Rorate Caeli

The anguish of a Traditional priest

Q. Many Catholics believe that many self-styled traditional Catholic laymen and priestly fraternities do not pay proper reverence, respect, and obedience to the Pope. Your Fraternity was founded by a sitting Pope, and has a specific unavoidable attachment to St. Peter in your actual name. How do you react to those who accuse traditional Catholics of lacking respect for the Pope?

Fr. Gabet: We had all the benefits of Pope John Paul II and his 25 years. I was in Rome at his 25th anniversary, and was blessed to be able to offer the Traditional Latin Mass on top of the altar of where Pope St. Pius X is entombed in St. Peter's Basilica. It was really such an honor.

Our tour guide really didn't have the permission. The night before, he mentioned that [it was going to be at St. Pius' tomb], and I asked him, "Do they know it is going to be the Latin Mass?" Because I had heard that with a certain cardinal who had been the prefect there — he just would not allow it at all [in St. Peter's]. And so, the tour guide turned to me and said, "What's the difference?" I tossed and turned all night.

[I'm thinking,] we are going to go into St. Peter's Basilica. They are going to kick us out. And I can't say I've been kicked out of better places. But we went in there after beseeching the Blessed Mother all night and praying before with the group I was with — it was the Fraternity of St. Peter's 15th anniversary.

We went in there and the priest came up to us and he looked at my missal, and he said, "This is not Paul VI. This is not Paul VI." And this is my brand new missal, with gilded edges and everything! My mom and dad had just bought it for me because my birthday was around that same time.

So this priest takes my missal and walks off with it. So I thought, "Not only am I going to be kicked out of St. Peter's but I've lost my 1962 missal!" Sergio was our Roman guide there, and I said, "Sergio, what is going on?"

And Sergio looked at me and said, " doesn't look good, Father. He said he says he has to get you a special altar."

"Oh! Okay!" [I thought]. Then, they took me down the nave, and I thought we were going to be down in the crypt. So I was looking and when we passed by those doors with the columns on either side, and we passed by the main altar there, and the baldachin, and by the two side doors, I began thinking, "Is there another door to the crypt? Where are we going?" And we just kept on heading to the front door.

And my thoughts again were, "I'm going to get kicked out." But right before we got the door, he turned right, and went right over to the altar where Pope St. Pius X is lying in state.

It was just unbelievable! My heart just stopped! It was great!

It all ended well, but is it not a pity to read about poor Father Gabet's anguish, his fear that he would not be able to say Holy Mass, the Mass of Rome itself, next to the tomb of Saint Peter? It is as if Traditional Catholics were "lepers" (not my word...). More of Brian Mershon's interview with influential Traditional priests here.


  1. I agree.

    And I would hope (and I believe, too, from what I know of the wonderful Society of St. Peter) that if a friend of Denis Crouan wanted to celebrate the Missa Normativa in Fr. Gabet's church, he would be made welcome.

  2. I can't begin to imagine the joy that Fr. Gabet must have felt. God so wanted him to say that Mass. I just love to hear of stories like these.

  3. Things are indeed moving up, since the old Mass was celebrated at the main crypt altar, in front of the Niche of the Pallia, on November 4 2005. This is arguably as close as one could get to the tomb of St Peter. It had hitherto been celebrated in a side corridor (now under renovation) of the crypt, at the infamous Hungarian chapel.

    Perhaps next time it could move to the main floor? The Altar of the Chair perhaps?


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