Following the video on the origin of the Society
of Saint Pius X, in this video we are going to present the most recent years of its history.
For years, the Society of Saint Pius X has been the spearhead of the defense of Tradition
within the Catholic Church. However, it is not without challenges. It was evident that
despite the encouraging beginning of the Society of Saint Pius X, problems would soon arise.
The liberal faction in Rome was determined to put an end to any seminary forming priests
to offer the traditional Latin Mass. Despite the favorable review of visitors sent by Rome,
Archbishop Lefebvre was soon called to Rome to be interviewed by three cardinals. A few
weeks later, the new bishop of Fribourg suddenly suppressed the Society of Saint Pius X on
May 6, 1975. Shocked, the archbishop asked for the reasons behind this drastic act and
also issued an official appeal to Rome. Neither Fribourg nor Rome responded. That summer Archbishop
Lefebvre led his seminarians on pilgrimage to Rome as a sign of his attachment to the
Holy See. Deeply saddened by this abrupt suppression and inexplicable silence, the archbishop decided
that he must continue the formation of his seminarians at Econe; after all, canon law
stipulated that no such suppression or suspension would take force while an official appeal
was left unresolved, much less unanswered. So in 1976 he ordained 13 priests as scheduled.
To these ordinations Rome answered with suspending his faculty to ordain priests and to perform
all sacred functions, including offering Mass. The Society of Saint Pius X, despite these
oppositions, grew rapidly. New seminaries were opened in Germany, America, Argentina
and Australia. Religious brothers, sisters, and lay third order members joined its swelling
ranks; by 1987, the Society of Saint Pius X had spread its apostolate to every continent
in the world. In front of the increasing confusion brought by the reforms, Archbishop Lefebvre,
after repeated but ultimately unfruitful negotiations with Rome, decided in 1988 to consecrate four
new bishops to continue ordaining priests and give confirmation in the Traditional rite.
He held that Rome had agreed to the consecrations in principle, but were stalling over the details.
In response, the pope issued an official document excommunicating the archbishop along with
these four new bishops. This greatly saddened the archbishop, but he firmly believed that
he could not in good conscience have acted otherwise and was bound, for the love of the
Church, to provide for the preservation of the Society of Saint Pius X and its worldwide
apostolate. Archbishop Lefebvre died three years later on March 25super thnosupersub
1991. The Society of Saint Pius X continued its apostolate according to the constitutions
approved by the Church. In 1994 Bishop Bernard Fellay was elected superior general, a position
which he still holds today. Notably, in the jubilee year 2000 he led his priests, religious,
and seminarians on a pilgrimage to Rome, as a way of thereby expressing love and respect
for the Holy Father. Pope Benedict XVI later stated in a 2007 document entitled Summorum
pontificum that the Latin Mass had never been abrogated and, in 2009, lifted the excommunications
issued against the four Society of Saint Pius X bishops. Today, the Society of Saint Pius
X numbers around 600 priests and close to half a million faithful spread throughout
the world and successfully continues its apostolic work. For further information and insight
on this question, we recommend to watch the DVD: Forty Years of Fidelity, A History of
The Society of St. Pius X and to listen to the 2010 Conference Audio: The Defense of
Tradition, which can be found at Angeluspress.org. Another great source we recommend is to read
Most Asked Questions of the SSPX and The Best of Questions and Answers also available at
Angeluspress.org To learn more, go to sspx.org and subscribe to our email list.