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RU 40/2006 - FRANCE: Institute of the Good Shepherd

- FRANCE: A lot of ink - and of hot blood - flows in these days on the topic of the new Institute 'of pontifical right' instituted at Bordeaux by cardinal Hoyos of Rome, with the agreement of cardinal Ricard, archbishop of the place, which will celebrate the holy sacraments exclusively in the old Latin ritual called 'Saint Pius V', but actually going back to the pope Saint Gregorius the Great (about the year 590): the Institute of the Good Shepherd. It was created on September 8th, 2006. Its Superior, Rev. Fr. Laguerie (ex-FSSPX), announced that the institute could very soon comprise about thirty members: in addition to the 5 actual priests, 15 priests of Latin America would wish to become members of the institute, and 10 seminarists would also do so, of whom 4 could be ordered priests "very shortly". A seminary of the institute (planned at Courtalain near Chartres) would soon receive the seminarists, under the direction of Rev. Fr. Aulagnier (also ex-FSSPX).

- But the reaction of the 'ordinary' priests and of many laymen of the diocese of Bordeaux facing this new Institute was violent. The presbyterial Council declared to its archbishop, by a press release published on September 15th, after the usual incensements: ":... (The Council) denounces the absence of information and dialogue with the local church during the creation of this Institute; is bewildered that a diocese didn't participate in a decision that concerns it; reiterates the joy of its priests to live their ministry in the impetus of the council Vatican II... "

- Then, on September 22nd, 190 'committed laymen' made countersign in many churches of Bordeaux an open letter to their archbishop: "... We wish that the conciliar orientations be not set aside on the pretext of a re-interpretation of the texts of Vatican II... We ask you to convene an exceptional diocesan pastoral Council in order to discuss about questions raised by the creation of this institute. We ask you to do your best to meet the Holy Father, in a direct dialogue, or to put a meaningful gesture in order to inform him about our questioning".

- Mgr Ricard answered, disappointed and the back to the wall, that "an offered hand is better than a closed fist". It became clear that the initiative of the creation of the institute came from Benedict XVI himself, and that cardinal Ricard, archbishop of Bordeaux and president of the conference of the bishops of France, nolens volens had to consent.

- As to the 'volens', the cardinal precised in a declaration of October 6th: " ...This Institute is the sign of an offered hand, of an invitation to surmount suspicion and to start dialogue in a more brotherly mind... We are all invited to enter... into the evangelical attitude of the brother's welcome, that always implies generosity and hope in the faith... We need to unite all our strengths, and to share our experiences; we are called to live the same apostolic adventure."

- As to the 'nolens' he enumerates, in the same declaration of October 6th, more and more obstacles to be surmounted: "This Institute needs the authorization of the diocesan bishop for all apostolic activities in his diocese... A generous and exceptional offer of communion vis-a-vis of a particular group doesn't mean a setback of the path that the Lord made us live in the Church since 40 years, under the direction of our successive popes Paul VI, John-Paul II and today Benedict XVI... The erection a 'personal parish' requires the signing of a convention between the diocese and the institute... It's only after such an agreement that the church Saint-Eloi, which is assigned to the diocese, will be able to be put, for a fixed time (!), to the disposition of the thus created 'personal parish'... The entrance into full communion implies the fidelity to the present Magisterium of the pope and bishops and a clear position vis-a-vis of the magisterial act which was the Council Vatican II and the enactment of its texts." The cardinal intends to go to see the pope for clarification.

- After all, seen from Rome, everything happens as it had been agreed upon on August 30th, 2005, between the Holy Father and Mgr Fellay (FSSPX): while advancing by small steps, let's experiment the Tradition in the Church (this expression is in fact an implicit admission of the dilapidated state of the present Church, which has 2000 years of experience of the Tradition!). The new institute is a test balloon, and, as says Mgr Ricard, "the future will show if this creation is a promising initiative or an aborted hope". Meanwhile, the hour is to the fidelity to the providential rock that constitutes the Priest's Fraternity Saint Pius X created by Mgr Lefebvre, without which the holy Tradition would be crushed like a cigarette butt under the feet of most present bishops of the Church. - All this could be a highly amusing theater piece, if there was not the salute of so many souls at risk. Actually it's a part of the history of the Good News on earth which is developing under our eyes, the only really passionating history. It invites to pray. - ru (cf. Aqu. Oct.10, LC Sept.11, PM Sept.21)

- - O.A.M.D.G. - -

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