This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Flirting with the SSPX

QUAERITUR: Dear Father Eccles, Pope Francis has said that during the Year of Mercy, Catholics may make their confession to SSPX priests and be validly absolved. What's all that about then?

Vincent Nichols and Hindu

Offer does not apply to Anglicans, Muslims, Hindus, etc.

Fr. E. replies: The SSPX chaps are basically Catholics who reject some of the decisions of Vatican II - the prohibition of Latin, the introduction of clown masses, the compulsory installation of piles of copies of the Tablet at the back of the church, the recognition of Paul Inwood as a "composer", etc. Going to confession with an SSPX priest is very similar to what you might expect from a "normal" Catholic, apart from a few small differences:

1. You must make your confession in Latin.
2. The priest will have his back to you.
3. The SSPX considers certain actions such as singing "Walk in the 
Light" (even in the privacy of your own bath) to be sins, although 
they may not be recognised as such by "ordinary" Catholics.
Q: Well, actually the sin I committed was pretty minor, really. I got drunk, wandered into the church, blew out all the votive candles, and sang "Happy Birthday to Me!"

votive candles

You must blow them out with one big breath.

Fr E: Yes, that would be considered a sin in most Catholic traditions, including the SSPX. Perhaps not in a very liberal church; indeed, that might even be a praiseworthy act, as it lowers the church's carbon footprint (see Laudato Si', pages 3, 7, 13 to 45 inclusive, 61, and 88 to 105).

Q: Apparently, the Church is also giving its support to the naming of a square in Rome after Martin Luther, who was excommunicated 500 years ago. Can I be absolved by Lutherans?

Fr E: This is a grey area. I gather that Pope Francis is in a mood of forgiveness at present, and we can soon expect to see a Judas Iscariot Street, a Pontius Pilate Avenue, and even a Richard Dawkins Circus. We live in interesting times.

Rev. Dawkins

Richard Dawkins prepares to forgive some sins.


  1. Would voting for Corbyn be considered sinful? Is he a friend of Williamson?

    1. Having anything to do with such party . . .