LEFEBVRE and the
of Cardinals Ratzinger
and Mayer to Dom Gérard Calvet
Ratzinger and Mayer wrote this letter in response to one written
to Cardinal Ratzinger by Dom Gérard Calvet, superior of the Benedictine
Monastery of St. Madeline at Le Barroux, France. To our knowledge,
Dom Gérard’s original letter was never released to the public,
yet Cardinal Mayer disclosed parts of it in his interview with
30 Days magazine. (See following chapter, p.204.)
apostolate of Dom Gérard’s Monastery of St. Madeleine was affiliated
with that of the Society of Saint Pius X until shortly after Archbishop
Lefebvre’s consecration of bishops. Dom Gérard himself assisted
at the episcopal consecrations, but then broke his association
with the Society. He himself has since concelebrated the New Mass
with Pope John Paul II, thus consumating his compromise and that
of his monastery. His community now publicly defends the Second
Vatican Council’s idea of Religious Liberty (Dignitatis Humanae)
as being in accord with Catholic Tradition which it manifestly
to the letter which you addressed to the Prefect of the Congregation
for the Doctrine of the Faith on July 8, last, and to the petition
addressed to the Pope on the same date, the Cardinal Prefect of
that Congregation and the Cardinal Prefect of the special Commission
instituted by the motu proprio Ecclesia Dei, are happy to
communicate together the following.
audience granted to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger on July 23, 1988,
the Sovereign Pontiff deigned with goodness:
lift all censures and irregularities incurred due to the fact
of the reception of sacred Orders from the hands of His Excellency
Archbishop Lefebvre, then suspended a divinis, all the
members of the communities of St. Madeleine of Le Barroux, and
Santa Cruz de Nova Friburgo, who are in this case.
to these same communities the full reconciliation to the Holy
See under the conditions already offered by Cardinal Paul Augustin
Mayer during his visit to the Monastery of Le Barroux on June
21, 1988, and according to paragraph 6 (a) of the motu proprio
Ecclesia Dei, that is:
use in private and in public of the liturgical books in force
in 1962, for the members of the communities, and those who
frequent their houses.
the possibility of asking a bishop, according to the existing
canonical rules, for conferring the Orders according to the
Pontifical cited above, the superior of each autonomous house
granting the necessary dimissorial letters.
the right of the faithful to receive the sacraments according
to the books cited above in the houses of the communities,
taking into account the Canons 878, 896 and 1122 of the 1983
Code of Canon Law.
the possibility to develop a pastoral influence through apostolic
works and to keep the present ministries assumed by the communities,
according to Canons 679-683.123
shall take effect with the reception of the present letter.
Other possible juridical problems will have to be submitted
to the competence of the special Commission in charge of the application
of the motu proprio Ecclesia Dei.
the insertion of these two communities in the Benedictine Confederation,
the Cardinal President of the special Commission asks the Most Reverend
Abbot Primate to take, in union with him, the necessary dispositions,
given the wishes expressed in your letter of June 8, 1988, on this
We must add
that the Holy Father, touched by the expression of your sentiments
of fidelity and attachment to him, does not doubt your sincere desire
to contribute to the good of souls through your apostolate in communion
with him and with all the Shepherds of the Church and relies especially
upon your prayers and of your brethren.
Deign to accept,
Reverend Father, our religious and devoted feelings in the Lord.
Augustin Cardinal Mayer
These canons all stress that this pastoral work is to be “under
the authority and direction of the local bishop.”
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