Friday, November 11, 2022

Bishop Aillet on Traditionis Custodes: Towards a Restoration of Peace?

The YouTube channel of the French Catholic magazine L’Homme Nouveau has just published an interview with His Excellency Marc Aillet, bishop of Bayonne, Lescar and Oloron, on the future application of Traditionis Custodes in France. What he says here gives us reason to hope that said application will be done with a pastoral sensitivity and genuine concern for the good of the faithful that has, alas, been wholly lacking in too many other places. His Excellency rightly notes what everybody knows, that the restoration of the traditional liturgy to its rightful place in the Church has proved to be particularly successful among the young; in a country where regular Mass attendance wallows in single-digit percentiles, and vocations have almost evaporated, this is no small thing.

“We had a meeting of nine or ten bishops, the result of whose reflections I don’t know, as the meetings were on somewhat different topics.
I was in a meeting on hearing the communities attached to the forms before the synod [i.e.,Vatican II], the vetus ordo, as one says now.
I think, in a general way, to the extent I could perceive it, there is a desire among the bishops to promote peace; and that they are not partisans of overly harsh positions, generally, and I think that applies also similarly in the way the Pope sees things: there is his motu proprio: that is one thing; there’s the responsa ad dubia by the Congregation for Divine Worship, that’s another thing; because if you note carefully the Pope made a point of saying during the ad limina visit of some bishops from France that he had limited the motu proprio to the question of the Mass and not the other sacraments. Upon a question posed by some bishops, the CDW responded in a bit broader, and therefore much more restrictive, manner.
But I think today we are, in the attitude the Pope is giving us – in addition, he expressed it to us repeatedly through the mouth of Cardinal Parolin, at the start of the message he addressed to us at the start of the plenary assembly – telling us there is a need for a fatherly listening to these faithful, and we need to give it time. That means the Pope is calling us to a process of growth, as he has often said, and he is calling us to a discernment.
Moreover, one of the bishops had posed the question in the course of one of the ad limina visits, saying, well, I’d like to adopt the attitude you advocated in Amoris laetitia, which is welcome, listening, discernment, integration; and he responded to that bishop: that is exactly what is needed. That means we are not forced, as if the motu proprio had to be applied immediately in a drastic manner. ~ Most of the time one has peaceful enough contact with these communities, and one would rather undertake a real dialogue with them: on the missal, on the motivations that impel them to this or that, on the sacraments, on the liturgical books they use, on catechetical books, to reach an attitude of dialogue and discernment, and above all not to break communion.
I think that, as we know, the motu proprio was motivated for Pope Francis, as was his predecessor Pope Benedict, by a question of unity, of communion, which can be wounded by others; and so we are really resolutely in this perspective of communion, and therefore of taking the time to dialogue, to listen paternally, to be more in good-will and confidence, all the more as one is obliged to recognize that the communities that gather around the vetus ordo are composed of young people. And one sees also that the young people were not forced to “fall into the pot” when they were little [i.e., were not raised in an old-rite environment – the bishop is using a pop-culture reference drawn from the Asterix comic] – but they were, as it were, attracted; and we must understand what the reasons were for that, and not immediately to suspect, smash, break, being so much into prohibition that one is going to provoke an expansion of the phenomenon.
Also one should know that this year at Wigratzbad [site of the FSSP seminary], which benefits from a somewhat particular, favored regime, since they obtained from the Pope a decree that allows them to use all the liturgical books including the Roman Ritual and the Pontifical, in the churches where the bishops allow them, or in their personal churches and chapels -- and one is obliged to recognize that at Wigratzbad up to now there have been are four or five Frenchmen going there every year; this year there are 15. This all tells us something, when one sees young families who hadn’t necessarily “fallen in the pot” when they were little, adhering, following, without any opposition or conflict either with the Mass of Paul VI or the bishops of their diocese, it invites us to a reflection deeper than draconian measures.”

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