Archbishop LEFEBVRE and the VATICAN

October 29, 1987

Communiqué from Cardinal Ratzinger
to the Bishops’ Synod

After meeting with Archbishop Lefebvre on October 18, 1987, the Cardinal agreed to send a Visitor who would observe and report his findings.

Concerning the present dialogue between the Holy See and Archbish­op Marcel Lefebvre, I am enabled to give to the Bishops’ Synod the following information:

As it has already been announced by the Press Office of the Holy See, a meeting with the prelate took place on October 18, at the end of which the prelate accepted the proposal concerning the nomination of an Apostolic Visitor whose mission would be to gather all the elements of information which would enable us to solve the canonical situation of “the Priestly Society of Saint Pius X.”

On this subject I can now add that the Holy Father has nominated the Apostolic Visitor in the person of His Eminence Edward Gagnon,13 who will give him directly an account of the progress of his mission.

It goes without saying that the hoped-for final solution relies on the necessary condition of the obedience due to the Sovereign Pontiff and of fidelity to the magisterium of the Church.


13 Born in Port-Daniel, in the diocese of Gaspé, Canada, on January 15, 1918, he began his theological studies in the Major Seminary of Montreal. He earned a B.A. degree in Theology in 1940, and a doctorate in 1941. Ordained on August 15, 1940, between 1941 and 1944 he attended courses in canon law at the University of Laval in Quebec. After 1945, he taught Moral Theology and Canon Law at the Major Seminary in the Laval Theology Department. From 1954 to 1960, he was head of the Major Seminary of Saint Boniface. He was a peritus during the Second Vatican Council. From 1966 to 1970 he was Father Provincial of the Sulpetians for Canada, Japan and Latin America. Named Bishop of St. Paul, Alberta on February 19, 1969, and Archbishop of Giustin¬iana on July 7, 1983, he was made a cardinal by Pope John Paul II during the Consis¬tory of May 25, 1985. He has held several important posts in the Vatican Curia. Formerly president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, on January 3, 1991 he was named President of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses. (Inside the Vatican, June-July 1996, p.16.)

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