Will SSPX Bp. Williamson be expelled?

From CWN:

The controversial Bishop Richard Williamson may soon be dismissed from the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), according to a leading Vatican journalist.

Citing a report on the German internet site Kreuz.net, Andrea Tornielli of La Stampa says that Bishop Williamson could be expelled from the SSPX for continued acts of disobedience. In defiance of SSPX statutes, Bishop Williamson recently traveled to Brazil to administer the sacrament of Confirmation without approval from his superiors in the society. He has also continued to produce a newsletter, in defiance of orders from Bishop Bernard Fellay, the SSPX leader.

Bishop Williamson has caused headaches for the SSPX and for the Vatican with his public statements, especially his statements questioning the severity of the Holocaust. He has also been an outspoken opponent of efforts to reconcile the SSPX with the Holy See.

If he is dismissed from the SSPX, Bishop Williamson would almost certainly take some priests and lay people with him, forming a separate organization. [Since the Society of Pius V is taken already, perhaps Pius 2.5 might work.] Such a development could complicate Vatican discussions with the traditionalist group. On the other hand, such a rift could mean the departure from the SSPX of the most vociferous opponents of accommodation with the Vatican, leaving the remaining group closer to reconciliation.


Sad business.

Pray for the complete reunification of the SSPX with the Bishop of Rome.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. cdnpriest says:

    Fr. Z wrote: [Since the Society of Pius V is taken already, perhaps Pius 2.5 might work.]

    I laughed and laughed when I read that, Father! You made my day! But shouldn’t that be in Roman numerals? Pius II.V

    What would the abbreviation of the new group be? Perhaps the SSPII.V
    (abbreviation pronounced: Ess Ess Pee Too Point Vee)

    It has a somewhat catchy ring to it, don’t you think? :)

  2. Volanges says:

    Pius V.2?

  3. Rich says:

    Forget about what the new society will be called, the bishop himself will now become Pope Pius XIII (but a vague recollection tells me that, too, is already taken…)

  4. mamajen says:

    Oh, how ironic. I am by no means a supporter of Williamson, but it’s pretty rich that SSPX are dismissing him for confirming people without permission while they run around ordaining, confirming, marrying, etc. without Vatican approval.

  5. Trad Dad says:

    Have to agree Father — prayer , prayer & more prayer . Maybe even a little fasting to support all concerned .
    Pax et bonum .
    From Our Lady`s Land of the Southern Cross .

  6. norancor says:

    The Priestly Society of Saint Pius the Great, or FSSPG.

  7. Margaret says:

    I think Pius ? would be most appropriate– besides the alliteration, it’s an irrational number…

  8. Margaret says:

    Grrr… The pi symbol I just pasted in there has vanished. Pius Pi. Pius Pi. Way to kill the joke, wordpress…

  9. Dubya Ay-See says:

    [Since the Society of Pius V is taken already, perhaps Pius 2.5 might work.]

    Since these are really Protestants posing as Catholics, for all intents and purposes, they will be prone to many, many more schisms. And the schisms seems to halve their antecedent’s patronal/regnal numeration. If they continue their numbering according to your suggestion, Xeno’s Paradox will eventually become evident. “The Priestly Society of St. Pius .00025” for example.

  10. truthfinder says:

    Realistically, if things were to go south, and Williamson does take a flock with him if he is expelled, how many people are we looking at?

  11. Dubya Ay-See says:

    truthfinder: It could be a large number of the English-speaking adherents, many of whom see Williamson as the de-facto leader of the English-speaking branch of the SSPX laity. Given the West’s love of Protestant-like rectitudalism, there are many, many in the English-speaking world who might rather be “right” and stick with Williamson than succumb to the temptations of “The Rome of the Council” and its pleas for unification.

    In short, I’d estimate many thousands in North America and Oceania.

  12. Geoffrey says:

    “Oh, how ironic. I am by no means a supporter of Williamson, but it’s pretty rich that SSPX are dismissing him for confirming people without permission while they run around ordaining, confirming, marrying, etc. without Vatican approval.”

    EXACTLY! What I couldn’t believe was the communiqué of the District Superior of the Society for South America: “This procedure has not been respected, which is a serious act against the virtue of obedience, but also an attack upon the most elementary demands of courtesy.”

    How could he write that with a straight face?!

  13. Phil_NL says:

    As for Williamson, if he doesn’t report to the lunatic asylum where he belongs, this might be the only option. And not a minute too soon.

    As for the SSPX, I hope they can see the irony of their position.

    As for the SSP II.V, my money would be that it would in fact be the SSPI, with the latter two initials referring to Peter I. And there has to be little doubt who, in that sad construction, will believe he’s Peter II…

  14. ‘Pius 2.5’ that made me laugh, I enjoyed that! Might it not be SSPX.i? If they follow Irish republican tradition and have ‘the split’ top of the agenda one might expect a whole sequence: .ii, .iii, .iv, etc. There has never been a time in the Church when there has not been some dissident groups of one disobedient or even heretical flavour or another breaking away. They wither eventually. If this must happen so the rest of the SSPX can come into full communion with Peter so be it.

  15. APX says:

    “Hello, Pot? This is Kettle calling. You’re black too.”

  16. Supertradmum says:

    I know some SSPXers who have been embarrassed and stunned by Williamson over the years. An expulsion many be a relief for them as well.

  17. Dismas says:

    Does anyone know if St. Pius X has been officially named patron saint of anything or anyone by the Congregation of the Causes of Saints? If not, perhaps Patron of the incredulous, schismatic and heretical would be fitting and in order?

  18. Supertradmum says:

    Dismas, he is patron of First Communicants and these dioceses: Atlanta, Des Moines, Iowa, Great Falls and Billings, Springfield-Cape Gierardeau, St. Lucija, Malta, Kottoyam, India and Zamboanga, Philippines.

  19. Imrahil says:

    Concerning the Internet Site Who Must Not Be Mentioned (in Fr. Z’s second paragraph), it is one of the ugliest sites that promotes Catholic Christianity, and does so in a flood of abusive language, hate-speech (I mean the real thing and not the politicallycorrect chimera), etc. I wonder that an Andrea Tornielli would cite it… (However, I say nothing about factual accuracy… they may well have it, in things not clearly recognizable as conspiracy theories.)

    Dear @truthfinder, I would guess that the number is very limited, though I must concede to dear @Dubya Ay-See that this guess stems from complete ignorance as far as the English-speaking SSPX is concerned. The SSPX are not Holocaust deniers.

    However, there does exist some grudge in so far the fact is concerned that the secular heresy of Holocaust denial (which is, though secularly, heretical, also according to their opinion) is to be apparently punished with complete dismission from office, and that real heresy, and such-like stuff, seems to be a mere light matter.
    (I leave open whether the latter is the case. I also think that the Holy Father should have made clear that even with knowledge of this crime, the excommunication as punishing something entirely different should have been removed nonetheless, instead of – as he did – saying the contrary… I do think that Bp Williamson should as soon as possible, yesterday would be best, formally tried for incitement-of-hatred and grave breach of good manners can. 1369. But that if I am canonically right is no excommunicable offense.)

  20. Brian2 says:

    Sometimes I used to wonder why JPII didn’t just let Levebrvre have his bishops. Why the negotiations over when and how many to be ordained and so on. Then Williamson opens his mouth, and I understand why.

  21. MarkA says:

    Dismas – Your comment about Saint Pius X being named “perhaps Patron of the incredulous, schismatic and heretical” is despicable.
    The snarkiness of the comments in this thread is incredible, and utterly lack any charity. Although the comment “Pius 2.5” did set a bad example. I’m not defending +Williamson, I just don’t think a lot of these comments are appropriate.

  22. Sarto says:


    I heartily second your thoughts. Not to bring a serious discussion to what, in this comment thread, has turned into snarky mean-spiritedness against our neighbors, but I think we should probably elevate this a bit.

    1. It is completely and totally unfair to pretend that the Society are “protestants.” I realize this is an easy way to explain that you think they are refusing the authority of the Holy See, but let’s be honest: Protestants they’re not. Taking cues from Protestant worship to strip our own worship of most of the sacrificial elements of the Mass? That’s Protestant. Removing anything that could offend our “separated brethren?” That’s Protestant. Insisting upon those things that unite us over those things that separate us? That’s Protestant. The Society is a reaction against the Protestantization of the Church. That this Protestantization has occured, no one here will deny. The only question seems to be: Did the Society react in an improper manner. But let’s stop calling them Prots.

    2. Do any of us here, with our wild mockery, reckless comparisons, etc really reflect the paternal attitude shown by the Holy Father towards the Society? Do you think he was cracking these same jokes? Or perhaps was he pleased that the Society is cleaning up its own house, so that it may be, in the event (God-willing) of a regularization, a more effective tool for the restoration of the Church and a Catholic identity?

    I have often been edified by the comments of many of you here. Today, I am sad to say: I am not at all.

  23. Imrahil says:

    Dear @MarkA and @Sarto,

    I agree completely.

    May I still add a bit of loud thinking, that the origin of such misconceptions lies in the idea that “Catholic is he who obeys the Pope”; itself stemming probably from the understandable reaction against what (for convenience’s sake) is called the liberalizers who do not obey the Pope.

    However, obedience is a duty of the Catholic (this indeed!) among other duties and with limits (the precise place of which is a disputed matter between the SSPX and the Church authorities). It is not a definition of their existence, and should not be treated as such.

    [Also, the argument against those who denial the Mass Sacrifice and want women priests, etc., is not that the Protestants have that already. It is that that is wrong, pure and simply. We do not do a “let everyone have his profile” approach; we do a “let everyone become Catholic and do the right thing” approach.]

    Catholic is he who is baptized, belongs to the Church, has not committed the crimes of apostasy, heresy or schism, and has not been excluded by the Church by means of punishment (acc. to Pius XII), the latter equals to the vitandus excommunication (acc. to Ludwig Ott). The Code of Canon Law itself is witness that the subordination which is indeed included in this is not taken away by mere disobedience – or all crime would be schism.

  24. MarkA says:

    Sarto – Thank you for your thoughtful, Catholic comment. I echo and amplify your articulate comments, especially regarding calling the Society Protestant. Especially today, let us remember why our Lord was “lifted up from the earth, [and] will draw all things to [Him]self”.

    A blessed Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross to all here and especially to you, Sarto.

  25. Dismas says:

    @MarkA – Snarky? Uncharitable? Perhaps your comment is more a reflection on your mind than mine. What is it that you object to, do you not think that the incredulous, schismatic and heretical deserve a patron saint or is that you don’t think Pope St. Pius X should be their patron?

  26. Dismas says:

    Clarification: What is it that you object to, do you not think that the incredulous, schismatic and heretical DON’T deserve a patron saint or is that you don’t think Pope St. Pius X should be their patron?

  27. I wonder whether we can hope that the departure of Bp. Williamson and his followers into Old Catholic style irrelevancy may increase the possibility that the SSPX may yet return to Rome.

  28. MarkA says:

    Dismas – Your comments continue to be deplorable. You may think you’re being very clever and very funny, but your inappropriate comments are a very poor reflection on you. Please stop. You are probably a much better person than your comments reflect.

    I will no longer engage with you on this. God bless you.

  29. moon1234 says:

    You are trying to equate a Saint, a Pope, with people YOU are painting with a broad brush as incredulous, schismatic and heretical. It is terrible that you would denigrate a SAINT. One who God has chosen to be in heaven. A Saint who was a champion of defense of the faith.

    I think blasphemy applies here. I hope you re-examine your posts and see the problems with what your wrote.

  30. Dismas says:

    @MarkA – I wonder if your perception of snarkiness and lack of charity hasn’t been effected by or isn’t rooted in a false post-conciliar, modernistic, ‘spirit of VCII’ mentality? I’m disappointed you choose not to answer my question but continue to deflect with further unfounded accusations.

  31. Sarto says:


    I’m fairly confused by your comments. First you seem to be on the “attack” against the Society; it would seem you are calling them, “incredulous, schismatic and heretical.” If that’s the case, you realize it’s unfair. Rome does not call the Society schismatic any longer, and they’ve never been accused of heresy. It’s possible you could call them incredulous, but I’m not sure exactly why that title would apply. But, I think what MarkA and moon1234 are attempting to say is that jokingly suggesting that Pope St. Pius X be named the Patron of those who fit a list of unseemly, and problematic titles, is, in itself, not the most respectful.

    I think moon1234 is wrong in equating this with blasphemy, but it’s certainly what used to be called “offensive to pious ears.” Using the name of a saint, in a joking manner to get a dig across at a particular group doesn’t seem to be the way that we should “use” the saints.

  32. Jerry says:

    re: MarkA – “The snarkiness of the comments in this thread is incredible, and utterly lack any charity. ”

    Can not the same be said for many of the comments by many different individuals in many different topics in this blog? Charity is not only for those toward whom we feel some sympathy.

  33. McCall1981 says:

    A day or two ago I read that the SSPX District Superior for Asia said that Bishop Fellay had recently said that reconcilliation with Rome would now not happen under this Pope. I didn’t see any mention of this on this site and I’m wondering how reliable this info is. Does anyone know anything about this? Thanks

  34. Dismas says:

    Do not all God’s children, including the incredulous, schismatic and heretical merit a patron? Make no mistake in your judgement of me, I intend no uncharity or joke in suggesting St. Pope Pius X be named their great patron. My intention is to redound to this Saints greatness, not detract from it.

  35. Sarto says:


    I understand your point. Maybe the problem comes from the word, “patron.” To my knowledge we have patrons to assist those in continuing in their “way.” So, we have patron of firemen, recovering alocholics, those attempting to be chaste, virgins, doctors, etc. I’m not sure the Church would have patrons of sex addicts, druggies, etc. Perhaps those struggling with addiction, but to simply say, “So-and-so should be the patron of heretics” doesn’t seem to fit with patron.

    That being said, I think it’s close to a question of semantics. You’re merely saying that for the conversion of schismatics and heretics (though Rome denies that the SSPX is either), we should pick a specific saint (in this case, St. Pius X) and implore his intercession for their conversion. In that case, I get what you’re saying.

  36. PomeroyonthePalouse says:

    St Dymphna is “the patroness of those afflicted with mental and nervous disorders.” (according to the National Shrine of St. Dymphna — http://www.natlshrinestdymphna.org)

    Certainly no one believes that naming her as a patroness means we are encouraging Mental and nervous disorders. Think.

  37. Salvatore_Giuseppe says:

    It sincerely worries me that the SSPX is going to feel the need for more bishops soon, and it worries me even more that Williamson would feel it even greater should he find himself stretched to administer the whole of the SSPII.V on his own. Such a move would certainly set any progress back 30 years, not to mention, I don’t have great faith in Williamson’s ability to pick good Catholic bishops, especially assuming it would be a priest out of his group. Any choice would almost certainly have no desire for reconciliation. Whereas I feel Abp. Fellay at least considers it a possibility

  38. Dismas says:

    @PomeroyonthePalouse – Thank you.

  39. Sarto says:


    Of course; but there is nothing sinful (objectively or otherwise) with having a mental disorder, as opposed to being a heretic or a schismatic. Similarly, it would be appropriate to name a patron of those with disordered attractions, but would be seemingly inappropriate (or at least inconsistent with the Church’s practice) to name a patron saint of sodomites.

  40. Sarto says:

    To clarify; I mean that having a mental disorder is not sinful in any way, and the clear implication is that those struggling with having a mental disorder and striving to live an ordered and Catholic life while having a mental disorder should have recourse to St. Dymphna. There is obviously nothing incongruous with this, as opposed to giving patrons to those engaging in objectively sinful behavior (rather than those struggling, in the case of disordered attractions or alcoholism, to overcome those temptations in order to live a virtuous life).

  41. MarkA says:

    Jerry – “Can not the same be said for many of the comments by many different individuals in many different topics in this blog? Charity is not only for those toward whom we feel some sympathy.”

    Yes, and I am guilty as well (mea maxima culpa). I pray for the virtues of humility and charity every day, but alas I am a poor sinner.

    Thank you and God bless you, Jerry.

  42. Charles E Flynn says:

    Bp. Williamson will leave, will set up his own Website, and will fail to sell a single mug.

  43. Mr. Flynn, I hope you are wrong. Surely we can all agree–if on nothing else–in agreeing to wish Bp. Williamson the best of fortune in selling his mugs.

  44. Phil_NL says:

    @Henry Edwards: I think his expertise lies more in the direction of selling negationist literature and tinfoil hats.

  45. robtbrown says:

    If I might raise an earlier point: It is not likely that any property of the SSPX will accompany Bp Williamson (and any other priests) who depart the Society.

  46. Sam Schmitt says:

    There’s always the Society of St. Pius I.

  47. jdscotus says:

    Adios, Bishop Williamson. He is the Barry Bonds of the SSPX: self-centered, arrogant and aloof. We will be better of without him and his treacherous antics.

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