From an editorial, entitled "The Church in retreat", published today by the French leftist national daily Le Monde, the newspaper of the French political mainstream:
...Benedict XVI praises the most conservative trends in his Church and resumes the Roman "intransigentism" of the 19th Century. It is hard to understand that in Poland an ultra-Catholic radio may support, with complete impunity, policies as extremist as those of the Kaczynsky brothers. Or that in Spain the Spanish episcopate attacks a Socialist government which it considers one of the most anticlerical in History. Or that in Italy, after losing its combat in the 1970s against divorce and IVG ["voluntary interruption of pregnancy", i.e. abortion], the Church stakes all [its power] against "civil unions".
A papal decree will liberalize, in May, the ancient rite of the Church (Mass in Latin, with the back turned to the people). It is a measure dreaded by a majority of French Catholics, led by the episcopate, attached to the legacy of the council of the 1960s. If, in his recent "apostolic exhortation", Benedict XVI proclaims his fidelity to Vatican II, his liturgical legalism delights the militants of ancient tradition. These struggles are largely misunderstood by those, believers or not, for whom the vocation of Christianity expresses itself more through aid to marginalized populations than through this disciplinary legalism [lit.: pointillisme], more on help to those who suffer than on this reactionary temptation.