At the end of his first year in the Benelux Union (Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg), the District Superior, Fr. Patrick Duverger, answers some questions for Pour qu’Il règne, the District’s quarterly magazine.
Pour qu’Il règne: Father, after almost one whole year as superior of the Benelux Union, what is your take on the Priestly Society of St. Pius X in this part of the world?
The welcome I received from my confreres and from the faithful in these three countries (Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg) has been excellent and made it easy to settle in, and to begin to discover this area that is so rich with variety. I have already caught a glimpse of the incalculable destruction caused by the conciliar crisis, especially here in the Benelux Union. As early as 1965, the reaction of courageous Catholics prepared the way first for Archbishop Lefebvre, then for the Society, that has been here for almost forty years. Today, the young people are stepping up to receive the flame from the first generation of workers. I pray that their beautiful enthusiasm may grow even stronger and spread. Our priests work hard to spread the Society’s influence; they do everything in their power to make it better known and respected. For the Priestly Society of St. Pius X is truly a part of the Roman Catholic Church and professes its entire Faith, expressing it without any ambiguities or novelties.
Pour qu’Il règne: Briefly, and in your opinion, how could the Priestly Society of St. Pius X be described?
Officially founded according to the law of the Church, I would say that the Society continues in its particular vocation with its own specific charism; the two are inseparable in this time of grave crisis in the Church. Its vocation is to serve the Church through the Catholic priesthood: to form priests, guide them in their sanctification, and accompany priests through their entire consecrated lives, whether they belong to the Society or not. Its charism is to manifest the vitality of the Tradition of the Church, to defend it against those – whoever they may be – who question it or relativize it, and to answer to the just requests of the Catholics who find themselves in this state of grave necessity.
Pour qu’Il règne: In the Benelux Union, the Society of St. Pius X is labeled as rebellious and even schismatic. What do you say to that?
These labels do not express reality; they are calumnies. The Society professes and adheres in its heart and its mind to the one Church of the Incarnate Word, Our Lord Jesus Christ – the Roman Catholic Church – founded upon Peter and the apostles. This Church, also incarnate in time and space, exists today under the authority of Pope Francis, the Vicar of Jesus Christ, with the bishops under his authority. The Society is determined to live in this unity with Rome outside of which there is no salvation, and categorically refuses anything that can separate it from this unity. After the example of its venerated founder, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, the Society remains determined to “sentire cum Ecclesia” – to judge in union with the Church – really, and in every single one of its members.
Pour qu’Il règne: In union with the Church, you say. Can you clarify?
The Society of St. Pius X recognizes and adheres to the Magisterium of the Church, understood as the legitimate authority of the Church teaching – the Pope and the bishops –, divinely established to faithfully preserve and transmit to men of today the Catholic Faith, morals, worship, and discipline, just as the Church has always and everywhere held them.
Pour qu’Il règne: Yet, for years now you have been questioning the teachings and practices of the sovereign pontiffs?
Indeed, so many teachings and practices are objectively contestable, since they are strangely dissonant and even contrary to the Tradition of the Church. In fact, the Society of St. Pius X does not adhere to the “aggiornamento” – the “update” – implemented at the Second Vatican Council and in the post-conciliar reforms, which have been the cause of an ambiguous profession of faith, deficient teachings, an equivocal and desacralizing liturgy, and a questionable discipline.
Pour qu’Il règne: Will the Society’s rights be re-established and recognized some day?
The Society, a work of the Church, has the right to be recognized as it is, according to its specific vocation and charism, by a just canonical status. The Society expresses its legitimate desire for this status. Obviously, such recognition would in no way place under a bushel the imperious necessity of continuing the good fight of the Faith, by denouncing the errors and even heresies that have spread everywhere, and offering souls of good will the means of restoring all things in Christ, Our Lord and Our King. The Society is convinced that this recognition would repair a long-lasting injustice and bring to the Church a grace of renewal that she so urgently needs today. Our Lord Jesus Christ will provide for it in His Wisdom that surpasses us. He is the Head of His Church.
Interview conducted on July 31, 2017.