Editor’s Note: In a letter from the Ecclesia Dei office in Rome, dated September 27, 2002, Monsignor Perl assured a traditional Catholic letter writer that attendance at Mass offered by priests of the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) does, in fact, fulfill one’s Sunday Mass obligation and that one is even justified to contribute to the collections at a SSPX chapel. The pertinent excerpt from Msgr. Perl’s letter follows below:
Dear Mr. ...
We wish to acknowledge receipt of your letter of 14 August 2002 addressed to His Eminence Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos along with the enclosures.
In our letter to you of 7 November 2001 we provided you with important information about the status of the Society of St. Pius X according to the law of the Church and told you that we cannot recommend your frequenting their chapels, but you indicate that you are not satisfied with our responses and have raised three more specific questions. We will deal with them in logical order.
1. In the strict sense you may fulfill your Sunday obligation by attending a Mass celebrated by a priest of the Society of Saint Pius X.
2. We have already told you that we cannot recommend your attendance at such a Mass and have explained the reason why. If your primary reason for attendance at such a Mass were to manifest your desire to separate yourself from communion with the Roman Pontiff and those in communion with him, it would be a sin. If your intention is simply to participate in Mass according to the 1962 Missal for the sake of devotion, this would not be a sin.
3. It would seem that a modest contribution to the collection at Mass could be justified ...
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Rev. Msgr. Camille Perl, Secretary
This letter shows that the SSPX are not in schism. If they were, a Catholic could not go to their Mass.
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