The future priests of the Priestly Society of St. Pius X make thier first temporary commitment to its Statutes—ordinances and regulations affecting the religious organization—in the first year of priestly training.
The Society is a priestly society of common life without vows, founded in a spirit of profound faith and perfect obedience. As stated in its Statutes, the SSPX's primary purpose is the sacred priesthood all that pertains to it.
These Statutes were composed by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in 1970 and received the approval of Bishop Charriere of Fribourg, Switzerland in the same year. In 1971 they were warmly received by Cardinal John Wright, Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of the Faith in an official letter of praise from Rome.
Feast of particular significance for the SSPX
The feast chosen for the public adherence to the SSPX's Statutes is that of the Immaculate Conception. We know that the particular privileges of the Blessed Virgin flow from the fact that she was chosen to be the Mother of God. Her feast on December 8th is of particular significance for the members of the Society. On this glorious feast we sing the praises of her sinless nature as she was preserved from Original Sin by virtue of the merits of her Divine Son applied to her in advance at her conception, in view of her special prerogative as the Mother of Christ.
St. Louise Marguerite Claret de la Touche wrote in a truly memorable expression that the priest is another Jesus; that what Mary is for Jesus, she also is for the priest. When we attempt to discern what the precise role of the Blessed Virgin is in the life of the priest, we seek to examine the relationship created by the priesthood of the Christ with His Holy Mother, understood as Co-Redemptrix under her Son. Though sinless, Our Blessed Lady is also one of the redeemed despite her singular title of our tainted nature's solitary boast as the poet Wordsworth so beautifully expressed it.
Since the priest is another Christ, he continues the priestly work of Christ in his person. He repeats endlessly the redemptive work of Him in whose Person he also acts. He offers each day, in His name to the Eternal Father, the Sacrifice of the Cross and he gives himself to souls as Jesus did while on earth. There can be no doubt that the duty of the priest is to make his own the sentiments of the priestly heart of Christ in union with the Holy Virgin, Mother and Queen of the apostles, martyrs, virgins and all the saints.
Although our Blessed Mother did not receive the priestly character and is unable to confect the Holy Eucharist, she is nonetheless a priest in a highly mystical sense. Fr. Olier writes incisively that Mary has received to an eminent degree the spirit of the priesthood, which is the spirit of Christ the Redeemer.
Our Lady is associated to the Sovereign High Priest
Our Lady is intimately associated with the Sovereign High Priest in giving Him His human nature, in offering with Him, through Him and in Him the bloody immolation of Calvary. This immolation is superior to the sacramental offering in the Holy Mass at the hands of the ordained priest.
Furthermore we can say that Our Lady's Divine Maternity, source of every privilege she possesses, surpasses by far the sacramental priesthood of the ordained ministers of Christ. In the first instance Our Lady has given us the principal priest and at the same time the victim of the cross. The theologians tell us that it is as man that Jesus is priest and victim, and it is clearly a greater thing to give the Incarnate Word His humanity than to give Him His sacramental presence on the altar, no matter how great a reality that actually is. In that case the priest is a material instrument only.
Co-Redemptrix with her Divine Son
In the second instance, our Blessed Lady as Co-Redemptrix, offered with her Divine Son the bloody sacrifice on the hill of Calvary. Now surely this is a greater thing than to offer with Christ the sacramental un-bloody immolation of the Mass in applying the merits of the Sacred Passion.
In the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception it is written:
from the beginning and before the ages, the ineffable God chose and destined for His Only Son the Mother who gave Him flesh, from whom He was born in the fullness of time and upon whom He bestowed such a great love in preference to all other creatures that in her alone was fully satisfied the ardor of His Will."
Later in the same document it is declared that in the same decree Mary is chosen as mother in view of the Incarnation of Divine Wisdom.
In accordance with the common teaching, it is evident that the Divine Maternity, prepared by the Immaculate Conception, surpasses the priesthood of the ordained. Our Holy Mother possesses a mystical priesthood in the highest degree, more than all the other saints.
Mary is the Mother of the priest, the Mother of the Priesthood, and on her feast of the Immaculate Conception, the members of the Society pledge their fidelity and total commitment to her Divine Son, priest and victim, with whose sacrifice and suffering she is so closely associated and to which her priests are irrevocably bound in time and in eternity.