SSPX Districter Superior of Germany sends video thanks to Benedict XVI

On you will find a story, in German, about a video from the former superior of the SSPX Fr. Schmidberger thanking the Holy Father for the lifting of the excommunications of the four SSPX bishop.  Fr. Schmidberger is now the SSPX District Superior in Germany/

He expressed regret for the controversy surrounding SSPX bp. Williamson.

He expressed a positive opinion about the beginning of the theological discussions between the SSPX and the Holy See.

He said that the SSPX, with its structures in place around the world, could be very helpful in forming Christians according to the mind of the Church, if only some bishops would support them.

Das Fazit des Distriktoberen: „Falls ein Teil der Bischöfe sich dazu versteht, unser Werk zu unterstützen, und falls die Gläubigen noch vermehrt und tatkräftiger als bisher uns helfen, so kann die Kirche an Haupt und Gliedern erneuert werden und eine Christenheit aufgebaut werden, wie sie die Kirche immer gewünscht hat.“ 

If I were a bishop of a place where the SSPX was active, I would do my best to reach out to them.

I will never be a bishop, thanks be to God, but I hope some bishops reading this might open their hearts and consider what our Holy Father is trying to accomplish, the dangers of our age, and the desire of the Lord that we be one.

I am sure that the great majority of the men in the SSPX are very good and love the Church.  They would, without question, much rather be in union with Rome and the local bishop. 

So much potential… such difficult times.


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  1. sea the stars says:

    Sadly I don’t expect much quarter given from the German bishops. Father Schmidberger famously opposed the Chairman of the German Bishops Conference and Archbishop of Freiburg Robert +Zollitsch, last year when the bishop appeared to deny the Atonement of Christ on German television (making it sound like Christ died as a mere act of solidarity with us). When the German bishops speak about the SSPX it is always negative.

    That said, there has been an enormous increase in Germany in the number of TLM locations since the issuing of Summum Pontificorum.

  2. Bornacatholic says:

    You know, Fr., you were WAY ahead of me on this reconciliation. In fact, I was opposed to it. I could not be any happier to admit that you were, as you are in so many other instances, right where others (especially me) were wrong.

    Now, if I could only figure out a way to become a fly so I could hide in the curtains the first time an SSPX Priest showed-up at a meeting of some Deanery.

  3. Florian says:

    Please, FatherZ, don’t quote from This webpage is everything – but not catholic.

    There are writing some people you’d be ashamed of if someone would refer to you and those writers both as catholics.

    They are totally anti jewish as well as they tend to think that the popes after John XXIII are the antichrists and that at the moment there is no legitimated pope at all…

    I’m not the person to tell you which webpages you have to qoute and which not, of course not, but as a German catholic I think I can say that is not reputable at all.

    Best wishes from Germany,

    [So.. are you claiming that Fr. Schmidberger did not, in fact, send a message to Pope Benedict? This story is not accurate because it is from]

  4. jlmorrell says:

    I don’t know anything about the website, but these are the kinds of statements members of the SSPX need to be making – very encouraging.

  5. Maltese says:

    *I am sure that the great majority of the men in the SSPX are very good and love the Church. They would, without question, much rather be in union with Rome and the local bishop.*

    Yes, but this is hard–nay, impossible–in many places (Los Angeles and Santa Fe come immediately to mind). Some Bishops love media attention, the “good” life, power and prestige, but when it comes to the “hard” things, they are cowards. If Christ said to them, “sell your possessions, and follow me,” I have no doubt they would reject Christ.

  6. DetJohn says:

    I too hope that more Bishops reach out to the SSPX and lapsed Catholics.

    Bishops need to fight for the souls of those who have left the church for the SSPX, I believe that most Lay SSPXers are there for the form of the mass and not for theological reasons.

    If we can welcome the Anglicans, we sure can fight for the those that have lapsed or gone over to the SSPX.

    I believe that a regularly scheduled TLM, well advertized, at a decent time and at a central location could go along way in achieving this.

    To those Bishops that are not warm to the TLM/EF, I say since the TLM is an authorized form of liturgical worship please get with the program and make it available ASAP. You will also be their Bishop. Those attending TLM would appreciate you more than you think and they would be among your most loyal faithful.

    I pray everyday for the reunion of the SSPX and the Holy See.

  7. kgurries says:

    It’s really good to hear SSPX voices speaking out with hope regarding the doctrinal discussions. It need not be viewed as confrontational or as if one side must “convert” the other. Hopefully, the necessary [clarifications] will be given opening the way for unity.

  8. Mike says:

    I am a little concerned that SSPX, while GREAT on many things, might be a tad clerical to do much to influence our overly secularized world. Yes, their devotion to Tradition and Liturgy is impressive, and needed. But we also need people who are ready to reach out to the modern world, and bring Christ. Are they up for that?

  9. Kevin Ryan says:

    There are a great number of clergy in the SSPX who are capable of speaking to the modern world, Bishop Williamson in particular, but there are many within the SSPX who wish for him to be silent so as not to be controversial. What they don’t realize is that the Truth is uncomfortable and controversial to the world.

  10. Sheer idiocy is also uncomfortable and controversial. It’s always important, therefore, to check your proportions of Truth to Idiocy, and not to feel self-righteous just because the world finds you uncomfortable.

    And of course, St. Augustine said that Christians making Christianity sound like idiocy to pagans, because they insisted on yapping away on topics about which they knew nothing, were not doing Christ Jesus any favors. The damage done even by a humble nobody like myself, in such cases, is probably higher than we know.

    I’m sure Bishop Williamson has many worthy qualities; but he likes to talk about subjects he doesn’t understand as much as Joe Biden does. They ought to sit together on adjacent barstools, and the rest of us ought to tiptoe out and leave them with each other for the next ten years or so.

  11. Jack Hughes says:

    I’m sure Bishop Williamson has many worthy qualities; but he likes to talk about subjects he doesn’t understand as much as Joe Biden does. They ought to sit together on adjacent barstools

    Not a bad idea the vice prez could be said to mis-understand certain teachings of the Church and is in need of correction, and Father, you’d make a wonderful Bishop – no suckup intended

  12. Mike says:

    suburbanbanshee…I agree.

  13. MrsHall says:

    When we were investigating Catholicism our friend’s brother, an SSPX priest, sat with us for hours and answered tons of questions. He was not overly “clerical.” He did conduct himself as a priest, and not “one of the guys,” but that did not put us off in the least.

  14. Maltese says:

    Mrs. Hall: “[O]ur friend’s brother, an SSPX priest, sat with us for hours and answered tons of questions…”

    It’s like spinning wheels, isn’t it? Either you ‘get’ it or you don’t with respect to Catholicism; and, more deeply, with respect to Traditional Catholicism.

    I meet an impregnable-wall every time I broach the subject of even Christ with my father. He’s very intelligent, I give him that, but he literally hates Christianity at times.

    I didn’t used to believe in family sins or curses, but my dad’s father was very high in the Masons, and his father was too, and so on.

    My mother on the other-hand, is a living saint, and her mother (my grandmother) recently became a Catholic at 84.

    But I really can’t explain my father’s revulsion at Christianity (not just Catholicism, but Christianity itself) except for his/my family history of Masonic indifference to Christ.

    My point in all of this, to address Mrs. Hall’s point, is that you can proselytize all you want to certain people but you will be greeted by an everlasting impenetrable-wall into their soul.

    Here’s my question: Is example or proselytizing more effective in garnering souls for Christ?

    St. Paul was a great example of a fire-brand proselytizer, but Christ and certain saints also garnered converts through example.

    So, my earnest question is just this (with respect to my father) what is the best way to bring him to Christ?

  15. Marius2k4 says:

    Father, why is it that you believe you will not be made a Bishop? [It will never happen, and that is fine with me.]

    I personally wish that all Bishops were as orthodox and competent as you, and pray that you, and the likes of you, shall soon make up the bulk of the world’s Catholic episcopacy.

    Orthodoxy, resolve, and the fullness of Holy Orders… That would be a formidable man.

    May God bless you, Father, and I do pray that you one day are awarded such an honor, if such a burden.

  16. Maltese: I am from a family of non-Catholics; both sides. But my great-grandma on my Dad’s side was a good old German Catholic. She now has a great-grandson who is a priest and religious; she also has other descendants who are Catholic (there are Catholics in this line in every generation…go figure).
    I can’t explain it; I don’t understand it. But Great-Grandma has these Catholic descendants and for whatever reason, they are serving God.
    The other side of my family must be Catholic, also; just lost in the Appalachians; good old Irish stock. Have no idea what happened there.
    Just keep praying, being a good example, and hope in the Lord. He is Everything.

  17. Central Valley says:

    Fr. Z,

    Have faith and never say never. [Believe me, this will never happen.] The diocese of Fresno is opening up in a few years and you would be the perfect man to come in and clean up the mess. Many readers of this blog pray for you and for men of your calibre to become bishops. The faithful suffer greatly from poor, limp wristed leadership in the Unite States.

  18. fateagk says:

    DetJohn said: I too hope that more Bishops reach out to the SSPX and lapsed Catholics…
    I believe that most Lay SSPXers are there for the form of the mass and not for theological reasons…
    If we can welcome the Anglicans, we sure can fight for the those that have lapsed or gone over to the SSPX…
    I believe that a regularly scheduled TLM, well advertized, at a decent time and at a central location could go along way in achieving this.


    I strongly disagree with this. I wouldn’t even think of including them in the same sentence as “lapsed” Catholics. I don’t want to downplay their current situation with respect to a full visible communion, but they are not Catholics who decided to quit practicing their faith like lapsed Catholics. The majority of them are well educated in the faith and very devout people.

    I also don’t think the average diocesan TLM would do much of anything to help this. I think the differences over the Mass are theological for them – i.e. how the Novus Ordo has been implemented in many parishes demonstrates a fundamental shift in the underlying theology of the Mass of those who have implemented it at the parish. When the parish is where the rubber meets the road in the Church, they take that to mean that somehow the Church has changed its teachings in this way.

    I think things are much deeper than just needing a local TLM to attend.

  19. MikeJ9919 says:

    With respect, fateagk, they did decide to “quit practicing their faith” in one very important way…obedience to the Vicar of Christ. While they are perhaps not “lapsed Catholics”, they are certainly “cafeteria Catholics.” Just as “cafeteria Catholics” pick and choose which teachings of the Church they believe or obey, so does the SSPX.

    The SSPX does have real, legitimate concerns, but the way to voice those concerns remains the same as it has always been…discussion and even respectful debate within the Church. But when that fails, the desire to be vindicated must yield to obedience to the Successors of Peter and the Apostles, the duly appointed Shepherds of the Church. We must trust in God’s promise that the Church would survive. And though Father Z has stated (correctly) that God did not promise that a particular Church would survive, God HAS promised that the earthly guarantor of the Church’s survival would be the Pope. Not Marcel Lefebvre.

  20. Agnes says:

    It echoes the larger picture of Orthodox and Catholic unity. The Church needs to breathe with both lungs. The Church is ever ancient, ever new. The OF and the EF uphold and inform the other – we need the SSPX and they need Rome. Much prayer for these discussions and for Holy Father Benedict – Pope of Christian Unity.

  21. Agnes says:

    Fr. Z, I’m glad you’re not a bishop. [You are not alone! o{];¬) ] I wouldn’t wish that job on anyone!

  22. bookworm says:

    “I will never be a bishop, thanks be to God”

    Darn, I was hoping Springfield would get you… just kidding Father :-) I wouldn’t wish that job on anyone either. Bp. Lucas was just getting started cleaning up the mess his predecessor left, and much remains to be done.

    I know some people credit the SSPX with “preserving” the TLM from total extinction, but if that’s the case, it’s more an example of God writing straight with crooked lines or bringing good out of the evil of schism/rebellion. Much like the “good fruits” of conversion, prayer, fasting, repentance, vocations, etc. that result from highly questionable apparitions like Medjugorje. My gut feeling is that eventually MOST SSPX adherents will return to Rome but there will always be some holdouts.

    I’d sure love to see the “two lungs” of the Church reunited someday also, though probably not likely to happen in my lifetime. I’d personally choose a Byzantine/Eastern Rite Divine Liturgy over an NO or even an EF Mass if one were available where I live. If an Orthodox Divine Liturgy “counted” for the Sunday obligation, I’d probably be there most of the time.

  23. fateagk says:


    It was not my intent to defend their position or downplay how serious the situation is. My point was that this is more than just an issue of people being disengaged in the issues and the matters of faith but simply looking for a TLM, as was implied in the comment I was responding to.

    There is a difference between them and “lapsed” catholics who don’t practice the faith at all. The latter could arguably care less about their faith. Those from SSPX chapels that i have met care very much about matters of faith, that of the Catholic faith we share. However, they are misguided in that they believe the disobedience is justified by what they see as a continued state of crisis within the Church – that it is more important to practice and defend Tradition than to be visibly within the Church. This is no small error on their part, but one that is arrived at from a very different trajectory than that of a lapsed Catholic.

  24. Jeff says:

    As someone who attends one of the SSPX Chapels here in Australia, I can tell you that the reason I ended up here was a serious question for me and as head of a family something I spent a lot of time investagating before making the decision. This was about eight years ago before the many of the statements from Rome regarding there posistion in the Church. I have seen many of the things that they were saying which were vigorously opposed by conservatives now become mainstream positions ie the Old Mass was never abrogated, the conscrations of the Bishops did not make them schismatic etc.

    I have used to travel a long way to get to the indult mass before going to the SSPX and I can tell you all that the reason I made the move was the provision of a Traditional Catholic school, Solid Catholic families, Complete Orthodoxy in moral and doctrinal matters and a serious concern for the salvation of the Children God’s has entrusted to my care.

    We have nine children and eight of them are boys, I pray God will bless us with priestly vocations and I believe that in my case God has blessed this course of action.

    I don’t consider myself a mindless drone following a SSPX guru but a informed Catholic working out my salvation in fear and trembling like many Catholics the world over.

    They preach the faith in season and out of season, and I hope all of you can add the successful resolution of the these talks to your prayer intentions.

  25. ssoldie says:

    The wonderful Catholics of the FSSPX are very divout Catholics and love and live thier traditional Catholic Faith, as was Archbishop Marcel Lefevbre, along with his family, did you know that of the 8 Lefevbre children, 5 entered the religious life. Do you know that Marcel’s father died in a German concentration camp, and about the Archbishop’s great missionary work in Africa. Do you really know of his great love for the Church and the many souls that are in it. Maybe some should read more about this humble servent of God and not be too quick to use the word ‘lapsed’. At incensing at High Mass of the alter, Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth, and a door around my lips. May my heart not incline to evil words to make excuses for sins.

  26. JP Borberg says:

    I’m with Jeff on this one.

    The reason I’m a member of a SSPX parish is theological, not liturgical. I would like to belong to a parish where the fundamental doctrines of the faith were taught rather than questioned, and where everyone is encouraged to live their according to their faith.

    I’d also like my kids to attend a Catholic school that will help form them to be Catholic. For some reason most of the students lapse as soon as they leave the diocesan one.

    So if it weren’t for the SSPX I’d be out of luck.

    I’m not a cafeteria Catholic, but the Church has gotten to such a state that we’re forced to make a choice between two imperfect alternatives. The reason I chose the SSPX is that they’re the more obviously Catholic. With the Rome/SSPX discussions going well by all accounts (and B16 working his magic on the Church at large, bless him) this mightn’t be an issue for much longer.

    In the meantime, I have no intention to be schismatic, imao the canonical issue is a squabble between priests. An important squabble, but one that’s well over my head. I’m just being Catholic as best as I can, and trying to bring my kids up to be so too.

  27. JP Borberg says:

    I should have said “the Church AROUND HERE has gotten to such a state…”

    I’ll state explicitly that I’m NOT saying only the SSPX are real Catholics. I’m fully in favour of the Holy Father and what he’s trying to do with the Church at large, and am please that he has so much support from both priests and laity (on the internet, at lest).

    However, I strongly disagree with those who maintain that the SSPX make bad Catholics. In my experience, this is simply not true.

  28. Kate says:


    Nazareth priest gave you great advice. Don’t fall into the trap of “everlasting impenetrable-wall into their soul”. Have Masses said for your father. “Fast and pray” is the best advice, and since the Mass is the highest form of prayer, it is in our best interest to have Masses offered for our loved ones, both living and deceased.

    Even if your father’s conversion comes at the very last moment of your life and you are not able to savor the satisfaction of “saving” your father, his eternal salvation in Christ will be an everlasting joy to you – even if you are only absolutely sure of it when you (hopefully!) get to have yourself. Have faith, keep praying, and remember, Christ saves!

  29. MichaelJ says:


    Given that Rome has officially sanctioned (albeit with many cautions and caveats) attendance at an SSPX Mass, just how exactly did “they” (the laity, at least) “pick and choose which teachings of the Church they believe or obey”?

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