Thursday, January 07, 2010

The Shame of Evreux


This video has been appearing in various places on the blogosphere. When I first saw it, I thought better to ignore than publicise it, I find it truly shocking on so many levels. There is contempt for the bishop, the High Priest, the Successor of the Apostles and a contempt for the Mass, the Sacrifice of Christ.
What I find so appalling is the complete absence of a sense of the "Sacred". This a holy rite, reduced to a political demonstration.
What priest, what bishop would allow this to happen in a Church?
What bishop would think it appropriate to celebrate Mass in such a situation, to bring the Mass into such contempt?
God save and have mercy on the Church in France. I fear for the eldest daughter of the Church's virtue.

27 comments:

Laurence England said...

Agreed, Father. There is a time and place to make such protests - the beginning of Mass in a Church is not the time and not the place! Still, maybe its the old VII 'empowerment of the laity' biting those who introduced it on the bum. Disgusting vestments, but equally disgusting behaviour.

Victor S E Moubarak said...

C'est un grand faux pas by the bishop. If he had something to say he should have called a public meeting rather than do it during Mass.

Eh bien ... c'est la vie moderne !!!

epsilon said...

No, Father, it turns out things don't always seem what they look like - it's more a case of another bishop who is being disobedient to the Bishop of Rome and the people aren't taking it - they want proper honour to the Mass and appreciated everything their ousted parish priest stood for. Good for the French!

Mark M said...

Father, I don't know what the Bishop is saying - is his message political? - but I'm even scandalised by the booing!

Chris said...

For those of us who don't understand French, what's going on?

Dave from Leicestershire said...

I'm with Epsilon. For too long,we have had to put up with liturgical abuses freely introduced into the Ordinary Form of Mass. It's even worse in Spain, from what I've experienced.
Mass at my local Catholic Church service is barely recognisable as a Roman Rite, it's more like a talent contest and lacks any degree of reverence whatsoever.
Thankfully, I can go 35 miles up the road to the Birmingham Oratory where the liturgy in both forms are celebrated reverendly and properly.
Of course, it's distressing to watch the kinds of scenes in the video but it's the congregation's deep love for Christ that has caused them to say 'enough' and provoked them into standing up against this Bishop who has acted in such a cavalier way against their parish priest.

St Malachy said...

This truly is a scandal. All those involved need our prayers.

Pastor in Valle said...

You can read about it here:
http://www.theanglocatholic.com/2010/01/news-from-thiberville/
The scene was regrettable, certainly, but there was a genuine grievance.

Pastor in Valle said...

And here
http://fratres.wordpress.com/2010/01/04/arm-and-arm-in-france-townsfolk-deny-enraged-bishop-of-evreux-access-to-church-sanctuary/

Sirian said...

This bishop removed a perfectly orthodox priest because he celebrated the traditional mass and the modern rite, ad orientem. I cannot help but think some bishops in France truly desire the destruction of the church.

There is only so much the laity will put up with. False obedience can never be a virtue. The bishop in the video shows his true colours (literally) and thus we can judge how good he is as "the High Priest, the Successor of the Apostles".

There is a reason why the SSPX is so strong in France

pelerin said...

There has been much comment on the rainbow vestments of the Bishop of Evreux and having noticed similar vestments in different parts of France I wondered at their origin.

I have now found out where they have originated from and why they are so prolific. They were designed by a Paris couturier for Bishops and Priests to wear on World Youth Day in Paris 1997 and it is obvious there are still a lot of them about.

In November there was a similar demonstration by parishioners in Corsica who objected to the removal of their Priest. This too made headlines and television coverage in France at the time although I have been unable to find out what the outcome was.

I am afraid the French saying 'Jamais deux sans trois' comes to mind and I do wonder whether more scenes like this will happen as the 'empowered' laity find their voice and are not afraid to protest. But I agree with Pastor in Valle that they do seem to have a genuine grievance.

Incidentally according to reports the Priest celebrated the EF every Sunday as well as the OF ad orientem. He was bi-ritual so his parishioners were able to attend whichever they wished. The Bishop has said that he will send another Priest to say the EF in addition to the replacement Priest. In my opinion this will divide the parish whereas before their one Priest celebrated both rites. A strange decision particularly as the country is so short of Priests.

Laurence I know you are shocked at this protest - to us English it does seem over the top and irreverent which it is - but the French have always been very vociferous and I have often been asked how we take so much without protesting here! If something similar happened here would you not join in to support your Priest. I know I would!

Fr Ray Blake said...

When we lose sight of the purpose of Mass we end up in a mess.

Part of the background seems to the bishop removing the PP. It would seem the Bishop, contrary to law, thinks he has right to do this, at will, it is a misconception. I am surprised the PP, allowed to happen but some parts of the Church are a lawless zone!

Another bit of the mess we get when we forget the purpose of the Church's Law.

epsilon said...

Of course it's very disturbing to see such carry on in a church!

However, if people who knew what was going on in Ireland over the last few decades had the boldness to do something similar, a large number of children and young adults would have been spared unbearable insults mentally, physically and emotionally, carried out by priests who were at the same time in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament saying Mass, hearing confessions, baptising, marrying, burying other parishoners who trusted the Church...

On the side of the angels said...

It wasn't an appropriate time or place ; and the Blessed Sacrament was violated ; but like an episode of deja vu [rainbow symbolism included] ; we've been shown that a bishop can do as he pleases and leave parishioners bereft with no voice and no opportunity to defend that which is disenfranchising and destroying their very community - the bishop has ensured they have no option rather than to 'know their place and shut up' ; well they didn't shut up ; they seized an opportunity - the only one available ; and I'm certain mostof them would never have dreamed of turning a mass into a repeat of the citizens assembly 1791 were they not so incandescent with rage and so unbelievably hurt at the whole affair - it's inexcusable ; but understandable and forgivable; and the Bishop should have stopped proceedings while this continued.
The Bishop is wilfully to blame for this ; but is due the dignity and respect of his office as apostle ; but I wonder if this is merely an exigent of His Lordship's entire tenure ; and speculating how much his regime is similar to another apostle not so many miles from here...where legality is the last consideration and obedience to canon law merely swept aside.

I sincerely hope the priest reprimanded his ex-flock for their misplaced fervour and inadvertent scandal. It was disgusting behaviour - but Lord how long ?

Laurence England said...

Pelerin, I would like to think we wouldn't turn the Mass into a circus, even if our Priest were removed. We would probably hire a coach and camp outside Bishops House but that is an entirely different matter.

Roberto said...

This bishop is protestant in his dealing with his parishioner.
If the people wants the old mass its their right to have it. Instead making mockery of the mass into a confrontation. What a carry on.
The best for this bishop is to be sack by Rome. After all Benedict VI instructed that the old mass to be norm of most church in the west.

Victor S E Moubarak said...

I've read the two links posted by Pastor in Valle and I'm confused.

As I understand it, the local priest (Fr Michel) is loyal to the Pope, whilst the bishop is not (?) and has removed Fr Michel.

Simplistic view maybe ... but humour me a little.

If this is the case; then where is the authority of the Vatican? Why don't they step in and sort things out? Is the Pope still the Head of the Catholic Church who should be obeyed ... or not?

Perhaps Fr Ray Blake could explain matters to this confused layman.

pelerin said...

OK Laurence - you have written well on this on your blog. I admit to getting worked up about this having read quite a bit today on French blogs and newspaper websites about both the Bishop and the Priest.

I shall refrain from commenting about the Evreux Diocesan website on the affair on the 3rd Jan. It made me angry. I had to smile when I learnt that Evreux had 40 cm of snow last night, and a temperature of -14. The Bishop's New year message was all about global warming!! According to one resident of his diocese his homilies are not about saving souls but the hole in the ozone layer. He has taken part in the inauguration of a local Mosque and is all for 'dialogue' as long as it is not with the 'traddis.' He celebrated one Mass in a venue with large adverts placed above
the altar. You can see why the parishioners of this particular parish had difficulty in respecting their Bishop. Yes they should have had a silent protest but I don't think this would have got the world attention it has received.

Fr Ray mentions the complete absence of the sense of the Sacred when the congregation walked out. Perhaps many of them had already experienced the lack of the sacred at other parishes and having at last found a parish where the Sacred still existed wanted to preserve it by informing the Bishop in the only way they thought he would understand.

One blog mentioned Bishop Cauchon who burned St Joan of Arc (makes a change from reading that it was les Anglais who did that!)
suggesting that he was an example
of a Bishop who should not have been followed. I would not go as far as the writer and liken the two Bishops but it does show
that perhaps a Bishop can be wrong.

Epsilon points out that this Bishop is being 'disobedient to the Bishop of Rome' in his views on the SP. The bishop has
argued that he has made provision for the EF in Evreux - one Mass a month. This one and the weekly Masses by the Priest in Thiberville are the only ones in the diocese so you can see why the people do not want to lose their priest.

The Raven said...

I find this very difficult: to barrack a successor to the apostles, during Mass, in the presence of our Lord is, well, words fail me; but, on the other hand, the text of the Bishop's sermon (which is available on the diocesan website) seems a calculated insult to both the parishoners and the Abbé.

It seems to me that the people were wholly wrong to behave as they did, but the Bishop was clearly guilty of attempting to use the Holy Mass as cover for some low and despicable politicking.

I also note that the Bishop's "concession", to get a third priest in to say Mass in the EF, was very much a bolt-on, it seems clear that he wanted someone to suitably "modernise" the parish (this much is clear from Abbé Vivien's attitude in the news clip).

The Cellarer said...

Very ugly.

Whatever the background, in my mind the Bishop by wearing those vestments was sticking a single finger up at the congregation. The reaction was totally unacceptable.

Two thoughts came to mind with the video

1 - “But when Cephas came to Antioch I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned” (Gal 2:11).

2- A priest up here a few years ago gave a New Testament to present day talk in just over an hour. When it came to Vatican II he outlined the positive fruits of VII (some of which were a big part of my conversion) but lamented the numerous post VII (in a raised voice) USELESS BISHOPS. He noted that they and their ilk are on their way out...

Peter said...

I think that readers of this blog (me included) are likely to think that the bishop was in the wrong at least in part. That is a matter of judgement.
Now what if a bishop and priest really do not see eye to eye? (The boot could be on the other foot remember with a traditionally minded bishop and a trendy priest as happened in Australia.) How far can the priest resist the preferences of the bishop? What possibilities are open to the bishop that show love both for the priest and for the people being, in the opinion of the bishop, badly served?
It must be awful for a diocesan priest who gets on very badly with the bishop.
Let us hope and pray that the situation in Evreux can be resolved peacefully and with the priest fully in service of the people under a bishop glad to have him.

Having looked at the internet I think that the two formal issues were that the bishop wishes to rotate clergy around the diocese and to have them work in teams. The priest wished to stay in place. He seems to have had large and loyal congregations unlike the rest of the diocese.
My questions are about how much might he resist the will of the bishop and how should irreconcilable differences be handled. I cannot think of good answers.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Peter, Victor,

The Church has laws "it is a just society", it is not a robber barony.
Popes may not depose bishops, nor bishops depose parish priests without, provable, good cause and then only after a proper process of Law.

What I find so distressing about the video is the resort to the mob, not the Law Courts of the Church.

Victor S E Moubarak said...

Thank you for your response Father.

God bless you.

Peter said...

Thank you Father
My suspicion is that by the time it gets to litigation under Canon law the relationship between priest and bishop will have irretreivably broken down.
If the priest loses the bishop can hardly put him in a new position with confidence. If the bishop loses his authority is undermined.
Then there is the civil law of employment that comes into play: the priest will need an income and accomodation so the bishop has a responsibility there.
I quite agree that the fracas at Mass was regrettable or worse.

pelerin said...

Update on Thiberville - The Bishop has given permission for Fr Michel to celebrate Mass in the church on Sunday.

Lee Gilbert said...

For what it is worth, anyone in the Church-including you- has standing to write Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, Prefect Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments,Palazzo delle Congregazioni, Piazza Pio XII, 10, 00193 Roma, Italy regarding this or similar matters.

You do not have to be a member of the parish or the diocese.

In this case, the basis of your complaint could be that the bishop is causing world wide scandal by overriding the rights of his subjects to the extra-ordinary form and is in effect challenging the policy of Pope Benedict XVI laid out in "Summorum Pontificum" given on Saturday 7 July 2007. Here is a link to that motu proprio:
http://www.ewtn.com/library/papaldoc/b16SummorumPontificum.htm

The internet changes everything.

I am not going to write such a letter since I have final exams and a paper to write,though I have done siuch things in the past-to effect. However, what is stopping you?

pelerin said...

This is not going to go away I fear and one does wonder what will be the outcome.

I see that a comment on a French blog mentions the fact that the chaplain to the Bishop of Evreux subscribes to the magazine 'Golias.' Having no idea what this was I found its website - and wish I hadn't! It is incredible that the magazine calls itself Catholic.

They have issued a list of the 'Top Ten Lead Mitres of 2009' together with the 'Top Ten Gold Mitres of the year.'

Among the Gold mitres 'awarded' is Hans Kung and top of the Lead Mitres (or as stated in his case Lead Tiara) is Pope Benedict himself. I refused to read more ... Why these people don't just leave the Church and call themselves Protestant beats me.