The “Ordinary” Mission of the SSPX?
Responds to Brian McCall
19 January A.D. 2022
A couple days ago, January 17, 2022, Brian McCall’s article “The Ordinary Mission of the SSPX – Reply to Salza” was released. At the beginning of the article, Mr. McCall notes our long-standing relationship and his prior support of my work for Tradition, and wonders why, at this moment in history, I have changed my mind about the SSPX. It is a legitimate question, and Mr. McCall acknowledges, in a footnote, that I have already answered that question, by having issued a Statement on the Society of St. Pius X, on the homepage of our website www.trueorfalsepope.com.
After an extensive study of ecclesiology and Sedevacantism, I (and my co-author, Robert Siscoe) came to the inescapable conclusion that SSPX clergy are in the same canonical and ecclesiastical position as the Sedevacantists and other independent clergy (outside of its delegated faculties), who are not part of, nor have been sent by, the Roman Catholic Church, and thus cannot lawfully exercise their ministry (e.g., they cannot preach, baptize, say Mass, etc.). Mr. McCall would presumably concede this point as it relates to Sedevacantist and non-SSPX independent clergy, although that is not clear. Our Statement also refers to the many theological errors of the Society and the grave consequences they have had on the traditional movement (which we will be addressing in upcoming articles).
The Church has always taught that Catholics are forbidden from assisting at illicit Masses, offered by clergy without juridical mission, and that receiving Communion from such clergy constitutes the sin of sacrilege. Mr. McCall would hopefully acknowledge this fact. Archbishop Pozzo of the Holy See – who has been the point man in attempting to bring the SSPX back into the Church – recently affirmed: “The priests and bishops of the Society of St. Pius X nonetheless exercise their ministry illicitly and illegitimately.” Cardinal Burke also recently stated that the SSPX “is not part of the one Roman Catholic Church throughout the world.” Mr. McCall is also surely aware of these weighty and consequential statements.
Because “at this precise moment in history” (using McCall’s words), Catholics are currently being tempted to leave the Roman Catholic Church for illicit Masses, due to the unjust suppression of the Traditional Mass, and because many traditional Catholics do not understand the gravity of such actions (due to a false understanding of the Church), I have chosen to speak up. By seeking salvation outside the Roman Catholic Church, from clergy who are not part of the Roman Catholic Church, who reject the Church’s Profession of Faith, and who even attack Holy Mother Church for allegedly teaching doctrines she does not teach (among many other errors), these individuals are imperiling their salvation.
As I have noted in prior articles, the underlying problem is that these Catholics believe that so long as a priest says the Old Mass and “rejects Vatican II and the New Mass,” he is a legitimate Catholic minister and has a mission from the Church, even if he is not incardinated in a particular church, under the authority of a bishop with ordinary jurisdiction (which is required by canon 265), and thus subject to the Church’s government. Such a belief is rooted in an erroneous ecclesiology, which distorts the nature of the Church, revamping it from a juridical reality, to a spiritual reality that includes all those “who profess the true faith,” even though they are juridically separated from the Roman Catholic Church in government. This is identical to a Protestant ecclesiology, forcefully condemned by the Church, and we are duty-bound to oppose it.
Mr. McCall appears to have embraced this erroneous ecclesiology, because his entire “reply” to my article raises issues that are not at all relevant to the legal fact that the Society of St. Pius X has no canonical status or mission in the Church. The irrelevant issues Mr. McCall (and other apologists for the Society) raises include, but are not limited to, the following:
· Whether the Society was lawfully erected;
· Whether the Society was lawfully suppressed;
· Whether Lefebvre was lawfully suspended a divinis;
· Whether Lefebvre’s consecrations were illicit;
· Whether Lefebvre’s consecrations were schismatic;
· Whether Lefebvre was excommunicated; and,
· Whether the ordinations of Cardinals Wojtyla and Slipyj behind the Iron Curtain were illicit.
For reasons that are based on an erroneous ecclesiology, Mr. McCall thinks that if answers to the foregoing questions would be favorable to the Society, that somehow means the Society would have a canonical (or what he calls an “ordinary”) mission from the Church. But that is not the case. Briefly, here is why:
· Bishops receive their canonical mission and jurisdiction directly from the Pope, separately from their episcopal consecrations (Pius XII). A valid consecration only gives the bishop the “function” (capacity or potency) to receive jurisdiction. When the Pope installs a bishop as the head of a diocese, that bishop has ordinary jurisdiction which is attached to his office (the “function” becomes a “power” ready to act).
The SSPX bishops were validly consecrated but did not receive (and never have received) mission or jurisdiction from the Pope, nor do they hold any office in the Church, much less one that has ordinary jurisdiction attached to it. Thus, they do not have a canonical mission from the Church.
· Priests must be incardinated by (or “hinged to”) a bishop with ordinary jurisdiction in order to have canonical mission, and “unattached clerics are not allowed at all.” Incardination gives priests certain faculties by operation of law, including the permission to preach, baptize and say Mass.
The SSPX priests are not (and never have been) incardinated and thus do not have priestly faculties by operation of law, including the faculties to preach, baptize or say Mass. Thus, SSPX priests do not have a canonical mission from the Church.
· The Society was founded as a Pious Union to form priests, who were to be incardinated into the dioceses (as is the case with FSSP and ICK priests). Even if the Society were never suppressed, it is not a juridic person capable of receiving priests through incardination, because it is not a particular church, or a personal prelature, or institute of consecrated life or other society endowed with such faculty (canon 265).
It is not possible for SSPX priests to be “incardinated” into the Society, and they have not been incardinated elsewhere. Thus, SSPX priests do not have a canonical mission from the Church.
· When Archbishop Lefebvre founded the Society, he was not a bishop with ordinary jurisdiction in a particular church or personal prelature, etc. Even if Lefebvre were never suspended or excommunicated, he would not have had the authority to incardinate his priests, nor do his successor bishops.
Thus, SSPX bishops and priests have not been sent by lawful authority in the Church; rather, they have sent themselves.
Therefore, even if the Society were not lawfully suppressed (as McCall claims), and even if Lefebvre were not lawfully suspended or excommunicated for illicit consecrations or schism (as McCall claims), the ministry of the Society of St. Pius X - by which its bishops and priests go out into the world to perform all acts of teaching, sanctifying and governing - would still be illicit and illegitimate. This is an irrefutable fact, based both on canon law and the divine law.
This is why, even after Pope Benedict XVI lifted the excommunications against the four Society bishops in 2009, he officially stated: “As long as the Society does not have a canonical status in the Church, its ministers do not exercise legitimate ministries in the Church… the Society has no canonical status in the Church, and its ministers – even though they have been freed of the ecclesiastical penalty – do not legitimately exercise any ministry in the Church.”
It also bears repeating that, even after Pope Francis delegated faculties to SSPX clergy to hear confessions and, with the approval of the local ordinaries, witness marriages, Cardinal Burke, formerly the head of the Apostolic Signatura and one of the top canon lawyers in the Church, said: “At the present moment,they [the SSPX] are not part of the one Roman Catholic Church throughout theworld.” Again, after these faculties were delegated, Archbishop Pozzo, former head of Ecclesia Dei, also said: “Thepriests and bishops of the Society of St. Pius X nonetheless exercise theirministry illicitly and illegitimately.” 
The responsible authorities in the Church (including the supreme authority) have said that the current ministry of the SSPX is illicit and illegitimate, because the Roman Catholic Church is a juridical institution whose clergy carry out a juridical mission as a matter of divine law, and SSPX clergy are not part of, nor sent by, the Roman Catholic Church. Its bishops (although validly consecrated) are without canonical mission from the Pope, and its priests (although validly ordained) are not incardinated by bishops with ordinary jurisdiction. The very purpose of the Society’s “negotiations with Rome” is to obtain the requisite juridic status to incardinate its priests, in order to have a canonical mission (in other words, the Society seeks to obtain what Mr. McCall claims the Society already has).
None of the arguments that Mr. McCall raises in his reply refute these legal facts (which, again, are irrefutable), or are even relevant to the question of canonical mission. Thus, I could stop here. Only one who does not understand what the Roman Catholic Church is, would conclude that SSPX clergy are part of the Catholic Church, and have a canonical mission from her.
Nevertheless, for the sake of thoroughness, I will provide additional responses to the arguments Mr. McCall did make.
McCall Misstates the Argument
First, I do not claim that “the Society
of St. Pius X can only claim an extraordinary mission.” Rather, I state that
the clergy of the SSPX can only lawfully exercise their ministry if they have either
a canonical mission from the Church or an extraordinary mission from
Christ (and this is not my argument, but the teaching of Christ and His
Church). I then reasoned that because, in the words of Society priest Fr. Loop,
the SSPX “does not have a normal, canonical mission,”
each and every Society priest and bishop would have to
prove they have an extraordinary mission from Christ, testified to by miracles,
to justify their ministry. That is the argument.
Unfortunately for Mr. McCall, the Society priests and bishops have neither. In fact, it was precisely Fr. Loop’s concession in his recent podcast that the SSPX does not have a canonical mission (even though McCall wrongly claims it does) that prompted me to write the article on extraordinary mission. Unlike the argument presented by Mr. McCall, the Society actually appeals to “supplied jurisdiction” (and related principles) to justify its ministry, and not “canonical mission” (because it knows it doesn’t have one). But that argument is also erroneous, because “supplied jurisdiction” does not “supply” canonical mission.
Second, I never disputed the fact that, in McCall’s words, “the SSPX has not and does not claim an extraordinary mission.” To the contrary, that is precisely what I have asserted to support my position! Thus, I am at a loss as to why Mr. McCall thinks this fact is a “flaw” in my argument or helps his case, for it’s my argument. In my articles on mission, I specifically state that the SSPX does not claim to have an extraordinary mission, much less does it have one.
And that is precisely the problem, because if the Society does not have a canonical mission (which Church authority has made clear and the Society has conceded in its pursuit of one), and the Society also does not have an extraordinary mission (which Brian McCall and the Society have also conceded), which Christ could have given if necessity demanded it, then its clergy are not lawful Catholic ministers, and thus carry out their ministry illegally, according to the entire Tradition of the Catholic Church. Hence, my case prevails, based on the very testimony of my opponents.
Nevertheless, I will address Mr. McCall’s novel argument that the SSPX actually does have a canonical mission, which McCall carefully chooses to refer to as an “ordinary” mission, even though the Society itself admits it doesn’t currently have one, but hopes to obtain one in the future (as I also hope) and, as noted above, is the very purpose of the “negotiations” with Rome for so many years. Also note well that an “ordinary” mission (in McCall’s words) is, by its nature, a canonical mission.
The SSPX does not have an “Ordinary” Mission
Now, I respect Brian McCall as a long-time colleague and a fellow attorney. But in this particular article, his legal training has betrayed him. After conceding that the Society does not have an extraordinary mission, Mr. McCall claims that the SSPX has an “ordinary” (canonical?) mission, simply because Archbishop Lefebvre claimed he had “a mandate from the Roman Church.” In other words, McCall claims the SSPX has a legitimate mission merely because Lefebvre “claimed” he had one. In McCall’s own words:
Lefebvre does not claim to have an extraordinary mandate from Christ directly. He claims to have a Mandate from “the Roman Church,” which is exactly the way Mr. Salza claims that the mission is transmitted (from Christ to the Church to individual priests and bishops).
Does Mr. McCall think Bishop Williamson has a mission from the Roman Church, merely because Williamson claims he does? And, further, does Mr. McCall believe Bishop Williamson’s episcopal consecration of Fr. Thomas Aquinas, O.S.B. for the Resistance, was authorized by the Roman Church, because Williamson and Aquinas claim it was? Further, does McCall believe Williamson’s consecration of Jean-Michel Faure was authorized by the Roman Church, because Williamson and Faure claim it was? After all, Williamson claimed to have “a mandate from the Roman Church” for these consecrations, just like Lefebvre did, even though neither of them had a canonical mission or ordinary jurisdiction from the Church.
In fact, Lefebvre and Williamson used the same mandatum in their consecrations! Here is the mandatum that was read at Williamson’s consecration of Faure, in 2015:
We have a Mandate to consecrate from the Roman Church which in its fidelity to Sacred Tradition received from the Apostles commands us to hand down faithfully that Sacred Tradition – namely the Deposit of the Faith – to all men by reason of their duty to save their souls.
Let’s compare Williamson’s “Mandate” to consecrate Faure, with Lefebvre’s “Mandate” to consecrate Williamson in 1988, which McCall quotes in his article:
We have this Mandate from the Roman Church, always faithful to the Holy Tradition which She has received from the Holy Apostles. This Holy Tradition is the Deposit of Faith which the Church orders us to faithfully transmit to all men for the salvation of their souls.
As one can see, these “Mandates” are essentially identical. Also identical is the fact that neither consecrating bishop actually had a written mandate from the Holy See, much less a canonical mission from the Church. In fact, in his sermons before the consecrations, Bishop Williamson appealed to Archbishop Lefebvre in support of the illicit acts he was about to perform, even stating: “And without him, we would not be here today.” Williamson was right about that. Thus, we ask Mr. McCall again, whether Bishop Williamson – who was consecrated and “sent” by Archbishop Lefebvre - has a legitimate mission from the Roman Catholic Church, on the ground that he claims he does (and whose mandatum corresponds to that of Lefebvre)?
But McCall’s argument is worse than that. If Lefebvre claimed he had “a mandate from the Roman Church” for his episcopal consecrations, then why did the “Roman Church” excommunicate Lefebvre for consecrating bishops without a mandate from the Roman Church? Obviously, the answer is because Lefebvre did not have a mandate from the Roman Church, as he and McCall “claim.” And while there are other parallels between the consecrations of Lefebvre and Williamson (both Lefebvre, in 1988, and Williamson, in 2015 and 2016, incurred automatic excommunications for their illicit episcopal consecrations by operation of law (canons 1013; 1382)), Lefebvre’s excommunication has another infamous distinction vis-a-vis those of Williamson: Lefebvre was officially warned about it in advance, and it was formally declared by the Holy See and solemnly confirmed by Pope John Paul II in his Motu Proprio Ecclesia Dei Adflicta.
Let it be further noted that, even if Lefebvre were not personally culpable for consecrating bishops without pontifical mandate and schism (in which case he would not have incurred excommunication in the internal forum), his publicly-declared excommunication still had all the consequent juridical effects in the external forum. Thus, one’s conclusion about Lefebvre’s personal guilt is not relevant to the question of the Society’s lack of a canonical mission.
Only one who does not understand what the Roman Catholic Church is (faulty ecclesiology) would conclude that Lefebvre had a “mandate from the Roman Church.” Indeed, Pope Paul VI rightfully called Lefebvre’s position an “ecclesiology that is warped in essential points” in 1976, long before Lefebvre performed his illicit consecrations in 1988. Likewise, Mr. McCall’s conclusions are a test of his own ecclesiology.
Athanasius, Wojtyla, Slipyj vs. Lefebvre
Mr. McCall then appeals to the historical cases of St. Athanasius, Cardinal Wojtyla and Cardinal Slipyj (although it’s unclear why), but these cases are completely irrelevant, not only to the question of the SSPX’s lack of a canonical mission (the topic of this debate), but even to the question of the liceity of Lefebvre’s own consecrations in 1988. How are the ordinations and consecrations performed by bishops behind the Iron Curtain during the Soviet persecution relevant to the Society’s lack of canonical mission? They aren’t, of course, and for Mr. McCall to even refer to these cases to somehow justify the Society’s lack of mission tells me he doesn’t truly understand what the Roman Catholic Church is, much less how mission and jurisdiction are given in the Church. Despite the irrelevance, let’s address the argument Mr. McCall did make.
Mr. McCall states: “In prior times of crises this perennial mission of the Church has had to be exercised and transmitted in extraordinary ways.” He also says: “The bishops and priests of the Society exercise this ordinary mission under extraordinary circumstances.” Of course, Mr. McCall should know that claiming the Society has an “ordinary” mission (which he even puts in the title of his article), without addressing the necessity for bishops to receive ordinary jurisdiction from the Pope after canonical determination, and priests to be incardinated into particular churches, etc. ruled by bishops with ordinary jurisdiction, is the fallacy of begging the question. Mr. McCall assumes what he has not proven, and actually what has been proven to be false (recall Fr. Loop’s statement that the Society does not have a “normal, - ordinary? - canonical mission”). But Mr. McCall’s question-begging follows the example of Archbishop Lefebvre.
In addition, unlike the bishops of the SSPX, the bishops Mr. McCall attempts to advance as historical precedents for his view had canonical mission from the Church. There is no evidence that St. Athanasius exercised his mission (much less conferred Orders) after his excommunication, until he was restored to his See, having submitted to the unjust excommunication in the external forum as the Church demands, unlike Lefebvre, who refused to do so. But whether St. Athanasius did or did not is irrelevant to the fact that the SSPX bishops have no mission or ordinary jurisdiction in the Church.
The same goes for the cases of Cardinals Wojtyla and Slipyj. Whether their ordinations and consecrations were licit or illicit is not relevant to the Society’s lack of canonical mission. Mr. McCall’s appeal to Karol Wojtyla is quite ironic; if anyone was familiar with “extraordinary circumstances” and when they exist to justify extraordinary acts of episcopal authority, it was Cardinal Wojtyla. The fact that Wojtyla, as Pope, concluded that Lefebvre was not justified in his actions, is the best possible evidence we could have that “extraordinary circumstances” in his case did not exist, to justify his alleged “ordinary mission” (McCall’s words). Cardinal Wojtyla would be my key witness in a finding of fact on the matter, though irrelevant to the question of mission.
Although these historical cases are irrelevant to the status of the SSPX and its clergy, one cannot compare these extraordinary, isolated actions (of ordaining priests without dimissorial letters or bishops without pontifical mandates behind the isolation of the Iron Curtain during Soviet persecution), to what Mr. McCall concedes are the “ordinary” everyday acts of the SSPX clergy, who daily perform all acts of teaching, sanctifying and governing throughout the entire world, without any conceivable limitation, and who answer to no legitimate authority in the Church (the same can be said for Bishop Williamson’s “Resistance” ministry, and the various Sedevacantist and other independent sects that do the same). These are apples and oranges comparisons.
Further irrelevant, but insightful, is the fact that the ordinations and consecrations of Wojtyla and Slipyj were eventually accepted by the supreme authority of the Church, while Lefebvre’s were not (and neither Wojtyla nor Slipyj were declared excommunicated for their actions). Such appeals to historical cases that have absolutely no parallels to the Society’s situation only highlight the weakness of my opponent’s case (which is ultimately a self-defeating attempt to justify the circumvention of the divine law).
The Anathema from the Council of Trent
Next, Mr. McCall turns to the dogmatic teaching and anathema of the Council of Trent, which declared: “If anyone saith that bishops…who have neither been rightly ordained, nor sent by ecclesiastical and canonical power, but come from elsewhere, are lawful ministers of the word and of the sacraments; let him be anathema.” Now, being a lawyer, Mr. McCall knows he has to confront this de fide teaching of the Church, or his case is sunk (which it already was). Unfortunately, Mr. McCall does so, once again, by employing the fallacy of petitio principii, or circular reasoning, by gratuitously asserting the clergy of the Society have a canonical mission, and therefore Trent’s anathema does not apply. In other words, McCall’s conclusion (that the anathema doesn’t apply) is based on the premise that SSPX clergy have a canonical mission, which premise has actually been disproven!
Once again, in this section, Mr. McCall raises an issue that is not relevant to the Society’s lack of canonical mission, namely, that the Society was lawfully erected in 1970 (which I have never disputed). But as I explained in the beginning, even if the Society was lawfully erected and never suppressed, the clergy of the SSPX would still not have canonical mission, because the Society is not a particular church, personal prelature or other juridic person capable of receiving priests through incardination, and neither Archbishop Lefebvre nor his successor bishops had or have ordinary jurisdiction to incardinate priests, which is required for priests to lawfully exercise their ministry.
Although equally irrelevant, Mr. McCall also conflates the concepts of canonical status (which regards the Society’s juridical status or personality, as an institution) and canonical mission (which concerns the juridical mission of the individual clergy of the Society). He does this when he says “The Society of St. Pius X did receive a formal canonical mission”; “the Society was originally given a canonical mission”; and “the Society of St. Pius X continues to exercise the ordinary mission…”
Mr. McCall’s assertions are inaccurate. Even if the Society did have a canonical status in 1970 (although under the 1917 Code, Pious Unions were technically lay associations, which were not considered juridic persons), that status was never that of a particular church or other juridic being capable of receiving priests through incardination. The Society’s “mission” was to form layman into priests, who would then be incardinated into the dioceses by bishops with ordinary jurisdiction (and not into the Society, which never had the requisite canonical status, nor a bishop with ordinary jurisdiction). This would be the case, even if the Society were never lawfully suppressed by the supreme authority of the Church (which, however, it was, by Pope Paul VI, in forma specifica, thus affording no appeal under canon 1880 °1 of the 1917 Code of Canon Law (canon 1629 (1) of the 1983 Code).
While Mr. McCall’s assertion that the Society was unlawfully suppressed is totally irrelevant and misguided, the manner in which he treats the subject is alarming. Mr. McCall gives absolutely zero deference to the supreme authority of the Catholic Church, which has rightly declared that the Society has no canonical status in the Church, and its priests operate illicitly and illegitimately (that includes Popes Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI). Instead, in a single article, Mr. McCall characterizes the lawful exercise of papal authority as “ill-will,” “illegal attempts,” “invalid,” “dictatorial tyranny,” “capricious,” “malicious,” “unlawful,” and “ineffective.” Mr. McCall’s harsh public indictments of the Roman Pontiffs could easily be viewed as “stir[ing] up hostilities…against the Apostolic See,” which is subject to canonical penalties under canon 1373.
And while Mr. McCall’s assertion that “no formal condemnation of these alleged errors [of Lefebvre] was issued by Rome” is also irrelevant to the Society’s lack of canonical mission, this statement is also completely false. I’m not sure what legal standard Mr. McCall is applying to support his assertion, but it is certainly not the standard of the Catholic Church. The Church repeatedly issued formal, condemnatory censures against Lefebvre, in writing. At the direction of the Sacred Congregation for Religious (Cd. Tabera, Prefect), Bishop Mamie formally suppressed the Society (May 6, 1975). Lefebvre’s appeals to the Apostolic Signatura were formally denied because Paul VI had approved the suppression in forma specifica. The Congregation of Bishops inflicted upon Lefebvre the canonical censure of suspension a divinis (July 22, 1976), which was also approved by Paul VI, and the Holy See also recognized as under censure all those ordained by Lefebvre after his suspension.
Of course, Lefebvre’s suspension ultimately led to the gravest canonical censure of excommunication. Again, none of this is relevant to the SSPX clergy’s lack of canonical mission, but it is certainly relevant to Mr. McCall’s comprehension of the facts and knowledge of the subject matter he has chosen to publicly address. When Mr. McCall says these condemnations were not issued by “Rome” – even though they were approved by Roman Congregations and the supreme authority of the Church – we must question what McCall means by “Rome.”
At the end of his article, Mr. McCall says: “The current bishops of the SSPX do not come from ‘elsewhere.’ They come from Tradition.” Thus, the better question for Mr. McCall is what does he mean by “Tradition.” After all, Catholic Tradition is found only inside the Roman Catholic Church, not outside of her, and the bishops who sprung from Lefebvre were the result of a schism from that same Church, according to her supreme authority. Thus, the bishops of the SSPX do not come from the Roman Catholic Church or Tradition. They never had canonical mission or ordinary jurisdiction in the Church. They were not “sent by ecclesiastical and canonical power, but come from elsewhere” (Council of Trent).
Or does Mr. McCall also believe Bishop Williamson, who sprung from Lefebvre and never had canonical mission or ordinary jurisdiction, comes from Tradition? What about Bishops Aquinas and Faure? Since they have no canonical mission or ordinary jurisdiction, but come from Williamson, who comes from Lefebvre, do they all come from Tradition? Do all clergy who come from Lefebvre, without regard to canonical mission or jurisdiction, come from Tradition (including all the various sects within Sedevacantism, the Resistance, the Avrille Dominicans, and other independent clergy)? It seems as if Mr. McCall sees a distinction between the “Church of Tradition” and the Roman Catholic Church.
Hence, the best question to ask Mr. McCall and those who share his opinions is – “What is the Roman Catholic Church?” More specifically, I would ask Mr. McCall whether he believes the Church of Christ subsists in ecclesial groups who are separated from the Roman Catholic Church in government (which the SSPX no doubt is). If Mr. McCall would answer in the affirmative, he would hold a heretical ecclesiology. If he would answer in the negative, he would hold that the SSPX is not part of the Catholic Church. Which one is it, Brian?
As I said at the beginning of this article, the biggest error afflicting traditional Catholics and the traditional movement is a knowledge-gap in ecclesiology. Many “trads” think that so long as a priest says the Old Mass, “professes the true faith,” and “rejects Vatican II and the New Mass,” he is a legitimate Catholic minister, even if he is separated from the Catholic Church in government. This ecclesiology leads one to believe, as Mr. McCall does, that merely professing to have a canonical mission in the Church is sufficient to have one, so long as you “come from Tradition.”
As mentioned before, this false ecclesiology distorts the nature of the Catholic Church, by viewing the Church as something other than the juridical and hierarchical institution that Christ has divinely established, to include individual sects that are separated from this structure, and from each other, in government. In an exact parallel to that of the early Protestants, those who hold this erroneous ecclesiology maintain that the “visible Catholic Church” consists of all “the baptized who profess the true faith, and partake of the true sacraments,” regardless of whether they are united in government, and subject to the legitimate authorities.
Many who hold this ecclesiology reveal their error when they make a distinction between the “Conciliar Church” (which, in reality, is the Roman Catholic Church – the Church of Rome and all the Rites, Churches sui iuris, and particular churches of the East and West that are one in government with her), and what they claim is the “true” Church which, in McCall’s words, includes those who “come from Tradition,” but who are not one with the Roman Catholic Church in government. Because it is a dogma of the Faith that the Roman Catholic Church is one in government, any society not subject to this government (the Pope and bishops) is not part of the Catholic Church.
What makes these errors on the Right so grave is that (1) they are difficult for the average Catholic to detect; and, (2) they ultimately lead souls out of the Roman Catholic Church, which is the only ark of salvation. They are difficult to detect because the priests in question wear traditional cassocks, celebrate solemn and reverent Masses, and preach the kingship of Christ. But if they have not been “sent by ecclesiastical and canonical power,” then, as Pope Pius XII taught, they are “thieves and robbers,” whose acts are “gravely illicit, that is, criminal and sacrilegious.” One might even say they are part of the false, counter-Church (of “Tradition”), prophesied by saints and mystics, who will draw countless souls out of the Crucified Roman Catholic Church, as part of the Great Apostasy.
As traditional Catholics, we must oppose both the Liberal errors on the Left and the extreme errors on the Right, for these errors endanger the salvation of souls. Ironically, these errors on the Left and the Right overlap in their ecclesiology, since both sides erroneously maintain that the true Church of Christ is something other than the juridical and hierarchical institution that Our Lord divinely established, “outside of which there is neither salvation nor remission of sins” (Pope Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam).
 There is some debate surrounding the original classification of the Society of St. Pius X, whether it was a pia unio (a lay association, for seminarians) which would not be considered a juridic person under canon law at the time, or a pia domus (here, a priestly society). But that distinction is not relevant to the question of the Society’s suppression or the fact that Lefebvre had no authority to incardinate priests into the SSPX. Nor is it relevant to the legal fact that SSPX priests have no canonical mission from the Church.
 Nor was the Society founded to be a juridic person capable of receiving priests by incardination, at least according to excerpts of the original statutes that the Society has chosen to publish. According to these statutes, the Society’s primary purpose is the formation of priests, and its secondary purpose is to assist priests in their sanctification (through retreats, recollections, etc.). The purpose of the Society’s “negotiations with Rome” is to obtain the requisite juridic status to incardinate its priests.
 Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church concerning the remission of the excommunication of the four Bishops consecrated by Archbishop Lefebvre (March 10, 2009) | Benedict XVI (vatican.va).
 We note that Pope Francis has delegated faculties to SSPX clergy to hear confessions and, with the permission of the diocesan bishop, witness marriages. Because the clergy of the Society do not have a canonical mission, Cardinal Burke called the delegation of these faculties “an anomaly.”
 SSPX Crisis in the Church Series, Episode 44 – “How Can the SSPX Justify its Ministry in the Church?,” https://www. youtube.com/ watch?v=pUvM W_W z JRs, at 3.50.
 “The Sermon of Bishop Williamson for the Episcopal Consecration of Fr. Faure,” www.dominicansavrille.us.
 www.ifimightinterject.com – “A Paternal Rebuke, Lovingly Given: Blessed Paul VI’s Letter to Marcel Lefebvre” (November 13, 2015).
 Mr. McCall’s references to the cases of Cardinals Wojtyla and Slipyj are also self-defeating because their ordinations and episcopal consecrations, if licit, would likely have been lawful exercises of their universal and supreme jurisdiction, also called the “collegiate power,” by virtue of them being members of the College of Bishops, in hierarchical communion with the Pope. Archbishop Lefebvre was not a member of the College of Bishops in 1988 (he, in fact, was under various canonical censures, including suspensio a divinis). Thus, Lefebvre was not capable of exercising a power he did not have.
 Council of Trent, On the Sacrament of Orders, Session 23, Canon VII (July 15, 1563).
 See canon 708 (1917 Code) and B.A. Cathey, "The Legal Background to the Erection and Alleged Suppression of the Society of Saint Pius X," p. 444.
 P. Mamie, “Letter to Mgr. Lefebvre Communicating His Decision to Suppress the SSPX,” in La Documentation Catholique, 72 (1975), 615, col. 1, English translation in Davies, Apologia, Part 1, 51 and 52.
 Fr. Lessard-Thibodeau, “Arriving at the Juridic Status of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X, Faculty of Canon Law, St. Paul University, Ottawa, 2018, pp, 35, 37.
 Ibid., p. 13.
 Mystici Corporis Christi (1942), Nos, 41-42. In addition to “juridical mission,” Pius XII also teaches that the power of jurisdiction, similarly regulated by positive law, is also rooted in divine law: “But the power of jurisdiction, which is conferred upon the Supreme Pontiff directly by divine rights, flows to the Bishops by the same right, but only through the Successor of St. Peter.” Ad Sinarum Gentem, October 7, 1954, No. 12.