Important good news today from Rome, as the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, already a Society of Apostolic Life, has now been granted the status of a Society of Apostolic Life of Pontifical Right. In practical terms, this means that the Institute is now under the direct supervisory control of the Holy Father.
The Institute is well known for having cordial relations with the Bishops in the dioceses where they operate, so in many ways this change will not be immediately apparent. Yet it does provide a measure of independence from certain possible situations where the boundaries of diocesan control are otherwise not well-understood. This is is same canonical footing that the Holy See has granted to other traditionalist societies, and is a recognition by the Holy See of the good work and standing of the Institute worldwide.
This story is still breaking; in fact, the Institute's U.S. website was down earlier, preparing an announcement, no doubt. I will update this post as I get news.
UPDATE: from the Institute's U.S. site:
Pontifical Right for Institute and Our Sisters
With deepest gratitude to the Blessed Trinity, to Christ Our King, and His Immaculate Mother, to St. Joseph, to St. Michael the Archangel, to our patron saints, to the entire court of heaven, and with filial thankfulness to our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI and his faithful collaborators, we have the joy to announce a very important event:
His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI
On the feast day of Our Lady, Queen of the Holy Rosary, the Vice-President of the Commission Ecclesia Dei, Very Reverend Monsignor Camille Perl, has read in our Seminary chapel the official decree by which, in the name of the Holy Father, the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest was erected to the status of a Society of Apostolic Life of Pontifical Right. Also our Sisters Adorers of the Royal Heart of Jesus received the status of Pontifical Right. The Decree was signed by His Eminence Dario Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos. A Solemn Te Deum followed the reading of the Decree.
Born out of a profound union with the Holy Father in Rome and the Institute's founder and members having always lived in a continuous and unwavering spirit of faithful Romanitas, the Institute was granted the Pontifical Right after the formal time of experience and interrogation which is a traditional custom for the Holy See. Various positive Apostolic Visitations conducted by the Roman Curia and a very favorable consultation of all the Most Reverend Bishops in whose Dioceses we are invited to serve have finalized this canonical process.
After this affirmative evaluation of our spirituality and our international presence and work, the Pontifical Right is an expression of the appreciation of the service of the Institute of Christ the King by the Roman Pontiff and his collaborators to whom we are deeply obliged. The Pontifical Right will make it even easier for the Institute to conduct its service for the Church according to its constitutions and gives to Monsignor the Prior General rights and duties that are in unison with our canonical lifestyle.
BENEDICTO XVI SUMMO PONTIFICI PAX, VITA ET SALUS PERPETUA!
Here is the link to the Institute's French site, and here is a link to a translation.
From the Institute's U.S. website is a brief description of its organization and mission, written prior to today's news:
The Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest is a society of apostolic life whose goal is the honor of God and the sanctification of priests in the service of the Church and souls. Its specific aim is missionary: to spread the reign of our Lord Jesus Christ in all spheres of human life. Our work is carried out under the patronage of the Immaculate Conception, to Whom the Institute is consecrated.
The Institute was founded in 1990 by Monsignor Gilles Wach and Father Philippe Mora in Gabon, Africa, where we still have missions. Today, the motherhouse and international seminary of the Institute is located in Gricigliano, in the Archdiocese of Florence, Italy.
Recognizing the importance of a deep harmony between faith, liturgy, life, and the power of beauty in attracting the human senses to the things above, an integral part of the Institute’s charism is the use of the traditional Latin Liturgy of 1962 for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the other sacraments. Great care for a solemn liturgy, complete fidelity to the doctrine of the Church and the Holy Father, and awareness of the central role of Grace, especially Charity – these are essential elements of the Institute’s spirituality, which is drawn from its three co-patrons, St. Benedict, St. Thomas Aquinas, and St. Francis de Sales. Our motto, taken from St. Paul, is “Live the truth in charity." The Institute operates in more than fifty places in twelve countries, where our priests focus on the care of souls in many different ways. To assist our priests in their apostolic work, the Institute also has clerical oblates. In 2004, a community of religious sisters was canonically established to aid the priests in their mission through prayer and apostolic work.
"The mission of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest is to spread the reign of Christ in all spheres of human life by drawing from the millennial treasury of the Roman Catholic Church, particularly her liturgical tradition, the unbroken line of spiritual thought and practice of her saints, and her cultural patrimony in music, art and architecture. The Institute accomplishes this primarily through a solid and well-rounded formation of its priests, rooted in Catholic tradition and carried out at its international seminary in the Archdiocese of Florence. Our priests, conscious of the need for their own sanctification, strive to be instruments of God’s grace through their apostolic work discharged in the churches assigned to the Institute, its schools, its missions in Africa, by preaching retreats, teaching catechesis, and providing spiritual guidance. The Institute of Christ the King operates under the patronage of the Immaculate Conception, to Whom it is consecrated."