16 September 1982
The first General Chapter1
of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X, which must be held every
twelve years, was duly called by His Grace Archbishop Lefebvre
and met at St. Pius X International Seminary (Econe), our mother
house. It went very smoothly, from Monday, September 13 to Thursday,
September 16, 1982, in a spirit of perfect unity of minds and
hearts a good augury for the future.
four days, chapter delegates brought up a number of topics, all
aimed at increasing the sanctity and zeal of members of our religious
society. Our one concern was that the Fraternity should be ever
more in conformity with the ideal of the Gospel, and that all
of us should be courageous in defense of the Faith, of Our Lord,
of the Holy Catholic Church, the source of our honor and our glory.
The chapter had a second important function. It was our duty to
choose a Vicar General for Archbishop Lefebvre.
were wrong to announce as they did that Archbishop Lefebvre is
giving up his role as Superior of the Fraternity. But the increase
of the work that Providence has granted us demands a great deal
more effort. It is therefore urgent that a Vicar General, with
right of succession, should be at the side of our Founder to help
him. Father Franz Schmidberger was unanimously elected to this
He will therefore be Vicar General of the Society for twelve years
(or more, if God wills). He will succeed Archbishop Lefebvre as
after his election, on September 14, 1982, Father Schmidberger
stated that it would be his policy to keep the Priestly Society
of St. Pius X faithful to the spirit of His Grace, i.e., on three
basic points, namely: defense of the integrity of the Faith, safeguarding
the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and furthering the social reign
of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
to introduce Father Schmidberger to you. He was born on 19 October
1946, in Goppingen, Upper Swabia (Germany), in the valley of the
Danube, in a family of farmers staunchly devoted to Catholic tradition.
His secondary education took place in public schools, ending in
1966 with the diploma (equivalent to the French baccalaureate).
This was followed by master's degrees in mathematics and philosophy.
entered the seminary at Econe, where he was ordained a priest
on 8 December 1975. He taught at the seminary in Weissbad (German
Switzerland) and served as its director when it moved to Zaitzkofen
(Bavaria, West Germany). In 1979 he became superior of the District
of Germany and second assistant to Archbishop Lefebvre, a role
which gave him a share in important decisions concerning the Society.
a native German, Father Schmidberger speaks fluent French and
English. He is friendly and outgoing in manner, and has the gift
of using his authority in a way that is both firm and gentle,
and in this way he wins the respect of his colleagues.
of the directors of Fideliter and for myself personally,
I am delighted to extend to Father Schmidberger sincerest good
wishes for success in his new office, and assure him of our most
Fideliter, No. 29, Septexiiber/Ocaoher 1982.