BY SIMON CALD WELL
The Pore has recruited the most senior bishop in France for the job of healing the Church's rift with a traditionalist group which has gone into schism.
John Paul II appointed the president of the French bishops' conference, Archbishop JeanPierre Ricard, as a member of the Ecclesia Dei Commission, entrusted with promoting full communion with the traditionalist St Pius X Fraternity, also known as the Lefebvrists.
The Archbishop of Bordeaux succeeds the late Cardinal LouisMarie Billie in the post. The cardinal was also the leader of the French bishops.
The Ecclesia Dei panel was instituted on July 2, 1988, "to collaborate with the bishops, with the departments of the Roman Curia, and with the circles concerned, for the purpose of facilitating full ecclesial communion of priests, seminarians, religious communities or individuals until now linked in various ways to the Fraternity founded by Mgr Lefebvre, who may wish to remain united to the Successor of Peter in the Catholic Church".
The commission is presided over by Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos. Other members include Cardinals Joseph Ratzinger and Jorge Arturo Medina Estevez, prefects of the Congregations for the Doctrine of the Faith, and for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, respectively; and Archbishop Julian Heiranz, president of the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legal Texts.