French Clerics Criticize Pope's Latin Mass plans

French clerics criticize Pope’s Latin mass plans

By Tom Heneghan, Religion Editor
Monday, October 23, 2006; 8:52 AM
PARIS (Reuters) - Pope Benedict’s expected revival of the old Latin mass has provoked protests from Roman Catholic clergy in France, a major center of the traditionalist schism the Pontiff hopes to overcome with the gesture.
Five bishops and 30 priests – a considerable number in a church normally wary of open dissent – have expressed grave concern about making this concession to ultra-conservatives who reject the reforms of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965).

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Unswerving loyalty to the old Latin, or Tridentine mass, often goes hand in hand with a rejection of the Vatican II reforms, which opened the church to respect for and cooperating with other faiths and switched to a modern mass conducted in local languages.
The protests printed in the Catholic press highlighted serious issues the Vatican faces if, as church sources have reported, it announces soon that priests are free to say the vintage mass as an alternative to the modern liturgy.
Demand for a return the Tridentine mass – an austere ceremony in which the priest prays in Latin with his back to a silent congregation – is minimal among the world’s 1.1 billion Catholics.
In the modern mass, the priest faces the faithful, who pray and sing in active participation with him.
“This could create grave difficulties, especially for those who have remained loyal to Vatican II,” Toulouse Bishop Robert Le Gall told the Catholic daily La Croix.
In an open letter, 30 young priests said Benedict, 79, should encourage them "to work in the world as it is … rather than plunge us back into the liturgical life of another age."
Dating back to 1570, the Tridentine mass was dropped in the 1960s and can now be said only with a bishop’s special permission.
But the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX), a Swiss-based group launched by the late French Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre to oppose 1960s reforms, has demanded a blanket permission, or indult, for the Tridentine mass as a condition for its return to the church.
SSPX leader Bishop Bernard Fellay and other leaders were excommunicated in 1988.
Fellay says the Vatican looks set to grant the indult soon to take the SSPX back into the church.
But he insists his million-strong movement, many in France, would continue to contest Vatican II reforms from inside the church, creating a loyal opposition keen to steer it back to earlier practices.
The Vatican has already provoked protest in Bordeaux by readmitting five SSPX priests who preformed a Tridentine mass in a church they occupied there.
Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard, Bordeaux archbishop and head of the French Bishops’ Conference, has urged French Catholics to welcome rebel priests who return to the church.
“We can be charitable and welcoming but we also have to be honest,” Besancon Bishop Andre Lacrampe told the daily L’Est Republicain. “I’m not ready to receive them because one cannot erase Vatican II with a stroke of a pen.”
“There are very deep and painful theological reasons behind this schism,” Angouleme Bishop Claude Dagens told the Catholic weekly La Vie. "You can’t pretend that Archbishop Lefebvre’s break with the church was only caused by the liturgy."
Lille Archbishop Gerard Defois said some SSPX faithful were linked to far-right political movements and noted in a statement that some had “resorted to violent means to occupy churches.”

Well that’s not biased at all! :rolleyes:

The French episcopate has done such a stellar job promoting and spreading the faith in France, Benedict XVI should heed their warnings :rolleyes:

Not to overgeneralize, but it seems that the majority of actually practicing Catholics in a country that is about 90% nominally Catholic have been traditional Catholics of one stripe or another.

It is nothing more than a power play. The bishops have held the power to control the implementation of the Mass—so they see our Pope’s actions as an intrusion on their power.

I am suprised the French Episopate still allows mass to be said in France…

The whole premise of the article is flawed, I think, and this will inevitably lead to an off-track discussion thread. If and when this new, liberalized allowance of the old Mass comes about, it is almost certainly not aimed at reconciling SSPX (though it may contribute to an eventual reconciliation). Yes, the schism has deeper theological roots than just the liturgy, so why assume that addressing the liturgy is related fundamentally to the schism? Rather, it suggests that Benedict is interested in liturgy itself, and he is not simply throwing a bone to ‘the conservatives’ as the oversimplified media (who can only think in terms of left and right) would have it. Thus, Defois’ statement itself actually undermines the very position he proposes, without the archbishop knowing it!

I am truly shocked.

Do you mean to tell me that there is a national episcopate out there which is actually doing a worse job of safeguarding the Faith than the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops???

I find that hard to believe.

I think we are talking about degrees of suckiness (that’s the technical term). I think the French are the best of the worst, or cream of the crud.

The French manage to make the USCCB look positviely enlightended in comparison. i think the USCCB and the French Bishops are both far down the list the Pope will look for advice from.

Well, you know how the French hate to be outdone by us Americans. :wink:

By-the-by, on which side of “the great lake they call gitchee - goomee” are you located?

:rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl:

I’m surprised the French government still allows Mass to be said! Thanks to the outstanding job done by the French episcopacy, 30% of French citizens are now practicing Muslims.

I have some French WWII vintage army rifles for sale.

Great condition – never fired and only dropped once…

I’m on the east side of Gitchee-Goomee…north of Muskegon, but south of Traverse, about 4 miles from the beach. :slight_smile:

It’s nice in the summertime. Short drive. :slight_smile:

Yay Gord!

I say “let the Frogs eat cake”.

Distressed, the French rifles won’t work. They quit making ammo for them right after we save their backside in WWII.

a poster on another forum states my feelings on the matter:

The bishops of France need to have their heads examined. If they think that we traditionalists have struggled all these years to see the venerable Holy Sacrifice of the Mass restored in our churches, only to see them calumniate and attempt to sidetrack the movement, they are sadly mistaken. Where are their statistics showing mass attendance, belief in the Eucharist, keeping of vows, etc? Sadly, dear friends, the so-called Enlightenment has turned into the Endarkenment and the cries of liberty, fraternity and equality have turned our society into one that decries God and everything that He commands. I challenge any one to them to compare their parish statistics with any traditional Mass community and we will soon where the Truth lies. The pseudo-intellectualism of some Frenchmen is laughable on its face.

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