In Brief

Source: FSSPX News


France: Msgr. Vingt-Trois – Archbishop of Paris

Msgr. André Vingt-Trois, Archbishop of Tours, will succeed Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger as the head of the Archdiocese of Paris. His nomination was confirmed by the Holy See on February 11, the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. Msgr. Vingt-Trois is a very close friend of his predecessor, whose vicar he had been, when Lustiger was the pastor of St. Jeanne de Chantal in Paris.

Born November 7, 1942, the future archbishop of Paris was vicar of St. Jeanne de Chantal from 1969 to 1974, professor at the seminary of Issy-les-Moulineaux from 1974 to 1981, vicar general of Paris from 1981 to 1999, auxiliary bishop of Paris from 1988 to 1999 and archbishop of Tours since 1999.

Australia: Priests ask Rome to abandon celibacy

Priests in Australia are asking the Vatican to abandon the obligation of celibacy, so as to halt the drop in vocations. Father Eric Hodgens, a priest of Melbourne, thinks the lack of priests is going to be crucial in a few years, when there will only be one sixth of the priests necessary to guarantee Sunday masses in every parish.

According to the Sydney Morning Hearld, as relayed by Agence France Press, the National Council of Australian Priests wrote last December to the Synod of Bishops at the Vatican, asking that marriage no longer be an obstacle to ordination and that the Church consider reconciling priests who left the priesthood to marry.

For Father Hal Ranger, President of the Council, changes are necessary to guarantee that Catholics will continue to have access to the sacraments. The Council, which comprises half of the 1,650 priests of Australia, asked in its letter that the Synod “honestly examine if it is appropriate to insist that the priesthood, with very rare exceptions, be restricted by the vow of celibacy”.

The request of these priests comes after an inquiry of more than 300 ecclesiastics of the diocese of Sydney. Quite to the point and surely not coincidentally, this inquiry showed a weak support for celibacy and indicated that it was a motive for rejecting the priestly vocation...

 Belgium: The Bishop of Namur’s concern about the evolution of euthanasia laws

While presenting the pope’s 2005 Lenten message during a press conference at the Vatican on January 27, Msgr. André-Mutien Léonard declared: “In countries where euthanasia has been decriminalized, things have gone in the same direction as abortion. The problem began with exceptional and particularly moving cases, then decriminalization is supported because euthanasia is already being practiced”. Recalling that the law in favor of euthanasia was passed by a vote in Belgium in May of 2002, Mgsr. Léonard deplored the current plans to expand the conditions permitted by the current legislation.

According to the Belgian prelate, this proposed law would expand the effect of what is called the “anticipated declaration” or the “living will”, adding that he would prefer to call it a “death will”. All this, added Msgr. Léonard, leads one to think that in the future the restrictions proposed today will no longer be respected and might even be suppressed, as has happened with abortion legislation.

He regretted the widespread ideology according to which each individual is free to choose either life or death. “We want to be the arbiters of our own life, he declared, and to take possession of our birth as well as our death”. “If abortion law had been effective retroactively, I don’t know if the Belgian deputies would have approved it”, he added.

Msgr. Léonard, who emphasized the importance of palliative care, denounced the danger of seeing “the medical profession become a principal means of reducing healthcare costs or the foundation of a selective policy founded on the concept of the quality of life”. He said he worried about the evolution of the relationship between patients and doctors if the profound sense of purpose of the latter became no longer just “the art of caring and healing”, but also “the art of killing”.

In his 2005 Lenten message, John-Paul II invited Christians and men of good will to take care of the aged and he recalled the commandment “Thou shallt not kill”, which requires “life to be respected and promoted, always, from conception to natural death”.

France: KTO nominates itself as a candidate for a new free channel

The Catholic channel of Paris, KTO, announced on January 31 that it had submitted its candidacy for a new free channel on Global Digital Television. In support of this request, the directors have given the following arguments: our channel “offers a large variety of programs – documentaries, debates, films, concerts and news produced throughout France – ‘television for everyone’, whose appeal no longer needs to be proved”. It is defined as “television everyone can watch, young and old”. It’s distinguished particularly by its total absence of violent or pornographic programs, but above all by the demonstration of Christian values of acceptance and tolerance, which the modern world needs”.

United States: The Archbishop of Minneapolis favors giving communion to homosexuals.

Msgr. Harry J. Flynn, Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis permits militant homosexuals from the Rainbow Sash movement to receive communion, while other bishops, like Cardinal Francis Eugene George refuse them communion. The Archbishop of Chicago thinks, in fact, that Rainbow Sash members use communion to manifest their opposition to the Church’s teaching.

In the Archdiocese of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Msgr. Flynn published a communiqué declaring “that wearers of the rainbow sashes should not be routinely denied communion” in his cathedral. Msgr. Flynn says that in mid-December he met with Cardinal Francis Arinze, Prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in order to discuss the “difficult pastoral situation” caused by the Rainbow Sash movement. Cardinal Arinze “did not in fact suggest an immediate change of policy in the Archdiocese of Minneapolis and Saint Paul”. He indicated that this situation needed to be studied more profoundly. For him, “ideally, all the bishops who have pastoral care of members of this movement should seek to adopt a uniform approach.”

Last December, Msgr. Flynn recognized that the American bishops had arrived at different conclusions on the manner of responding to Rainbow Sash members who came up for communion. He specified that in his eyes it didn’t make much sense that the Vatican should impose a single way of looking at this issue…

Switzerland: German and Austrian bishops strongly criticize their Swiss counterparts.

 During a conference on liturgical questions, the German and Austrian bishops questioned Mgr. Paul Vollmar, the auxiliary bishop of Chur, Switzerland, and criticized the stance of the Swiss bishops in their document on the “Laity appointed to the service of the Church”, where the question of lay people preaching was tackled. (see DICI n° 109)


“Suddenly they all came up to me and said: ‘You Swiss, you really are a pain in the neck of Europe’. It was thought to be irresponsible,” said Mgr. Vollmar on a Zurich radio website,, reported by CIPA. “It is always the bishops who are made scapegoats,” he said, “and it is in this frame of mind that we are going to Rome.” In fact, the Swiss bishops made their ad limina visit to the Vatican, between February 1 and 5.


During their last visit in September 1997, they not only expressed the wish, but demanded the ordination of “viri probati” – men having already proved themselves in marriage, in their profession, in ecclesial life and in society – and demanded the introduction of a female diaconate for Switzerland, recalled Mgr. Vollmar on, and specified that at that time, the question of the laity preaching was not mentioned “because in Switzerland it is self-evident.”