I know not how widespread this belief is in the SSPX, but here is Father Michael Johnson, one of their own, explicitly denying the validity of Novus Ordo ordinations. (Unless this is an advanced fake chat-GPT, a caveat we must soon put on everything we read, hear or see). Does he realize the implications of this? There are just under half a million priests in the Church, almost all of them ordained in the new rite, serving untold millions of Catholics, saying Mass, hearing confessions, bestowing marriage, anointing the sick – all of it, if we take Father Johnson at his word, null and void.
We should recall that the Church only exists where the Eucharist is. According to Father Johnson, therefore, the ‘Church’ only exists where the SSPX is (perhaps he leaves room for some other TLM groups?) which, to put it mildly, is a problem, if not the quasi-heresy of Donatism, with elements of Gnositicsm – a tiny ‘true’ Church of the enlightened and graced, exiting within a much larger ‘pseudo’ Church of the misguided and misled.
Yes, there are problems, bigger than even we realizes, principalities and powers and all that. But the Church is the Church, including the SSPX. She is perfect in her transcendent, heavenly dimension, but imperfect and limited in her earthly, hierarchical structure – including the sacraments, which may be bestowed more or less ‘perfectly’, but still validly. The Church is filled with saints and sinners, sheep and goats, wheat and tares, and each of us shares some elements of all of these. God will separate and sift us all at the end of time. We must pray and hope we end up on the right side, or hand.
To be clear, and thankfully, the SSPX has apparently disavowed Father Johnson’s views, but I wonder, who officially speaks for them (their priests? bishops? their spokesmen?) and how many share his opinion? How rife is this within their ranks? Will the priest be censured?