Foundation and Development Institute of the Good Shepherd


In Rome, on Friday, September 8, 2006, on the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Cardinal DARIO CASTRILLON-HOYOS, Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, approved on behalf of the Holy See the statutes and the foundation of INSTITUTE OF THE GOOD PASTOR, canonically erected in “Society of Apostolic Life”.

Originally regrouping, under the leadership of Father Laguérie, former priest of Saint-Nicolas-du-Chardonnet in Paris, six founding members (five priests and a deacon), from the Fraternité Saint-Pie-X founded by Archbishop Lefebvre, this new community is the first of its kind recognized by Pope Benedict XVI himself. Since September 8, 2006, five other priests have joined the founders and, with the two new ordinations of March 4, 2007, the new institute has so far twelve priests, twelve seminarians (including three deacons) and a postulant brother. A district was created for Latin America with headquarters in Chile, Santiago, led by Padre Raphael Navas, formerly of the SSPX.

An institute of pontifical right

The institute of the Good Shepherd is constituted of pontifical right, that is to say that it reports directly to the Holy See and that its superior has the power of ordinary jurisdiction, with the internal and external fors, on all members of the community. He incardinates his members priests and deacons, that is to say, he relates them directly to the Roman Church. It can open seminars and call to minor and major orders candidates recognized as fit for the priesthood. Power he has used lately by ordering two deacons and two new priests. The statutes also allow him to call auxiliary brothers to religious life.

A community of apostolic life dedicated to the traditional rite

The Holy See dedicated the Good Shepherd Institute to “the exclusive use of the Gregorian liturgy” for the Mass and for all the sacraments, according to “the liturgical books in force in 1962 “(Statutes II §2). The traditional liturgy is declared “the proper rite of the Institute in all its liturgical acts” (Statutes I §2). According to the statutes and according to the decree of erection, it is not an indult but a mission and discipline proper, which manifests how much the rite of “Saint Pius V” is legitimate and constitutes a wealth for the Church. Now, through the statutes of the Good Shepherd, the traditional Mass is no longer just a permission. She is encouraged for herself by the Roman See.

Communion Fully Manifested

The priests and deacons of this new apostolic and missionary work rejoice at the generosity with which the ecclesiastical hierarchy has received their request for a communion which is finally fully manifested with the Holy See. The decree of erection of September 8, 2006 is the sure sign of their communion with the Church of Rome, with all the Churches in communion with it.

“Full fidelity to the infallible Magisterium of the Church”

Moreover, each founding member personally acknowledges “to respect the authentic Magisterium” of the Roman See, in “full fidelity to the infallible Magisterium of the Church (Statutes II §2). From a doctrinal point of view, in accordance with Pope Benedict XVI’s speech to the Roman Curia on December 22, 2005, the members of the Institute, as much as they are in them, are engaged in a “serious and constructive criticism” of the Second Vatican Council, to allow the Apostolic See to give an authentic interpretation.

Communion creates a space for dialogue and healthy and serene controversy. Thus, under the aegis of the Good Shepherd, a great debate on Tradition and the reception of Vatican II fraternally gathered on November 20, 2006 a thousand Catholics of more than varied tendencies. December 2nd, by a university conference on “Liturgical celebrations, Tradition or mutations? The institute gave the floor to a dozen professors and priests, including father Lang, allowing them to exhibit to a hundred participants the fruit of their innovative critical works (historical and theological). Cardinal Ricard himself has planned to establish a doctrinal discussion commission in Bordeaux in the near future, to discuss serenely and with mutual respect the stumbling blocks of the Council and its reception

Priests at the service of the parishes

However, the statutes of the Institute of the Good Shepherd also destine him to “serve the parishes (with canonical mission of the Ordinary),” to “make them live and make them love the faithful for salvation of their souls “(Statutes III §2), on the model of the Good Shepherd who feeds his sheep, communicates hope, rescues distress and spreads in love the love of God and neighbor. This is his daily mission. Also, the decree of erection foresees that are entrusted to the Institute of the parishes personal.

Cardinal Ricard welcomes the first new foundation in Bordeaux, in Saint-Éloi church


It is worth noting that Cardinal JEAN-PIERRE RICARD welcomed the new foundation in his diocese of Bordeaux, in the Saint-Éloi church, the main seat of the Institute. Precisely on February 1, 2007, this new Institute received the full agreement of the President of the French Episcopal Conference, which erected in this historic church a “personal parish determined by the use (not optional) of the liturgical books of 1962” for the entrust him. Cardinal Ricard opens here a way of future and appeasement. It is indeed the first time in the Church of France that a diocesan convention has been passed with a pontifical institute, to entrust to it a parish devoted exclusively to the traditional liturgy and to the faithful who practice it.

A traditional seminary in France and two priestly ordinations

In Courtalain, in Eure-et Loire, the Institute opened in October 2006 an international seminar for the training of future priests and brothers. Under the supervision of Father Paul Aulagnier, assisted by Fr. Henri Forestier, this seminar already hosts a dozen young candidates for the priesthood, from France, Poland, Brazil and Chile. This work under the patronage of St. Vincent de Paul, restorer of the priesthood in France in the seventeenth century, is a pledge of hope and vitality in the service of the Mission for the Church of tomorrow. The ordination of two priests in the traditional rite, on March 4, 2007, candidates formerly trained in Ecône in Switzerland, by a Roman prelate, Mgr Luigi de Magistris, in a parish church made available by Bishop Pansard, Bishop of Chartres.

A hope for the Church

From now on, the parish and missionary experience of the Tradition is punctually possible within the framework of an ordinary jurisdiction. Already, we can think that the approval of the Institute of the Good Shepherd is a test bed and a way forward, pending the text announced in Rome in favor of freedom to the traditional mass.