Early History of the Society of Saint Pius X

I was associated with the SSPX (Society of Saint Pius X) form ealry 1975, until my resigination on March 5, 1981.  Some of these incidents I was either a part of or an eye witness to.

Sometime prior to founding the SSPX, Archbishop Lefebvre was asked by the Princess Palavicini to celebrate a Latin Mass for her. He refused and cited obedience as the reason. (No source can be found.)

November 1, 1970, Lefebvre establishes the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) at Friburg, soon to move to Econe, which was bought by Bishop Fellay’s father among others from the Saint Bernard Fathers.

December 24, 1971, Father Guerard des Laurieres asks Lefebvre to stop using the Novus Ordo at Econe. The SSPX reports this differently: “Since no response came from the Vatican, the Archbishop announces to his small group of seminarians, June 10, 1971, that he refuses to accept this new protestantized liturgy: ‘How can I agree to abandon the Mass of all ages or to admit to place it at the same level as the Novus Ordo, created by Annibal Bugnini, with the participation of Protestants to make of it an equivocal supper that eliminates totally the Offertory, and touches the very words of the Consecration.'”

May 22, 1976, Three Mexican Priests, Fathers Saenz, Carmona and Zamora travel to Saint Jude Shrine, Stafford, Texas, where Lefebvre was for confirmations that week end. The three priests told people who talked with them, they were there to talk about electing a Pope. Father Saenz died under mysterious circumstances in the Houston, Texas area two months later. (Saint Jude’s separated from the SSPX a few days after this weekend for unrelated reasons. It is located on the south west side of Houston.) (My family was there and the whole place was buzzing with the news.)

June 29, 1976, Archbishop Lefebvre ordains priests at Econe, two of whom had no dimissorial letters from their Bishop, permitting their ordination. Shortly after Paul VI suspends Lefebvre from divine things, that is administration of the Sacraments.

August 29, 1976, Archbishop Lefebvre offers a Mass in a large stadium, and calls the Novus Ordo a bastard Mass.

January 1977, Father Anthony Ward, head of the SSPX in the US and rector of the seminary at Armada, separates from the SSPX. He takes all but three seminarians with him.

July 1977, Dr. Hugo Maria Kellner issues his letter number 72 on the SSPX in the United States.

June, 1978, Archbishop Lefebvre introduces an Old-Catholic Bishop, Georg Schmitz as his successor bishop to the seminarians at Econe. On June 29th, Schmitz assisted at the ordinations in full choir dress as a bishop. (I have this from two eye witnesses, the late Father Kenneth Hodgson, a long time associate of the SSPX, and a seminarian, Alex Reine from Baton Rouge, who entered Econe the same time I did in 1977.)

April 12, 1979, Father Guerard des Lauriers publishes his letter, Monsignor, We Do Not Want This Peace about the incident noted above on Christmas Eve, 1971.

August 26, 1978, John Paul I is elected.

October 1978, John Paul II is elected.

Spring of 1979 and again on August 17, several ex SSPX seminarians, who had been at Saint Joseph’s House in Armada, Michigan, advise Archbishop Lefebvre of the sede vacantist position of Fathers Sanborn, Dolan and Cekada. On August 17, there were two meetings. The first was John Hogan with his parents, Archbishop Lefebvre and Father Bolduc as translator. I was in the second meeting with my parents, Bolduc and another ex-seminarian. At the end of our long meeting, Archbishop Lefebvre told us that we could apply to any SSPX seminary in the world and would be accepted without any consideration of our dismissal on December 15th of the previous year. He ended by switching to English, which he knew rather well and said: “The United States is my cross.” In a history of the SSPX, it is reported Lefebvre almost shut down the SSPX in the United States.

June of 1979 Archbishop Lefebvre delays the ordination of an American to the priesthood, because of this deacon’s sede vacantist leanings.

Sometime in 1979 Father Bolduc head of the southwest district of the US admits Philip Stark, who was ordained in 1970 in the New Rite to function as a priest in the SSPX.

Fall of 1979, Lefebvre sends the deacon, whose ordination he had held up, to the SSPX American seminary now at Ridgefield, Connecticut, the hot bed of sede vacantism.

May of 1980, ordains this deacon as a priest, who celebrates a Mass at the newly acquired Saint Vincent’s in Kansas City on August 10, 1980.

May of 1980, a meeting is scheduled at Saint Marys between some independent Traditionalist priests and Lefebvre. About ten priests had come, including several who became Thus Bishops, Fathers McKenna and Vezelis. Lefebvre delays coming for a day, because of health issues and no meeting happened. This helped disillusion independent priests about Lefebvre. In the United States only two priests ordained in the Church remained with the SSPX, Father Carl Pulvermacher and Father Kenneth Hodgson.

Sometime around here Father Kenneth Hodgson, Father Bolduc some priests from the North East district (later the nine, although at this time half of the nine were still seminarians) were in a meeting. One of the priests from the North East asked Lefebvre what was the SSPX policy in regard to men ordained in the New Rite. Lefebvre said his policy was conditional reordination. Then he turned to Father Bolduc and said: “Of course, we don’t mean Father Stark.” (Related to me by Father Hodgson.)

May 13, 1982, Father Juan Fernandez Krohn, who was ordaine din 1978 at Econe, takes a run at John Paul 2 at Fatima. He celebrated Mass the previous Sunday at an SSPX chapel.

March 25, 1983, the nine present their letter of objections to Archbishop Lefebvre. The objections were all with foundation.

April 24, 1983, Archbishop Lefebvre makes answer, which answer was also circulated in print throughout the world, as was the letter of the nine. He misrepresents Saint Thomas Aquinas and the Summa.  I recall I had just bought the Summa, when I received this as a letter. I looked it up and Lefebvre misrepresented Aquinas.

June 30, 1988, Archbishop Lefebvre assisted by Bishop de Castro Meyer former Bishop of Sao Paulo, Brazil, consecrates four SSPX priests as bishops, Fathers Tissier de Mallerais (rector of Econe in 1977, when I entered), Richard Williamson (Professor at Econe in 1977, convert from Anglicanism and two years a priest in 1977), Alphonso de Galaretta (Who I know nothing about, personally), and Bernard Fellay. (Fellay entered a few weeks after I did. He was ordained on June 29, 1982. He had just turned 30, when he was consecrated bishop. I have heard that there was some agitation from those in Switzerland for a Swiss bishop. Canon Law currently requires age 30 as a minimum for a Bishop as well as five years in the priesthood. Our class was split, most getting a six rather than five year course. He was 19, when he entered, so both of us would most likely been put into the six year course.)

July 1, 1988, John Paul II the Great Deceiver excommunicates Lefebvre, de Castro Meyer and the four new bishops for schism.

July 18, 1988, the Society of Saint Peter was founded with ex-SSPX priests.

1998 SSPX receives a bishop consecrated in the New Rite into their fold.

Autumn of 2005, the SSPX publishes an article supporting the validity of the New Rite of Episcopal Consecration.</p>

September 2007 Angelus holds New Rite valid.