Editor’s Note: The following letter was released yesterday, Sept. 29, 2018 by Fr. Jurgen Wegner, US District Superior of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX). Addressed to all the faithful, it discusses the “new revelations of sexual abuse and coverups” which “have been reported by ecclesiastical, legal, and media sources the world over” in recent months. Fr. Wegner took this opportunity to reaffirm that the SSPX “takes any and all reports of illicit and illegal behavior on the part of its clergy, religious, employees and volunteers with utmost seriousness,” as well as to reiterate that the Society “abides by the Church’s longstanding and prudent prohibition on admitting men harboring same-sex or other unnatural sexual attractions to any of its seminaries, including St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary in Virginia.” Let us pray for Fr. Wegner and his efforts to lead the US District, as we heard in today’s Epistle (19th Sunday after Pentecost), “in justice and holiness of truth” (Eph. 4:24).
I write to you with a heavy heart. Over the past several months, new revelations of sexual abuse and coverups have been reported by ecclesiastical, legal, and media sources the world over. The resignation of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick over credible allegations he abused minors and seminarians for decades was soon followed by the stunning testimony of Archbishop Carlo Viganò which implicates the Holy Father himself in covering up McCarrick’s unspeakable crimes. Additionally, judicial and independent inquiries continue to turn up further evidence that the sex-abuse crisis which rocked the Catholic Church over a decade ago is far from over.
It is against this sorrowful backdrop that I wish to reiterate that the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) takes any and all reports of illicit and illegal behavior on the part of its clergy, religious, employees and volunteers with utmost seriousness. Every report is submitted to a thoroughgoing investigation by the appropriate authorities within the Society and full cooperation is given to all law enforcement and official investigative agencies concerned, particularly when reports involve minor children. Moreover, any priest or religious of the SSPX found guilty of immorality is subject to sanctions under canon law, including removal from active ministry and laicization.
In an effort to forestall the spread of sin within its ranks, the SSPX abides by the Church’s longstanding and prudent prohibition on admitting men harboring same-sex or other unnatural sexual attractions to any of its seminaries, including St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary in Virginia. If, after admission to either seminary or holy orders, credible evidence is found of immoral inclinations or acts by an individual, said individual is immediately expelled from the seminary and/or the Society. And, if the evidence warrants, the matter is immediately referred to the ecclesiastical and secular authorities.
I understand that in this time of confusion and crisis, there is a temptation to look for easy answers and a simple causal chain to explain away the corruption in the Church. Be careful. While we cannot discount the adverse effect the Second Vatican Council and its aftermath has had on the Mystical Body of Christ, I fear that the roots of the sexual-abuse crisis run much deeper. For now, we must do everything we can to uphold the tenets of divine and natural law in our daily lives while working to re-spread the Gospel in a world that has forgotten that what it needs most above all is God.
I ask that you beseech the Queen of Heaven, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and all of the Saints, especially St. Michael the Archangel, in lending us here below the spiritual assistance we need to weather this storm. Pray, too, for the priests, religious, and seminarians of the SSPX, along with those charged with their formation. Pray that we have the wisdom and discernment to form holy clerics dedicated to serving Jesus Christ through the administration of the traditional sacramental rites and the promulgation of sound catechesis.
With blessings in the Lord,
Fr. Jurgen Wegner
Reprinted with permission from SSPX.org.