Priests Break away to Found an “SSPX of the Strict Observance”

Priests Break away to Found an “SSPX of the Strict Observance” October 11, 2012

There’s a name for these sorts of Catholics: Protestant.

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Bob

    That press-release nearly gave me a headache. It has some of the worst English I have seen in print: sentences which vanish into thin air, agglomerations of dependent clauses with additional dependent clauses, abrupt changes of subject, adjectives whose meaning or function the authors don’t seem to understand… oy vey!

    That aside, the bit about the “Jewish Lawyer” was quite telling.

  • Kirt Higdon

    This is far from the first split in SSPX – there is, for example, the SSPV and numerous splits and sub-splits from that, not to mention other “tradionalist” splinters of splinters. Yes, these people definitely have a Protestant mentality.

    • In the case of the SSPV, replace “Protestant” with “Apocalyptic cult.” Despite the veneer of prayer cards and Marian apparitions their fundamental view of the world has more in common with Adventists or Witnesses than any mainstream Christian groups, be they Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant.

  • quasimodo

    “Priests Break away to Found an “SSPX of the Strict Observance””

    I thought that we called them SSPV. Perhaps I err. Protestant will do nicely, too. I even got a member to admit the Protestant label once … grudgingly.

  • Ciaran

    And no doubt these fools will be electing yet another anti-Pope – Pope Jim the first perhaps? As an observer of the Chruch in America (I live in Ireland) I have noticed an alarming amount of sede-vacationist groups in the U.S. Why are there so many? Does it relate to America’s emphasis on free speech and individuality in the sense that any ego-fueled power-tripper can wrencth scripture/tradition out of its context and declare himself Peter? Have they no common sense? Sede vacatists really do fascinate and frustrate me.

    • wineinthewater

      It relates to the pervasive Protestant mindset of America. Understanding schismatic, radical traditionalists in terms of Protestantism rather than Catholicism makes the pieces fit. This also explains the continuous internal schisms – like this one – that go on in the SSPX.

    • Ted Seeber

      Well, the last was Pius XIII of Montana. I suspect the next will be Pope Bubba of Alabama.

      • Bob

        It is not a particularly American thing. Richard Williamson, after all, is an Englishman. And I think the problem is that the position of the SSPX is inherently unstable. They are not sede-vacantists, but they don’t want to submit to the local Bishop, and in most things not even to the Pope (as their more recent disagreements with the Vatican have shown). So, since the shaky middle rarely stands they will have to move to one side or the other, either towards full-fledged sede-vacantist or other schisms, or towards the Catholic Church. The society, as best I can tell, is somewhat split down the middle between those two tendencies, but they have spent long enough being independent, that even those who are more Catholic are accustomed to running their own show, and reluctant to submit to an external authority. Add to that the fact that in order to rejoin, they have to admit that in part at least, they are in error, which thus far, they have seemed reluctant to do. Basically the position of the Fellay-wing of the SSPX seems to be “We’ll come back into communion provided you admit that we were right all along, and let us do whatever we want.” That ain’t no basis for negotiation.

        • Kadon

          “We’ll come back into communion provided you admit that we were right all along, and let us do whatever we want.” This statement is inaccurate. The SSPX helps Catholics maintain the traditional Catholic Faith full stop. This is its only reason-for-being. It was never founded to be anything but temporary. It seems the Society has done as much as it can to restore sanity to the Church…lasted long enough to help Catholics keep the faith and strengthen
          them in these last days.

      • Trust me, Ted, none of our Bubbas will ever declare himself Pope. He might be from Alabama, but he will come from EWTN if so.

    • jcb

      “I have noticed an alarming amount of sede-vacationist groups in the U.S. ”

      I have no objections to American groups organizing to send the Pope on a nice vacation.

  • Jamie R

    This is only great news. The more real whackjobs leave the SSPX, the more likely we are to see the rest of the SSPX rejoin Rome.

    • ivan_the_mad

      “the more likely we are to see the rest of the SSPX rejoin Rome.” Which doesn’t seem likely to happen soon:

    • I wouldn’t hold my breath. They still see themselves as the remnant; until they are able to admit they are a schismatic group that are in need of the administrative, pastoral, and spiritual guidance of the Catholic Church as is, they won’t switch. (Eastern Catholics are an example of how this can work successfully. Like the SSPX, the complaints of the Eastern Christians were valid if sometimes exaggerated, yet that didn’t stop them from rejoining Rome.) That said, I honestly believe +Fellay wishes to rejoin, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he later joins individually once he accepts the refusal of the SSPX to abandon their schism.

    • Michael

      I think you maybe right. This new group may act as a release safety valve. It will give the most intransigent a place to go which will in another generation extinguish itself. Unless they convince a bishop to join them, there will be no ordinations from within this group. They will either disappear or become fully protestant.

  • Irenist

    “Described in the words of the Declaration as a ‘united core of priests faithful to the position always maintained by Archbishop Lefebvre[.]’”
    Sounds Protestant to me. Just replace Lefebvre with “Luther” or “Calvin” and re-read the sentence. I’ll stay with the Church that remains “faithful to the position always maintained by” Jesus Christ, thank you very much.

    • MarylandBill

      That was my thought to. Shouldn’t they be united in being faithful to God and the teachings of Jesus?

      The bright side is that as radical elements leave SSPX, it might make it easier for the rest to reopen their dialogue with the Vatican and become reunited. In the interviews I have seen with him, Bishop Fellay has always struck me as a man who really does want the SSPX to be reunited with Rome. We can only pray.

      • Dale Price

        I think Bishop Fellay is in an untenable position–he’s the leader, but he’s outnumbered by the other 3 bishops who were consecrated at the same time as he. I think he’d have taken the Vatican’s offer–with some tweaks–but the Williamson/de Mallerais/de Gallareta faction would have broken off. It’s hard to say who would go where, but that’s the situation on the ground.

        Don’t forget the Society has also had groups reconcile with Rome, too–the FSSP and the Personal Apostolic Administration in Campos, Brazil.

  • KenC

    Let’s not forget, there also is the SSPI

  • jacobus

    I didn’t see any mention of Sola Scriptura, Sola Fide, or anything like that on there.

    Misguided, yes, but still Catholics.

    • Mark Shea

      Just a reminder: This is still dogma: “Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff.” These guys come closer than most to wilfully and culpably standing grave and morally accountable defiance of it. They deserve the title “Protestant” more than most Protestants do.

      • orthros

        I’m always amused at neo-Catholic updates regarding traditionalist groups.

        Oh no! They actually care about truth! Must be Protestant… or “worse than Protestants”. Uh huh.

        Two points need to be made in this pile-on against the Traddies:

        1) They’re Catholics, as stated by Rome. They are not schismatics, they are in an irregular situation, so no matter how much Neo-Caths want to foam at the mouth, they’re your brothers in Christ. Treat them as such; calling them Protestants is calumny, pure and simple.

        2) They actually care about the immorality in the Church, which is more than I can say than most of our Novus Ordo leadership today, who seem content to fiddle while the spiritual Rome burns. As such, we should have infinitely more sympathy for priests who are trying, however incorrectly, to hold to Tradition while our mainstream leadership compromises again and again with modernism.

        Ridiculing the SSPX during our amoral times is like running around hysterically with a fire extinguisher during an avalanche.

        As an aside, this, is why the neologism “Neo-Catholic” really does mean something: Adherence to post-Vatican II Catholicism while casting a jaundiced eye on anyone that has the temerity to point out that modern Catholicism would be utterly unrecognizable to anyone born prior to 1920.

        • Mark Shea

          God bless you, orthros.

          • orthros

            I’ll take all I can get 😀

  • I love the congratulations over the organization’s sense of humor.

  • Dan C

    I bet power and position were sticking points for Fellay and the other three. How would they be received? What about all those in positions of power and authority beneath them?

    The end of the talks stuck as much on indications no one in SSPX was guaranteed the same titles as on theology.

    Remember: all power and position in this organization is predicated on the resistance to Rome. That is a definitional point. Surrendering that and conceding to authority and re-assignment and potential ” rough treatment” is a real problem, I bet.

  • LaVallette

    Once you split from the Church there are two choices:

    Repent and return or

    Split from split after split ad infinitum. Witness the Portestant movement in general especially in England and the USA as well as the fate of the Old Catholics.

  • david

    smell the persecution, it’s a great blessing from our lord