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The Institute of the Good Shepherd

The Institute of the Good Shepherd (Institutum a Bono Pastore) was canonically erected, as explicitly willed by the Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI, on 8 September 2006. The same day, on the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Dario Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, signed a Decree approving the newly created traditional community to serve the Holy Roman Catholic Church.

The Institute of the Good Shepherd is a Society of Apostolic Life of Pontifical Right (Can 589, 590, 731) and is directly subject to both the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life and the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei for its special charisma (Can 578, 586, 587).

The Institute in its internal governance, and discipline, is subject directly and exclusively to the authority of the Apostolic See (Can 593), and its Superiors have the authority over all members for both the external and internal forum (Can 134, 596). It incardinates its members - priests and deacons. It may found seminaries and ordain candidates (minor and major orders) deemed to have been called to priesthood and establish houses and local communities with the prior written consent of the diocesan Bishop (Can 520, 733). The Institute of the Good Shepherd was fully approved by President of the French Bishops' Conference, Jean-Pierre Cardinal Ricard, who was the first to have welcomed the newly formed Institute to his diocese.

Priests dedicated to the new apostolic work and mission, in full communion with Rome, enjoy the generosity of the Church' hierarchy that welcomed their petition for forming a new Institute. The Holy See approved that "in all its liturgical actions, the Roman rite - comprised by four liturgical books prevailing in 1962, i.e. the Pontifical, the Missal, the Breviary and the Roman Ritual, form a right proper to the Institute" (Statutes II, 2), as emphasized by Dario Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos "hence, the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite as used by the Institute of the Good Shepherd is no longer a matter of permission but a right proper to the Institute encouraged by the Holy See".

Also, to carry on its mission, and in view of the Holy Father's address to the Roman Curia on 22 December 2005 on interpretation of the Second Vatican Council, the members of the Institute, as far as possible, agree to, through profound study, help the Apostolic See prepare authentic interpretation of the Council as hermeneutics of continuity and not rupture with Tradition. Fidelity to the Truth demands of us not to avoid "serious and constructive criticism" if need be, remaining always "faithful to the authentic Magisterium" of the Holy See. For their part, each of the founding members personally undertakes to respect the authentic Magisterium of the See of Rome with "complete fidelity to the infallible Magisterium of the Church" (Statutes II, 2).

The Institute of the Good Shepherd is de facto putting into effect the petitions made to the Holy See by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. The Institute fully realizes (today extending beyond) the protocol of accord jointly signed by the Archbishop Lefebvre and the then Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger back in 1988. The accord that ultimately failed produced Episcopal consecrations of four auxiliary bishops for the Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX) without papal mandate. Today, after more than eighteen years, the accord is a fact expressed in a canonical erection of the Institute of the Good Shepherd. His Holiness Benedict XVI, who was himself witness to those events, in his desire for reconciliation and internal peace within the Church, recognizing the petitions and requests of the Traditional world, willed that the Institute of the Good Shepherd serve the whole universal Church with its unique mission and charisma.

Last but by no means least, the Institute of the Good Shepherd serves as one of "executory measures" of the Supreme Pontiff's will expressed in Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum - "It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the ChurchÔ??s faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place." (Benedict XVI, Accompanying Letter to Bishops)

Instaurare omnia in Christo !