A short history of the SSPX: Part 5
On January 5th, Cardinal Gagnon presents to the pope a mysterious 39-page report of which no copy was ever given to us. On February 2nd, the Archbishop announces in Flavigny before television cameras that he will consecrate three bishops on June 30th.
Our Australian seminary, Holy Cross, opens with 14 seminarians on the Feast of St. Joseph.
Rome is afraid. After a constant coming and going of negotiations, an obscure protocol is signed the 5th of May. The day after, the Archbishop discovers that there are no assurances that the conditions will be promptly fulfilled, and he decides to proceed to the consecrations of auxiliary bishops. It is a survival operation of tradition, absolutely justified by the unjust persecution of faithful Catholics and the betrayal of the faith by Roman authorities.
Econe, June 29th: at the priestly ordinations, the 2 faithful bishops, plus 173 priests who come from all over the world, impose hands on the ordinands. That very evening Rome makes a last attempt to avoid the consecrations, sending a beautiful black Mercedes to take the Archbishop on the spot to Rome.
On June 30th, 8,000 faithful witness the historical consecration of 4 Catholic bishops to continue the work of Archbishop Lefebvre. This heroic action made of him, Bishop de Castro Mayer, and the 4 young prelates, the first excommunicated of the post-conciliar era. The reasons for which the Church rewarded him greatly until the death of Pius XII were now the cause of his condemnation by the New Church.
Our bishops do not have vacation, they go immediately on long confirmation trips.
Bishop Williamson visits England, Ireland, South Africa, Zimbabwe, New Zealand, Australia, and Hawaii in the months following his consecration.
With the fresh chrism of consecration still on his hands, Bishop Fellay visits Asia and Australia. He finds an unexpected reception in Palayamkottai, India, where the traffic is stopped for the solemn procession in which he is driven in a triumphal carriage of stupendous form, much like the throne of an Indian maharajah, accompanied by a band and firecrackers. The locals are enchanted, the modernist bishop is not, and so he pressures the local police to forbid the confirmation ceremony.
Bishop Fellay must take refuge in the house of some Protestants, and finally he is allowed to visit the chapel for a few minutes escorted by the police. So much for post-conciliar tolerance and freedom of religion.
The seminary of Winona opens October 8th. In Australia, our sisters open a convent in Sydney.
On October 27th, Fr. Marchal, one of our young priests, dies in a car accident in France. During his seminary he devoted himself to the preparation of a booklet "The Society of Saint Pius X: A Work of the Church". In London and in Lourdes he exercised his apostolate and he still wrote another book on the Archbishop’s resistance.
November 23rd, death of Fr. Joseph Le Boulch, a Benedictine monk and spiritual director at Econe. A great preacher, very well known in religious communities and parishes in France, from 1937 onwards he undertook over 1,000 major preachings (retreats, missions, days of recollection). He joined Archbishop Lefebvre in 1975, leaving with the permission of the superiors his dear Landevennec, an ancient abbey with a history of 15 centuries.
Another Benedictine with a different concept of loyalty, Dom Gerard Calvet, prior of Le Barroux, breaks with the Archbishop and condemns the episcopal consecrations at which he was present, turning himself into Rome’s hands "without any doctrinal or liturgical concession." In 1995, Abbot Calvet concelebrates the New Mass with John Paul II in Rome.
Rome, December 4th, the 25th anniversary of the liturgical reformation. An apostolic letter of the pope says that the liturgical reform is absolutely traditional and according to the norms of the Holy Fathers. "Ad normam sanctorum patrum!"
December 8th: The 6 Catholic bishops consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
The Society of St. Pius X starts a perpetual Mass in honor of the Immaculate and Sorrowful Heart of Mary, renewing daily its consecration to her. Perpetual Adoration is also begun and the Blessed Sacrament remains exposed at some house of the Society throughout the world every day for the faithful to pray for the following intentions:
- The return of Rome and the bishops to the traditional doctrine of the Church.
- The sanctification of priests and candidates for the priesthood.
- The awakening of priestly and religious vocations.
In one year our 4 new bishops have ordained 34 new priests. The Archbishop, being asked if he has any doubt, or if he regrets the step of 1988, answers:
Absolutely not. Everything was truly providential and almost miraculous. I was pressured from many sides for a long time and I could have ordained bishops 3 or 4 years ago; it would even have been reasonable, but I believe that God wanted things to develop slowly so that we could show to Rome and to history that we have done all we could to finally obtain the authorization to have traditional bishops. The faithful will be more and more numerous and they will open their eyes to see finally what is the truth in this affair. They will understand that salvation is in the Catholic Church and not in the Conciliar Church that becomes more and more schismatic. I know that my name has been removed from the Pontifical Directory this year, but I hope that it has not disappeared from the Directory of our dear Lord, and this is what matters." [cf. One year after the Consecrations and Two years after the Consecrations for more]
Italy, December 1st: Katharina Tangari dies at the seminary of Albano. Spiritual daughter of Padre Pio, she was commanded by him to consecrate her life to help the priests and the Catholic faithful in Communist countries, bringing them financial help, medicines, books and religious objects to help them to keep their faith. Madame Tangari continued this apostolate, helping the priests of the Society of St. Pius X to the point that there is not one country in the traditional world which has not been in some way benefited by her generosity and dedication.
Purified by a long prison term in Czechoslovakia under the Communist KGB, she was not afraid of taking a public stand for Archbishop Lefebvre and his works. A truly saintly soul, she continues to help us from her well-deserved rest in heaven.