Rorate Caeli

Luc Perrin on Catholic Traditionalism in France

This past November, the Society of St. Hugh of Cluny began publishing on its blog the full texts of the addresses at its Conference For the Whole Church: Looking Forward with Summorum Pontificum, which was held on September 23, 2011. (Rorate briefly noted this conference here.) A report by the same Society on the actual conference and the liturgies that accompanied it can be found in For the Whole Church: Report on the Conference of the Society

The speakers were: Fr. Richard Cipolla, D.Phil., parochial vicar of St. Mary Church; Dr. Luc Perrin, Professor at the Univ. of Strasbourg, France; Dr. Lorenz Jaeger, editor of the FAZ, Germany, and Visiting Lecturer at Stanford University; and Msgr. Ignacio Barreiro Carámbula, S.T.D., at that time the Acting President of Human Life International.

Luc Perrin's paper on the actual state of the Catholic Traditionalist movement in France (as opposed to online fantasies about it) is of utmost importance as a long-time insider's view of the subject. His praise of the United States as the "Promised Land for Traditional Catholicism" is well worth noting, as is his elucidation of the roots behind French "Tradiland's" gradual but continued growth.

At any rate, here is the address: "Catholic Traditionalism from a French Perspective"


beng said...

The article is saying that the slow growth of traditionalism in France is because French citizen (and particularly CEF [French USCCB]) consider traditionalism to be some sort of political movement.

That makes perfect sense, doesn't it? (the antagonistic attitude to the traditionalists, that is)

Francophone said...

Paix Liturgique's French-language Letter 290 has the following information about attendance in Paris at the Traditional Mass:

A rough translation of the relevant information:

"Take the example of Paris. Inside Paris, 23 Masses extraordinary form masses are celebrated every Sunday at 11 sites (the church of Saint Germain l'Auxerrois, the Centre Saint-Paul, the Church of St. Nicolas du Chardonnet, the Notre- Lady of the Purification, St. Eugene Church, the Church of Our Lady of Labour, the Chapel of the Sacred Heart Street Gerbert, the Notre-Dame-du-Lys, the Church of St. Jeanne de Chantal, the Church of Sainte-Odile, the Sainte-Germaine).

Sunday attendance is:
- Saint Germain l'Auxerrois, Saint-Eugène, Our Lady of Labour, Notre-Dame-du-Lys, St. Jane de Chantal, St. Odile (which are masses that are "officially authorized": 1000 to 1200 people,)
- St. Paul Center, Our Lady of the Purification (private chapels): 350 to 450 people,
- Saint-Nicolas-du-Chardonnet, Gerbert Street, Chapel of St. Germaine (SSPX): 3600 to 4600 people.

The church of St. Nicolas du Chardonnet, benefiting from its symbolic appeal and position of full-service church parish, as other churches in other dioceses served by a particular fraternity receives alone an average of 3,500 worshipers each Sunday. It is true that a number of faithful who come from outside of Paris, but so do other Parisian churches, like the Trinity.

In total, we can say that from 5000 to 6000 people attend every Sunday at Mass in extraordinary form in Paris (higher figure after more accurate count, that of 4000 as we advanced in our letter No. 220 )."

The letter further on states that this would double or triple if only the Traditional Mass were to be said in all the deaneries of Paris

New Catholic said...

That is partly correct, beng.

Which is why it seems we should be careful not to confuse our legitimate Traditional Catholic demands and positions with specific political or ideological views. It is true: there are political positions that are completely and absolutely incompatible with the Catholic faith. Many are compatible, however, and we should not elevate any of them to doctrinal status and risk being viewed by others, within or outside the Church, as being a "political party".

Ferraiuolo said...

I have always believed in the Vocation of France. The amount of religious orders still faithful to their charism is unbelievable!

shane said...

A fascinating paper, thanks for directing our attention to it.

Berg and New Catholic's point about the need to avoid entangling political positions with our faith is well worth remembering. '1950s Catholicism' is loudly decried across the ecclesiastical spectrum as saturated in all manner of defects and flaws, but on this point at least it was remarkably well-balanced (helped by Cold War anti-communism, which also earned the Church considerable secular and Protestant respect).

Knight of Malta said...

Politics shift, the Faith does not. So, I couldn't agree more that we shouldn't confuse it with politics.

Democrats are the party of lust. Republicans are the party of greed.

It wasn't that long ago that being a good Catholic meant being a good Democrat (remember, both Jimmy Carter and Al Gore were once staunchly against abortion). How times change!

Joseph said...

I think the situation in the United States is better off as a whole than France and not just in the traditionalist movement. The vocations crisis appears to have turned a corner in the last few years and better bishops are being appointed (and the worst three remaining from the liberal old guard - Clark, Brown, and Trautman - should be retired within a year or two).

Joseph said...

I forgot to add Hubbard, who is 73 and also nearing retirement.

B. said...

Prof. Perrin makes one important point that IMHO needs to be stressed: The virtual nonexistence of Tradition in Africa and Asia (and to a lesser degree, although not mentioned, South America).

As the epicenter of the Church shifts away from cultural Europe, so will the small advances that Tradition has made in the last 10 years wane if it does not have a foothold in those areas. And in those areas the Church is unfortunately caught in a nightmare mix of 70's Catholicism and what European missionaries dreamed up to be Inculturation.

The Traditional movement has to tackle this issue or it will ultimately fail.

New Catholic said...

No political discussions here, period.


Not from the Vendee said...

"Ala France (in the past) and still Italy, to a degree, I believe the State should sponser only the Catholic faith"

The only reason Traditional Catholicism exists is because almost all historically Catholic countries are no longer "Catholic states", committed to suppressing dissent.

Can you imagine what would happen if historically Catholic countries were to uphold the theological views of the hierarchy, and use coercive measures against those who dissent from these?

Peterman said...

Of the 10 approved apparitions of our Lady 5 are in France and two are in French speaking Belgium. Clearly France is our Lady's country and the key to the rebirth of the Church. I explained this to a FSSP priest several years ago when he was visiting my home. He seemed unaware of this at the time but has since made pilgrimages there.

In May I drove 6,000 miles around France, Germany, Switz, and down to Our Lady of the Pillar in Spain. It was a great survey of Catholic France.

The traditionalist movement may currently be strongest in the US but would not of course exist without one very brave French Archbishop. Just another in a long history of French heroes of the Church.

John L said...

Prof. perrin mentions Abp. Ornellas as an enthusiast for Castellucci, and of course Card. 23 was an apologist for him. Both these men were close to the late Card. Lustiger, who - one imagines - would have denounced this play. What was it about the late Card. Lustiger's choices foffollowers that was so deficient? Was is just that he had no real heirs in his French version of neoconservatism, and so had in effect no-one to follow him except progressives - given his well-known hatred for traditionalists?

Gratias said...

Visited Paris this year and attended the Saint Germain l'Auxerrois Diocesan Latin Mass. Highly recommended if you visit that city. Schedule is found in the indispensable Wikkimissa linked nearby.

France has done much to Keep the Faith. Slowly but surely we all move ahead.

Woody said...

It was great to visit the Librairie Saint Nicolas, back in 1998, to see the very large collection of newly published traditionalist religious works there, and also some magazines that looked more rightwardly political than religious perhaps. My French is not good, so one could not be sure. On 1 May, 1998, I attended the FN rally complete with votive candles laid at the feet of Joan of Arc off the Champs Elysses, and parade in front of Jean Marie himself, which did indeed include a group of oldsters wearing "para" berets, obviously from the Algerie Francaise days. Despite my lack of French, I was able to purchase some great Traddy Sacred Heart, Hope of France (L'Espoir de la France) pins, as well as those with Bourbon fleur de lys, and the supposedly xenophobic young people manning the tables were happy to speak English to me, as it turned out. Did not buy any celtic cross pins, though, which were also for sale. Hmmm.

jeff said...

Gradual or swift--growth is growth in these dark days. If French trads are having enough babies to keep ahead of defections of their children, then they'll have a long term future and long term growth.

Africa and Asia are very religious places. Their religious institutions have never had to face the poisonous winds of secularism. Let get a whiff of the modernism that envelops the West and we'll see the same collapse there as here.