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Pope to extend authority of SSPX priests to hear confessions?

April 11, 2016

Pope Francis plans to extend the authority of priests of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) to hear confessions, according to the leader of the traditionalist group.

Last year the Pontiff said that during the Jubilee Year, Catholics who approach the priests of the SSPX "shall validly and licitly receive the absolution of their sins." That move by the Pope was a significant step toward regularizing the status of the SSPX; since the bishops of the breakaway group are suspended from ministry, SSPX priests did not previously have authority from the Church to absolve sins.

Bishop Bernard Fellay, the superior of the SSPX, told a French outlet that a recent meeting, the Pontiff told him that he plans to extend the authorization beyond the end of the Jubilee Year. He added that Pope Francis indicated to desire to regularize the SSPX, referring to the traditionalist group as "a part of the Church." 


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  • Posted by: nix898049 - Apr. 13, 2016 3:34 PM ET USA

    That's real nice and all but I don't believe the SSPX wants to be regularized.

  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Apr. 12, 2016 10:44 PM ET USA

    Given who Pope Francis is and his early statements about Catholics who like to obey the rules, I consider his gesture toward the SSPX a surpassing act of heroic virtue, not to mention an act of mercy worthy of Christ Himself. He who is not against me is with me.

  • Posted by: Mike in Toronto - Apr. 12, 2016 6:01 AM ET USA

    Perhaps His Holiness should reconsider this generous gesture, given Fellay's nastiness in referring to Amoris Laetitia as a “terrible document which harms the Church.”