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Former followers of Lefebvre return to Church and found approved Institute

.- A group of six French priests and several seminarians who were formerly members of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X have reestablished full communion with the Catholic Church and begun the “Institute of the Good Shepherd,” with the blessing of Pope Benedict XVI.

Members of the new pontifically-approved Society of Apostolic Life, established in Rome on September 8th, the Feast of the Birth of Mary, can celebrate the Tridentine Mass in Latin.  The statutes of the Institute allow its members to “exclusively use the Gregorian liturgy,” the rite found in the liturgical books used prior to the liturgical reform in 1962, the Roman Missal, the Roman Breviary, the Roman Pontifical, and the Roman Ritual.

The Archbishop of Bordeaux and President of the Episcopal Conference of France, Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard, noted in a communication that the clergy who belong to the Institute, desire “to practice their priesthood in the doctrinal and liturgical traditions of the Holy Roman Catholic Church.”

The French prelate explained that the Holy Father, “adopted the decision to build this new institute.”  In this way, he continued, “they give their will to propose an experience of reconciliation and communion which will be deepened and made more solid with the facts.” The statutes of the Institute of the Good Shepherd have received experimental approval for a period of five years.

The archbishop also explained that the presence of the newly approved Society of Apostolic Life in the Archdiocese of Bordeaux will be regulated by an agreement signed by both parties.

According to the France Press agency, Fathers Paul Aulagnier, Guillaume de Tanouarn, and Philippe Laguérie are the priests being considered to be named Superior General of in the decree creating the new institute.

The seminarians, the agency continued, are to be ordained by Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos, Prefect for the Congregation for the Clergy and President of the Commission “Ecclesia Dei” which was created to facilitate the return to full communion of those connected to the Fraternity founded by Lefebvre.


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