Rorate Caeli

"The Remnant" report on new SSPX American seminary

The following excertps come from the account of Michael Matt, editor of The Remnant:

On October 13, 2011, it was our pleasure to attend the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Seminary of St. Thomas Aquinas in Buckingham, Virginia. Located just down the road from historic Appomattox, ... this new seminary will stand for years to come as a stone marker of the civil war that has been raging inside the Catholic Church for well over a half century.

Despite rainy conditions and a sea of mud, a hundred or so faithful and dozens of priests were on hand in Buckingham to witness the historic turning of the soil by 13 SSPX priests and adherents, marking the first step in the construction of the largest Catholic seminary built in the U.S. in nearly a century.

“The symbolism of this groundbreaking,” noted seminary rector, Father Yves le Roux, during his brief remarks, “reminds us of how man must rise from the earth to the heavens, from the ground to God Himself.”

Indeed, a seminary is a place where heaven reaches down to earth, and a door opens to the countless young men who will enter those walls in pursuit of the service of Christ the King, only to return to the world and bring the Catholic Sacraments to whole generations of would-be lost sheep.


No matter where one comes down on the issue of the canonical standing of the SSPX at this moment, the erection of this grand seminary, located on an eleven-hundred-acre campus in Virginia, must be regarded as an occasion for celebration. Even as Superior General Bishop Bernard Fellay in Rome continues the doctrinal discussion on behalf of Catholic Tradition and traditionalists worldwide, the SSPX’s army of priests and religious continues to take on large numbers of new recruits in preparation for the day when Catholic Tradition will once again be recognized by Rome as the last hope of the Church in the modern world, and the rift between Tradition and the Vatican will be healed at last.


Whether one attends the traditional Mass at a diocesan-approved center or with the Fraternity of St. Peter or the Institute of Christ the King—we must not withhold our prayers for the successful construction of this new seminary and for the eventual success of the doctrinal talks between the SSPX and the Vatican. These matters directly concern not only every traditional Catholic, but also the whole Church, and we must remember them in our daily prayer intentions from this day forward.


  1. Just curious, does an order have to have the permission of the local ordinary to build a seminary in his diocese? If so, does the SSPX have it?
    On a side note, a good friend of mine who teaches at OLGS said there is rumors and talk of another English-speaking FSSP seminary... and with this new one at Apommatox, who knows, priestly ordinations may rise exponentially!

  2. They should have held out to buy the Mary Immaculate Center in Pennsylvania; it has been closed for several years and is costing lost jobs and tons of money in the Philadelphia Archdiocese.


  3. gregY8:26 PM

    No Mr. Matt, I cannot concur that this is a cause of "great joy." It is most bittersweet news.
    I will rejoice when all return to full unity and obedience under Peter, the rock upon whom Christ builds His Church and who has been given the keys of the kingdom.
    "If you believe a legitimately assembled council can err and has erred, then you are to me as a heathen and publican"
    -Johann Eck to Martin Luther

  4. Doesnt the Ordinary of the Diocese of Richmond, whose territory this seminary is in, have some say so in the matter?

  5. gregY, a pastoral council can err, and has erred in the past.

    Even Pope Benedict has said that Vatican II "declared no dogma at all."

    Read the Vatican-based theologian Gherardini on this.

  6. Joe B9:10 PM

    Once again, Greg, the official position of SSPX (SSPX correct me if I am wrong), is that the obvious meaning of the controversial documents lends itself to error and is being implemented widely as such, and so they - formally - seek clarification - how to interpret the documents consistent with tradition, and they state that such a clarification be formally promulgated. SSPX does not accuse the documents of formal heresy.

    As for unity, Rome has stated the SSPX matter is an issue within the church.

  7. OREOMAN9:22 PM

    HAD THE local bishops around the world had did their job as SSPX DID, WOULD BE NO NEED OF THE SSPX.

  8. Anonymous10:25 PM


    We can go around and around in circles on these matters. The SSPX is right on some, their opponents on others.

    You point, good man, can not be refuted in any way.


    Which Church have you been a part of?

    The Donatists, Novationists, and Martin Luther said exactly the same thing....

    There was never a need for the SSPX, just as there was never a need for any of the previous schisms.

    Sinful, disobedient bishops, who mislead the people under their charge to the point of threatening their salvation? That's the story of the Church. More than a few saints have stated that there is a special place in hell for the majority of bishops.

    There has never been a pure Church. It has *always* been the mustard seed of the saints who have kept the Church on course.

    As such if the SSPX is the mustard seed they claim to be, the SSPX is partially responsible for the Church being in the state it is. By stepping outside the Church, the SSPX has removed the traditional voice from Church and handed the Church over to the liberals. By stepping outside the Church, the SSPX has also lost all hopes of their being an SSPX Pope.

    Thankfully God has promised to protect the Church and the liberals are finally in decline and Pope Benedict XVI has strong SSPX sympathies.

    With God's grace, the SSPX will reconcile with the Church, so that they can become the leaven God intended them to be.

  10. Actually, there is a pure Church - but we will save this for a future translation of an interesting text.

  11. Cranky old man11:50 PM

    Objectively it is a schismatic act since the SSPX insists that the current hierarchy is the legitimate hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church. On the other hand, their Catholic senses tell the SSPX that the current hierarchy does not possess the Catholic Faith – and thus they act as they do – recognize and resist.

    As a non-SSPXer I cannot but help to see their position as completely untenable. Either the current hierarchy does indeed possess the authority to teach, rule, and sanctify the faithful or it is just the hierarchy of another non-Catholic religion. There are no two ways about it.

    I cannot subscribe to the "sifter theory" of the SSPX. Christ's Church is either the Novus Ordo or it is not. Christ did not commission anyone with the admonition: "Whatever thou shalt sift on earth shall be sifted in heaven..."

  12. Anonymous11:53 PM

    Cranky, not sure if you intended this, but that reasoning is right of the pages of Fr. Cekada and the sedevacantists.

    The SSPX's position is irregular, to say the least. But you saying they cannot believe as they do doesn't make it so.

  13. Anonymous12:09 AM

    Cranky, first of all, although I'm half Italian, I go by Adfero, not alfredo.

    Second, don't stop on my account. All I'm saying is, in these times, obedience doesn't always take one form, and they don't have to become sedevacantists to keep their position.

    I am not condoning their position -- I'm simply saying we don't want to shove even more people towards the darkness that is sedevacantism with ultimatums. We need the SSPX completely regularized, not going the other way.

  14. No, I can assure you, this endeavor does not have the sanction of Bp. DiLorenzo, who ironically has been generous in inviting the FSSP in to this diocese, including my parish of St. Josephs in Richmond. Yet somehow the SSPX still claims some kind of necessity for operating a rival chapel across town.

    Oh well, Buckingham is a beautiful and undeveloped part of Virginia and Deo volente, someday this seminary will become a shining beacon of the Faith and a place of pilgrimage when full unity is achieved.

  15. Tradical2:43 AM

    As a 'SSPXer' let me put my understanding of the 'position' the SSPX finds itself.

    The 'current hierarchy' doesn't posses the authority to change the faith.

    Simple case in point. The Old Covenant was abrogated at the death of Our Lord on the Cross.

    The 'current hierarchy' or more appropriately "past hierarchy" (ie Bl. Pope JPII), taught that the Old Covenant was not abrogated.

    It is contradictions such as these of past Church teaching and their consequences that the SSPX questions.

  16. At root for the SSPX and for anyone who is uncomfortable with the Novus Ordo is the issue of conscience; what are the limits of conscience in obeying legitimate authority? What are the limits of authority to demanding obedience? What does The Church have to say regarding conscience and authority?

  17. Francesco3:15 AM

    On a more relevant note, what will become of the Winona seminary? Are they closing it? Using it for some other function? Any ideas?

  18. Peterman3:18 AM

    This is great for Central Virginia and GregY I will celebrate and pray for them and I have never even been to a SSPX mass.
    I have lived in central Virginia and like so many other places where the faith has been washed out by false, abusive Vatican 2 interpretations, it can only benefit from the graces this seminary will bring. Thank God for Arch Bishop LeFebvre or we'd all have zero chance to attend a Old Latin mass.

  19. DeusVult3:27 AM

    Winona will be moved to Virginia from what I was told by an SSPX pastor.

    I think a lot of people here don't understand that the SSPX isn't trying to rival anyone, for them it's a matter of conscience. Refuse to say the new mass and refuse to accept certain vague passages of Vatican II, which defined no infallible declarations nor did it intend to. The SSPX does not want to "rival" with any other traditional chapels, they just want the priests and hierarchy to start actually teaching the faith and stand up for the truth. But the damage is almost so corrupt and widespread that most likely a great chastisement will come first.


    Jewel of the west
    On eastern coast
    Atlantic aurora
    Our Mother's boast

    The proud are scattered
    In conceits of their heart
    Blind to Melchisedech's
    Priests thou art

    Jewel of the west
    On eastern coast
    Atlantic aurora
    Our Mother's boast

    A light to the Revelation
    Of faithful Gentiles
    Angels sing canticles
    Simeon smiles

    Jewel of the west
    On eastern coast
    Atlantic aurora
    Our Mother's boast

    Root of Jesse
    Gate of morn
    Unworldly womb
    The skulkers scorn

    Jewel of the west
    On eastern coast
    Atlantic aurora
    Our Mother's boast

    And we your daughters
    Comely and fair
    Are a terrible army
    Birthing His heir

    Jewel of the west
    On eastern coast
    Atlantic aurora
    Our Mother's boast

    For our sons' inheritance
    Roman men toil
    A Cathedral of cassocks
    The Catholic priesthood all Royal!

  21. John McFarland4:43 AM

    And while we're on the subject of facts, could we have a show of hands from those of the critics of the SSPX in this string who have read in some detail what the Society has to say in defense of its position?

  22. Ivo K.5:05 AM

    Good for the SSPX!

    "The Donatists, Novationists, and Martin Luther said exactly the same thing...."

    The Holy Father doesn't think that the SSPX are like the Donatists, Novationists, or like Martin Luther. There are far more bishops and priests in good standing who are closer to these heresies than are the SSPX. If you want Lutheranism, you need look no farther than your average Catholic parish. Just ask the average parishionerr what they think about transubstantiation.

    I'm a member of a novus ordo parish, but I'd go to the SSPX without hesitation, if one of their churches was within convenient distance. Their growth is impressive, and enviable by mainstream Catholic standards. Maybe the growth of the SSPX will put some pressure on the mainstream bishops to allow the FSSP and other traditionalist groups greater freedom.

    I pray that, once the SSPX are regularized, with all of their papers stamped, they'll be allowed a good deal of freedom from the authority of the mainstream episcopate who, unfortunately, cannot be trusted when it comes to the traditionalist movement.

  23. John McFarland5:08 AM

    Dear St. Michael,

    The SSPX has been looking for a new site for quite a while. A traditional Catholic seminary must meet a number of requirements that one wouldn't think of. So Mary Immaculate Center might not fill the bill, even in the -- highly unlikely -- event that the Archdiocese would sell to the Society.

  24. "the SSPX is partially responsible for the Church being in the state it is."


    This seminary is a cause of praise. Those saying otherwise are in an amazing state of denial. That's all I can say.

  25. Gratias7:53 AM

    Traditionalists stand divided and weaker. I will not attend a Mass not in communion with Peter. Yet I greatly admire Long-Skirts who gave two vocations to SSPX. I did pray a rosary for the reconciliation.

  26. Regarding the operations of the FSSPX.

    First, God was the creator of "common sense".

    Luke 14: 1 - 4

    And it came to pass, when Jesus went into the house of one of the chief of the Pharisees, on the sabbath day, to eat bread, that they watched him. And behold, there was a certain man before him that had the dropsy. And Jesus answering, spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying: Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day? But they held their peace. But he taking him, healed him, and sent him away. And answering them, he said: Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fall into a pit, and will not immediately draw him out, on the sabbath day?

    Matthew 12: 1 - 4

    At that time Jesus went through the corn on the sabbath: and his disciples being hungry, began to pluck the ears, and to eat. And the Pharisees seeing them, said to him: Behold thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do on the sabbath days. But he said to them: Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, and they that were with him: How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the loaves of proposition, which it was not lawful for him to eat, nor for them that were with him, but for the priests only?

    Many of you commentators speak of schism, disobedience and "not in full communion" ( an invention of the devil that is.) Many of you probably have your asses in a pit, or you have loved ones with their asses in the pit. but seem clueless as to what should be done about getting them out. Likewise you and your children are hungry but you are to afraid to "harvest on the sabbath" lest you offend the Lord. Those who are extracting their asses and feeding themselves you call schismatics.

    Our Lord Jesus Christ could not bear with this Pharisaical obstructionist bulls..t, For Him at least, a state of necessity overruled the Law. And this is precisely what the law of His Church says also. "The salvation of souls is the highest law."

    Dear Anil Wang said, "By stepping outside the Church, the SSPX has removed the traditional voice from Church and handed the Church over to the liberals." No! The FSSPX did not step outside. Some were unjustly excommunicated without right of appeal and the rest were branded "schismatics etc, etc" by the liberals who controlled the Curia and who did not want them in the New Church.
    Please read about the new saint of Australia. Mary of the Cross, (Mary MacKillop) who was also unjustly excommunicated, yet triumphed over all this to be honored for what she really was.

  27. OREOMAN12:50 PM

    From OREOMAN

    thank you!

  28. I find it painful reading the comments about the SSPX from those who are so little read on the issue. Perhaps you could start with the 'Liturgical Revolution Trilogy' by Michael Davies and then move on to 'Apologia Pro Marcel Lefebrve' by the same author. Read Fr Cekada's 'Problems with the prayers of the new mass' followed by 'The Rhine flows into the Tiber' by Father Wiltgen. After all of that is complete I would encourage you to make comments. I have been a reader of this site for many years and find it rare that I can make a contribution what will benefit others. Perhaps some of you could consider the same approach.

  29. petrus693:41 PM

    There was a man who went up to a traditional Franciscan priest and and ask if he would say a rosary for him so that he may obtain a Lexus automobile the priest said "yes of course" but then he ask "whats a Lexus"? the man replied it's a top of the automobile, the man say never mind. He went across town to a parish operated by the Jesuits. He first ask the Jesuit priest if he knew what a Lexus was the priest replied "sure, several of his parishioners own one". With that in mind he ask the priest if he would recite a rosary for him so that he can obtain a Lexus the priest said "sure, WHATS A ROSARY"? such is the state of the Church.

  30. Peterman1:15 AM

    "the SSPX is partially responsible for the Church being in the state it is."

    By that you mean how we can attend a TLM in nearly every state and country and how the English missal is now reformed?

  31. petrus69, nice twist. Reminds me of the old saw, "the Jesuits take the vow of poverty, and the diocesan priests keep it!"


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