Skip to comments.Letter by Msgr. Camille Perl Regarding Society of St. Pius X Masses
Posted on 01/27/2003 11:33:33 AM PST by Aloysius
Una Voce America has received a communication from the Pontifical Ecclesia Dei Commission, concerning an article which appeared in The Remnant newspaper and various websites. At the request of the Commission, we are publishing it below.
Pontificia Commissio "Ecclesia Dei" January 18, 2003
Greetings in the Hearts of Jesus & Mary! There have been several inquiries about our letter of 27 September 2002. In order to clarify things, Msgr. Perl has made the following response.
Oremus pro invicem.
In cordibus Jesu et Mariæ, Msgr. Arthur B. Calkins
Msgr. Camille Perl's response:
Unfortunately, as you will understand, we have no way of controlling what is done with our letters by their recipients. Our letter of 27 September 2002, which was evidently cited in The Remnant and on various websites, was intended as a private communication dealing with the specific circumstances of the person who wrote to us. What was presented in the public forum is an abbreviated version of that letter which omits much of our pastoral counsel. Since a truncated form of this letter has now become public, we judge it appropriate to present the larger context of our response.
In a previous letter to the same correspondent we had already indicated the canonical status of the Society of St. Pius X which we will summarize briefly here.
1.) The priests of the Society of St. Pius X are validly ordained, but they are suspended from exercising their priestly functions. To the extent that they adhere to the schism of the late Archbishop Lefebvre, they are also excommunicated.
2.) Concretely this means that the Masses offered by these priests are valid, but illicit i.e., contrary to the law of the Church.
Points 1 and 3 in our letter of 27 September 2002 to this correspondent are accurately reported. His first question was "Can I fulfill my Sunday obligation by attending a Pius X Mass" and our response was:
"1. In the strict sense you may fulfill your Sunday obligation by attending a Mass celebrated by a priest of the Society of St. Pius X."
His second question was "Is it a sin for me to attend a Pius X Mass" and we responded stating:
"2. We have already told you that we cannot recommend your attendance at such a Mass and have explained the reason why. If your primary reason for attending were to manifest your desire to separate yourself from communion with the Roman Pontiff and those in communion with him, it would be a sin. If your intention is simply to participate in a Mass according to the 1962 Missal for the sake of devotion, this would not be a sin."
His third question was: "Is it a sin for me to contribute to the Sunday collection a Pius X Mass" to which we responded:
"3. It would seem that a modest contribution to the collection at Mass could be justified."
Further, the correspondent took the Commission to task for not doing its job properly and we responded thus:
"This Pontifical Commission does not have the authority to coerce Bishops to provide for the celebration of the Mass according to the 1962 Roman Missal. Nonetheless, we are frequently in contact with Bishops and do all that we can to see that this provision is made. However, this provision also depends on the number of people who desire the 'traditional' Mass, their motives and the availability of priests who can celebrate it.
"You also state in your letter that the Holy Father has given you a 'right' to the Mass according to the 1962 Roman Missal. This is not correct. It is true that he has asked his brother Bishops to be generous in providing for the celebration of this Mass, but he has not stated that it is a 'right'. Presently it constitutes an exception to the Church's law and may be granted when the local Bishop judges it to be a valid pastoral service and when he has the priests who are available to celebrate it. Every Catholic has a right to the sacraments (cf. Code of Canon Law, canon 843), but he does not have a right to them according to the rite of his choice."
We hope that this puts in a clearer light the letter about which you asked us.
With prayerful best wishes for this New Year of Our Lord 2003, I remain
Sincerely yours in Christ, Rev. Msgr. Camille Perl Secretary
2. We have already told you that we cannot recommend your attendance at such a Mass and have explained the reason why. If your primary reason for attending were to manifest your desire to separate yourself from communion with the Roman Pontiff and those in communion with him, it would be a sin. If your intention is simply to participate in a Mass according to the 1962 Missal for the sake of devotion, this would not be a sin."
If the Pontifical Ecclesia Dei Commission says it's not a sin, then how could it be schismatic?
According to the commission, the SSPX Masses are valid and attendence at such is not sinful (at least for those who want "to participate in a Mass according to the 1962 Missal for the sake of devotion"). I don't see any potential problems with this course of action.
"2. We have already told you that we cannot recommend your attendance at such a Mass and have explained the reason why. If your primary reason for attending were to manifest your desire to separate yourself from communion with the Roman Pontiff and those in communion with him, it would be a sin. If your intention is simply to participate in a Mass according to the 1962 Missal for the sake of devotion, this would not be a sin."Interesting statement. There are many attending Society Masses for whom the latter intention seems predominant, simply attending the 1962 Missal. There are unfortunately also many who seem to want to separate themselves from communion with the Bishops and laity in communion with the Pope. Most folks seem to have both intentions to some degree, and if so this would indicate their attendance would be sinful due to the desire to separate themselves from those in communion with the Pope, whom they regard as awful modernists.
As to attending for devotion to the 1962 missal, I also note the commission previously said:
PONTIFICIA COMMISSIO ECCLESIA DEI
29 September 1995
Dear .... . .
. . .
2. The Masses they [the SSPX] celebrate are also valid, but it is considered morally illicit for the faithful to participate in these Masses unless they are physically or morally impeded from participating in a Mass celebrated by a Catholic priest in good standing (cf. Code of Canon Law, canon 844.2). The fact of not being able to assist at the celebration of the so-called "Tridentine" Mass is not considered a sufficient motive for attending such Masses.
3. While it is true that the participation in the Mass and sacraments 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 mentality which separates itself from the magisterium of the Supreme Pontiff. Father Peter R. Scott, District Superior of the Society in the United States, has publicaly stated that he deplores the "liberalism" of "those who refuse to condemn the New Mass as absolutely offensive to God, or the religious liberty and ecumenism of the postconcilliar church." With such an attitude the society of St. Pius X is effectively tending to establish its own canons of orthodoxy and hence to separate itself from the magisterium of the Supreme Pontiff. According to canon 751 such "refusal of submission to the Roman Pontiff or the communion of the members of the Church subject to him" constitute schism. Hence we cannot encourage your participation in the Masses, the sacraments or other services conducted under the aegis of the Society of St. Pius X.
This mass happened to be on the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel and the monsignour gave a great homily about evil and satan and the need for a unified church. And he said while he does celebrate the Latin Mass because there is a need in the community for it, he prays that in the future there will be no need, that we will become truly one body. He said there wasn't a problem with the Novus Ordo mass properly celebrated, and he had some firm words for followers of the Society of St. Pius X, that they were NOT in communion with the Pope and people who courted them were courting with schism.
Anyway, this was 6 months ago, I may be paraphrasing too much, but his point was clear, at least to me. I had contemplated going to a Latin Mass, see what it was about, but since then I haven't had the urge. As long as the Mass is proper, valid and licit, without the garbage that some priests are throwing in like dance, etc., I think we should stick with it.
Just my opinion. God bless you all!
Do you have evidence to support this assertion?
If your primary reason for attending were to manifest your desire to separate yourself from communion with the Roman Pontiff and those in communion with him, it would be a sin.
Very few of the good people I have met at SSPX services desire to seperate themselves from BOTH His Holiness and all in communion with him. Rather they object to the modernisms and other heretical practices that abound in many places that claim to be in communnion with Rome but who ignore directives from Rome on such critical areas as confession, EEM's, the General Instruction and such. Moreover, even if that IS an intention, but not the primary intention, the letter seems to leave plenty of room to wriggle. I smell a softening of Rome's attitude.
Well said. Separating oneself from the actions of modernism is not the same as separating oneself from those who are in Communion with the Holy Father.
Do you have evidence to support this assertion?
He has no evidence because it's non-existent. Typical lawyer forked-tongue speak. He uses the cop-out word of "seem" and then continues his next statement with "if so". Purely subjective double-speak. However, a few neo's on this forum appear to be omniscient: they know who are in schism, who are Sons of Satan, etc. And we've all seen evidence of their personal judgements upon Traditional Catholics.
I pray to God you are right.
I agree his words were chosen carefully, and I take offense at them. I'm tired of strangers telling others what their intentions are. No retraction shall be forthcoming.
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