Yet SSPX accepts Novus Ordo priests without re-ordination…

SSPX Priest: ‘My Conviction is that Novus Ordo Priests are Not Validly Ordained’

Fr. Michael Johnson, SSPX, on June 18, 2023

Although Our Lady Help of Christians Church in Garden Grove, California, does not officially belong to the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), priests of the Society currently take care of priestly duties there.

This past Sunday, June 18, 2023, Fr. Michael Johnson, SSPX, offered Mass at Our Lady Help of Christians and gave a sermon in which he briefly mentioned that it is his personal conviction that priestly ordinations in the 1968 Roman rite of Paul VI (“Novus Ordo” ordinations) are invalid. We have captured the applicable moment in the following clip:

The source for this clip is the full video published by the church’s official YouTube channel. The excerpt begins at the 50:37 time stamp.

Fr. Johnson, who was ordained for the SSPX on Dec. 27, 2006, by Bp. Richard Williamson (source), is right to reject Novus Ordo priests as invalid (or at least doubtful, which means invalid in practice). How well-founded his position is, can be gleaned from the material on our own web site:

It is noteworthy that an SSPX priest should publicly take this position, because the ‘official’ stance of the SSPX leadership has long been that such ordinations are valid. In fact, they are so valid that the Lefebvrists — the SSPX was founded by Abp. Marcel Lefebvre — are now willing to (and do in fact) use holy oils consecrated by a man who was himself ordained in the Novus Ordo rite, both to the priesthood (in 1971) and to the episcopacy (in 2007).

We are, of course, talking about Vitus Huonder (b. 1942), the retired Novus Ordo bishop of Chur, Switzerland, who has adopted the theological position of Lefebvrism and now resides at a retreat house of the Society. This past Holy Week, controversy erupted when ‘Bishop’ Huonder offered the Chrism Mass at the SSPX seminary in Zaitzkofen, Germany, in which he consecrated the holy oils needed for the valid administration of the sacraments of confirmation and extreme unction. If he is not a valid bishop, he cannot make valid holy oils, and that means that any last rites and confirmations conferred using such ‘Huonder oil’ will likewise be invalid, regardless of how valid the priest or bishop may be who is using the oils:

It used to be very common among SSPX adherents, clergy as well as laity, to doubt the validity of Novus Ordo ordinations. In fact, the 1981 article “Purging the Priesthood in the Conciliar Church” by Fr. William Jenkins in The Roman Catholic was published at a time when both the journal and the author belonged to the SSPX. The essay was written in response to arguments found in the book The Order of Melchisedech by Michael Davies, who in 1989 was powerfully refuted and exposed as a pseudo-scholar by John S. Daly (see his free book Michael Davies – An Evaluation here).

Interestingly enough, Bp. Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, who is one of the four bishops consecrated by Abp. Lefebvre in 1988, still holds the new ordination rites to be doubtful. As late as June of 2016, he made that clear in a public sermon:

The biggest problem with the validity of Novus Ordo priests in our day, however, is not the rite of priestly ordination itself as much as the fact that such priests are typically ordained by men who are not valid bishops.

Thus, even if the 1968 rite of priestly ordination were valid after all, it is the 1968 rite of bishops’ ordination (episcopal consecration) that is of greater concern; for no matter how valid a rite of priestly ordination may be, if the man who confers the ordination is not a valid bishop, then the ordinand will most certainly not become a valid priest, since only bishops can ordain priests.

The evidence for the invalidity of the 1968 rite of episcopal consecration is even stronger than for the invalidity of priestly ordinations:

The Lefebvrists did not take a firm line on the validity of Novus Ordo ordinations until late 2005, after ‘Pope’ Benedict XVI (r. 2005-2013) was elected, the first Vatican II ‘pope’ whose episcopal consecration had been administered in the new rite of Paul VI (in 1977). The alternative would have been for the SSPX to say that the new ‘Pope’ was not even a valid bishop, which would not have been terribly conducive to successful negotiations with the Modernists in Rome.

It is an open secret that the SSPX accepts priest converts from the Novus Ordo without requiring them to undergo conditional re-ordination (it is said that they offer conditional ordination if the candidate requests it, but they do not require it). They tragically allow them to function as priests in SSPX churches regardless.

It is good to know that there are priests in the SSPX who do not accept as valid the new rite of ordination. But by taking a lax position on this, the SSPX leadership is causing untold problems of conscience for a lot of people, not to mention the fact that they are exposing their own people to the great spiritual danger of invalid sacraments.

One last point: Fr. Johnson made his remarks on June 18, 2023. It was probably not intentional, but that day marked the 55th anniversary of Paul VI’s ‘Apostolic Constitution’ Pontificalis Romani, which mandated the new ordination rites.

Image source: YouTube (screenshot)
License: fair use

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