Institute of the Good Shepherd is Growing

The news report below, from Catholic World News, reports on the request of Parisian traditionalists for a “personal parish.” Towards the bottom, the Institutes’s growth is detailed. This is the Institute whose foundational documents, approved by the Church, state that “Each ounding member personally agrees ‘to respect the authentic Magisterium’ of the Roman See, with ‘complete fidelity to the infallible Magisterium of the Church’ (Statutes II §2). From a doctrinal point of view, in accordance with the address of Pope Benedict XVI to the Roman Curia on December 22, 2005, the members of the Institute, as far as they are able, are engaged in ‘a serious and constructive critique’ of the Second Vatican Council, in order to bring about an authentic interpretation of the council by the Apostolic See.”

Paris, Feb. 20, 2008 ( – More than 1,500 Catholics in Paris have signed a petition asking Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois to create a “personal parish” for traditionalists, staffed by priests of the Institute of the Good Sheperd, the daily La Croix reports.

The Institute of the Good Shepherd was established by the Vatican in September 2006 as a “society of apostolic life,” with headquarters in Bordeaux. Priests of the institute are allowed to celebrate Mass using the traditional liturgy– the “extraordinary form”– exclusively. The priests who were original members of the institute had all previously been members of the Society of St. Pius X, the breakaway traditionalist group.

In his motu proprio broadening access to the extraordinary form of the Latin liturgy, Pope Benedict XVI (bionews) suggested the creation of “personal parishes” for groups of the faithful deeply committed to the traditional liturgy. Although Cardinal Vingt-Trois has authorized the use of the extraordinary form in existing Parisian churches, the petitioners argue that the establishment of a parish would give traditionalist Catholics an entire local community, enabling them to establish programs in religious education, youth activities, marriage preparation, scouting, and charitable works.

In Bordeaux, the Institute of the Good Shepherd welcomed about 100 Catholics for Ash Wednesday ceremonies at St. Éloi parish, La Croix reported; the pastor, Father Philippe Laguérie, says that 600 people regularly attend Mass there. The affiliated school has 80 students. Father Laguérie expects the community to grow, and looks forward to establishing a similar traditionalist parish in Paris.

After years of conflict with archdiocesan officials in Bordeaux, Father Laguérie reports that “a mutual respect has been born,” and relations are markedly improved.

Meanwhile the Institute of the Good Shepherd has seen explosive growth in its clerical ranks. The group numbered just 5 priests and a handful of seminarians when it was canonically established in 2006; today there are 19 priests and 35 seminarians, with 4 deacons to be ordained this Saturday, February 23, at the basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome.