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Saturday, July 26, 2008

"Fraternity founded by Pope John Paul II"

From the B.C. Catholic
By Msgr. Pedro Lopez-Gallo

The origin of the Societies of Apostolic Life (one of which is the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter) lie in the 16th and 17th centuries, with the establishment of the Oratorians by St. Philip Neri, and the Daughters of Charity by St. Vincent de Paul, who resisted efforts to organize them as a religious orders.

We must thank the New Code that makes these societies similar to, yet distinct from, the institutes of consecrated life.

The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter and the followers of the traditional Latin rite of the Mass were jubilant when, on March 23, our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI in his own diocese of Rome entrusted them with the stately church of the Most Holy Trinity as a personal parish.

This was not only a source of joy for friends of the fraternity but also a relief, since their former quarters of San Gregorio dei Muratori in Rome were too small for the large crowds that gathered for many of their liturgical events.

On Easter Sunday the Pope decreed the establishment of the parish "in order to warrant proper pastoral care for the entire community of traditional faithful residing in the same diocese."

This is a milestone for the fraternity. It is not only the 10th parish that has been established as a full personal parish, but it is also the first in Europe.

On May 7, shortly after the official announcement, Father Joseph Kramer of the Fraternity of St. Peter was named the first pastor of this personal parish. He explained that the apostolate of the Fraternity of St. Peter had been started in Rome in 1988 under the auspices of the Ecclesia Dei Commission, with papal approval. Today there are 200 priests of the fraternity in dioceses all over the world serving the faithful who are attached to the Traditional Mass in Latin.

Speaking of what the new parish would mean to the fraternity, Father Kramer first acknowledged that it was not only "a great sign of trust on the part of the diocese of the Holy Father, but it also involved great responsibility, because Rome has always been an example to the rest of the Church."

When asked about continuing tradition, he answered: "St. Philip [parish] seems to have been the first to begin the Forty Hours Devotion here in Rome, and we will certainly continue that tradition."

Holy Trinity Church was built in 1597 in the wake of the Tridentine liturgical reform. Numerous features make the church ideal for the fraternity: "The visibility of the altar and the raised, large, well-lit sanctuary with the broad altar rail. While there are eight side chapels, there are no side aisles, and everything focusses on the main high altar."

A most interesting fact about the fraternity is that its founder was Pope John Paul II himself, when he proclaimed his Apostolic Letter Ecclesia Dei Adflicta, defending the purity of the liturgical tradition of the Mass while at the same time condemning the schismatic actions of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.

He established the so-called Priestly Confraternity of St. Pius X in Switzerland to train priests in pre-conciliar Catholicism. The Pope declared him ipso facto excommunicated for consecrating four bishops without the necessary papal mandate.

As the Pope had foreseen it, many priests and seminarians left the schismatic movement in order to reconcile with the Holy Father. They realized that union with the Successor of St. Peter and the living Magisterium of the Church are not optional. A seminary was first established in Wigratzbad, Germany, a second in Denton, Neb.

According to the Apostolic Letter Ecclesia Dei Adflicta of Pope John Paul II, the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter now takes care "of all those who are attached to the Latin liturgical tradition to whom respect must be shown to use the Roman Missal according to the typical edition of 1962."

In his recent Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, Pope Benedict XVI emphasized the importance of preserving the Latin Mass.

Perhaps the circumstances of the foundation are symbolized in the fraternity's coat of arms: the keys of St. Peter on a blue background, and three tear drops, recalling Peter's denial and his return.

Archbishop Raymond Roussin, SM, established on June 30 Holy Family Parish in Vancouver as a personal parish for the use of the typical edition of the Roman Missal promulgated by Blessed John XXIII in 1962. Its pastor is Father Erik Deprey, FSSP.

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