Report of the ad limina visit of the bishops of the western region of France

Source: FSSPX News


"I was pleasantly surprised by the reception in the Congregations and the Councils [of the Roman Curia]" Msgr. François Saint-Macary, archbishop of Rennes, asserted to the APIC news agency on December 6th. "Our questions are better listened-to than ten years ago, and our reports are truly read and studied, which seems new to me", he added. "That’s perhaps due as well to the fact that France is well in tune with the universal Church".

The French bishops spent a week meeting with the main dicasteries of the Holy See. In the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger answered the problem of remarried divorcees. He invited the bishops to begin the process of annulment when the conditions of nullity are evident. "It is better to look at it from the perspective of annulment rather than in the softening of the rule of the indissolubility of marriage", reported Msgr. Saint-Macary.

For the bishop of Bayeux, Msgr. Pican, the meeting with the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith brought to light the reasons for the publication of a text such as Dominus Jesus in September, 2001: "he took a position on the texts produced by explaining their context, which we could not figure out". Thus Msgr. Pican learned that the publication of this document was in continuity with the ecclesiological doctrine of Vatican Council II. This led him to conclude: "if they presented us documents with a note explaining the context, it would be easier. Cardinal Ratzinger introduced us to the way a text is written, which is important for us". – What a confession! Our pastors apparently do not know how to recognize if a text is "in continuity with Vatican II", and furthermore they need an explanatory text to help them understand Catholic doctrine. They were judges of the faith in the Council … It is they who produced it.

In the Congregation for Catholic Education, it was the problem of the internship of seminarians that was discussed, the Vatican preferring to avoid any internship in the world, because it risks distancing the candidate for the priesthood from his vocation. To which the French bishops answered that in France it is not possible to ordain 25-year-olds to the priesthood, as can be done in the other countries. "It is a universal ideal which cannot be applied to the situation in France", explained the bishop of Sées, Msgr. Jean-Claude Boulanger. Yet another confession which curiously contradicts the above-mentioned "in-tune-ness" and which clearly demonstrates the ideology which guides the French episcopate.

The question of Islam was discussed up with the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, where Mgr. Felix Machado answered three main questions of the French bishops, that is, mixed marriages, the request for common prayer by the civil authorities (on the occasion of disasters for example), and the pursuit of dialogue with the more moderate factions of Islam.

With Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, at the Congregation for Bishops, besides the long wait for the nomination of bishops, the question of the retirement of 75-year-old bishops was abundantly discussed. While the French bishops would like to be released from their office, the Vatican would like them to continue to exercise their duties, evoking two reasons: longevity and the lack of bishops, the fact that certain priests in France refuse the episcopal office, being not rare.

For its part, the Pontifical Council for the Family was surprised by the very pastoral questions of the French bishops on the theme of the family. They did not bring up any of these difficult questions of bio-ethics that other bishops ask on their ad limina visits.