France: Traditional Mass in the Street in Amiens

Source: FSSPX News


The chapel of the Good Shepherd, on the Daire Street in Amiens, was the property of the Regional Council which decided to change its affectation to open a child day-care center. The traditional Catholic Community which had been attending Mass there for the past 23 years was obliged to move out. After one year spent, in vain, approaching the local authorities (Municipality of Amiens, Regional and General Council), after an aborted attempt to buy a private chapel, the faithful turned to Bishop Jean-Luc Bouilleret of Amiens to solicit that in his kindness he place a building at their disposal either in Amiens or in the near suburbs.

But, on September 16, a letter from the bishop’s office gave a flat refusal: “I am sorry to inform you that we cannot place at your disposal any church under my responsibility even temporarily.” And in spite of all the contacts, of all the supplications, even without granting to the community the favor of a personal meeting, Bishop Bouilleret has to date, maintained his decision. There is no welcome, no opening, nothing to be placed at their disposal. The faithful in Amiens must attend the traditional Mass out in the street.

On November 14, a press release from Bishop Bouilleret justified his refusal: “The Motu Proprium Summorum is destined to Catholic faithful in communion with the Holy See. (…) I wish to make a distinction between traditionalists and integrists. (…) By following Archbishop Lefebvre, the members of the Society of Saint Pius X have separated from the Church in 1988, after an act of disobedience to this prelate. They thus became integrists.” -- The word which remains unsaid is “schismatic”, because as a matter of fact, the bishop of Amiens authorized an Orthodox Mass to take place in the sanctuary of his cathedral on June 25, 2006, and he likewise received Muslims on the square in front the cathedral on various occasions.

On November 25, he issued a new communiqué: “To answer Pope Benedict XVI’s request in the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum (art. 5, § 1) a Sunday Mass in Latin according to the Ordo Missæ of 1962 (missal of John XXIII) will be celebrated by a priest of the diocese of Amiens. For the year 2007, it will take place on the 1st and 3rd Sunday of Advent (December 2, and 16), in the church of St. Roch in Amiens at 9:00 am.” -- In other words: Tradition in dotted line, every other week, on odd Sundays.

 Bishop Bouilleret seems to ignore the spirit of the Motu Proprio such as the pope took pains to explain to the bishops in his accompanying Letter: “(…)the positive reason which motivated my decision to issue this Motu Proprio updating that of 1988. It is a matter of coming to an interior reconciliation in the heart of the Church. Looking back over the past, to the divisions which in the course of the centuries have rent the Body of Christ, one continually has the impression that, at critical moments when divisions were coming about, not enough was done by the Church’s leaders to maintain or regain reconciliation and unity. One has the impression that omissions on the part of the Church have had their share of blame for the fact that these divisions were able to harden.” And Benedict XVI quoted St. Paul: “‘Our mouth is open to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide.  You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections. In return … widen your hearts also!’ (2 Cor 6:11-13).  Paul was certainly speaking in another context, but his exhortation can and must touch us too, precisely on this subject.Let us generously open our hearts and make room for everything that the faith itself allows.” The Sovereign Pontiff invited the bishops to open their hearts, and traditionalists see all the doors of the churches in Amiens closed against them. They can even less understand why, since 350 churches are not used on a regular basis in the diocese.


Excerpts from the local press

 Le Courrier picard, November 12

 The story of St. Martin’s cloak, or how to offer a Church

 Fr. Jean-Luc Radier, the number three in the district of the Society of Pius X, who was officiating this Sunday, spoke to 700 faithful to remind them of the facts: “ (…) Today, let us not forget that on this Sunday, November 11, we celebrate the feast of St. Martin: the soldier who gave half of his cloak to a beggar. We are this beggar, and we address ourselves to the diocese of Amiens, where there are many churches which are closed through lack of priests.

We must know how to share, we must also know how to give, especially when we belong to the same family and share the same values, those of the Roman Catholic faith.

I must confess I find it difficult to understand that some dioceses lend or give their churches to other Christian religions, such as the Copts, the Orthodox and the Protestants, and yet we Traditionalists are excluded from this sharing…

This proves that in spite of the directives from Rome, from the Pope, there still exist in the Church in France, forces opposed to Catholic Tradition. This really takes the biscuit!”

(Jacques Goffinon)

 L’ Union – l’Ardennais, November 19 2007

 After the rain, the cold. The climate of Amiens is not the most clement with regard to Traditional Catholics who are still looking for a chapel to welcome them, after being forced to leave their place of worship at Bon Pasteur in rue Daire. After having celebrated their Mass last Sunday in front of the Saint Germain church, this time it was outside the Cathedral at 10:00 am yesterday, that around 500 faithful found themselves in the bitter cold, with the temperature well below freezing, for the Mass celebrated by Fr. Régis de Cacqueray, Superior of the district of France of the Society of St. Pius X.

 Falling back into  the Church of St. Remi ?

 “It is a situation which we were not expecting,” lamented Fr. Regis de Cacqueray. “When we found out that the General Council was asking us to leave the chapel we had been in for 23 years, I contacted the diocese in order to seek a solution. When we learned in October that nothing had been provided, we found ourselves driven out onto the streets to celebrate Mass.”

 If the district Superior is making the best of a bad job, like all of his faithful, he hopes that the situation will not continue. “We have approached the political authorities, but it is the diocese which owns the Churches. We are normal people, not hotheads, and there are many people who cannot understand the bishop’s attitude. But I know that the authorities of the Church are going to approach him in order to find a solution.” In fact, incomprehension abounds in the city, where the Catholics, fewer within the cathedral than the Traditionalists outside, have made known their discontent, indeed their indignation.

Therefore, a solution must be found, and the church of Saint Rémi in the rue Cordeliers, could be considered.

Otherwise, there will be another outdoor Mass on Sunday November 25 at 10:00 am, once again outside the church of Saint Germain.

(Jean-Marc Cavé)


The Picard Courrier, November 19 2007

 Uproar in the Cathedral

 While 500 traditionalist Catholics were assisting at their Latin Mass outside the cathedral, more than 120 faithful of the parish in Amiens city center were present at the 10:00 am mass inside the cathedral, or to be more precise, in the well-heated winter chapel.

During his sermon, the priest, who had explained what was happening outside, approached the theme of ecumenism and tolerance towards other religions. It was at this moment, that several of the faithful started to heckle the priest in order to ask him why he spoke of other religions, while the diocese did nothing for “their brothers who shared the same Catholic faith.”

The debate continued outside the cathedral, and several people assisted at the Tridentine mass.

Two of the priests of the Amiens diocese told us that they did not share the opinion of their bishop, and that they hoped “that a church would be made available to the Catholics faithful to Tradition as soon as possible”.

(Jacques Goffinon)