December 24, 2012

CALGARY – Bishop Fred Henry has warned Catholics in his diocese not to attend a church purchased by the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X (SSPX).

In the diocesan newsletter The Carillon, Henry said SSPX had bought the former St. Michael's Catholic Church.

While the new SSPX parish calls itself St. Dennis Catholic Church, it is not a Catholic church, the bishop said.

Henry laid out the history of SSPX and its founder Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.

Lefebvre did not reject Vatican II, but he did reject the current rite of the Mass, he said.

Since the society was founded, there have been illicit ordinations of priests and bishops, resulting in excommunications.

Though the excommunications of the four bishops who succeeded Lefebvre have been lifted, that did not change the juridical status of SSPX, "which presently does not enjoy any canonical recognition by the Catholic Church," he said.

Henry noted a number of seminarians and priests at the seminary Lefebvre founded in Switzerland did not wish to go into schism with the Holy See.

Their efforts led to the erection of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter which has the celebration of the Tridentine rite as part of its charism.

The Priestly Fraternity is loyal and faithful, while the SSPX has become increasingly strident, the bishop said.

"St. Dennis Church does not have canonical status within the Roman Catholic Diocese of Calgary," Henry said. Catholics should not attend this parish or receive sacraments from any SSPX priest "unless in dire emergency or danger of death."

Henry directed those in Calgary who wish to attend a Tridentine Mass to St. Anthony's Parish, run by the FSSP.