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Pope Francis meets FSSP head, confirms right to celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass…

At the first private audience, held on Feb. 4, 2022, the FSSP asked for clarification regarding the implementation of Traditionis Custodes with respect to the Ecclesia Dei communities. In a press release, the fraternity noted that during the “very cordial meeting,” Pope Francis “expressed that he was very impressed by the approach taken by its founders, their desire to remain faithful to the Roman Pontiff, and their trust in the Church.” 

“In the course of the audience, the pope made it clear that institutes such as the Fraternity of St. Peter are not affected by the general provisions of the motu proprio Traditionis Custodes, since the use of the ancient liturgical books was at the origin of their existence and is provided for in their constitutions,” the communique continued.

Since its foundation in 1988, the FSSP has grown to become the largest of the Ecclesia Dei communities. According to internal 2023 figures, the FSSP currently has 368 priests, 22 deacons, and 179 seminarians. The average age of their members is 39.

The FSSP is present in 146 dioceses, celebrates Mass in 246 locations, and counts 48 personal parishes. One of their most active parishes is Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini in Rome, which is one of the main sites for the annual Summorum Pontificum pilgrimage.   

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The FSSP currently operates two international seminaries. Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary located in Denton, Nebraska, is for English-speaking seminarians, while the seminary of St. Peter in Wigratzbad-Opfenbach, Germany, is divided into two sections for German- and French-speaking seminarians. 

As a pontifical right society, the FSSP answers to the pope. The FSSP formerly operated within the framework of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, established by Pope John Paul II. However, in 2019, Pope Francis suppressed the commission and put the fraternity under the Dicastery for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.  

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