The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter – A Pseudo-Traditional Clerical Society

This website contains quite a few posts on the SSPX.  Naturally this would be the case because we’ve spent many years attending Masses celebrated by its priests and have often defended the SSPX against the attacks of those in the conciliar church.  When the SSPX abandoned the principles of its founder in July 2012, we were heartbroken.  Sentiment, however, cannot be the driver of our decisions.  Those who adhere to truth know that they must make the right decision and that is to speak out against the new direction and not go along with it.  This is what the writers on this website have done.  We now consider the SSPX to be in the same class as the other pseudo-Traditional communities such as the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP).  This being the case, I thought it would now be opportune to speak about the FSSP itself.

 

The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter was founded by a group of priests who separated from the Society of St. Pius X after Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre consecrated four priests to the episcopacy on June 30, 1988.  It was erected as a clerical society of Apostolic Life with Pontifical Right on October 18, 1988.  Article 8 of its Constitutions states the following:

 

The particular aim of the Fraternity of Saint Peter is to achieve this objective (i.e., sanctification of its priests) through the faithful observance of the “liturgical and spiritual traditions” according to the dispositions of the Motu Propio Ecclesia Dei of July 2, 1988, which is at the origin of its foundation.

 

The Motu Proprio “Ecclesia Dei” was the document of Pope John Paul II that confirmed the “excommunications” of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, Bishop Antonio de Castro Meyer, and the four consecrated bishops.  Note that the article above states that this Motu Proprio for the FSSP “is at the origin of its foundation”.  Since the FSSP doesn’t state otherwise in any of its official documents, we must conclude that the FSSP agrees with the validity of the “excommunications” and orthodoxy of the doctrinal declarations in the Motu Proprio.  Fr. Gregory Hesse (+2006), Doctor of Sacred Theology and Canon Law, gave a conference at St. Michael’s Church (run by Fr. Hector Bolduc until his death in 2012) in Wisconsin in 1998.  In this conference, Fr. Hesse tears the Motu Proprio to bits by pointing out its doctrinal, moral, and canonical errors, thereby demonstrating that the FSSP is truly a house built on sand.  Please take the time to listen below to an extract of the conference.

 

You can directly listen to the audio by left clicking on the “Play” button.  If you prefer to download the audio file to your computer, right click the “Play” button and then left click the “Save audio as” option.

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre vs. Bishop Bernard Fellay on the Second Vatican Council

There are too many in the world of Catholicism that somehow try to reconcile Vatican II with Catholic Tradition.  Whether it be that Vatican II can be read in the light of Tradition, that it is in continuity with Tradition (e.g., Pope Benedict XVI’s Hermeneutic of Continuity), or even that there are errors in the Council’s documents but that these errors can be corrected and when done so would consequently make the Council acceptable, none of these positions are in line with what the saintly Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre taught, especially during his latter years, about the Council.  The Archbishop saw the Council as perverted through and through.  And what do you do with such a thing:  condemn it, as a whole, into the dustbin of history!

 

Here are a few quotes of the Archbishop regarding the Council:

 

“It is certain that with the 250 conciliar fathers of the Coetus we tried with all the means put at our disposal to keep the liberal errors from being expressed in the texts of the Council.  this meant that we were able all the same to limit the damage, to change these inexact or tendentious assertions, to add that sentence to rectify a tendentious proposition, an ambiguous expression.

 

 “But I have to admit that we did not succeed in purifying the Council of the liberal and modernist spirit that impregnated most of the schemas.  Their drafters indeed were precisely the experts and the Fathers tainted with this spirit.  Now, what can you do when a document is in all its parts drawn up with a false meaning?  It is practically impossible to expurgate it of that meaning.  It would have to be completely recomposed in order to be given a Catholic spirit.”

(Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, “They Have Uncrowned Him”, Angelus Press, English Edition, 1988, quote is contained in the Chapter called “The Robber Council of Vatican II”, Emphasis Mine)

 

“I do not hesitate to affirm that the Council brought to reality the conversion of the Church to the world.  I leave it to you to reflect who the moving spirit of this spirituality was:  it is enough for you to remember the one whom Our Lord Jesus Christ calls the Prince of this World.”

(Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, “They Have Uncrowned Him”, Angelus Press, English Edition, 1988, quote is contained in the Chapter called “A Pacifist Council”, Emphasis Mine)

 

This fight between the Church and the liberals and modernism is the fight over Vatican II. It is as simple of that. And the consequences are far-reaching.

 

“The more one analyzes the documents of Vatican II, and the more one analyzes their interpretation by the authorities of the Church, the more one realizes that what is at stake is not merely superficial errors, a few mistakes, ecumenism, religious liberty, collegiality, a certain Liberalism, but rather a wholesale perversion of the mind, a whole new philosophy based on modern philosophy, on subjectivism.” 

(Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, “Two Years after the Consecrations”, Address Given to Priests in Econe, Switzerland on September 6, 1990, Emphasis Mine)

 

From these quotes, we can readily ascertain with what vehemence the Archbishop opposed the Second Vatican Council.  He clearly understood the poison contained throughout its documents.  This poison could not simply be separated from the texts that were in accordance with Tradition; rather, the poison was well mixed in the cake thereby making only one solution possible, and that is to reject the Council as a whole.  Now although the Archbishop did not explicitly state that the Council’s documents must be rejected as a whole, it forcibly follows from he did say.

 

Let us now contrast the Archbishop’s words regarding Vatican II with those of Bishop Fellay as proclaimed in the Doctrinal Declaration of April 15, 2012 (emphasis mine).

 

“The entire tradition of Catholic Faith must be the criterion and guide in understanding the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, which, in turn, enlightens – in other words deepens and subsequently makes explicit – certain aspects of the life and doctrine of the Church implicitly present within itself or not yet conceptually formulated.”

 

“The affirmations of the Second Vatican Council and of the later Pontifical Magisterium relating to the relationship between the Church and the non-Catholic Christian confessions, as well as the social duty of religion and the right to religious liberty, whose formulation is with difficulty reconcilable with prior doctrinal affirmations from the Magisterium, must be understood in the light of the whole, uninterrupted Tradition, in a manner coherent with the truths previously taught by the Magisterium of the Church, without accepting any interpretation of these affirmations whatsoever that would expose Catholic doctrine to opposition or rupture with Tradition and with this Magisterium.”

 

Furthermore, here is an interview that Bishop Fellay gave to Catholic News Service, which was published on May 11, 2012 (emphasis mine):

 

Although he stopped short of endorsing Pope Benedict’s interpretation of Vatican II as essentially in continuity with the church’s tradition — a position which many in the society have vocally disputed — Bishop Fellay spoke about the idea in strikingly sympathetic terms.

 

“I would hope so,” he said, when asked if Vatican II itself belongs to Catholic tradition.

 

“The pope says that … the council must be put within the great tradition of the church, must be understood in accordance with it. These are statements we fully agree with, totally, absolutely,” the bishop said. “The problem might be in the application, that is: is what happens really in coherence or in harmony with tradition?”

 

So on the one hand the Archbishop tells us that the Council’s documents would need to be completely rewritten to give them a Catholic spirit, that the devil was the spirit guiding them, and that they represent a total perversion of the mind.  However, on the other hand, Bishop Fellay tells us that the Council documents enlighten and deepen the understanding of certain aspects of the life and doctrine of the Church, that they must be understood in the light of Tradition without rupture, and that they must be given their place within Tradition.  It is evident how radically opposed these two positions are.

 

For those who argue that Bishop Fellay has turned away from what he had stated last year, please be under no illusion.  The conference that he gave in Kansas City on October 12, 2013 actually demonstrates that he does not find anything fundamentally wrong with what he had spoken or written.  He basically only admitted that he should have been more clear in his meaning.  But even to this I protest that what he had spoken and written is clear enough.  And that by his words he had publicly exposed himself as an adversary, objectively speaking, of Catholic Tradition and an unfaithful son of Archbishop Lefebvre!

 

Dear bishops and priests of the Society of St. Pius X, please come to understand where your leader is taking you, that is, away from the position of your founder (which was nothing other than that of Catholic Tradition) and towards the “Hermeneutic of Continuity” of Modernist Rome.  For those who do realize the new direction, will you not stand up and fight for the Faith?  Nothing less than souls are at stake!

A Plea from His Excellency Bishop Richard Williamson

Number CCCXXIX November 2nd 2013

 

PLEASE HELP

 

Regularly over the last 20 years I have said that the Society of St Pius X could fail. Colleagues never liked me saying it, and contrary to what some people think, I did not enjoy saying it either, but here we are. Here for instance is a quotation sent to me recently by a reader, taken from an ordinations sermon I gave in 1984, and which of course I had completely forgotten:–

 

“At the beginning of the Church Militant Jesus Christ led his followers through the catacombs and persecution out into the open, and at the end of the Church Militant He may well lead them from the tent in the open field through persecution back to the catacombs. If it comes to that, and if we make it to the catacombs, for many of us it will certainly not have been without the Society but back in the catacombs we may have to do without the Society (…). Dear seminarians! Regularly I tell them (…) that the whole world is against them; that the whole world is going to hell in a hand-basket; that the Society of St. Pius X could easily perish; that the future is dark and where there is no gloom it is full of doom. Do you know, I do believe that if any of my dire forebodings actually came true, seminarians would be pleasantly surprised?”

 

And what do I think I see now in the “Resistance”? The painful but steady emergence of the joyful remnant of Catholics from the remnant of Traditionalists who in their time emerged from the ruins of Vatican II. Nothing yet persuades me of the need for a structure or a seminary to replace those of the SSPX, but these are early days in the history of the Resistance. What I do think is needed is a base of Resistance operations in England, not far from the Continent nor from London airports, bricks and mortar to lend some solidity to the Resistance, and to provide, for instance, a refuge where priests can recuperate for at least a few days, under no kind of pressure, from the real hardships of today’s apostolate.

 

The house has been chosen, it does exist, we have agreed to buy, and donations are coming in, but we do now need both £40,000 by the end of November and another £360,000 by mid-December. I do not like making promises, but with the help of God I have no intention of abandoning the defence of the Faith, whatever form that defence may take over the next several years. Please help, and in today’s shadow of tomorrow’s collapse of currencies, do think of making a heavenly investment guaranteed by the whole host of Heaven. Bless you for any and all donations. I attach again details of means of payment.

 

Kyrie eleison.

 

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