Rorate Caeli

“New archbishop of Paris: enemy of Catholic heritage”

By Didier Rykner
La Tribune de l’art (source)

Are you worried about Notre-Dame, and about the liturgical arrangement that the diocese of Paris wants to install there? You are right to be worried; and it will not get any better with the Pope’s appointment of Laurent Ulrich as the new Archbishop of Paris, who until now was Archbishop of Lille.

Lille… this will undoubtedly awaken some memories among our readers. For Mgr Ulrich is none other than one of those who—with the active complicity of the Ministry of Culture, notably the minister Roselyne Bachelot and the former director of Heritage Philippe Barbat—are responsible for the demolition of the Saint Joseph’s chapel, which the bulldozers have brought down, definitively mutilating the college of which it was an inseparable part (see here). We had forgotten to mention the archbishop of Lille when we listed the culprits. This has been rectified.

This crime against heritage, carried out with the blessing of Laurent Ulrich, was coupled with another scandal: the sale of the Evangeliary of Saint-Mihiel, the jewel of the library of the Catholic Institute of Lille. Classified as a national treasure, we can hope that it will be bought by the National Library of France, but for the moment nothing has happened.

It is clear that for Mgr Ulrich, historical monuments are dispensable, superfluous goods, for which he does not care at all. How can we expect him to oppose all the madness that certain members of the clergy want to impose not only on the great cathedral of Notre-Dame, but sometimes on other Parisian churches? Let’s remember that our religious heritage is fragile, oh so fragile; that it was the victim in the 60s and 70s of an unbridled vandalism by the priests who took advantage of the Second Vatican Council—a vandalism that sometimes continues, by ignorance, habituation, or disdain. It will be necessary for the lovers of Paris (and even beyond, because the archdiocese covers all the Île-de-France) and the Associations for the Defense of Heritage to redouble their vigilance in the future. In a city that is the victim of a local government that is ransacking it, under the eyes of a Ministry of Culture that is at best indifferent, they will now have to reckon with an archbishop who is the declared enemy of everything that we hold dear.

Didier Rykner
Thursday , 28 April 2022

Postscript. We had allowed a very short time to the diocese of Paris to make a response, before publishing this article. The diocese wrote to us shortly after we put it online. This answer is not really a reply, except by affirming that “the evangeliary [belonged] to the Catholic Institute of Lille [and] the chapel of Saint Joseph at the Saint-Paul college (private, disused, and desacralized for more than twenty years before its destruction), to Yncréa; in no case to the diocese of Lille.” But, of course, these two establishments of the Catholic education of Lille depend at least spiritually on the archbishop of Lille. If the archbishop had opposed the demolition and sale, such steps would have been compromised. He never did anything, and never even answered those who were concerned about these attacks on our heritage.

Addendum, April 29, 2022. Let us add to this already heavy dossier that the Diocesan Museum of Lille, which depends directly on the archbishop, is bankrupt, and its works are in poor condition, as we discovered on the occasion of a recent exhibition in Beaune (see here).