The irony is that if Catholics in Bishop Semeraro’s diocese received sacraments from truly schismatic Orthodox priests they would not be excommunicated at all. So is the Orthodox church somehow in “friendly schism” while the SSPX is in “naughty schism?”
Tuesday, November 4th, I wrote a blog piece regarding the implications of two bishops presuming to excommunicate Catholics who receive sacraments from the SSPX. On the same day, the International Una Voce Federation echoed my sentiments, stating that these excommunications may be illegal. Unfortunately, a third commentary on this event was posted on the same day, much unlike the others. That piece was Episcopal action on the SSPX: A basic strategy for unityby Neo-Catholic apologist, Dr. Jeff Mirus.
In the piece, Mirus states the following:
…it is important to understand why some bishops are adopting this policy. It has nothing to do with the question of whether the SSPX bishops are excommunicated (which is no longer the case), or whether the SSPX is formally in schism (about which the popes have been noticeably coy while seeking to restore full communion). Nor are those who avail themselves of sacraments administered by SSPX priests either in schism or universally excommunicated by that fact. Arguing (as theLatin Mass Society of England and Wales has) that Bishops Semeraro and Sarlinga are on shaky ground because such universal judgments are not in force would seem to miss the point. Rather, at this time such excommunications are imposed diocese by diocese, according to the judgment of the local ordinary. This is because the SSPX constitutes a direct attack on ordinary episcopal jurisdiction in the Catholic Church.
On October 14th, Marcello Semeraro, Bishop of Albano, Italy, close friend of Pope Francis, and member of the Pope’s Council to reform the curia, took the surprising step of declaring the following:
…any Catholic faithful who requests and receives Sacraments in the Society of Saint Pius X, will place himself de facto in the condition of no longer being in communion with the Catholic Church. A readmission to the Catholic Church must be preceded by an adequate personal path of reconciliation, according to the ecclesiastical discipline established by the Bishop.
Then, on October 20th, an interview with Abp. Guido Pozzo, Secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, regarding his recent meeting with the SSPX was made available. In it, the Secretary, for the first time publicly, stated that certain documents of Vatican II are of lesser authority and that the SSPX would not be required to give up objections related to pastoral and prudential matters: