Principles of Obedience for the Laity

When I posted the article on the Members of the Church Militant II quoting Dr. Ott, I was struck by the phrase:
By the fulfillment of these three conditions one subjects oneself to the threefold office of the Church. the sacerdotal office (Baptism), the teaching office (Confession of Faith), and the pastoral office (obedience to the Church authority).
Some Catholics, have issues with the faithful who rely upon the SSPX for the sacraments because of the phrase " obedience to the Church authority".  For example, why do I insist upon going to the SSPX Mass Centre when there is an diocesan Parish that also offers the Tridentine Mass?

Typically, my first answer without reading the attached references was normally:
  1. Firstly, because in order to go to the Diocesan Tridentine Mass, the Bishop made it clear that I had to agree with every other liturgical manifestation (my words) in the Diocese.  The focus on this compromise extended well beyond legitimate Eastern Rite to the various inculturalized forms of the Novus Ordo.  Basically, if the Tridentine Mass 'fed our soul' then that we fine, but we would not be able to criticize any of the other liturgies that 'fed their souls'.
  2. Secondly, in a historical sense, there has been a risk in trusting local ordinaries that don't genuinely foster and support the Tridentine Mass.  The pattern under the 1984 Indult was simple: Setup a diocesan Tridentine Mass, draw away supporters of the SSPX, if possible then close down the diocesan Tridentine Mass or keep it active as a foil for the SSPX. The only Diocese in North America where I am aware that the local Bishop went far beyond this pattern was Lincoln, Nebraska. 
  3. The attendance at the Novus Ordo forms a risk to the faith of my family as well as myself.
Looking back at the phrase 'obedience to the Church authority', am I being disobedient by going to the SSPX for the Sacraments? This is a separate issue from that of jurisdiction.

First, the obligations of obedience are different depending on whether or not the individual is a layperson, religious (priest, monk, brother, sister) or secular priest.

For the laity, their duty is summarized in the Catholic Encyclopedia as:
There remains to speak of the duties and rights of the laity towards the ecclesiastical authority as such, in matters foreign to the sacred ministry. The duties, which affect both laity and clergy, consist in submission and obedience to legitimate hierarchical authority: the pope, the bishops, and, in a proportionate degree, the parish priests and other acting ecclesiastics. The decisions, judgments, orders, and directions of our lawful pastors, in matters of doctrine, morals, discipline, and even administration, must be accepted and obeyed by all members of the Christian society, at least in as far as they are subject to that authority. That is a condition requisite to the well-being of any society whatsoever. However, in the case of the Christian society, authoritative decisions and directions, in as far as they are concerned with faith and morals, bind not merely to exterior acts and formal obedience; they are, moreover, a matter of conscience and demand loyal interior acceptance. On the other hand, seeing that in the Church the superiors have been established for the welfare of the subjects, so that the pope himself glories in the title "servant of the servants of God", the faithful have the right to expect the care, vigilance, and protection of their pastors; in particular they have the right to refer their disputes to the ecclesiastical authorities for decision, to consult them in case of doubt or difficulty, and to ask for suitable guidance for their religious or moral conduct.
Now to pull this posting to a quick close.

In cases where there is an order that involves sin - the subject is required to disobey (see Summa).

In the case of the Mass, given what I saw a couple of years ago at a "Midnight" Mass, between the communion in the hand and the levity etc involved - I cannot in good faith subject myself or anyone that I have responsibility over to such a danger.


Religious Life
Summa Obedience
Religious Obedience


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