Swiss Nuns Left Without Mass and in Search of Alternatives

Source: FSSPX News

Ursulines in the Canton of Valais

The lack of priests in Switzerland, as elsewhere in Europe, does not fail to make its deadly consequences felt: after the parishes, it is now the religious communities that are increasingly deprived of the Mass.

“In a foreseeable future, we will no longer have daily Mass,” laments an Ursuline sister from Brigue, in the Valais region, to the press agency

Unfortunately, they still do not seem ready to question the liturgical wanderings of the past fifty years: since 2014, several communities of sisters have preferred to call on the services of “liturgical specialists” who provide classes to make up for the daily Masses they do not have.

These anything but liturgical solutions consist in “experiencing other forms of the cult, such as the celebration of the Word, for which a priest is not necessary,” explains the expert Gunda Brüske.

A not very convincing experiment admits Sister Ursula Maria Niedermann, member of the provincial direction of the Sisters of Menzingen – don’t worry, not the Oblates of the General House but the Sisters of the Holy Cross in Menzingen, a congregation founded in the 19th century. She says these celebrations without communion are “a source of great tension among the sisters,” especially the more elderly. 

Gunda Brüske, however, is adamant: “Encountering Christ is also possible through Scripture,” she explains. And after all, she adds, frequent communion only dates back to 1905 and a decree from St. Pius X; it is a recent practice and anything but indispensable. The swansong is not over in the Alps…

Experience or Blindness?

For Sister Mattia Fähndrich, it is all a matter of attitude. This theologian in charge of forming Benedictine sisters learnedly explains that “the fact that for centuries the Catholic Church tended to place the Word of God in second place led to a certain impoverishment” – its so-called revaluation by Vatican Council II has still not been fully recognized, and the sisters are still too dependent on Mass and the presence of a priest!

Behind this slow agony there is a tragic blindness. A determination to ignore the reality of a Protestantized rite that has become terribly wordy and been emptied of the essence of the Mass and the liturgical action: the redeeming sacrifice of Christ. Nothing can replace the priest. It is by the restoration of the Catholic priesthood and of the Holy Mass that the Church will be renewed.

The holy Curé d’Ars truly understood this: “It is the priest who continues the work of the Redemption on earth.”