Rorate Caeli

Institute of the Good Shepherd:
Communiqué of the FSSPX

First Report; Communiqué of Cardinal Ricard.

The Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X has taken note of the signature, today, of the decree of erection of the Institute of the Good Shepherd, by Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, an institute of Pontifical Right especially founded for five priests and some seminarians who [once] belonged to the work founded by Abp Lefebvre.

The erection of this Institute is not a surprise. It belongs to the logical sequence of the steps taken by some of these priests, for several months, alongside the Commission Ecclesia Dei for a canonical regularization: the signature of the "formula of adhesion", the issuing of a "celebret", and the search for incardination.

This institute itself does not constitute a canonical innovation. The Commission Ecclesia Dei has supported, since its creation in 1988, similar foundations: the Fraternity of Saint Peter, the Fraternity of Saint John Mary Vianney of Campos (Brazil)[*]... In fact, the Institute of the Good Shepherd is to particularly more similar to the Saint Philip Neri Institute of Berlin, also of Pontifical right, founded in 2003 for a priest and four seminarians. It is a very precarious foundation today... The future will tell what distinguishes the new institute from the preceding initiatives.

The Fraternity of Saint Pius X recalls, on this occasion, that it cannot endorse a communitarian solution, in which the Tridentine Mass would be confined to a particular statute. The Mass of the bimillenial Tradition must enjoy in the Church full and complete Right of Citizenship. It is not a privilege reserved for some, it is a right for all the priests and all the faithful of the universal Church.

This is why the Fraternity of Saint Pius X invites priests and faithful to join its campaign of prayers the purpose of which is to present Pope Benedict XVI next October with a million rosaries for the complete liberation of the Traditional Mass.

Menzingen, on the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lady, September 8, 2006

*This is a factual mistake, since there is no such Fraternity: the priests of the Apostolic Administration of Saint John Mary Vianney are secular priests whose obligations and rights are those of any diocesan priest, and not members of a Fraternity.


  1. Isn't it funny how the Vatican seems reluctant to cherry-pick the Anglo-Catholics for fear of annoying the rest of the Anglicans, and steps so carefully with the Uniates to please the Eastern schismatics, but sets these things up so easily for ex-SSPX?

    I know it's not the same thing and I think this is good news. I'm just saying...

  2. Actually, the factual mistake by the asterisk is that of Rorate Caeli. Each of the Traditionalist groups of clergy which the SSPX mentions are infact secular clergy. They are what the 1983 Code of Canon Law calls "societies of apostolic life": clergy without Religious vows, who maintain a community life.

  3. We put it more accurately, but you are absolutely wrong: the Apostolic Administration of Saint John Mary Vianney is, as the name itself makes clear, not a "society of Apostolic Life" or a community of any sort; it is diocesan-like structure, whose priests have no subordination whatsoever to the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, as do those of the true Fraternities mentioned in the communiqué.

  4. My dear New Catholic,

    You are overreacting a bit to claim that I am "absolutely wrong". In point of fact, YOU are absolutely wrong to have claimed that the SSPX and FSSP are "Religious". Having once been a member of the FSSP, I know whereof I speak. Hardly a "more accurate" statement on your part.

    Also, it is not factually wrong to say that the Fraternity of St. Jean-Marie Vianney is a Society of Apostolic Life. Unless I am totally off my gourd and have forgotten the past entirely, that Fraternity was (and is) what Canon Law considers---based on its form of life---a Society of Apostolic Life. It does not cease to be so, simply because it has been elevated to the level of an Apostolic Administration and given a character and structure similar to a personal diocese.

    So I suggest you emend your factual misstatement in the original article. Thanks!

  5. There is no such "Society of Apostolic Life" as "that Fraternity", and I beg you ask Bishop Rifan himself about his canonical status and that of his priests.

    The fact that you were allegedly a member of the FSSP is absolutely irrelevant to this subject, which involves the Personal Apostolic Administration, and not any other institution. From the first reading of the paragraph, it was clear that I had only meant that the Personal Apostolic Administration is (1) not a Fraternity, and thus (2) not at all under the authority of the Congregation for Religious (with a longer name today, but which has dealt with associations and societies of priests, even those not bound by Rules, since its inception, and much before the new CIC), that (3) its priests are not members of any "Fraternity" or "Society" in any sense, and that (4) the SSPX communiqué made it sound as if the canonical status of the priests of the Apostolic Administration in Campos was in some way "similar" to that of the "Ecclesia Dei" institutes (including the new Institute of the Good Shepherd), which is simply not true.

    A Fraternity cannot be "elevated" to an Apostolic Administration, which is a completely different canonical reality. This great confusion about the former "Society of Saint John Mary Vianney", which was merely a civil association of disenfranchised diocesan priests and which never existed canonically in the 1982-2001 period, and whose priests were merely incardinated in the new diocesan-like structure, is quite common among those who pretend to know more about Canon Law than that which they actually do, but are quite ignorant of the Campos events.

    If you have any other comment on these facts, contact me by mail.