Rorate Caeli

American elected leader of the FSSP

Official Communiqué

On Friday 7 July 2006, on the feast of the saints Cyril and Method, the General Chapter of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter (a clerical society of apostolic life of pontifical right), gathered in its mother house in Wigratzbad (Germany), has elected today Fr. John Berg as Superior General for a six-year term according to law. An American citizen, Fr. Berg has studied philosophy in the USA and theology in Germany (Wigratzbad) and in Rome. He has worked in pastoral ministry and as a seminary professor. Very Rev. Fr. Berg is the third Superior General of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter.

Rev. Fr. A. de Malleray, FSSP
Chapter Moderator

Rev. Fr. Franz Karl Banauch, FSSP
Chapter Secretary

Father Berg is considered a firm and principled man.


  1. FYI:

    Fr. John Berg, F.S.S.P. was born in Minneapolis Minnesota, attended Catholic school, and graduated from Thomas Aquinas College in California in 1993. He did his seminary studies in Germany with the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter and was ordained a priest in 1997. Father Berg continued his studies at the Santa Croce in Rome, receiving a licentiate in Theology in 1999. In 2000, he was an instructor at Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary, and has been chaplain of St. Stephen, the First Martyr, Catholic Church, in Sacramento for the last three years.

    St. Stephen, The First Martyr, Catholic Church
    Sacramento County (Est. 2002)
    5461 44th Street
    Sacramento, CA 95820

    Parish Clergy
    Rector: Rev. Robert Novokowsky, F.S.S.P.
    Assistant Rectors: Rev. Erik Deprey, F.S.S.P.; Rev. Jerome Lebel, F.S.S.P.

    Contact Information
    Fax: (916) 455-5114
    (916) 455-1018

    Latin Mass Schedule
    Holydays: 8:30 a.m. Low Mass, 10:30 a.m High Mass, 1:00 p.m. Low Mass
    Mon. 9:00 a.m., 12:15 p.m.; Tue.-Fri. 9:00 a.m., 6:30 p.m.
    7:00, 9:00 a.m.
    12:00 Noon Low Mass, 7:00 p.m. High Mass

    Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation
    Half-hour before all Masses and Saturday 8:00 - 9:00 a.m.

    Sacrament of Baptism
    Please call ahead.

    Religious Education/Youth Ministry
    See bulletin.

  2. Oh dear!!! Nothing learnt from Vatican intervention last time! I suppose the Holy See thinks that they will get what they deserve! So many good young men offer themselves for formation in the FSSP and the ill-prepared and fanatical form them!! Fr Berg will facilitate a move to a harder position that is not accepting of previous Vatican intervention. Sit back and watch the splintering of the FSSP! New groups emerging, priest members joining dioceses. oh dear!!!

  3. Dear Father Cobber,

    I can't tell if you are being sarcastic or not. Would you be clearer on the "whys", the "wheres", the "do you mind if I dont's"?


  4. I know Fr. Berg personally (he attended Thomas Aquinas College at the same time I did -- I graduated 1991 and he in 1993) and he is a great man, virtuous and well prepared intelectually. His philosophy and theology are impeccable, as far as I know, and all my friends who know him speak highly of the man. He is young, though, but I do not hink he will be a "hardliner", rather a man who seeks the proper mean (as in middle, where virtue is found). He is well liked at the seminary.

  5. My personal prayers were answered in that (a) they didn't elect one of those naughty Frenchmen who brought about--or were complicit in--the cancellation of the last General Chapter and the issuance of Protocol 1411, and (b) they didn't elect MY chaplain.

    I continue to pray that my chaplain comes home from the General Chapter as a mere chaplain, untouched by ecclesiastical politics, and resumes his humble life as a backwater priest.

  6. I went to college with Fr. Berg's younger brother Tom.
    Very worthy priest Fr. Berg is, and the Fraternity couldn't have elected a better priest.....

    except isn't he the priest that was elected last time! I'm almost positive that he was the one elected when the Vatican intervened. Can anyone confirm this? I want to do a piece on my blog but I want the confirmation before I mention this.

    I also want to thank Rorate Caeli for linking to my site, becasue I get a good amount of traffic from here. Oremus pro invicem.

  7. From the comments I've read here and there, the election of Fr. Berg looks to be very good news.

  8. I have no idea if Fr. Berg was proposed or elected at the last General Chapter, but if he WAS elected last time, it would have been when he less than four years in the Fraternity. Highly unlikely, even for the most remarkable of men.

  9. Fr. Berg was NOT elected at the last Chapter, as Msgr. Perl intervened and prevented an actual election. However, Fr. Berg was appointed about that time to be US District Superior, which was quashed by the political machinations of the Gang of Sixteen. Fr. Berg will likely not be asked after by the Pope. Rather, following usual protocol, the reverse.

    The new Superior General is indeed a man of good spiritual depth (unusual in an American) and highly regarded by most of his brethren on both sides of the Atlantic. He is solidly in the Traditionalist camp, and hardly a "moderate", although he does seem, as others remarked, fairly balanced. The few remaining Liberals in the FSSP had very few delegates to the General Chapter, most of whom were there "ex officio".

    I would like to take this opportunity to remark on the truly rash and uncharitable comments about the FSSP made by presumable SSPX'ers under another topic on this blog. The FSSP is hardly irrelevant to Tradition, and I can assure you that this Chapter has as one of its goals to get the Fraternity back on its original track of a solidly Traditional course. The coarse and demeaning exaggerations and downright calumnious lies which are sometimes repeated "ad nauseam" by some in the SSPX, as well as by the Faithful following them, are so lacking in charity and justice at times, that one wonders how such people can avoid mortal sin, or even consider themselves true Catholics. This is not a blanket indictment, since I believe most associated with the Society are decent people, but a remark about a vicious tendency which has been present for a long time amongst some SSPX'ers. It ought to stop. Justice demands it.

    A final remark about the FSSP Chapter: It is proceeding, according to my sources, completely without the presence, participation, or interference of any Roman authority (let alone an anti-Traditional shill like Msgr. Perl or Msgr. Caulkins), just like the Chapter of any other institute. While rumours of such interference were prevalent before the Chapter, they seem, so far, not to be borne out.

    May God bless Fr. Berg and the continuing Chapter, so that they will remain always faithful to His Will!

  10. Dear Curmudgeon,

    I am quite confident that Fr. Wolfe will return unscathed by the General Chapter. He is one of the least political priests I have ever met, and completely devoted to the salvation of souls!

  11. Petrus Radii, what do you expect. Have you noticed that, useful as this blog's ear for rumour is, there are consistantly the same people writing to it? About six or less? Why waste your words on them. Fr. Berg's election is indeed an excellent thing. Might as well leave it at that. As an english priest I know once said of the traditional flock and the effort of trying to minister to the almost Talibanish bitter and twisted among them, "The mass we love, for the people we hate."

  12. Petrus Radii,

    I just confirmed independently through an FSSP priest that Fr. Berg was going to be elected by the FSSP in 2000 prior to the suspension of the elections. So it seems to be a bit of both really.

    In any event, my thoughts on this subject can be read here:

    FSSP election thoughts

  13. I would just like to remind everyone, that according to St. Thomas, the middle is not always the virtuous position; in regard to the theological virtues, Faith, Hope, Charity, the middle position is a terrible vice, because their perfection consists in progressing always to a greater degree of intensity.

    In matters of faith, therefore, comprimise is always a mortal sin.

  14. I pray that the Holy Ghost will bless and guide the new superior of the FSSP.

    I believe the superior must in his mid-thirties, about my own age. I find it difficult to believe someone younger would be elected. i.e. six years ago I think he would have been too young; no offense to the maturity of the new leader intended.

  15. Dear Athanasius,

    Not desiring to quibble, but interested only in accuracy, I would have to say, based on best recollections of the events at the time, that your FSSP friend may have exaggerated a bit by saying that Fr. Berg was "about to be elected" as Superior General in 2000, had not "those people" in Rome launched a pre-emptive attack.

    It is indeed true that he was spoken of as a possible candidate, but there was at that time no significant majority in his favour, at least that I can recall. One of the objections was, of course, his youth and recent ordination. In point of fact, the majority seem to have preferred re-electing Fr. Bisig for another term, as no other strong candidate seemed to come to the fore.

    Never the less, it is all rather moot. But I am fairly certain, having spoken at length with persons intimately knowledgeable of the events from the previous General Chapter, that Fr. Berg was a good way from being elected in 2000.

    I am quite satisfied with Fr. Berg's election this time 'round. But given the heinous and calumnious tactics employed by the Gang of Sixteen in 1999-2000, in order to "steal" the previous Chapter and hold hostage the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter to their own (the Sixteen's) spitefulness and heretical ecclesiology, I think it serves no helpful purpose---albeit unintentionally---to add a further layer of "mythology" about Fr. Berg.

    Let us simply thank God that he has been elected, and pray that he will hold solidly the Traditional Catholic line against "those people" who would have us embrace the New Mass of the New Religion.

  16. Certainly, agreed.

    It was Fr. Demets who told me that Fr. Berg was about to be elected, and Fr. Berg's brother told me the same thing. However, they might also have been speaking of the American district superior bit, which he held for only 48 hours. Someone recently told me it was supposed to be Fr. Bisig, but now I'm not sure, but as you say it is moot.

    I know Fr. Berg to be a holy priest, a true priest of Jesus Christ, and I trust that he will be a strong voice of tradition, not someone hanging around the middle. (Br. Bugnolo is 100% right about taking positions in the middle, and it is confirmed by modern transportation. What happens if you are driving in the middle of the road? Do the words "jaws of life" mean anything?)

    Anyhow, you can go to my blog to see my analasys as to why Rome will not suspend the elections this time. Its not in their interest, given that Benedict is at the helm. Under JPII I don't think the FSSP would have gotten an election, because he only constituted them to counteract the SSPX. What ended up happening is that both are flourishing while Novus Ordo dioceses are dying off, especially in france where that prescious 16 are from.

  17. Dear Athanasius,

    The "jaws of life" remark was very funny and very apropos. Regarding Fr. Berg, vis-a-vis the 2000 General Chapter, it has come to my attention through a priest-friend in the Fraternity (of St. Peter, not the Freemasons! ;-) ) that Fr. Berg would not have been eligible for election as Superior General at that time, since he had been a priest less than five years then. Apparently, if I understood this friend correctly, Fr. Berg was nominated as an Assistant to the SG, but Rome rejected that on the basis of the same five-year rule. I have no personal recollection of that bit of information, so take it for what it is worth.

    By the way, the majority of the Gang of Sixteen have left the FSSP, along with most of their non-signing comrades. It is my hope that the election of Fr. Berg will so totally demoralise the remaining few, that they will either wake up and re-enter the fold of Tradition, or leave. This will certainly mean, for the short term, a great battle in France, as the Sixteen are supported heavily by the French bishops, who would likely take churches away from the FSSP and give them to the remainder of the Gang, should the latter choose to discover intellectual honesty and depart the Fraternity. This has already happened with one major FSSP apostolate in France. (Well, as an historian contemporary with Julius Caesar once wrote, "The Gauls are quick to anger and quick to form cliques!" So there is nothing new under the sun, after all!)

  18. The report, below, appears on the web-site of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter. Click on the link, "General Chapter" in announcement of the new Superior General. You will be taken to a page with two photographs. Clicking on the second will produce the following.

    "Le Chapitre Général de la FSSP a élu le 11 juillet 2006,
    le Conseil du Supérieur Général constitué de MM. les abbés :
    On Tuesday 11 July 2006, the General Chapter of the FSSP,
    has elected the General Council including the following members, the Reverend Fathers:
    Das Generalkapitel der FSSP hat, am Dienstag, den 11 Juli 2006,
    den Rat des Generaloberen gewählt, der nun folgende Patres umfaßt:
    1. Patrick du Faÿ de Choisinet, Assistant,
    2. Almir De Andrade, Assistant,
    3. Charles Van Vliet, Assistant,
    4. Josef Bisig, Councilor,
    5. Alban Cras, Councilor. "

    This is a very good group. Deo gratias agimus!

  19. Much has been said, rightly so, about Father Berg. I personally met him, albeit it briefly, and was duly impressed. However, I walked the Chartres Pilgrimage sometime in the late 90s with Father Charles Van Vliet as part of the St. Clement's Chapter. Great man, great priest! It was at his behest, I believe, that we spent some time post-pilgrimage at the great monastery of Fontgombault in France. Excellent experience for me and the others who attended.

    This is great news and, again, Father Van Vliet is tremendous additive to the team quarterbacked by Fr. Jon Berg. Good luck and God Bless!


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