Can the SSPX validly marry people?
(12-27-2016, 11:33 PM)Eric F Wrote:                                                                       Personally, I find the claims that the SSPX have a valid priesthood, offer valid masses, but that they lack the faculties to perform marriages and hear confessions, UNLESS it's an emergency or the Year of Mercy, a little bit too much like "Simon Says".
The rules for the validity of marriage were introduced by the council of Trent and those for the validity of confessions existed even earlier, I think.

For marriages, the rules apply not only to the SSPX, but also to the FSSP and all other orders of the Church. The only priests who have jurisdiction for the marriage are the pastors of the territorial parishes where the two engaged live. Any other priest has to get permission from one of these pastors in order to perform a valid marriage. So if your local parish priest would give permission to get married by the SSPX, it would be valid, but that is quite unlikely to happen.
I agree, now that they have had their confessions "officially" declared valid, it does kinda confuse things.  I mean, are we sinning when we go to there masses immediately after being absolved of our sins?? It does seem kind of ridiculous.  But if really the only requirement is that we believe the Church is in a crisis, then that would certainly apply.  I mean, with the hierarchy preaching heresy and il Papa allowing souls to remain in mortal sin, and then sacrilegiously communicate, then we are definitely in a crisis. A severe crisis! But that is another topic.

There is an S.S.P.X. (side note, doesn't their acronym sound like some evil organization from an 80's si-fi film) Seminary about 45 minutes from me, I guess I could just ask them.  But if it is this confusing, and I still feel uncomfortable about it, I probably don't want to take the risk.  I could always just ask the F.S.S.P. chapel in Richmond, or maybe find a Diocesan option.
                                                  I'm defending the SSPX here. I've heard conservative leaning Catholics make arguments against them that I find utterly ridiculous. I had one tell me that if it were a choice between attending mass at a church where anything goes and the priest makes no secret of his contempt for traditional Catholic teaching, or an SSPX chapel, that he'd go to Catholic church where anything goes, because they're still in communion with the Pope and the local Bishop. Another, rather knowledgeable fellow I spoke with insisted (this was before Francis) that attending Sunday liturgy at even an Orthodox church that was vehemently anti Catholic still fulfilled your Sunday obligation, but attending  mass at an SSPX Chapel wouldn't. I've been told that attending mass at an SSPX chapel, isn't necessarily sinful, but can become sinful depending on your reasons. But now confession there is suddenly OK during the Year of Mercy. Like I said, it's all a bit like Simon Says.
(12-27-2016, 07:58 PM)Justin Alphonsus Wrote: I forget where, but I heard that they could not? Is this true?

The previous posters have given you a lot of good theological and canonical answers; I will try to answer this from a more practical point of view, as my wife and I had to go through this process.  To give you a little background, I was baptized and confirmed in the novus ordo church, and my wife was baptized and confirmed by the SSPX.  We were also long distance, as in 3,000 miles apart, and we wanted to get married in 6 months.  As you can imagine, the process is anything but simple, but here is our experience.

We first approached the SSPX parish in my wife's area.  They took forever to get back to us, even though my wife's family has been in the parish for decades.  We got tired of waiting, so we contacted the FSSP parish in the area.  We got a response from the pastor, but they just went radio silent on us after that.  I don't blame them, though, because we were not parishioners at the parish, I was 3,000 miles away, and there's the SSPX-Vatican challenge.  Honestly, at that point, we were at a loss as to what to do, until I approached my priest friend, and learned that he actually says the Latin Mass and has been for a while - I had only been to his novus ordo Masses previously.  He basically saved our behinds.  I flew my then-fiance over here to meet with him, which went well, and we took pre-cana through the diocese, which was woefully deficient, unfortunately.

We also ran into complications with our baptismal and confirmation certificates.  My wife had the original baptismal certificate, but my wife's parish could not locate the records to issue a current one.  My wife had to call the SSPX parish in Los Gatos, CA, where she was baptized, and they couldn't find it, either.  The priest who baptized her was an independent priest and had recently passed away.  So my priest friend took the originals and had to do an investigative form or something to verify that she's indeed Catholic.  They did accept the confirmation certificate with no problem, though, even though she was confirmed by Bishop Williamson back in the day.  The process for me was relatively easier, but apparently the Archdiocese of Boston does not issue separate baptism and confirmation certificates anymore - they just combine both into one.  My current diocese apparently didn't like that, and I had to go back and forth to get separate certificates.  Sigh.

So after all that, my priest friend had to get permission from my wife's diocesan parish to perform the nuptial Mass, and we had to supply a lot of the equipment ourselves, since it was a historical Catholic church that is now part of a state park.  He also had to get permission from his local diocese, but the bishop was out of the office, so everything came down to the wire, and he finally got permission the day before or of the wedding.

Honestly, I don't know how we pulled it off.  And on top of all that, I was going through an illness during that time, and spent the night in the ER two days before I flew out for the wedding.  So, to answer your question, yes, it's possible, but it takes a lot of dedication, hard work, kindness from your family and friends, and most importantly love and faith to do all that.  But at the end of the day, that's what marriage is all about, right?  When my wife and I look back on it now, it's so easy to see that it's divine providence that brought us together, and it's made us stronger in the process.  We now have a happy and healthy 9-month-old baby girl, and I'm feeling much better, so we feel very blessed.

I'm not sure if you're asking because you're thinking of getting married, but it is possible to marry in the SSPX, if both are SSPX parishioners.  The SSPX has no problem doing that, and I think they do try to get permission from the diocese to do that, though they probably don't get it.  My understanding is that Rome will recognize those marriages, even though they're performed by the SSPX, because the Sacrament of Marriage is a very, very strong one.  If it is a "mixed marriage" between one SSPX person and one non-SSPX person, I believe the recommendation from the SSPX is to get married outside of the Society.

In any case, I hope this helps.  And best of luck of you!
SSPX now has jurisdiction granted by Pope Francis to validly and licitly hear Confessions, so that's case closed.

It's an open debate among canonists whether the SSPX marriages are valid. Standard practice in the Novus Ordo church is to treat SSPX marriages as invalid. That's the standard practice, but it's based on an ongoing debate, so don't think that it's a case closed deal with absolute certitude. I've heard conflicting opinions even from FSSP priests.

If you want the comfort of certitude of a valid and powerful marriage, go to the FSSP, but not the Novus Ordo. Not because Novus Ordo marriages are not valid but because the traditional sacraments are far more powerful, more profound than the Novus Ordo sacraments. They confer greater and more abundant blessings from an objective standpoint. Nevertheless, poor subjective dispositions may block some of those effects or hinder them, such as during Holy Communion. You should seek out traditional sacraments whenever possible, especially for the more permanent ones, such as Baptism, Confirmation, Matrimony, etc. It will help your marriage even more as well as the upbringing of your family.
We need to correct a few things here just to get thing straight :

First, the Church has two powers, Orders and Jurisdiction. Orders are for the sanctification of the faithful by means of confecting and administrating the sacraments and sacramentals. Jurisdiction is the power that regulates the life of the Church including the regulation of how the power of Orders is used.

Because the sacrament of Penance is in its very essence a tribunal and judgement by the priest acting as judge, there is inherently the need for that priest to have the power to judge. This power is Jurisdiction. One either possesses it by his office (e.g. the diocesan Bishop) or it is delegated to him by his superior with that power. In the case of the SSPX, historically they did not possess this delegated jurisdiction, but claimed that for each individual confession, the Church, through Canon Law, supplied the necessary jurisdiction. This argument was based on the solid opinion of many canonists and moral theologians. It was a reasonable and tenable opinion. That, was then, however. Since the beginning of the Year of Mercy, and now, continuing after the Year of Mercy, Pope Francis gave SSPX priests the necessary power of jurisdiction for valid confessions. This is a universal faculty, so an SSPX priest, by his very status, valid absolves without obtaining the delegated jurisdiction from the local bishop.

Thus confessions are not any issue.

Marriage is not a judgement by the Church or any priest, so there is nothing inherent to it which requires some power of the Church to intervene. Marriage, by its nature, is a contract, wherein each spouse mutually gives and receives the power over his body for acts proper to the generation of children. When both spouses are baptized, this contract is also a sacrament, and by the very contract itself, special graces are given.

There are certain requirements by the Divine and Natural Law which regulate when a marriage contract is valid (e.g. one has to have use of reason). Now, the Church does not need to be involved here, but since she does have power to regulate the life of Christians, she can and does regulate when this contract is valid beyond just the Divine and Natural Law. For instance, while it is clear that one must have use of reason to marry, she determines that not only this, but one must be a certain age to marry.

Because of many problems  in its day, the Council of Trent introduced an impediment to marriage called "clandestinity" in the decree entitled "Tametsi" declaring : "Those who attempt to contract matrimony otherwise than in the presence of the parish priest or of another priest with leave of the parish priest or of the ordinary, and before two or three witnesses, the Holy Synod renders altogether incapable of such a contract, and declares such contracts null and void."

This was not made obligatory everywhere, and so it was not until the decree under St. Pius X ("Ne timere") and later the Code of Canon Law that all Catholics everywhere were bound to have their marriage witnessed by their parish priest, bishop, or one who is delegated. It should be clear that while this involves the power of Jurisdiction, it is not called "jurisdiction" because the sacrament does not require some power from the Church to be effective, but rather requires that it have an official witness (in normal circumstances). This witness is "delegated" by the parish priest or local bishop of at least one of the couple. Thus it is called "delegation" to make it clear that the couple is not receiving some power.

When a bishop, priest or deacon (according to the 1983 Code) is authorized as a official "delegated" witness this is called "Canonical Form". All Catholics are obliged to follow canonical form, except if it is physically or morally impossible.

This is where the SSPX begins its claims that marriages it performs are valid. There are many techinical details, and those have been discussed previously here, and are addressed in detail in a study written by the Society's Fr. Ramón Angles, but suffice it to say, the most simple thing to say here is that it is clear a good case can be made, and in such a case where there is a real doubt, we cannot categorically declare SSPX marriages invalid because Canon Law (Canon 1060) mandates that an apparent marriage must be assumed valid until proven invalid by a competent tribunal.

Additionally, while it is common for marriage tribunals to summarily declare any SSPX marriage invalid for lack of Canonical Form, this is not the universal practice, and Bishop Fellay said that he was informed by Bishops in Gabon (Africa) in 2002 that when they asked if SSPX marriages should be recorded in the diocesan sacramental records they were told they must do so. Lacking an official declaration from the Holy See, therefore, we at least have to have a reasonable doubt that SSPX marriages are valid at least in some cases. As a result, while we can discuss the matter in general, when it comes to any particular marriage witnessed by the Society, we are not permitted to assert its invalidity, because Canon Law requires we assume it is valid.
(12-28-2016, 10:09 AM)Justin Alphonsus Wrote: I agree, now that they have had their confessions "officially" declared valid, it does kinda confuse things.  I mean, are we sinning when we go to there masses immediately after being absolved of our sins??

It's always been OK to attend their Masses, which are perfectly valid. That's never been in serious question. It's also OK to financially support their chapels.
(12-28-2016, 09:07 PM)Vox Clamantis Wrote:
(12-28-2016, 10:09 AM)Justin Alphonsus Wrote: I agree, now that they have had their confessions "officially" declared valid, it does kinda confuse things.  I mean, are we sinning when we go to there masses immediately after being absolved of our sins??

It's always been OK to attend their Masses, which are perfectly valid. That's never been in serious question. It's also OK to financially support their chapels.

Not to nitpick here Vox, but always ok? By whom?
The reason I ask is very personal to me, however. I started attending a chapel near me. Some dear friends of mine found out about it. When they returned to their NO church and brought it up, they were told in no uncertain terms that the SSPX is not a valid option. This from a deacon whom I suspect of being a modernist. Just sayin'. By the way I can attest that even in the former NO parish I went to, opinions were divided. I must add however that I am very happy about my attendance at the Society's chapels.

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