Thursday, January 04, 2007

The traditionalists obtain "their" mass

[An unofficial translation from Le Figaro. Still looking for the original link.]

by Sophie de Ravinel

The pontifical document is awaited with a certain fear in France, where the bishops expressed their reservations. Ardently desired by Pope Benedict XVI and begun in the autumn, the reconciliation of the Catholic Church with the Lefebvrists should take a decisive step at this beginning of the year 2007 with the awaited publication of a papal decree freeing up the Mass of St. Pius V. We could thus see the appearance in the parishes of France Masses according to the Latin rite in force before the 2nd Vatican Council.

How many churches exactly will adopt the Old Mass, in parallel with the actual rite? It is impossible to foresee. But the pressure of the minority traditionalists, active and demanding, should be strong in certain places, in particular in Paris. The Pope for a long time has thought of putting an end to the schism of 1988. Why leave separated from the Church hundreds of priests and thousands of faithful, while at the same time we preach dialogue with other religions?

It is without doubt in France, where mistrust in regard to the traditionalists remains strong, where Benedict XVI's plans have the most barriers to overcome. At Lourdes, this autumn, the bishops warned the Vatican in a very official way against a rapid reconciliation, behind their backs. It took the visits of Cardinal Lustiger, of Msgr.
Andre Vingt-Trois, the archbishop of Paris, and Msgr. Jean-Pierre Ricard, the president of the (French) episcopal conference, in order that the Pope agreed to delay the publication of his decree. The French prelates already had hardly appreciated being faced with the fact accomplished at the time of the decision of the Pope to create a new institute attached to Rome, the Institute of the Good Shepherd, to accommodate dissenting "traditionalists" of the SSPX, directed by Father Laguery. A return to the bosom of Rome all the more badly accommodated since no concession was required in return. [NLM note: mind you, return to full communion with the Holy See does say something about a rejection of the distinction between "new Rome" and "eternal Rome" that some within the SSPX are wont to make. It seems to me that, coming from a group that has viewed Rome with distrust and suspicion, and embracing her again as "mater et magistra" is quite significant indeed. It is the parable of the prodigal son.]

A new crisis in Bordeaux: the liberalization of the Mass of St. Pius V will truly constitute the great victory of the "traditionalists". Especially if the decree of the Pope authorizes the priests to act without the permission of their bishop. In the parishes, confidence is far from being won between traditionalists and the local clergy. In Bordeaux, a new crisis shakes the Saint-Eloi church, on the way to be entrusted to the Institute of the Good Shepherd. Fr. Laguerie refuses to sign the agreement recommended by the archbishop of Bordeaux, Mgr Ricard. Fr. Laguerie indicates it introduces a clause likely to allow for the celebration of the Mass in French, which Fr. Laguerie excludes.

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