SSPX: Lay Response To Crisis In The Church

SSPX: Lay Response To Crisis In The Church

From the YouTube Platform…

Today we’ll ask, “Father, what can I do about the Crisis in the Church?” Is there anything I can do about the Crisis? Do I just hunker down in my home and say the rosary? Do I move my family to a traditional Catholic compound and ignore everything that’s happening? Or should I take a more active role, speaking out, and fighting for the rights of the Church? We invited Fr. David Sherry, the Canadian District Superior for the SSPX to join us and give us what we all need right now – some simple, practical advice for what a lay person should be doing right now.

Editor writes…

For the record, in relation to Fr Sherry’s comments about blogging, this blog was only launched after repeated requests from a priest – at that time a highly placed priest – who argued that we should fill the internet vacuum where the voice of [traditional] Catholics in Scotland was markedly missing.   But, what if no priest had recommended that we launch a blog – would it be wrong for a lay-person to do so, anyway? And it is certainly true that no priest oversees this blog – heavens, we can’t get any priest to sign up to participate in our discussions, although my spies tell me that plenty of them read this blog.  Chocolate teapots spring to mind, although, as a laywoman I have a real cheek to say so!  Indeed, the thought strikes me that the priest who worked hard to get us to launch this blog has disappeared from the scene altogether, so maybe that is a sign from God that we should close down?

Father – as always – speaks clearly and is, self-evidently, an excellent teacher.  He makes lots of very interesting points in the above video. His comments about family life in relation to the internet and smartphones are particularly important, in my opinion. Or maybe you think his remarks on this subject are too extreme? Share the piece of advice or commentary which you find most helpful from his insightful talk.

Comments (32)

  • Laura Reply

    That’s a very interesting talk by Fr Sherry and he makes a lot of great points. However, the idea that a priest has to oversee everything the laity do is wrong IMHO. I thought I’d check to see if St Catherine of Siena, a very outspoken lay woman, had a priest “overseeing” her, and I laughed when I read this, in one article about her life:

    “Catherine also dictated the Dialogue (her prayerful dialogue with God) and many of her personal prayers to Raymond of Capua, who had originally served as her spiritual director. Over time, she became his spiritual director.”


    Father seems to forget that the priests are the problem in this crisis, and that was the same when St Catherine of Siena was writing her letters to the pope complaining about bad priests. Without internet forums to share our thoughts and get support, I think many Catholic lay people would give up. At one time, a parish close to my own, had two priests who both made the tabloids due to homosexual scandals. Imagine how the parishioners felt finding out that they had two sexually active and deviant priests, with possibly some parishioners saying “so what?” So, I’m afraid I disagree with Fr Sherry on that point.

    As someone with a young teen in my care, I definitely do agree with him about the bad influence on families of the internet, and putting off allowing a smartphone for as long as possible. Unfortunately, that genie is now out of the bottle so it’s really impossible to ban them altogether for young people, more’s the pity. If you try to get them to accept a simple phone for communication purposes only, they don’t want it due to peer pressure. You have to have the latest or it’s no use.

    All in all, that’s a great talk by Fr Sherry. The Canadians are very lucky to have him.

    December 4, 2021 at 2:07 pm
    • Faith of Our Fathers Reply

      Laura Fr Sherry did not say that Internet Blogs were wrong. He said that one must discern themselves to be Truthful to the Catholic Faith and get our own House in order before we create a Catholic Blog. At least that was the Message I got from him . He also did not say all of The Internet is Bad . He did though say that youngsters should not have Smart Phones, and I most certainly agree with him on that point.

      December 4, 2021 at 2:54 pm
      • Margaret Mary

        Faith of our Fathers,

        I agree. I don’t think Fr Sherry meant lay people shouldn’t start blogs, that’s maybe a bit of an exaggeration.

        December 4, 2021 at 4:05 pm
    • editor Reply


      I must remember that quote about St Catherine of Siena – priceless!

      December 4, 2021 at 9:22 pm
  • Lily Reply

    I was very impressed with Fr Sherry’s talk. I especially liked where he encouraged spiritual reading with the family as that is a key thing IMHO. I would just add that it’s important to use really well produced lives of the saints for young people. Father mentioned Butler’s Lives of the Saints but, unless the parent is reading out loud for everyone, I think something illustrated with pictures is a bit easier to use with children to help their understanding and hold their attention.

    December 4, 2021 at 2:34 pm
    • editor Reply


      Mary Fabyan Windeatt writes excellent Saints’ lives for children. You can order them on Amazon here

      December 4, 2021 at 9:27 pm
  • Faith of Our Fathers Reply

    ED as regards Catholic Truth I know from personal experience that it’s made me look deeper at my Catholic Faith and of course attend the Mass of Ages. I also as Fr Sherry says dislike the term Traditional Catholic, I am a Catholic Full Stop ,and Believe what the Catholic Church has taught from Jesus Christ cannot be changed ,at a whim by Bergoglio and His Lavender Mafia.

    As regards Judging Bergoglio He does that personally Himself. As Fr has said of Christs words
    ” By your Fruits you shall know them ” and in that department Bergoglio has shown his Hand .
    As regards Fr Sherry,s comments about Bishops and The Catholic Faith He is spot on .
    I also loved his comment about the Confessional. O that Our Bishop and Bergoglio would say that also . As regards Family Prayers in the- Song The Isle of Innishfree-. Their is a Line that goes
    ” Around The Turf Fire . The Rosary is Told ” changed Days indeed.

    December 4, 2021 at 2:47 pm
    • editor Reply


      Changed days, right enough, as you say. Very sad.

      December 4, 2021 at 9:28 pm
  • Margaret Mary Reply

    Excellent video. If only we had priests like Fr Sherry here in Scotland. We need to keep praying!

    I can’t single out any one thing – everything was helpful and inspirational, although I’m not sure how practical, such as moving house. Still, people do move house to get near the “best” school for their children’s education so they can get to the best university, so why not for the benefits of a traditional church and school.

    December 4, 2021 at 4:04 pm
    • editor Reply


      Very good point – there are examples (certainly in England) of parents telling porky pies to get their children into the best academic schools, willing to sell their home and buy in the area of the alleged best schools, so it’s not outrageous to suggest that parents might do the same to be near a good Catholic school. The problem these days is that he winds of change blow fast and furious and very unpredictably, so what might be a good Catholic school today, might be a den of modernism tomorrow. And that applies in the world of “Tradition” as well. So, it’s important to do one’s homework, diligently, before making any such major decisions.

      December 4, 2021 at 9:31 pm
  • Nicky Reply

    A refreshing talk – really first class. Father Sherry is a clear thinker – a rarity among priests these days.

    From what little I know about the SSPX, though, I think they do tend to not trust the laity to do things without being supervised. I noticed that he revealed that the young man who was running that blog was asked to do so by the SSPX, therefore, under their supervision etc. I suppose it’s understandable in a way, since there’s so much confusion around and they don’t want to encourage spreading errors.

    That said, a very good talk, worth taking the time to watch it right through.

    December 4, 2021 at 5:00 pm
    • editor Reply

      Nicky et al,

      Be assured, Father Sherry (who served in Scotland a few years ago – and was much loved) supported Catholic Truth at that time – and I’ve no reason to think that that has changed. He attended one of our conferences – the Father Gruner, Fatima Conference – along with our then Prior. Said Prior also attended our Fatima event during Pope Benedict’s visit here, and Fr Sherry expressed himself keen to do so, but was prevented from joining us due to a prior commitment. We’ve since forgiven him 😀

      Similarly, if you recall, our current Prior (Fr Wall) was advertised to speak at our planned conference back in 2020 – the event was cancelled by our venue due to the lockdown, which was a pity because he was set to repeat a fabulous sermon he’d preached (at Mass) to mark the Feast of St John Ogilvie.

      So, I wouldn’t want to give the impression that the SSPX is totally clericalist… No, not totally 😀

      Hope that’s enough to keep me out of trouble 😀

      December 4, 2021 at 5:30 pm
  • Malcolm Fullwood Reply

    Lay apostolate must always by exercises under the direction of the clergy.

    “ The Holy Spirit sanctifies the People of God through the ministry and the sacraments. However, for the exercise of the apostolate he gives the faithful special gifts besides (cf. 1 Cor. 12:7), “allotting them to each one as he wills” (1 Cor. 12:11), so that each and all, putting at the service of others the grace received may be “as good stewards of God’s varied gifts,” (1 Pet. 4:10), for the building up of the whole body in charity (cf. Eph. 4:16). From the reception of these charisms, even the most ordinary ones, there arises for each of the faithful the right and duty of exercising them in the Church and in the world for the good of men and the development of the Church, of exercising them in the freedom of the Holy Spirit who “breathes where he wills” (Jn. 3:8), and at the same time in communion with his brothers in Christ, and with his pastors especially. It is for the pastors to pass judgment on the authenticity and good use of these gifts, not certainly with a view to quenching the Spirit but to testing everything.

    “ Whether they offer themselves spontaneously or are invited to action and direct cooperation with the apostolate of the hierarchy, the laity function under the higher direction of the hierarchy itself, and the latter can sanction this cooperation by an explicit mandate.

    Apostolicam Actuositatem

    18 November 1965

    December 4, 2021 at 5:44 pm
    • Laura Reply

      Malcolm Fullwood,

      It’s not likely that the hierarchy would give permission for an organisation like Catholic Truth to start up, giving regular critiques on the state of the Church and life of the clergy. Does that mean this blog should be closed, because I can’t imagine it having the support of the UK bishops!

      December 4, 2021 at 5:56 pm
      • editor


        Don’t expect an answer to your question. When someone new appears to post a quote (which they think is unanswerable – it’s not, I’ve just answered it) without adding any personal comment or perspective with it, they are not going to return to face the heat. In fact, they’re better off staying well away from “kitchens” 😀

        December 4, 2021 at 9:34 pm
      • Malcolm Fullwood

        Yes, unless this blog is overseen by a Traditional priest it should close. All Catholic Action should be done under supervision of the clergy. In times of crisis the lay faithful cannot simply bypass this, instead, they should submit to a Traditional priest.

        December 5, 2021 at 5:20 pm
      • Margaret Mary

        Malcolm Fullwood,

        What if no traditional priest wants to supervise this blog. Some people have said it’s brought them back to the faith, brought them to the traditional Mass. One of the bloggers who is on here a lot, Faith of our Fathers, says that about himself. Does that not matter?

        December 5, 2021 at 8:05 pm
    • editor Reply


      At a time of crisis, the rules are either suspended or changed. I would say that applies, especially, to a “rule” made in 1965 😀

      December 4, 2021 at 9:33 pm
      • Malcom Fullwood

        From the Legion of Mary Handbook:

        To the priest the Legion gives the respect and obedience which are owing to lawful superiors, yet more than this. Its apostolate is built upon the fact that the main channels of grace are the Mass and the sacramental system, of which the priest is the essential minister. All the strivings and expedients of that apostolate must have in view this great end: the bringing of the divinely-appointed nourishment to the multitude, sick and hungering. It follows that a first principle of legionary action must be the bringing of the priest to the people, not always in person — for that may be impossible.

        This is the essential idea of the Legion apostolate. Lay it will be in bulk of membership, but working in inseparable union with the priests, and under their captaincy, and with absolute identity of interests.

        December 4, 2021 at 11:00 pm
      • Michaela

        In my experience, priests don’t like the Legion of Mary and it’s hard work getting them to start it up – at least that was the case when I was younger and keen to join it. In the end, I had to join in another parish and we hardly ever saw the priest who was the so-called Spiritual Director.

        December 4, 2021 at 11:32 pm
      • Malcolm Fullwood

        Could a source be provided to support:

        “ At a time of crisis, the rules are either suspended or changed.”

        December 5, 2021 at 5:22 pm
      • Margaret Mary

        Malcolm Fullwood,

        That’s an odd question to ask when we’ve had the bishops suspend the Sunday Mass obligation, due to a supposed crisis, LOL! I’ve grown up being taught that I must attend Mass every Sunday on pain of mortal sin, same for Holy Days of obligation. Then, suddenly last year, the bishops announced that we are no longer obliged to attend Mass on Sundays or Holy Days.

        In ordinary every day life we’ve had to wear masks and stand six feet away from other people in shops etc. The ordinary rule, that we can wear what we want, and stand where we want, was changed by the government because they think the latest flu virus in deadly (when it’s not).

        Driving on the hard shoulder of the motorway has been allowed when an accident happens. I’ve seen that myself, whereas usually you cannot drive on the hard shoulder – it’s only for emergency stops. I’m sure I can think of others, if that’s not enough to prove the fact that rules are suspended or changed in a time of crisis.

        December 5, 2021 at 8:03 pm
      • Martin Fullwood

        There is no reply function to Margaret Mary.

        If no priest wants to supervise then that should be seen as providential and a clear sign that this is not authentic Catholic Action, which may only happen under the captaincy of the clergy.

        December 5, 2021 at 8:22 pm
      • editor


        I’m on it – so we’ll say “goodbye” now.

        Take care and, of course… stay scared 😀

        December 5, 2021 at 9:16 pm
      • editor


        Thank you for your excellent examples of rules being suspended or changed in a crisis.

        Game, set and match!

        December 5, 2021 at 9:40 pm
  • Athanasius Reply

    Where to start!

    Fr. Sherry is a priest I have a great deal of respect for, not least because he is the only SSPX superior to have demonstrated the charity and patience of Our Lord in my regard whenever I have written to him with concerns or to make clarifications. All other superiors bar one, sad to say, have demonstrated only the utmost contempt in my regard. I’m not saying that I am not worthy of the utmost contempt before God, or that I have always written in the most respectful manner, just that God, who has more cause, is much kinder to me than his priests have been.

    Now to the main theme, the video. Most of what Fr. Sherry says is excellent – full of Catholic wisdom. Where I would disagree with him to some extent is in the matter of blogging. I say to some extent because there are many so-called Catholic blogs on the internet where bitter zeal reigns and the most uncharitable comments are posted with impunity. There are also blogs where Modernism and absolute obedience to the Church’s authorities hold sway, and sway many against doing what is right before God.

    However, there are some very good Traditional Catholic blogs on the internet, such as this one and a few others I can think of, where the faith is strongly held and explained. Many Catholics who may otherwise be left isolated find comfort in such blogs, especially in times of political corruption and turmoil when the Church’s hierarchy is even trying hard to convince the faithful that the supernatural life of the soul is of little importance when the body is at risk from a virus. I won’t labour the point but suffice it to say that a saint (whose name I cannot remember) once predicted that the faithful would one day save the Church. History is replete with examples of the faithful saving the day when the prelates and priests either fell from grace into heresy or simply didn’t care to challenge the dangerous errors of the time. It is hugely important therefore that lay apostolates like blogs, assuming adherence to the laws of God and the virtues, exist to expose error and exhort their brothers and sisters to fidelity to Tradition.

    One major example of how important this is has recently manifested in the reaction of the Traditional Catholic faithful to the capitulation of the SSPX superiors to the Modernist line on fetal-cell produced or tested vaccines. There is absolutely no question whatsoever that the devil has his foot in the door of the SSPX in this grave matter, as many eminent Churchmen like Archbishop Vigano, Bishop Schneider and other senior prelates, not to mention learned priests and doctors, have shown by their irrefutable testimony to the truth.

    The SSPX teaching in the matter of these vaccines, while not nearly as liberal as that of the mainstream hierarchy, nevertheless runs contrary to the belief and teaching of the Church in the matter of wilful murder, especially of the innocents.

    Now, we have seen much sophistry from SSPX superiors in this matter of abortion-tainted vaccines, even to the extent of completely ignoring what the Vatican documents they quote as supportive of their position actually say. There are a good number of caveats in those documents by which any use of these vaccines, however desperate, can be shown to be completely forbidden by the Church. Yet, regardless of the status of the writer or the evidence he/she produces in defence of the Church’s true teaching in this grave business, the response is either silence or a reiteration of the same dangerous error. Let us not consider it too extreme here to repeat that the sin of abortion is actually demonic in origin and so heinous a crime that, to quote John Paul II, it cries to heaven for vengeance. No amount of sophistry can get around this clearly stated truth.

    I don’t write this from anger or to score points – only to demonstrate that not even the SSPX has escaped the influence of Satan within its walls, regardless of whether or not his instruments are willing or duped. This breaks my heart because I have been associated with the SSPX for 35 years and I know for a fact that Archbishop Lefebvre would never have taken the line on vaccines that the SSPX now does. Many Catholic souls are being led astray by it and it worries me that otherwise very good priests are peddling the lie while believing that obedience to superiors is paramount in the matter. This is how Modernism gained a foothold in the Church just after the Council – and now look where we are!

    The other thing I would disagree with Fr. Sherry on is his advice that children should be sheltered from their parents financial and other troubles. I would say it depends on the troubles we’re talking about, but let’s take the example of the young Giuseppe Sarto (later St. Pius X) in the matter of the poverty of his parents. From the youngest age it was his custom to remove his shoes when walking the miles to and from school because he knew his mother couldn’t afford to replace them and he wanted to save the leather. This great act of childhood sacrifice was just one of many acts that helped to form the virtue of our saint. In my own life experience, I can well remember as a young boy going around doing errands for neighbours to earn a little money, which was then handed to my mother. I got the greatest joy from this and it helped to form in me a sense of responsibility. I should add that this was way back in happier times when almost everyone was poor off, though content, and life’s little treats where far more greatly appreciated. Anyway, I don’t think it’s a good idea to shelter children too much from life’s hardships, though it depends on the hardship and their ability or not to be able to help. Children need to feel a little bit responsible towards their parents and family to bring out the best in them. Sheltering children too much can make them more selfish and insensitive.

    As regards child exposure to the internet and smart phones, Fr. Sherry has it spot on. No amount of peer pressure should cause parents to neglect this hugely important duty. We cannot allow children to manipulate the adults into allowing evil that may harm them just because everyone else is doing it. Our whole life as Catholics consists precisely in not doing what everyone else is doing. Children don’t know what’s good for them, they only want what everyone else has. That’s when responsible Catholic parents, like God with His loving Commandments, have to say no to things that may lead to spiritual or moral corruption. The enemies of God specifically target incautious youth with evil things in order to corrupt them. This can be through the internet or by use of smart phones, both of which, if exposed regularly, will certainly rob them of their childhood innocence. So I am in full agreement with Fr. Sherry on this point.

    December 4, 2021 at 6:05 pm
    • editor Reply


      Excellent, thoughtful comment – many thanks.

      One thing which jumped out at me is your remark about children understanding family financial difficulties. I agree with you 100%. I remember hearing an aunt (by marriage only, RIP) saying that it was wrong to “burden” children with such worries and it puzzled me at the time. Not now. Now I know that, as well as being childless, she was well-off. Empathy wasn’t her strong suit. I remember my sage advice to my mother at one point which was to ask Santa for help! To her credit, she managed to keep a straight face and pointed out that Santa only really gave to children. I didn’t think to offer to ask him for some cash to pass on to her, which – I now realise – would only have added to her woes!

      As you say, it does absolutely no harm for children to face such reality – on the contrary, it is a very important part of preparation for life. Indeed, those conversations are among my most treasured memories of my childhood chats with my mother. I didn’t worry or obsess over any of it – I just understood that there were limits on the purse-strings. I imagine it all helps with the maturing process. I’m bound to mature some time, eh?

      I also agree about the internet and smartphones. I know parents who have had to battle over these, especially the latter. The stuff of nightmares.

      December 4, 2021 at 9:47 pm
      • Athanasius


        Agreed on all points, except the part about your maturing which I took to be the typical editorial sense of humour. I especially agree on the point of these smart phones. I thank God that I grew up in a different era when such addictive devices, destructive of childhood innocence, not to mention health, were unknown. We just went out for hours playing simple games – coming home with dirty faces, dirty hands and, occasionally, torn trousers. It was a great way to grow up. I had the happiest of childhoods.

        December 4, 2021 at 11:08 pm
      • Frankier


        You were one of the well off having owned a pair of trousers. Two pairs and you were counted middle class.

        December 6, 2021 at 2:23 pm
  • Michaela Reply

    Father Sherry is a breath of fresh air. I’m sure the SSPX priests in general are like that, so it’s just a pity they took the line that the vaccine is acceptable. They are wrong on that in so many ways.

    I found myself agreeing with Fr Sherry on most things with reservations about the laity / blogging. These days you can’t get a priest to bless your house, never mind oversee your blog comments, LOL!

    He’s a great priest, though – could do with a few Father Sherrys in the world.

    December 4, 2021 at 11:29 pm
  • RCAVictor Reply

    I haven’t had time to watch the video yet, but I have a speculative question for everyone about the crisis:

    Early in the current pontificate (I was attending an SSPX chapel at the time), rumors began circulating that Francis wanted to put all traditionalist groups under one “tent”: the SSPX tent. This was, I believe, after or shortly around the time that he granted faculties to SSPX priests to hear Confessions, an act which many thought rather strange, given Francis’ open hostility to tradition.

    Given that the new motu proprio proves rather indisputably Francis’ hostility to tradition, and given that the laity whose traditional diocesan venues have now been closed are flocking to the SSPX in droves, I am wondering whether the rumored plan to herd all traditionalists into the SSPX tent is still in force, and whether this motu proprio is a major step in that direction.

    If so, I am also waiting for the other shoe to drop. That is, what will the Modernists attempt to do to the SSPX next, now that a major step towards their “big tent” is in play? Will all SSPX clergy and laity be pronounced schismatic, in an attempt to replace the schismatic status of the Orthodox?

    Something crazy is afoot…or maybe I’m the one who’s crazy….

    December 5, 2021 at 9:59 pm
    • editor Reply

      RCA Victor,

      Good points, excellent questions. If only I knew the answers 😀

      I cannot work out this Pope’s strategy regarding traditional (so-called) Catholics. Goodness, when, as we know, he wants to shut down the Carmelite nuns, who knows what he’ll do to the SSPX!

      You, crazy? No way, at least not like this nut…

      “The trouble is,” said the entertainer to the psychiatrist, “that I can’t sing, I can’t dance, I can’t tell, I can’t act, I can’t play an instrument or juggle or do magic tricks or do anything!”

      “Then why don’t you give up show business?”

      “I can’t – I’m a star!”

      Priceless 😀

      December 5, 2021 at 10:34 pm

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