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Question 1
What is the Society of St. Pius X?

1988 Ordinations at Saint Pius X International Seminary in Econe, Switzerland
1988 Ordinations at the International Seminary of St. Pius X in Econe


The Society of St. Pius X is an international priestly society of common life without vows, whose purpose is the priesthood and that which pertains to it.

The SSPX was patterned by its founder, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, after the religious societies of foreign missions.

The spirit of the SSPX is essentially apostolic, because such is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and because the members of the Society will have in general to exercise an exterior ministry.

A brief chronology


A “retired” archbishop, His Excellency 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.

SSPX: 40 Years of Fidelity DVD now available!

SSPX: 40 Years of Fidelity DVD now available!
For over 40 years, the SSPX has stood firmly for the purity of the Faith and the glory of Catholic tradition. In honor of the 40th anniversary of its founding, Angelus Press produced this beautiful documentary of this great work of God.

Experience the humble beginnings of the Society, the turbulent years that followed, and the triumphant achievements that solidified the worldwide presence of the SSPX that we know today. This beautiful DVD will be a treasure in your home for years to come. Just $14.95 for a limited time only!


Watch some excerpts of the DVD


November 1, 1970

The Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) is officially recognized by the local ordinary of Lausanne, Geneva, and Fribourg, Bishop Charriere. It is therefore truly a new little branch pushed forth by the Church.

February 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 International Seminary of St. Pius X at Econe (Switzerland), the refusal to adopt the Novus Ordo Missae (cf. question 5).

1971 - 1974

Following on Cardinal Wright’s letter are other sure signs of Rome’s full acceptance of the SSPX:

  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 incardinated directly into it.

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

November 1, 1980

By its 10th anniversary, the SSPX has 40 houses on two continents.

November 1, 1995

By its 25th anniversary, the SSPX numbers four bishops, over 360 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 (cf. appendix 3).

2000 - Today

Impressed by the SSPX's Pilgrimage of Tradition made in Rome for the Jubilee Year (2000), the Holy See invites the Society to discuss a possible regularization.

The SSPX's Superior General, Bishop Bernard Fellay, requests and obtains two signs of good will on the part of Rome: the liberalization of the traditional Roman Mass (July 7, 2007) and the withdrawal of the "excommunications" of the Society's bishops (January 29, 2009).

In October 2009, the Holy See also grants Bishop Fellay's request for a theological commission to enable the SSPX to present its position concerning the errors of the Second Vatican Council and the New Mass.

After the meetings of the theological commission, Pope Benedict XVI began proceedings in an attempt to provide a canonical solution to the SSPX's situation. Throughout all of this, Bishop Fellay has continually upheld  Archbishop Lefevre's uncompromising position to the Modernist errors of the Second Vatican Council.

Meanwhile, the SSPX has continued to steadily grow throughout the world,as indicated by the statistics below.

International presence

+550 priests

~200 seminarians

+100 religious brothers

+170 religious sisters

+2000 third order members

6 seminaries (Switzerland, USA, France, Germany, Australia, Argentina)

175 priories

62 countries

600,000 faithful associated

USA District presence

38 States (of 50)

85 priests

15 brothers

~25,000 faithful associated

103 chapels

20 priories

26 schools

1 publishing house (Angelus Press)

1 college

1 seminary

1 priests' house of studies

1 brothers' novitiate

1 sisters' novitiate

3 sisters' convents

+850 third order members

Affiliated non-SSPX entitles

10 chapels

4 convents (Carmelites, Dominicans, Franciscans)

1 monastery (Benedictine)

More on this topic
SSPX and Rome: a complete listing!
A complete listing of all articles, communiqués and press releases related to the discussions between the SSP X and the Holy See 8-13-2012

A profound injustice
Fr. Cacqueray: The treatment that the hierarchy of the Catholic Church has been inflicting on the Priestly Society of St. Pius X for almost forty years is born of a profound injustice. We say this without the least bitterness, for we remember well the eighth beatitude...

Archbishop Lefebvre: why the SSPX uses the 1962 missal
Now, there is no danger for the Faith in the liturgy of Pope Pius XII and Pope John XXIII, whereas there is great danger for the Faith in the liturgy of Pope Paul VI, which is unacceptable.... 12-21-2012

Statistics of the SSPX for 2012
Recently the French district's website published some interesting statistics about the Society throughout the world, which we offer here in English.... 12-21-2012

Where do we stand in Rome?
Bishop Fellay's Econe sermon

Where do we stand with Rome? Allow me to explain two points. First, a look at what has happened. Then, a look at the present and perhaps at the future... The path leading out of this crisis is quite simple... the only way to get out of the crisis is to return to what the Church has always done. 11-9-2012 DICI

"We are back at square one"
Fr. Niklaus Pfluger (First Assistant to the Superior General) answers some questions about what has happened recently with the SSPX and Rome during an interview with a German Catholic magazine...  10-16-2012 DICI

Is recognizing the SSPX questioning the Council?
The rift between the Holy See and the SSPX arises because the Society rejects these particular elements of Vatican II [religious liberty, ecumenism, collegiality], not because of an intention on the part of the Holy See to defend Vatican II as a whole… 4-19-2012

Get the full picture
about the SSPX with this select group of informative conferences and articles © 2013                    home                    contact