Disclaimer: This article will discuss the canonical status and licities of the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX). This article will not address the recent accusations of Church Militant against the SSPX, or their response.
When people think of the SSPX, they have many objections. They are called schismatics, sedevacantists, heretics, apostates, excommunicated, and every other canonical term possible with no basis. Here I wish to inform and discuss whether the SSPX sacraments are valid, licit, and whether we as faithful Catholics may attend their Masses. Many dismiss the Society as a whole due to the excommunication of the Superior General, the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, and subsequently the 4 bishops he consecrated, in 1988 when the Archbishop consecrated 4 bishops without the permission of Rome. Pope Saint John Paul II stated that the 5 had received an excommunication “latae sententiae” by the act of the consecration. These excommunications were lifted by Pope Benedict XVI on January 21, 2009, in a document which can be found here.
Today I wish to share with you 5 places that Seth and I see as great places to buy budget religious art. This list is in no particular order, but exists only to aid those who cannot afford to spend hundreds of dollars on statues and icons to aid in prayer in a sacred space in their homes. [Disclaimer: This article contains a paid sponsorship]
In a time where many of us are living in fear, especially the fear of death, I wish to share with you a sermon given by an amazing priest, Fr. Royce V. Gregerson. He studied at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome and holds a License in Sacred Theology with an emphasis in moral theology. This sermon reminds us not to fear death and run from it, but rather to confront death head on and remember the reality of Hell and implore God's mercy for us and our salvation.
"It is good to think, from time to time, about death. We do not, I propose, think much about death. We fear it, mourn it, and perhaps even long for it. But rarely do we think about it. Why, we ought to ask, does death exist in the first place?
I am of the opinion that we could learn much from the Eastern lung of the Church. One of my favorite devotions from the Byzantine Rite of the Church is the Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem the Syrian. This simple prayer is a great aid to our Lenten devotions and I recommend praying it as part of your morning offering.
St. Ephrem lived from about 306 to 373 A.D. He was a Monastic Deacon and composed over four hundred hymns. Today he is revered as one of the fathers of monasticism and much of the Syriac tradition. In 1920, Pope Benedict XV declared St. Ephrem a Doctor of the Church.
For many, the sad reality is that they do not have access to the Traditional Latin Mass or a reverent Eastern Divine Liturgy. For those people who long for the beauty of the traditional liturgies of the Catholic Church but cannot attend, there are many ways that the Novus Ordo can be beautiful as well. Here I will discuss some of the ways that both Priests and laymen can enhance the Novus Ordo in accordance with the will of the Holy Father in the Motu Proprio, Summuorum Pontificum. Many of these changes must be brought about by the priest, but without the first push of the laity, no priest will be willing to make the change.
The first and most obvious enhancement for the Novus Ordo, would be to celebrate the Mass in the preferred orientation of the Church, Ad Orientem. If you would like to learn more about this orientation of liturgy, please check out my article on the topic, To The East. This is truly the orientation preferred by the Church, and it is apparent if one takes a simple look at the altar missal. Each time the priest addresses the people, the missal tells the priest to do so while “Turning to face the people.” This facing Ad Orientem fosters a sense of reverence for the priest as well as the people. It helps the priest focus on the unbloody sacrifice of the Mass, instead of on the relationship between him and the people.
In this first week of Septuagesima, I wish to share with you a few devotional books which could be great assistants to prayer for the upcoming Lenten season.
The Divine Office
This is the Church's official liturgical prayer, and is prayed by all priests, deacons, and religious of the Roman Rite. I personally pray the Divine Office using the 1961 Diurnale Romanum. This is the “Daytime” hours of the 1961 Breviary. This includes all hours of the day, except Matins, the equivalent to the modern Office of Readings. If you like Matins, you can pick up a full copy of the 1961 Breviarium Romanum. If you still prefer prayers in English, you can pray the highly revised Liturgy of the Hours. These all exist to fulfill St. Paul’s idea of praying unceasingly. The “hours” coincide with times of the day so your day can be filled with prayer. Even if you only can pray Lauds and Compline, that is, Morning and Night prayer, I promise the recitation of the Divine Office will be an amazing aide to your Lenten prayer routine.
Lately I have seen many people attempting to object communion on the tongue in favor of communion in the hand. Here I will respond to these objections to the best of my ability:
One of the most prominent objections to communion on the tongue is the idea that it is somehow more unsanitary compared to communion in the hand. This argument is flawed at very basic levels. When communion is received in the hand, the Sacred Host touches the fingertips of the priest, where it has the potential to pick up germs, then the hand of the communicant, where it has a higher potential to pick up germs due to an increased surface area, and then the fingertips of the communicant before it is received. If Holy Communion is received on the tongue, only the tips of the priest’s fingers touch the Host before it is received, and therefore has a much lower chance of passing on germs.
Many people are shocked when attending their first Traditional Latin Mass. “Why does the priest turn his back on us?” many ask. Well the answer to this is simple, he doesn’t. The liturgical direction of the priest facing with the people towards to the tabernacle and crucifix, is referred to as Ad Orientem or Ad Deum, meaning To the East or To God, respectively.
This tradition of saying the Liturgy is an Apostolic Tradition. Since churches began to be built, they were always built with the altar facing East, as Christ said he will come again from the East and the rising sun. This can be seen in many large cathedrals and basilicas where the original high altar faces East. It is not a compass point East that is important however, it is directing our attention to God the Son physically present in the tabernacle, and the image of Christ crucified behind the altar.
The Prayers at the Foot of the Altar are a mandatory set of preparatory prayers for the Sacred Ministers in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. One may see their removal in the Missal of Paul VI as minor, but this is incorrect.
The Prayers at the Foot of the Altar begin with the recitation of Psalm 42, Judica me Deus. Said in recitation between the Priest and other Sacred Ministers, the Psalm begins with the Antiphon, "Introibo ad altare Dei. Ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem meam: I will go unto the altar of God. To God who giveth joy upon my youth." This Antiphon, along with the entirety of the Psalm, is said to prepare the mind and soul to give praise to the Lord at His altar. The Psalm closes with the recitation of the Gloria Patri and the repetition of the Antiphon. The removal of this Psalm alone can be seen as detrimental. With this, priests no longer have a mandatory prayer of preparation before ascending to the altar, which has allowed room for priests to be unprepared for mass, ad-libbing at the altar before the opening prayers of the Mass.
Karl I of Austria.
Many people have absolutely no idea who this blessed man was. Blessed Karl (Charles) I was the last Emperor of Austria, the last King of Hungary, and the last King of Bohemia. This is just a small fraction of the full title of the Apostolic King and Emperor of the former Empire of Austria-Hungary, established by Francis I in 1745 as an extension of the Holy Roman Empire. Following the start of the First World War, Blessed Karl became heir to the throne after the assasination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and assumed the throne after the death of Emperor Franz Joseph.
Many people in the modern age scoff at the idea of Monarchy as tyrannical and refuse to believe in a Catholic Monarchy. This is merely a misconception of Monarchy as a whole, and Bl. Karl did just that. He was a purely Catholic King.