Newsletter of the District of Asia

 Jan - June 2006

About the Third General Chapter of the
Society of St Pius X

July 2006

A Letter from Ireland

St. Pius X House
12, Tivoh Terrace South
Dun Laoghaire, County Dublin

May 2006

Dear Friends and Benefactors,

Every twelve 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.

How does 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.

The General 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 seniority.

The oldest 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.

In preparation 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.

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.

The officers 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.

Nothing prevents 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.

Once the new Superior and his two Assistants have been canonically elected, an announcement is made to all the houses of the Society and friendly religious communities.

Then the 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.


Fr. Ramon Angles
SSPX Superior for Ireland


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