Letter from Ireland
Pius X House
12, Tivoh Terrace South
Dun Laoghaire, County Dublin
years, the Superiors and the senior members of the Society of
St. Pius X gather in General Chapter to elect the Superior General
and his two Assistants. The mandate of Bishop Bernard Fellay coming
to an end, forty of us are expected on July 3rd at
the seminary of Ecône, Switzerland, to proceed to the election.
the Chapter take place? I will give you some details, essentially
taken from the article written by Michel Beaumont for the latest
issue of the magazine Fideliter, of the SSPX in France,
and from the official Rules of the General Chapter.
Chapter is composed by priests designated by their office or by
their seniority. In virtue of their office are summoned to the
Chapter the standing Superior General and two Assistants, the
bishops who are members of the Society, the previous Generals,
the General Secretary and Bursar, and the 25 Major Superiors (Districts,
Seminaries, and Autonomous Houses). The senior priests who have
no charge of superiors, in the proportion of one third of the
members by office, are the remaining part of the Chapter; in 2006
they are the priests who entered the Society between 1971 and
1974. This time we will be 30 capitulants by office and 10 by
of the Chapter members is 66 years old, the youngest only 32!
The senior priest was ordained in 1972, the youngest in 2001.
The nationalities of the capitulants represent 11 countries: France,
Germany, Austria, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Australia,
South Africa, Argentina, Canada, and the United States of America.
for the Chapter, all the priests members of the Society are asked
to present in writing their suggestions of points to be discussed
by the capitulants. Meanwhile, the General House prepares both
the matters to treat and the detailed administrative reports of
the completed twelve-year mandate. Prayers are said every day
in our houses until the conclusion of the Chapter.
is preceded by a retreat of five days, in complete silence. Two
days of conviviality and informal meetings allow the capitulants
to prepare for the solemn inauguration of the Chapter, which includes
the reading of the Rules of the Chapter, the verification of the
credentials of the members, the calling of each one of the capitulants,
and the double oath of secrecy and of voting for whom one considers
before God that must be elected.
of the Chapter are selected to act as secretaries, scrutineers,
and notaries, and the exiting Superior General presents the reports
of his mandate. Then the new Superior is elected by secret ballot,
at least 2/3 of the votes. He must be a member priest, of at least
30 years of age, having made his permanent engagement in the Society.
a reelection or even the election of a bishop for this charge;
it is false that our Constitutions forbid it, and it is equally
false that Archbishop Lefebvre did not want a bishop as Superior
General -he saw it convenient in 1988 not to consecrate bishop
the Superior General, to avoid complications in our relations
with the Holy See at that sensitive time.
new Superior and his two Assistants have been canonically elected,
an announcement is made to all the houses of the Society and friendly
Chapter continues under the presidency of the new Superior General.
Commissions are established to audit the accounts, to discuss
the different issues at hand, to prepare reports and make proposals
to the Chapter, which pronounces the pertinent resolutions. These
meetings take a number of days until the conclusion of the Chapter.
As you can
infer from this information, July will be a very important month
in the life of the Society and in the future of our apostolate.
We ask for your fervent prayers, certain that whoever is elected
will be received as a gift from God, to guide and protect our
priestly family in these extraordinary times.