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Seattle Catholic
A Journal of Catholic News and Views
9 Jul 2003

More from Msgr. Perl on the SSPX

(Seal of Vatican City)

N. 101/2003

Rome, 26 June 2003

Mr. Xxxxx X. Xxxxxxxx
XXXX Xxxxxxx Xxxxxx
Xxxxxxxxx, XX XXXXX

Dear Mr. Xxxxxxxx,

We wish to acknowledge receipt of your letter of 5 June 2003 addressed to His Eminence Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos.

Before responding to your question about receiving Holy Communion from a priest of the Society of St. Pius X, let us outline the Holy See's evaluation of the question.

1. The priests of the Society of St. Pius X are validly ordained, but suspended, that is prohibited from exercising their priestly functions because they are not properly incardinated in a diocese or religious institute in full communion with the Holy See (cf. Code of Canon Law, canon 265) and also because those ordained after the schismatic episcopal ordinations were ordained by an excommunicated bishop. They are also most probably excommunicated since it is quite likely that these priests, after fifteen years in a society whose head is now an excommunicated bishop, adhere to the schism.

2. Concretely this means that the Masses offered by the priests of the Society of St. Pius X are valid, but illicit i.e., contrary to Canon Law. While it is true that participation in the Mass at the chapels of the Society of St. Pius X does not of itself constitute "formal adherence to the schism", such adherence can come about over a period of time as one slowly imbibes a schismatic mentality which separates itself from the teaching of the Supreme Pontiff and the entire Catholic Church. While we hope and pray for a reconciliation with the Society of St. Pius X, the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei" cannot recommend that members of the faithful frequent their chapels for the reasons which we have outlined above. We deeply regret this situation and pray that a reconciliation of the Society of St. Pius X with the Church may come about, but until such time the explanations which we have given remain in force.

Specifically, since we cannot encourage attendance at Masses celebrated by the priests of the Society of St. Pius X, neither can we recommend receiving Holy Communion at these Masses.

Happily, in the Archdiocese of Baltimore the Mass according to the 1962 Roman Missal is celebrated every Sunday and Holy Day at Saint Alphonsus Church in Baltimore so those who want to attend the traditional Latin Mass and receive Holy Communion in your area can do so while remaining in full communion with the Catholic Church.

Sincerely yours in Christ,


Rev. Msgr. Camille Perl

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