DICI | read
Ecclesiae Unitatem [VATICAN]
On July 8, in keeping with what he had announced in his
letter of March 10, 2009, to the bishops of the entire world,
Benedict XVI published the motu proprio, Ecclesiae
Unitatem by which he reattached the Ecclesia Dei
Commission to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith:
because the problems that must now be addressed with the Society
are essentially doctrinal in nature, I have decided - twenty-one
years after the motu proprio,
Ecclesia Dei and in conformity with what I had proposed - to
rethink the structure of the
Ecclesia Dei Commission, linking it closely to the
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith,
In the new configuration of the Pontifical Commission
The President of the
Commission is the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine
of the Faith. The Commission, with its own allocation of staff, is
composed of the Secretary and officials.
task of the Cardinal President, assisted by the Secretary, is to
refer the principal cases and doctrinal questions to the judgment
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith through its
ordinary procedures, and to submit the results thereof to the
superior dispositions of the Supreme Pontiff.
So long as “the
doctrinal questions… remain and until they are clarified the
Society has no canonical status in the Church and its ministers
cannot legitimately exercise any ministry,” the pope stated.
Shortly before the publication of the motu proprio,
the news agency of the Holy See announced that Cardinal William
Joseph Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the
Faith, would replace Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, “having
reached the end of his term as president of the Pontifical
Commission Ecclesia Dei.” Msgr. Guido Pozzo will hold the post
of Commission secretary, left vacant by the death of Msgr. Mario
Marini last May. Finally, in a communiqué accompanying the
pontifical document, Cardinal Levada announced the departure of
the vice-president of the Ecclesia Dei Commission, Msgr.
Camille Perl, “after many years of service.”
In a communiqué, Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard, the archbishop
of Bordeaux and a member of the Ecclesia Dei Commission,
presented the Roman document, remarking:
It does not furnish
absolutely unpublished information since its content had been
revealed in large part by the Holy Father in his letter to the
bishops of the whole world of last March 10.
the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, which continues to
exist but is henceforth more closely attached to the Congregation
for the Doctrine of the Faith. Cardinal Ricard explained that this
Congregation gives its opinion on the questions it has to deal
with and that this opinion is always submitted to the pope for
decision. And he added:
The pope knows that the real
difficulties are doctrinal in nature and that genuine communion in
the Church cannot be established on ambiguities or fuzzy doctrine.
The key point of
the motu proprio is the recognition of the necessity of doctrinal
discussions. The Ecclesia Dei Commission’s task, stated in
No. 2 of the Roman document, which since 1988 consisted in giving
canonical status to priests who left the Society founded by
Archbishop Lefebvre, did not include preliminary theological
discussions, absolutely indispensable in the eyes of the SSPX.
The APIC news agency noted in passing:
specifically discusses relations with the Society of St. Pius X,
the motu proprio, Ecclesiae Unitatem, does not
mention the situation of the other institutes that come under the Ecclesia Dei Commission, such as the Fraternity of St.
Peter, the Good Shepherd Institute, or the Brazilian Society of
St. John Mary Vianney of the Campos diocese.