Rorate Caeli

Re-education Decrees for “Second Class Catholics”: The Effects of Traditionis Custodes in France

The following article was published in German on December 2 at It was written “von einer Katholikin,” a Catholic woman who remains anonymous. We can see in the information she provides a particular application of the general scenario Michael Charlier spoke about in his article published here two days ago, which would be the method “on the ground” for pursing Archbishop Roche’s goal, which is the Triumph of Bugnini’s Will.—PAK

Faithful gathered outside the Parish archbishop's residence

Re-education Decrees for “Second Class Catholics”: The Effects of Traditionis Custodes in France
by a Catholic Woman

Paris, Le Havre, Strasbourg, Nantes, Grenoble. The bishops are showing themselves “creative.” The list of decrees for the implementation of Traditionis custodes is growing. So is the resistance. France’s tradition-bound faithful remain visible. They pray, they write, they petition, and they demonstrate.

The Diocese of Paris and its Archbishop Aupetit’s restrictive treatment of the old Mass remain at the center of attention. But it is not only there that believers in the tradition feel pressured by their bishop.

Paris: faithful are treated as “second-class Catholics”

In Paris, the number of faithful praying the rosary [with the intention of restoring the TLM] has continued to rise. Faithful gathered to pray have also been organizing in front of the archbishop’s residence for several weeks. It has been achieved that there will again be a Wednesday Mass for students and youth, albeit no longer in Saint-François-Xavier but in a nondescript chapel that would be almost too small even without Covid restrictions. Honnie soit qui mal y pense [shame on him who thinks evil of it]. A scoundrel... In a letter to Archbishop Aupetit, young faithful spoke out their feelings: they feel like they are being treated as second-class Catholics.

As recently as October, the archbishop had claimed, contrary to all the facts, that he had “not cancelled any Masses.” “Can one continue to celebrate the [old] Masses in churches where one has both forms?” “No problem,” the pope had replied to him during the ad limina visit of a group of French bishops in September. And so Aupetit continued to “allow Masses in churches where there were both forms.” Only five in number now. People should get used to it, he told faithful. Period.

It’s a matter of scaling back the old Mass and retaining absolute control by making the faithful exclusively dependent on the diocese and its own priests. The young people complain about this, too, in their letter, for they do not understand why their priests and pastors of the Fraternity of St. Peter, who are no longer allowed to celebrate in the churches, have been taken away from them. The student Mass they cared for over a period of almost thirteen years is now celebrated by diocesan priests. In the biritual parish of Saint-Eugène-Sainte-Cécile, where in the meantime a new diocesan priest has replaced the former pastor (who had fallen out of favor with the archbishop), no priest of the Fraternity of Saint Peter is allowed to celebrate Mass or to administer the sacrament of Confession.

Meanwhile, the archbishop continues to entrench himself and stubbornly refuses the conversation for which the faithful ask him. Even numerous attempts at contact and letters remain unanswered, as Juventus Traditionis reported.

Decree for the Diocese of Strasbourg: no “illegal” celebrations

In Strasbourg, Archbishop Luc Ravel also issued a letter implementing Traditionis custodes. The decree, dated Sept. 3, was posted on the site of the traditional personal parish La Croix glorieuse (Masses in Strasbourg and Colmar) in late September.

According to the November diocesan bulletin, seven priests are authorized to celebrate Mass according to the 1962 Missal—four of them diocesan-wide, two of them bound to a particular place and time (one for a private Mass on his day off), and the last one may be used only as a substitute. “Any other celebration by another priest is considered illegal.” The traditional liturgy is [in this way] criminalized.

The “Edict” of Nantes

In Nantes, the association Foi et Tradition (Faith and Tradition) has written a petition to the bishop to lift the restrictions on the traditional liturgy and has published it for those who wish to sign it. Beginning on the first Sunday of Advent, people will also pray the rosary publicly every Sunday outside the cathedral, as the faithful already do in Paris.

Bishop Percerou had issued a temporary decree at the end of September, stopping two Mass sites and imposing conditions on baptisms and weddings. And, in a conversation with lay representatives, he made no secret of his hostile attitude toward communities of tradition. After that, he refused any dialogue until November 13, when he responded to Foi et Tradition in a letter the association made public November 25.

In it, he shows no sympathy for complaints about his simply “correct implementation” of the papal motu proprio and once again puts a question mark on the tradition-oriented faithful’s fidelity to the pope. Contrary to the facts, he claims to have changed nothing as regards the previous regulations in his diocese.

“Re-education” in Grenoble

Guy de Kérimel, bishop of Grenoble, signed a decree published a few days after on November 12 with final rules for implementing Traditionis custodes starting September 1, 2022. “For the good of the faithful and the unity of the Church,” of course. In an “accompanying letter to the faithful of the diocese,” he insists on Francis’ emphasis on the new Mass as the only expression of the Catholic Church’s “lex orandi” to which all must be guided.

On November 19, he followed up with a letter to the two parishes that are home to the old Mass. The letter says it all. He makes a pretense of understanding and pastoral devotion, but in the end he treats the faithful in a top-down manner as endangered in the faith and deficient. He says he knows that they do not reject the new Mass, but that is not enough. They must now “take an additional step in the faith” in order not to slip further. He dismissed love for the “vetus ordo” as a “personal sentiment” of the faithful, which should not prevent them from putting “faith and communion with the Church” and “the bond with Christ in the Church” in first place. Now this “shepherd” has come up with something perfidious for the future to force the re-education of the faithful to the new Mass, as follows:

A place for the old Mass is to be preserved. Starting in September 2022, however, Mass must be celebrated there every first Sunday according to the Missal of Paul VI. It will be celebrated in Latin. But the apparent concession is easy to see through. He should know that a Latin language dress does not make a new Mass into an old one. All the worse is the obvious intention to force the faithful to demonstrate that they really do not reject the new Mass.

Moreover, only priests who also celebrate in the Novus Ordo may celebrate the old Mass in the diocese. Only at the special request of the faithful, “where appropriate,” can the sacraments (except Confirmation and adult baptism from age 15 onward) be administered according to the 1962 liturgical books. The flourishing apostolate of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter is eventually supposed to manage under these conditions.

The abolition of the old mass is the pope’s goal

What effects, in particular, the recent drastic executive decrees of the Pope’s Roman Cardinal Vicar will still have in France remains to be seen. What is certain is that bishops who have appeared and will appear with restrictive decrees in the spirit of Traditionis custodes grasp the message: what seems good for the bishop of Rome can only be right for the pope too.

Pope Francis actually only has to watch how little by little the compliant bishops put his instructions for the obliteration of the old Mass into practice. However, if this does not go according to plan and happens too slowly worldwide, the regulations from the Roman vicariate may soon be no longer sufficient for him.

In any case, one should not share the strange (on purpose?) optimism of Cardinal Sarah, who recently said in an interview with Le Figaro that the Pope’s goal is “by no means to abolish the old liturgy.”

What the future may bring?