Rorate Caeli

French intellectuals sign a "Tridentine Manifesto"

This morning, Le Figaro brings an open letter, signed by dozens of some the most influential French intellectuals, in support of the Holy Father's efforts to free the Traditional Mass.

Quoting Sacrosanctum Concilium, the letter reminds the French public opinion that Vatican II stated that "holy Mother Church holds all lawfully acknowledged rites to be of equal right and dignity; that she wishes to preserve them in the future and to foster them in every way."

The letter goes on to quote Cardinal Ratzinger, other Vatican II documents, and always making a vigorous and effective defense of the Mass. Just Beautiful.


Whole text of the Manifesto

A Manifesto in favor of the Tridentine Mass
Published: December 16, 2006 [Le Figaro]

René Girard, of the French Academy; Michel Déon, of the French Academy; Bertrand Collomb, of the Institute of France; Jean Piat, actor; Claude Rich, actor; Jean-Laurent Cochet, actor and producer; François Ceyrac, former president of the CNPF (National Council of the French Corporate Directors); Charles Beigbeder, CEO (Selftrade and Poweo); Jean-François Hénin, CEO (Maurel et Prom Oil Company); Jean-Marie Schmitz, executive, president of the Free College of Law, Economics, and Administration (FACO); Raphaël Dubrulle, executive; Jean François, honorary president of the Lafarge Corporation; Jean-Marie Le Méné, president of the Jérôme Lejeune Foundation; Jean Raspail, writer; Jean des Cars, historian; Denis Tillinac, writer and editor; Robert Colonna d'Istria, writer; Isabelle Mourral, honorary president, Association of Catholic Writers; Jacques Heers, professor, historian, former director of Medieval Studies at the University of Paris IV-Sorbonne; Alain Lanavère, lecturer, Catholic Institute of Paris; Jean-Christian Petitfils, historian and writer; Yvonne Flour, professor and vice-president of the Scientific Council, University of Paris-I - Panthéon-Sorbonne; Jacques Garello, professor emeritus, University of Aix-Marseille III- Paul-Cézanne; Jean-Didier Lecaillon, professor, University of Paris II -Panthéon-Assas; Catherine Rouvier, lecturer at the University of Sceaux, lawyer; Patrick Louis, Member of the European Parliamen, professor at the University of Lyon-III; Jean-Yves Naudet, professor at the University of Aix-Marseille III- Paul-Cézanne, president of the Association of Catholic Economists; Bertrand Fazio, member of the Association of Catholic Economists; Roland Hureaux, writer; Jean Sevillia, historian and writer; Henry de Lesquen, high government official; Yvan Blot, high government official; Jacques Trémolet de Villers, writer, court attorney; Alexandre Varaut, court attorney; Solange Doumic, court attorney; Frédéric Pichon, court attorney; Francis Jubert, president of the Foundation for Political Service ; Anne Coffinier, diplomat; Benoît Schmitz, History professor; Marie de Préville, professor of Classical Letters; Alexis Nogier, surgeon, Clinical Head at the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital; Philippe Darantière, consultant ; Thierry Boutet, writer and journalist; François Foucart, writer and journalist; Philippe Maxence, writer, editor-in-chief of L 'Homme Nouveau; Jacques de Guillebon, writer; Falk van Gaver, writer; Mathieu Baumier, writer; Christophe Geffroy, director of the "La Nef" journal; Anne Bernet, writer; Louis Daufresne, journalist, Paris Archdiocesan Radio (Radio Notre-Dame); Fabrice Madouas, journalist; Hilaire de Crémiers, journalist.

We, laymen, Roman Catholics, wish, considering the media commotion provoked by a possible liberalization of the Gregorian Mass, to publicly witness our fidelity, our support, and our affection regarding the Holy Father, Benedict XVI.

1. The Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium of the Second Vatican Council, recalls: "In faithful obedience to tradition, the sacred Council declares that holy Mother Church holds all lawfully acknowledged rites to be of equal right and dignity; that she wishes to preserve them in the future and to foster them in every way". We consider thus that the diversity of rites in the Catholic Church is a grace and that we shall see with joy the coming liberalization of that which was our ordinary, that of our parents and of our grandparents, and which nourished the spiritual life of so many saints.

We wish to tell the Holy Father and our Bishops of our joy of seeing the appearance of more and more secular or religious communities attached to the beauty of the liturgy under its many forms. We share the observation of him who was then Cardinal Ratzinger: "I am convinced that the crisis in the Church that we are experiencing today is to a large extent due to the disintegration of the liturgy". (Milestones)

2. "The restoration of unity among all Christians is one of the principal concerns of the Second Vatican Council. Christ the Lord founded one Church and one Church only," the introduction of the Decree Unitatis Redintegratio affirms.

It is in this spirit described by the Council that we have welcomed with joy the creation of the Institute of the Good Shepherd and that we pray and hope that all those who have wandered from full communion may follow this same road to reconciliation.

3. We are shocked by the idea that a Catholic may be distressed by the celebration of the Mass which was that which Padre Pio and Saint Maximilian Kolbe celebrated. That which nourished the piety of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus and of Pope Blessed John XXIII.

We know that the Church is formed by man and women, and that reprehensible and at times insulting words may have been exchanged: "often enough, men of both sides were to blame" (Unitatis Redintegratio, 3).

We beg God to "forgive our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us".

We imagine how difficult the government of the Church is and how heavy the burden of our Holy Father the Pope is, as is also demanding that of our Bishops.

We wish to record, with this text, our total support to Benedict XVI who, after John Paul II the Great and within the long and magnificent chain of the Successors of Peter, continues to work with humility, courage, intelligence, and firmness in the new evangelization.



  1. Alleluia!

    One can sense the years of frustration beginning to cascade into the public domain. Having suffered 45 years of liturgical destruction, deviation, consequent banality and deception many Roman Catholics have rediscovered their voices. The episcopal despots who have tried their utmost to intimidate The Holy Father into submission on this issue are now finding out the true extent of love in The Church for what is truly Catholic. The same despots have attempted over the time to beat everyone into submission with false accusations of "disobedience", threatening excommunication and isolation to those with the courage to defend Sacred Tradition.

    The Holy Father needs to hear all the voices of Catholics and others who support him in this most necessary and indispensable measure.

    Let us hope the much vaunted 'motu proprio' sees the light of blessed day and that the corrections to wording spoken of do not amount to anything which may maintain episcopal disablement of its contents.

  2. This gives new definition to the term French Resistance.

  3. Vive la France! Can't you just feel the Revolution brewing?

  4. At last,at last!The manifestos should have been issued a monthe ago.How much publicity will be given them.I remember some of the names on the 1966 petition-Ingmar Bergman,Pablo Casells etc.It also contained a few Anglican bishops.The 66 petition called on Pope Paul VI to preserve the traditional rite (this was before the NO) because it was the greatest spiritual achievment of Western Civilization.

  5. ¡Glory be to God! Yes, yes, yes.

  6. It is not only the greatest spiritual achievement, but the greatest artistic and cultural achievement as well. It is the fountainhead of western artistic expression, and truly the "Artist's Mass" because of the artistic requirments it poses, in order to achieve the greatest spiritual calm and simplicity. It is the mass of intellectuals and the simple at the same time. Remember the phrase "Music Calms the Savage Breast?" I think Benedict knows that the return of this mass and the consequent spur to artistic expression in Western Civilization will do more to bring about societal calm than all the drums and rock-influenced masses the modern church could lay on. I speak as an artist, and as a Catholic brought up in the Novus Ordo. Where do I sign?

  7. This is a very happy occurence indeed.

  8. Anonymous6:22 AM

    I could happily sign this letter. Still, the real solution to our liturgical crisis remains that pointed to at Vatican II: a deep renewal of the biblical culture of Catholics, issuing in new and creative liturgy, giving free rein to the art of our times and responding to the signs of the times (in the area of justice and peace especially). Sadly we have not lived up to the challenge of Vatican II.

  9. Alas, such legitimate development is only possible when the liturgical life of the Church is healthy and the generations of the faithful are fully steeped in Catholic tradition. Sadly indeed, it may not become possible again in our lifetimes, since such a successful effort was made to erase the traditional liturgy from the consciousness of Catholics.

    The Holy Father's goal is that the liturgy grow and develop organically again, but that goal is a long way off. First the critical condition of the Mystical Body must be stabilized and the wounds be given a chance to heal. Try to move things along too quickly and you will only leave scars.

  10. Anonymous10:56 PM

    Fr. O Leary:
    Still, the real solution to our liturgical crisis remains that pointed to at Vatican II: a deep renewal of the biblical culture of Catholics, issuing in new and creative liturgy, giving free rein to the art of our times and responding to the signs of the times (in the area of justice and peace especially).

    All my life I have heard this. The project has failed. Move on.

  11. Fr Leary

    You belong to a dying breed of novus ordoism - many of us have had enough of this destructive, un-Catholic nonsense which has brought abomination and desolation into The Church of The Christ. Evidence, empty seminaries, extinction of convents and monasteries, emptying and closing churches and chapels, failed novelty after failed novelty and, yes, protestantisation of the interpretation of Sacred Scripture by unbridled "creativity" and do-it-yourself" charismaticist distortion.

    Back to The Roman Missel and a return to proper Catholic doctrine.

  12. Anonymous4:41 AM

    Apropos Fr Leary - amen to all comments in reaction to his statement viz 'new and creative liturgies'.

    The answer to this sort of post-conciliar pipe dream is that, until Vatican II, the liturgy developed imperceptibly and certainly not by 'liturgical committees' - Bugnini Consilium, diocesan or parochial. Such an approach never had anything whatsoever to do with the Tradition of liturgical development.

    This notion is also the false abiding notion adopted by the Adoremus 'reform of the reform' crew. It's not a question of whether it's Annibale Bugnini or the goodly Fr Fessio at the helm of any such enterprise; that's irrelevant as reform of the liturgy by Committee has never been part of Tradition - and the results of such beget endless restlessness with attendant results we have all seen.

  13. Very good to see, and the French love their intellectuals, so it is a slap in the face for the intransigent (and rather crass) French bishops. However - not happy with the rote "John Paul the Great" reference, which suggests a certain distance from reality on the part of some of these intellectuals. And Yvan Blot is named - a very rightwing character indeed. I wonder at the identity of some of the others too.

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

  15. Julian

    Quite correct too - JP (RIP) II's role in all of this is far from heroic. For example, he retreated in the face of the french episcopate on this. He also never said a Latin Mass as pope as he advocated the genre of liturgical tripe that NO church has tolerated for 45 years. John Paul "the popular" would be more accurate but then what is held in high esteem by man is considered unwholesome in the sight of Almighty God St Luke reminds us.

    We need to see the wording of this document before there are too many premature celebrations. Certainly the ability of bishops to trash papal documents is astounding: "Veterum Sapientiae", " Hmanae Vitae", JP II's Apostolic Letter on the "Indult" are testimony to this disturbing contemporary trend.

    The battle is far from over - let us see this much vaunted document first before we allow our feet to leave planet earth.

    18 December, 2006 23:35

  16. "The real solution to our liturgical crisis remains that pointed to at Vatican II: a deep renewal of the biblical culture of Catholics, issuing in new and creative liturgy, giving free rein to the art of our times and responding to the signs of the times."

    I am grateful that Fr. Leary can happily sign this letter, but I am literally astonished that any clergyman can continue to utter such naive nonsense as this in the face of forty years of evidence. Fr. I suffer from the Organ-bench every week with some of the most grotesque mauling of liturgical sense imaginable. Children - boys AND girls - on the altar, making the pathetically reminiscent nazi-like salute while reciting a made up prayer in imitation of Novus Ordo concelebration, the laity repeating the words of the canon at the instruction of the priests, shouted interjections of "WE...ARE...THE CHURCH!!" during the "Through Him, With him, In Him...", deliberate, willful, and total obfuscation of the distinction between the sacramental ordained priesthood and the non-ordained and non-sacramental priesthood of the laity. It is tough to see these children being so malformed (do you think those girls aren't going to get a taste for priesthood and expect it in the future? How cruell is that?!) and remain civil. These are the fruits of "Creative Liturgy,"

    No, it is time to put Vatican II's liturgical sense to bed, and stop trying to play time machine with the church. We need to live in out time, not in some amusement park Biblical-fantasyland. We have two thousand years of real Catholic experience to account for, take inspiration from, relate to, and base our brilliantly evolved, holistic, integrated, nuanced liturgy on. It's a liturgy that continues to grow and respons, but not to every passing whim. Modern liturgy is like a cell-phone, buy into it and it's outdated. Before you pay your first bill someone else will have one more desireable. Which is a poor physical basis through which to try to reinforce eternal truths. That aspect of Vatican II has failed, and no mistake. It's a failure. It has hurt the Church, hurt Catholics, hurt ME, hurt my friends, hurt generations.

    In order to stop hurting Catholics, and our western civilization, we need pie-eyed priests to STOP PLAYING 'CREATIVE LITURGY'. It's not about YOU. (Does concept bother your ego?) We're not at mass to spend quality time with YOU, we're there to see you DIE TO SELF (which means submerge your ego for an hour - heck, you still get free reign during the homily!), take up your cross and embody CHRIST. That means, follow someone else's instructions for an hour, don't just do whatever you think is a good idea at the time! If you were that "creative" you'd be an artist. BUT YOU'RE NOT. You're a priest. If you want to be a liturgical artist, teach a "Creative Liturgy" class in night school or something and lets see how many willing participants you get. Otherwise, serious-up, lets move on, and start serving the Church again instead of your ego.

    Fr. Leary, I'm not bashing on you in particular, but the idea you express has been proved dangerous and counterproductive. I cite examples from my own weekly experience. I am forty three years old, and speak for myself AND people younger than myself. We want a future different and better than the past forty years. And with that I wish you a truly Merry fact I wish us all one, with one truly meaningful gift under the tree; a little book printed in either Latin or English with the words Motu Proprio at the top...and a Happy New Year.

  17. Anonymous7:39 PM

    Fr. Leary, I'm not bashing on you in particular, but the idea you express has been proved dangerous and counterproductive. I cite examples from my own weekly experience. I am forty three years old, and speak for myself AND people younger than myself

    As a 43 year old myself I feel that our year group, as the first to have no real understanding of what had gone before, were THE blank canvas for the social engineering of the Spirit of Vatican 2. I would characterise my own experience as
    1.) having the sense of there being a vast empty chasm whose former contents were unknowable to me
    2.) feeling that the cathechetical materials used on me (Jonathan Livingstone Seagull, etc) were even then as dated as the favourite bands of an older brother.

    Even then I knew that something was wrong. It has taken me 30 years to find what filled that chasm.

  18. In this space I'm adding my two responses to Simon-Peter, who took issue today (19t Dec.) with my having been critical of Fr. Leary's remarks. I'll then remove them from the page up front, so that they'll be less obvious to international visitors. I don't want to compromise anything with bad karma but...

    First response: No, nothing but the truth. Sorry not to have pleased, but somehow I doubt that the Holy Father's will is going to be swayed by a tale or two from the reality of the pews. I could go on, believe me, and you wouldn't like it, but that wouldn't make it any less real. If I did, you probably wouldn't believe it anyway. I didn't post Fr. Leary's words, I just reacted to them with a dose of reality.

    But as I said, have a, um, Happy Christmas over on the other side of the pond! By the way, say hello to Ben Whitworth if you see him roaming around one of the dales. I sang with him at Corpus Christi in Maiden Lane, London, back in the early '90's.

  19. Addendum (2nd responsory):

    One more thing, Sim-Pet, no angry tone here or anything, but I agree with Humboldt on Benedict's decision making. Disclaimer: If you're worried that the Holy Father in reading this site is going to base his judgement on how nice the Trads on this blog are to the people around them, you should all know that as an employee of a Novus Ordo parish I am a defacto Novus Ordite. I attend five - sometimes six Novus Ordo masses every weekend. I communicate! I play for weddings and funerals. I make myself part of the community, and try to contribute even beyond the parameters of my paycheck. In other words, I care. I am therefore entitled to both carp AND criticize (G&S reference...that's for GIlbert and Sullivan to non-muso's out there - la!), and what I said was only a re-telling of real events with very little in the way of editorialization. An end to this discussion. Perhaps we'll pick it up after Christymas.

    (As to the remark about the gesture of concelebration, you may have noticed that in major international celebrations these days, they're turning palms UP instead. I think someone said something about it before I did, so don't blame me!)

  20. I have no idea what this is about viz. Father Leary.

  21. Well then, here's the complete quote from Fr. O'Leary - from above in this column (sorry I left off the O' when I saw him so referred to by someone elseas Fr. Leary). It is this opinion on the unfulfilled "challenge" of Vat II that I object to. That's all. I find it misguided and counterproductive for the church, and I said so. Read on. Then lets leave it.

    "Fr Joseph O'Leary said...
    I could happily sign this letter. Still, the real solution to our liturgical crisis remains that pointed to at Vatican II: a deep renewal of the biblical culture of Catholics, issuing in new and creative liturgy, giving free rein to the art of our times and responding to the signs of the times (in the area of justice and peace especially). Sadly we have not lived up to the challenge of Vatican II.

    17 December, 2006 06:22"

  22. Anonymous4:16 AM

    The realism of Vatican II and the practicability of its renewal of Catholic worship based on a deeper scriptural culture are verified by the fact that other Christian churches have successfully achieved this. The defeatism of your rejection of Vatican II is unnecessary. Putting all your eggs in the basket of the Latin Mass is a potentially suicidal formula.

  23. Anonymous4:12 PM

    The Pauline/Bugnini protestantized mass is a dying adventure in a banal, abusive and reactionary liturgy,INVENTED by a freemason annabale bugnini and ENFORCED bY PONTIFF pAUL 6.The Catholic Church has as Isreal was in the wilderness for 40 years. The novus ordo missae has damaged the church but not (thanks be to God) mortally.Millions left the churches monasteries, Abbeys seminaries convents and Catholic schools closed with the reactionary leftist take over of the Vatican after Vatican 2. The tide is turning, after years of abuse of Orthodox/Traditional Roman Catholics by the liberal establishment and episcopate, it is the youth by the millions aski9ng for a return to the Ancient liturgy we know as Tridentine. Orthodox Catholic seminaries religious orders and churches are packed to the rafters with returning Catholics and converts alike and the vast majority are youth born after the revisionist protestantization of the Divine Liturgy. Pacem/Shalom


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