Rorate Caeli

The French Bishops speak...

From the closing speech of Cardinal Ricard, President of the French Episcopal Conference (CEF), before the Plenary Assembly of the CEF.



"6) We wish to proceed with the reception of those who feel attached to the Mass said of 'Saint Pius V'. A diversity is possible. But this [diversity] must be regulated. This follows from the unity of the liturgy and from the unity of the Church. One cannot leave the choice of one of the forms of the Roman Rite –Mass of 'Saint Pius V' or Mass of 'Paul VI' – up to one’s own subjectivity. A Church in which each one could build his own chapel following his personal tastes, his sensitivity, his choice of liturgy, or his political opinions would not still be the Church of Christ. It is necessary today to resist the temptation of a 'religion à la carte'. As bishops, we are ready to care, with the Holy Father and under his authority, for unity and communion in the bosom of our local Churches and among our Churches."

Read a translation of the other five items here.


  1. I can't believe these French Bishops. The Church in France has long since disintegrated into "religion à la carte".

  2. That's a veto, right?

  3. No, that's a protestation of loyalty to the Pope, while attempting to influence his decision.

    Full text coming on my blog in the next hour.

  4. That's just unbelievable. This speech sounds so traditional in it's call for discipline and unity... except that we know what his idea of the "right" rite is...

  5. In arguing that one can't have religion a la carte, he is arguing against himself, an his brother French bishops, in fact, against most of the Novus Ordo experience, since that is EXACTLY what they have created, liturgy a la carte. I do not quite believe that he does not understand the implication of what he is saying. This savours of a political set up for a compromise arrangement.

    Of course one can't just build one's own chapel, follow one's own tastes...oh unless one happens to be Brother Roger of Tayzay or however you spell it.

  6. And there's more breathtaking garbage where that came from. I've just posted the rest of the section concerning traditional matters on my blog. Extensive drivel to be enjoyed!

  7. Thank you, Ceremoniere, I linked to you.

  8. Couple of other observations. Has anyone else noticed that no other bishops, or Cardinals for that matter, in the world outside France have dared to raise their voices in clamourous protest over the possible liberalization of the Traditional mass? They are all quite content to let the Frenchified bishops stick their heads above the trench and shout in the face of the papal divisions. Elsewhere, there has been a fairly deafening clerical silence (which I am heartily glad to hear ringing).

    Also regarding my own comment about a political compromise, this arrangement is probably one that Ricard HOPES he can get. In other words I think he's bluffing. Talking a big game. Whatever re-working of the document he may do, doesn't mean his reccomendation will be accepted. Forty years of regrowth of tradition, and decay of the VatII vision is now being taken into account in the corridors of power...I wager.

  9. Thank you very much. I'm very glad to be able to help provide a resource to advance our discussion. You do such an excellent job, it's a pleasure to be able to assist.

  10. I only just fully registered the bit about "As bishops WE ARE READY TO CARE" What a humiliating an stunning admission for Ricard to have to assert - that he and his bishops have to this point been un-ready and un-willing to care for the traditional flock. So much for Vat II pastoralism; so much for Vat II charity. But traditionalists have known that all along. Ricard and his cronies are now shaking in their boots. They're probably engaging in a few other functions too, but I won't bother to be graphic. I think the point has clearly been driven home that it is virtually TOO LATE for them to START caring. You are quite right, Campos is coming to France. Shall we begin calling the place "Frampos"?

  11. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  12. A Church in which each one could build his own chapel following his personal tastes, his sensitivity, his choice of liturgy, or his political opinions would not still be the Church of Christ.

    Well guess what chief, that's already happening.

  13. "Care for", "watch over", "attend"... so many possibilities.

    These texts written in "Catholish" (or, as the Italians call it, "Ecclesialese") are always ambiguous, which is why literal translations are often impossible...

    Whatever may happen in the future, the bishops are "covered" by their uncertain language.

  14. On Hebdomadary's points:

    The reason that the French bishops are the ones making this noise, is that traditionalists form a much higher proportion of practising Catholics in France than anywhere else. The total numbers in other countries may be higher, but the concentration in France is much higher, and has been so since the early days of the traditional movement. Therefore, the French bishops will see a much greater immediate impact on their dioceses if things change.

    Further, the conflict in France has generally been much sharper. The USA now has some few bishops who are very friendly to tradition; in France, generally, it has been a question of how venomous was their hostility.

    As to the political compromise, this documents, and everything else the French bishops have been saying, is obviously an attempt to influence what the Pope is going to do. However, they have recognized that he is going to do something, ever since their last meeting, when they stated that "the Pope would provide norms" to govern the issue. And now, again, there is a recognition that the Pope is determined to do something, and they are making clear certain things that they do not want him to do.

    However, the absence of an actual proposal is very noticeable. There is a general commitment to be welcoming (for what that's worth!) and an acceptance that some broader provision of the traditional liturgy is going to be made. The absence of a coherent idea about what form this should take may severely weaken their ability to compromise, because they have no realistic alternative to propose.

  15. Yes, the opportunities for parody of conciliarspeak are also endless. I thought of translating the first paragraph as, "As Bishops of the Episcopal Conference, we desire in the first place to express our superficial lip-service to Pope Benedict XVI. He knows that he can count on our hostile obstruction and the assistance of our diabolical sacrifices." However, I thought would probably be unhelpful...

  16. Cerimoniere,

    "As Bishops of the Episcopal Conference, we desire in the first place to express our superficial lip-service to Pope Benedict XVI. He knows that he can count on our hostile obstruction and the assistance of our diabolical sacrifices."


    You know I'm sure that the American bishops gather for their powow next week in Baltimore. Why not do them a favor and e-mail the above to Bishop Skylstad?

    They can adopt your statement of soldiarity with their French brothers right after the usual proclamation of the Prologue to Windswept House, and get out of town lickety-split!

  17. The document does say that Vatican II is still to be received and I think that is right. It was stolen by the "spirit" group immediately upon its completion and Paul VI never had any control over its reception and implementation. John Paul II never really implemented any "hermeneutic of continuity" either. It is still a matter of going back to the documents of Vatican II and reading them, without imposing ideological agendas on them. And they should be interpreted (or, "received") the way the documents of other councils have always been.

    This doesn't mean that there is no room for the TLM. I think that is a stalking horse for the larger theological and pastoral agenda in France. I know it's been a bitter fight in the USA, but I really am shocked that John Paul's right hand man, Cardinal Lustiger, was so insignificant in this fight.

  18. Forgive me, but John Paul's pontificate lasted for 25 years. What were he and his bishops doing for all of that time. I know Cardinal Ratzinger was doing his job, and I don't discount Cardinal Castrillon and Cardinal Medina, and I know there are others. But the vast majority of bishops seem to have been doing little or nothing.

  19. Anonymous4:45 PM

    In reference to the last comment, does anybody know any articles which show how Vatican II actually can be interpreted in light of tradition? I have extreme difficulty doing that. If somebody could point me in the right direction I would be most greatfull.

  20. "It is still a matter of going back to the documents of Vatican II and reading them, without imposing ideological agendas on them. And they should be interpreted (or, "received") the way the documents of other councils have always been."

    Surely the only way to read the texts is in the light of Sacred Tradition. But the, how is it that this council in particular needs to be parsed in this way? How is it that it can be so exploited by those with dissenting views? It would take some fairly advanced theological gymnastics to misread Trent, for example. The point is that VII is a council like no other, sui generis if you like. The authentic voice of the Roman Church is not an ambiguous one. TLM is only one small part of the challenge facing us today, which is in large part ecclesiological.

  21. Book Burner & Bare Ruined Choirs,

    The Nicene Definition was "parsed" by some theologians into justifying Arianism, so conciliar definitions CAN be twisted, sometimes very easily. As to Trent, go into the theology of justification and grace sometime and then read the definitions of Trent. You don't exactly need gymnastics.

    Book Burner, read Pope Benedict's Address to the Roman Curia (December, 2005), at the Vatican web site, for his "hermeneutic of continuity" way of treating Vatican II versus what he called the "hermeneutics of discontinuity and rupture" used by the "spiritists." Also look at Dei verbum (in light of theologians such as St. Augustine and St. Bonaventura, especially) and Lumen gentium. They are probably the most "traditional" of the Council documents. Gaudium et spes is more problematic because, as Joseph Ratzinger once said, it does not take enough account of sin. But, cf. GS 22, which is a beautifully-written Christological encomium which grounds GS even given the rest of the document. Also study the footnotes of each document. They are the keys to the link with tradition.

  22. I'm afraid I'm gonna vomit whenever I read the latest from the "French bishops"

  23. Thank you Cirimoniere for the translation. I note an interesting admission when talking about the TLM communities:

    “We therefore thank in this respect all those who have trained themselves, who contribute to the quality of our liturgies and who enable us to have, in some places indeed, celebrations which are beautiful and prayerful, joyful and recollected. “

    Wait! I thought all Mass celebrations had to be beautiful, prayerful, joyful and recollected!! You mean they are not in “some other places”? If this is not a tacit recognition of what makes the TLM distinct from what Ricard knows goes on under his “orientations” accepted and supposedly having something in common with V-II, I don’t know what is.

    If I had to rework the speech in sort of plain English it would be thus:

    “Reconciliation is the work of the Spirit, maybe even a gift of God. We think all who helped further the orientations of V-II are good servants of God (saints even, if we believed in such things). Yet, there are those who are not good servants, who have not helped at all, and to those we say: take note, we don’t accept anything that has nothing to do with what we interpret Vatican II to be all about! (such as TLM). What do we mean? Don’t look to the past, the Church progresses (as a pilgrim, see?) so, follow the Spirit (ahem, not Rome or anything like that, it is from the “Spirit” that the ministries and charisms come! – note that the Spirit is also subject to us in our diocese, please) however disconcerting that may be. Look, this is not about theology or liturgy, it is about politics. Yeah, ok, we recognize that this thing we are talking about has enabled some beautiful, prayerful and recollected liturgy celebrations in our dioceses (hey, we can’t deal with every abuse out there, can we? We are only too human! Had we known about this before we would have quashed such nostalgic goings on!), so sure, we welcome this strange creature that attempts againt the unity we have fought so hard not to have (after all our unity is predicated on following the surprises sent by the Spirit which we command). So: we hereby determine that because our Holy Father asks us (nay, forces us really), we are ready to enter into [oecumenical] dialogue (ah, that favorite word again!) between our churches (note the plural, please – these nostalgic people are simply not Catholic!) but only if they will subject themselves unreservedly (hey, what do you think attending to unity means?) to our whims, just like the good Spirit did already.”

    But seriously now, has anyone considered the fact that a French bishop, contrary to an American bishop, is not the owner of the physical churches within his diocese as a factor for all this hysteria? What I mean is, here in America the bishops may say to the pope, liberate the Mass, but how will you implement it if we refuse to give physical locations to the Traditionalists? That is, it is more difficult for us to benefit from the Pope’s instructions. Our groups need money, and lots of it. In France, however, I understand (and here please step in those who know!) that since the state has titlee to the Churches, certain kinds of associations can request a parish (a beautiful one at that!)and there is little a bishop can do… Am I wrong here? Did not Fr. Laguerie, as an SSPX priest, do this in the past with St. Nicholas in Paris? So, the position of the French bishops is a lot weaker vis a vis the faithful if an indult where the bishops are skipped is granted than in this country. That is my point. Correct me those who know, please.

  24. As stated above, it's amazing how "dogmatic" and "non-inclusive" the progressives can be. This statement is reminiscent of that ridiculous bombast issued several years ago by Bishop David Foley of Birmingham in which he forbade the use of ad orientem celebrations. The tone and language used were on a par with Bl. Pius IX in his highest dudgeon.

  25. My pleasure. I think your characterization of the address overall is fairly accurate. It certainly requires some decoding.

    I don't think the issue of who holds title to the churches is that important. In America, title is vested in "The Catholic Bishop of X", but I am sure the courts would accept the Pope's determination of who held that office. If a bishop actually defied the Pope, he could certainly be replaced and his successor would automatically hold title.

    In France, as I understand it, the Church has the right to administer the churches, under an agreement with the state. St. Nicholas was simply occupied by the SSPX, Cardinal Lustiger obtained an order to remove them from the courts, and chose not to execute the order. I don't know whether there is anyway for the civil authorities to circumvent this agreement, even if they wished to do so. I'm sure Alsaticus could comment further on this issue.

  26. So the French Bishops are going to take a stand against "cafeteria Catholicism"?

    Alright then, let the crack down begin...

  27. Yeah, and while we're at it, let's start cracking down on those cafeteria Catholics at NCR, Commonweal, and America. They really tick me off. Especially the idiots who blog on "dotCommonweal." Try reading the relativism on that blog sometime.

  28. Is the French hierarchy that unified? Are there not a few who are favorable to Tradition.Iread on another blog there is a diocese(s) where the FSSP ministers to 1,000 people. Cardinal Lustiger was a favorite of JPII but it was he,among others,who torpedod the universal indult planned by JPII.According to another blog ,he told JP that 65 bishops would rebel if he issued it. EWTN had Archbishop Hannan,who was a bishop at VII,and Cardinal Dulles ,a peritus at VII,on and they were reflecting on the documents of the Council.I was surprised by their honesty.Both criticized the documents' wordiness and their being difficult to uinderstand.They also mentioned that some were contradictory to each other (in the same document).What made matters even worse in theis country was the false translation of the documents that were official.They formed a lot of thinking on the council.Chief among these was the omission of the phrase from VI which state that doctrines had to have the same meaning and sense,from the semon of Pope John opening the Council.There is a huge mess to clean up similar to the Augean stables.

  29. psst- that's what I meant Janice.

  30. There certainly is an absolute mess to clear up from VC II which modernists are trying at every attempt to dogmatise. In the face of glaring ambiguities; misalignments in documentary meaning and sense; flagrant mistranslations and the consequential and self-evident destruction of the conciliar church, it is time to halt the proceedings and admit it was mostly a gross error of misjudgement. And, its liturgical fruit, the NO service, which is characterised by the same flawed hallmarks outlined above should be abandoned as an aberration.


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