Holy Cross Seminary

Most Asked Questions About the Society of Saint Pius X

Question 2: What is the Society of Saint Pius X?


A "retired" archbishop, mgr. Marcel Lefebvre, agrees to help a handful of young seminarians who are disconcerted by the direction being taken in post-Vatican II seminaries in their priestly formation. He does this, not only by undertaking their training, but also by founding a Society aiming at fostering a priestly life according to the wise norms and customs of the Church of previous days.

Nov. 1, 1970:

The Society of Saint Plus X is officially recognized by the Bishop of Lausanne, Geneva, and Fribourg, Bishop Charriére. It is therefore truly a new little branch pushed forth by the Church.

Feb. 18, 1971:

Cardinal Wright, Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Clergy, issues a decree praising the wisdom of the Society's statutes.

June 10, 1971:

Archbishop Lefebvre announces, together with the staff of the Seminary of Saint Plus X at Ecône, the refusal to adopt the Novus Ordo Missae (cf, QUESTION 5).


Following on Cardinal Wright's letter are other sure signs of Rome's full acceptance of the Society of Saint Plus X:

1. allowing its houses to be erected canonically in one Italian and two Swiss dioceses.

2. allowing three outside priests to join the Society and to be incardinated1 directly into it.

     During the same years the French Episcopal Conference was maneuvering to have the Society and its seminary suppressed (cf, QUESTION 3).


Nov. 1, 1980:

By its tenth anniversary, the Society of Saint Pius X has 40 houses on two continents.

Nov. 1, 1995: By its 25th Anniversary, the Society of Saint Pius X numbers four Bishops, 332 priests, 50 brothers, 120 sisters and 53 oblate sisters, all living in 140 houses in 27 countries. Together they seek the goal of the priesthood: the glorification of God, the continuation of Our Lord's redemptive work, the salvation of souls. They accomplish this by fidelity to Christ's testament-the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass (see Appendix III).


1. incardinated. Accepted by the Church as being a cleric belonging either to a diocese or to a religious institute. Without incardination a cleric is a "vagabond" and has no right to exercise his ministry.


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