The current crisis does not require us to reinvent the canonical tradition or reinterpret the laws of the Church in novel ways, not heretofore seen.
In light of Pope Francis’ disastrous pontificate, including his unjust and imprudent motu proprio Traditionis Custodes, many impacted Catholics are being tempted to leave the Church and take refuge in any place where the traditional Mass is offered. Unfortunately, some of these places of refuge include chapels run by “independent” and even Sedevacantist clergy, where Catholics will assist at illicit traditional Masses (which the Church has always taught is a sacrilege) offered by priests with no faculties to say Mass or hear confessions. Yet some traditional Catholics have made the case that—due to the current crisis in the Church and the “state of necessity”—Sedevacantist clergy receive supplied jurisdiction to exercise their ministry, including granting valid absolutions in the sacrament of confession. Of course, if Sedevacantist (and other independent) clergy do not have supplied jurisdiction to hear confessions, they are giving invalid absolutions and causing untold spiritual harm to their penitents. Thus, the question of whether these confessions are valid is a matter of grave importance in the traditional movement.
As this article explains, while it is true that the Church supplies jurisdiction to even an excommunicated priest to hear the confession of someone in danger of death (periculum mortis), it is not true that supplied jurisdiction comes to every priest in the state of necessity. Those who claim that all priests receive supplied jurisdiction on the general pretext of “necessity” make an erroneous extrapolation of the suppletory principle by extending its application from extreme cases of danger of death to cases where there is no danger of death. Of course, the extreme pastoral case of periculum mortis (where the dying person may not have recourse to a priest with faculties to hear his confession) has no parallel to cases where a person is not in danger of death and thus has recourse to priests with the proper faculties. Hence, an analogy of law (analogia legalis) between the two situations cannot be made.