France: French bishops speak about the presidential elections, the Mass in Latin, Islam…

Source: FSSPX News


In his address for the opening of the 44th Plenary Assembly of Bishops in Lourdes, on March 27, Archbishop Jean-Pierre Ricard recalled “some convictions as we are nearing the time for elections”: “A Catholic must strive to be consistent in his political choices and his Christian convictions, in the approval of a program and the vision of man which comes from his faith.” (…) “We say: yes to the family based on marriage between a man and a woman, and open to procreation. Yes to the right a child has to have a father and a mother.” This makes “us say no to same-sex unions and child adoption by such couples.” (…) “Europe cannot close upon itself”: We say yes to “a generous, responsible reception of immigrants which respects human rights. We cannot accept free circulation of money, goods, information, and at the same time shut out immigrants and send them back home.” This is to say also that “there are limits to the reception capacity of immigrants” in France.

And he went on to say that “respect for these demands is not compatible with any political choice: a well-formed Christian conscience does not allow anyone to encourage, through his vote, the application of a political program or of a law in which the fundamental content of faith and morals would be denied.” (…) “The disciples of Christ who mean to be “at the service of all and with no ambition for power, feel perfectly at ease in a democratic and secular society. They make their contribution, without accepting that their faith be relegated to the sphere of private affairs.”

 In an interview published by L’Express of April 4, Archbishop André Vingt-Trois of Paris, made the following declarations:

Are you concerned about the notions of civilizations clash, and of Muslim fanaticism?

 My concern is that it reveals a certain democratic weakness, the incapacity to manage normal relationships with religious groups. For it automatically results in the creation of fanatic underground groups. To deny Muslims all means of expressing their faith, is to encourage underground Islam and to foster fanaticism.

 Isn’t the proliferation of mosques all over the territory a problem?

It is not a problem, it is a fact. Muslims are here. It does not bother me. What does bother me? The fact that in Saudi Arabia Christians cannot celebrate the Eucharist. I do not find it scandalous that Muslims can pray in France. I do find it scandalous that Christians are not allowed to pray in some Islamic countries.

 How are we to interpret the hand extended by the pope to the followers of Archbishop Lefebre and of the Mass in Latin?

In the History of the Church, a pope has never easily resigned himself to the creation of a situation in which some take their distance and separate. For this is no little thing. The pope is trying to build bridges, something which has been done regularly since Paul VI. This is the normal attitude when confronted with a situation of rupture or split.

 How are we to understand the pope’s appeal to celebrate in Latin in his Exhortation?

First, it is a kind of test. We say: if the difficulty is of the liturgical order, here is a solution. If you do not accept it, it is because there is something else. We know very well that the disagreement is about the acceptation of a certain number of texts of the Second Vatican Council, and the pope will absolutely not retract them. As for the Mass in Latin, this is quite another matter. The pope is offering a simple solution to a practical problem: so that we may sing together during international meetings, we must keep a Latin repertoire, and the possibility of celebrating in Latin. We always had Mass in Latin, without fundamentalism.


Answering the questions of the Figaro, on April 5, the Archbishop of Paris added:

The pope has just invited Catholic politicians to a greater consistency between their public responsibilities and their personal faith. What echo can this appeal have in the French presidential campaign?

We find it hard to understand the discrepancy which sometimes appears between the declaration of their principles made by politicians and their concrete votes which go against those principles. On issues concerning the future of human dignity and social cohesion, it is legitimate that electors request some consistency and that they may trust the convictions expressed by those they elected, without running the risk of seeing them change their minds when the time comes for crucial votes.

 François Bayrou, who is openly a Catholic, says he is against the mention of the Christian roots of Europe in a future Constitution…

The concern – which I understand – of desiring to bring about a progress of a secular concept of society must not lead us to deny what was before and which keeps its actuality: the Judeo-Christian patrimony of Europe.

 Is the opening of the beatification process of Jerôme Lejeune your way of reacting to the projects of bioethics or to euthanasia?

No, not at all. It is the answer I am giving to a request which was addressed to me by a group of Christians constituted for the occasion, according to the normal procedure for a canonization! I am doing this just as I did it for Fr. Caffarel, Jean Merlin and others. I do not take the initiative any more than I use a cause of beatification as a means of intervention in social life. If we want to intervene, we do so directly. That is what we did at the beginning of this week with the Chief Rabbi of Paris, David Messas, to promote true and dignified compassion towards persons at the end of their lives.

 The bishops have declared themselves in favor of a generous, responsible, and reasonable approach of the immigration issue. In concrete terms, must children’s enrollment in school protect their illegal alien parents from expulsion?

Personally, I think that we can have different opinions about the manner of dealing with migratory flux. But there comes a point when people have settled with more or less stability and durability in our country. Republican law demands that children living on the French territory must attend school. I cannot see how we could at one and the same time oblige children to attend school, and forbid the parents to live with their children. There is at the very least a problem of consistency between the demands of our law.


La Croix published excerpts from the program Face aux chrétiens of April 5, during which Archbishop Philippe Barbarin, primate of Gaul, answered the questions put to him by Jean-Marie Guénois (La Croix), Jean-François Bodin (RCF), and Pierre Moracchini (Radio Notre-Dame).

What is at stake for Christians in the upcoming elections?

The “right-left” categories are not fitting for a Christian. For the disciple of Christ, it is the love with which Christ loves people and life which must guide their actions. The political divisions are consequently of another nature. In Germany, you have Christian-Democrats, in France you have Democrat-Christians who do not call themselves so. What I wish is that Christians be Christians and that they speak up more, because we have the right to be Christian! It is a social service, and not a claim for a Catholic party or a Christian society. They must speak up, not for our group, but out of goodness for man, because we are sure that these words are good for man.

 Is Benedict XVI going to re-establish Mass in Latin?

It is not at all a question of a return of the Mass in Latin. It is quite a determined option on the part of Benedict XVI. He is attempting a work of pacification, by recalling that the old Mass is not forbidden, just as John Paul II had already done in 1988. But the present pope wants to review the precise question of the authorization of this Mass. As for the real work of unity, it will be done with the teaching of the Council itself as its basis.

The pope’s objective is not to create havoc in our parishes and dioceses – even if that is a real risk, and we went to Rome to explain this. Benedict XVI was very much impressed by what Cardinal Ricard told him. He is taking it into account, but I do not know what the definitive version of the text will be, because we are talking about a text we do not know.

 Does Islam worry you?

It is true that there are many places where Christians are not allowed to pray, reciprocity is not observed, and this is a grave injustice. We have the right to make ourselves heard on this subject, and the Muslims hear us. But I have just lived such an extraordinary experience in Algeria, that my motto is that it is not a question of listening to one another, nor of dialoguing, not even of tolerating one another, but of much more than that: it is a matter of mutual love, and even of mutual admiration! Charles de Foucauld regained his Christian fervor through the admiration he experienced for the Muslims’ fervor.