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 Post subject: "Canonical Irregularity" and the SSPX
PostPosted: Fri Mar 08, 2019 2:49 pm 
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The term "canonical irregularity" has no basis in canonical tradition, and does not have a precise meaning. A Catholic institute either exists while possessing juridic personality, or it does not, and there is no middle option of ambiguous canonical standing. The SSPX, as an institute, either exists, or it does not; since an "irregular" status cannot exist as a juridical reality. Determining the canonical status of the SSPX hinges fundamentally upon the 1975 suppression, which occurred five years after it had been founded with full canonical approval. Events such as the 1976 ordinations, the censures applied to Abp. Lefebvre, and the 1988 consecrations, controversial as they might have been, have no bearing on the canonical status of the institute, because the consequences would apply to individuals.

Arguments concerning the validity of the 1975 suppression of the SSPX are well-rehearsed, and have been hashed out countless times in the last thirty to forty years. My intention is not to repeat any of these arguments, to initiate a debate here, or to choose sides. What I am interested in is examining just exactly how Rome views the suppression, especially in light of Pope Francis's exceptionally generous gestures toward the Society. And interestingly enough, it appears that Rome has already implicitly acknowledged that the suppression was invalid, because Rome treats the SSPX as a group which exists as a canonical entity, and which possesses juridic personality.

If the 1975 suppression were valid, then the SSPX would have ceased to exist juridically. However, in the various dialogues regarding “regularisation”, Rome has always acknowledged the existence of this entity known as the “Society of St. Pius X”; if not, the dialogues would simply be occurring between Vatican officials and a group of independent priests that do not belong to a specific, existing organisation. If this were the case, then it would have made no sense for Pope Francis to specify the SSPX as an institute when he granted all the members jurisdiction for hearing confessions, for example. If the suppression were valid, and the SSPX no longer existed as a juridical entity from that point onward, what institute was Pope Francis referring to when he declared he was granting jurisdiction to SSPX priests?

In addition, Rome recognizes that the SSPX has juridic personality; one priest I spoke to recalled a time in his seminary days in which several priests were excardinated from various religious orders and incardinated into the SSPX. One example of this is Fr. Urban Snyder, who was excardinated from the Trappist order and given permission by the Vatican to be incardinated into the SSPX. The institute must possess juridic personality for priests to be incardinated into the SSPX, but an institute which has been suppressed (and which technically no longer exists in the canonical sense), cannot have any juridic personality.

In other words, Rome recognises the existence of the SSPX as a canonical entity, as well as the fact that as an institute, it possesses juridic personality.

So why all the talk about “canonical irregularity”, even when it has been acknowledged that the SSPX was founded properly and approved in 1970, and its status has really not changed? My conjecture is that the reason behind the use of the word "irregularity" refers actually to the fact that the priests only possess ordinary jurisdiction for two sacraments, but celebrate all the sacraments anyway; however, this concerns the legitimacy of priestly ministry, and not the status of a canonical institute. (To make a comparison: if suddenly all the priests of another institute, or a religious order, found themselves suspended, they would lose their individual priestly faculties, but the canonical status of the institute they belong to would remain intact.)

If this is the reason behind the term "canonical irregularity", the logical conclusion would be that for the entire history of SSPX-Vatican negotiations up until the present day, there has been a failure to distinguish between individuals and institutes. If there is anything that is irregular, it would have to be the situation itself, rather than the canonical status. There may not be a way to stop this trend until what is already implicitly understood is explicitly and formally recognised, namely, that the canonical status of the SSPX has never changed since its founding, despite specific circumstances regarding certain individuals.

Welcoming a wide variety of thoughts here.


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 Post subject: Re: "Canonical Irregularity" and the SSPX
PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2019 12:00 am 
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shorter posts please


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 Post subject: Re: "Canonical Irregularity" and the SSPX
PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2019 4:41 am 
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Strider wrote:
shorter posts please
Thank you

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 Post subject: Re: "Canonical Irregularity" and the SSPX
PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2019 10:00 am 
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:fyi:

For those of you complaining that the OP is too long, I'd like to see you rewrite it more succinctly...

Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: "Canonical Irregularity" and the SSPX
PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2019 10:07 am 
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:fyi:

If you want people to read something, it's on you to make it readable. Maybe one point at a time?

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 Post subject: Re: "Canonical Irregularity" and the SSPX
PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2019 2:09 pm 
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Spes_nostra wrote:
For those of you complaining that the OP is too long, I'd like to see you rewrite it more succinctly...
It's not other people's job to make your posts readable. One of your earlier posts was 14 pages in 12 point, Times New Roman. That's just not something anyone will ever read on a forum.

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 Post subject: Re: "Canonical Irregularity" and the SSPX
PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2019 9:38 pm 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
If you want people to read something, it's on you to make it readable. Maybe one point at a time?


Well, there is only one point, namely, that the SSPX cannot be called irregular because it possesses juridic personality... :whistle:

Closet Catholic wrote:
One of your earlier posts was 14 pages in 12 point, Times New Roman. That's just not something anyone will ever read on a forum.


I'd like you to point out which one that is. I keep a document with all of my posts, and it is 29 pages long. I'm also using 12 point, Times New Roman. There are 33 posts there, making each one on average 0.88 pages long, each page being approximately 497 words. The longest single post is 2.5 pages, which rounds up to 1243 words. The reading speed of the average reader is 250 words per minute, making the longest post a 4.972-minute long read.

You don't have 5 minutes out of your day? Really?

If I write a long post, it's because I'm trying to be thorough. I am heartily sick of modern superficial tendencies and the refusal to be thorough and make proper distinctions, which necessitate a few more words than casual conversation. If you don't wish to read it, then don't. That makes things a lot easier than complaining, without adding anything productive to the conversation.

But seeing that my attempts of having a deeper discussion have not been reciprocated, and the fact that responses here are comparable to those on CAF (which I left to come here), I think I'll gladly take my leave of this forum now.

God bless!


Last edited by Adversus_Haereses on Thu Jun 27, 2019 9:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: "Canonical Irregularity" and the SSPX
PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2019 9:39 pm 
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Gee. Could the commonality of the responses have something to do with your presentation?

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 Post subject: Re: "Canonical Irregularity" and the SSPX
PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2019 9:44 pm 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
Gee. Could the commonality of the responses have something to do with your presentation?


My supposition, having done the math, is that either people are too lazy to take 5 minutes to read a post, or are too inept to write proper responses. :nooo:

Okay, I'll reciprocate. It's obvious I'm wasting my time here. Good-bye, and God bless!


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 Post subject: Re: "Canonical Irregularity" and the SSPX
PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2019 11:23 pm 
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I have plenty of free time now, and I usually don't have a problem with verbose posts. However, I do not know enough canon law to have a take on this.

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 Post subject: Re: "Canonical Irregularity" and the SSPX
PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2019 7:12 am 
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It's a myopic argument. That the term canonical irregularity is not in canon law is irrelevant. It's a mess. That the word "mess" is not in canon law doesn't matter. Look, it's just common speech. The SSPX may not be clearly outside canon law, but they aren't clearly within it either. That's the situation, and how it is phrased does not change that.

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 Post subject: Re: "Canonical Irregularity" and the SSPX
PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2019 9:38 am 
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:scratch: The term "irregular" is certainly in Canon Law, it refers to an impediment or defect.

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 Post subject: Re: "Canonical Irregularity" and the SSPX
PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2019 10:37 am 
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Bombadil wrote:
It's a myopic argument. That the term canonical irregularity is not in canon law is irrelevant. It's a mess. That the word "mess" is not in canon law doesn't matter. Look, it's just common speech. The SSPX may not be clearly outside canon law, but they aren't clearly within it either. That's the situation, and how it is phrased does not change that.


I think you're misunderstanding the point.

It is simply impossible to describe a group's STATUS as "canonically irregular", because a status either exists, or it doesn't.

As for your point that the SSPX is in an irregular SITUATION, you are certainly correct.

This distinction was made earlier:

Spes_nostra wrote:
A Catholic institute either exists while possessing juridic personality, or it does not, and there is no middle option of ambiguous canonical standing. [...] If there is anything that is irregular, it would have to be the situation itself, rather than the canonical status.


Peregrinator wrote:
:scratch: The term "irregular" is certainly in Canon Law, it refers to an impediment or defect.


Irregularities are perpetual defects, while impediments are temporary. However, neither term understood in this sense is relevant, because the status of an institute cannot be "impeded" or "irregular". A group either has canonical status or it doesn't. Regardless of whether the situation of the SSPX-Rome negotiations is irregular (it definitely is), the status of the SSPX either exists, or it doesn't.

Since the 1975 suppression was invalid, we must conclude that 1) the SSPX has canonical status, but 2) it is in an irregular situation.


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 Post subject: Re: "Canonical Irregularity" and the SSPX
PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2019 12:57 pm 
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Spes_nostra wrote:
Irregularities are perpetual defects, while impediments are temporary. However, neither term understood in this sense is relevant, because the status of an institute cannot be "impeded" or "irregular". A group either has canonical status or it doesn't. Regardless of whether the situation of the SSPX-Rome negotiations is irregular (it definitely is), the status of the SSPX either exists, or it doesn't.

We don't hesitate to speak of "irregular marriages" (that are, in fact, not marriages but sometimes can be treated as such) so why can't we speak of irregular status of an association?

What curial dicastery does the SSPX report to, if it has canonical status?

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 Post subject: Re: "Canonical Irregularity" and the SSPX
PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2019 1:12 pm 
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Spes_nostra wrote:
If this were the case, then it would have made no sense for Pope Francis to specify the SSPX as an institute when he granted all the members jurisdiction for hearing confessions, for example. If the suppression were valid, and the SSPX no longer existed as a juridical entity from that point onward, what institute was Pope Francis referring to when he declared he was granting jurisdiction to SSPX priests?

Eastern Orthodox priests who confirm members of their congregations have faculties to do so because of the tacit permission of the Holy See. Yet Orthodox Churches aren't juridical entities in the canonical sense. How can this be?

Quote:
In addition, Rome recognizes that the SSPX has juridic personality; one priest I spoke to recalled a time in his seminary days in which several priests were excardinated from various religious orders and incardinated into the SSPX. One example of this is Fr. Urban Snyder, who was excardinated from the Trappist order and given permission by the Vatican to be incardinated into the SSPX. The institute must possess juridic personality for priests to be incardinated into the SSPX, but an institute which has been suppressed (and which technically no longer exists in the canonical sense), cannot have any juridic personality.

Fr. Urban was allowed to work with the SSPX in 1972 (I don't know that he was ever actually incardinated), before the 1975 suppression, so his example isn't relevant here. Typically, before the suppression, Abp. Lefebvre would work to get priests of the SSPX incardinated into dioceses. One such priest is Fr. Paul Aulagnier, one of the original seminarians to approach Abp. Lefebvre, who was incardinated into the diocese of Clermont and never excardinated.

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 Post subject: Re: "Canonical Irregularity" and the SSPX
PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2019 3:16 pm 
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Peregrinator wrote:
We don't hesitate to speak of "irregular marriages" (that are, in fact, not marriages but sometimes can be treated as such) so why can't we speak of irregular status of an association?


To use your analogy, one would have to conclude that the "irregular canonical status" of the SSPX would mean that the institute has no status. Even Rome denies this today by allowing the SSPX to ordain and incardinate priests without dimissorial letters from the local ordinary.

Quote:
Fr. Urban was allowed to work with the SSPX in 1972 (I don't know that he was ever actually incardinated), before the 1975 suppression, so his example isn't relevant here.


The incardination occurred in 1971, as reported by then-Fr. Williamson in a letter to "friends and benefactors": "Fr. Snyder's official incardination or entry into the new Society in 1971 is a part of Society history, because it was (and remains) a proof of Rome's recognition at that time of the Society's canonical standing within the Church, denied by many."

It very much is relevant, because this example proves that Rome recognised the SSPX as more than just a "pious union", even before the five ad experimentum years were up. Thus, the 1975 suppression could not have been valid, as the bishop of the diocese where the SSPX's motherhouse was located exceeded his purview.

Today, SSPX priests can be ordained without dimissorial letters from the diocesan bishop. If they are not under the authority of that bishop, then who are they under? Ordinary jurisdiction for sacraments cannot exist without a proper relationship to episcopal---and by extension, papal---authority. It can only be concluded that they are incardinated into the SSPX, as there is no such thing as an "independent" priest.


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 Post subject: Re: "Canonical Irregularity" and the SSPX
PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2019 4:35 pm 
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Spes_nostra wrote:
To use your analogy, one would have to conclude that the "irregular canonical status" of the SSPX would mean that the institute has no status. Even Rome denies this today by allowing the SSPX to ordain and incardinate priests without dimissorial letters from the local ordinary.

You keep saying "incardinate" but I don't think the SSPX is actually "incardinating" anyone. To the best of my knowledge, they never have - even before the suppression.

Quote:
The incardination occurred in 1971, as reported by then-Fr. Williamson in a letter to "friends and benefactors": "Fr. Snyder's official incardination or entry into the new Society in 1971 is a part of Society history, because it was (and remains) a proof of Rome's recognition at that time of the Society's canonical standing within the Church, denied by many."

Let's see the decree of incardination then. The fact that then-Fr. Williamson made reference to it is not really evidence.

Quote:
It very much is relevant, because this example proves that Rome recognised the SSPX as more than just a "pious union", even before the five ad experimentum years were up. Thus, the 1975 suppression could not have been valid, as the bishop of the diocese where the SSPX's motherhouse was located exceeded his purview.

So you're saying that the SSPX was an association of pontifical right? That doesn't seem correct.

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Today, SSPX priests can be ordained without dimissorial letters from the diocesan bishop.

What do you mean by "can be" though?

Quote:
If they are not under the authority of that bishop, then who are they under? Ordinary jurisdiction for sacraments cannot exist without a proper relationship to episcopal---and by extension, papal---authority. It can only be concluded that they are incardinated into the SSPX, as there is no such thing as an "independent" priest.

The Pope himself, who has immediate and universal jurisdiction everywhere, gave them faculties. One needn't be incardinated for that to happen.

Again - what dicastery does the SSPX report to?

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