After some painful departures, Archbishop Lefebvre took upon himself the charge of rector of the seminary of Econe, with a teaching body renewed and entirely made up of members of the SSPX for the opening of the year 1977.
In 1975, in Weissbad in the canton of Appenzell, a German-speaking seminary was opened with Fr Schmidberger as its rector. In October 1977, the SSPX numbered 40 priests, 150 seminarians, 20 houses and three seminaries (Econe, Weissbad and Armada).
In 1978, the seminary of Weissbad moved to Zaitzkofen, in Germany.
1979 saw the foundation of the seminary of Buenos Aires with 12 first-year seminarians. The seminary of Armada moved to Ridgefield, Connecticut, 100 miles from New York. At that point, Archbishop Lefebvre gave up his charge of rector and was replaced by Fr Tissier de Mallerais. The archbishop moved to Rickenbach (Swiss canton of Soleure). The suspens a divinis of 1976 had not brought to an end the contacts with Rome. Received in audience by Pope John Paul II, Archbishop Lefebvre suggested the formula: “The council in the light of tradition,” the pope would seem to have been satisfied with this, were it not for the unfortunate intervention of a cardinal.
In June of 1983, during the sermon on the occasion of the ordinations, the archbishop announced that Fr. Schmidberger would replace him from this day on as the SSPX’s Superior General.