(Bordeaux / Rome) Nine months after the elections for the appointment of a new Superior General and a new General Council of the traditional Instituts du Bon Pasteur and the subsequent internal conflict is now before the decision of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei. The Commission, which is under the Institute since 2006, has appointed a provisional administrator, who has a mandate of six months. Its mission is to prepare new elections for the governing bodies at this time and carried out under his supervision. The Institute of the Good Shepherd was made up of former members of the Society of St. Pius X. and established that because they no longer wanted to endorse their canonically irregular status.
The Institute, based in Bordeaux, is in contrast to the SSPX, recognized as a society of Apostolic Life of Pontifical Right of the Church in 2006 and placed under the Ecclesia Dei Commission.
In spring 2012 a visitation of the Institute by the Ecclesia Dei Commission came to the election of the Institute. The visitation by the then-Secretary of Ecclesia Dei, Monsignor Guido Pozzo, had caused quite a stir and considerable unrest in tradition-bound circles. It had been put out as an example within the SSPX, as a reason why the Brotherhood should not agree to any agreement with the Holy See. Rome had demanded and required of the Institute an appropriate consideration of the Second Vatican Council in priestly formation, to reconsider the categorical exclusion of the celebration of the New Rite and to recognize the Catechism of the Catholic Church in its 1997 edition as the authoritative compendium of Catholic doctrine.
At the General Chapter on 5 July, a new Institute's director was chosen for younger members, who were critical of the Roman terms. The New Superior General, Father Roch Perrel, however, was a choice that was disputed by the founders and former Superior General, Father Laguérie, due to procedural deficiencies in Rome. In one of his first acts as prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller appealed which took place on the 30th of July 2012 and ordered the repeat of the elections.
This recent decision of Rome dealt at first sight with neither of the two warring sides fairly. They also denied the claim of Abbé Philippe Laguèrie to continue to be the rightful superior general. Elections under Roman supervision will provide clarity and bring peace back to the Institute. Long periods of time are considered problematic, in which ambiguity and uncertainty prevail: first nine months until the decision of Rome and now another six months to the elections. The majority of the Institute, it was possible, despite the adverse circumstances, to be faithful to the the founding charism with the necessary peace and serenity. This solid foundation made possible the growth in the Institute by new entrants and seminarians in the last few months.
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Image: Institut du Bon Pasteur