A Statement of the SSPX concerning a Church Militant Media Campaign
For the past week, the Society of Saint Pius X has been the subject of a media campaign conducted by the Church Militant website. It has been accused of having “sympathy for perverts” (sic) and of covering up for some of its members or employees who may have been guilty of misconduct. This is not the first campaign, and it will certainly not be the last. Already, in July 2019, similar accusations had been made against the Society’s authorities by Church Militant.
The Society is committed to transparency and it exercises transparency in an appropriate manner and, as far as possible, while avoiding prejudicing the rights of those involved, starting with the victims. Justice is dispensed impartially and according to the rules of law, not before a “media court” that exclusively investigates charges and distils its information with the aim of dividing or destroying, and by multiplying false and malicious insinuations.
The articles that have been published mix and match real facts with false or unbelievable accusations, in an abhorrent manner. Their authors ignore both ecclesiastical and civil legal procedures. They conduct a trial against the accused without regard to the presumption of innocence, the basic verification of facts and the rights of the defense.
In support of its alleged proofs, Church Militant produces several scandals that have occurred in Europe, mostly using truncated accounts taken from newspapers or blogs. However, all these cases have been dealt with by both ecclesiastical and civil authorities, and these cases have all been judged and closed. The Society has always collaborated with the legal authorities and has never been complicit in any “sympathy” towards persons accused of acts that are morally reprehensible.
Church Militant also refrains from stating that most of the members of the Society who have committed offences have been expelled from the Society or have been subject to exemplary punishments. Some, who refused to submit to them, preferred to leave the Society.
The U.S. District has a protection plan in place and strives to fulfill its mission to families and souls. It will not be deflected by a smear campaign that exploits cases that are highly regrettable and reprehensible and, although rare, are still too numerous.
In the interest of transparency, the Society of Saint Pius X wished to reiterate the fundamental points of its policy in this matter:
For several years now, it has put in place preventive measures in the selection and training of candidates for the priesthood, as well as in the recruitment of personnel for the institutions under its care.
The Society deeply regrets that some of its members may have engaged in serious misconduct and, in the worst cases, criminal or delinquent behavior. It is a blemish on the Catholic priesthood, on the Church, and on the work of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. However, that does not mean that the Society encourages them, that it protects them, or, even less, that it covers for them. On the contrary, it strives each time, according to the seriousness of the cases, to sanction them and to deal with them, according to the rules of justice, having first of all concern for the victims.
It uses the measures provided for by the laws of the Church, which foresee various kinds of sanctions, such as deprivation of office, times of probation and penance, restrictions or prohibitions of apostolate, suspension a divinis, reduction ad missam, resignation or dismissal, and even laicization, if necessary. These measures are taken at the end of canonical procedures, which can take some time and are covered by the secrecy of judicial inquiries and deliberations of the courts – a secrecy required by Church law.
For the most serious cases, which could constitute crimes or felonies, it collaborates with the civil authorities, either by warning them or by sharing the elements in its possession. It offers the victims assistance, encourages them to file complaints with the civil authorities – and not on social networks or websites – and accompanies them as far as possible. It informs the civil authorities of cases that require it, in accordance with the legislation of the various countries.
However, the Society has experienced several cases of false accusations by unbalanced or self-seeking persons. For this reason, these delicate matters, which have received excessive media attention, call for prudence so that justice can be dispensed serenely, in all truth and charity. Certainly, as in every human judgement, an ecclesiastical superior can draw conclusions or take measures which sin either by excess or by defect. But this risk of error, from which no one is exempt, does not mean that one seeks to cover up, or on the contrary, to destroy a guilty party.
The Society of Saint Pius X assures the victims of its support and prayers for the reparation for the harm done to them. Furthermore, it prays for those who are unjustly accused, even when they are not members of the Society. Finally, she does not exclude from her prayers the guilty ones themselves, because she is convinced that Redemption is always possible for them – even if the media are not interested in it. For the Society is convinced that this corresponds to the spirit of the Catholic Church, our Mother, and to the teachings of Our Lord Jesus Christ, who warned us that the chaff would be mixed with the wheat until the end of time.
The Society entrusts itself to the Blessed Virgin Mary, that She may preserve us from all evil and that these trials may serve for the greater good of souls.
April 28, 2020
According to the protocols in the Society, the District Superior has instituted an Independent Review Board on a permanent basis.