SSPX: Lifeboat in Danger of Sinking?

SSPX: Lifeboat in Danger of Sinking?


Election of the Superior General

Father Davide Pagliarani, 47, center, was elected July 11 as the new superior general of the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X during the society’s general chapter in Econe, Switzerland. Father Pagliarani is pictured after his election with his assistants, Bishop Alfonso de la Galarreta, left, and Father Christian Bouchacourt. (CNS photo/courtesy See SSPX-SUPERIOR-GENERAL July 12, 2018.

The new Superior General is 47 years old and is of Italian nationality. He received the sacrament of Holy Orders from the hands of Bishop Bernard Fellay in 1996. He exercised his apostolate in Rimini (Italy), then in Singapore, before being appointed Superior of the District of Italy. Since 2012, he was Rector of Our Lady Co-Redemptrix Seminary of La Reja (Argentina).

After accepting his office, the elected pronounced the Profession of Faith and took the Anti-Modernist Oath at the seminary church. Then, each of the members present came before him to promise their respect and obedience, before singing the Te Deum in thanksgiving.

Ecône, July 11, 2018

Election of the General Assistants

Just as the day was coming to an end, the new Superior General of the Society of Saint Pius X, Father Davide Pagliarani, and the 40 other capitulants have decided to proceed to the election of the two General Assistants.

The 1st Assistant elected is Bishop Alfonso Galarreta, auxiliary bishop of the Society, of Spanish nationality. Aged 61, he was ordained priest in 1980 at Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he lived for a certain time. In the past he has held the roles of Rector of Our Lady Co-Redemptrix Seminary at La Reja, Argentina, and superior of the Autonomous House of Spain and Portugal. He was 2nd Assistant of the Society from 2002 to 2006. Until now, he resided in Geneva, Switzerland.

The 2nd Assistant elected is Father Christian Bouchacourt, of French nationality. Aged 59, he was ordained priest in 1986 by Archbishop Lefebvre. For a long time he was stationed in Paris, especially at Saint-Nicolas du Chardonnet, before becoming District Superior of South America and then, in 2014, District Superior of France.
Now that these elections have taken place, the General Chapter will be able to address the numerous questions which have been proposed for discussion, until July 21st 2018.

Ecône, the 11th of July 2018

From the Remnant Newspaper…

SSPX NEWS: Two New Assistants General Announced– Bishop Fellay and Father Schmidberger
Written by Michael Matt | Editor

The General Chapter of the SSPX has elected two additional Assistants General to serve on the Council of the Superior General, Father Davide Pagliarani, in accordance with the common law of the Church.
They are Bishop Bernard Fellay, former Superior General (1994-2018) and Father Franz Schmidberger, former Superior General (1982-1994) and currently Director of the Herz Jesu Seminary in Zaitzkofen (Germany).

Comment from Michael Matt, the Editor of The Remnant Newspaper… 

While this development [the election of the two additional General Assistants] may well prove to be a good thing, at first glance it is somewhat confusing. From the vantage point of an outside observer, it looks something like a general manager of a baseball team announcing his intention to keep his two previous baseball managers knocking around the front office to “advise” the new guy on how to establish a different style of leadership. Bit awkward for everyone. Keep them around if you want, but why make the big announcement that seems to send mixed signals?

Without wishing to take anything away from the good job done by either of these men in the past, I’m sure the SSPX leadership can appreciate why some traditional Catholics are a bit apprehensive over this announcement, since they were looking forward to the fresh approach of a ‘new coaching staff’ rather than an apparent reshuffling effort that may mean ‘business as usual’ when it comes to a whole host of problems blamed, fairly or not, on the previous ‘coaching staff.’ And this includes ardent supporters of Bishop Fellay, who only want what is best for the Society.

The SSPX General Chapter is still in session, by the way, and therefore this brief observation is meant only in a constructive sense– as merely the initial reaction of just one member of the Catholic press, while there may still be time to amend or clarify.
Whatever happens, let’s redouble our prayers for the SSPX–a crucial player in the Catholic restoration movement–and let us pray for the success of their General Chapter. ENDS

Comment from Editor of Catholic Truth…

There is certainly something in what Michael Matt says, in that a completely new team might find launching a fresh approach, with, perhaps, some necessary change(s) and new policies, easier to introduce, without the “previous bosses” looking over their shoulders.   However, one gentleman – who no longer attends an SSPX chapel – emailed the following comment, after reading the above over at The Remnant:  “[the above] highlights a serious problem with the SSPX (I know Michael Matt doesn’t attend an SSPX chapel, but this kind of thinking is typical of those who do);  this constant hand-wringing over the decisions of the Society leadership. The problem is caused by an environment where everyone thinks they know best, even better than the Church. It is a lack of trust, combined with a lack of humility and the schismatic mentality cultivated by their priests, IMHO. 

Well, do you agree? 

Comments (74)

  • RCAVictor

    I’m not sure what sort of “fresh approach” – in their dealings with Rome – could possibly be developed at this point, given the immovable object (fidelity to Tradition) vs. the irresistible force (rampant Modernism) situation that’s been played out lo these many years, but I do think the SSPX has some internal issues to address, independent of their negotiations with Rome.

    First among these is indeed a lack of trust in their own leadership, a lack of trust present even amongst some of their clergy. This is fed, quite naturally, by the lack of trust in Rome and the mainstream bishops, but they need to separate these two issues. It amounts to a perpetual “vote of no confidence,” rumor-mongering, and an internally divisive atmosphere that is anything but conducive to the practice of the Catholic Faith.

    I’ve heard it said that the SSPX resembles – or is – a cult, so I decided to look up the characteristics of a cult, and went with one of the first hits I found:

    I think a few on this checklist do indeed apply, i.e.:

    #5. The group is elitist (though not the rest of #5). This plays out as “do not attend any TLM’s other than the SSPX,” or, “have nothing to do with Modernist Rome” (disturbingly similar to, if not identical to, the cant of the “Resistance”).

    #6. “The group has a polarized us vs. them mentality.” Definitely true, in my experience: “them” being the mainstream Church (see my comment to #5).

    #12. “The group is preoccupied with making money.” Definitely true in the US District.

    #14. “Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members.” Not required, of course, but I do think there is a marked tendency to be very insular, and thus in-bred.

    However, most of the other items on this checklist are about unwavering, zealous devotion to the leader, a characteristic exactly the opposite of lack of trust in leadership, so I would have to dismiss any claims of “cult-like.”

    In sum, I think Fr. Pagliarani should most definitely address this internal lack of trust. It has been festering for years under Bp. Fellay – or should I say, despite Bp. Fellay!

    July 22, 2018 at 11:48 pm
    • gabriel syme


      You raise a number of interesting points in that post:

      In particular, I dislike hearing that we should not attend non-SSPX masses.

      I understand this is because of fear of losing people, but SSPX attendees tend to be loyal and for good reason, even if they support the efforts of others.

      In truth, I think with the speed and scope of change in the SSPX situation, it is not surprising that different opinions jar.

      I started going to the SSPX in 2012, but then my perspective will be naturally different to someone who has been with the SSPX from the beginning. What is important to remember is that we are all friends and allies, striving for the same outcome.

      July 23, 2018 at 12:53 am
      • RCAVictor

        Gabriel Syme,

        In particular, I dislike hearing that we should not attend non-SSPX masses.

        I have it on good authority that the USA seminarians, now in their new building in Virginia, are told that very thing when they go home on vacation. However, I don’t think it is from fear of losing people, because I was once told by an SSPX priest not to attend non-Society TLMs because the faith of those priests is “tainted” by their association with the Novus Ordo. (see: schismatic mentality…)

        I didn’t know any better at the time, but now I would ask that priest, what about those 17 priests in the book “Priest, Where is Thy Mass?” several of whom are independent (i.e. not SSPX)? Should the faithful avoid their Masses because their faith is tainted as well? If so, why is the SSPX publishing a book about their “conversion” stories?

        July 23, 2018 at 1:21 am
      • myforever77

        This crisis is a consequence of not having a pope to unite all those who are keeping the Faith.

        July 23, 2018 at 3:33 pm
      • editor


        Well, that certainly would help, but more to the point, so would a pope who consecrated Russia to Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart, as she requested way back in the early part of the twentieth century. That would not only unite all those who are keeping the Faith, but bring back those who have lost it! It’s what they call a “win-win” situation these days!

        July 23, 2018 at 7:53 pm
      • RCAVictor


        I took her post as meaning that we don’t have a pope, but maybe I stopped at the wrong point in the sentence….

        July 23, 2018 at 8:30 pm
      • editor


        July 23, 2018 at 8:38 pm
  • Margaret USA

    This is very disturbing. Why do they need 2 more Assistants General (who are both former Superior Generals)?

    July 23, 2018 at 12:28 am
    • RCAVictor

      Why is that disturbing, Margaret?

      July 23, 2018 at 1:26 am
  • gabriel syme

    While obviously Bishop Fellay and Fr Schmidberger have a lot to offer, in terms of knowing how Rome operates, and about the personalities who reside there etc, I interpreted these new advisory roles in part as a rebuke to those who claimed the new leadership represented a coup or a stark change of direction.

    In 1998, I was a student but had a summer job working for an international pharmaceutical manufacturer.

    I remember an incident where a tradesman fell out with a member of the operations team. The latter stormed off in a huff, because the former had given his tuppenceworth about how a task should be carried out.

    At the time I was only 20 and these were men in their 50s, so I felt ill at ease to be part of their fall out.

    However, as he walked off the tradesman turned, winked, and said to me:

    “Only a fool refuses advice”.

    And to this day I have remembered that, and I think it is a principle which holds up even if one chooses to disregard advice received (which is of course reasonable).

    Genuine advice is born of experience and is well meant, so why not listen?

    The advisory roles have obviously been created with the blessing of Superior General Fr Pagliarani – and so let us not fret over them.

    No one is bound by advice; it is simply a perspective born of experience which one may choose to heed or not.

    July 23, 2018 at 12:45 am
    • Lily

      Gabriel Syme,

      I think it’s one thing to listen to advice but another to feel obliged to take that advice and if your advice is coming from people who previously held your job, especially a bishop, I think there might be some pressure there. I think it would have been wiser to keep the previous superiors in the background as advisers to get the best of both worlds.

      July 23, 2018 at 9:50 am
      • gabriel syme


        I don’t think Fr Pagliarani would feel pressured by the SSPX Bishops, whom I understand he now outranks in the SSPX structure of Governance. I am sure Fr will want to be “his own man” and his election gives him a clear mandate to be so.

        Plus, I would expect that the advisors will only act as such if their advice is proactively sought.

        Of course, these points are only my personal view – which may be wrong!

        I hope I am not overlooking anything here, but at times I feel as if The Remnant is always determined to see the worst in every situation.

        July 23, 2018 at 10:20 am
      • Lily

        Gabriel Syme,

        I hope you’re right about Fr Pagliarani being his own man but I still think it would be difficult to have advisors who were your predecessors in the post although I may be the one who is wrong about that!

        I’m surprised at your comment about The Remnant which I thought was THE traditionalist publication. Again, I could be wrong about that, LOL!

        July 23, 2018 at 10:53 am
      • gabriel syme


        I’m surprised at your comment about The Remnant

        Don’t get me wrong, it is a good quality publication of course. Perhaps I am reading too much into this one article.

        I would have preferred positive, upbeat coverage of the succesfull SSPX General Chapter as the Society looks to move forward with new leadership in the coming years.

        The Society continues to grow, it has recently opened a massive new seminary in the USA, and the authorities have finally recognised the validity of its ministry (if in a roundabout way).

        There is a lot to be positive about!

        July 23, 2018 at 11:08 am
      • Petrus

        I agree. The bishops of the SSPX exercise no jurisdiction within the Society, so I don’t think Fr Pagliarani will feel pressured. This isn’t the first time there’s been a priest as the Superior General, Fr Schmidberger was Archbishop Lefebvre’s Superior!

        July 24, 2018 at 10:31 pm
      • Lily

        Petrus (and Gabriel Syme)

        I don’t think the issue is about a priest being Superior, but I do have reservations about the previous superiors being advisors. I have just found out that Bishop Williamson also has reservations, so we agree about something, at last, LOL! I copied his comment:

        General Chapter – 1

        “Old leaders, having failed, must get the sack,
        And under no condition be brought back!

        So the latest General Chapter of the Society of St Pius X, the fourth with elections (1982, 1994, 2006 and 2018), came to a close in Écône, Switzerland, last Saturday. The event was followed with interest in many quarters, because for about 40 years from its founding in 1970 the Society emerged as a most important bastion of the Catholic Faith in the wake of the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965), which had in effect officially undermined that Faith. However, over the last 20 years or so the Society had given increasing signs of a change of direction, more in line with the Church’s Conciliar officials, and less in line with its Founder, Archbishop Lefebvre. Which direction would the General Chapter now show the Society to be taking?

        The detailed proceedings of a Chapter are meant to remain private, like those of the election of a Pope, but at the end of the Chapter emerged public words and actions. The words were the Chapter’s official Declaration of policy for the future, which aligned itself on Archbishop Lefebvre’s famous declaration of November of 1974, “in its entirety.” However, as the website Non Possumus has clearly shown by quoting truly in its entirety that declaration of war against the new religion of Vatican II, the Chapter has deliberately chosen to quote only its more peaceful parts. This is not promising for the Society’s continuation of the Archbishop’s holy war against the dreadful apostasy of Vatican II.

        Of course the Archbishop was Catholic first and only as a consequence anti-Conciliar, which is why his declaration of war contains peaceful parts. But how can truth be loved without a hatred of error? Anti-Conciliarism follows immediately and necessarily upon love of Catholicism, which is why hordes of true Catholics came to follow the Society and its Founder who clearly and openly denounced the apostasy of the Church’s officials. Under him, t he seminary in Écône once had well over a hundred seminarians, and crowds of thousands would attend each summer the ordination of a dozen or more new priests. In June of this year an estimated crowd of 450 souls attended the ordination of three new priests from among about 40 seminarians. Catholics are voting with their feet – and closing their wallets – against the Newsociety.

        As for the Chapter’s public actions, which always speak louder than words, these consisted in the election of a new Superior General and two new Assistants. Participants in the Chapter must be congratulated on having deposed the previous General and Assistants, because these had striven for 12 years to change the Society’s direction in order to pursue official recognition from the Roman apostates. The recognition was not obtained, but the Society was seriously weakened and its best priests disoriented. So who did the Chapter choose as rulers in their place? The two new Assistants ha ve been loyal executives of the previous General with his policy of currying favour with Conciliar Rome. For the common good of the Society? But when was there ever a Catholic common good opposed to the Faith? As for the new General, he may not himself know what he means to do as General, because God alone knows for sure what a man will do when he is put in power. Often he will disappoint, because “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely” (Lord Acton) – but he can prove to be surprisingly good. Fr Pagliarani certainly needs our prayers.

        In this respect however, the Chapter’s last public action came like a thunderclap. Just before the Chapter’s close they voted to add to the Society’s governing Council of General and two Assistants another two “Counsellors,” and who did they choose? The Society’s last two Generals, Fr Schmidberger (1982–1994) and Bishop Fellay, who between 1994 when he was first elected and 2018 when he was at last dethroned, was the main architect of the Society’s weakening and decline! Whose doing was it to put Bishop Fellay right back next to the throne, together with his closest collaborator, Fr Schmidberger? What wise Superior wants his predecessor to be hanging around for another 12 years? What did the Chapter think it was doing? In any case, it is not a good sign if the Society is to love truth and hate error.

        Kyrie eleison.

        July 28, 2018 at 7:37 pm
  • Helen

    We’ve also been “warned” about attending non Society Masses and personally, I think it’s daft. The Mass is the Mass after all! Mind you, I do realise that all priests might not be up to scratch with theology, doctrine etc., but at the end of the day one is not obliged to take on board what they say in their sermons. So whilst I wouldn’t go as far as saying the society is becoming a cult, I would say that some of its adherents do display cult like traits. I even heard of one family who wouldn’t attend an Ecclesia Dei TLM because “the priest has compromised his position with the modern Church”! Baloney, I say. Maybe he has, but any TLM is better than none! Anyway, I thought there was only ONE Church!!!

    July 23, 2018 at 11:12 am
    • editor


      I’m in general agreement with you, and I think nothing of attending a non-SSPX Mass – except in the Sacred Heart, Bridgeton, for reasons spelt out in our January, 2017 newsletter, available to download from the Archive section of our Newsletter page on the CT website.

      However, there are concerns about attending some diocesan parishes, for those who are not properly informed or catechised themselves, or who are parents of young children.

      For example, after reading our article about the Bonnie Prince Jesus image in our current (July) newsletter, one woman told me that she had already seen that image on the bulletin board of one of the Summorum Pontificum parishes and it had put her off going back. She was informed enough to know that here was an example of an innovation not remotely in harmony with Catholic Tradition, and so, she concluded, better to avoid the danger of imbibing such novelties. She had the Catholic “sense” to recognise that one, but what, she presumably reflected, if, unknowingly, she imbibed something else, equally averse to Catholic Tradition?

      Parents of young children have said the same, put off on a number of counts, including finding themselves in conversations with people who were far from being traditionally minded in a number of areas. One parent told me that his 10 year old (I think – around about there) son didn’t want to return to a SP Mass because of the distracting servers. He’d never attended any other Mass except the SSPX yet even at that young age, he knew something wasn’t quite right.

      The rot from this crisis is very deep and poisonous. I’m afraid that, while you are right in that “the Mass is the Mass”, the Faith is about MORE than the Mass.

      Having said all of that, I entirely agree with you about the fear of the “schismatic mentality” which definitely does exist within the Society, and which Archbishop Lefebvre himself identified as a very real danger, if the irregular situation continued for too long.

      The answer, it seems to me, is for the Society to prepare the people who attend their chapels for apostolic interaction with other Catholics through more involvement aimed at educating them in the Faith. Avoiding others, as if they are lepers and we are the “true Catholics” benefits no-one, and is to display a schismatic mentality. No true Catholic can be schismatic by mentality or at any other level…

      Anyway, must go – I’ve just realised that the whistle I heard just now isn’t a wolf whistle, after all (darn!) but the kettle calling me for tea. Yes, I know, electric kettles don’t whistle, but gimme a break – a gal’s got to have some poetic licence sometimes, even if it’s only in a blog post 😀

      July 23, 2018 at 3:06 pm
      • RCAVictor


        If that was a wolf, make sure it wasn’t in sheep’s clothing!

        July 23, 2018 at 3:38 pm
      • editor

        RCA Victor,

        Worry not – I’m very careful about wolves and sheep these days…

        July 23, 2018 at 7:56 pm
    • Vianney


      I can’t ever remember being told not to attend non SSPX Masses. In fact, here in Edinburgh on Holy Days of Obligation the SSPX have Mass at 12.30pm and the FSSP at 6.15pm and there is a crossover of parishioners from one to the other if the time in their home chapel doesn’t suit because of work etc.

      July 24, 2018 at 10:58 pm
      • Petrus


        I’ve heard a few comments about it in sermons but never an outright counsel that we shouldn’t attend non-SSPX Masses.

        However, I do understand why a Society priest would warn against that. We do know the Mass is not enough and that some of the priests who celebrate the Traditional Mass are very badly formed and the sermons can be dodgy. The people don’t often know how to behave properly and all the rubbish from the diocese is on display for all to see.

        July 27, 2018 at 11:44 pm
      • Margaret Mary


        The former GB District Superior who left to join the ‘Resistance’, did write in the Society newsletter and preach that we shouldn’t go to indult Masses. We now know that he has the schismatic mentality, so he never really did represent the Society position on this. I remember Bishop Fellay welcoming Summorum Pontificum.

        July 28, 2018 at 12:14 pm
      • Petrus

        Yes, I do remember Bishop Fellay welcoming Summorum Pontificum, but I don’t think the Society would ever encourage the faithful to attend Masses said by diocesan priests.

        I have attended Masses in such parishes, but not very often. I don’t like going to be honest. I’ve seen enough of what still goes on at these Masses to know that they should be avoided.

        July 28, 2018 at 4:16 pm
      • Fidelis


        So, those of us who are nowhere near an SSPX Mass but can get to a parish where the priest says the old Mass, shouldn’t go? If that’s the position of the Society then they definitely are in schism.

        July 28, 2018 at 4:33 pm
      • Fidelis


        After post my earlier comment, I checked the SSPX itself to see what Bishop Fellay actually said and he was very clear about all priests should be free to celebrate the old Mass. If they can offer it, why can’t people attend it? It just doesn’t make any sense. If he thinks only his priests are good enough to say the old Mass, he should say that plainly and not bother trying to get it into parishes.

        July 28, 2018 at 4:51 pm
      • Vianney


        I agree that some priests who celebrate the Traditional Mass are badly formed and many of them were actually trained in Novus Ordo seminaries and usually say both Masses. However, having said that,I don’t think there is much to worry about FSSP Mass in Edinburgh as the priest was trained at Econe and is, apparently, very sound.

        July 29, 2018 at 7:05 pm
  • RCAVictor

    A quick perusal of the comments (41, at this moment) under The Remnant article is a pretty good indicator of the confusion rampant even among traditionalists. In fact, I would go way out on a limb and say that there is less confusion in the Novus Ordo world, where change is greeted with a collective yawn.

    A recurrent theme of The Remnant comments betrays a lack of trust in the SSPX leadership, though it’s hard, in this case, to tell how much of it is from within and how much from without. Apart from these comments, it’s been my experience that this lack of trust is widespread among the laity, and also present to a certain degree among their clergy.

    You would think that the Superiors General, present and past, were (a) nothing but naive rubes who can be easily outfoxed by the wicked, devious men in the Vatican, and of course the usual (b) they’re about to or are in the process of selling out to said wicked men….and yup yup, there goes Tradition!

    One wonders where both parts of this rubbish comes from. Did it originate from Bp. Williamson and his calumnious campaign against Bp. Fellay, or did it pre-date him? Is it because the SSPX chapels are so one-dimensional that people are going astray in their spiritual reading? For example, reading garbage blogs like Louie Verrecchio, Ann Barnhardt or Michael Voris – where everyone is an expert, a back-seat driver and a Monday morning quarterback?

    As I said before, the main task for Fr. Pagliarani, from my own back-seat driving, I admit, is to forcefully address this internal disunity, before the lifeboat becomes a pirate ship.

    July 23, 2018 at 3:37 pm
  • @stark61555 Jeanne, a married Lady in the Tampa Bay St. Petersburg Clearwater Area. FAITH AND DAILY LIFE IN FLORIDA MIX.

    Why do you need Sspx??

    July 23, 2018 at 4:06 pm
    • editor


      Answer is found in this Open Letter – dip into it as soon as possible. If you ever did receive even the minimum of Catholic education, you’ll get it. Like, dynamite…

      July 23, 2018 at 7:58 pm
    • Vianney

      Because we would be up the creek without a paddle without them.

      July 24, 2018 at 11:10 pm
      • @stark61555 Jeanne, a married Lady in the Tampa Bay St. Petersburg Clearwater Area. FAITH AND DAILY LIFE IN FLORIDA MIX.

        Sorry I disagree. Conservatives are the bane of the church

        July 24, 2018 at 11:11 pm
      • editor


        And the rest of the world agrees with you…

        “If the world hates you, know that it hated Me, first”
        (John 15:18)

        Just a thought… 😀

        July 24, 2018 at 11:30 pm
      • @stark61555 Jeanne, a married Lady in the Tampa Bay St. Petersburg Clearwater Area. FAITH AND DAILY LIFE IN FLORIDA MIX.

        July 26 the feast of Saint Anne’s is my 55th birthday! I have been married for 20 years!

        Editor: Happy birthday and happy wedding anniversary when it comes!

        July 26, 2018 at 4:02 pm
  • @stark61555 Jeanne, a married Lady in the Tampa Bay St. Petersburg Clearwater Area. FAITH AND DAILY LIFE IN FLORIDA MIX.

    Sounds like a cult to me

    July 23, 2018 at 4:06 pm
    • editor


      Well, something is wrong with your hearing… In fact, the answer to the charge that the SSPX is a cult, is the very same answer the AA give when they’re accused of being a cult… 😀

      July 23, 2018 at 8:04 pm
      • @stark61555 Jeanne, a married Lady in the Tampa Bay St. Petersburg Clearwater Area. FAITH AND DAILY LIFE IN FLORIDA MIX.

        Sorry my American brain says they are a cult

        Editor: as a Scot, with friends on this here blog who are Americans, I am resisting responding to what your brain says about the SSPX… Except to say that you are well out of step with the Pope who intervened when the Argentine government refused the Society priests passports; the Pope described them as “true Catholics” and they had their passports before you could say “I’m outa here!”

        July 24, 2018 at 6:20 pm
      • Vianney

        “Sorry my American brain says they are a cult”

        There really is no (charitable) answer to that.

        July 24, 2018 at 10:52 pm
  • Deacon Augustine

    I know nothing of the internal politics of the SSPX, but I do know something of the politics of Rome which has always involved the doctrine “divide & conquer.” Even now that Rome is in the hands of the most deviant modernists in history, they are still fully aware that the maintenance of at least the appearance of a faux unity presents a great rock in the stormy oceans which smaller vessels venture near at their peril.

    As the “Catholic” press universally heralded the change in leadership of the SSPX as a change in direction, and evidence of deep splits within the society, I think the announcement of the additional advisers to the new superior gives the message to the Church and the world that there is a unity across the society, and the divisions which have been postulated are not as deep or serious as many have speculated.

    There are many who would love to see the SSPX divided and fragmented, not least their enemies in Rome, but these appointments bespeak a continuity despite the change. Rome may resemble the idolatrous whore of Babylon at the moment, but that won’t always be the case, and the SSPX will need to be ready to talk again when the time is right.

    July 23, 2018 at 10:16 pm
    • RCAVictor

      Deacon Augustine,

      I agree with you about the message of unity (or perhaps, continuity) offered by these appointments, but I’m not so sure about the degree of internal, behind-the-scenes unity.

      An observation from my almost 8 years’ experience in an SSPX chapel: there is little or no spiritual unity among the faithful, only a certain degree of social unity (among those who have social skills). But last I checked, one does not get to heaven by socializing….

      As for unity among the priests, that is harder to gauge, but I will say that the seemingly chronic trickle of defections to the “Resistance” is really not such a surprise, given that those priests are merely moving from a moderate schismatic mentality to an acutely bitter one.

      July 23, 2018 at 11:17 pm
      • editor

        RCA Victor,

        I won’t be drawn on the detail, but I envy your experience of “social unity” among the SSPX faithful where you attend…

        As I say, though, however tempting, I won’t be drawn on the detail, although I will admit to having extremely uncharitable thoughts about certain of them on occasion – mea culpa! 😀

        July 24, 2018 at 12:30 am
      • RCAVictor

        Naughty Editor – I said social-izing, not frat-ernizing….

        July 24, 2018 at 2:13 pm
  • RCAVictor

    Here’s a new CFN article featuring interviews with the SSPX’s new First and Second Assistants. I note that the Chapter’s concluding statement reaffirms that “the heart of the mission of the SSPX [is] to form priests for the Traditional Mass, the Mass of All Times…”

    Memo to the General Chapter and the new Superior General: the priest has 3 duties, namely, to sanctify, to teach and to govern. This reaffirmation confirms my experience with the Society: they get a passing grade on sanctifying (not taking into consideration the oft-repeated judgement that their administration of the sacraments is valid but illicit – a judgement which is beyond my salary grade), a borderline pass/fail on teaching (which they leave, largely, to their very good printed resources, while from the pulpit we hear sermons that are not exactly what I would call trenchant), and a miserable fail on governing.

    July 24, 2018 at 2:50 pm
    • Josephine

      RCA Victor,

      I have to say that on those occasions when I’ve attended an SSPX chapel, I’ve not noticed anything particularly different about the sermons. I really haven’t.

      I expected to hear strong corrections of what is going on in society that the priests and bishops in the “mainstream” are not mentioning, but no. I’ve heard sermons about saints and sometimes about the gospel of the day, but nothing that makes me want to jump up and go out and save the world!

      One example that has taken up the previous two blog spots on here, is the LGBT dominance in the world. I don’t think I’ve ever heard it mentioned in an SSPX sermon. That might be due to delicacy, of course but I think we’re past that now. Kids are hearing about this in the school playground, on TV and just about everywhere else and if they’re not hearing it yet they soon will be, so they need a corrective influence in their lives and that should be the sermons at church.

      Maybe I’ve just been unfortunate and these things do get preached about, if so, sorry.

      I don’t think it’s possible to form priests just to offer the Mass, important though that is. Priests are supposed to prepare souls for eternity and we won’t make it there if we are not doing more than receiving the Sacraments.

      July 24, 2018 at 3:02 pm
      • RCAVictor


        I don’t think you need to be apologetic about noting this deficiency, since it is the duty of the priest to expose and correct the falsehoods of the world, large and small, and to fortify us against them with Catholic truths.

        One major indicator of this one-dimensional preservation of Tradition is the name they give to many of their chapels: “Mass Centers.”

        July 24, 2018 at 4:00 pm
      • Josephine

        RCA Victor,

        In the UK I don’t think they call them Mass centers but chapels. I just put down the sermons to trying to preach as they did before Vatican II and sort of pretend it’s not happened, but that’s not possible, IMHO.

        In actual fact, before the Council priests did preach in warning style, about dangers in the world, such as impure conversations etc. We did have specifics in sermons, which I found helpful as a young working woman, I must say. It made it a bit easier to go against the crowd.

        July 24, 2018 at 4:22 pm
      • Vianney


        I think some people do talk about Mass Centres but that is a hang over from the days when Mass was celebrated in halls. Regarding “chapels,” when I spoke about “the chapel” to one priest he said “it’s not a chapel it’s a church.” I had to point out that in Scotland a Catholic church is usually always called a chapel regardless of whether it seats 20 people or 2,000.

        July 24, 2018 at 11:07 pm
  • RCAVictor

    My initial reaction to The Remnant article was that it was a tempest in a teapot, and since The Remnant seems to be opposed to any SSPX deal with Rome under the current pontificate, the article was also an echo of the constant hand-wringing and self-righteous posturing that seems to be rampant among the SSPX laity in the US District. A typical statement: “If Bishop Fellay agrees to regularization, esp. with this Pope, I’m outta here!”

    July 24, 2018 at 11:53 pm
    • editor

      RCA Victor,

      I completely agree with your sentiment, that it is a very shallow mindset that sees “regularisation” a “danger” under this (or any other) pontificate. Indeed, the Catholic mindset must be to work for regularisation under any pontificate – and, the worse, the more urgent the need to regularise.

      It’s like someone with a serious illness refusing the help of a doctor – preferring to wait until he feels better! Crackers!

      Personally, frankly, I believe that there ARE some people within the Society, priests and laity alike, who quite like this current, irregular situation, for all sorts of reasons, and are in no hurry to return to normality. “Schismatic mentality” writ large.

      July 25, 2018 at 10:01 am
      • RCAVictor


        While it seems highly unlikely (understatement of the year) that regularization negotiations will resume under this pontificate, which has now buried itself in sexual and financial scandals, in addition to the doctrinal scandals it has already spawned, I hope the new SG takes advantage of this to get his own house in order, get everyone facing in the same direction, and give the boot to those who refuse to obey.

        If I were he (I have to pretend, since I am well aware that SSPX clergy pay little or no attention to the laity’s concerns, so I’m probably wasting my breath), I would address the following internal issues post haste:

        1. The schismatic mentality and contempt for the modern Church, which is akin to holding Our Lord in contempt because Judas betrayed Him. Where is the acknowledgment that the state of the modern Church is our chastisement?
        2. Institute a fully three-dimensional formation of priests, who can not only sanctify, but also teach and govern. Their one-dimensional formation is not working very well….sort of like reducing The Holy Trinity to The Father.
        3. If the Society cannot do #2 because of various constraints, then at least institute an order of catechists who will teach. As I’ve already said, the SSPX has excellent printed resources, but you cannot ask the laity to read them and just leave them to their own devices and conclusions. The result of that omission, as is being fully demonstrated in the US District, is laity forming erroneous ideas, invariably cherry-picking them, like the sedevacantists, to attack the Church (see: schismatic mentality), and in effect make up their own religion. In short, teach what you print!

        July 25, 2018 at 3:02 pm
      • Laura

        RCA Victor,

        I am becoming more and more convinced that the only way to resolve the SSPX situation is the same thing that will resolve the rest of the crisis in the Church – Fatima.

        We really need to pray and strive for the consecration of Russia and the release of the Third Secret, because only when these things happen, will the faith be restored again.

        July 25, 2018 at 4:12 pm
      • RCAVictor



        July 25, 2018 at 8:44 pm
      • RCAVictor


        However, here’s the current obstacle to the Consecration of Russia:

        Especially the last paragraph….

        July 25, 2018 at 10:13 pm
  • crofterlady

    I agree, Laura, it’s the only answer and I cannot for the life of me see what’s stopping the Pope from doing so. Perhaps he doesn’t believe it himself?!
    When one sees the way faithful priests like Fr. Morris are persecuted, one realises that there is a complete lack of faith abroad.

    July 25, 2018 at 7:41 pm
  • Rod George

    Please read the final statement of the General Chapter of the SSPX dated 21.07.2018. This is a mission statement which fully accords with the declaration which Archbishop Lefebvre issued in November1974.

    July 26, 2018 at 10:30 am
    • Josephine

      I wish people would put the links on when they suggest reading something. I’ve searched for the final statement of the General chapter of the SSPX and here it is

      Nothing new, that I can see.

      July 26, 2018 at 11:48 am
      • editor


        Nor me.

        July 26, 2018 at 7:53 pm
      • RCAVictor

        “The Priestly Society of Saint Pius X intends to pursue its principal purpose, which is the priesthood as Our Lord Jesus Christ instituted it, and always to keep the priesthood focused on its very reason for existing: the holy sacrifice of the Mass.”

        Once again, indicating the one-dimensional presentation of the Faith and one-dimensional conception of the priesthood. What about teaching and governing? Oh:

        “…the Priestly Society of Saint Pius X, through its preaching and apostolate, proclaims Our Lord Jesus Christ’s dominion over all men and all nations…”

        Sounds good on paper, but the reality is that their preaching, in my experience, is mostly rather dull, repetitive and uninspired. Which still leaves governance…

        I guess I should just stop kicking against the goad.

        July 27, 2018 at 6:47 pm
      • editor

        RCA Victor,

        I’m with you. I’d like to hear more practical sermons – like this one…–sermon-illustrations-bible-humor.jpg

        July 27, 2018 at 11:13 pm
      • Margaret Mary


        LOL! That looks like a sermon that is a bit TOO practical, LOL!

        July 28, 2018 at 12:15 pm
      • editor


        Well, the joke is great, but, seriously, I, for one, would like to hear practical sermons which – without, of course, naming anyone – did actually deal with real life. The idea that everyone who attends a traditional Mass and/or SSPX chapel is a real-life, dyed in the wool Catholic who knows the Faith inside out and lives it to the full, is for the birds.

        The fact is, there are supposedly ‘traditional’ Catholics who are nothing but out and out troublemakers, and wouldn’t know a charitable thought if it came up, wrapped in liturgical purple, and smacked them on the mouth.

        So, I am keen to hear a hard-hitting sermon on the need to treat others as we wish to be treated ourselves… and the closer it gets to that joke cartoon, the better, as far as I’m concerned!

        July 28, 2018 at 11:57 pm
  • RCAVictor

    For those hungry for good sermons, I recommend this site:

    As well as this:

    Some of the sermons in the second site are by F.r David Rodriguez, the persecuted traditional priest in Texas.

    July 29, 2018 at 6:55 pm
    • editor

      RCA Victor,

      Will listen to those later but I’ve just popped in to say that our sermon this morning was excellent. I can’t hear every word, the sound system isn’t exactly state of the art and the priest sometimes drops his voice but what I COULD hear made me think… “Well, I hope they’re all paying attention to this gem of a sermon…WOW! Do they need to hear this!

      July 29, 2018 at 7:14 pm
      • RCAVictor

        So uh, what was it about?

        July 29, 2018 at 10:04 pm
      • Petrus

        RCA Victor,

        The prior spoke of the Pharisee and the Publican, saying we shouldn’t be fooled into thinking the Pharisee is bad and the Publican good. Certainly the Pharisee’s actions were good, but his lack of humility was the problem. With the Publican, he was a public sinner but his humility was to be admired. The proper understanding of the story gospel is that we should, of course, keep the Commandments but we should always remember that we are reliant on the grace of God.

        However, he then went on to say that there is a tendency to be like the Pharisee in a Traditional parish. There are too many busybodies sticking their nose into other people’s business and correcting others. He said this is the start of a slippery slope that will ultimately lead to those busy bodies judging others.

        July 30, 2018 at 8:22 am
      • RCAVictor


        Thanks, I missed your reply at first. It’s been my experience, which includes Protestant, Novus Ordo and traditional churches, that no matter where you worship, religion brings out the worst in people, as well as the best. I wish I knew why that is so…..maybe they should put huge mirrors in the vestibules, to remind people where they should look first regarding faults.

        July 31, 2018 at 11:09 pm
      • editor

        RCA Victor,

        Odd you should mention mirrors, I always used to wish I could get a job cleaning mirrors – It was just something I really could see myself doing…

        July 31, 2018 at 11:29 pm
      • RCAVictor


        I put some tape on all the mirrors in my house, because I kept trying to walk through them into another dimension….

        July 31, 2018 at 11:31 pm
      • editor

        RCA Victor,

        I did miss you…

        July 31, 2018 at 11:32 pm
  • Marcel

    I find this fascinating but have trouble understand it all. Where is Athanaisus? He knows a lot of the history and internal workings of the SSPX???

    July 29, 2018 at 10:05 pm
    • editor


      You are not the only person to enquire about Athanasius. A number of people have enquired. I select one, typical enquiry, as illustration here: Email from blogger in England received in April:

      It is a while since Athanasius contributed to the blog and I just wondered if all is well with him? I thought he might have gone on a Lenten retreat or some such but he has not surfaced. Not being nosy, just concerned and I miss his posts!

      I replied to her at that time, that I would prefer not to explain since, frankly, the reason for his absence does not put him in a good light. Far from it. However, she emailed again recently, July 23rd ” And Athanasius? Has he given up the blog for good? I miss his scholarly contributions!”

      I felt justified in replying to explain at this point. I won’t publish her reply. Suffice to say, she’s not quite so interested in his “scholarly contributions” any more.

      I am outlining the situation here for two reasons: (1) to deter people from enquiring about his absence on the blog (2) to ask interested parties to email me on [email protected] if they really want to know the reason, although I don’t encourage that. I will explain, giving the reason he has given me, and leave it at that.

      And may I take this opportunity to thank all those who have persevered in our humble apostolate. The time and effort you put into blogging here is greatly appreciated, not simply by the rest of the bloggers, but by all those who read it and who tell me how much they learn and re-discover about the Faith, through the commentary here.

      July 30, 2018 at 8:43 am
  • RCAVictor

    How about this!

    July 31, 2018 at 11:02 pm
    • editor

      RCA Victor,

      WOW! Your President has more insight that the majority of Catholics.

      July 31, 2018 at 11:30 pm
  • editor

    N O T I C E . . . Amended…

    I’ve just received an email from a lady who enquired with Glasgow Subway about travelling into Glasgow city centre for Mass at the SSPX chapel on the two Sundays when they are holding a daft cycling race. Glasgow Subway said they will be open from this Sunday.

    August 1, 2018 at 2:10 pm

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