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

SSPX - USA District - 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 …More - 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

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Forty Years of Fidelity:

Most Asked Questions of the SSPX:

The Best of Questions and Answers:…