I have had a few questions in my email about an upcoming Apostolic Visitation to be made of the Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP).
You probably know that in the FSSP’s founders could not go along with the SSPX’s late Archbp. Lefebvre’s decision to consecrate bishops without pontifical mandate. Therefore, they split from the SSPX and the Holy See accepted them as a new group. They have ever used only the older liturgical books. They are of pontifical rite (that is, they respond to the Holy See, not a local bishop where they were founded). They have seminaries in Germany and in these USA. The FSSP priests I have met are very good men.
In any event, one priestly correspondent wrote:
I was with X in Y yesterday and he told me that the FSSP has been assigned an Apostolic Visitor. It is Bishop Huonder from the Diocese of Chur (I have no idea where that is). He said Huonder is friendly to the Extraordinary Form. Is this a portent of more to come?
I think what he means here is: Is this the second chapter in the book How To Repress Religious Institutes Who Use The Extraordinary Form? The first chapter was, of course, about the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate.
By the way… I am convinced that the real problems for the the FFIs are a) themselves, and b) the Prefect and Secretary of the Congregation for Religious (both recently reconfirmed in their posts. The perfect storm for the FFIs, who I think have been shamefully treated no matter how ineptly they handled their internal affairs. I digress.
Answer: No. This is not like what happened to the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate. First, the FFIs were not founded to use the older books. The FSSP quite clearly was. Second, ever group has routine official visitations to determine whassup. This is normal. Also, the Diocese of Chur covers a lot of Eastern Switzerland, including Zurich, Glarus, etc.
Another person wrote:
I read in one place that this is an Ordinary Apostolic Visitation, but I want confirmation from someone who is level-headed.
Yes, this is “ordinary” in the sense that it is routine. These visitations happen regularly.
Furthermore, though I don’t know the Swiss bishop, the other official visitors are now-retired Bishop Fabian Bruskewicz and also the present Abbot of the French abbey of Trior, which is a foundation from the Abbey of Fontgombault. The three visitors will look into the European and American seminaries of the FSSP. They will poke around, look at the curricula, talk to students, etc. If they find something lacking, they will point it out in a report to Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei”, which will then direct the seminaries to make adjustments. This happens in all seminaries. It is routine.
Therefore, freakest thou thyself not out. This is nothing to worry about… so long at the FSSP hasn’t gone to pieces, that is. Unlikely.