Apologia pro Marcel Lefebvre
Volume 3, Chapter LXXI

The First General Chapter

13 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.

During these 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.

The media 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 post.
He will therefore be Vicar General of the Society for twelve years (or more, if God wills). He will succeed Archbishop Lefebvre as need arises.

Immediately 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.

Permit me 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.

Then he 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.

Although 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.

On behalf 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 devoted prayers.

Father Paul Aulagnier

1. Fideliter, No. 29, Septexiiber/Ocaoher 1982.

Chapter 70

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