Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter
The coat of arms of the F.S.S.P.
|Formation||July 18, 1988|
|Type||Roman Catholic Clerical Society of Apostolic Life of Pontifical Right|
|Superior General||Very Rev. John Berg|
|Key people||Rev. Josef Bisig (founder)|
The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (Latin: Fraternitas Sacerdotalis Sancti Petri; abbreviation: F.S.S.P.) is a traditionalist Catholic Society of Apostolic Life of priests and seminarians who are in communion with the Holy See.
According to Canon law, the F.S.S.P. is a "Clerical Society of Apostolic Life of Pontifical Right". It is not, therefore, an Institute of Consecrated Life, and members take no religious vows, but are instead bound by the same general laws of celibacy and obedience as diocesan clergy and, in addition, swear an oath as members of the Society. The Fraternity's pontifical-right status means that it has been established by the Pope and is answerable only to him in terms of their operation (through the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei), rather than to local bishops. A local bishop still governs the Fraternity's work within his respective diocese. In this sense its organization and administrative reporting status are similar to those of religious orders of pontifical right (for example, the Jesuits or Dominicans).
Mission and charism
The F.S.S.P. consists of priests and seminarians who intend to pursue the goal of Christian perfection according to a specific charism, which is to offer the Mass and other sacraments according to the Roman Rite as it existed before the liturgical reforms that followed the Second Vatican Council. Thus, the Fraternity uses the Roman Missal, the Roman Breviary, the Pontifical (Pontificale Romanum), and the Roman Ritual in use in that year, the last editions before the revisions that followed the Council.
The 2007 motu proprio Summorum pontificum has authorized this older form of the Mass, known as the Tridentine Mass, not only for the Fraternity, but for all Latin Rite priests as an extraordinary form of the Roman Rite.
Following from its charism, the Fraternity's mission is twofold: to sanctify each priest through the exercise of his priestly function, and to deploy these priests to parishes. As such, they are to celebrate the sacraments, catechise, preach retreats, organize pilgrimages, and generally provide a full sacramental and cultural life for lay Catholics who are likewise drawn to the rituals of the 1962 missal. In order to help complete its mission, the Fraternity has built its own seminaries with the goal of forming men to serve the Fraternity.
|“||For the honour and glory of the holy Catholic Church, for the consolation of the much troubled faithful, and for the peace of their conscience, the undersigned, members until now of the Fraternity of Saint Pius X, declare with profound regret over the illicit consecration of bishops on 30 June  that they have remained within the Catholic Church as pars sanior of this same Fraternity, and that they have but one desire: to be able to live as a religious society in this Church and place themselves at her service under the authority, of course, of the Roman Pontiff, her supreme head.||”|
— From the Declaration of Intention by the Founders (2 July 1988)
The F.S.S.P. was established on July 18, 1988 at the Abbey of Hauterive, Switzerland by twelve priests and a score of seminarians, led by Father Josef Bisig, all of whom had formerly belonged to Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre's Society of St. Pius X; they were unwilling to follow that movement into what the Congregation for Bishops and Pope John Paul II defined to be a schismatic act and grounds for excommunication latæ sententiæ due to the consecration of four bishops without a papal mandate. Father Josef Bisig became the Fraternity's first superior general.
As of October 2011[update], the Fraternity included 392 members: 228 priests, 10 deacons, and 154 seminarians in 117 dioceses spread among Australia, Austria, Benin, Canada, Colombia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Nigeria, Poland, Switzerland, and the USA. The Fraternity's membership represents 35 nationalities, and the average age of its members is 36. The lay Confraternity of Saint Peter enrolls 3,487 members who spiritually support the Fraternity's charism.
Districts and regions
- German-speaking District, Superior: Rev. Axel Maußen
- French District, Superior: Rev. Vincent Ribeton
- North American District, Superior: Rev. Eric Flood
- Belgium-Netherlands Region, Superior: Rev. Hervé Hygonnet
- Southern Cross Region, Superior: Rev. Christopher Blust
The Fraternity has two seminaries:
- The International Seminary of St. Peter in Wigratzbad-Opfenbach, in the German state of Bavaria (Diocese of Augsburg), was established in 1988. It serves French and German-speaking seminarians.
- Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary, in Denton, Nebraska, USA (Diocese of Lincoln), was established in 1994 and serves English-speaking seminarians.
The Fraternity celebrated its 25th anniversary on July 18, 2013. Increased numbers and faithfulness to its founding principles were cited as reasons for happiness: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/priestly-fraternity-of-st.-peter-turns-25
- "What are we?". The Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter. June 9, 2010. Retrieved June 10, 2010.
- "Decree erecting the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter, 18 October 1988". Documents. Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter. October 18, 1988. Retrieved June 10, 2010.
- "History of the North American District". What are we?. Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter. June 9, 2010. Retrieved June 10, 2010.
- "Excerpt of the Constitutions of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter". Documents. Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter. June 29, 2003. Retrieved June 10, 2010.
- "Declaration of intention by the founders, 2 July 1988". Documents. Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter. July 2, 1988. Retrieved June 10, 2010.
- "Audition of the Auditors II". Synodus Episcoporum Bulletin. Holy See Press Office. September 30 – October 27, 2001. Retrieved June 10, 2010.
- Devillers, Arnaud (Summer 2002). "A Response to Christopher Ferrara". Latin Mass Magazine. Retrieved June 10, 2010.
- "A few figures...". What are we?. Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter. October 8, 2009. Retrieved October 18, 2011.
- "Presentation". Confraternity of Saint Peter. Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter. June 9, 2010. Retrieved October 18, 2011.
- "Organization chart". What are we?. Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter. June 9, 2010. Retrieved June 10, 2010.
- "New District Superior for the FSSP". Una Voce Carmel. February 26, 2008. Retrieved June 10, 2010.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter.|
- Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter – International website with pages in English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Polish, and Latin
- Confraternity of Saint Peter (Lay associate members of the F.S.S.P.)
- Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary
- The Seminary of Wigratzbad
- Saint Gregory's Academy