A cautionary tale in France

Sometimes it seems that the trajectory of your life is to serve a a warning to otheres not to go down the same path you took.

His rebus dictis, there is a truly bizarre dust up in France in a town called Thiberville.  The local bishop of the Diocese of Evreux removed from office the long-time and much beloved parish priest, who coincidently celebrated also the Extraordinary Form.  He assigned another priest.   This didn’t go down well.

The site Fratres has posted a couple Youtube videos together with something of the story.  One of them shows an astonishingly scandalous scene which occurred when the bishop, who has a very liberal reputation apparently, came to the parish seemingly to install the new pastor.  The bishop made a pretty bad choice to wear vestments with a rainbow.  The congregation erupted in boos and some women actually faced him down and berated him. 

In the video you can see the faces of the shocked children watching this ugly scene unfold.

UGLY.
 

FacebookEmailPinterestGoogle GmailShare/Bookmark

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

61 Responses to A cautionary tale in France

  1. Allan S. says:

    Sometimes obedience demands submitting to the authority of people we do not respect. Imagine Bp. Rainbow’s reaction if he had been met instead by Holy, pious, respectful folks who kneeled, kissed his ring, requested blessings, etc. What opinion would he have had then? And how would these folks compare in his mind to the normal “liberals” he knows? And what would this translate to down the road?

  2. kat says:

    Sometimes, true obedience means standing up for what is right.

  3. Allan S. says:

    Kat, yes, I would agree with you. But there are right and wrong ways to do that. For example, the new pastor, rainbows and all, could be lawfully petitioned for the EF, and the laity have remedies available to them if refused. These may be pursued while behaviour towards the new pastor and Bishop is proper and respectful.

    I hate to say it, but sometimes traditionally-minded Catholics can be their own worst enemies, and behave downright uncharitably towards others. What is worse, I ask? Heckling a Bishop during the installation of the new pastor or liturgical dansers at Mass? Both are “bad” behaviour, but the abuse of the Bishop is far worse IMHO.

  4. An American Mother says:

    Yikes!

    This, as they say, ain’t good.

    The very MOST that anybody should have done would be what Mayor Peppone called I think a “dignified demonstration of solidarity” – but I think that the idea of demonstrating extreme respect is even better.

  5. Sedgwick says:

    It would be helpful to know whether the old priest was removed BECAUSE he celebrated the Traditional Mass, before any opinions on this story are offered. If so, then the bishop himself should be removed, but I hope no one is holding their breath…

  6. medievalist says:

    As Allan S. pointed out above, there were more creative ways for the parishioners to have voiced their concerns. Having said this, surely the bishop would have been entirely in favour of this example of post-conciliar direct democracy within the Church.

    History, incidentally, teaches us that this is nothing new within the Church. Descriptions of late-antique and medieval Masses sometimes read like reports of running battles. Similar eruptions frequently occur today at the Holy Sepulchre, especially among the Orthodox. Doesn’t make it right, but we shouldn’t be surprised when people pushed push back.

  7. lofstrr says:

    It is funny how changes back should be taken very slowly and gradually so as not so shock people but some how changes “forward” should be taken in stride and as quickly as possible. Gee, if we don’t get there now, the future might disappear on us.

  8. lucapi says:

    The bishop was not wearing vestments with a rainbow. This is a rainbow on the contrary, like that of the gay movement or, in Europe, of the pacifist, who actually don’t know the origin of this ridiculous symbol, which has nothing to do with the Bible rainbow.

  9. robtbrown says:

    Sometimes obedience demands submitting to the authority of people we do not respect.

    Your way has been tried for more than 35 years, and it hasn’t worked. Further, you seem to have a false idea of obedience.

    Imagine Bp. Rainbow’s reaction if he had been met instead by Holy, pious, respectful folks who kneeled, kissed his ring, requested blessings, etc. What opinion would he have had then?

    He would have walked all over them, just as liberal bishops have done for years.


    And how would these folks compare in his mind to the normal “liberals” he knows? And what would this translate to down the road?
    Comment by Allan S.

    Since when has being nice to liberals changed them. The pope was nice to Abp Marini. Did it change him?

  10. Mrs. O says:

    How very sad.

  11. robtbrown says:

    Kat, yes, I would agree with you. But there are right and wrong ways to do that. For example, the new pastor, rainbows and all, could be lawfully petitioned for the EF, and the laity have remedies available to them if refused. These may be pursued while behaviour towards the new pastor and Bishop is proper and respectful.

    So what you’re saying is that a parish, that already had mass acc to the 1962 Missal, should petition to get it back? Do you think that perhaps the reason the pastor was removed was that he was using the 1962 Missal?

    Now you’re saying that the onus is on the people.


    I hate to say it, but sometimes traditionally-minded Catholics can be their own worst enemies, and behave downright uncharitably towards others.

    Nonsense. The people were treated unjustly. Why don’t you prescribe charity for the bishop?

    What is worse, I ask? Heckling a Bishop during the installation of the new pastor or liturgical dansers at Mass? Both are “bad” behaviour, but the abuse of the Bishop is far worse IMHO.
    Comment by Allan S

    Disagree. The hecklers were responding to being treated unjustly. The dancers were not.

    Not to endorse heckling the bishop, but unfortunately that seems to be all some of them understand.

  12. pelerin says:

    This happened on Sunday the Feast of the Epiphany. The Bishop was so flustered by the booing and whistling at him that he welcomed people to the Feast of All Saints which gave rise to laughter before the congregation left to follow their priest. He has looked after thirteen churches in this rural part of Normandy for some twenty years.

  13. Joe Magarac says:

    Since when has being nice to liberals changed them.

    I understand robtbrown’s anger with “liberals” like the French bishop at issue here, but I don’t think such anger is very helpful or very likely to change the Church for the better. Fr. Z discussed both the temptation to anger and a better approach in a recent post. Robtbrown and others might find it helpful, as I did:

    http://wdtprs.com/blog/category/my-view/but-father-but-father/

  14. JosephMary says:

    How many times has this happened in the past 40 years? A total disregard for the sheep as another agenda is foisted upon them. Not only the in-you-face rainbow chausible but the new priest is not quite properly vested. What the people have known and loved over the years in their priest father and in the holy liturgy matters not a bit. The desire to bring this bastion of orthodoxy into the fold of the liberal and dissenting church that is dying out in France is what is foremost.

    Should the women have come up to the bishop like that? Probably not. But it made an impression I bet. A good priest told us this weekend how a very angry (with reason) woman once gave him a dressing down when he was a new priest. He had made a mistake and it has been one he has been careful never to repeat because of the impression that righteously angry lady made on him.

    There is a reason why the SSPX is strong in France.

  15. David2 says:

    I’ve found a couple of other links to this story:

    1. From a Trad Anglican Communion site in the US – basically siding with the congregation against the Bishop: http://www.theanglocatholic.com/2010/01/news-from-thiberville/

    2. And from Le Forum Catholique: http://www.leforumcatholique.org/message.php?num=525069

    The money-quote from the French site “Everything happened before the French television and local journalists. There were also Parisian journalists one could not accuse of traditionalism, yet they were amazed by the Bishop’s complete mismanagement of the situation he had provoked, and that he should logically resign his See”.

    Ouch!

    A Frenchman the Anglo Catholic site compared the situation to what the late Michael Davies referred to as the “miracle” of St Nicolas du Chardonnet, as it looks like the priest in question is going to continue to say the EF Mass on Sunday evenings in the parish irrespective of what the Bishop might say, and it looks like the civil authorities (who own the Churches in France, placing them at the disposition of the faithful) are supporting the priest against the Bishop.

    As a side note, aparrently the Bishop of Evreux has been named a “Sarum Canon” by the Salisbury Anglican Authorities – in part because he’s combatting a priest shortage by getting lay folks to do more and more things that priests ought to do. See this link: http://www.salisburycathedral.org.uk/news.php?id=442

  16. pelerin says:

    I have just read an update on this. Yesterday Monday the Bishop banned the Priest from celebrating any marriages or baptisms. Any carried out by him will be illicit in future. He had a thriving parish and celebrated the NO ‘face a Dieu’ and also the Tridentine Mass. I cannot see his parishioners giving up now. This is so sad as the Priest obviously must obey his Bishop and yet he would feel responsability for his loyal parishioners too.

  17. pelerin says:

    David 2 – yes the Priest has the support of the local mayor!

  18. Allan S. says:

    So we have lay officials like Mayors having direct control over churches, Bishops, Priests and where Mass may be said? And we’re cheering this as a good thing?

    Yikes.

  19. catholicuspater says:

    My sympathy is entirely with these two brave women. As unattractive as it is for such a confrontation to take place in a church, it is far more demoralizing and scandalous when good people fail to protest episcopal abuse of power and remain silent in the face of injustice and corruption.

    If this bishop is anything like an American bishop, no doubt these good ladies sent many letters and made many phone calls to him that were never answered. What recourse is left when they see their beloved pastor sacked and their parish about to be co-opted? Like true Catholic mothers they were fighting instinctively to guard children’s spiritual welfare and preserve their spiritual home, and I applaud them mightily for that.

    In fact, I believe that the time has come for all Christian mothers to stand up en masse to the corrupt bishops in this country as well, primarily for the truly despicable part they played in passing the immoral and unconstitutional Obama/Pelosi health care bill through the House.

    When good men consistently fail to act to correct injustice, many times it’s the women who are the last line of defense and who may paradoxically, in the end, be the most effective in halting evil.

  20. pelerin says:

    Allan S. The situation in France re the churches is not the same as in Britain (I don’t know about USA). In France the State owns the churches and cathedrals (except for those built after a certain date in the last century) and is responsable for their upkeep, preservation or demolition. So the Mayor’s support for this Priest as representative of the State is important.

  21. irishgirl says:

    I had a priest friend who was originally from Quebec, Canada, and was ordained a priest in the south of France in 1993. I visited him in the small village near the Pyrenees and stayed in what was probably the presbytery.

    I remember him telling me that all the church buildings in France were owned by the government.

    It’s been that way in France for a hundred years, since the Separation Laws took effect.

    This situation in Normandy is very sad-I watched the videos. I’m surprised that the people didn’t throw stones at the Bishop-I read someplace that he’s a real liberal.

    How long, O Lord, how long….?

  22. lacrossecath says:

    Oh Jesus, PLEASE send us a holy bishop!

    I will not be sleeping for 8-12 months.

  23. Huxtaby says:

    The Bishop is in good company as a ‘Sarum Canon’ I see Fr Timothy Radcliff is one. Well they can right ones together with Bishop David.

  24. Steve K. says:

    We can argue the propriety of the parishoners here (I am sympathetic which does not mean I think it was a good thing that happened), but there cannot be any doubt that this bishop has reaped as he has sown.

  25. diezba says:

    Does anyone think there will be a Vatican response to this? I mean, it seems that a local, diocesan issue has now — thanks to the Internet, laus Deo — become an international issue of scandal for anyone who can access YouTube. In the same way that the internet is bringing accountability to politicians’ sayings and doings, it is apparently bringing accountability to Bishops. Can you imagine the Pope’s reaction (or that of the Prefect for the Congregation for Bishops) to this?

  26. two words.

    sensus fidelium

    k.c.

  27. Random Friar says:

    Every church has the equivalent of the “babushka” or “pie donne” — forces to be reckoned with. Sometimes for good, sometimes not, but always to be respected and feared, like the open sea.

  28. William says:

    Random Friar: Thanks for the chuckle!

  29. robtbrown says:

    I understand robtbrown’s anger with “liberals” like the French bishop at issue here, but I don’t think such anger is very helpful or very likely to change the Church for the better. Fr. Z discussed both the temptation to anger and a better approach in a recent post. Robtbrown and others might find it helpful, as I did:
    http://wdtprs.com/blog/category/my-view/but-father-but-father/
    Comment by Joe Magarac

    If those French Catholics had not been angry, you wouldn’t even know about the situation. I object to people second guessing them. Further, with all the talk about obedience, etc., if the SSPX hadn’t thumbed their noses at the hierarchy’s heavy handed promotion of the Novus Ordo, there would have been no Summorum Pontificum.

    Depending on who’s manning the French desk at the Congregation of Bishops, reports of incidents like the above will go into the bishop’s dossier.

  30. Allan S. says:

    Anticlericalism is not a virtue, but obedience is.

    2 cents from the cheap seats (pews?). Possibly, I’m just not really a democrat at heart :(

  31. robtbrown says:

    Anticlericalism is not a virtue,

    Neither is the bishop’s clericalism. .

    but obedience is.

    If you’re saying the bishop is not being obedient, then I agree with you.

    2 cents from the cheap seats (pews?). Possibly, I’m just not really a democrat at heart :(
    Comment by Allan S

    If so, then you disagree with Canon Law, which gives rights to the Christifideles laici.

  32. Clinton says:

    Does anyone else recall the recent events in Brisbane, Australia? A parish there, St. Mary’s, was for years a notorious center of heresy.
    Finally, the Bishop attempted to remove the popular, long-serving and heterodox priest. The parish erupted in shrill cries at the ‘injustice’
    and ‘oppression’ of the Bishop’s act. Demonstrations ensued. I believe the Bishop was locked out of the church as parishioners staged a
    takeover. In short, the good people of St. Mary’s made colossal jackasses of themselves in defense of their liturgical dancers, big puppets
    and spiritual relativism. I’m sure they would agree with kat @ 10:05am — for by kat’s reasoning they were being truly obedient because
    they stood up for what they felt was right.

    As I recall, the combox at WDTPRS at the time was unanimous in its’ condemnation of the actions of those fools in Brisbane. Rightly so.

    Now we have the people of Thiberville behaving just as badly as those people in Brisbane did. Condemnation of their behavior, however,
    is not so total here in the comments thread. I get the impression that a few folks here are committed to obedience to the authority of
    a Bishop only insofar as they don’t hear the word “no”.

    I agree completely with Allan S. @10:01 am. I hope that a delegation from Thiberville seeks an audience with the Bishop to humbly
    beg his pardon seek reconciliation.

  33. catholicuspater says:

    The scandal is not the two women giving the rainbow-vested bishop an earful for removing their good pastor. Rather, the scandal is with those who fail to condemn this sinister and absurd act of a bishop which reminds us again of why the traditional orders exist.

    If anyone wants to throw the term ‘obedience’ around here, let’s remember that St. Thomas Aquinas said the faithful ought to rebuke their prelate even publicly when the faith is in danger.

    So, when the bishop sacks a good pastor for no apparent reason and strolls into church with rainbow-colored vestments, you mean to tell me the Faith is not in danger in that parish?

  34. cmm says:

    The context is one of rural France where there is great scarcity of priests. My dad’s church still has Mass every Sunday (except in the summer), but his parish is part of 28 parishes under the joint responsibility of 4 priests. Since the priests are in their 60s and 70s, every time a priest reaches 75 there is significant re-organization. Usually what that means is that the remaining priests are responsible for an ever-increasing number of people.

    In this case the priest was in a village of 5000 people according to Catholic newspaper “La Croix”, and it was “no longer manageable” given the current scarcity to have him be in charge of such relatively small numbers. The bishop had been asking him for two years to be reassigned, and the priest had given his written agreement. Then their was a petition from the people in the village, signed by 4000 people — probably, the church in that village is a remaining sign of past vitality and seeing their permanent pastor go is similar to closing the local school for management reasons. The mayor got involved. It became political, which I think may be illegal.

    So, this ugly scene is a climax that was preceded by a long conflict, and it is not clear how much the progressive vs. traditional tastes of the priests had to do with it.

    Personally, I am really shocked by the scenes captured on video.
    -”In the name of the father, and of the son, and of the Holy Spirit”.
    -”Boo! Boo!”
    I would be shocked regardless of whether these were progressives berating trads or vice-versa.

    There are other places and times for conflicts than the church during Mass. Shame on them!

  35. cmm says:

    In France every church built before the laws of 1905 separating church and state belong to the government; that’s part of the settlement they painfully arrived at then. The French government pays for their renovations and major maintenance, as historical monuments. The Catholic church pays the heating and electricity bills etc., as if the government was “renting” the building to them. When the building is not used for religious ceremonies, the government has some latitude to use it for other purposes (typically a concert or an organ recital – I’ve never seen any other non-religious use).

    Post-1905 churches are fully under the sole responsibility of the Catholic church.

    The government has no say whatsoever over who is a priest where and when, no more than your landlord has a say over which of your children sleeps in which bedroom of your rental apartment.

    One concrete consequence is that, in regions where the church has to close churches, they tend to favor keeping old (pre-1905) buildings and close recent (post-1905) buildings, since they have to pay for maintenance of those buildings, which makes them much more expensive for the church.

    And that is why, as you drive around the French countryside, you see all those cute steeple and well-maintained church buildings, even in villages where no one ever goes to Mass any more: it’s all paid for by the government.

  36. Clinton says:

    Could someone please explain how the behavior of the people of Thiberville is any better than that of the people in Brisbane? Both
    groups, it seems, feel that their respective Bishops were out of line and that the Faith (as they understood it) was in danger.

    Donna Quinn is the Sinsinawa Dominican sister who made headlines recently for her longtime, unrepentant assistance at a midwestern
    abortion mill. She has stated that she believes the hierarchy of the Church is hopelessly patriarchal, etc., and that she remains
    Catholic “for the sisterhood”. For her, the Faith seems to be a murky mix of labyrinths, unflattering haircuts and talking points culled
    from Mary Daly’s “Gyn/Ecology”. This pitiful sister would probably call the Church’s condemnation of her acts “sinister and absurd”,
    catholicuspater. I’m sure she feels she is standing up for her creepy ‘faith’ endangered by the mean ol’ hierarchy.

    The people of Thiberville deserve much, much better than to put themselves in the same boat as Donna Quinn or that parish in
    Brisbane. Yet if they disdain the legitimate authority of their Bishop, if their obedience crumbles the moment they hear the word “no”,
    then IMHO they are all birds of a feather.

  37. Clinton says:

    cmm, thank you for shedding light on the situation over there.

  38. cmm says:

    It becomes more confusing when I look at the “La vie” Catholic newspaper. Apparently the new priest is extremely progressive, and the area where the controversial priest was going to be reassigned by the bishop was also “very progressive”. That seems very unwise on the part of the bishop, to match priests with parishes of opposing sensibilities. It’s a sure way to make everyone unhappy! Some of the info in “La vie” is in factual contradiction with “La Croix”.

    So, thanks Clinton, but I’m not sure I’m shedding light. This looks like a big mess, the Catholic media are coloring the stories with their own biases, and at least one of them is happily ignoring some facts; I just don’t know which one!

    Not a story to make anyone want to come back to the Catholic church, in any case.

  39. catholicmidwest says:

    Make no mistake. People know what church is about, and they will only take just so much. Finally when they’ve had it (get a load of that shirt!!!), they say so.

    The bishop should not have provoked them. Look at him, when they object, he laughs like they are his chattel. He cannot believe he can’t do anything in the whole world he wants.

  40. catholicmidwest says:

    If it had happened in my town, I would have been down the road in the next diocese for mass that day–I wouldn’t have wanted to be present for this. My stomach can only take so much. Those poor people.

  41. kat says:

    Someone quoted me and then compared the two situations of Australia and France. a) I only saw one video, in French, on YouTube of what happened (and my French is not up to par these days so I only got a small gist of what was being said). b) I only made a statement concerning true obedience and what is right. As far as I am concerned, whether or not the French people were correct or not may depend on the situation, which I don’t know enough about to make any kind of judgment on. That being said, when I talk about Truth and Obedience, I am always referring only to what is RIGHT in the eyes of God and Truth. If you have exactly the same situation (as someone was trying to compare these two occurrences as…I am not saying they are), but one event occurs by people standing up for what is TRULY RIGHT and the other occurs by people who are TRULY WRONG, then only those fighting for TRUTH are correct, despite what may be similar external actions. To protest abortion in the streets would be honorable. To protest man-woman only marriages in the streets would not be honorable. Only Truth has rights, really. We have no right to offend God, EVER (even if a government says otherwise). We always have a duty to stand up for Truth.

  42. Clinton says:

    kat, I agree that we always have a duty to stand up for Truth.

    That being said, what of those groups, both the Aussies and the French, who believe they each are standing up for the Truth–in spite
    of their Bishops? If their own Bishop cannot tell them they are mistaken, then who can? Do we owe obedience to our Bishop only when
    we happen to agree with him, or does true obedience call for something more demanding? Perhaps it’s a little like love — it’s easy to
    love the lovable, freakin’ tough to love our enemies. Yet I hear that’s what’s asked of us.

    I still maintain that Allen S. asked the money question in his 10:01 am comment. What might have happened if the French Bishop had
    been met by a loving, respectful, pious parish? They may have furthered their cause. They might have changed hearts. We’ll never know. I’m pretty sure the display they did choose to put on did nothing to help.

    So many people, whether it’s the folks at St. Mary’s in Brisbane or the people of Thiberville, creepy Sr. Donna Quinn or those sad women
    who claim to be ordained Catholic priestesses… they all claim to have a handle on the Truth in spite of what their Bishop may say. I was
    raised to believe that I was in communion with the Church only inasmuch as I was in communion with my Bishop. Outside of that
    communion, I’d be building on sand. Can he make mistakes? Sure. And for that eventuality, Rome has given us means of redress and
    protection of our rights. And if Rome considers my disagreement with my Bishop and says “No”? Why, then I must obey. To do other-
    wise, to join those others who have said “I will not serve!” and “What is Truth?” would put me in bad company indeed.

  43. Clinton said>>>And if Rome considers my disagreement with my Bishop and says “No”? Why, then I must obey. To do other-
    wise, to join those others who have said “I will not serve!” and “What is Truth?” would put me in bad company indeed.<<<<

    Hey Clinton!

    I think you are ignoring the role the faithful laity have. Just to shut up
    and smile as a bishop-wearing a homosexual pride symbol- transgresses
    what his bishop, the pope, has directed: i.e. allow the TLM, would be:

    being disloyal to the pope
    being disloyal to their own consciences

    You may say their consciences are not properly formed because they
    they refuse to give blind aquiescence to what they know is wrong?

    The Holy Father has deliberately circumvented the bishops with Motu Propio.
    He is reaching out to the laity for support. He is finally, Thank God!,
    getting it!

    k.c.

  44. Allan S. says:

    Let me give you another example of Obedience: My Abp., Thomas Collins, recently “ordered” that communion on the tongue cease during the H1N1 outbreak (he then lifted the order at the end of the outbreak).

    I think it is settled ground that no Bishop has the lawful authority to make such a sweeping order under the laws of the Church.

    I obeyed him anyway, not because he was right (he wasn’t) nor because his order was lawful (it wasn’t) but because he was my Bishop.

    Submission and obedience people. They’re not just disordered sexual fetishes!

  45. Allan said>>I obeyed him anyway, not because he was right (he wasn’t) nor because his order was lawful (it wasn’t) but because he was my Bishop.>>

    Allan!

    You admit you obey what you know to be wrong.
    If he had reinstituted temple prostitution would you also have obeyed him?

    I don’t believe our Lord nor His Church asks us to check our consciences nor our
    common sense at the door. I am afraid you are way down that road!

    k.c.

  46. Allan S. says:

    “You admit you obey what you know to be wrong.”

    Nonsense. I knew it to be “incorrect”, but not “wrong” in any moral sense of the word.

    “If he had reinstituted temple prostitution would you also have obeyed him?”

    [cheeky inappropriate come-back deleted ;) ]

  47. Soler says:

    Allan,

    I could be wrong, but I doubt very much that there is anything in canon law which states that we must obey even the unlawful commands of our bishops. Also, is it not immoral for a bishop to disobey the laws of the Church?

  48. robtbrown says:

    Let me give you another example of Obedience: My Abp., Thomas Collins, recently “ordered” that communion on the tongue cease during the H1N1 outbreak (he then lifted the order at the end of the outbreak).

    I think it is settled ground that no Bishop has the lawful authority to make such a sweeping order under the laws of the Church.

    I obeyed him anyway, not because he was right (he wasn’t) nor because his order was lawful (it wasn’t) but because he was my Bishop.

    Submission and obedience people. They’re not just disordered sexual fetishes!
    Comment by Allan S.

    Unless you’re a priest, the order was irrelevant to you.

    Your concept of obedience seems a romantic version of voluntarism, which belittles the intellect.

  49. michael_e says:

    While I have little love for “modernist bishops,” there are a number of things that I find extremely sad about this incident and the subsequent coverage on the internet. First is that regardless of the man he is or the views he holds, he is a successor of the Apostles, for goodness’ sake! His office in the Church alone deserves a certain degree of respect regardless of it’s incumbent. As Major Winters says in Band of Brothers, “You salute the rank, not the man.”

    Second, I find disturbing the quickness to judge and ridicule the bishop by many who know little about what the actual details of the situation are. I don’t know what the background of this story is at all, but a quick google search of the bishop’s name + “liberal” or “modernist” gives me only links to blog reports on this story itself and nothing else to substantiate the claim that he is a modernist. (though, admittedly I did not search in french.) Anyway, I don’t know what his character really is. The only other thing I could find out was that he was appointed by BXVI in 2006.

    Also, many have been so quick to malign the bishop’s choice of chasuble as a deliberate affront to the good parishoners or as a homosexual display of some sort … when the fact is that the chasuble he wore was the “official” chasuble of World Youth Day Paris 1997 (http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_lc54S7qQAOs/SJzBrCLoCEI/AAAAAAAABQ0/rS8_1ASHOZM/s400/102_RainbowHabits02.jpg)
    … the entire French episcopate as well as all the priests who concelebrated with JPII that day own this particularly horrendous vestment, and sadly, many, I’m sure, make use of it from time to time. I suppose I remember this particular chasuble 13 years later precisely because it was so ugly, and in truth it should be retired, but the point is that I think it is premature to assume a malicious motive in the bishop’s choice in vesture.

  50. Clinton says:

    K.c., you seem to be suggesting (@8:45 am) that if I have a disagreement with my Bishop and seek resolution by appealing to Rome
    and receive a “no” from competent authority — that somehow I’m justified in ignoring Rome and my Bishop? No thank you.

    I don’t think that vague appeals to the “role of the laity” cut it. If the Truth of the Faith was somehow decided by a consensus of everyone
    in the pews, then what do you make of the fact that we Catholics in the USA abort at a rate almost indistinguishable from the rest of
    the population? (God help us all!) I’m sure those Catholics are being “loyal to their consciences”…

  51. Clinton says:

    michael_e, you are so right. It is disturbing that folks so easily assume the worst about the Bishop’s motives.

    And thank you for pointing out the history of that awful chasuble.

  52. cmm says:

    More background: there are 600000 people living in the area covered by the diocese. There are 52 active priests (i.e. basically younger than 75). This means that each active priest should be responsible for a population of about 12000 (actually, more, since the 52 include some chaplains and some diocesan staff). But the priest in question had the charge of a population of 5000 (but probably unofficially more, if some people traveled long distance to come to his traditional-style liturgies).

    The website of the diocese has letters of support to the bishop, from the Presbyteral council, the deacons, and the diocesan pastoral council. There was a Dec 23 decree saying that the priest was no longer in charge and that this parish group would be merged with the nearby cluster of three parish groups, and that the priest in charge of those groups would also take them as a fourth group (would that mean that they would now only have a Mass in their church every other week, or however often the newt priest could make it to their village? No wonder the parishioners were unhappy!). The diocese presents the changes as a question of personnel management, but the parishioners and the priest present it as a hostile move against traditionalists. I am sure that there is truth in both.

  53. dcs says:

    Let me give you another example of Obedience: My Abp., Thomas Collins, recently “ordered” that communion on the tongue cease during the H1N1 outbreak (he then lifted the order at the end of the outbreak).

    I think it is settled ground that no Bishop has the lawful authority to make such a sweeping order under the laws of the Church.

    I obeyed him anyway, not because he was right (he wasn’t) nor because his order was lawful (it wasn’t) but because he was my Bishop.

    One who submits to an unjust command is exercising the virtue of prudence, not of obedience. That is, he judges that it would be prudent for him to submit even though the command is unjust. So your example is not an example of obedience, but of prudence.

  54. by Clinton>>I don’t think that vague appeals to the “role of the laity” cut it. If the Truth of the Faith was somehow decided by a consensus of everyone
    in the pews, then what do you make of the fact that we Catholics in the USA abort at a rate almost indistinguishable from the rest….<<

    Clinton, you seem to be forgetting that some of Paul VI’s biggest opponents to Humana Vitae were Catholic clergy. The wilderness we have been wandering about in for the past 40 years has to a great degree been imposed upon the laity from their shepherds. Bishops are not infallible….especially ones who are trying to undermine the pope’s intention.

    Michael e, perhaps the rainbow was an ambiguous symbol in 1997. It is not in 2010.

    Allan, you seem to be assuming the question of hand Communion is all a matter of taste. perhaps all liturgical questions too? Here I must disagree. There are theological /hence moral reasons behind these conflicts. lex orandi lex credendi.

    k.c.

  55. The Cellarer says:

    Not good.

    But the first thing that came into my mind was

    “But when Cephas came to Antioch I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned” (Gal 2:11).

  56. The Cellarer says:

    “Sometimes it seems that the trajectory of your life is to serve a a warning to otheres not to go down the same path you took.”

    http://www.despair.com/mis24x30prin.html

  57. The Cellarer says:

    Do not know why link above takes you to main page, it’s the ‘Mistakes’ Demotivator I was attempting to link to.

  58. robtbrown says:

    One who submits to an unjust command is exercising the virtue of prudence, not of obedience. That is, he judges that it would be prudent for him to submit even though the command is unjust. So your example is not an example of obedience, but of prudence.
    Comment by dcs

    I think you have it backwards. There is no obligation to submit to unjust law. In fact, someone is guided by prudence not to obey.

    NB: Prudence is a virtue of the practice intellect. Obedience a virtue of the will.

  59. Jack Hughes says:

    If this is what happens to ‘regular’ trads in France I shudder to think what the stories are in the SSPX/FSSP chapels

  60. robtbrown says:

    Should be: Prudence is a virtue of the practical intellect.