1987: Faithful Catholics locked out of their church on Palm Sunday employ a battering ram

Over at Ann Barnhardt’s place you will find a video of something that happened in France in 1987.  Catholics who desired the Traditional Latin Mass were locked out of the parish church on Palm Sunday… much like what now-incredibly-Cardinal Cupich once did in 2002 to people in Rapid City on Good Friday.   At the time that was called an “invitation to unity” and painting himself as the victim: “I would ask them, ‘Why do they find it so difficult, on the day of the Lord’s death, to celebrate with their bishop, who is the sign of the Lord’s unity?'”

Indeed, why?

These folks in France had Mass outside the church and then used a battering ram to go in while singing “Christus Vincit“.

Just 10 years before, in 1977, a large group of people with their priest commandeered the Parisian church St-Nicholas du Chardonnet.  After some years, the SSPX took the place over.  They still have it now and it is hardly to be doubted that it is the single most vibrant Catholic “parish” in the city.

Sometimes “pastors of souls”, perhaps not clearly holding in mind that they are servants, drive their flocks to strong measures.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Hard-Identity Catholicism, Just Too Cool, The future and our choices. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Credoh says:

    Bricked up doorway! What kind of hatred!!?

  2. francophile says:

    The problem is that the French state owns the churches built before 1906. The Church does not. That is not the case in the US. It’s a little more complicated. I do admire these people for their courage and desire.

  3. TheCavalierHatherly says:

    What a fitting time of year, to imitate the “invitation to unity” of Caiphas.

  4. Orual says:

    I didn’t realize Cupich carried such a strong animus towards the TLM for over 2o years! His words and attitude from that unfortunate situation in Rapid City are almost identical to Traditionis Custodes. He could have written the motu proprio himself. It’s not at all surprising that Pope Francis made him a cardinal.

  5. Rob83 says:

    Apparently, new springtime translates as the pastors of souls asleep in the Garden of Gethsemane letting Judas enter with the servants of this world to do as they will.

  6. TonyO says:

    Soooo, you want “unity”, do you?

    Wouldn’t it be fun if the response would be: We’ll give you so much unity that you can’t stand it, and eventually you will beg off by giving the TLM crowd all they are asking for, which is merely their right to the right rite.

    For example, for every single mass the Bishop says from now on: pack the Church with TLM lovers (mainly, inside the church, the ones that believe that the Novus Ordo is actually a valid and licit mass, so they do not believe they are staining themselves by their presence; the other TLMs outside). By the tens of thousands, that is. Inside, every single TLM lover singing, loudly, a latin hymn for processional and recessional. Outside, the additional 10s of thousands singing something (in Latin) throughout the Mass. All peacefully, of course: not the least bit of hatred or disturbance, all clerics allowed to move freely. But of course, with that kind of crowd, it is difficult for the usual members of the parish to get inside. Oh, well, they can go somewhere else for Mass – which is just exactly what the bishop is telling the TLM crowd.

    And there is no reason to limit it to Mass: the crowds of TLM lovers can serenade the bishop at his residence all night long with Latin hymns, to lull him to sleep. I am sure he would enjoy that. Maybe a loudspeaker would pipe up once an hour to remind everyone that these songs are prayers on behalf of the bishop and his eternal welfare. We’re praying for you, dear bishop. Imagine how much heartfelt warmth he would get out of that!

    With, maybe, an anonymous letter slipped in his pocket at some point, saying “we will be perfectly happy to continue these prayers for you at other parishes, instead of right here – if you give us other parishes, that is. All in the name of unity, as you have requested. The only thing that convince us depart from unity with your dear presence is … a parish of our own.”

  7. JonPatrick says:

    In that article about the then Bishop Cupich suppressing the Traditional Latin Mass in Rapid City it refers to “the new-order English-language Mass that was mandated by the Second Vatican Council” NO! This misunderstanding is so common, I have even heard it from priests, such as one who after mass was shouting “Vatican 2” at the organist who had dared to play and sing Latin versions of the Sanctus and Agnus Dei. Anyone who has actually read the documents of Vatican 2 would know that this is false.

  8. APX says:

    Done with good rhythm, that would have been much more musically effective than the timpani that is often employed at my parish.

  9. prairiecatholic88 says:

    An article about the “Rameaux Port Marly” appeared in the New York Times on April 26, 1987 . Below is the text of the article (it is long-ish). If I understand correctly, the faithful at St. Louis Church in Port Marly are now taken care of by the Institute of Christ the King.


    By Richard Bernstein
    The New York Times
    April 26, 1987

    A battered 18th-century church, festooned with daisies and daffodils and strangely littered with the remnants of cinder-block barricades, stands in this residential community in the far western suburbs of Paris as a kind of emblem of a new stage in the long history of religious conflict in France.
    For the last six months, the building, the Church of St. Louis, has been a battleground, forcibly occupied by a group of deeply conservative Roman Catholics, called ”Catholic fundamentalists” by the Parisian press.
    They are demanding that the bishopric in nearby Versailles allow them to celebrate mass in Latin, using the ancient rites set aside by the Second Vatican Council of 1962 to 1965.
    The methods used by the traditionalists, and the reaction of local church and civil authorities, have pushed this suburb into national prominence, with the Port Marly church becoming a center of rebellion slowly gathering support from conservative Catholics elsewhere in France.
    In pursuit of their demand, the group’s members have turned to a form of civil disobedience: they have defied the Bishop of Versailles, at one point using a battering ram to break into the church, which had been sealed by the local police. They have also hired a dissident Benedictine monk, who accuses the official hierarchy of lacking religious faith, to serve as their priest.
    All of this has given the theological quarrel in Port Marly, a small community on the Seine about 20 miles from Paris, a seminal character.
    Elsewhere in France, there are points of resistance to the changes introduced by the Vatican council known as Vatican II. But rarely if ever have they led to such drama, including a degree of physical violence reminiscent, some traditionalists say, of the French Revolution.
    ”The passions that religion can inspire are truly awesome,” said the Mayor of Port Marly, Louis Didier, an opponent of the traditionalists. ”Reason is no longer prevailing here.” ”They thought they would be able to impose their will on this community,” said the monk, the Rev. Bruno de Blignieres, referring to the Mayor and the Versailles bishopric. ”But they ran across a group of people who held tightly to their faith.”
    New Priest Is Rejected
    The two sides at least agree on one point: The conflict came about because of the history of the Church of St. Louis. Under its former priest, the church attracted many people from nearby towns because it was the only church in the region that continued to celebrate mass in Latin after Vatican II.
    The former priest, known to everybody as the Canon Roussel, died in 1985. In 1986, Bishop Louis Simonneaux of Versailles appointed a new priest, with orders to say mass in French.
    The arrival of the new priest immediately divided the Port Marly parish, with most of its members rejecting the Bishop’s choice and insisting that the old mass be maintained.
    In November, the traditionalists, who had invited Father de Blignieres to serve as their priest, occupied the church and barred the new priest.
    Two weeks ago, in an incident labeled ”the sacrilege” by the traditionalists, the church was taken back by 50 policemen wielding riot sticks. They dragged men, women and children alike from their pews.
    The police pushed the traditionalists into the street and then put cinder-block barricades in front of the church entrances in an effort to prevent the traditionalists from reoccupying it.
    Last Sunday, 3,000 people, most of them apparently not from Port Marly, held Easter mass outside the barricaded church. Seizing a moment when the local police were off guard, a dozen or so traditionalists wielding a battering ram attacked a barricade. It crumbled like one of the walls of Jericho and delivered the church back into the hands of the rebels, who say they intend to hold it indefinitely.
    ”If the police come to evict us again,” said Francis Tommy-Martin, who now does guard duty in the church, ”we can have more than 500 people in the streets in less than an hour.”
    Right-Wing Support
    For the church hierarchy here, the traditionalists represent two different currents of thought. On the one hand, they are seen as followers of Bishop Marcel Lefebvre, a French extreme conservative who was suspended from his duties when he rejected the decisions of the Second Vatican Council.
    In addition, members of France’s far-right National Front party, and the editor of a far-right magazine, Present, have been conspicuously involved in the cause of the traditionalists. That links the traditionalist campaign in some minds with the ambitions of a party that has called, among other things, for the large-scale expulsion of immigrants from France. t is the role of the extreme conservatives that has led some commentators here to see certain long-dormant ghosts in French history awakening. They believe that the deep yearning of the traditionalists is for a crusty lost era when the church and the monarchy were the pillars of French society.
    Some of the traditionalists reject that interpretation, however, saying it was created by the church hierarchy to discredit their movement.
    ”It is true that the fundamental problem is not Latin but faith,” Father de Blignieres said. ”The parishioners here see that more and more the new liturgy pushes people to lose their faith, because it reduces the idea of mystery and the concept of the divinity of Jesus Christ.
    ”To me, religion is divine. But they, the hierarchy, are slowly destroying all that is divine in religious practice.”
    A version of this article appears in print on April 26, 1987, Section 1, Page 3 of the National edition with the headline: A FRENCH PARISH TAKES TO BARRICADES.

  10. Sportsfan says:

    So the pope that says that people who only think about building walls are not Christian sees a bishop that locked parishioners out of their church for the Triduum and thinks, “cardinal material.”

Comments are closed.