by Therese Ivers, JCL
Discerners must always be vigilant to ensure that the community they are discerning is both in communion with Rome and that if the Consecration of Virgins is imparted, that it be done validly. Here’s a case in point. People formally adhering to the Society of St. Pius the Tenth (SSPX), are excommunicated. Certainly pseudo nuns who make vows in a convent formally established by the SSPX and only attending SSPX liturgies can be considered formally adhering to this group and hence excommunicated. Why someone would want to join a religious community that is excommunicated is beyond me. However, it gets better. The SSPX, though they vaunt their great fidelity to tradition, cast tradition and theology of time immemorial aside when they “consecrate” virgins with one of their priests.
Having a priest be the “officiant” at the “consecration” is like having a justice of the peace preside at a Catholic wedding: Neither has the authority to for officiating! The Catholic man and the Catholic woman standing in front of the Justice of the Peace can say the vows but they are not married in the eyes of God or the Church. Similarly, the women in SSPX communities can make vows in front of their priests and the prayer of the Consecration of Virgins can be read over them, but they are no more religious, no more consecrated persons than Edel Quinn or Gianna Molla. The Church regulates what is required for validity in the Sacraments, Sacramentals, etc. If these requirements are not met, the most elaborate ritual will not make a difference in effect. The people might as well be actors in a make believe play for all the good it does. Or perhaps worse, there is scandal since it is truly “simulation” of what the Church does.