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Holy Father Sets Up Apostolic Administration In Brazil For Reconciled Schismatics

by Pope Saint John Paul II


The Holy Father's Autograph Letter of December 25, 2001, to Bishop Rangel. On August 15, 2001, Bishop Licinio Rangel, together with 25 priests of the Union of St. John Mary Vianney Campos, Brazil, addressed a letter to the Pope in which he expressed his act of full submission to the Catholic Church asking to be absolved from the excommunication incurred on July 28, 1991, when he accepted ordination to the office of Bishop without papal mandate. The Papal Letter, at the request of the Holy Father, was presented to Bishop Rangel in the course of a celebration in the Cathedral of Campos on January 18, 2002, by Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, President of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei". During this celebration, Bishop Rangel made his profession of faith and took the oath of fidelity to the Supreme Pontiff, declaring at the same time that he accepted all the teachings of the Second Vatican Council.

Larger Work

L'Osservatore Romano



Publisher & Date

Vatican, February 6, 2002

To my Venerable Brother Licinio Rangel
and the beloved Sons of the Union of St John Mary Vianney of Campos, Brazil

The unity of the Church is a gift that comes from the Lord, Shepherd and Head of the Mystical Body, but that also requires the certain response of each of the members, who heed the Redeemer's pressing prayer: "that they may all be one; even as you, Father in me, and I in you, that they also may be one in us, that the world may believe that you have sent me" (Jn 17,21).

With the greatest joy we received your letter of 15 August 2001, with which the whole Union renewed the profession of Catholic faith, declaring full communion with the Chair of Peter, recognizing "his Primacy and the government of the universal Church, her pastors and her faithful", and likewise declaring: "for no reason do we wish to be separated from the Rock (Peter) on which Jesus Christ founded his Church".

With profound pastoral joy we noted your desire to collaborate with the Successor of St Peter in spreading the faith and Catholic doctrine, in being zealous for the honour of the holy Church — who is raised as a sign for the nations (Is 11,12) — and in the fight against all who attempt to shake the Barque of Peter, but in vain, for "the powers of death shall not prevail against it" (Mt 16,18).

Let us give thanks to the Lord One and Triune for such good spiritual dispositions!

Having considered all things, and having before our eyes the glory of God, the good of holy Church and her supreme law, that is the salus animarum (salvation of souls; cf. can. 1752, CIC), warmly consenting to your request to be received into the full communion of the Catholic Church, we canonically recognize that you belong to her.

At the same time, Venerable Brother, we inform you that the legislative document is being prepared, that will establish the juridical form of the recognition of your ecclesial reality in which respect for your particular situation will be confirmed.

In this document, the Union will be canonically established as a personal Apostolic Administration, directly dependent upon this Apostolic See and with territory in the Diocese of Campos. It will be a cumulative jurisdiction with that of the local Ordinary. Its governance will be entrusted to you, Venerable Brother, and your succession will be assured.

The faculty of the Apostolic Administration to celebrate the Eucharist and the Liturgy of the Hours according to the Roman Rite and the liturgical discipline codified by my Predecessor St Pius V, with the adaptations introduced by his Successors up to Bl. John XXIII, will also be confirmed.

Thus with deep joy, in order to effect full communion, we declare the remission of the censure referred to in can. 1382 of the Code of Canon Law, in all that concerns you, Venerable Brother and, likewise, the remission of all censures and the dispensation from all irregularities incurred by other Members of the Union.

The significant date on which your Letter was signed did not escape our attention, that is, the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We entrust this act to her, Holy Mother of God and of the Church, with the hope, that becomes prayer, for an ever more harmonious coexistence among the clergy and faithful of this Union and of the beloved Diocese of Campos, for the renewed authentic missionary vigour of the Holy Church.

We wholeheartedly impart a special Apostolic Blessing to all the members of the Union of St John Mary Vianney.

From the Vatican, 25 December, the Solemnity of the Birth of the Lord, in the year 2001, the 24th year of Our Pontificate.

John Paul II

© L'Osservatore Romano, Editorial and Management Offices, Via del Pellegrino, 00120, Vatican City, Europe, Telephone 39/6/698.99.390.

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