Pope opens way to recognising SSPX marriages

What happened?

Pope Francis has made a concession to the Society of St Pius X (SSPX) by issuing new regulations for marriages. A bishop may now appoint priests to assist at SSPX marriages and to celebrate the nuptial Mass. SSPX priests will also be permitted to officiate over the marriage rite if no diocesan priests are available. However, the prospects of full regularisation of the SSPX may have been hurt by new claims that the Society failed to act on abuse allegations.

What commentators are saying

The news was “nothing short of a landmark”, said Rocco Palmo on his blog Whispers in the Loggia.

He interpreted the move as an “explicit prod to the world’s dioceses to prepare their groundwork for the Lefebvrists’ return to full communion”. Palmo noted a “commonly cited prospect for an SSPX pact”, in which its half-million lay members and clergy are “accorded the status of a personal prelature”.

This means that the Society would enjoy the same status as Opus Dei, “which effectively renders a community of clergy and laity as a global diocese”, free to conduct their affairs without interference from local bishops.

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