U.S. District Superior of SSPX comments on recent news, document leaks

In a special letter dated May 15, 2012, Father Arnaud Rostand, the Superior of the United States District of the SSPX, commented on the recent leak of private correspondence between three bishops of the Society and the General Council. 

I want to denounce the immorality, as well as the revolutionary nature, of publishing such private documents. If it can be grave matter to read private letters, as moral theology teaches, it is even more serious to publish or distribute them without the permission of the authors. Furthermore, it is subversive to publish private discussions between superiors because it puts undue pressure on them. A superior must be able to make a decision in view of the common good and not because of any pressures….


It is essential to remember that letters of this kind are normal ways of communicating between members of the Society on a very important matter. It is normal and good that bishops or even priests of the Society should be able to express their personal opinions in a respectful way and in a spirit of charity. Once again it is their publication without the consent of both parties, which is unacceptable.

Father Rostand went on to emphasize three “principles that must guide us today”: respect for the Superior General’s authority, “our attachment to eternal Rome,” and “the indispensable defense of the Faith in time of crisis.” 

With regard to the first, Father Rostand recalled that “Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre himself wanted the matter of our relations with Rome to be handled and decided by the Superior General” after he, the founder, passed away. “It is clear that the Superior General has the responsibility of the Society of St. Pius X and will render an account to Almighty God.”  Both of the leaked letters acknowledge Bishop Fellay’s authority in such a matter.

On the one hand, in the letter of the three bishops, the respectful pleading not to make a purely practical agreement implies the recognition of the Superior General’s authority to make such a decision. On the other hand, in the General Council’s letter, this principle is reaffirmed. If there is a disagreement on what to do, there is nevertheless respect and recognition of the principle of authority.

Second, while protesting the “neo-Modernist tendencies of our times,” the SSPX has remained attached to Rome. 

As the Catholic Church is at the same time both human and divine, it is necessary to have a supernatural approach to the actual problems within the Catholic Church. This is why we reaffirm our Faith in Eternal Rome, with Pope Benedict XVI as the Vicar of Jesus Christ and visible head of His Church….

Finally, Bishop Fellay has repeatedly stated that the SSPX is committed to fight for the faith, denounce errors and foster Tradition, even within a possible canonical structure.


Our Superior General and his assistants have expressed their conviction that the possibility of a personal prelature is not a trap. This is a prudential question and different opinions are possible, but the final decision belongs only to the Superior General.


I have been regularly and recently in contact with His Excellency Bishop Fellay and other superiors of the Society. Further, I can assure you of the unity which exists in our District, following the line of Archbishop Lefebvre, which continues to be manifested today. Do not be disturbed by media reports, which may prematurely, and without sufficient information, prophesy many things.


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About Michael J. Miller 127 Articles
Michael J. Miller Michael J. Miller translated Priesthood and Diaconate by Gerhard Ludwig Müller for Ignatius Press and Eucharist and Divorce: A Change in Doctrine? for the Pontifical John Paul II Institute.