Bishops who effectively excommunicate those who attend SSPX Masses may be acting illegally, a leading traditionalist group has said.
The International Una Voce Federation was responding to statements by bishops in Italy and Argentina.
The Federation challenged a decree by the Diocese of Albano, “claiming to excommunicate those who receive the sacraments from, or attend religious services of, the Society of St Pius X”.
The Federation also questioned the legality of a similar statement by Bishop Óscar Sarlinga of Zárate-Campana in Argentina.
“The Federation believes that these ‘notifications’ tend to imply that anyone who has ever attended services of the SSPX is not welcome in parish churches in these dioceses,” a statement said.
“This view is clearly in direct contrast with the emphasis of the Supreme Pontiff, Pope Francis, upon mercy and forgiveness, as well as the ‘openness of heart’ requested by Pope Benedict XVI as a prelude to a healing of divisions ‘in the heart of the Church’.”
The statement continued: “The Federation is asking the Holy See to advise that these notifications are defective and to require them to be modified so as to comply with the law of the Church and the decisions of the Holy See.”
The Bishop of Albano, the Rt Rev Marcello Semeraro, is the Italian bishops’ conference spokesman and secretary of the Council of Cardinal Advisers, which advises Pope Francis on Church governance.
The International Una Voce Federation represents lay organisations around the world promoting the Extraordinary Form. It was founded in 1964 in Paris and counted the composers Maurice Duruflé and Olivier Messiaen among its early members.