What is the Good Shepherd Institute (IBP)?
The IBP is a priestly institute (a «Society of Apostolic Life») of Pontifical right, that is, placed under the direct authority of the Holy See. It was founded on September 8, 2006 in Rome, and its Mother House is the parish of Saint-Eloi, in the center of Bordeaux.
Created under the leadership of Pope Benedict XVI, the IBP now brings together some 45 priests, serving some 20 dioceses in France (Bordeaux, Chartres, Paris, Meaux, Le Mans, Marseille, etc.), Poland (Warsaw, Czêstochowa, Białystok), Colombia (Bogota), Brazil (Brasilia, Sao Paulo, Belém, Curitiba), Italy (Rome, Naples) and Uganda (Kampala). Its priests carry out their apostolate in small communities, in the framework of personal or territorial parishes.
The charism proper to the Institute of the Good Shepherd, that is to say, what makes its specificity and purpose, is the defense and dissemination of the Catholic Tradition in all its forms: doctrinal, apostolic and liturgical. In particular, the priests of the IBP celebrate Mass exclusively in the traditional rite, that is to say according to the liturgy called «of St Pius V». In addition, the Institute was founded with the explicit task of proposing a constructive and theological critique of certain reforms born from the Second Vatican Council, a critique that aims to offer the whole Church a fresh look at her own identity.
This attachment to Tradition is resolutely a way of serving the Church, in submission to the Pope, at the service of the Catholic Bishops, and for the good of all the faithful: It is the expression of their desire to propose to the whole Church and to the world the riches and benefits of the Catholic Tradition as a treasure from which all must draw.
Good shepherd’s institute
What is the particular identity of IBP priests?
The spiritual identity of an IBP priest is that of Jesus Christ “Good Shepherd”, as Our Lord calls himself in the Gospel of St John: “I am the Good Shepherd” (John 10:14). The priests of the community then seek to resemble more particularly this figure of Christ, extremely rich, because they see in it a model of apostolate quite adapted to the mission proper of the IBP: the liturgical and doctrinal tradition. The image of Christ as a pastor is one of the first representations of Jesus, which can be found several times in the catacombs in Rome.
Indeed, the Good Shepherd’s mission is to gather the lost sheep, to console them, to feed them, and to take care of them, according to what God already says to the prophet Jeremiah in the Old Testament: “I will gather my sheep…I will bring them back to their fields, and they will grow and multiply. And I will establish upon them pastors who will feed them; they will no longer be in fear and terror, and not one will be lost, says the Lord” (Jer. 23:3-4).
Thus, the Good Shepherd is above all the one who “gives his life for his sheep” (John 10:11). It is therefore in his sacrifice, on the cross, that Jesus proves his love for men and realizes their salvation by offering himself as an innocent victim. The priests of the IBP therefore wish to draw from the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass this spirit of renunciation, generosity and self-giving, for the good of all the "sheep" of Jesus Christ, especially those who are furthest from the Church. The daily celebration of Mass in the traditional rite allows them to identify more and more with this great work of Christ, with its most sacred aspect and its mystical significance.
The Good Shepherd is also the one who “knows his sheep”, and whom his sheep know, because they listen to his voice (John 10:27): fidelity to Christ’s teaching, through the voice of his Church, is a necessary condition for touching souls, intelligences and hearts.