SSPX Puzzling Response to Abuse Crisis

SSPX Puzzling Response to Abuse Crisis

From The Remnant

On September 15, an article quietly appeared on the Society of St. Pius X website which acknowledged, for the first time, what some are calling the Scandal of the Century—new and devastating revelations of the full extent of the clerical sex crisis which has been rocking the Church for decades.

Though this article commented in depth on the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report, oddly enough it makes no mention of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò’s bombshell 11-page testimony which in many ways stole the thunder of the Pennsylvania report, and I can’t figure out why they omitted this.

On the Vatican’s reaction to the revelations in Pennsylvania, the Society report quotes Greg Burke’s defense of Francis, claiming that, “Victims should know that the Pope is on their side.”

To my knowledge, the author of this Society brief is among only a handful who still take the affidavits and assurances of the Vatican’s damage control agent, Greg Burke, at all seriously.

The Society report is useful since it collates the reactions of others to this biggest crisis since the promulgation of the New Mass. For example, it mentions that “in the US, over 140 theologians, educators and lay directors called for all the American bishops to resign” in an open letter of provocation. But then it also highlights Pope Francis’ (the “Sovereign Pontiff”) words in his Letter to the People of God:

“In his letter, the successor of Peter considered that one of the sources of these ‘ecclesial wounds’ is a ‘peculiar way of understanding the Church’s authority.’ ‘Clericalism’, he accused, ‘supports and helps to perpetuate many of the evils that we are condemning today,’ such as ‘the thirst for power and possessions’ and spiritual corruption.’” (Whether or not the SSPX concurs with this papal diversionary tactic is not obvious to the reader.)
The report moves on into the general reaction to the Pope’s letter, citing the issues raised by journalist Aldo Maria Valli, LifeSiteNews,, and Carlos Esteban, a Spanish journalist. But the report does not here add any of its own critique, which I find frustrating since the Society should be in a position to hold a hard line on this. Confusion and ambiguity are tools of the Vatican. Let’s not do that.

In the final section, entitled: The Hypocrisy of the World and the Statistical Reality, the Society report states: “The fact that men invested with the priestly dignity could have committed such acts is indeed a shame.” And then moves on to suggest that much of this is the work of anti-Catholic media:

“The media attacks the Church furiously while pretending to forget that these cases, as scandalous as they may be, are only a tiny minority compared to the abuse committed by adults on children in schools, sports activities, or stepfamilies, not to mention the shady circles of fashion, the show business and the media.”

The report then lists stats which appear to show a higher number of abuse cases in families and among peers than those which originate from priests and religious. No doubt, this may be the case. But what is the Society report getting at?

To my thinking, for even just one Catholic priest to abuse a child or engage in homosexual acts is infinitely worse than for a hundred pagans who don’t know better to do something similar. And the fact that so many dioceses have lost lawsuits and had to pay out millions of dollars is itself proof that this problem cannot be dismissed as mostly the concoction of Catholic-bashing media.  Click here to read entire Remnant article…


Since the SSPX holds claim to being the “lifeboat” sent by God to see us through this horrendous time of crisis and scandal, surely the Society Superiors, bishops and priests should be right at the forefront of exposing and correcting everything to do with this crisis? Providing the Traditional Latin Mass and sacraments is crucially important, of course, but nobody, absolutely nobody can remain silent – or appear to makes excuses for – any aspect of this crisis, least of all the homosexual activities of priests, including the sexual abuse of children and young people.  I’m afraid my own first thoughts on reading the above Remnant report was not just “too little, too late” but “not remotely enough, and FAR too late.”

Or am I over-stating the case?  Is the Society right to have maintained silence, and remain non-confrontational in the face of the increasing horror at the questions being raised about Pope Francis’ response(s)  to abuse cases – what he knew, what actions he took/did not take, denials, etc.  Surely Catholics have a right to expect a tad more in the way of leadership from the Society, if it really is a Heaven-sent “lifeboat”?   Surely, certainly for anyone wielding moral authority,  it is itself a form of abuse to fail to call to account all concerned – and that publicly.   Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. (Ephesians 5:11)  

Comments (78)

  • gabriel syme

    I do not know what to make of all this. I have only been going to the SSPX for ~6 years so do not have the longer term experience of others, to compare “then and now”.

    I would say that, since the SSPX website have (fairly recently), all taken on the same format etc, they perhaps seem more genial / less combatative in tone. I presume this is due to them all being controlled by the same webmaster (?) and thus reflect his/her personal manner?

    I have also seen attempts (from SSPX sources) to stress that we are “catholics” not “traditional catholics”. I think that is fair enough, labels can be divisive and I think this is an effort to stress unity with the wider Church, perhaps in response to the latest concessions from the Roman authorities.

    In the UK district, where I live, I think we have good and hard working priests. Between driving considerable distances between Churches, saying mass and meeting their other duties (like the breviary etc) I think they must have little time for anything else and must be tired often.

    As for the quality of sermons: just like in any walk of life, people have different talents. I am sure not every priest is a talented wordsmith, but equally I am sure they all do their best. At mass I hear exhortations and challenges – to pray the rosary, to go to confession, to gain indulgences, to generally “do more” in my spiritual life – and explanations / examples from the life of Our Lord and His saints. To my mind, raised on banal novus ordo fodder, this is great.

    In the early / mid part of the current Pontificate (so far) , it was common to hear Bishop Fellay talking about his the Society was “no longer alone”. This is in terms of identifying problems and speaking out in the Church. This is true and there has been an undoubted shift in the Church, in this regard. More people are sympathetic to the SSPX and sceptical of the ‘establishment’.

    Rather than trying to dominate the news itself, I suspect that the Society is allowing ‘mainstream’ clerics and outlets to take the lead at present. I think there are two reasons for this:

    (i) if the Society was the sole critic, Francis’ sycophants – Ivereigh, Faggoli etc – would find it all too easy to frame the current turbulence as “Francis v the schismatics”. Ignore these people, they would say, they behaved the same towards JP2 etc. And many ill informed people would no doubt buy into that.

    (ii) If the mainstream Church is making (at least some of the) running, then this represents a “waking up” process. This criticism cannot be easily dismissed by decrying the character of those making the criticism.

    I think the SSPX is “sitting pretty” at the minute: Rome has finally given in and conceded that the Society dispense all sacraments validly and former critics are now waking up to find the Society has been right all along. Both these things are, ironically, thanks to Francis.

    Remember also that a new Superior General, Fr Pagliarani, has recently been elected and will obviously need time to grow into his new role and “get up to speed”.

    September 25, 2018 at 8:47 am
    • editor

      Gabriel Syme,

      You are right about the possible motive behind the SSPX silence over the current scandals; there was a statement from the SSPX to the effect, (at the time of the Dubia), that it was better that the “mainstream” prelates were seen to act, but even then I wasn’t in agreement. It reminded me of a former leader of Una Voce who explained his tolerance of the Bishops over their unwillingness to allow the old Mass, by saying that when he wore his Latin Mass “hat” he would fare better if, when he wore his OTHER “hats”, he was seen to be cooperative etc. Excuses, excuses. Our elementary duty to defend the Faith cannot be adjusted to suit our social situation or preferences. There IS no “day off from being a Catholic” hat.

      I see the argument that any input from the SSPX might lead to cries of “see, schismatics, who cares?” but the opposite is happening as more and more people are asking “where is the SSPX in all of this? Are they content to have their Masses and live in their ghetto?”

      Anyway, I do agree that we are blessed with sound priests here in Scotland, in the sense that they do travel a lot to give us the Sacraments and our new prior, I have to admit, has instructed me to tell him of any public rosaries etc that we organise as he would like to join us, and our other priest has thanked Catholic Truth for encouraging people to attend the Society chapels – he actually pointed out, a good while ago now, that most of the newcomers to whom he had spoken after Mass, had told him they came via Catholic Truth and that pleased him, so there is much for which to be thankful in our neck of the woods. We just don’t get the thundering “Get out and convert the world” sermons that I was used to hearing in my youth and, as everyone here knows, I’m forever trying to recapture my youth. I’ve even been known to go on a Scottish Slimmers food plan, in the attempt!

      September 25, 2018 at 12:24 pm
    • RCAVictor

      Gabriel Syme,

      I think your hypotheses regarding the (near-total) SSPX silence are reasonable, but I’m not sure that lets them off the hook, especially since Francis and his sycophants have their hands full of scandal and criticism just from mainstream sources…and their hands are getting fuller by the day.

      There is a current of thought within the Society – not universal, but quite strong – to the effect that they should just ride out the storm and pay little or no attention to modernist Rome, until we either get a faithful Pope, or until the VII House of Cards simply collapses.

      As for the uniform website format, they operate the same way my former Federal agency does: they have local webmasters, with varying skill levels, but everyone uses the same template, supplied by HQ.

      September 29, 2018 at 11:52 pm
  • crofterlady September 25, 2018 at 1:58 pm
    • Elizabeth

      This almost beggars belief! It is no wonder that Ireland has fallen by the wayside with clergy such as this. Please dear Lord do something to bring an end to these outrages.

      September 25, 2018 at 3:11 pm
  • crofterlady

    But where, oh where, did it all begin? I remember very manly priests from about 20 years ago. What happened?

    September 25, 2018 at 4:33 pm
  • RCAVictor September 28, 2018 at 11:29 pm
    • editor

      RCA Victor,

      Unfortunately, this second SSPX priest also invokes the unapproved Lady of Akita at the end of his letter, much of which is very good. I didn’t read the whole thing since the extracts took up the entire page, so the letter itself must be exceptionally lengthy. Not a sensible strategy. Although we have taken to publishing lengthier articles and reports, our initial policy (to which we do try to adhere as best we can) was to keep our reports short and to the point. The attention span of most people these days is more suited to “short and to the point” than lengthy and comprehensive.

      Having said that, and with the exception of the concluding paragraph with mention of “Akita”, the extracts are very good indeed.

      For the record, we, at one time, promoted Akita, and – in fact – posted a thread in 2016 entitled Akita Confirms Fatima. Wrong. I posted a video promoting Akita, for which I later had to apologise because I hadn’t watched it myself. I had been so convinced that Akita had been approved, that I didn’t see the need and planned to watch it during the discussion. Anyway, blogger, Athanasius watched it carefully and he posted the following comment which completely changed my mind on the subject, although I am not convinced that Athanasius is correct in his claim that the part of the Third Secret, not yet fully revealed, refers to an exclusively spiritual chastisement. That remains to be seen!


      I watched the introductory video for this thread and I have to say that a few things left me a little concerned about Akita.

      The first of these was Sister Agnes’ twin reference to an accompanying angel in prayer as “she” [Ed: that, in itself, is enough for me to dismiss Akita] I have never heard of an angel being referred to as “she”. The other thing that struck me was how modernist the chapel and nuns look, and how unbecoming the image of Our Lady is. There was no hint of a restoration of Tradition there, as I would have expected given the warnings of Our Lady about the apostasy taking place in the Church. It’s almost as if the post-conciliar reform is not seen as the [principal] cause of this apostasy.

      Fatima indicates the truth of things in the opening line of the text of the Third Secret: “In Portugal the dogmas of the Faith will be preserved…etc.”, indicating that the chastisement is primarily spiritual in nature. Akita mentions apostasy but seems to focus more on a terrible material chastisement of the world by God, to the extent that few will be left and the living will envy the dead. This seems at odds with Our Lady’s Fatima promise that in the end her Immaculate Heart will triumph and a time of peace will be granted to the world. I’m not saying that a Third World War will not happen when there is every likelihood at this time that such a catastrophe may well happen soon. But even if that comes about, the punishment of wars and other natural disasters belongs properly to the Second part of the Fatima Secret, not the Third part. The Third Secret of Fatima is exclusively a supernatural chastisement afflicting the Church and the world, there is no WWIII in there.

      The fall of many consecrated Catholic souls and billions of other souls worldwide, the result of the present universal apostasy from God, is by far a greater chastisement than any mere material annihilation. So why is emphasis placed more on material rather than spiritual loss at Akita? I was also a bit concerned by the claim that if the sins of men continue there will be no more forgiveness. But isn’t God infinitely merciful, always desiring to forgive?

      Other things that made me a little uncomfortable were

      1. The local Ordinary’s apparent believe in the apparitions before his investigation even began. Bishops normally start out with the opposite view.

      2. The three different blood groups identified by scientists from three separate examinations of the tears.

      3. The mark of the Cross appearing on only one hand of Sister Agnes, the left hand. This is not the usual manifestation of the stigmata.

      4. Sister Agnes said at one point that people should pay less attention to the “form” of prayers and concentrate more on content. Content is of course very important, but the form of our Catholic prayers is also essential. We all see the bitter fruits of changes to the form of the sacred liturgy, the Church’s highest and most perfect prayer, the Sacrifice of Our Lord. There were one or two other anomalies that I’ll pass on right now.

      Suffice it to say I have been left very uncertain about Akita. The people interviewed, including Sister Agnes, seemed sincere enough, and nothing was said that was obviously contradictory of Catholic doctrine, yet I have problems believing it. I have no such problems with Fatima and Quito, but Akita troubles me. I think the Vatican should investigate Akita and give a definitive decision on it. ENDS. Source – Akita Confirms Fatima

      It might be worth sending Athanasius’ comment to the SSPX clergy who seem to always include Akita in their list of apparitions (with the exception of Father Purdy in his excellent talk, I’m pleased to say).

      September 29, 2018 at 10:00 am
      • Athanasius


        While I’m sure the priest in question genuinely believes the Akita message, it may be that he hasn’t actually studied it closely. You mentioned having done this yourself, taking the message on good faith and with the apparent approval of the Church. I should point out here in addition that I am very wary of the LaSalette message as well.

        I hear many SSPX priests quote LaSalette as well as Akita, almost as if any message declaring a world calamity is automatically appealing as a way of trying to frighten people into conversion. But there are many open questions about LaSalette, questions about the message, the seers and the description of Our Lady sitting down with her head in her hands weeping. This is quite unlike any authentic descriptions of Our Lady (calm and majestic) that we know of.

        Garabandal is another such reported apparition of Our Lady that many priests quote with belief. But children running backwards down a hill while the Blessed Sacrament flies towards their mouths doesn’t float my boat as an authentic heavenly experience. Sounds more demonic to me. That’s why I stick entirely to fully approved and acknowledged heavenly apparitions and avoid the controversial ones.

        These are dangerous and deceptive times when the devil appears disguised as an angel of light. Just look at Medjugorje.

        September 30, 2018 at 6:01 pm
      • Athanasius

        Forgot to say that my reason for believing that the Third Secret of Fatima relates a spiritual rather than material chastisement is that Sister Lucy, Fr. Malachi Martin (who saw the Secret) and Brother Michael of the Trinity (in his excellent volumes) all indicate that the chastisement spoken of in the Third Secret is entirely spiritual in nature, much more to be feared than any material suffering since it is eternal. The Second Secret treated of world wars and does not exclude a third one, but that’s not the basis of the Third Secret.

        September 30, 2018 at 6:05 pm
      • Lily


        In the Father Fuentes interview of 1957, which is one of the very few reliable sources for Fatima, Sister Lucia said this:

        “Father, that is why my mission is not to indicate to the world the material punishments which are certain to come if the world does not pray and do penance beforehand. No, my mission is to indicate to everyone the imminent danger we are in of losing our souls for all eternity if we remain obstinate in sin.”

        So, I think she is saying that it is her mission to warn of the loss of souls, above all else, but she is not ruling out material or physical chastisement. At least, that’s my reading of that statement.

        September 30, 2018 at 7:16 pm
      • Athanasius


        Yes, it has always been said that sin brings its own material as well as spiritual punishments, which I think Sister Lucy was referring to in this case. At any rate, we know serious consequences will yet come, both material and spiritual, but the greatest of those consequences by far will be the spiritual ones. Some have concentrated too much on the material side to the detriment of the spiritual side.

        September 30, 2018 at 8:21 pm
      • editor


        Yes, I’m sure the priest genuinely believes the Akita message, which, as you rightly point out, and I acknowledged above, I did myself (until YOU highlighted some problems with it, for which, much gratitude). I can be quite guilty of becoming impatient with others who don’t “keep up”! Terrible, considering how long it took me to return, for example, to regular attendance at the old Mass. Now I get annoyed with other Catholics who don’t just jump to attention when I’m encouraging them to do the same. That’s a real weakness in me, but, be assured, I do understand that the priest means well.

        We’ve also discussed La Salette before and I’ve never been drawn to it, but there has bee some confusion about its status because of an apparent approval by the bishop, which was then withdrawn or something like that. Westminster Fly is our in-house expert on private revelations so I hope he’ll see this and remind us of the reason why so many people continue to adhere to La Salette.

        In any event, I don’t think we need anything except Quito and Fatima. Those are the key apparitions which apply to our times, and this crisis.

        September 30, 2018 at 9:16 pm
      • Athanasius


        You’re absolutely correct. The messages of Fatima and Quito are quite sufficient in themselves to inform all Catholics of the present crisis and what is required of them to help bring about its end.

        September 30, 2018 at 10:26 pm
  • crofterlady

    Better late than ever!!!

    Letter from US District Superior Fr. Wegner
    View this email in your browser

    Letter from US District Superior Fr. Wegner on Testimony of Archbishop Viganò

    September 29, 2018

    Dear faithful,

    I write to you with a heavy heart. Over the past several months, new revelations of sexual abuse and coverups have been reported by ecclesiastical, legal, and media sources the world over. The resignation of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick over credible allegations he abused minors and seminarians for decades was soon followed by the stunning testimony of Archbishop Carlo Viganò which implicates the Holy Father himself in covering-up McCarrick’s unspeakable crimes. Additionally, judicial and independent inquiries continue to turn-up further evidence that the sex-abuse crisis which rocked the Catholic Church over a decade ago is far from over.

    It is against this sorrowful backdrop that I wish to reiterate that the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) takes any and all reports of illicit and illegal behavior on the part of its clergy, religious, employees and volunteers with utmost seriousness. Every report is submitted to a thoroughgoing investigation by the appropriate authorities within the Society and full cooperation is given to all law enforcement and official investigative agencies concerned, particularly when reports involve minor children. Moreover, any priest or religious of the SSPX found guilty of immorality is subject to sanctions under canon law, including removal from active ministry and laicization.

    In an effort to forestall the spread of sin within its ranks, the SSPX abides by the Church’s longstanding and prudent prohibition on admitting men harboring same-sex or other unnatural sexual attractions to any of its seminaries, including St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary in Virginia. If, after admission to either seminary or holy orders, credible evidence is found of immoral inclinations or acts by an individual, said individual is immediately expelled from the seminary and/or the Society. And, if the evidence warrants, the matter is immediately referred to the ecclesiastical and secular authorities.

    I understand that in this time of confusion and crisis, there is a temptation to look for easy answers and a simple causal chain to explain away the corruption in the Church. Be careful. While we cannot discount the adverse effect the Second Vatican Council and its aftermath has had on the Mystical Body of Christ, I fear that the roots of the sexual-abuse crisis run much deeper. For now, we must do everything we can to uphold the tenets of divine and natural law in our daily lives while working to re-spread the Gospel in a world that has forgotten that what it needs most above all is God.

    I ask that you beseech the Queen of Heaven, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and all of the saints, especially St. Michael the Archangel, in lending us here below the spiritual assistance we need to weather this storm. Pray, too, for the priests, religious, and seminarians of the SSPX, along with those charged with their formation. Pray that we have the wisdom and discernment to form holy clerics dedicated to serving Jesus Christ through the administration of the traditional sacramental rites and the promulgation of sound catechesis.

    With blessings in the Lord,

    Fr. Jürgen Wegner

    September 30, 2018 at 3:48 pm

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