Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows
"NOT A GOOD WAY TO START A SERIES ABOUT THE SSPX"
"Today’s episode of Michael Voris’s “The Vortex” is titled “SSPX Sadness.” It’s about the Society of St. Pius X, the religious group established by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. Apparently this episode is the first of several that will air this week, with a more in-depth program to be devoted to the SSPX on Friday.
While much of what Voris said is accurate, much is not. I don’t know if he has time to rectify his errors before later episodes air, but it would be good if he could do so. His basic error—and the only one I’ll mention in this post—is to state that the SSPX, as an organization, is in schism. It isn’t, and the Vatican hasn’t claimed it is.
In 1988 Lefebvre (1905-1991) and Antonio de Castro Mayer (1904-1991), the retired bishop of Campos, Brazil, ordained four SSPX priests as bishops. This was done without papal approval and in contravention of canon law. All six men were excommunicated latae sententiae—that is, automatically.
Their excommunications were confirmed immediately by John Paul II, who noted that the illicit ordinations displayed a schismatic attitude on the part of the six. (The excommunications were lifted by Benedict XVI in 2009; this lifting in no way implied that the excommunications had been unjust or unwarranted.)
To the extent there was a schism, it was personal and on the part of the six bishops. The effects of their act did not automatically transfer to their followers, whether the priests and seminarians who are the formal members of the SSPX or the society’s lay followers, or to the SSPX as an organization. The SSPX is said by Rome to be in an irregular status within the Church, but it is not said to be in schism. It thus is incorrect to assert that the organization, its priests, or its followers are in schism.
Michael Voris should amend his comments to make this clear. There is plenty of reason to criticize the SSPX, its current leaders, its founder, and some of its vocal advocates, but that criticism should be in the context of an accurate representation of the status of the organization.
(There are other errors in today’s “Vortex,” but I don’t have time to dissect the whole episode.)"