Sunday, January 27, 2008

Card. Castrillón Asks French Scouts to Apply Summorum Pontificum

The following article appeared in the Friday weekly news edition "Le Fil de la semaine" of the French site "Liberté politique" (my translation). While the article is opinion piece as well as news item, the development and the questions raised are still of interest.

"Cardinal Dario Castrillón Hoyos asks the Scouts of Europe to apply the motu proprio.

"Asked in two French cities to create units whose chaplains would say Mass according to the rite of John XXIII, the current leadership team of the Scouts of Europe [NB: this is the French association "Guides et Scouts d'Europe" of the International Union of Guides and Scouts of Europe - UIGSE-FSE, not to be confused with the German association KPE Catholic Scout Movement of Europe of Fr Hönisch] had rejected this as something not to be accepted, holding that they are not affected by the instructions of Benedict XVI. After an appeal of 68 priests to Rome, the Cardinal President of the Commission Ecclesia Dei has written to the leaders of the movement to ask them to 'reconsider certain decisions taken regarding the putting into practice of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum'.

"Bizarrely invoking their 'attachment without reserve to the Council' and exclusively pedagogic criteria, the national team had closed its doors to certain priests although they are perfectly Roman Catholic. This decision, contrary to the spirit and the letter of the motu proprio, had provoked protest in the ranks of traditionalists, disappointed by not finding an ally in the French Catholic movement which has the reputation of being closest to the pope. More gravely, the decision had hurt the active forces of the movement, members and parents in their large majority attached to the ordinary form of the Roman rite, but scandalised by this distancing themselves from the work of reconciliation asked for by the pope.

"How can those responsible for a Catholic educational movement regard themselves as not concerned by the will of a pope who wants to begin a work of unity and reconciliation?

"The prohibition to celebrate Mass in the form of 1962 in fact raises at least three questions:

- Can an association of faithful forbid its chaplains ('religious counsellors') to enjoy the rights accorded by the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum?

- Can an association of faithful forbid its lay members to benefit from the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum within the scope of its activities?

- Can those responsible of the French association of 'Guides et Scouts d'Europe' legitimately, and for this reason alone, forbid a priest who normally celebrates in the extraordinary form of the Roman rite to exercise the office of chaplain with the movement?

"The answer to these three questions seems to be no.

"In fact, there is a debate in the background concerning the identity of the movement: can a private association of lay faithful, a Catholic movement for popular education invoke a régime of doctrinal, pastoral, liturgical extraterritoriality vis-à-vis the Magisterium for 'pedagogic' reasons? This approach would reveal a real spiritual and religious relativism: the Scouts would be invited to be fully Catholic in their parishes, for example, where the motu proprio could be applied, but they wouldn't be concerned by this initiative of reconciliation in their life as scouts.

"One can see the danger of such a concept, which regularly turns up in the debates between those who defend a scout life unified in Christian education, and therefore in belonging to the Church whatever their state in life, and the partisans of a more cartesian concept of scoutism, reducing the "sense of God" to a "category". This is the drift that has led to the secularisation of the Catholic school: no one wishes a similar destiny to the movement of Scouts of Europe, which is at the moment without a doubt the largest purveyor of vocations to the priesthood in the Church of France, while the bishops are working to set the Catholic school again on the way of a fully Christian, non-compartmented education."

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