French politics and “Tridentine” Mass

Does anyone think these days about the "derestricting" of the "Tridentine" Mass? I still do.

You might remember when everything was flying furiously a few fair weeks ago that the French bishops went bananas about the possibility of an indult.  At that time I mentioned that, in their eyes (and it must be admitted they are right to a degree) the "integristes" problem is tied to right-wing politics in France.  In that light, take a look at these:

Le Pen Struggles to Launch Candidacy

The veteran leader of France’s far-right National Front, Jean-Marie Le Pen is accusing the political establishment of conspiring to block his candidacy in the 2007 presidential elections. But the truth is that he just can’t get enough backers.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Fr. Bartoloma says:

    NPR has been running a news segment on Le Pen as part of a larger series called “Europe’s Right Turn” or something like that. It goes out of its way to mention how Le Pen was recently at a “Traditional Latin Mass” where the priest “has his back to the congregation”.

  2. dcs says:

    One sometimes hears similar comments about Pat Buchanan, Antonin Scalia, and even Rick Santorum.

  3. citizentim says:

    Quote (Fr. Z): Does anyone think these days about the “derestricting” of the “Tridentine” Mass?

    Every day, many times a day =-] Then I become slightly beside myself when I’m reminded that no permission is needed anyway, as the Traditional Mass is immemorial custom. All that is needed is a friendly reminder to our recalcitrant Ordinaries that collegiality or no, they do not possess the legitimate authority to restrict celebration of the TLM.

  4. citizentime: Spoken with your own papal authority, I suppose. I think there are different opinions about the authority of bishops in this matter. That is why it is taking a while to get this hammered out.

  5. Charles R. Williams says:

    Is the integralist politics of many French traditionalists incompatible with the Catholic faith? It is certainly incompatible with the politics of the French hierarchy but baring some kind of condemnation from Rome the answer has to be no.

  6. citizentim says:

    No, Father, and respectfully, to express an opinion on the matter is not akin to declaring oneself the Holy Roman Pontiff (as I most certainly am not qualified to do). I speak of the authority of the Papal Bull “Quo Primum” of St. Pius V. I also speak of the provision of Canon Law that grants protection to things that are immemorial custom, as the Traditional Mass certainly is. I agree that there are differing opinions on the matter, however there can be only one correct answer to the question, and I truthfully believe that the Traditional Latin Mass cannot be forbidden, as the Church herself has sought to protect it prior to the institution of the Novus Ordo Missae. I like your blog and do not wish to turn it into a place of dissention, therefore I digress. Prayerfully, Tim.

  7. Tim: People seem to think that just because one Pope implements one disciplinary measure (one they like) another Pope cannot thereafter change it. Popes following St. Pius V exercised the same apostolic authority as their sainted predecessor. With the stroke of a pen, they could undo Quo Primum and everything in it. Another point to consider goes beyond what is on the page of the law but what is done in praxis. That is important as well (not to mention the very negative results for the priest for doing anything his bishop doesn’t like… licit or not).

    In any event, I sincerely hope (and expect) there will be a derestricting of the older form of Mass. This would be very helpful for the Church in a number of ways.

  8. Michael Robusto says:

    If the traditional liturgy had not been forbidden, it would not now be associated only with people the French bishops dislike. If they do not want the traditional liturgy to be the exclusive property of people like LePen (or Mgr. Lefebvre), they should make it available to everyone.

  9. Paul Haley says:

    Paul VI promulgated a new missal but did not abrogate the old Mass (according to the Missal of St. Pius V). However, in practice, the bishops have largely forbidden the celebration of the old Mass and as Fr. Z points out we must consider “what is done in praxis.” So, in praxis, despite the Ecclesia Dei initiatives of Pope John Paul II, the bishops have, largely, abrogated the old form of Mass. But this issue is much greater than the Mass itself for some sacraments are not confected according to the same formulae in effect prior to 1965. I’m thinking of Penance and Extreme Unction which have become Reconciliation and the Annointing of the Sick. The BIG question is WHY?

  10. Woody Jones says:

    From “Review-ing Vatican II: An Interview with george A. Lindbeck”, by George Weigel
    (“First Things 1994):

    Weigel: Speaking of politics, how much of the venomous character of the controversy between the nouvelle theologie people and their critics in France had to do with the fact that the former had a rather more positive view of the Fourth Republic, indeed of democracy, than the latter?

    Lindbeck: There is some fascinating history waiting to be written here. You’d be sitting around drinking wine with the French, and just as you pierced the surface, they’d start talking about Action Francaise and all that. The French allies of the curial party, the French integralists, were more likely to have been in sympathy with Action Francaise, which the nouvelle theologie people never were. By and large, most of the integralists had not been sympathetic to the Resistance during the war, as de Lubac and others in his group had been.

    So there was this deep personal estrangement between the nouvelle theologie people and their critics, who believed that they had betrayed true French Catholicism, understood in monarchist terms. De Lubac illustrated the intensity of it when he quoted a critic of his to the effect that John XXIII had chosen Congar and de Lubac for the conciliar preparatory commissions because the Pope was wise enough to remember what had happened after Vatican I (1870), when the “old Catholic” schism occurred, and wanted to make sure that dissidents didn’t leave the Church this time around.

    Weigel: So in that specific French sense, the pre- conciliar conflict goes back even further than the Modernist crisis, and reflects the fault line that runs through French society from 1789 on?

    Lindbeck: I always found it desirable at any dinner party to find out where people stood on the Revolution before getting into any other discussion.

  11. Woody Jones says:

    Vive le roi!
    A bas la revolution!

  12. Siobhan says:

    Vraiment! Long live the king!

    With a restoration of the French monarchy in mind: Blessed Karl, pray for us.

  13. Paul: Another side of the praxis question is the fact that Paul VI gave explicit permission for certain people to continue use of the 1962 Missal. So did John Paul II, while asking for a generous application of the laws. That has not been done and the circumstances have continued which prompt schism on the part of some. So, reasonably, we have to consider what might resolve the schism. The Pope is doing that. I think we are going to see a greater derestricting of the older form of Mass, but not one which is so universal as to exclude the involvement of bishops.

  14. Paul Haley says:

    Fr. Z,

    You wrote: “I think we are going to see a greater derestricting of the older form of Mass, but not one which is so universal as to exclude the involvement of bishops.” With all due respect, Father, how can the older form be derestricted without the cooperation of the bishops who have largely contributed to the problem in the first place? There is a file over on where Bishop Williamson gave a talk to the Polish SSPX community on November 25th. “His Hammer” really gave it to the “official church” and “Pope Ratzinger” (his words not mine) and left me with the conclusion that no reconciliation is possible without both sides going on a retreat in the desert and asking Our Lord to intervene and quell their fears and emotions and get down to brass tacks. We both know that much has been said by both sides to paint the other as the most unyielding of factions but I suspect “His Hammer” did more damage than anyone with his brutal attacks. Regardless, the wounds in the Mystical Body continue to deepen and we, the laity, are the victims. Although I have the traditional Mass and sacraments available to me and my immediate family (not an SSPX venue), I feel for those folks who do not and the SSPX is their only alternative. Methinks Our Lord is not amused by all this. God be with you, Father.


  15. RBrown says:

    but I suspect “His Hammer” did more damage than anyone with his brutal attacks

    The damage was done by Paul VI who, employing a tactic that has to be in the Hall of Fame of p-poor papal decisions, thought he could break the society by marginalizing it. It only hardened the SSPX positions.

    When the pope finally grants universal permission for use of the 1962 Missal, there will be a change in tone with many of those now affiliated with the SSPX.

  16. Surely, yes. At the same time, some in the SSPX are so hard of heart that nothing will induce them to make a change.

  17. El Jefe says:

    Why do SSPX people always say the problem is with the Pope, or the Hierarchy or something/someone else, but never themselves? Is their any examination of conscience? Or is it always the examination of other people’s concsiences that they are concerned with?

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