Letter of “Tridentine” support in Le Figaro

Biretta tip to blog participant Cathy of Alexandria for alerting us to a letter of support published in the French daily Le Figaro in favor of the restoration of the "Tridentine" Mass.   They actually says, "Gregorian Mass", which we must take to mean Mass in Latin with Gregorian chant. 

Here is the text.  It is signed by a large number of intellectuelles.  At the moment I am in the airport lounge in Detroit and don’t have time to do a translation for you (my emphasis).

Nous laïcs, catholiques romains, souhaitons, devant l’émoi médiatique provoqué par une possible libéralisation de la messe grégorienne, témoigner publiquement de notre fidélité, de notre soutien et de notre affection au Saint-Père, Benoît XVI.

1. La constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium du concile Vatican II rappelle : « Obéissant fidèlement à la tradition, le concile déclare que notre Sainte Mère l’Église considère comme égaux en droit et en dignité tous les rites légitimement reconnus, et qu’elle veut, à l’avenir, les conserver et les favoriser de toute manière. » Nous considérons donc comme une grâce la diversité des rites dans l’Église catholique et nous voyons venir avec joie la libéralisation de celui qui fut notre ordinaire, celui de nos parents et de nos grands-parents, et qui a nourri la vie spirituelle de tant de saints.

Nous voulons dire au Saint-Père et à nos évêques notre joie de voir apparaître de plus en plus de communautés paroissiales ou religieuses attachées à la beauté de la liturgie sous ses différentes formes. Nous partageons le constat de celui qui n’était alors que le cardinal Ratzinger : « Je suis convaincu que la crise de l’Église que nous vivons aujourd’hui repose largement sur la désintégration de la liturgie ». (Ma Vie, Fayard, 1998.)

2. « Promouvoir la restauration de l’unité entre tous les chrétiens, c’est l’un des buts principaux du saint concile oecuménique de Vatican II. Une seule et unique Église a été instituée par le Christ Seigneur », affirme l’introduction du décret Unitatis Redintegratio.

C’est dans cet esprit décrit par le concile que nous avons accueilli avec joie la création de l’Institut du Bon Pasteur et que nous prions et espérons que tous ceux qui se sont éloignés de la pleine communion suivent ce même chemin de réconciliation.

3. Nous sommes choqués par l’idée qu’un catholique puisse être inquiet de la célébration de la messe qui fut celle que célébrèrent le Padre Pio et saint Maximilien Kolbe. Celle qui a nourri la piété de sainte Thérèse de l’Enfant-Jésus et du bienheureux pape Jean XXIII.

Nous savons que l’Église est composée d’hommes et de femmes, et que des propos critiquables et parfois insultants ont pu être échangés « parfois par la faute des personnes de l’une et de l’autre partie » (Unitatis Redintegratio, 3).

Nous demandons à Dieu de « pardonner nos offenses, comme nous pardonnons aussi à ceux qui nous ont offensés ».

Nous mesurons combien est difficile le gouvernement de l’Église et combien est lourde la charge de notre Saint-Père le Pape, comme est exigeante celle de nos évêques.

Nous souhaitons afficher par ce texte notre soutien total à Benoît XVI qui, après Jean-Paul II le Grand et dans la longue et magnifique chaîne des successeurs de Pierre, continue de travailler avec humilité, courage, intelligence et fermeté à la nouvelle évangélisation.

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13 Responses to Letter of “Tridentine” support in Le Figaro

  1. whoah says:

    Boy, between this and the Italian Declaration, it really feels as though the revolution which has been brewing against the failed implementation of Vatican II is finally coming to a climax!

    “Do you hear the people sing?
    Singing the song of angry men…”

  2. Thomas says:

    Gregory,

    I do not intend to judge your heart or intentions, but you sound quite cranky. Father is typing it from an aiport lounge, cut some slack — I’m sure that misinterpreting the idiosyncratic usage of French traditionalists wasn’t intentional and quite frankly, not a big deal: 6 of one, half a dozen of the other. Why nitpick when there is good news and Father Z. is basically on your side (i.e. pro Latin/Tridentine/Pius V/Gregorian).

  3. AC says:

    And Father obviously means the traditional Mass, since “Tridentine” is in the
    headline.

  4. Andrew says:

    This is ammunition for the cause of true restoration. Good news. Fabulous. Fantastique! Things are happening everywhere.

    The Mass of Padre Pio. The Mass of Maximilian Kolbe, of Blessed John XXIII and of the Little Flower: its clear what they are talking about.

  5. Paul Haley says:

    English translation follows from rorate-caeli blog:
    I wish to launch an appeal to the world of culture.

    In support of a decision of Benedict XVI.

    The announcement was given by Cardinal Arturo Medina Estevez, a member of the Ecclesia Dei commission which met to discuss the liberalization of the Latin Mass. The prelate said, “The publication of the Motu Proprio by the Pope which will liberalize the celebration of the Latin Mass according to the Missal of Saint Pius V is close.” It is an extraordinarily important event for the Church and even for the culture and history of our civilization. Historically, lay intellectuals were actually those to realize more and better the disaster, the actual cultural destruction, represented by the “prohibition” of the liturgy of Saint Pius V and the disappearance of Latin as sacred language of the Catholic Church.

    When, 40 years ago — in contravention to the documents of the Council — the prohibition of the ancient liturgy of the Church (that which had been celebrated even during the Council) was imposed, there was a great and meritorious protest by very important intellectuals who considered this decision as an attack on the roots of our Christian Civilization (the liturgy has always been a center and a fountain of the most sublime art). Two appeals were published in defense of the Mass of Saint Pius V, in 1966 and 1971. These are some of the names which undersigned them: Jorge Luís Borges, Giorgio De Chirico, Elena Croce, W. H. Auden, the directors Bresson and Dreyer, Augusto Del Noce, Julien Green, Jacques Maritain (who indeed was the favorite intellectual of Paul VI, the one to whom the Pope had given the letter to intellectuals at the end of the Council), Eugenio Montale, Cristina Campo, François Mauriac, Salvatore Quasimodo, Evelyn Waugh, Maria Zambrano, Elémire Zolla, Gabriel Marcel, Salvador De Madariaga, Gianfranco Contini, Giacomo Devoto, Giovanni Macchia, Massimo Pallottino, Ettore Paratore, Giorgio Bassani, Mario Luzi, Guido Piovene, Andrés Segovia, Harold Acton, Agatha Christie, Graham Greene, and many others, incuding the editor of the “Times”, William Rees-Mogg.

    They are largely lay intellectuals because the cultural and spiritual value of the ancient Latin liturgy is a legacy of all, as is the Sistine Chapel, as is the Gregorian [chant], as the great cathedrals, Gothic sculpture, the Basilica of Saint Peter also are. Even more so today, when our entire European Civilization risks to cut off and deny its own roots.

    Curiously, even “progressive Catholics”, who made the dialogue with the world and with modern culture their banner, did not give any regard and fought for forty years to keep this incredible prohibition. An unprecedented arbitrariness. In April 2005, at the eve of the election of Benedict XVI, it was a lay writer, Guido Ceronetti, who writes, in La Repubblica, an open letter to the new Pope, in which he asked “that the sinister suffocating gag on the Latin voice of the Mass be removed”. When he was a cardinal, Ratzinger declared that the prohibition of the Mass of Saint Pius V was unprecedented: “throughout her history, has never abolished nor forbidden orthodox liturgical forms, which would be quite alien to the very spirit of the Church”. In one of his books, he retold dramatically how he had viewed the publication of the missal of Paul VI: “I was dismayed by the prohibition of the old missal, since nothing of the sort had ever happened in the entire history of the liturgy. The impression was even given that what was happening was quite normal,” but, Ratzinger wrote, “the prohibition of the missal that was now decreed, a missal that had known continuous growth over the centuries, starting with the sacramentaries of the ancient Church, introduced a breach into the history of the liturgy whose consequences could only be tragic … the old building was demolished, and another was built.”

    The effects were disastrous. The road to incredible abuses in the liturgy was opened. Ratzinger writes, “I am convinced that the crisis in the Church that we are experiencing today is to a large extent due to the disintegration of the liturgy, which at times has even come to be conceived of etsi Deus non daretur: in that it is a matter of indifference whether or not God exists and whether or not He speaks to us and hears us. But when the community of faith, the world-wide unity of the Church and her history, and the mystery of the living Christ are no longer visible in the liturgy, where else, then, is the Church to become visible in her spiritual essence?”

    That same Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, who prepares to cancel the prohibition, will find opposition even inside the Church (already pre-announced by the French bishops) and he deserves an answer from the world of culture which, forty years ago, made its voice heard. I ask intellectuals and whomever may wish to do so to sign this synthetc manifesto:

    “We express our praise for the decision of Benedict XVI to cancel the prohibition of the ancient Mass in Latin according to the Missal of Saint Pius V, a great legacy of our culture, which must be saved and rediscovered.”

  6. Whether its the Mass of Pius V, Pius X or the Novus Ordo, the point, is (as many of you indicated) that the
    Catholic world is speaking up in favor of a return to dignity
    and propriety during the Mass.

    I found it interesting that the a group of learned French issued this
    letter so soon after the unfortunate letter of the French bishops.

    France is often depicted as a nation where the Catholic faith is
    dead. I think the letter shows that is not the case. It may be on life-support but there is still a heart beat.

  7. AC says:

    Cathy, I think you’re missing a major point. The Masses of Pius V and X are the same Mass, while the novus ordo is a failed experiment. It’s not just dignity in the liturgy. There are
    dignified novus ordo services in France. Yet, there are more French in attendance
    each Sunday in SSPX chapels than Diocene churches. It’s the true Mass they’re looking
    for, not the Novus Ordo in Latin.

  8. They actually say “Gregorian Mass”, which we must take to mean Mass in Latin with Gregorian chant.

    Actually, I would hope that by la messe grégorienne they mean to refer to the “Mass of Pope Gregory”. And that they intend to make the point that to refer the “Mass of Pius V” is quite misleading if one does so in parallel with the “Mass of Paul VI”. Because the Mass of Paul VI was a newly constructed Mass, whereas the so-called Mass of Pius V was merely a codification of a long existing Mass, one that in many of its essentials dated back to the time of Pope St. Gregory the Great, and hence might well be called the “Mass of Pope Gregory”. Hence whether or not a reference to Gregorian chant is intended is quite subsidiary to the main point.

  9. (sigh) This is me, resisting being drawn into an never ending Energizer bunny of debate that goes no where and never ends….

    AC: Peace Be With You.

  10. Dennis says:

    Rorate caeli:

    If you want to lend your support to the Socci Manifesto
    (Italian Declaration) write to

    lettere@ilfoglio.it

  11. Augustine says:

    I thin Henry Edwards is exactly correct. By “Gregorian Mass” is meant the “Mass of Gregory,” even though the form of the Mass is even older.

  12. Folks, clearly the letter is supporting the use the “Tridentine” Mass, in Latin and with Gregorian chant, etc. Even the mention of the new Institute of the Good Shepherd in Bordeaux points to this.

  13. AC says:

    You’re right father. It’s not just for chant, and certainly not for the NO but with chant. It’s for the traditional rite and use of chant altogether as one.