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Home News Case Vincent Lambert: What is the Fraternité Saint-Pie-X?

Case Vincent Lambert: What is the Fraternité Saint-Pie-X?

The case Vincent Lambert has experienced an incredible rebound Monday night with the decision of the Paris Court of Appeal. Against all odds, the court has ordered the resumption of treatment on this tetraplegic patient in a vegetative state for eleven years. At the origin of this appeal, Vincent Lambert's parents, Viviane and Pierre, fervent Catholics with multiple links with traditionalist circles.

Among these connections, one name more intriguing than the others, that of the Priestly Fraternity Saint-Pie-X (FSSPX). If this religious community has not publicly intervened in the debate, its name often comes back when it comes to evoking the "traditional" networks of the Lambert couple. As a child, it was in a Catholic establishment founded by the Fraternity at Saint-Joseph des Carmes, near Carcassonne, that Vincent Lambert did part of his schooling.

What role does this fraternity play in Lambert? Hard to say. One of the lawyers of the parents of the former nurse, Jean Paillot, assures that "today, Pierre and Viviane Lambert are traditionalists, but not of the lefebvriste movement (Editor's note, named after the founder of the Fraternity in France) As he explained to the weekly La Vie. Way of saying that it has not always been so?

To understand what this traditionalist religious community is, Le Parisien interviewed specialists.

What is the Fraternity of Saint Pius X?

The Priestly Fraternity Saint-Pie-X (FSSPX) is a traditionalist Catholic movement, founded in 1970 in Friborg (Switzerland) by Bishop Marcel Lefebvre. She was born in opposition to the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), which we call theaggiornamento (the update "). A reform deemed reprehensible by Archbishop Lefebvre, who rejects the concepts of religious freedom and freedom of conscience.

The Brotherhood has been in a state of schism with the Church since 1988, when Archbishop Lefebvre decided to ordain four bishops without the Pope's consent. Its goal: to perpetuate the pre-Vatican II Church, "in a very absolutist, western-centric, anti-liberal and anti-modern representation", explains Jean-François Colosimo, a historian of religions, to Paris. A provocation which is worth to the five men the immediate excommunication.

In 2009, Benedict XVI lifted the excommunication weighing on the four bishops. A commission is created. But no agreement has ever been found. To date, the ordination of the 637 priests of the Society remains considered illegal by the Vatican. "This idea of ​​reconciliation is a sea serpent, which seems more and more unlikely under the pontificate of Francis," observes Jean-François Colosimo.

Where are they implanted?

Very present in France, the members of the Fraternity are implanted in 37 countries, on the five continents. They have spread a lot in some Latin American and African countries, as well as in Switzerland. The movement claims today between 150 and 200,000 faithful, including 35,000 in France.

A very modest figure, when we know that there are 1.3 billion Catholics in the world. "The Catholic Church has long feared that the movement will become a very important schism. But he remained very content, "notes Jean-François Colosimo.

What are his relations with the extreme right?

Rather marginal, this movement is nonetheless "very activist", according to Jean-François Colosimo. "Its members represent a type of uncompromising, anti-modern, ultra-conservative church in terms of morals and politics," he adds. "If members of the Brotherhood are not all right-wing extremists, it is obvious that many far-right people claim it and that a certain number of extreme right-wing Catholic leaders are also Lefebvrists", observes Jean-François Colosimo.

The religious congregation has for a while enjoyed a powerful media relay with the Civitas Institute (founded in 1999). This satellite association of the Fraternité Saint-Pie-X became a political party in 2016, which provoked a distance from the religious congregation.

Is the SSPX a cult?

The Brotherhood is a subject of interrogation for Miviludes, "without there being, to date, reports of sectarian aberrations against him," the administration tells us. However, Miviludes remains "very vigilant on this movement".

"A dozen testimonials received in recent years" do indeed mention, in the faithful, "behavioral change", "relationship changes" and "changes in lifestyle", but also "recurrent participations to spiritual retreats, camps or meetings "," strict monitoring of rules "with an" uncompromising attitude "or even" loss of critical thinking ", as well as" family breakdowns "and" radical professional changes ", states the Miviludes.

Finally, several testimonies mention "very strong pressures exerted on the followers or the children of adepts" who, become "adults, wish to take their distance with the movement".

How much does the SSPX have schools in France?

The Fraternity now has thirty private schools "out of contract" throughout the territory, according to Miviludes. Some 4,000 children would attend school, mostly in boarding schools. The FSSPX has its own publishing house, named Clovis, which publishes its textbooks.

In this regard, Miviludes has testimonials on the "traumatic experience of extremely rigorous educational methods" and on the "very strong religious identity," which "encourages children who grow up in the SSPX to not develop relationships with other children. 'outside the community'. Another source of concern for Miviludes is "reluctance to vaccinate".


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