Yesterday I goofed and posted a rarther long and complex question to Ask an Apologist before reading the FAQ. I subsequently asked that the question be moved to another thread, if possible, so I wouldn’t have to retype the whole thing. It looks like that wasn’t possible, so as as my pennance I’m going to have to retype it.
Yesterday I spoke with 3 nuns from a community called Fraternite Notre Dame. They were upset because a local news release described them as not being in union with the Roman Catholic Church, and the local diocese wished to inform local Catholics that this organization was not in ecclesial communion with local bishops or with Pope John Paul II (the news release had been written a few weeks ago.) When questioned about this the nuns acknowledged that they do not recognize the authority of the local bishop or the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church. They do say they recognize Pope Benedict XVI and their own “bishop”, Jean Marie Roger Kozik, who is the founder of their religious community. They say they are 100% Catholic, but not Roman Catholic. They answered evasively when asked if they were members of the Ukranian Catholic Church or one of the other Eastern Catholic Churches.
Fraternite Notre Dame’s website has a page describing Bishop Kozik’s succession:
claiming succession from Archbishop Pierre Martin Ngo-Dinh-Thuc, whom this website claims had a special mandate or moto prio from Pope Pius XI authorizing him “…to perform episcopal consecrations without referring to the Holy See…” and “…all the pontifical powers of the pope himself, that are not from uncommunicable divine right…”
I have seen (Arch)bishop Ngo-Dinh-Thuc’s name before, in connection with some sedevacantist organizations. These nuns do say that they recognize Pope Benedict, so they probably should not be described as sedevacantist, but as they do not submit to the authority of local bishops, and as their “bishop” is not in ecclesial communion with other Catholic Bishops, I would guess that their community was in schism, presuming that Boshop Kozik’s episcopal orders are valid. The nuns strongly object to this, saying that they are as wholly Catholic as Roman Catholics and Eastern Catholics, and that their bishop is equal to other Catholic Bishops. (As an aside, they also disagreed with my assertion that Jesus founded the Roman Catholic Church, calling that heresy, but that’s another story.)
The nuns didn’t really contradict anything the news release except a report that these nuns had been soliciting donations in the area. (The nuns say they have not solicited donations, I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt on this.) The nuns’ main complaint seems to be that the Chancery issued the news release about them at all, informing the Diocese that this organization promoting itself as a Catholic organization was not in ecclesial communion with local Catholic Bishops and that they had not sought prior written permission from the local Bishop to establish their community within his Diocese in conformity with Canon 609. The nuns’ position is that the Bishop has no authority over them and that the Chancery should not have written anything about them at all.
I don’t think this issue is going to be resolved any time soon, If anyone else here has any other definite information on the status of Fraternite Notre Dame (besides their own press releases), on Bishop Kozik, on Archbishop Ngo-Dinh-Thuc and his alleged special mandate, or anything else relevant to this issue, I would appreciate your information.