Thursday, October 05, 2006

Catholic World News : French cardinal sets conditions for traditionalist group

[Sorry folks. Blogger has been acting up for me today.]

Catholic World News : French cardinal sets conditions for traditionalist group

Bordeaux, Oct. 05 ( - The creation of the new Institute of the Good Shepherd in France is intended as a "gesture of welcome" to traditionalists, says Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard. But only the future will show whether the Vatican's acceptance of the new group is "a promising initiative or a failed hope."

In a column for L'Aquitaine, the pubication of his Bordeaux archdiocese, Cardinal Ricard discussed the creation of the new institute, which was announced on September 8 and includes priests and seminarians who have left the schismatic Society of St. Pius X.

Hoping to ease the concerns of priests and laymen who have expressed misgivings about the Vatican move, the cardinal said that he is writing to Rome to ask for some clarification of the status of the new group, which has Vatican approval to use the Tridentine liturgy exclusively. "It is important," he said, "that the conditions established for the recognition of this institute should be better known."

Concerns about the new traditionalist institute are understandable, the French prelate said, in light of the "violence" that has characterized relations between Lefebvrists and the Archdiocese of Bordeaux in the past. He called for an end to polemics that he said have become "both tiresome and sterile," and urged both sides of the conflict to adopt an attitude of "mutual respect and loyal obedience."

By entering into full communion, the cardinal said, the traditionalist priests are accepting "the actual magisterium of the Pope and the bishops." More pointedly, he added that the Good Shepherd institute should show "a clear position regarding the magisterial act that was the Second Vatican Council, and the promulgation of its documents." The generous offer extended to the traditionalists, he insisted, must not "reopen questions about the path the Lord has chosen for the Church during the last 40 years."

The Good Shepherd institute will report directly to Rome, the cardinal confirmed, "on everything regarding its internal life." However, the group can only be active in a diocese with the permission of the local bishop. The traditionalist clerics, he added, would need "a very good reason to have pastoral care for the faithful."

In Bordeaux, Cardinal Ricard said, the Good Shepherd institute could only begin pastoral activites after signing an agreement with the archdiocese. With that agreement in place, he said, a parish church could be put at the disposal of the traditionalist clerics "for a fixed period of time."

Cardinal Ricard-- who is a member of the Ecclesia Dei commission charged with supervision of Church outreach to traditionalists-- said that the Good Shepherd institute was recognized as "an invitation to overcome suspicion and open a dialogue in a more fraternal spirit." The creation of this group, he said, was "the wish of Pope Benedict XVI."

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