Is “Third Order” Membership Risky?

Is “Third Order” Membership Risky?

Editor writes: The following comment came to me in an email a few days ago, and I thought it might provoke an interesting discussion on the question of whether Third Order membership risks distorting the lay vocation…

See the source image

Correspondent writes: I found [the following] on an SSPX [Facebook] site…

Education is a process. It [does not happen] overnight. So if you think you are educating people by provoking them, [no matter] how good your intentions may be, still you [make] them feel [angry, notwithstanding] your charitable intention with [what seems like an] uncharitable approach. How do you feel after posting things that provoke your neighbor?  if you are happy, I think you are on your way to great punishment. We should not be happy [when we provoke others to anger] instead we [should] show some remorse or [pity for] those who do not see the crisis.

Instead of talking, have you gone in the streets to bring food for the hungry? Or have you dressed the naked? These things are much more important than you asking the approval of people and in the process your virtues are compromised. So live a normal life in accordance to one’s state. If you have kids better save them and discipline them instead of other kids you focus your attention to. If you are an employee focus your attention to your work and offer every work for God rather telling people about the crisis, which makes people flee from your sight and [you] lose the chance of showing them – instead  -your good works. That is not the way.

Let God do his works in finding sinners, not you. You are to show your light in that area where you are, for people to see God through you, and find people whom He wants to give the grace. That is our work. Let the Church[man] do his job and you focus on your job and save your soul.

Yes, the Church is in a state of emergency but let the hierarchy do the job not you. God asks from you to pray for the Pope, for Him to solve this crisis. God is not asking you to tell the people about the crisis. He sent Mary to inform people, to [tell them to] offer prayers and sacrifices for the reparation of sins and that is what we should do. More often we are more concerned about informing people about the crisis and we have not even prayed and fasted for a month, or at least become a victim for others.

God’s way is consistent. St. Therese of the Child Jesus preached through offering every little thing for God and why can’t we do the same? It is better you take away your TV at home than you telling people about the crisis. See the difference?

In conclusion, the Church is in its stage where people knows about the Catholic Church, however they hate it. So if you start talking you will lose the chance. It would better if you recommend him or her to God and say your rosary every hour for them. Let your deep conversion transcend and illuminate your light for others to see God through that light.


Unfortunately, our  correspondent was unable to copy the link to the above Facebook comment.  If you click here, however, you will read the official SSPX Third Order page. While the sentiments expressed in the above Facebook comment do not accurately reflect the official position of the Society as set out in the above Third Order page, they are not uncommon among the Catholic laity today.  How come, then, that the above commentator has formed his/her erroneous view about the lay vocation?  Do you think Catholics who take on membership of Third Orders – whether SSPX, Franciscan, Dominican, whatever, risk misinterpreting their vocation as lay people – as the above Facebook commentator has misinterpreted it?  Or maybe you think he/she has not misinterpreted the lay vocation, but has got it right.  That we should forget about alerting other Catholics to the crisis in the Church, and the fact that Pope Francis is doing much damage, and just leave it all to God. Share your thoughts.  Politely 😀 

Comments (31)

  • Elizabeth

    To be honest I could not really make much sense of this article. Is it a translation perhaps? Especially the first paragraph? Is the writer just expecting people to pray and not do charitable works? Hardly what Our Lord asked of us in the Gospels. For those called to the contemplative life or those unable to physically assist others then prayer is their apostolate . But for most I think we should try to do both as much as we can. For some being a member of a third order is a way of channelling their spiritual life according to a particular charism: Dominican, Franciscan, Carmelite etc ofr by being an Oblate. Commendable if one has perseverance and discipline. Not being good at either I tried and eventually failed at being an Oblate. It came to feel like an onerous burden instead of a fine spiritual path. My fault entirely and I admire those who do persevere.

    November 24, 2018 at 7:04 am
  • Prognosticum

    Third Orders are rather too consolidated in tradition (albeit ecclesiastical) to earn my general disapproval, although the times we live in are such that prudence is never enough.

    I have had very little to do with them. I knew a woman, many years ago, who used to go on about ‘Carmel’ as if it was taken as read that everyone knew what she was going on about. She gave the impression that what ske really liked was being in with the in-crowd. (I am being too harsh! Poor thing. She had had a very difficult life and in Carmel she found solace, which was a very good thing.) Another man I knew turned out to have been a Benedictine Oblate, although this came to be widely known only after his death.

    As for hatred of the Church in these evil times, it is a fact of life. This is why personal witness is so important, clerical as well as lay. But we must never underestimate the power of prayer. The BBC and its ilk may have the siller, but we have far more power, if we did but know it.

    Years ago I can across Fulton Sheen and the promise he made on the day of his ordination to make a daily holy hour, a promise he kept up until his death. He used to propose this to priests in the very many retreats he preached down through the years. And he was right. I can tell you from experience that the practice is nothing less than life changing.

    It is time for the sons and daughters of the light to take up the arms of the light. The last thing we should do is give Satan the feeling that he has vanquished us.

    November 24, 2018 at 7:05 am
  • Petrus

    I think the questions you ask are very good ones. I am a Dominican Tertiary, so I’d like to give you my take on it.

    Third Orders give the Tertiary a Rule to follow outlining the spiritual path of life one should follow. Of course our prayer obligations are important, but our action should be the fruits of our prayer. This is one of the reasons I was attracted to the Dominican Order. There is an expectation that we engage in the Order’s primary function – preaching. We clearly do this in a different way to the First and Second Order, but the obligation is there all the same. A tertiary preaches through his lifestyle AND his words.

    In Dominican tradition teaching and writing are both forms of preaching. I think a lay person does this when he or she spreads and defends the Faith in their own circumstances, writing when they xcan on blogs, sending newspapers letters and commenting on various sites.

    I always think the vocation to a Third Order does not replace our lay vocation as Soldiers of Christ, but enhances it and gives it a certain flavour. In fact, more should be expected from us. At our clothing ceremony, the priest said that the Church now expects more of us so we had to take up the sword and fight the good fight.

    November 24, 2018 at 7:23 am
  • MJ

    Couldn’t make head or tail of the post, but it remains the writer’s personal opinion- nothing to do with Third Order membership. I think the writer is not a fluent speaker of English and maybe could not convey what s/he meant. Also, it would be interesting to see the post s/he was responding to, as one risks distorting meaning when commenting out of context. There is a logical fallacy called “false dichotomy”, isn’t there? It’s when one makes a false either/or decision- as in, one must EITHER pray for the resolution of the crisis, OR tell people about it. When, in fact, of course, the two are not mutually exclusive at all- one must pray and should, in all charity and prudence, tell people about it.

    But of course, I don’t inow the context in which the writer is talking- sounds like s/he felt the person whom she was advising was being uncharitable, which can happen too.

    At any rate, it tells us zero about the Third Order. Third Orders are tailored to the lay vocation- they only propose spiritual helps.

    November 24, 2018 at 9:21 am
    • MJ

      Whom is the writer addressing? At any rate, it is a poorly worded piece.

      I’m not familiar with the Canon Law around it- I have always assumed that Archbishop Lefebvre knew what he was doing here, and if it was a departure from the normal way of doing things, that it must have been justified by the times in which we are living.

      The giving up of TV is a sacrifice made by those in the Third Order (I am a member.) It’s not a suggestion that watching TV is per se sinful. Third Orders in the past gave up pleasures like visiting the theatre (as far as I know this is still part of the Carmelite Third Order rule.) It is an attempt to detach the soul from earthly pleasures. Of course, if one needs to watch something for reasons of duty of state (can’t think when this might occur, but for example, as a teacher I have needed to visit the theatre- so this would trump, for instance, the Carmelite Third Order Rule) the rule, not binding under pain of sin, does not apply.

      Third Order membership is a stimulus to living one’s duty of state better- not a change in one’s duties. The spirit of the evangelical counsels (poverty, chastity and obedience according to one’s state in life) is followed by all those seeking perfection. Lay people may do this without belonging to any third Order. The Church leaves her children sovereignly free. However, spiritual advantage of sharing in the merits of all those who form part of the Order is a little known part of Catholic theology.

      November 24, 2018 at 10:30 am
      • Petrus


        Thank you for that explanation.

        The interesting thing about the Dominican Third Order Rule, which also has the stipulation that tertiaries avoid places of world pleasure, is that the Third Order is split into two sections – Regular and Secular. The Regular tertiaries live in convents and wear the habit externally whereas the Secular tertiaries live in the world with their families. I have a commentary on the Rule which states the the obligations are different for the different types of tertiary. I tend to avoid pubbing and clubbing, but enjoy the more wholesome type of socialising , like meeting friends in coffee shops etc.

        I agree about the element of sacrifice. It’s very important, since penance is a strong aspect of Third Order life. My issue is that completely banning something for lap persons living in the world is not always helpful. I enquired about the SSPX Third Order many years ago and asked about watching educational documentaries and sport on TV. I was told that membership of the Third Order meant that no aerial or cable TV was permitting to enter into a member’s home. I decided that wasn’t really for me.

        Don’t get me wrong, I think if you have a vocation to the SSPX Third Order then that’s wonderful and it will certainly lead you to holiness. I think the purpose of this thread is not to “run down” specific Third Orders, but to explore how they enhance the lay vocation .

        November 24, 2018 at 10:46 am
      • MJ

        Thank you Petrus. It is good to understand somethng about how the Dominican Tertiaries work. As an order of long standing in the Church, the Dominicans have the advantage, of course, of having a pre Vatican Two rule. Archbishop Lefebvre was constrained to adopt a more flexible missionary organisation by the circumstances in which he was working. For example, he didn’t have his priestly order take a vow of poverty because he knew by experience that this would create difficulties on the mission field, such as a priest’s being obliged to telephone his superior before accepting a donation, etc. However, he was always careful only to accept and promote the kinds of structures that he knew would have been accepted by Rome before the modernist crisis hit. So I have confidence that the Third Order Rule is canonically acceptable, if a little different to the long standing orders.

        Like you, I think the spirit of the rule is the most important and I know that any priests whom I have asked agree. For example, if one can’t fast on account of duties, one is dispensed. On the other hand permitted pleasures (like parties and other enjoyments) have to be partaken of with care to please God above all, which is the essence of detachment. No rule can take account of all individual circumstances- the rule is a signpost to virtue.

        I see the issue with the TV rule in a society where digital media have become ubiquitous. On the other hand, I see that some souls like my own need the firm rampart of a rule to avoid becoming entrenched in the wasteland of “soaps” and the like. How much authentic Catholic family life, including the daily rosary and family chat, has been destroyed by the intrusion of Coronation Street!

        I imagine it was the universal experience of the destruction of Catholic spirit of self sacrifice by these kinds of “entertainment” (not per se sinful) that prompted the No TV rule. However, it is true that all these rules such as the Third Order SSPX rule will need confirmation and perhaps revision by Rome when better times prevail. On this, the Archbishop would have been the first to agree! He never claimed personal infallibility.

        I agree with you about not “running down” specific third orders althougn an enquiry about the SSPX third order is certainly legitimate, its being quite new. All flowers in God’s garden!

        November 24, 2018 at 11:11 am
      • Petrus

        A very beautiful post, MJ. Thank you.

        November 24, 2018 at 11:44 am
    • gabriel syme


      I find the attitude towards television ridiculous. We all know that we have to be careful wirh television and be judicious. However, insisting on a complete ban as a prerequisite for joining is just ridiculous.

      I also thought that, when I discovered it was a requirement of the SSPX third order.

      As you say, careful discretion is needed with television, but it is absurd to forbid (for example) a harmless sports event or useful documentary.

      Being careful regarding the media we consume does not need to turn into a very introverted or negative attitude.

      November 27, 2018 at 9:18 am
      • editor

        Gabriel Syme,

        Not to mention Columbo repeats 😀

        November 27, 2018 at 9:19 am
  • Athanasius

    The introduction article to this thread, as already pointed out, is not as clear and concise as it could be. It was probably written by a foreign priest of the SSPX and translated into English via Google translate. Still, I understand the gist of what the writer is saying and I half agree with him.

    My own personal experience of coming back to Tradition did not involve anyone speaking to me about the crisis in the Church. Rather, it was nothing more or less than the grace of God given through the Rosary. That powerful devotion is what gained for me and my family the wisdom to know that what was happening in the Church was wrong. And then, by a miracle, I met an elderly man in an Edinburgh city bookshop who just happened to be a Traditional Catholic armed with the addresses of two SSPX chapels in Central Scotland. The rest, as they say, is history.

    So the author of the piece in question is right to say that it all begins and ends with prayer and penance, as Our Lady indicated at Fatima. The fruits of our labours are utterly dependent upon the grace of God who alone endows both speaker and listener with wisdom, understanding and good will, assuming that they lead a healthy spiritual life before all else and place their entire trust in God’s providence – “Man proposes, God disposes”!

    What this means is that it is incumbent upon every true Catholic who has been graced to see the crisis in the Church to attempt to communicate that information to fellow Catholics, in charity and patience, to paraphrase St. Paul. It is not acceptable that lay Catholics with knowledge of the crisis should remain silent while their neighbour lives in ignorance and error. That would be a gross offence against charity and the selfish burying of the Gospel talent. In this matter the author of the piece is completely wrong.

    He is right to observe and condemn, however, those who spend their lives speaking of the crisis while doing nothing personally spiritual to bring it to an end, people who neglect their first duty to sanctify their own soul. These types are more common than many think and that’s why social media is full of comments from Catholics that are more destructive than constructive. The reason for this, I suspect, is that the writers of such comments mistakenly believe that it is upon them, not God, that all depends. That’s why personal opinion, quite often bitter, trumps the teaching of the Church and degrades the Traditional Catholic argument in the eyes of many.

    One example would be the various sedevacantist sites on the Internet where comments are frequently negative, aggressive and divisive, eminating, as they do, from people who have become embittered by the crisis because they are fail to see that God is still in charge of His Church. Hence, they take charge and they charge right in with all guns blazing, which helps neither them, the souls they are hoping to convince, or the Church.

    There is a lot of this kind of bitter zeal Catholicism around on the Internet and that’s why some priests are beginning to advocate that lay Catholic stay away from social media altogether. I don’t entirely agree that the answer is to run into hiding in the upper room, but I can see the personal danger in communicating with nippy and angry correspondents. The best solution is really to try to be an example of charity and patience in such circumstances, ending conversation when it becomes obvious that the other person is not really properly disposed to discussing issues concerning the faith.

    I am always reminded by Our Lord’s words concerning the last times, who said: “And the charity of many willl grow cold as they see wickedness abound everywhere”. Those words have caused my a few sleepless nights, I can you.

    November 24, 2018 at 4:16 pm
  • RCAVictor

    I’m sorry, but that Facebook post is well nigh incoherent – from someone who apparently is accustomed to wagging a finger at others. I used to participate on a couple of SSPX FB pages several years ago, but left because their discussions were not helpful…he said euphemistically…

    I think Petrus’ posts, on the other hand, are very helpful. I’ve been an SSPX Third Order member since 2012, and for me it is the among the best works of the Society. I find the Rule very helpful in organizing my prayer life, being obedient about spiritual and doctrinal reading, retreat schedule, etc., though these disciplines do not, unfortunately, take the place of a Spiritual Director.

    There is a weakness in their Third Order which is also present in the Society as a whole: their catechesis is poor to non-existent. Very superficial. The SSPX seems to acknowledge this indirectly by placing bookstores in their chapels, wherever possible – but there again, the laity are left to read to their heart’s content, but must draw their own conclusions because they are not being taught well from the pulpit. This results in a tossed salad of beliefs, frequently very erroneous and unhealthy.

    And, it leads to the sort of discussions I used to see constantly on their FB pages.

    As for the ban on TV, it may be over the top (like prohibiting pants on women), but I welcomed that, as I had already decided, without getting into personal details, that when I got divorced in 2007, I would never again own one. I’ve never regretted that decision, though of course I do miss those Columbo re-runs….!

    November 24, 2018 at 4:25 pm
  • Dano

    What the commentator is saying, is that we should hold back from berating Priests, Bishops, Cardinals and the Pope, just because they don’t always see things as we do, instead we are asked to pray for them. God can change their mind set, but flogging them with barbed comments achieves nothing, and we should focus our energies instead on feeding the poor, clothing the naked. welcoming the migrant etc,etc, and I concur wholeheartedly.

    November 24, 2018 at 5:16 pm
    • editor

      Of course, nobody should “flog [priests, bishops, cardinals and the Pope] with barbed comments”…

      Who would DO such a thing?

      November 24, 2018 at 6:24 pm
    • Athanasius


      I didn’t notice any mention of “welcoming the migrant” in the text presently under discussion. Let’s not expand on an already controversial text, especially by referencing the economic migration issue that is presently overwhelming so many nations and placing their internal security, not to mention infrastructures, at risk.

      The methods being employed by certain hidden forces to bring this global disorder about is not remotely Christian and certainly not deserving of our “welcome”. Every nation has its own procedures for legal migration, which are currently being gravely undermined.

      I think perhaps you had a wry smile on your face when you included that hot topic in your response. If so, is that not precisely the kind of thing the author of the text above laments as not proceeding from a good will?

      November 24, 2018 at 6:40 pm
  • editor

    I have been surprised at the number of bloggers who have expressed difficulty in understanding the introductory Facebook article – I did just copy it as it came to me in an email, because, although it is certainly not penned by someone who is likely to achieve a PhD in English Language & Literature, I got the gist of it, no problem. Is it just me, moi, who thinks I’m a genius?

    Anyway, I have now gone in and edited the piece in such a way that I hope it will now be easier for most of the hoi polloi to read and understand.

    Don’t mention it 😀

    November 24, 2018 at 6:32 pm
    • Petrus


      I have to say that I agree with you entirely. I had no problem understanding it.

      November 24, 2018 at 7:47 pm
      • editor


        You actually won’t know this, but these are my favourite words from your post…

        “Editor, I have to say that I agree with you entirely…”

        November 24, 2018 at 9:31 pm
      • Petrus


        Now who would have predicted this a week ago ? 🙂

        November 24, 2018 at 10:14 pm
      • Lily


        Me! LOL! Charity always breaks out in the end on the CT blog! I’ve noticed that a good few times! There’s no malice here, so misunderstandings are soon put right.

        November 24, 2018 at 11:07 pm
      • editor


        Spot on!

        November 25, 2018 at 8:37 am
  • RCAVictor


    I appreciate your efforts to clarify the introductory post, but I confess that my density has not been overcome – that is, I’m not exactly sure what this writer is getting at. So these questions/comments remain:

    1. Is this writer’s point that we should stop trying to educate other Catholics about the crisis in the Church? My response: if so, there goes this blog and dozens of other blogs that are attempting to do just that: educate, re-catechize, restore the Church.

    2. Or is the point that our attempts at education are too provocative? That is, that education should be something gradual (“a process”)? My response: how did St. Francis de Sales re-convert thousands of newly-formed Protestants back to the Church in Geneva? Timidly, or with forceful preaching? This writer apparently thinks, reading between the lines, that modern Catholics are just too effeminate to handle the truth about the revolution.

    3. “…offer every work for God rather telling people about the crisis, which makes people flee from your sight…” My response: telling people about the crisis is a spiritual work of mercy, which, I daresay, most traditionalist bloggers/educators have already offered to God out of their love of Him and their love of the Church.

    4. “You are to show your light in that area where you are.” My response: well, “where we are” is to embrace Tradition, and attempt to teach others about it. Duh.

    5. “Yes, the Church is in a state of emergency but let the hierarchy do the job not you. God asks from you to pray for the Pope, for Him to solve this crisis. God is not asking you to tell the people about the crisis.” My response: if the writer thinks that this Pope and this hierarchy are going to solve the crisis – a crisis which they inherited, accepted, embraced, and are carrying forward at breakneck speed, then the writer is firmly ensconced in la-la land. And how does this writer know that God is not asking us to tell people about the crisis? Answer: they don’t, this is just pointless, gratuitous finger-wagging. Since when does God NOT want us to know about the enemies of His Church and how they work?

    6. Finally, I’m not clear on where the connection to Third Orders comes in, unless you think that being a Tertiary is likely to result in the false piety and sanctimonious navel-dwelling exhibited in the article. As I’ve already posted, I’m an SSPX Tertiary, and the purpose of that Order is, first of all, one’s own sanctification through spiritual combat. That purpose, then, remains the foundation for any apostolate one may undertake – the same principle contained in The Soul of the Apostolate. There’s no head-in-the-sand retreat into spiritual narcissism, that I know of.

    Have you encountered Tertiaries who are likely to churn out the same sort of annoying (speaking of provocative!) pontificating as this writer?

    November 25, 2018 at 7:49 pm
    • Petrus

      RCA Victor,

      The article was posted on the Facebook site of the SSPX Third Order. That’s where the link to tertiaries comes in.

      November 25, 2018 at 9:20 pm
    • editor

      RCA Victor,

      Essentially, the author of the article has fallen into the error of clericalism. The laity should pay, pray and obey, and leave the apostolic work to the clergy.

      It was an error that featured in the Church prior to the Second Vatican Council and provided fertile soil for the women’s ordination movement to take root and flourish.

      I remember one leading lay woman in England introducing her talk to a parish group by saying that, in her youth, she had been a member of the Legion of Mary. Light dawned in my little head because anyone who, like my unworthy self, held membership of the LOM, will know that the clergy did not like it – generally speaking. They did not like the idea of lay people speaking to non-Catholics about the Faith or engaging in apostolic work, the work of spreading the Faith in one way or another, and – although the LOM was designed to put the priest at the centre of each group of lay people, the priest being the Spiritual Director, and the point of contact when we met people who, for example, had been lapsed and would now welcome a visit from a priest, nevertheless the commonplace attitude was that the laity should – I repeat – pay, pray and obey. The speaker from the National Board of Catholic Women – an agency of the Catholic Bishops of England & Wales (at that time, not sure if they’re still around) went on to put her case for women priests, since the clergy want to hold on to their “power”, she said, and – basically, the thinking seemed to be – if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

      Unfortunately, this error of clericalism runs through the SSPX today. They seem to have decided to cling to everything that existed pre-Vatican II, whether good or bad. Pity.

      I recently heard a sermon in which the (visiting) priest rightly said that the Catholic laity cannot just attend Mass and that’s it, that they have to be “apostolic” – and then went on to give two examples: firstly, they could join the choir, and secondly, they could volunteer to iron the altar cloths. Given that it takes me all my time to iron a T shirt, I do not feel called to that form of apostolate. So, my heart, having been lifted in interior song at the beginning of his sermon, sank to the tune of the same old, same old pay, pray and obey mantra, with the additional exhortation to help with the (necessary) domestic chores around the church building, which is praiseworthy of course, but simply not to be classed as “apostolic work”.

      In short, then, the author of the above article, does not realise that his vocation to the Third Order spiritual life of the SSPX does not over-ride his elementary Baptismal and Confirmation duty to be a Soldier of Christ.

      I was sent the article by an interested reader as evidence of how such clericalism is still alive and well in certain circles, and since we have never discussed the concept of Third Order membership, I thought it would be an idea to use it for the twin purpose of learning about Third Order membership and of underlining the error of clericalism which exists in some places even today, notably, I’m sorry to say, in the SSPX, but also because it is always good to remind ourselves that we can’t just put up our feet after Mass on Sundays and think “duty done”. No, if we are not somehow seeking to spread the Faith, then we might as well put up our feet BEFORE Sunday Mass, in a manner of speaking.

      Ironically, this well-worn quote is published on the SSPX Third Order site, linked above in my ‘Comment’ piece at the end of the article, and I’ll finish with this because it really does say it all…

      St. Pius X had a deep understanding of the needs of the Church and therefore often had penetrating insights. Happening to be one day amidst a group of Cardinals, the Holy Father said to them “What is the thing most necessary at the present time to save society?” ‘Build Catholic schools,” one said. “No.” “Multiply churches,” replied another. “No again.” “Increase the recruiting of the clergy” said a third. “No, no,” replied the pope. “What is most necessary at the present time is to have in each parish a group of lay persons at the same time virtuous, enlightened, determined, and really apostolic.” (Soul of the Apostolate; Dom Jean-Baptiste Chautard, OCSO)

      November 25, 2018 at 10:49 pm
      • RCAVictor

        Editor (and Petrus),

        Thank you for that….but you forgot to say “Catholic Truth…at your service! Ironically, your post also explains why there was an altar cloth on your ironing board back in 2008… 🙂

        Seriously though, here’s some more news about the SSPX:

        I had to laugh: “doctrinal differences.” Doctrine? Pope Francis? Surely you jest….for a second I thought I’d slept for 25 years and woke up during the “Period of Peace”….

        November 25, 2018 at 11:50 pm
  • RCAVictor

    Just wanted to add that when I attempted to apply to the SSPX Third Order, the apostolate seemed to be in a state of complete disarray. I wasted about 3 years trying to email the alleged USA contact priest on how to become a Postulant, with no reply. I then started complaining to our Prior about it, and he not only brought me into the Order but even volunteered to be the US Chaplain. He then asked me to help re-write and update the Rule, which I did with his help, but my re-write disappeared mysteriously and was replaced with another one (clericalism?).

    Then there was the matter of cleaning up the mailing list, which was full of dead addresses, and for all we knew, dead people (you know, Democrat Party voters….). I started to help out in this effort, until I was eased aside by another priest who had been rotated into the parish, and who had his own (frankly, confused) ideas about the clean-up (clericalism?).

    A few years ago there was a weak attempt in my former parish to organize the Tertiaries, who numbered about 15 I think, but it only consisted of a monthly 15-minute sermon on topics that had nothing to do with our sanctification, and nothing to do with what Pope St. Pius X was looking for in the quote cited by Editor. I went twice, then stopped bothering with it, as it was useless.

    In short, the disciplines are very helpful, but there is no direction other than a quarterly newsletter from the Chaplain, which is intended to be food for meditation, but which is usually extremely abstract. I’d have to say that this Apostolate is about as amateurish and disorganized as everything else I’ve observed about the SSPX. I hope the new SG focuses sharply on the internal organization of his Society, and doesn’t waste more time and energy having “doctrinal” discussions with Rome – which, I will safely wager, will go nowhere during this Passion of the Church.

    November 26, 2018 at 4:42 pm
    • Lily

      RCA Victor,

      That all definitely sounds like clericalism to me, after reading Editor’s explanation of it. In fact, once you know about clericalism, which not a lot of us do, actually, a lot of things slot into place and make sense.

      November 26, 2018 at 7:28 pm
      • RCAVictor


        What is puzzling is the secondary attitude (or maybe it’s the primary attitude, I don’t know), that the SSPX clergy, and the Society, are the pinnacle of Tradition, and that everyone else trying to recover Tradition is to be avoided.

        A very curious attitude, given the chronic internal disarray of the Society, which I have repeated witnessed, with one important exception (one of their retreat houses). Clericalism + in-bred conceit = bad news.

        Even many of their laity have this attitude. It was clearly exhibited by a blogger from St. Marys who visited us briefly early this year, I believe, and introduced himself by boasting of his list of credentials with the Society. I had to give myself electric shock therapy to avoid unloading on him, in my usual blunt fashion….

        November 26, 2018 at 9:58 pm
      • editor

        RCA Victor,

        That is very sad. Unfortunately, you are correct, but I think there’s a distinction to be made between that sort of silly superiority among certain SSPX laity, for the sake of it, almost, and those of us who take the view that since there would be no other TLMs available but for the courage and foresight of Archbishop Lefebvre, that we ought to stick with them, at least for now – in our case, in Glasgow, for example, not least because there is no really serious alternative. While we have sound priests in certain parishes, who are offering the TLM, there are some unresolved (some would say “unresolvable”) issues that make it untenable for us to switch attendance to those parishes. Long story, don’t ask!

        Electric shock therapy? Thee? Oops!

        November 26, 2018 at 10:12 pm
      • RCAVictor


        Yes – I understand that when the revolution began, the SSPX was it, and in most corners of the world, it still is. And I imagine that’s why the long-timers stick with them. But from where I sit, tradition has passed them by. Heck, they won’t even use a pre-1962 Missal – which already is tainted, since they removed the second Confiteor.

        As for pizza or doughnuts, they would have to be gluten-free….

        November 26, 2018 at 11:06 pm
      • RCAVictor


        Notice I didn’t say “old-timers”…..)

        November 26, 2018 at 11:07 pm

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