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73 Jurist 131 (2013)
The Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei: Purpose and Competence

handle is hein.journals/juristcu73 and id is 135 raw text is: THE JURIST 73(2013) 131-150

The Pontifical Commission
Ecclesia Dei: Purpose and Competence
The Roman Pontiff usually conducts the business of the universal church
by means of the Roman Curia.' Among its various dicasteries is the Pon-
tifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, established by Pope John Paul II on July 2,
1988.2 Its establishment resulted from the schismatic actions of Archbishop
Michel Lefebvre, who illicitly ordained four bishops within his group, the
Fraternal Society of St. Pius X (FSSPX/SSPX).3 While the initial intent of the
* Defender of the Bond, Archdiocese of Philadelphia, PA.
i. Codex luris Canonici auctoritate loannis Pauli PP. II promulgatus (Vatican City: Libreria
Editrice Vaticana, 1983) C. 360: Curia Romana, qua negotia Ecclesiae universae Summus Pon-
tifex expedire solet et qua nomine et auctoritate ipsius munus explet in bonum et in servitium
Ecclesiarum, constat Secretaria Status seu Papali, Consitio pro publicis Ecclesiae negotiis, Con-
gregationibus, Tribunalibus, aliisque Institutis, quorum omnium constitutio et competentia
lege peculiari definiuntur. English translation from Code of Canon Law, Latin-English Edition:
New English Translation (Washington, DC: CLSA, 2001). All translations of this code will be
taken from this source unless otherwise specified.
2.John Paul II, motu proprio Ecclesia Dei adflictaJuly 2, 1988: AAS 8o (1988) 1495-1498. Al-
though not a dicastery in the technical sense found in art. 2 of John Paul II, apostolic constitu-
tion Pastor bonusJune 28, 1988: AAS 8o (1988) 859, in this article it will be so termed, due to its
executive authority.
3. There is some debate about whether the SSPX is in formal schism due to the actions of
their founder. A private interview with Cardinal Dario Castrill6n Hoyos, former president of
the commission, states that there was not a formal schism (Gianni Cardinale, After the Pope's
audience with the Superior of the Saint Pius X Fraternity 'Rapprochement by unhasty stages,
but not too slow either,' 30 Days year 23, no. 9 [2005] 31). However, Ecclesia De adflicta uses
schism /schismatic several times in its text (nn. 3, 4, 5c). In this article, schism will be
used, but this proviso should be kept in mind.

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