Bishop Richard Williamson, the infamous former member of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) and leader of the so-called “Resistance,” is planning to consecrate a third bishop for his “movement” next month. From Catholic World News:
Bishop Williamson told followers that on March 19, he will ordain Father Thomas Aquinas, the prior of a traditionalist monastery in Brazil, as a bishop. In 2015, on the same date, he presided at the episcopal ordination of Father Jean-Michel Faure, also in Brazil. Bishop Williamson said that new bishops are needed to sustain “the resistance.”
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Under Church law the new ordinations will be regarded as valid but illicit. Canon law stipulates that anyone involved in the ordination of a bishop without approval from the Holy See incurs automatic excommunication.
At this point Williamson is still technically excommunicated for his arguably illicit consecration of a second “Resistance” bishop in March 2015, so what does he have to lose? Although I can only admit to following the activities of the “Resistance” from a distance, it doesn’t appear the movement has gained much steam since Williamson was ejected from the SSPX in October 2012 for defying the Society’s Superior General, Bishop Bernard Fellay. This doesn’t mean the movement is on the verge of dying out, however. The addition of another bishop to its ranks could speed-up the number of ordinations the “Resistance” performs in the coming years, not to mention making the sacrament of Confirmation more readily available to “Resistance” lay adherents with children. It stands to reason that there are a number of individuals and families who attend Society chapels but would otherwise depart for “Resistance” centers if they were more readily available. Moreover, some continue to suspect that if/when the SSPX gains full canonical regularization, a portion of the Society’s more “hardcore” clerics will take a walk.