Virtually all Catholic Churches and non-Catholic houses of worship remain closed in the United States.  There are a few exceptions.  A few Protestant congregations have chosen to stay open nationwide.

In our Diocese, only one option remains for Mass.  The schismatic Society of St. Pius X is offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on Sundays and daily in various Churches that they maintain.  They have chapels in Michigan  (Mancelona Sunday at 4:30 PM).  Further information may be obtained at https://sspx.org/en/community/priories).  Gaylord Diocesan Watch does not support any schismatic organization and is not associated in any way with the Society of St. Pius X.  However, the Vatican has noted that attending a Mass given by the Society of St. Pius X is not sinful and does meet one’s Sunday obligation.  We encourage readers to make their own decisions regarding this.  Our responsibility is supply our readers with accurate information.

With regard to this issue, the Vatican released the following statement in 2003.  The following is significant for those who wish to attend this mass but are concerned about its moral implications:

“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.”

The full contents of this letter are given below as a service to our readers.  It should be noted that since the release of this statement, the excommunication of the bishops associated with the Society of St. Pius X has been lifted:

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 (later lifted by Pope Benedict XVI – ed.).
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 at 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.  (later changed by Pope Benedict XVI.  Catholics now have the right to attend this mass. – ed.) 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