"Behold, I stand
at the gate, and knock"
Funeral in Latin / The Church refuses her a last Mass
[L'Union] - SISSONNE (Aisne) [Picardy, France] - The parish priest of Liesse refused to open the doors of the Church of Sissone to receive the funeral of an 80-year-old. The deceased desired a Latin Mass. Impossible, according to the bishopric and to Father Kerjean. The service took place - on the sidewalk and led by a priest considered a renegade.
At 3:20 AM, the telephone rang. Noël Grégoire was awaken in the middle of the night by a voice from the hospital that announced to him the decease of his mother and, undoubtedly, that arrangements had now to be made. It was a Friday, last week. Until that moment, sad, but commonplace. "We called each other. My brother, near Tarbes, my sister here, the other one near vendôme. ..."
The Bishopric, absent
Jeanne Grégoire had left a note, placed in a drawer of a chest in her house, near that of her son Noël. Written carefully, in capital letters. A "THIS IS MY WILL", marked by a discreet signature, dated from three years earlier, "March 20, 2007, at Sissone". A few lines asking for "religious rites according to the rites of the Roman Missal of Saint Pius V". Jeanne wished that her body be present inside the Church, and that "the Mass be followed by absolution and burial, according the custom."
It did not happen thus. "My brother from Tarbes found a priest of the priory of Prunay [of the Society of Saint Pius X - FSSPX /SSPX ]. We asked Father Kerjean to open the Church, but he refused it. Then, we contacted the mayor to ask him if it would not be too much trouble if the service took place outdoors. He gave us his permission."
On that day, it rained. Around twenty members of the family and thirty of the city were present at the Mass celebrated by Father Girod. The same surname of the Bishop of Soissons [Bishop Hervé Giraud], but not the same spelling. The celebration was made in Latin and in French, "so that the people would understand. This took about one hour and a half". Noël was flabbergasted. He had written a sign with an explanatory letter taped on the sides, hanging leaves, as a petition. Rozelyne Rouzé, Monique Lobjeois, the Tatin family, Micheline Berthe, and some others wrote [on it] that it was disgraceful, unchristian, to leave outside a soul that desired to be in the church. "When he called us, we immediately contacted the diocese and the chancery," says Father Girod. "I left them a message on Sunday. On Monday, I heard from someone, who did not know what to say... but we were never called. The chancery remained unavailable."(*)
In 2007, Benedict XVI promulgated a text, the motu proprio. Latin became possible once again. The bishops should make sure to find solutions. Four years later, and what? If this is the god that called Jeanne from on high, he should have known it was still too soon.
(*) The secretary and the assistant of Bishop Giraud, bishop of the diocese, considered that the parish priest of Liesse was "perfectly capable of responding to [our] questions".