Priestly ordinations of the Society of Pius 2022 in the USA.
(Menzingen) The Society of St. Pius X (FSSPX) has more than 700 priests for the first time. The growth is unbroken. The Society of St. Pius, as the community of priests founded by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre is commonly known, is growing and thriving. Not everyone in the church is happy about this.
This is not just about those who are unhappy that the Society is attracting vocations, but about those who seem to have problems with priestly vocations in general. Cardinal Raymond Burke said in 2019:
"Anyone who wants a 'different church' does not want priestly vocations".
The decline in priestly vocations is often self-inflicted. There are various reasons for this, ranging from a “different” understanding of the church to wrong prioritization. The most recent example was provided by the Corona hysteria, when bishops and leaders of diocesan seminaries south and north of the Alps rejected candidates and threw out seminarians because they did not allow themselves to be “vaccinated” with a genetically modified Covid preparation.
When certain Church circles occasionally complain about the lack of vocations, as in the run-up to the Amazon Synod, this usually serves other purposes.
In Santa Marta, too, the view seems clouded, because Pope Francis is waging a campaign against diocesan bishops and religious orders whose seminaries are particularly well filled or vocations are particularly numerous. Anyone who "stands out" in this way seems to be annoying. The confreres in the bishops' conferences feel disturbed with empty seminaries, and apparently Pope Francis also feels disturbed. The dioceses of Ciudad del Este (Paraguay), San Rafael (Argentina) and Fréjus-Toulon (France) are three well-known examples, as is the Order of the Franciscans of the Immaculate or the Society of the Holy Apostles, all of which have been the target of papal intervention.
The shocking experience of a newly ordained French priest in Santa Marta is significant.
The capricious thought needs to be clarified: when a diocese or a religious order attracts numerous vocations, it is obviously not a reason for Pope Francis to rejoice or even be interested in carefully learning the reasons or the charisms that lead to such a pleasant development have led. On the contrary, those who have many vocations are suspicious, automatically placed under disapproving observation, subjected to a visitation... and sometimes radically crushing the work (deposition of the bishop, closure of the seminary, dissolution of the Order...).
Society of Saint Pius X with a new high
The SSPX announced a few days ago that, thanks to the ordinations that have just taken place in their seminaries in the northern hemisphere, for the first time they have more than 700 priests. Considering the Church as a whole, that is not so much, and yet, as the past has shown, it is a vigorously thriving seed. The SSPX is thriving, and so are a number of communities that have come out of it in one form or another.
This new record is causing considerable concern in some Church circles. In contrast to the dioceses and religious orders mentioned, the Society of Saint Pius X is not open to disciplinary or even final interventions by Rome in terms of canon law.
On the occasion of the new high, the Society of Saint Pius X published a statement last Friday:
"As wished by Monsignor Marcel Lefebvre, his original mission to the Society of St. Pius X (FSSPX) will continue with 'all the works necessary for priestly formation'."
With the ordinations in the Northern Hemisphere, the Society now numbers 707 priests. In the past few days, 17 new priests were ordained there: six in the USA, eight in Switzerland and three in the Federal Republic of Germany. Twelve deacons were ordained this year.
The Superior General of the SSPX, Father Davide Pagliarani, is quoted in the statement as saying:
“The Society of St. Pius X has a duty to help all those souls who are currently dismayed and discouraged. First of all, we have the duty to assure them, through the facts themselves, that the Tridentine Mass can never disappear from the face of the earth: it is an extremely necessary sign of hope. Moreover, each of us, whether priest or believer, must lend them a helping hand, because those who do not wish to share the goods from which they benefit are in fact making themselves unworthy of these goods. Only in this way will we truly love souls and the Church.”
With this "desire to work for the good of the universal Church", the intervention of our Lord is "gratefully recognized" in the "enormous growth" of the Society of St.
This growth in the number of those who "work for the complete restoration of the Catholic priesthood and of the traditional Mass" is a joy, but should not make one arrogant or lead one to think that this is the work of man, nor should one satisfied with this milestone," the statement said, because "much remains to be done."
The Society of Saint Pius also refers to other ancient ritual communities. It is "important" to take their number into account. The Society of St. Peter therefore has 341 priests, the Institute of Christ the King and High Priest 80 priests and the Institut du Bon Pasteur around 50 priests, which are the three most important former so-called Ecclesia Dei communities.
The statement closes with a word from Superior General Pagliarani on the subject of priestly vocations:
“We entrust these intentions to the Sorrowful Mother, to whom we address our prayers, because no one has penetrated the mystery of our Lord's sacrifice and his victory on the cross better than she, for no one has been so intimately connected to his passion and triumph. Our Lord has put the whole world into her hands.”
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Trans: Tancred firstname.lastname@example.org
How many vocations does a March for the Rainforestl inspire?