Canada: Bishop Opposes Motu Proprio

Source: FSSPX News


The bishop of Chicoutimi, André Rivest, is opposed to the Tridentine Mass and will not apply the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum in his diocese, in spite of the request addressed to the parish priest of Sacred Heart Church, Msgr Jean-Roch Gaudin by 130 faithful. This latter, in his parish bulletin, gave the good reasons (or false pretexts) for not applying the Motu Proprio. Here are some of the most significant excerpts (underline ours):

“… A month ago, a petition signed by 100 persons (actually 130) was handed to me, requesting permission for one Mass a month in the ‘extraordinary form’, in one of the three churches of the parish, preferably the church of Christ the King. According to the Motu Proprio, I was entitled to grant the request.

But as the signatories were hailing from various parishes of the diocese, and out of solidarity with the pastoral policy of the whole diocese, I thought it right to consult with Bishop André Rivest, the first Pastor of the diocese, and at the same time to give him the petition so that he may give a diocesan orientation on this issue.

Bishop Rivest consulted with his Presbyteral Council (composed of various priest of the diocese) on Monday, May 19 last, and the next day he phoned me and said he thought it good not to grant permission to celebrate Mass in the ‘extraordinary form’” in the diocese for the following reasons:

a. The Motu Proprio says: In parishes, where there is a stable group of faithful who adhere to the earlier liturgical tradition, the pastor should willingly accept their requests to celebrate the Mass according to the rite of the Roman Missal published in 1962” (art. 5, § 1). Neither in the parish of the Sacred Heart, nor in the diocese is there any stable group. The signatories of the petition do not constitute a stable group, a permanent group, a community as such, but a collection of persons from all over the diocese, and who, in their great majority, have no continual relationships between them.

b. The bishop has the role of preserving the unity in the diocese and he has authority and responsibility over the liturgy and the pastoral care of the faithful. The permission to celebrate Masses in the ‘extraordinary form’ will be a source of division among priests and faithful, and the impact of such a celebration may well be negative.

c. Among the criteria put forward by the Holy Father in his Motu Proprio, the bishop must examine whether the persons requesting and the priests themselves have a liturgical training and a ‘certain familiarity’ with the ‘extraordinary form’ of the Latin rite, as well as a good knowledge of the Latin language, something which Pope Benedict XVI himself deems necessary for a fruitful celebration in ‘the extraordinary form.’ Now, among the signatories, very few can meet these criteria.”

And the parish priest concluded: “After having consulted with my parish team, I am in complete agreement with the stand taken by Bishop Rivest who has asked me to let you know his decision. Consequently, I do not allow the celebration of the Mass in its ‘extraordinary form’ in the parish of the Sacred Heart” and he added that “persons desiring to attend such a Mass” could go to a church in the city of Québec, 125 miles from Chicoutimi.

In order to discourage any attempt at a recourse with the Ecclesia Dei Commission, as it is foreseen by the Motu Proprio, Msgr. Gaudin answered in advance: “It is not the pope who is the first person responsible for pastoral care and the liturgy in the diocese, but the bishop. And the popes usually respect this responsibility, unless there are some very, very, very serious reasons. The pope will certainly not intervene in this affair and will certainly not oblige our bishop to have a Tridentine Mass in the diocese. He will only ask him for additional information and respect his decision. The bishop will have lost time uselessly.” We got the message! (source: