French bishop comments on relations with traditional Mass communities
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,171
    Mons. Marc Alliet, bishop of Bayonne, Lescar, and Oloron, recently commented during a meeting of the French bishops about how they and the Pope view relations with communities that observe the old form of Mass.

    He says that the bishops want to promote peace and that the Pope is urging bishops to take an attitude of welcoming and listening.

    I've prepared a translation of his comments; if anyone has corrections to offer, please let me know. My editorial additions are in brackets.

    We had a meeting of nine or ten bishops, the result of whose reflections I don’t know, as the meetings were on somewhat different topics.

    I was in a meeting on hearing the communities attached to the forms before the synod [i.e.,Vatican II], the vetus ordo, as one says now.

    I think, in a general way, to the extent I could perceive it, there is a desire among the bishops to promote peace; and that they are not partisans of overly harsh positions, generally, and I think that applies also similarly in the way the Pope sees things: there is his motu proprio: that is one thing; there’s the responsa ad dubia by the Congregation for Divine Worship, that’s another thing; because if you note carefully the Pope made a point of saying during the ad limina visit of some bishops from France that he had limited the motu proprio to the question of the Mass and not the other sacraments. Upon a question posed by some bishops, the CDW responded in a bit broader, and indeed much more restrictive, manner.

    But I think today we are, in the attitude the Pope is giving us – in addition, he expressed it to us repeatedly through the mouth of Cardinal Parolin, at the start of the message he addressed to us at the start of the plenary assembly – telling us there is a need for a fatherly listening to these faithful and it is necessary to give time. That means the Pope is calling us to a process of growth, as he has often said, and he is calling us to a discernment.

    Moreover, one of the bishops had posed the question in the course of one of the ad limina visits, saying, well, I’d like to adopt the attitude you advocated in Amoris laetitia, which is welcome, listening, discernment, integration; and he responded to that bishop: that is exactly what is needed. That means we are not forced, as if the motu proprio had to be applied immediately in a drastic manner.

    Most of the time one has peaceful enough contact with these communities, and one would rather undertake a real dialogue with them: on the missal, on the motivations that impel them to this or that, on the sacraments, on the liturgical books they use, on catechetical books, to reach an attitude of dialogue and discernment, and above all not to break communion.

    I think that, as we know, the motu proprio was motivated for Pope Francis, as was his predecessor Pope Benedict, by a question of unity, of communion, which can be wounded by others; and so we are really resolutely in this perspective of communion, and therefore of taking the time to dialogue, to listen paternally, to be more in good-will and confidence, all the more as one is obliged to recognize that the communities that gather around the vetus ordo are composed of young people. And one sees also that the young people were not forced to “fall into the pot” when they were little [i.e., were not raised in an old-rite environment – the bishop is using a pop-culture reference drawn from the Asterix comic] – but they were, as it were, attracted; and we must understand what the reasons were for that, and not immediately to suspect, smash, break, being so much into prohibition that one is going to provoke an expansion of the phenomenon.

    Also one should know that this year at Wigratzbad [site of the FSSP seminary], which benefits from a somewhat particular, favored regime, since they obtained from the Pope a decree that allows them to use all the liturgical books including the Roman Ritual and the Pontifical, in the churches where the bishops allow them, or in their personal churches and chapels -- and one is obliged to recognize that at Wigratzbad up to now there have been four or five Frenchmen going there every year; this year there are 15. This all tells us something, when one sees young families who hadn’t necessarily “fallen in the pot” when they were little, adhering, following, without any opposition or conflict either with the Mass of Paul VI or the bishops of their diocese, it invites us to a reflection deeper than draconian measures.

  • Chonak,

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • The bishop speaks of avoiding any injury in the communion between the groups, and taking time to 'dialogue', (a pet word to be sure) but I get the distinct impression that the conversation has a fixed outcome before it is even begun. I cannot help but feel reservations.

    In other words, the dialogue to 'understand' where the trad groups are coming from is really a delay tactic to give them time to warm up to the new direction of the church; I do not get the impression that the dialogue will result in any restoration of elements of the older rite for the "mutual enrichment" that was supposed to take place.

    The talk all sounds very nice and friendly, but I seriously doubt that any but one outcome could result—in the long term.

    In fairness to him, he does mention that they've noticed that a lot of younger people are turning to traditional rites and they do not seem to have any particular animus toward the newer rite, and that they appreciate this fact. But this was the case before TC as well.

    And why is it that he can say that the pope favors a more broad view, but he doesn't correct the more restrictive response to the dubia issued from the Congregation for Divine worship in his name? In other words, why does he think one thing yet permit another from an official authority? It is a plain contradiction.
    Thanked by 2CharlesW LauraKaz
  • davido
    Posts: 889
    Very interesting.

    Apparently the head-hunters in Rome haven't quite got all the French bishops on message yet.
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,715
    We should remind ourselves of the situation in France...
    1. Vocations.
    2. Mass attendance.
    3. Number of priests retiring vs. ordinations.
    4. Number of churches being looked after by one priest.
    5. Growth of the SSPX.

    Many of these bishops are going either going to be the last, or penultimate bishop of their diocese if current trends continue.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,386
    davido - Nor the Italian bishops, nor the Curia - Cardinal Zuppi is President of the Italian Bishops' Conference and celebrated Pontifical Vespers for the recent Summorum Pontificum pilgrimage in the Pantheon. The pilgrimage's Mass was in St Peter's and celebrated by Msgr. Marco Agostini, one of the current (7!) Papal Masters of Ceremonies, at the altar of the Chair of St Peter.
    I remain convinced that this is largely, though not entirely, a US problem of ecclesiastical politics.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,171
    Indeed not entirely: there are lists of the policies bishops have adopted, so one can see where bishops rushed into imposing rigid bans.