

Colin Fry wrote:
Another distinction the SSPX promotes and one the Church does not know is the distinction between "dogmatic" and "pastoral" ecumenical council -- with the idea that the "pastoral" council need not be submitted to, even though the Roman Pontiff solemnly promulgates it, on the grounds that a certain group of people can't square it with what they find in Denzinger.

I think this one is really unfair. The liberals invented the "pastoral council" canard during the Council, in order to convince doubting fathers to vote for dodgy texts. Then, after the Council, the orthodox Catholics turned this against the liberals and used it as a rubric under which obedience could lawfully and reasonably be refused.

I agree that there is no such thing as a "pastoral general council" and that one day the notion will probably be condemned, but in the mean time why should those who are unsure about this not continue to employ the term to discomfit the liberals?

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Wed Jun 25, 2008 7:44 am
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New post Re: Do the SSPX teach/believe any heretical teaching?
John Lane wrote:
Dear Colin,

What's the purpose of the discussion? If you don't know, ask your correspondent.


It originated from some questions he had about things I posted on my small website. One of the things he takes issue with is me referring to the SSPX as Catholic and linking to certain things of theirs that I think all traditional Catholics can agree with. I haven't put up anything of theirs that I think is wrong in one way or another, but I think we share a lot of concerns about the V2 church and I posted some of that stuff, especially from Lefebvre himself whom I consider to be a saint.

anyways, thanks for the response.


Wed Jun 25, 2008 10:04 am
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New post Re: Do the SSPX teach/believe any heretical teaching?
Colin, Dear Boy, when I first read your original post, I assumed YOU were asking these rather impertinent and more-than-a-little-unfair questions.

Perhaps if you had enclosed them in quotes, the series would have been more clear.

Just a thought...

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Thu Jun 26, 2008 1:54 am
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New post Re: Do the SSPX teach/believe any heretical teaching?
John Lane wrote:
Schism is not a matter to be determined "subjectively." Schism is a refusal of subjection to the Roman Pontiff or a refusal of communion with those who are subject to the Roman Pontiff. The SSPX maintains a position which can be summarised as, subjection to the Roman Pontiff except where it is impossible (e.g. say the New Mass, believe in V2). This is classical as far as it goes, and therefore beyond criticism. Every traditional Catholic began his journey with this position, so that if it is so perverse, every traditional Catholic held a "schismatic" position at some point. The implications of this claim for ecclesiology are immense and catastrophic.

In any case, the question is to be determined objectively. Since there is no Roman Pontiff there can be no schism by failing to submit to him. There can still be schism by refusing communion with Catholics, of course...


I was a bit confused by this, John, since couldn't it be said fairly that the sedevacantist position itself is subjective due to making a judgement without being confirmed by authority? In your mind would the SSPX be schismatic if the sedevacantist position would, in the end, turn out to be mistaken?


Fri Jun 27, 2008 10:34 pm
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New post Re: Do the SSPX teach/believe any heretical teaching?
Dear Matt,

Matt wrote:
I was a bit confused by this, John, since couldn't it be said fairly that the sedevacantist position itself is subjective due to making a judgement without being confirmed by authority? In your mind would the SSPX be schismatic if the sedevacantist position would, in the end, turn out to be mistaken?


I understand the confusion - I had the same thoughts myself. Let's step through this and see how we go.

Employing the analogy of matter and form, we first identify or define the matter, and then the form.

If the matter is not verified, then the form has no relevance. Likewise, in the absence of the form, the matter is pure potentiality. That is, not merely nothing, but not a thing either - it can be thought of as the possibility of a thing.

In the case of schism, the matter would be the failure to be subject to the Roman Pontiff or to remain in peaceful communion with those who are subject to him. The form would be the wilfulness of this stance. Thus, a Greek in good faith is a material schismatic.

Perhaps we should introduce Cardinal Billot here in order to ensure we have a proper grasp of the terms.
Quote:
Billot: Thesis XI. "Although the character of baptism is sufficient of itself to incorporate a man into the true Catholic Church, nevertheless it requires in adults a twofold condition for this effect. The first condition is that the social bond of unity of faith not be impeded by formal or even merely material heresy. Nevertheless, because this impediment is brought in only by that heresy which passes into open profession, it must be said that only notorious heretics are excluded from the body of the Church.

"Now, heretics are divided into formal and material. Formal heretics are those to whom the authority of the Church is sufficiently known; material, those who labor under invincible ignorance concerning the Church herself, and choose in good faith another rule for their guide. Heresy therefore is not imputed to material heretics as sin, nor, furthermore, is there necessarily a lack of that supernatural faith which is the beginning and root of all justification. For perhaps they explicitly believe the principal articles, and believe the rest not explicitly but implicitly, by the disposition of mind and the good will of adhering to all those things which would be sufficiently proposed to them as revealed by God. Furthermore, they can still belong in voto to the body of the Church, and have the other conditions required for salvation. Nevertheless, so far as pertains to the real incorporation in the visible Church of Christ presently being treated, the thesis places no distinction between formal or material heretics, understanding everything according to the notion of materal heresy just explained, which is also the only proper and genuine notion. For if by a material heretic you meant one who, professing that in matters of faith he depends on the Magisterium of the Church, but still denies something defined by the Church which he does not know has been defined, or holds an opinion opposed to Catholic doctrine for the reason that he thinks that it is taught by the Church, it would in this case be absurd to posit that material heretics are outside the body of the true Church, and in addition, in this way, the legitimate meaning of the word would be completely overturned. For only then is it said that there is material sin, when the things that belong to the definition of such a sin are materially posited, but excluding reflection or deliberate volition. Now, what pertains to the definition of heresy is the departure from the rule of the ecclesiastical Magisterium, which in this case is not present, because it is a simple error of fact concerning that which the rule dictates. And therefore, there can be no place even materially for heresy." Louis Card. Billot, Tractatus de Ecclesia Christi (Romae, 1927), v. 1, p. 296-298.


I think we can agree that Billot is assessing the question objectively. That is, heresy is verified when somebody chooses a different rule of faith than the Church, or in the case of schism, a different social body than the Church. If either are done in good faith, the heresy or schism is still verified, but it is merely "material." A Catholic who errs in good faith about some point of doctrine or other is not even materially a heretic, for he does not choose a different rule of faith than the Church. He merely misunderstands what that rule dictates on some point or other.

You mention two cases. That of a sedeplenist traditionalist in the hypothesis that the See is actually vacant (as we say), or of a sedevacantist in the hypothesis that the See is actually filled, not vacant. The following judgements seem right to me.

In both cases there is an error of fact (whether or not there is a pope) in circumstances where the Church has not spoken amidst objectively confusing elements (to say the least!).

In the first case, the sedeplenist traditionalist is in error about how he ought to behave towards a pope. The cause of such errors is manifest - it is the pressure of attempting to maintain the Faith and traditions of the Church in the face of apparent authority acting against them. There is no suggestion that sedeplenist traditionalists are in error about how to react to popes because of some unworthy motive; they are not seeking some disordered independence, or to maintain some Gallican tradition, or to defend some error or position which authority is properly forbidding. I think it is clear that there is no real schismatic mind, even materially. There is no desire to refuse subjection to the Roman Pontiff - not even a good faith desire such as a Greek might have. There is merely a mistake (or mistakes) about what that subjection ought really to be.

In the second case, the sedevacantist who is mistaken about the vacancy, there is no error about subjection to the pope. There is merely an error of fact about who the pope is or is not. This case is cleaner and simpler to grasp, I think. There is clearly no schism, even material.

Of course, it may be that we sedevacantists suffer from some grave error or errors of theology (such as that it is never lawful for a layman to decide who the pope is, contrary to the judgements of all of the world's bishops - which I do not concede, of course). In such a hypothesis our case would be in principle identical to that of the sedeplenist traditionalists.

As I think I have said before, it is perfectly legitimate for any number of reasons to point out to a sedeplenist traditionalist that his understanding of subjection to the pope is defective. But it is not legitimate, because it is untrue, to accuse him of "schism" - even material. Likewise it is unjust for a sedeplenist to accuse sedevacantists of schism, merely because we are sedevacantists.

Make sense?

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Sat Jun 28, 2008 12:02 pm
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New post Re: Do the SSPX teach/believe any heretical teaching?
Quote:
Make sense?


John, thanks for this. It makes a lot of sense and helps very much!

Cristian

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Sat Jun 28, 2008 3:44 pm
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New post Re: Do the SSPX teach/believe any heretical teaching?
Thank you very much, John. I'm actually neither a sedevacantist nor alligned with the SSPX, however I frequent this board daily since it's Catholic authorities that guide the discussion here. Even though the average joe would view the idea that the papal seat is vacant as much more radical than the SSPX-position, I see it as the safer alternative; it's the only logical response (in my mind; I realize it took time and didn't just appear by 1965) to the starting point that Vatican II promulgated error or that the Novus Ordo Missae is evil/invalid. Unlike most other similar message boards, it's good to see charity ruling the day here.


Sat Jun 28, 2008 5:35 pm
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