Part I – The History of the Society of St. Pius X – Episode 04 – SSPX FAQ Videos

Part I – The History of the Society of St. Pius X – Episode 04 – SSPX FAQ Videos

In this video, we look back at the beginning
of the Society of St. Pius X. The history of the Society of Saint Pius X, like the history
of the Catholic Church as a whole, is a beautiful mystery. Both continue to flourish despite
many setbacks and uncertainties. From its humble origins, the Society of Saint Pius
X has grown exponentially and today proclaims the faith throughout the world. Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, in response to
the repeated requests of young men interested in a traditional priestly formation, founded
the Society of Saint Pius X on November 1, 1970. He was 65 years old at the time, and
had previously served the Catholic Church as Archbishop of Dakar, apostolic delegate
to French-speaking Africa and superior general of the Holy Ghost Fathers, a missionary order
of priests. Eleven young men began their studies under the archbishop at a new seminary in
Ecône, Switzerland. The local bishop of Fribourg convinced that this new seminary would bring
great benefits to the Catholic Church granted his official approval. The purpose of this new priestly order was
poorly understood, however, even in Rome. Many thought that the archbishop had turned
against the pope because he did not accept the reform of the Mass and kept the Tridentine
Mass. On the contrary, Archbishop Lefebvre insisted that he followed and obeyed the Holy
Father, and that he was only continuing an unbroken Catholic tradition: he loved the
Tridentine rite of the Mass and knew from experience how beneficial, even crucial, it
was in forming holy priests. The Tridentine rite, after all, had never been suppressed,
even though a newer vernacular rite was now permitted. Other modern tendencies which the archbishop
opposed were ecumenism – a viewpoint which considered all religions as beneficial and
valid – and collegiality – which insisted that the Church be ruled primarily by the
democratic process and bishops’ conferences, limiting the power of the pope as sole head
of the universal Church as well as each individual bishop’s autonomy within his own diocese.
Archbishop Lefebvre’s strong stance on these issues did not please the Roman authorities
who wanted only the new, vernacular rite of the Mass to flourish within a more liberal
and modern Church. Two apostolic visitors, therefore, conducted
an official tour and inspection of the seminary at Ecône in 1974. They were impressed with
its high academic standards and the seminarians’ evident piety; their only complaint was that
they did not see the new rite of the Mass being celebrated. They brought a positive
report back to the pope. For further understanding and insight on this
question, we recommend to watch the DVD: Forty Years of Fidelity, A History of The Society
of St. Pius X, which can be found at Another great source we recommend is to read
“Most Asked Questions Of SSPX” and “The Best of Questions and Answers” also available
at To learn more, go to and subscribe to our email list.


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