Catholic World News

Breakaway traditionalist prelate ordains new bishop, incurs new excommunication

March 19, 2015

Bishop Richard Williamson, the traditionalist prelate who was dismissed from the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) in 2012, has ordained a new bishop for his schismatic group, incurring the automatic penalty of excommunication.

Bishop Williamson consecrated a 73-year-old priest, Father Jean-Michel Faure, as a bishop, in a ceremony held in Nova Friburgo, Brazil, on March 19. The ordination is regarded by the Catholic Church as valid but illicit. Under Church law both prelates are subject to latae sententiae excommunication—a penalty that takes place immediately, without requiring a public announcement.

Bishop Williamson was one of the four bishops ordained for the SSPX by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in 1988 in defiance of orders from the Holy See. That illicit ordination led to the excommunication of Archbishop Lefebvre and the bishops that he had ordained. In 2009, Pope Benedict XVI lifted those excommunications, in a bid to repair the split between the SSPX and the Holy See.

Bishop Williamson became the focal point of worldwide controversy in 2009, after the lifting of the excommunications, when it was revealed that he had questioned the extent of the Holocaust. He was later found guilty of violating German law against Holocaust denial.

Later Bishop Williamson clashed with other leaders of the SSPX, and eventually was ousted from that group. Setting up his own schismatic splinter group, he announced that he would oppose any plan for reconciliation with the “modernist cuckoos” of the Vatican and would continue working in “resistance” against the Holy See.

Father Faure, who was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Lefebvre in 1977, had also broken with the SSPX. He said that he consented to episcopal ordination because “we cannot leave the resistance without bishops.” He and Bishop Williamson argued that their defiance of the Holy See is justified by necessity, since they argue that their movement alone preserves the integrity of Catholic doctrine.

 


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  • Posted by: Bernadette - Mar. 21, 2015 9:20 PM ET USA

    Sounds so protestant. There is a dichotomy within the SSPX: On the one hand, they recognize Pope Francis as their pope, but the remainder of the Ordinary Magisterium they do not because, uninvited, they enter dioceses around the world, ignoring the local bishops, and oust their own prelates, make their own laws, ordain their own bishops and priests, and at the same time say they are Catholic, true sons of the Church. It doesn't add up.

  • Posted by: Jim.K - Mar. 19, 2015 7:34 PM ET USA

    ” He and Bishop Williamson argued that their defiance of the Holy See is justified by necessity, since they argue that their movement alone preserves the integrity of Catholic doctrine." And, of course, "outside of their group there is no salvation!" And in another few years, someone will break from them and start another group "out of necessity to save the True Church" or perhaps, by that time, Williamson will have become "the true Pope." And it goes on and on and on...