- The first current of thought was that the Pope was taking another step towards restoring a place for traditional Catholicism, in the meantime accommodating priests who needed a "place to land," and setting things up for a broader, bigger arrangement that would do justice for the old Mass and for traditional Catholics. These former SSPX guys were just the advance party for the great restoration that was to come.
- The other current of thought was that the Pope, being dissatisfied with the lack of progress in SSPX negotiations, was going to try to drive a wedge into the SSPX--to lure and divide the irregular traddies into smaller groups, grind them to powder, and remold them as rather-more-staid-than-usual, altar-girls-optional newfangled Catholics.
But here we are, just a few weeks later, and it seems we'll soon know the answer. Unlike the Fraternity of St. Peter, who didn't fully appreciate the short length of the leash held by the modernists until 12 years after the fact (the 2000 General Chapter interventions and Protocol 1411), the Institute is likely to know the cost of their accommodations right away.
Just a few weeks ago, via the Cornell Catholic Circle, we heard from the suit-n-tie wearing Vicar General of Bordeaux, Pere Jean Rouet, that the whole report was a "disinformation" that was not consented to by the Archbishop of Bordeaux, Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard.
Now yesterday, we heard from the Cardinal himself, via a Catholic World News report:
By entering into full communion, the cardinal said, the traditionalist priests are accepting "the actual magisterium of the Pope and the bishops." More pointedly, he added that the Good Shepherd institute should show "a clear position regarding the magisterial act that was the Second Vatican Council, and the promulgation of its documents." The generous offer extended to the traditionalists, he insisted, must not "reopen questions about the path the Lord has chosen for the Church during the last 40 years."
...However, the group can only be active in a diocese with the permission of the local bishop. The traditionalist clerics, he added, would need "a very good reason to have pastoral care for the faithful."
In Bordeaux, Cardinal Ricard said, the Good Shepherd institute could only begin pastoral activites after signing an agreement with the archdiocese. With that agreement in place, he said, a parish church could be put at the disposal of the traditionalist clerics "for a fixed period of time."
Quite eager, Cardinal Ricard is, to put those embarrassing traditionalists under his yoke, eh? Let's see....a "very good reason to have pastoral care for the faithful"? What might that be? How about this: They will actually have people assisting at their Mass and going to their confessionals, unlike your own secularized, newfangled Froggie priests singing their french "Kumaya, mon Dieu" music in empty churches! And as for the fear they might "reopen questions about the path the Lord has chosen for the Church during the last 40 years," um, well, yer Eminence, I doubt you really want to consider that question closed, because at the moment, there's only one honest answer that can be given to it, Cardinal Froggie.
Of course, you know, Cardinal Ricard sits on the Ecclesia Dei commission, which gives one insight into the makeup and object of that commission. And of course, you know, Ricard personally has no reason to defer to the Holy Father, who has already designated a church in Bordeaux for them. Cardinal Ricard, I suppose, is going to send the gendarmes to the church to make sure no laymen get in to assist at Mass, against the intentions of Rome? Or perhaps he's going to forbid the new Institute the use of it notwithstanding papal decree? Then we'll know who's really "schismatic," to use Catholic World News' favorite adjective, won't we!
Frankly, I'm glad all this is happening so fast! Ricard and his minions' lashing out at the new institute will flesh out the situation much more quickly. If Rome puts the Frenchie bishops back in line, we'll see hope on the horizon for a restoration. If Rome stands aside and lets the frogs drive the new institute into the ground like they have their own dioceses, then we'll know the time for restoration has not yet come. Had Ricard and his VC shown a little more restraint in talking to the media, the institute might have been lulled into a more vulnerable position. But they didn't, and now everyone's watching. We should know what all this means very soon.