Pope Appoints Commission For Lefebvre With Vatican-Lefebvre, Bjt
VATICAN CITY (AP) _ Pope John Paul II on Saturday appointed an eight-member commission to seek ways to persuade followers of excommunicated Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre to remain loyal to the Roman Catholic Church.
The pope warned on July 2 that Lefebvre sympathizers will be excommunicated if they remain with the rebel prelate. But John Paul also promised to try to meet their traditionalist needs - including Mass said in Latin - if they follow the pope.
Lefebvre created the first church schism in 118 years when he consecrated four traditionalist bishops on June 30 without papal permission. The act caused the automatic excommunication of the five, as well as of Monsignor Antonio de Castro Mayer, a Brazilian prelate who assisted Lefebvre in the ceremony.
John Paul said the special Vatican commission will seek to preserve the ″spiritual and liturgical traditions″ of Lefebvre followers, such as the 16th century Tridentine Mass in Latin.
Lefebvre and his followers reject many modernizing reforms of the 1962-1965 Second Vatican Council, including the replacement of the Latin Mass with a simplified liturgy in the local language.
The 82-year-old French prelate’s defiant act has produced the first major rupture in the church since the Old Catholics split from the Vatican in 1870 to protest the dogma of papal infallibility decreed by the First Vatican Council.
The commission will be headed by West German Cardinal Paul Augustin Mayer, who until recently was prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Sacraments and of the Congregation for the Divine Cult.
Other commission members are Monsignor Tere Tena Garriga, undersecretary of the Congregation for the Divine Cult; Monsignor Milan Simcic of the Congregation for the Clergy; Monsignor Jesus Torres Llorente of the Congregation for the Religious; Tarcisio Bertone, an expert in canon law; Monsignor Frantisek Rypar of the Congregation for Catholic Education; Benedictine theologian Benoit Duroux; Don Fernando Ocariz for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.