Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Vatican issues Marriage Pastoral Guidelines for SSPX

 From Vatican Radio:

In a letter approved by Pope Francis, Cardinal Gerhard Müller says, “The Holy Father . . . has decided to authorize Local Ordinaries the possibility to grant faculties for the celebration of marriages of faithful who follow the pastoral activity of the Society.” The Pope's decision adopts a proposal by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, both of which are headed by Cardinal Müller.

The new provisions are part of a number of ongoing meetings and initiatives aimed at bringing the Society into full communion; Cardinal Müller’s letter mentions specifically the recent decision of Pope Francis to grant all priests of the Society the faculty to validly administer the Sacrament of Penance to the faithful in order “to ensure the validity and liceity of the Sacrament and allay any concerns on the part of the faithful.”

The grant of faculties for the celebration of marriage is subject to several provisions: “Insofar as possible, the Local Ordinary [that is, normally the local Diocesan Bishop] is to grant the delegation to assist at the marriage to a priest of the Diocese (or in any event, to a fully regular priest), such that the priest may receive the consent of the parties during the marriage rite, followed, in keeping with the liturgy of the Vetus ordo, by the celebration of Mass, which may be celebrated by a priest of the Society.” That is, a priest in good standing is to preside at the celebration of the marriage itself, which in the extraordinary form takes place before the nuptial Mass. The Mass itself may then be celebrated by a priest of the SSPX.

The letter also foresees that circumstances may exist where those provisions are not possible, or where no Diocesan priest is able to receive the consent of the parties. In such cases, the Pope allows the Ordinary to grant faculties to the priest who will celebrate the nuptial Mass.

Cardinal Müller closes his letter expressing his conviction that “in this way any uneasiness of conscience on the part of the faithful who adhere to the Society of St. Pius X as well as any uncertainty regarding the validity of the sacrament of marriage may be alleviated, and at the same time that the process towards full institutional regularization may be facilitated”; and that, to that end, the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei “relies” on the cooperation of the prelates of the Episcopal Conferences concerned in this matter.

Below, please find the full text of Cardinal Gerhard Müller’s letter:
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