Traditionalist “violence and arrogance”

Rorate Coeli again is helping us keep informed about what the French Bishops are doing in the plenary meeting of their conference.

Yesterday we saw Card. Ricard, President of the conference, Archbishop of Bordeaux and member of the Pont. Comm. "Ecclesia Dei" give a speech intended to calm the bishops down a little in the matter of a) setting up the new traditionalist community in his own diocese of Bordeaux and b) a possible future expansion of the use of the 1962 Missale Romanum.

Today we see some more of the doings of the French bishops. Via Rorate Coeli I read with astonishment an incredibly snarky letter by the Bishop of Soisson to Témoignage chrétien. Here is the text Rorate Coeli published (my emphasis and comments):

I join all those who deplore the creation of the Institute of the Good Shepherd without an understanding with the diocese of Bordeaux and its bishop. [I don’t get it. In other words he deplores the Holy See who set it up?] I seriously fear the motu proprio announced by the pope himself [?] [Ehem… who else would do it?] on the general availability of the celebration of the mass from before the Council.

I wrote in "La Vie diocésaine" [the diocesan paper] on November 1:

"Whatever shall be the decisions pope Benedict XVI shall make in liturgical matters, we cannot compromise with traditionalists [So much for flexibility and dialogue. Liberté! Égalité! Fraternité!] on the orientations provided by the Second Vatican Council. They are vital for the Church and her involvement in the present world."

I add:

"We will not be able to accept the division of our communities according to individual liturgical sensitivities and tastes". [I am very pleased that His Excellency will now be putting an end to all violations of the rubrics and illicit liturgical creativity in his diocese.]

Traditionalist priests, the leaders of this movement, are using the Latin mass as a standard-bearer for a conception of the world and of mankind which is the opposite of the spirit of the conciliar constitution "On the Church in the Modern World" [Gaudium et Spes]. [Probably, yes. That is a big problem for many of them. Most of them, however, just want a Mass without "individual liturgical sensitivities and tastes" inflicted on them by their priests and liturgical ministers when they go to their nearly empty churches.] The violence and arrogance [VIOLENCE???] of the leaders of this movement are not compatible with the values of the Gospel of the Beatitudes.

Marcel Herriot
Bishop of Soissons, Laon, and Saint-Quentin.

To be fair, to give His Excellency his due, I will admit that I have been tempted to violence a few times at the sight of some of the things I have seen in churches.

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  1. RBrown says:

    Bishop Herriot has given us all a good opportunity to see what his pastoral genius has wrought.

    In his years as bishop of Verdun (1987-99), the number of diocesan priests dropped from 160 to 103.

    He became bishop of Soissons in 1999, where the number of diocesan priests had dropped from 205 in 1990 to 143 in 1999. Evidently, he continued to work his pastoral magic: The number of priests has gone from 143 to 109.

    Of course, the good bishop can defend the drop off by simply saying that it’s not really relevant because not many attend mass anymore anyway.

  2. Diane says:

    To be fair, to give His Excellency his due, I will admit that I have been tempted to violence a few times at the sight of some of the things I have seen in churches.


    Rainbow stoles
    Heretical & blasphemous music
    – Unfamiliar words in the Eucharistic Prayer
    – Homilies that excuse away things clearly considered sinful by Holy Mother Church.
    – Promotion of things considered sinful by Holy Mother Church.

    Yeah…. I know what you mean Fr. Z

    Good coverage!

  3. Jeffrey Stuart says:

    Desperation can bring out the worst in people. I am puzzled by the French coming so unhinged.

  4. Ted says:


    I really think it is two things:

    1) The political aspect of this – and I mean secular politics, not ecclesiastical. The association of Lefebvites with integrism, monarchical thinking and so on.

    2) But secondly, they know. There were *thousands* of SSPX-ers gathered at Lourdes a couple of days ago – just prior to the bishops’ conference, which hardly anyone has noted. French churches, especially in the countryside, are empty. There are no vocations. But the SSPX presents a different face, and it is certainly frightening to the bishops because it is a direct piece of evidence that they have failed, miserably.

  5. Siobhan says:

    The reality is that the SSPX is so vital and confident that the French Church dominated by bishops who are compromised in a thousand thousand ways will simply fade into nothingness and the TLM parishes will see new diocese erected around their vital parishes. I can imagine a chorus shouting “Impossible!”

    Nothing is impossible with God.

  6. charles R. Williams says:

    Those who follow the “orientations” of the Council instead of interpreting the text in accord with tradition are the true schismatics.

    I didn’t know that the Church in France has been assaulted by mobs of fanatical, Latin-chanting traditionalists draped in mantillas and menacing the clergy by swinging heavy steel rosaries in their faces. And on top of all that they have an arrogant attitude!

  7. Bob says:

    “Violence and arrogance”?!? And this from the faction that stole Vatican II and discarded by fiat the liturgical, aesthetic, and architectural legacy of the Church, often against the strenuous objections of rank-and-file Catholics.

  8. KH says:

    This must be seen in light of French sensibility. The French bishops feel distinctly threatened by the SSPXers, with some reason: some of the RadTrads in France veer off into sedevacantism. That being said, the “fille ainee de l’Eglise” has done a miserable job of fostering the Faith here. The percentage of weekly mass attenders in France? 7%

    I hate to witness the beautiful churches of France, empty but for a few elderly churchgoers. Even worse is the emptying of the monasteries and other holy places, turned into “State historical sites” after the clergy fled the 1901 laws (or take your pick of which prior purge). The French society is (again with some historical justification) vehemently anti-clerical, and methinks the French bishops are feeding the crocodile, attempting to be portrayed in a “modern” light.

    The RadTrads do seem to have the monopoly on parish vitality, and I wonder if the French bishops are a wee bit discomfited by this?

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