How does the placement of priests work? Do they go through the local Bishops? I’m assuming they must.
Yes, they have to have the local bishop’s permission if they are to run a parish in the diocese (no bishop in Britain has given such permission yet), they have faculties to say the Old Rite Mass and hear confessions anywhere, as long as the local bishop gives permission: I think the faculties come via the Ecclesia Dei Commission, but may be wrong. Here in Britain, we have two ‘outlets’: a house in Scotland (can’t remember whether it’s in Edinburgh or Glasgow) where Fr Emerson ministers, and St Bede’s, Clapham (South London) in the diocese of Southwark. The latter has had an FSSP priest for some years now: he’s not officially part of the parish team, but works with them nonetheless, saying a daily Low Mass and hearing confessions. He also acts as a flying priest, going anywhere that people want an Old Rite Mass and have the local bishops’s go-ahead.
There’ve been a number of priests stationed at St Bede’s: the current one is Fr Nicholas du Chaxel, and interestingly enough, I’m just arranging with him to say a Mass in May as part of a memorial conference for a friend of mine who died about a year ago: she was a noted British children’s writer, and an unrepentant traditionalist - she converted from Judaism in 1947 and never accepted the reforms.
The FSSP is not on the looney fringe: in fact, they were founded by break-away members of the SSPX when Archbishop Lefebvre consecrated bishops and incurred excommunication, because they wanted to stay faithful to both Rome and tradition. They’ve had to put up with some real difficulties from Rome, I fear, but are hanging on.