New rector for SSPX seminary in Argentina

I got this from Rorate:

Local sources in Argentina confirm that Bishop Alfonso de Galarreta, one of the four bishops of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X, will run the Seminary of Our Lady Co-Redemptrix in La Reja, Province of Buenos Aires – at least temporarily, as a "Visitator".

The news has also been posted in the website of the excellent Argentinian Catholic publication Panorama Católico Internacional.

The whole "visitor" is sort of amusing.  I sounds as if there is authority behind it.

Still… they must move forward.

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  1. Michael says:

    If true, it might be a blessing. This is the only of the four who doesn’t seem extremist; having come from the traditionally Catholic Country. Others are haevily influenced by the Protestant, or worse than Protestant, environments in which they have been brought up.

    One of them is supposed to be a “convert”. Council of Nicea: “Many things have been done against the ecclesiastical rule, either out of necessity or under pressure from men. Thus men acceording to the faith of the life of the gentiles… are promoted to the episcopate…It has seemed best that nothing of the sort be done hereafter. For catechesis requires time and after baptism a long probation is needed.” Then follows the quote of 1 Tim. 3,6-7: “he must not be a recent convert, or he may be puffed up with conceit and fall into condemnation and the snare of the devil.”

  2. LA says:

    Bishop Williamson became a Catholic in 1971. He became a bishop in 1988. That’s 16 years – not a “recent convert”.

  3. LA says:

    …make that 17 years!

  4. Victor says:

    The name of Augustine of Hippo comes into mind – how long was he baptized when he became a bishop? [Or St. Ambrose! Think of what St. Jerome quipped: “Heri catechumenus, hodie pontifex“]

  5. Rp says:

    Compare and contrast: st augustine of hippo and williamson of england!

  6. It hit me with just how urgent this is that the SSPX reconcile fully with Rome.

    They are effectively down to three bishops with Williamson having put himself out of commission.

    While any of us can be called to our final judgment at any time, with age, we all know this increases.

    Pray fervently, for the good of these men, and their followers, that these lambs will be completely home, soon.

  7. Dan says:

    Please Holy Father, give the FSSPX faculties, very soon,

    Souls are depending on you.

  8. Chris says:

    Michael: This is the only of the four who doesn’t seem extremist …

    And you base the extremism of the others on what may I ask?

  9. Tim Ferguson says:

    Please SSPX bishops, submit to the authority of the Holy Father, very soon,

    Souls are depending on you.

  10. Dell says:

    I do beleive there is true and real Authority behing it. That of JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF. So sorry to have to disagree with Your Reverence. [No problem, though your observation is very odd. Christ established a Church and gave His authority to those whom He established in due order. Just saying “Jesus wants this”, when it is entirely against the proper order of the Church’s established hierarchy, is wrong-headed.]

  11. Tomas says:

    Interesting verse there Michael.
    I think it may go a long way
    towards explaining the path of
    frustration followed by Matatics
    under JP2 and the current trajectory
    of Shea under B16

    Cradle Catholics are sometimes quick
    to hurl the epithet: papalotry at
    these folks but perhaps, short of
    tradition, it’s the only thing
    keeping them from going off the deep
    end. God knows, they’re usually more
    loyal to the Holy Father than the
    local Ordinary.

    Thanks again for the quote

  12. Tomas says:


    The thing that converts AND cradle Catholics (traddies, etc) have to all keep in mind is that the Church is an Institution founded by Christ FOR THE SALVATION OF SOULS.

    It is NOT some movement for us to put our own individual stamp on.

  13. Ottaviani says:

    Others are haevily influenced by the Protestant, or worse than Protestant, environments in which they have been brought up.

    Fellay and de Mallerais were also raised as Catholics. They were hardly out of diapers when the council was called by John XXIII.

  14. I think de Galarreta is the only real choice to hold things together down there at this point. According to an Argentine friend, most people have sided with Williamson and are not too happy with the SSPX superiors right now. Since de Galarreta is the “hometown boy” (he kind of reminds me of Carlos Gardel sans voice), he will at least keep the peace for the time being.

  15. Gil says:

    Please Vatican II go away! [Wow! That’s really helpful!]

  16. Father,

    The word “visitor” is one that has been used
    in the Church for centuries to describe
    men with authority over an Order or seminary. [Yes, I know.]

    For example, the Brothers of the Christian Schools
    (Christian Brothers) called their superior general
    “visitator” and not brother general.

    The term “apostolic visitor” is used by the Holy See
    to designate a man that has been sent on a diplomatic
    mission to a Catholic country. He does not
    have the authority of a Papal nuncio. Pope John
    XXIII (Angelo Roncalli) was Apostolic Visitor
    to Bulgaria early in his career for example.

  17. Tomas says:

    I would say precisely the opposite of Michael (1st post on this thread): the SSPX has always refused to participate in the great Protestantizing Revolution (or was that the French Revolution?) in the Church since the Council. And for that they are labeled “extremist” and pilloried.

  18. prof. basto says:

    “The term “apostolic visitor” is used by the Holy See
    to designate a man that has been sent on a diplomatic
    mission to a Catholic country. He does not
    have the authority of a Papal nuncio. Pope John
    XXIII (Angelo Roncalli) was Apostolic Visitor
    to Bulgaria early in his career for example.”

    That is not correct. Angelo Roncalli was Apostolic Delegate, which is something else, different from Apostolic Nuncio and Apostolic Visitor.

    – Apostolic Visitor

    An Apostolic Visitor is not a diplomat. He is a kind of inspector, who is sent by the Pope somewhere to perform an inspection/inquiry/inquistion about something and to present a report.

    There are other kinds of canonical visitation (e.g. a visitation by a representative of the Diocesan Bishop, or by a representative of a Major Superior of an Order, but an Apostolic Visitation is one performed by a representative of the Holy See).

    The Visitor may be given additional jurisdictional powers for his visitation, in additional to the basic mandate of inquiry and report (visitors are often sent to somewhere because there is a problem in that place; thus, Visitors may be given authority to rein in the abuses; impose sanctions on offenders, or even assume temporary administration). Other Vatican diplomats of lesser status are a pro-nuncio, an internuncio, etc, but only the full Nuncio has the same diplomatic status as an Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary. Many Nations (usually those that have a mostly Catholic population) recognize the Papal Nuncio as ex officio head of the Diplomatic Corps in that nation.

    – Apostolic Nuncio

    A diplomatic officer who represents the Pope both before the Government of a Nation and before the Catholic Episcopate, Clergy and People of that Nation. He has both diplomatic functions before the State to which he is sent and certain ecclesiastical functions/powers vis a vis the Episcopate of the nation to which he is sent (for instance, he plays a role in the selection of candidates for appointment as Bishops; he transmits instructions sent by the Holy See to the Episcopal Conference or to individual Bishops, etc.).
    As a diplomatic officer accredited before a State, the Apostolic Nuncio heads the diplomatic mission of the Holy See in that country, and is the equivalent of an Ambassador under international law.

    – Apostolic Delegate

    An Apostolic Delegate is a papal representative sent to a state that does not have Diplomatic relations with the Holy See. Hence, an Apostolic Delegate is not a diplomatic officer, and does not have the same status under international laws. Yet, he performs the same intra-ecclesiastical role that an Apostolic Nuncio would perform vis a vis the Catholic Church in that nation (relations with the Episcopate and the Episcopal Conference; selection of candidates for episcopal offices, transmission of instructions from Rome to the local clergy, etc.). He is the Pope’s representative to the local Episcopate, but not to the State, because the state and the Holy See does not have diplomatic relations.

  19. prof. basto says:

    Of course the sentences: “Other Vatican diplomats of lesser status are a pro-nuncio, an internuncio, etc, but only the full Nuncio has the same diplomatic status as an Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary. Many Nations (usually those that have a mostly Catholic population) recognize the Papal Nuncio as ex officio head of the Diplomatic Corps in that nation.” should have been included under the head “Apostolic Nuncio”

  20. Mark says:

    I think that the discussion on the relative merits of “Cradle Catholics” vs “Catholic Converts” has little intrinsic value to it. I would say that the spiritual and intellectual intensity of one’s religion depends on a large number of factors. It seems to me it would be very difficult to come up with a formula to predict one’s piety, based solely, or largely, on how one became Catholic.

    On the other hand, to contradict myself, I could say that the balance of the scales may tip towards the “Catholic Converts”, since by definition they went thru an often rigorous conversion process, which “Cradle Catholics” did not. But to contradict this, there are also numerous examples of “Cradle Catholic” saints of great spiritual intensity, who did not go thru this conversion process. But the same can be said of “Catholic Convert” saints as well, who did go thru this conversion process.

    I could go on like this in circles for a long time…

  21. Dan says:

    “Please SSPX bishops, submit to the authority of the Holy Father”


    They do. [No. They don’t. And this rabbit hole is now closed.]

  22. TJM says:

    I wish the SSPX all the best. I hope that eventually Rome and SSPX can reach agreement. I am not as familiar with them as some as you, but they sound, at least liturgically, to be one with Rome. Tom

  23. veritas says:

    Does anybody teach modern history at the seminary? One hopes that it is for a change someone with some knowledge of the subject.

  24. Brian says:

    Their seminary is called “Our Lady Co-Redemptrix”. I don’t believe that such a title has been officially defined. Is the SPPX trying to make a doctrinal statement? [A real Visitor might start with that point!]
    When people say that the SPPX is trying to re-enact a golden age that never was, things like this provide ammunition. By naming a seminary “Co-Redemptrix”, aren’t they being more ‘progressive’ than traditional?

  25. Dan says:

    We need to pray for His Excellency Bishop Gallarata.

  26. Roland de Chanson says:

    Regarding the name of the seminary, I had the same reaction as Brian. Despite JP2’s explicit use of the term “co-redemptrix”, this is not a dogma. The nomenclature is misleading in the extreme. Should this be defined as a dogma some day, infallibly ex cathedra, there will be one more stumbling block to reunification with the Orthodox. The “Immaculate” Conception and the Assumption vs Dormition distinctions already are impediments that make the filioque look like an academic exercise is semantics.

    Svjat, svjat, svjat jesi, Bozhe, Bogoroditseju pomiluj nas.

    [Holy, holy, holy, art thou, O God, through the Theotokos have mercy on us.]

    (Sorry for the poor transliteration of the Russian, but I think the server still mangles UTF-8, though the preview does not.)

  27. Tomas says:


    Your statement is less valid today after 40+ years of chaos. Maintaining the Faith we were raised in is no less rigorous.

  28. Peter says:

    As far as I know, what "Co-redemptrix" means is a solid doctrine, even though not defined as dogma yet. Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical on the rosary"IUCUNDA SEMPER EXPECTATIONE" already adopted the word, "Co-redemptress"in it. Click on here to read the captured text.

  29. Michael says:

    Conversion is not one-off event of being entered on record in a parish registry of “converts”. The constant practice of the Church has always been that of a leniency: everyone who wanted “to be Catholic” was welcome after a minimum preparation. To what extent such a “convert” will be materially Catholic is proportionate to the extent in which he will make his own the doctrine, life and worship of the Church, in a full loyalty to the living Magisterium. Only if one reaches this stage, it is possible to speak of conversion.

    Some do not need much, like Augustine as VICTOR rightly remarks, or Ambrose as FR.Z. adds; some need more than 17 years, some never menage in any real sense.

    On what I “base the extremism of the others (i.e. the three other Bishops of the SSPX)”, you ask. On the fact that, whatever canonical niceties, they are schismatics in the sense that they are not in communion of worship and government with the living Church; and they are doctrinal dissenters in the sense that they do not fully accept the doctrine proposed by the living Magisterium, but insist that their – misconceived, by the way – notion of “tradition” is to be taken as a yardstick by which to measure the conformity of the doctrine proposed by the living Magisterium with what they call “Eternal Rome”.

    I agree that many bishops who are nominally “of good standing” and in “full” communion, if I may use these phrases, with the living Church, are materially less so than the three Bishops of the SSPX. Still, the latter’s bill isn’t clean: they arrogate to themselves the judgement as to whether or not the doctrine of the living Magisterium is or is not in conformity to what they mistakenly call “tradition”.

    Your later comment about “the great Protestantizing Revolution in the Church since the Council” is not the only thing “the SSPX has always refused to participate”: they refuse the Vatican II itself in all those aspects in which that Ecumenical Council doesn’t square with their notion of “tradition” – typical for extremists. It is not the living Tradition that is their Magisterium, but they arrogate that position to themselves.

    I know that “Fellay and de Mallerais were.. raised as Catholics”, but in a Protestant environment and its French equivalent respectively. They have adopted the “Catholic” version of the Protestant Sola Scriptura, i.e. the Sola Traditio. Common to both is rejection of the God given authority of the living Magisterium to interpret both the Scripture and Tradition.

    I agree, in a way, with you, and there are cases in which an individual goes through the “rigorous conversion process”, but even that can be unsatisfactory unless a substantial part of it consists in a rigorous involvement in the live and worship of the Church as far as it is permissible, as well as compatible with his conscience. One cannot really understand the Doctrine by reading books only. And this is where the converts are at a disadvantage: they simply do not have, and can’t have, it “in their blood”.

    In my view – and this doesn’t imply any personal attitude toward the man – this has never been the case with Bishop Williamson, if his words and actions are indicative of his inner self. An enquiry with those who attend the Mass in the SSPX centres might reveal that the majority would consider his election by the Abp. Lefebvre as a mistake. That is certainly the case with myself (and is unrelated to the recent events) and with some others with whom I had an opportunity to address the issue. In point of fact, Bishop Williamson’s writings were one of the factors why I felt in conscience obliged to cease attending the Mass in the SSPX places.

  30. Mark says:


    Good point, in a way we’re all a type of converts. A fatherless generation who had to relearn our Faith, which wasn’t exactly handed on to us in every case;


    Good point as well – when I think of the entire conversion process into the Catholic Church, from start to finish, I assume it also involves a rigorous involvement in the liturgical life, in addition to “reading books only”. As this process unfolds, one logically leads to the other. As far as Catholic Converts not having “it” (liturgy?) in their blood, I think you were thinking of the early “reading books only” stage of this process. Certainly we all have it in our blood, without distinction, once we grasp what a privilege Christ granted us in the Mass.

    As we discuss this, we assume that in this process one first learns about the Faith mainly thru reading (Bible, Catechism, early Church Fathers, Church history, etc), and then progresses into the participation in the Liturgical life of the Church. I wonder if some of us who actually went thru this process, could comment on these assumptions, and dispel any wrong ideas we may have presented. You’re the higher authority on the actual inner workings of the conversion process.

  31. Enough is enough is enough says:

    It might be a good idea if Williamson’s hands were somehow cut off (metaphorically, of course)to prevent him illegally consecrating more bishops. That is the real danger of allowing such a ‘loose cannon’ to continue to roam freely. He could create apostolic chaos by ordaining numerous more splinter groups. [“allow”? The Church doesn’t have any concentration camps. The better option is to work with him and find a reasonable scenario for his quiet retirement.]

  32. Michael says:

    I think both that you are right and that I haven’t made myself clear in my earlier comment addressed to you, which has to be taken in the context of my initial comment, and in what is in my comment to LA.

    The issue is in what sense can one be considered really a convert, as distinct from being merely put on record in a Catholic register of “converts”. I had in mind the Dei Verbum account on transmission of Divine Revelation which says that the Church hands on what she is and what she believes, in her “doctrine, life and worship” (8/1). This is preceded by the God’s self-revelation in Christ (7/1) who communicated to his disciples nor merely a set of propositions, whether articulated directly as proposition, or implied in the worship and life, and then learned and be known: He revealed himself as a person to persons (He “lived among us and we saw his glory”).

    While the Faith does have a propositional content, it is more than that: it is the way or life (morality, organization of the Church, Canon Law, evangelization, missions etc) and worship (in a strict sense of Liturgy, and in private devotions and prayers) which a cradle Catholic begins to pick up before he begins to articulate its implication in the form of propositions, and continues along them. And then the Magisterium, better the living Magisterium, because the past one is a part of tradition, which has to be interpreted, and is authentically interpreted “exclusively” by the living Magisterium (10/2).

    It is a life-long process for everybody to make all this his own, and those who, when adult, have to start from scratch, are in a disadvantageous position compared to those to whom this has been the way of life from childhood.

  33. LeonG says:

    In such times of internal hierarchical division and compromise according to Our Blessed Lady of Akita, who can possibly deny that Our Blessed Lord protects the seminary in Argentina? To place a non-controversial Bishop De Galarreta there is a sensible one. A very large number of NO seminaries have ended in ruin, been closed, overcome by effeminacy or are trying to reform themselves. This is not a recommendation for the post-conciliar church or its leadership. Furthermore, it is a pertinent question in this case what the established the hierarchy of the Our Blessed Lord’s day thought about Jesus Himself and that rather odd looking head John the Baptist.

  34. LeonG says:

    “Pray fervently, for the good of these men, and their followers, that these lambs will be completely home, soon.”

    The good bishops of the SSPX are most probably further home than the likes of the many rebellious NO bishops who thwart Catholic teachings gratuitously at almost every turn; encourage lay people to disobey those teachings and who openly criticise & covertly resist the leadership of The Holy Father over his liturgical policies, for example. This includes those who threatened open schism against Pope John Paul II (RIP) when he suggested he would make necessary concessions to the traditionalists in the 1980s.

  35. Melchior Cano says:

    ” By naming a seminary “Co-Redemptrix”, aren’t they being more ‘progressive’ than traditional?”

    All due respect, but I think this criticism comes from a lack of historical and theological understanding. There were churched names after the Immaculate Conception well before 1854 (the year Pope Bl. Pius IX solemnly defined the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception). There seems to be a misunderstanding of the Pope’s defining a dogma. The whole point is that he doesn’t create it. The point is that he defines what is already held to be part of the deposit of the Faith, and usually defines it at a time when its meaning is becoming unclear or is being attacked from some angle. For goodness’ sakes, people prayed the Rosary before 1950 (the year in which Pope Pius XII defined the Dogma of the Assumption). Are we going to smear all of the Catholics who prayed the Glorious Mysteries before 1950 as progressives? And, by this standard, we should really avoid Pope Benedict XV as a modernist, given his statement in Inter Soldalica, “As the Blessed Virgin Mary does not seem to participate in the public life of Jesus Christ, and then, suddenly appears at the stations of his cross, she is not there without divine intention. She suffers with her suffering and dying son, almost as if she would have died herself. For the salvation of mankind, she gave up her rights as the mother of her son and sacrificed him for the reconciliation of divine justice, as far as she was permitted to do. Therefore, one can say, she redeemed with Christ the human race.” I think that clarifies the issue sufficiently.

    In Our Lady, Co-Redemptrix,

    Melchior Cano

  36. dell says:

    Well said Melchior Cano.

    This truth was believed and taught by the Apostles from time immemorial.
    Our Lady Co-Redemptrix. Pray for us.

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