Traditionalist group with NZ community gets canonical recognition

A traditionalist religious order with a community in Christchurch has been formally recognised as a diocesan institute within the Catholic Church.

The Congregation of the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer, based on a tiny windswept island in the Orkney Isles, Scotland, was formerly part of the breakaway Society of St Pius X.

In a formal ceremony on the island of Papa Stronsay, the group’s superior, Father Michael Mary, FSSR, expressed gratitude to “the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, to Bishop Hugh [Gilbert] of Aberdeen and Bishop Barry [Jones] of Christchurch for their mercy and kindness towards us”.

Three brothers of the traditionalist group are in the Christchurch community, which was established in 2007. There is also one in the Philippines.

The community on Papa Stronsay — a name which means “Priests’ Island of Stronsay” — made a public profession of vows before Bishop Gilbert during the ceremony of canonical recognition.

The Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer was founded in 1988 — with the blessing of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre of the Society of St Pius X — on the Isle of Sheppey in England. The community moved to France in 1994, then purchased Papa Stronsay for its home in 1999.

In its remote and austere location, the order produces electricity with a diesel generator, pumps water from wells, and heats its buildings and water with kerosene burners. It also maintains a website and its superior is on the social networking site LinkedIn.

The journey to the island from the mainland usually requires two ferry trips, followed by another five-minute crossing on the monastery’s boat.

The traditionalist group’s reconciliation with the Catholic Church followed Pope Benedict’s issuing of “Summorum Pontificum”,  a papal decree that allowed traditional Latin rites to be more widely used within the Church.


Catholic News Agency

Transalpine Redemptorists

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