In a bold and surprising move, the Holy See today announced that His Excellency Bernard Fellay, General Superior of the Society of St. Pius X, has been named as the new Archbishop of Saint Louis.

This appointment was accompanied by a decree from the Congregation for Bishops that provides immediate temporary jurisdiction for SSPX priests and bishops worldwide. This temporary jurisdiction involves the elevation of the SSPX to a personal prelature, but this structure is only granted for 2 years, subject to review.

(The link to the Holy See’s announcement is down, I guess due to traffic, but I will repost it when it comes up again).

A press conference will be held tomorrow at the Archdiocesan Chancery at 3 pm CDT. The SSPX press arm, DICI, posted the following statement from Archbishop-elect Fellay:

I am grateful to the Holy Father for this appointment, the confidence it represents, and the acknowledgement of tradition it necessarily entails. This is the culmination of a long and prayerful road of suffering for so many faithful Catholics. I have also to thank my immediate predecessor Archbishop Burke, who laid the groundwork for a real restoration to this most venerable of Sees.

I look forward to the practical re-implementation of Catholic tradition in St. Louis. I encourage all of my beloved sons in the priesthood to reestablish the ancient Mass– the so-called “Extraordinary Form”– in their parishes as soon as possible. It is my intent to make the celebration of the traditional liturgy mandatory in every parish, allowing an indult for one Ordinary Form Mass per Sunday and Holy Day in order to facilitate the transition to the restoration of the timeless Mass for those who have become accustomed to the newer form.

May St. Pius X and St. Louis pray for us! I ask all of my subjects in St. Louis to pray for me as well.

+ Bernard Fellay
Menzingen
April 1, 2009

Happy April Fool’s Day, everyone!