Fr Mawdsley: Is Former FSSP Priest In Schism?

Fr Mawdsley: Is Former FSSP Priest In Schism?

Editor writes…

I met Fr Mawdsley when he came to Immaculate Heart of Mary, Balornock in Glasgow in 2016, to offer one of his first Masses, after ordination. You can read a report about the event here

At the buffet lunch table afterwards, I found myself alongside Fr Mawdsley, forced to divide my attention between selecting the delicious food on offer, while, at the same time, answering his friendly questions. It was only when I explained that, no, this isn’t my parish although I do come to the week-day Masses when possible, but I mostly attend the Glasgow SSPX church, that things changed. The birds stopped singing, the sun stopped shining and all was no longer right with the world.

Instead, I found myself subjected to a lecture about endangering my soul by consorting with the “schismatic” SSPX.  My protestations that the SSPX is NOT in schism fell on deaf ears and, realising that we were heading for stormy waters, I suggested that we  just leave the subject there,  since I’m the argumentative type and I didn’t want to spoil his day.

But, you know men. They have to have the last word.  And so it came to pass that Fr Mawdsley persisted to the point where he came to join our table and chose to sit right next to me, can  you believe. Talk about looking for trouble. Sure enough, he kept up his barrage of accusations against the SSPX.  I did my best to defend them against the charge of schism – quelling the hilarious thought that they don’t like me either, so why am I bothering… It turned out that the entire population of Balornock heard me, because apart from having command of all the arguments and a love of debating, I also have a very loud voice – or so they told me, later. I often wish “they” would mind their own business.  Eventually one woman at our table stood up and apologised to Fr Mawdsley for my rudeness in arguing with him.  Incredible. Then she stomped off.  I’d always liked her, too.  Anyway, it is noteworthy that all this took place in 2016 – with Rev Mawdsley showing no sign of disapproval of Papa Francis at the lunch table that day, despite the fact that he had been wreaking havoc in the Church since his election in 2013.  Papa Francis, I mean, not Fr Mawdsley 😀

Anyway, can you just imagine my astonishment on learning that Fr Mawdsley has decided to take the “schismatic” road himself?  Check out the quote from Archbishop Lefebvre at the end of this introduction, and ask yourself, is not this precisely what Father Mawdsley is saying to rationalise his decision to operate independently of the Fraternity of Saint Peter and/or independently of any diocesan bishop?  If Archbishop Lefebvre and the SSPX is in schism, surely Fr Mawdsley must be a schismatic, as well? Of course, maybe he’s changed his mind about the SSPX being in schism – if so, maybe he’ll pop in here to let us know.

You can read more about Fr Mawdsley on his Wikipedia page  here

Perhaps, after reading his personal history – an annulled marriage, human rights/Burma, FSSP priest, ex-FSSP priest – you might find yourself wondering if Fr Mawdsley is something of an activist in search of a cause?  Oh and don’t forget to answer the headline question – IS he in schism? Remembering the arguments he put to me about the SSPX, I’d say a whopping, very loud “Yes”!

Comments (49)

  • Michaela

    I’ve read comments on other blogs praising this priest to the skies, treating him like as if he’s a hero.

    Yet, I see from his own Wikipedia page that he’s been suspended.

    “After being suspended a divinis by FSSP leadership for, by his own admission, ‘illegitimate absence’ from his assigned duties, Mawdsley formally broke with the order in January 2022; shortly thereafter, he released a video on YouTube publicly castigating Francis and the Church hierarchy for their ‘intention to eradicate the traditional liturgy.'”

    But if I’m right in thinking that this suspension means he can’t offer the Mass himself (at least publicly, not sure of my ground here) nor can he hear confessions etc, then is this not shooting himself in the foot? If he’s supposed to be concerned about the Mass being suppressed, why is he suppressing it himself? It doesn’t make any sense to me.

    As far as I can see, the Masses are continuing to be offered – I don’t think anyone is taking Traditionis Custodes too seriously, so his action is at the very least, premature, IMHO.

    In any case, I am not sure it’s for individual priests to do this.

    February 19, 2022 at 8:47 am
  • westminsterfly

    Cardinal Ladaria of the CDF stated last year that the SSPX are not in schism: so unless Fr Mawdsley knows better than the Prefect of the CDF, he was wrong to berate you at that gathering. As an aside, I’ve read Cdl Ladaria is going soon from the CDF, to make way for the (very) pro LGBT Abp Charles Scicluna, who apparently ‘likes’ ‘gay pride’ parades: – but that’s another issue.
    The SSPX have always legitimately resisted abuse of authority and now Fr Mawdsley is doing the same thing, so it puts him in the same boat as them. If he still thinks they’re in schism, then by his own definition, he must be as well. And also he should have the humility to apologise to you.

    February 19, 2022 at 9:47 am
    • Fidelis

      Westminster Fly,

      That is disgraceful of the pope to appoint an obvious pro-LGBT archbishop to the Congregation for the Defence of the Faith. How can he defend the faith if he’s OK with LGBT behaviour? It’s well and truly beyond belief what this pope is doing.

      February 19, 2022 at 10:46 am
      • westminsterfly

        ‘How can he defend the Faith . . . ” He doesn’t want to defend the Faith, he wants to destroy it.

        February 19, 2022 at 11:12 am
      • Lily

        Westminster Fly,

        You took the words out of my mouth, LOL!

        February 19, 2022 at 11:48 am
  • Andrew Q

    Like the editor, I’ve met Fr Mawdsley. I used to worship with the FSSP in Warrington. I found him a fine man and a good preacher. He was clearly impacted greatly by his experience of confinement in Burma as a prisoner of conscience.

    Fr Mawdsley’s earlier anti-SSPX stance is par for the course among FSSP priests. It is drummed into them throughout their training. It’s a little like the anti-FSSP stance among many SSPX priests. There’s history, as they say. It’s fully to be expected that someone just out of seminary would be keen on the party line. People are allowed to mature and change their stance in the light of experience (and as the hierarchy moves further into heresy). Heck, I’ve done it myself.

    Fr Mawdsley is a good priest, a principled man and in need of out prayers and support. His online teaching, so far, has been excellent.

    February 19, 2022 at 9:59 am
    • Faith of Our Fathers

      Andrew am going to break ranks so to speak and agree with you. OK this Man may not be everyone’s Cup of Tea but his Actions in Burma were not done for the Good of His Health that’s for certain. I have read ( as probably others on here have to ) of the let’s say Exploits of the Burmese Government and some of it was Horrendous.

      Whatever one may think of this Man when at His Judgement he’s asked of His actions against the Persecuted and the Imprisoned for Christ Sake ,he need not have a Devils Advocate.
      As for the Schism Argument . I believe most of on Here are certainly in Schism against the Bergoglion Religion and Church. Bergoglio is not of The Catholic Faith of that we are certain. So it’s I Follow Christ as for Bergoglio and His Lavender Buddies they are as Dead Wood.

      February 19, 2022 at 2:14 pm
      • editor


        Not to diminish or make light of the work which Fr Mawdsley (prior to ordination) did in the battle for human rights in Burma, but, search as I have done, I can find no mention of this fight being inspired by his Catholic Faith or any desire to take that Faith to the Burmese people.

        He suffered horrendously, as the above report makes very clear, and he is to be admired for his efforts in the political / human rights arena, but there is no indication that he pursued this work as a means of bringing Christ to the people of Burma. If I’m wrong on this, and there is evidence to the contrary, I would be delighted to see it.

        We do, however, have to understand that there are good people, like the then Mr James Mawdsley, who dedicate years of their lives to working to improve the political situation under various repressive regimes, albeit motivated by purely political and temporal aims, laudable in themselves, of course.

        There are also examples of Catholics who have suffered under repressive regimes (China being a shining example) where Catholic priests and people alike have been tortured and imprisoned for the Faith not because they were challenging the human rights abuses mercilessly inflicted on the people by the Chinese Communist Party but because they refuse to give up the Faith in order to join the State “Catholic” (Patriotic) Church – here’s but one example of the many available.

        I repeat – I am not seeking to downplay, in any way, the self-sacrifice entailed in Fr Mawdsley’s human rights work in Burma, but I’m not sure that you are correct to say that he carried out this work “for Christ’s sake” or that, crucially, he sought to bring the Burmese people to faith in Christ.

        February 19, 2022 at 10:11 pm
  • Fidelis

    I’m sorry, but at the risk of sounding judgemental, this priest’s action smacks of attention seeking to me.

    Other priests who have been suspended or hit the headlines did so only after they were reprimanded by their bishop (e.g. Fr Altman) because they had spoken out about the crisis in the Church in sermons. They did not go looking to take a leading public role. That is unbecoming in a priest, IMHO.

    Fr Mawdsley should surely have remained faithful to his vocation within the religious family he chose, and quietly ignored the motu proprio as best he could. If it came to being forced to abandon the Mass, then he would be justified in speaking out but not to pre-empt the situation and go it alone. It doesn’t seem right to me, at all.

    The SSPX is already committed to keeping the traditional Mass and sacraments available, so he is wrong to assume that because of the motu proprio it might be lost. That isn’t the case.

    February 19, 2022 at 10:42 am
    • Faith of Our Fathers

      ED I get where your coming from and in these Terrible Days when the Fatima Message is more at Hand than ever, again I still say This Man is a Man of Integrity.
      We remember Christs words .
      ” Many will say but Lord we spoke in your name ” Etc . I believe that this good Man had Christ with Him throughout His imprisonment and Torture. I remember a Priest saying that He spoke to an American Airman who was imprisoned in Vietnam. The Man actually said that He made Friends of a Rat.
      He made this comment to the Priest.
      ” Father God was so good to me in that Hell hole that He sent the Rat back to me to have Her Babies ”

      We cannot but only imagine the Loneliness especially when a Prisoner is locked in Solitary confinement for a long time. Obviously in the American Airman’s Story it brings it somewhat into light.
      As I write this I think back on my Life when God was so good to Me but at the time I never Appreciated it . I know though that in the Gospel Reading about the Idle Workers being Hired at the 11th Hour and paid the same as those who Toiled through the heat of the Day . That We only have to call on the Help of the Lord in sincerity and He will not turn away from us.
      God Bless ED You Have Toiled in The Heat of The Day . J. D.

      February 20, 2022 at 8:21 am
  • Lily

    I went to look for something about this priest online and found this article on Lifesitenews – you’d think this was breaking news about the need to preserve Tradition but the SSPX got there first, LOL!

    It struck me that he didn’t even mention the SSPX and is giving the impression that he has come charging in on his white horse to save the Church. That is dishonest. If he’d even mentioned that he now sees that the SSPX were right all along to fight the modernism that had even then taken hold, that would have been something.

    What I’m wondering is, if he’s not staying with the FSSP and won’t ask to be incardinated in any diocese, how will he support himself financially, and if he’s suspended and can’t offer Mass, does that make him just free to speak out. He’s not actually living as a priest, then? Who does he think will be listening to him – he’s going to be singing to the choir IMHO. I dread to think how this will end, TBH.

    February 19, 2022 at 11:44 am
    • Andrew Q

      None of us is sure of Fr Mawdsley’s plans but there have been plenty of priests before him who have left their dioceses or societies and continued to do good work (albeit in an irregular situation). Fr Gruner, of the Fatima Centre waa one: a former SSPX priest offers Mass in my town currently. Good priests find Catholics willing to support them.

      Every one of the various trad groups is either compromised in some way or under imminent threat. If the SSPX picks up traction as the Ecclesia Dei groups are forced into modernism you can be sure that there will, again, be excommunications. Human lives and institutions are messy. I do pray that as things heat up for traditionalists we will begin to act a little more charitably and less like ferrets in sacks. We’re often our own worst enemies.

      February 19, 2022 at 12:11 pm
      • editor

        Andrew Q,

        Father Gruner was NOT in an irregular situation. He went to a lot of trouble to make sure that he was incardinated – you can read about his efforts to deal with the abuse of authority he encountered, without “going it alone”.,when%20ruling%20against%20Fr.%20Gruner%20in%20September%201999.

        I never use terms such as “trad groups” to describe Catholics who are guilty of nothing more than refusing to abandon the traditional Faith. That aside, you are, with respect, speaking of apples and oranges by referring to your certainty that if the SSPX grows as a result of Traditionis Custodes we can be sure that there will be, again, excommunications of the SSPX bishops. Those “excommunications” were unjust and unlawful and since Pope Benedict made that clear when he issued Summorum Pontificum, I doubt if even this mad pontiff will try that. In any event, it should make no difference to an informed Catholic. If they attend SSPX Masses, “excommunicated” or not, they are pleasing God so there’s a double whammy there: annoying the Vatican and pleasing God in one fell swoop – you can’t beat that.

        As for this modern mantra about “human lives…being messy” – not necessarily so. Read the lives of those great saints who wrote eloquently about the beauty of living the simple Christian life. We need to stop repeating these modern unthinking slogans which are rooted in the Humanistic Counselling propaganda. You can’t help displeasing God, life is messy. He knows that. Nope. He’s given us all the spiritual resources we need to live a simple Christian life – no need for any mess.

        You’ll need to identify the “ferrets in the sack” to whom you refer in your closing paragraph. If you mean those of us who have the temerity to discuss the very public situation of Father Mawdsley’s own making, then I suggest you are very wide of the mark.

        In fact, to be frank, when I first heard of Fr Mawdsley’s departure from the FSSP at the time of his decision, and after reading his rationale, I resolved NOT to give him any publicity. Don’t ask me why. That WOULD entail sharing some uncharitable thoughts. Only now, when he has apparently decided to make a YouTube living out of Traditionis Custodes (TC), did I change my mind.

        Think of it this way, Andrew. I’m always at a loss when I encounter people who see nothing wrong with tearing the Pope to pieces, metaphorically speaking, but won’t even countenance the possibility that a favourite clergymen might just be on the wrong road.

        And also think of it this way, Andrew. Who knows, but if Father Mawdsley gets used to uncritical acceptance of his decision to go it alone, and is effectively raised to the altars for his “bravery”, “courage”, “holiness” and so on, he might end up full of spiritual pride and, in fact, in danger of losing his soul altogether (I’ve to watch for that myself, with all the praise I get, as you can imagine…)

        On the other hand, if he becomes aware that not every Catholic in Christendom thinks he’s a saint – but rather, possibly foolhardy and short-sighted – for his departure from the FSSP/refusal to seek incardination, it just might help him to re-think his position and humbly seek incardination with a traditional leaning bishop somewhere in the world. Just avoid Scotland.

        I certainly wouldn’t recommend joining the SSPX if he is determined to speak out – they’re more silent on Church scandals, including TC, than a switched off mobile phone. Sadly.

        February 19, 2022 at 1:34 pm
  • westminsterfly

    I agree about that ‘human lives . . . being messy’ mantra. It was repeated and encouraged by Pope Francis himself when he scandalously told a group of youths at the World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro to “shake up the church and make a mess in their dioceses by going out into the streets to spread the faith.” Certainly, mess can and sadly does occur in any human life or institution, but that doesn’t mean that we should just accept it, let alone encourage it, as Pope Francis did. God loves order, not chaos.

    February 19, 2022 at 1:45 pm
    • editor


      I don’t recall the Pope’s instruction to young people to go out and make a mess, as meaning to spread the Faith. I am almost certain his words were to the effect that they should go into their dioceses and make a mess. That is to say, take over the running of the Church where they live and move and have their heresy. I could be wrong, of course, and you could be right – there’s a first time for everything 😀

      February 19, 2022 at 2:26 pm
      • westminsterfly

        That quote was taken from another website. Whatever he actually said, I’m sure his intention would have been to advise them to run amok and spread their errors.

        February 19, 2022 at 3:13 pm
      • editor


        I thought I’d check it out myself before some smart-alec blighter drops me in it – and I’m glad I did. That was prophetic of me, although I say it myself. There IS a first time for everything… you are right and I am wrong about this quote, although I’ll deny it if you ever quote me in public. I’ve no scruples, trust me, or rather don’t trust me…

        On the other hand, he DID mention “dioceses” in this report (but still “streets”, darn…)

        February 19, 2022 at 3:40 pm
      • westminsterfly


        February 19, 2022 at 4:46 pm
  • westminsterfly

    PS Here is another excellent article on Fr Gruner’s canonical position, which I think differs from that of Fr Mawdsley:

    February 19, 2022 at 1:48 pm
  • Andrew Q

    Dear Editor.

    I use “trad groups” simply as shorthand. We all know who we are, that we are within the Church. and that we’ve a tendency to beat each other with the purity stick.

    I’d submit it’s not a modern mantra that “Human lives and institutions are messy.” It’s as old as the Fall. There is always the possibility of redemption.

    I, too, worship at an SSPX chapel mostly. I’m aware of the history and the tensions.

    February 19, 2022 at 1:59 pm
    • editor


      I really don’t get this “purity stick” business.

      The SSPX clergy did warn against attending the FSSP churches simply because they are, in the end, subject to diocesan control. We’re now seeing this danger in action with the publication of TC. I’ve heard great things about FSSP priests, and I’ve heard that at least one of them in the UK (won’t narrow it down further) has said fairly openly that he regrets leaving the SSPX. Perhaps, if TC really does become a problem, we’ll see more of those priests realising their mistake and returning to the SSPX if, ironically, they can’t bring themselves to simply “disobey” the restrictions on the TLM etc.

      So, while there may be some (idiot) “SSPX people” who take a “we’re better than the others…” position, which is what I assume you mean by “purity stick”, that’s not to say that the danger of attaching to an FSSP parish isn’t very real, for reasons which are now very obvious.

      It seems that “messy” lives is a new way of explaining sin. I don’t like it. I prefer NOT to appear to let myself off the hook for my own sinful behaviour by using an ambiguous (at best) term to argue that, well, life is “messy”, that’s why I sin. That’s why Adam and Eve sinned. Nope. Adam and Eve, you, my unworthy self and the rest of us, sin because we make wrong decisions, choices which are incompatible with God’s law, at some level. “Life” (messy or otherwise) is not to blame. I am.

      Did you ever witness such humility? 😀

      February 19, 2022 at 2:24 pm
  • Francis de sales

    Speaking of ‘schism’ today, given my lack of Catholic education plus ignorance as well. Given my background coming from institutional schools named in Ryan report, I couldn’t obey PF cos I disagree such as obedience and loyalty cos if they ask you to keep silent re abuses, otherwise schism etc etc.i have been there in that situation before as I didn’t obey religious order instruction. For instance, PF tells you to cover it up, would you obey him or not?

    February 19, 2022 at 4:51 pm
  • Francis de sales

    Further to my post 👆, PF telling Catholics to obey him such as his instructions which I say Catholics don’t have to obey it. Listen to yourself first before you take any priests or Pope francis instructions such as take the vaccine without researching it first. Cos they(priests or bishops or PF) are human beings first and prone to mistakes. Cos they are likely to abuse their power for their own ends or get something that they want. I know someone whose relative gave away her property and lands to a priest. Of course family were furious re she brainwashed etc but they couldn’t do anything about it cis it’s legal with her signature. That’s one example of a priest or Bishop or cardinal who wanted to get something for themselves etc. Priestly abuses are common more than you think especially in Ireland.

    February 19, 2022 at 5:12 pm
    • editor


      It is not – and never has been – an act of schism to disobey a pope. Only cult leaders demand absolute, uncritical obedience.

      One of the simplest explanations of schism that I ever heard is this one: a child may disobey a parent. The parent remains the parent and the child remains part of the family. If the child disowns the parent, tells the parent that they are no longer related, that’s very different.

      Same in the Church. To be in schism, a person has to disown, i.e. separate him/herself from the Church – not any individual pontiff.

      To “disobey” an unlawful command about anything (including covering up abuse) is, obviously, surely, not a binding command. We are, in fact, conscience-bound to “disobey”.

      February 19, 2022 at 6:37 pm
    • Miles Immaculatae

      For several years I supported and defended the FSSPX but I now believe that they are a schismatic sect. Surely, if the society truly had a divine mission, their canonical situation would have been regularised by now? The society’s clergy have not enjoyed juridical status in the Church since the 1970s.

      The Lefebvrist chapel I attended was quite weird and evetually I realised that it was not authentically Catholic. I went there for the old Mass and also there are some good people there who I like a lot. My experience in this chapel was harmful to my faith. I have complained to the district superior about the bizarre and scandalous things I encountered at this chapel but I have not receive a reply. I don’t regret leaving. Among the bad fruits I encountered were emotionally disturbed clergy, immoral and psychologically aberrant behaviour from various laypersons, nepotism, and sacramental abuses. I cannot prove it, but I also witnessed some things that were indicative of financial corruption. The nepotism is particularly weird and anyone who has been to this chapel will know exactly what I am talking about.

      February 25, 2022 at 1:41 am
      • editor

        Miles Immaculatae,

        I am unable to spend the time necessary right now to reply as fully as possible to your latest comment/attack on the SSPX but I will be back later. I am giving you advance notice of my intention to reply as fully as possible (so that readers and bloggers who do not know you personally can appreciate better “where you are coming from” as they say these crazy days) in case you wish to amend your comment in any way, either by adding information about yourself – previously shared on this blog – or by subtracting some of your claims about the SSPX made in your comment published at 1:41am. Over to you.

        More later.

        February 25, 2022 at 10:05 am
      • Athanasius

        Miles Immaculatae

        I know you had a personally bad experience at the SSPX church in Glasgow regarding the choir. If I understand the situation correctly you hold a university qualification in music, yet your expertise was consistently ignored by one or two unqualified individuals who view the choir more as a family tool of influence rather than an aid to beautifying the liturgy. I can understand your resentment on this essential point since badly sung masses degrade the liturgy and demonstrate ignorance of Papal teaching on the importance of qualified and trained choirs.

        I also take on board your point about superiors not responding to you. I have to admit that the SSPX in the UK probably has the worst two superiors it has ever had, especially in Scotland. These are clericalist priests who are void even of basic human good manners when it comes to repsonding to concerns raised by the faithful. They abuse their authority to push their own ideas and take it ill out when anyone dares to challenge their self indulgence. I have said many times before that both these priests were very bad choices for election to superior office, they simply don’t have the charity, humility and zeal to expand the apostolate in the UK. On the contrary, they’re destroying that apostolate between them and I can say this with 35 years of experience with the SSPX. They need to be fully and publicly criticised for this woeful failure, but also prayed for. God have mercy on them for they really don’t seem to understand the supernatural damage they’ve caused between them.

        That having been said, I have to take issue with a number of other things you’ve written about the SSPX, things that seem more the product of bitterness than reality.

        The SSPX has recently come under criticism from within its own ranks for its apparent drift towards Modernism by its shocking failure to publicly criticise this hugely destructive Pope and for its adoption of Modernist Rome’s vaccine policy, yet you seem to be rolling out the old mantra of “schism” in its regard. The SSPX never was and is not now a schismatic organisation, a truth clearly demonstrated by the fact that no less than the ultra liberal Pope Francis confirmed the validity of SSPX confessions and marriages. It really annoys me when people throw this old accusation at the SSPX when it has been shown to be false so many times. Even Benedict XVI dispelled that falsehood. Not being regularised in the Church is not the same as being schismatic, so I will thank you not to make such an accusation again because it is false and reprehensible before God.

        As for moral and financial corruption in certain individuals in Glasgow, that’s a wholly unfounded and scandalous claim. I know the priests and faithful in Glasgow very well and I can say with certainty that whatever other faults they may have, this kind of corruption is certainly not true. I would strongly urge you to retract that particular statement publicly since you will have to account to Our Lord for it, not least the damage such calumnies can cause to weaker souls.

        In fine, while I do sympathise with your bad experience with the choir in Glasgow and share your frustration over our failing priest superiors, I would urge you not to allow bitterness to guide your comments in future. It’s obvious to me that you are bitter and that you want to cause maximum damage, but please relfect on this action as it will surely end in your own spiritual destruction.

        February 25, 2022 at 1:04 pm
      • westminsterfly

        Miles Immaculatae
        Cardinal Ladaria, Prefect of the CDF stated last year that the SSPX are not in schism:

        February 25, 2022 at 1:18 pm
      • Miles Immaculatae

        Editor @10.05am

        I am a layman who formerly attended St Andrew’s FSSPX chapel in Glasgow.

        I would like to ammend some details of my comment. I would like to change ‘financial corruption’ to ‘financial conflicts of interest’ because what I experienced wasn’t (civilly) illegal, merely improper by reasonable standards. Also ‘sacramental abuses’ should be singular because I only encountered one sacramental abuse. Also, I only encountered one emotionally disturbed priest, so I ought not have used ‘clergy’ in the plural. The immoral and psychologically aberrant behaviour I encountered was from two laypersons, not a multitude, and I would not wish to give the impression that their behaviour was typical of layfolk at the chapel. Actually, many lay people I met there are good people.

        I have spoken to a traditionalist Catholic priest who was formerly associated with the FSSPX and he has informed me about the history of nepotism in the FSSPX in Scotland and I now realise that the situation is extremely unlikely to change. In my opinion, the FSSPX has no business criticising the mainstream Church until they get their own house in order.

        February 25, 2022 at 2:04 pm
      • editor

        Miles Immaculatae,

        I know exactly who you are – although you must be logging in with a different email because your avatar has disappeared. Let me answer your comment in detail, with thanks to Athanasius for his excellent response. I will copy your original comment below and insert my reply in bold, in order to make sure I don’t miss anything…

        YOU WROTE…

        For several years I supported and defended the FSSPX but I now believe that they are a schismatic sect. Surely, if the society truly had a divine mission, their canonical situation would have been regularised by now? The society’s clergy have not enjoyed juridical status in the Church since the 1970s.

        I think both Athanasius and Westminster Fly have answered this, but I think you know perfectly well that the SSPX is not in schism. It is important for readers to know that you are a “convert” to the Catholic Faith – I put convert in inverted commas because it is now very clear to me that you were not properly instructed; or, put another way, you really do not have the proverbial clue about the Church. Your wavering about the status of the Society, only to come down on the wrong side, is one piece of evidence of your lack of proper instruction, but it’s not the only evidence. I’ll return to this later.

        The Lefebvrist chapel

        You know perfectly well that there is no such thing as a “Lefebvrist” anything. It is an insulting way to describe those of us who attend the SSPX churches – I was corrected by a kind diocesan priest from Ireland a year or so ago, when he said I ought not to write “chapels” but “churches” since the Society Masses were not offered in convents or monasteries or other buildings which house “chapels” but in a separate church building. Since then, I’ve always used “church” not “chapel” – and I’ve never used the pejorative term “Lefebvrist” – SSPX is the short form for the Society of Saint Pius X. Please keep up.

        [The SSPX church which] I attended was quite weird and eventually I realised that it was not authentically Catholic.

        I refer you to my remarks about your lack of instruction in the Faith – I doubt if you would recognise “authentic Catholicism” if it were handed to you on a plate wrapped in pink paper with bells and whistles attached. Which reminds me, readers ought to know that you announced on this blog – what was it two, three, more? years ago – that you were “out and proud” and that you were now giving up that same Faith in which you clearly have not been properly instructed. When that didn’t work out, you came back, asking if I thought the people in that “weird” church would accept you. To which I replied: “Of course! Come back!” The original Prodigal Son, I’m reliably informed, was jealous at the reception you were given by those “weirdos”…

        I went there for the old Mass and also there are some good people there who I like a lot.

        Shucks. Lucky them, these, those, whoever…

        My experience in this chapel was harmful to my faith.

        That’s how the objective observer can tell your “faith” is really no such thing. More about that coming up. Brace yourself.

        I have complained to the district superior about the bizarre and scandalous things I encountered at this chapel but I have not receive a reply.

        Join the club. I have written more letters to these Priors and District Superiors than St Paul wrote to the entire Gentile world, and ditto Athanasius – he’s even taken to trying smoke signals to see if that works better than typed sheets. I’ve told him to stop in case it affects his already very painful throat. In fact, they’ve had so many letters from Athanasius that, rumour has it, they’re thinking of reading out his letters instead of St Paul’s at future Masses.

        I don’t regret leaving.

        More evidence of your poor instruction and formation. A real Catholic would be troubled in conscience for abandoning the Faith, aware, somewhere deep in their souls, of the warning of the Fathers of the Church that “outside the Catholic Church there is no salvation” which, translated, means that anyone who knows the claims of the Church to be the one ark of salvation, and refuses either to enter or to remain, cannot be saved. Reflect. And you can’t use the excuse that you were inadequately instructed. One of my clearest memories from secondary school is of a religion teacher telling us that the school could only do so much in the time allotted to our lessons, but we all have a duty to keep ourselves informed, to keep educating ourselves in the Faith. From that day forward, I used to purchase the cheap-as-chips Catholic Truth Society pamphlets – which before the Vatican II revolution were very sound, excellent, easy to read pamphlets – and the rest, as they say, is history. I understood my duty to know the Faith; even in the new Catechism of the Catholic Church we are reminded that ‘God wills everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth’(1 Timothy 2:4). There is only one place where knowledge of the truth about God’s divine revelation is guaranteed to be found, and that is in the Catholic Church.

        Among the bad fruits I encountered were emotionally disturbed clergy,

        This is where, in the interests of full disclosure, your qualifications for making such definitive judgements about anyone, lay or ordained, requires explanation. Readers need to remember that you have explained on this blog more than once that you, yourself, suffer mental health issues – quite seriously, if I remember correctly. Thus, your judgement may well be clouded – I notice that you have amended your comment to refer to only one priest and two laypersons, but I know that at least one of those laypersons is a man who also suffers from fairly serious mental health issues.

        immoral and psychologically aberrant behaviour from various laypersons,

        Again, I only know of one lay person who displays aberrant behaviour, admittedly with bells on, but whoever these people are, you must know that you will meet plenty more like them wherever you go in life. I remember once when I told my Head that I would be moving to another school asap, he asked if it were because of two difficult staffers “Jack and Jill” (not their real names, believe it or not), adding quickly, “because if that is the case, believe me, Pat, you will meet a Jack and Jill wherever you go.” I knew he was just desperate to keep me there 😀 so I ignored the warning and, guess what, I’ve met Jacks and Jills by the dozen everywhere I’ve lived and moved, and eaten chocolate.


        I take it you are referring to the way a particular family is permitted to run everything in Glasgow and this power is being passed on to the younger generation. Well, a lot of us find that annoying but as Catholics we are aware that we sometimes have to just offer up such annoyances, as little sufferings. If you read The Story of a Soul, the autobiography of St Therese of Lisieux, you will see how living the spiritual life in this way, made her into one of the greatest saints in the Church. That, and the Gospel imperative of leaving justice to God, helps to keep our souls calm and – in fact – we come to see that such annoyances are of no real importance. God will deal with all those responsible for such behaviour, in His own good time.

        and sacramental abuses.

        Since I have no idea to what you refer here, and since you have amended this to “one” abuse, I cannot comment except to say it is very unjust to throw out something that sounds very serious indeed. You could be responsible for taking souls away from Christ, away from the Faith, away from His Church – I wonder if you are OK with such a heavy burden on your conscience?

        I cannot prove it, but I also witnessed some things that were indicative of financial corruption. The nepotism is particularly weird and anyone who has been to this chapel will know exactly what I am talking about.

        Again, I note your amendment from ‘financial corruption’ to ‘financial conflicts of interest’ – so goodness knows what this is all about. Again, you give the impression of something very serious when it might be nothing more than imagining that the priests favour someone or some family because they donate money… as you admit, whatever it is, you cannot prove it and if I’ve hit a nail on the head, who cares? Better that “whoever” gives their money to the church than to the Gay Pride brigade.

        Finally, I said I would say a little more about your alleged “faith” – Quoting, both thee and me…

        My experience in this chapel was harmful to my faith.

        That’s how the objective observer can tell your “faith” is really no such thing. More about that coming up. Brace yourself.

        Let me explain, briefly…

        You are operating on the level of your emotions. Nothing else. “This chapel was harmful to my faith” is a nonsensical statement. Even if you correct it to read more accurately that the people attending the SSPX Glasgow chapel were harmful to your faith, you’re still off the wall – in a manner of speaking 😀

        The difference is very simple. The person living on the level of emotions, reacts emotionally to everything, and it is as clear as daylight to all and sundry, or so all and sundry tell me. For example, we have a troll who, thankfully, seems to have disappeared at last, but before he disappeared his emotions were on full display even when I banned him from the blog. His determination to take revenge for the “harm” I / we had done to him was palpable. I won’t make a list because we’d run out of cyberspace but, trust me on this, our troll was living on the level of his emotions, nothing else.

        The person of faith, on the other hand, sees the error of his/her ways, apologises sincerely, and seeks to make amends OR, if convinced that he/she has been wronged, at the very least puts up with the injustice, real or perceived, and offers up any sufferings in order to win grace, and please God. Your emotional response to everything that was wrong in the church is clear evidence that you are not living a life of faith and that is, in my considered view, because you do not, in fact know the Faith.

        As a final example allow me to note the response of Athanasius to his horrendous post-radiation throat cancer treatment. He is currently suffering horrendous physical pain, can’t taste food, and has umpteen side-effects, any one of which would have been sufficient to see me off looking for a lawyer to sue the NHS. Not so Athanasius. His response is to hope and pray that this suffering will end soon, but, in the meantime, to offer up the pain. I don’t think he’ll object to my copying part of a recent email from him, here:

        I have to admit that this horrendous treatment has been wearing me down over the past week, just the constant side effects of it and the disappointment to discover that they actually carry on weeks after the treatment has ended. I really want to taste food again and have a pain free throat with working saliva glands and a wee bit of extra energy. I can’t really complain though because you want to see some of the poor souls going for treatment at that cancer hospital – I’m extremely fortunate in comparison. Now that Lent is coming up I can maybe stop feeling sorry for myself and “man up” to a bit of penance, as the Americans would say.

        The above is typical of the emails I receive from this future Patron Saint of Bloggers 😀

        So, Miles Immaculatae, think on, as they say south of the border. Think on…

        February 25, 2022 at 9:58 pm
  • Francis de sales

    Thanks editor that you mention conscience bound. I have had a big problem with obedience especially coming from a Pope. To me, it’s a cult, period. My law of obedience or you are out. Also i was never comfortable with bishops edict or decree at most times if it clashed with conscience especially Despard case. Also previously, our family clashed with ex Bishop Magee over funding in parish church. He actually wanted to build a 1M parish church. That led to our family protestations towards magee. Finally it was dropped as it left me with a bad taste re bishops cos it smacks of ’empire building’. Some years later, Magee did it again in his diocese cathedral re renovation worth millions so he had some form over that ’empire building’. Luckily it was held in laity trust instead of the church as Magee lost the battle. For me, its ten commandments, period,not bishops or popes.

    February 19, 2022 at 9:20 pm
    • Josephine

      Francis de sales,

      I think you are a bit confused about the role of the hierarchy and priests in the Church. They are there to pass on the Catholic religion and the moral law as it was handed down from the Apostles. We are obliged to accept those truths. When the Pope teaches what has always been believed and handed on, we cannot reject it, and if he makes an infallible declaration, such as the Immaculate Conception of Mary, we are obliged to accept that.

      The kind of stuff you are bothered about are all personal failings and weaknesses of bishops and priests even popes. They don’t matter. They should not affect anyone’s faith, unless that faith is already weak and they don’t really understand the Church. We definitely cannot pick and choose which teachings and morals to live by. That’s off limits.

      February 19, 2022 at 11:17 pm
      • Francis de sales

        Josephine, many thanks for your explanation 👆. The problem was that i couldn’t tolerate Bishop Toal attitude toward Despard. Its quite vindictive and retaliation on Toals’s part as that is NOT Christ like. Despard was punished for speaking out, where is freedom of speech in Catholic Church? I would say the Catholic Church doesn’t like freedom of speech when it comes to the laity. In fact, Toal is supporting homosexual priests or with homo tendencies by clamping down on Despard. For me, I would stop contributing monies to Toal and his diocese if I was a resident there. Money talks a lot in Catholic circles especially bishops and above them, ie archbishops or cardinals. I learned that from ex Bishop Magee (Ireland) whom we clashed with in the past.

        Church did change their teaching on Death penalty. What comes next down the road is gay priests permitted to be ordained openly along with women priests who knows in next 100 or 200 years time.

        February 20, 2022 at 4:15 pm
  • RCAVictor

    I don’t know what specific arguments this priest made against the SSPX as being “schismatic,” but I think we should be very wary of any priest – especially a priest who is suspended a divinis – whose message boils down to “I’m here to save the Church!” That is hubris with a capital “H.”

    This in addition to the devious logical fallacies (guilt by association) with which he opens his talk, attempting to equate Herod and Caiphas with the Pope because of TC.

    February 19, 2022 at 11:02 pm
    • Josephine

      RCA Victor,

      You have expressed my own thoughts when I was watching Fr Mawdsley on the video. The idea that he has decided to leave the FSSP and not join a diocese so that he can speak out on something that umpteen bishops and priests have already spoken out on, suggests something is not right with this priest’s thinking. We should pray for him.

      February 19, 2022 at 11:20 pm
      • RCAVictor


        I wanted to add something to my boiled-down version of this priest’s talk, but I forgot. I meant to say that I think his message is really “I’m here to save the Church – follow me!”

        I’m also curious as to why The Remnant chose to publish this video, given Father’s suspended status and his highly questionable reasoning. Not a good move on Michael Matt’s part.

        February 21, 2022 at 3:19 pm
      • editor

        RCA Victor,

        Perhaps The Remnant chose to publish Fr Mawdsley’s video because it fits in with Michael Matt’s policy of “uniting the clans” – whether or not the “clans” wish to be united!

        February 21, 2022 at 4:09 pm
  • Margaret Mary

    I’ve just seen this short video on YouTube, Fr Mawdsley before his ordination doing human rights work in Burma. I would really like to know who were the influencers in his lift at that time – he looks very young. God bless him for his humanity, his goodness in wanting to work for human rights under an oppressive regime. He was very brave.

    February 20, 2022 at 7:41 pm
  • Lily

    I’ve just been studying Fr Mawdsley’s Wiki page and he’s really been into everything, from human rights activist to prisoner to writer to politician to married man to priest – goodness, he’s already packed tons into his young life!

    I don’t think he realises that he is possibly endangering his soul by doing what he’s doing. If he’s not able to offer public Masses, hear confessions etc, and all he is doing is making YouTube videos, then he’s basically just a preacher – like lots of Protestant ministers are. As a Catholic who has chosen to work outside the Church structures when there is no real need, IMHO, he is limited in what he can preach about. He can’t preach about the Church as established by Christ, for example, since he has rejected the hierarchical structure, to do his own thing. I’m no expert on this, of course, so I’m open to being corrected but the whole thing doesn’t sit right with me.

    I’ll pray for Fr Mawdsley, though. I hope he returns to his order as it’s safer to live a religious life under the authority of a superior.

    February 20, 2022 at 10:31 pm
    • editor


      Your closing point is one I’ve been meaning to make – it really is spiritually dangerous for any priest or religious to “go it alone”. I don’t know much about the FSSP so I paid a quick visit to their website just now, was irritated to see the mask-wearing which spoiled an otherwise beautiful photograph, and copied the following extract:

      The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter is a Society of Apostolic Life of Pontifical right, that is, a community of priests who do not take religious vows, but who work together for a common mission in the Catholic Church. The mission of the Fraternity is two-fold: first, the formation and sanctification of priests in the cadre of the traditional liturgy, commonly called the Extraordinary Form of the Roman rite, and secondly, the care of souls and pastoral activities in the service of the Church.

      Goodness – I can’t believe that they use that dreadful “Extraordinary Form…” Gimme a break.

      Moving on… “Formation” – it seems to me – requires superiors who, under God, do the “forming”. There have always been hermits, of course, who live in isolation, but that is an unusual vocation. I’ve met two hermits in my lifetime and I wouldn’t recommend it as a way of life, not that anyone is looking for my recommendation, needless to say. Do you notice that when people say “needless to say”, they’ve already said whatever they now tell us needn’t be said? Crackers.

      Anyway, I hope that Fr Mawdsley returns to his Priestly Community. Like the rest of us, he needs personal support and time and space to build up his spiritual resources for when things get tougher, as they will do, no question about it. Tomorrow is the Feast of the English priest and martyr, St Robert Southwell (thread on that coming up!) so let’s pray to that great saint for Fr Mawdsley – St Robert Southwell, pray for him…

      February 20, 2022 at 11:27 pm
  • westminsterfly

    He might have jumped too soon:

    February 21, 2022 at 1:13 pm
  • Fidelis

    I’ve just found this report but it seems to be a bit contradictory. The Pope has given the green light to the FSSP, just saying to take TC into account “as far as possible”, so Fr Mawdsley needed have done what he’s done. I hope he returns to his vocation asap.

    To me, this looks like Pope Francis is backing away from TC. He probably didn’t expect so much pushback.

    February 21, 2022 at 3:15 pm
    • editor


      Thank you for posting that link. I have received an email from a lady in England on the subject. She writes…

      Please see the enclosed message that has just arrived from the FSSP in Warrington. Thanks be to God and Our Lady of Lourdes the FSSP has been granted permission to carry on with their work in the traditional way. Perhaps you would like to mention this on the blog. [Ed: this refers to the link posted by Fidelis at 3.15pm]

      Well, here at St Mary’s, it is a ‘powerhouse of prayer’ and doubtless it has gained this wonderful victory in the face of the otherwise merciless tyranny of the present Pontiff. Everyone is most deeply grateful to Our Lady for her wonderful intercession.

      One thing that does seem to be a particular characteristic of the FSSP is their Charity and ‘care’ of the laity. It is outstanding and, doubtless, will have gained them many graces and the mercy of God at this time.

      Please God, all LM Groups can continue with their traditional ways and this victory may give them courage to stand firm in the face of evil.

      Wishing you all well at CTS.

      God bless [signed].

      February 21, 2022 at 4:12 pm
  • gabriel syme

    It was notable how Fr Mawdsley had started to follow the trajectory of the SSPX and I daresay the experience has transformed his view of the Society.

    However, as has been said, all his strife seems to have been for nothing now that Francis has recognised the right of the FSSP to act as a traditional order. (It is expected the other former Ecclesia Dei groups will get this same acknowledgement – how could they not?).

    And so it seems Francis has acted to significantly undermine his own motu proprio.

    I wonder what Fr Mawdsley will do now?

    February 22, 2022 at 10:50 pm
  • LittleCharie


    Perhaps Fr Mawdsley was trying to convince himself rather you during your conversation.

    February 23, 2022 at 2:28 pm
  • Miles Immaculatae

    Athanasius @1.04pm and Editor @9.58pm

    Thank you for your detailed replies.

    I am very sad to hear about Athanasius’ recent suffering.

    Athanasius, are you aware of the Maggie’s centre which is located in the Gartnavel hospital campus in Glasgow? I recommend you drop in, or give them a call. They have a benefits and financial advisor who can help you apply for the MacMillan clothing bursary and sickness/disability benefits. They also have beautiful rooms where cancer patients can drop-in to relax and socialise in a safe environment. There are various activities, such as a choir and expressive writing group.

    I did not intend to give the impression that I have abandoned the Catholic faith. I still believe in everything that the Catholic Church teaches, and I still attend Sunday Mass at my local Novus Ordo parish.

    I am not sure why my avatar is not appearing. I have used my original log-in details to post comments.

    I am perplexed and embarrassed that the ‘original prodigal son’ would be jealous of me. I only ever acted fraternally and cordially with this person, and considered him a friend, that is until he turned nasty and I was forced to cut him off. But he wasn’t the only one at St Andrew’s who was jealous — there were two others whose behaviour was equally as unpleasant. Their behaviour was not the only reason I left St Andrew’s. When I was involved with St Andrew’s I became depressed and claustrophobic about being cut off from the rest of the Church and I began to doubt the indefectibility of the Church. The Society’s canonical situation was a cause of distress for me and I lost confidence that the matter would ever be resolved. I am not the only one who feels this way. John Salza has also stopped supporting the FSSPX and he now attends a juridically regular TLM. My faith is stronger now that I am integrated into to the mainstream Church and so far I have not met any people at my local parish who have a vendetta against me.

    February 26, 2022 at 5:13 pm
    • editor

      Miles Immaculatae,

      You’ve misunderstood my reference to the “original Prodigal Son” – if you read my comment again, it should be clear that I was joking. I was saying that you were given a warm welcome by the people in St Andrew’s when you returned after being gone for a long time, and that the welcome was so warm that the original Prodigal Son would be jealous. That was my meaning. Just a joke.

      Anyway, I’m pleased that you are happy now. Take care.

      February 26, 2022 at 8:54 pm
      • Miles Immaculatae

        Oops I see what you meant now.

        I wasn’t saying that anyone here was unpleasant, unwelcoming etc.. You were all warm, and I am thankful for this. It is the fsspx clergy and their lay sycophants against whom I take umbrage.

        February 27, 2022 at 2:28 pm
  • Stuart McDonald

    It’s surely an abuse of a fantastic Catholic blog to use it to vent personal gripes, Miles. It would be better for all concerned if you kept these things to yourself. There are much bigger issues than your hurt feelings. If you look at the wonderful topics the admin have chosen and the outstanding commentary: your comments just look bitter in comparison.

    Editor: firstly thank you for your kind comments about the blog topics etc. However, the blame for Miles’ uncensored comments lies with my unworthy self – he was a regular blogger prior to falling away, hence his comments went straight onto the blog. I’ve now placed him in moderation to I won’t be releasing anything that – in hindsight – he really would not want published. He’s a good lad, really. Just speaks his mind when things get him down – keyboards can be deadly in the wrong hands, which would make a great book title, if you think about it 😀

    February 27, 2022 at 8:10 pm

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: