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What constitutes acceptance and adherence to the Catholic religion is actually very narrow — a very thin slice.
The Church cannot be deviated from in the slightest little bit either to the left or the right. Just as you can fall off either the starboard or the port side of a ship, so can you lose your faith in a variety of different ways. We all know the obvious widely accepted way of becoming a former Catholic — by refusing to live by the Church's moral teachings or even denouncing them.
This is the way the vast majority of people lose their faith these days. They fall off the port side, so to speak. They are obvious, plain to see, and seem to be everywhere. And that is the danger — since this is the most usual route people lose their faith, many Catholics believe this is the only way you can lose contact with the Church. But you can lose contact by swinging too far to the other side. There are various people who are baptized Catholics who think they can say the Church is wrong about Vatican II, for example, that the Council promoted heresies and still consider themselves Catholic.
The SSPX is a good example of this. And so are their spiritual siblings who just take the SSPX's un-Catholic conclusions to their logical end and declare we haven't had a real Pope for close to 60 years. This crowd are called sedevacantists, which means the chair of St. Peter is empty. And again, they are just the logical conclusion of the SSPX crowd.
The SSPX holds out that the documents of the Second Vatican Council are riddled with error and heresy. Since the vast majority of bishops signed the documents — including their own original leader, who actually signed them twice — then all these bishops were supportive of heresy. They are heretical, the council promotes heresy, and on and on.
And if the council was heretical (and that is what SSPX says), then the Church Itself has fallen into heresy, including all the popes since the Council — which means the popes back to John XXIII are all anti-popes. That's the argument of the sedevacantists, and it's actually interesting to watch the SSPX and the sedevacantists hacking away at each other — interesting in a very sad way, that is.
The SSPX tries ridiculously to stake out some kind of indefensible illogical ground that says the New Mass is "an offense against God" and that Catholics shouldn't attend it while also saying the Council's documents are rife with error, all the while arguing against the sedevacantist crowd, which agrees with the SSPX conclusions.
I mean, which is it? Is the Council or its documents heretical or not? If they are — like so many SSPX-ers maintain — then the more extreme conclusion of the sedevacantist crowd must be admitted.
And here's what important to note: Even among the SSPX followers, this argument rages. There are all sorts of camps and divisions and in-fights within the SSPX world. And that's what happens when a group deserts the Church, sets up shop outside the Church.
The SSPX claims to cling to the Catholic faith — which is mostly true. The problem is part of the Catholic faith is obedience to the papacy and the Church. Our Blessed Lord didn't establish a faith — He established a Church. And you must embrace that Church in its entirety — no wavering even the slightest bit, regardless of your own personal experiences, opinions or circumstances.
A person must accept both keys of St. Peter, not just one or the other based on personal preference. What constitutes acceptance and adherence to the Catholic religion is actually very narrow — a very thin slice.