“The Society of Saint Pius X is a work of the Church. It was born providentially in the Church and for the Church.” Every religious community or priestly fraternity in the Church has a unique form of governance and internal hierarchy. The Society of Saint Pius X is governed by its own Statutes written by Archbishop Lefebvre.
According to its Statutes, the Society of Saint Pius X is governed by the Superior General, who resides with his assistants, the Secretary General and the General Bursar, in the General House situated in Menzingen, Switzerland. As of 2018, there are also two Councillors who assist the Superior General on major decisions without residing at the General House.
There is one priest who is in charge of overseeing and governing the whole Society throughout the world. This elected priest is called the superior general of the Society of Saint Pius X. He resides with his assistants in the General House situated in Menzingen, Switzerland.
With over 650 priests around the world, the Society is organized into 14 districts, each of which is entrusted to a local superior. Most districts oversee one or more countries. As seen below, a district is then divided into about 150 priories from which the entire apostolate of a district is organized. The District Superior has two assistants, a secretary, and a bursar, who reside with him at the District House and assist him with the management of the District.
The Society maintains special houses for the formation of future priests. These houses we call seminaries.The formation of priests is at the heart of the SSPX’s mission; it therefore takes the utmost care of its seminaries. A seminary is a house of formation where seminarians and priests live in common; the seminarians pray, learn, and work together for 6-7 years as they prepare to become other Christs. To lead a seminary, the Superior General appoints a rector as well as the professors to assist him. The latter have the important responsibility of forming future priests who will then join the priories of the Society throughout the world.
In 1988, Archbishop Lefebvre consecrated auxiliary bishops. They are specially appointed to aid the priests and the faithful of the Society by conferring the sacraments of holy orders and confirmation; they depend directly on the Superior General.
The priests of the Society of Saint Pius X live together in small communities called priories, which are ideally made up of at least three priests, two or more brothers, and a community of sisters. Several times a day the community gathers for times of prayer, meals, and work, so that the priests share their life and their apostolate with their confreres.
The priories depend on a district; they constitute the backbone of the apostolate.
Every priory is entrusted to a prior who looks after the material and spiritual goods of the house. He is also in charge of the apostolate.
The priests and the bishops are not the only official members of the Society; Brothers and Oblate Sisters also contribute to the common work. The vocation and spiritual orientation of these religious are directed toward the altar and the priesthood. They devote themselves to the service of the priests so as to support them in their sanctification and their apostolate. They dedicate themselves to prayer, begging God to send down abundant graces. The efforts of these brothers and sisters often remain hidden, yet they are an indispensable support to the work of the Society.
Many Catholic faithful find in the Society’s chapels and works the spiritual support that they need in order to sanctify themselves. They turn to the priests of the Society so as to attend the Mass of All Time, to receive the traditional sacraments, and above all to be instructed in the Faith.
The faithful are not officially members of the SSPX, except those who belong to its Third Order. They are one of the great consolations and a powerful support for the priests and the religious, in particular, the large families who often gather around the schools and centers of the Society.