“In the thirteen years of my pontificate,thisis the biggest cross.” —Pope Paul VI to Jean Guitton, concerning Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and a potential schism
Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre (courtesy of Marcel / Anefo Antonisse)
In response to the crisis within the Church following in the wake of the Second Vatican Council, Swiss Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre took certain actions that questioned his canonical standing with the Church. The most controversial was the consecration in 1988 of four new bishops without a papal mandate. Lefebvre has become the figurehead of what is called the “traditionalist movement” within the Church.
Pope Paul VI (courtesy of the Holy See)
During the pontificate of Paul VI (1963-1978), deep concerns were raised about the possibility of Lefebvre causing a schism. Lefebvre’s differences with Paul VI were recently raised for discussion in the light of new historical disclosures and the impending canonization of Paul VI. In light of that ongoing discussion, I am providing a first-ever English translation of a forgotten conversation of Paul VI on Archbishop Lefebvre. First, however, a quick background on the recent developments.
On May 31, 2018, the Holy Father has nominated His Excellency, Archbishop Henryk Hoser, S.A.C., Archbishop-Bishop emeritus of Warszawa-Praga (Poland), Apostolic Visitator of special character for the parish of Medjugorje for an indeterminate time and ad nutum Sanctae Sedis.
This is an exclusively pastoral task, in continuity with the mission of Special Envoy of the Holy See for the parish of Medjugorje, entrusted to Archbishop Hoser on February 11, 2017 and concluded by him in recent months.
The mission of the Apostolic Visitator is to ensure a stable and continuous accompaniment of the parish community of Medjugorje and of the faithful who go there on pilgrimage, whose needs require particular attention.
In data 31 maggio 2018 il Santo Padre ha nominato S.E. Mons. Henryk Hoser, S.A.C., Arcivescovo-Vescovo emerito di Warszawa-Praga (Polonia), Visitatore Apostolico a carattere specialeper la parrocchia di Medjugorje, a tempo indeterminato e ad nutum Sanctae Sedis.
Si tratta di un incarico esclusivamente pastorale, in continuità con la missione di Inviato Speciale della Santa Sede per la parrocchia di Medjugorje, affidata a Mons. Hoser l’11 febbraio 2017 e da lui conclusa nei mesi scorsi.
La missione del Visitatore Apostolico ha la finalità di assicurare un accompagnamento stabile e continuo della comunità parrocchiale di Medjugorje e dei fedeli che vi si recano in pellegrinaggio, le cui esigenze richiedono una peculiare attenzione.