Catholic Culture News
Catholic Culture News

Life in a sect?

By Dr. Jeff Mirus ( bio - articles - email ) | Jun 07, 2013

I realize that anecdotal evidence can be misleading. One can find unpleasant anecdotes about pretty much any person or group. But the following message, which we received from a young woman raised in an SSPX family, seems fairly typical and dovetails with a very real canonical, theological and pastoral situation. Abstract discussions can rob the sad reality of some of its force. Therefore, personal testimonies like this one can be worth a great deal:

I grew up in SSPX since I was 3. I was schooled in SSPX schools. I always knew about the excommunications, but never once did I hear that they actually had NO canonical status!
When I first heard that SSPX priests marry as civil celebrants I was shocked and didn’t believe it. When I got married two years ago I was fed up with the way my family and the priests were trying to manipulate me and the way they treated my fiancé. My fiancé was a devout Catholic, non-SSPX, however not anti at all. They treated him very well while he was doing his research on the situation but, when he finally came to his conclusion that he wasn’t comfortable receiving sacraments from SSPX, instead of respecting his decision they turned very sour.
I was very confused about how a good Catholic who had a simple, beautiful faith was suddenly a ‘danger’ to me. When we decided to get married by a local diocesan priest in the Traditional Rite, the SSPX priests were very angry. When I was asked why by one priest, I said very politely that it was our decision as that is what we were most comfortable with. I didn’t want to be disrespectful as I believe SSPX adherents have the right to make their own choices as I should be able to make my own. I was shocked when the priest told me off for “being ungrateful for my schooling and to my parents.”
Many of the new generation Y of SSPX are losing the faith. Among my friends, few knew who the current pope is, let alone who their ‘local’ bishop is. Many have had enough of SSPX’s rigid, strict ways, especially regarding women for the strictness of dress. One inch too short, etc., and you are told you’re immodest!
It’s sad when you hear so many young people complain about how crazy SSPX is and that they are only attending Mass there to keep their parents happy!

Jeffrey Mirus holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Princeton University. A co-founder of Christendom College, he also pioneered Catholic Internet services. He is the founder of Trinity Communications and See full bio.

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  • Posted by: koinonia - Jun. 13, 2013 8:11 PM ET USA

    It is a charitable way of saying that this is problematic. If you are looking for hoaxes there is much fertile ground in the mainstream. Dr. Mirus is entitled to his opinion, and there are more efficacious ways for this site to communicate effectively. Regardless, there is no joy in any of this.

  • Posted by: Contrary1995 - Jun. 10, 2013 5:28 PM ET USA

    This situation is not at all surprising. There are many borderline personalities in the SSPX.

  • Posted by: jg23753479 - Jun. 10, 2013 4:10 PM ET USA

    I think the comment by jimgrum that "this type of publication is not really serving the best interests of this site" needs explanation. Why not? Anything that can be done to lift the cover off the SSPX hoax serves the best interests of all sincere Catholics in my mind.

  • Posted by: koinonia - Jun. 08, 2013 11:53 AM ET USA

    Thank you for letting the thing speak for itself, a prudent decision. These types of stories are not new. In my opinion this type of publication is not really serving the best interests of this site. The anecdote is loaded, and it raises many fascinating questions. But the reality is that the Body has suffered insult over recent decades. There are reasons for hope, but there have been and continue to be many casualties. In justice and in charity no one who really cares is really untouched.

  • Posted by: demark8616 - Jun. 08, 2013 3:32 AM ET USA

    What a tough situation for young people to find themselves in! They are at the age of enquiry and are going to find it impossible to 'square the circle' when they have discovered all the facts. It is a false obedience to stay attached to an organization that has no canonical status in the Church and whose sacraments of marriage and confession are invalid. The Truth is objective - so no matter how well intentioned the SSPX or their parents may be - it's still wrong!

  • Posted by: littleone - Jun. 08, 2013 12:07 AM ET USA

    I am prayerfully glad that this one young woman has found some sort of healthy truth, and is seeing through the fear and villification of others, etc., that cults tend to use. Yet we have many to pray for and help, who are living this reality in other settings/denominations/families. Lord, please help us.

  • Posted by: AgnesDay - Jun. 07, 2013 12:44 PM ET USA

    I remember one lady who was in a SSPX parish in Missouri, who told me she prayed to be brought "into the sacred heart of the Mystical Body." She found herself shortly thereafter in the FSSP quasi-parish in Little Rock, and I assure you, this was before the significant improvements in liturgy and doctrine that have taken place here recently.