Tensions rise in France over Tridentine Rite

Tridentine Rite tensions

The Archbishop of Dijon has expelled a clerical religious congregation that celebrates exclusively in the pre-Vatican II or Tridentine Rite, causing tensions to rise in the community.

Archbishop Roland Minnerath announced in May that he would no longer allow two Priestly Fraternity of St Peter (FSSP) priests to continue to reside and offer Mass in the Old Rite.

Minnerath told the FSSP members that they will have to leave the premises of the Basilica of Saint-Bernard de Fontaine-lès-Dijon in September.

Traditionalist Catholics in eastern France are protesting against the archbishop’s decision.

Supporters of the FSSP gathered in front of the Minnerath’s office with signs calling for “dialogue” and “respect for ritual diversity”.

The traditionalist priestly fraternity has been in Dijon for 23 years, five years before Minnerath became archbishop in 2004.

A press release on the FSSP website complained about the lack of “prior consultation”. There was also a criticsm about how vague the “reason given” for the fraternity expulsion.

The archbishop’s office has produced a list of grievances against the fraternity.

Most notable is the refusal of FSSP priests to celebrate the post-Vatican II Mass even “from time to time”. It said this was contrary to what had been “agreed upon” when the FSSP arrived in Dijon in 1998.

“Such an attitude is indicative of a conception of their ministry that we do not share,” said the archdiocese.

“The Old Rite should not create a parallel community,” it said.

This aligns with the sense of communion that Pope Benedict XVI made clear in his letter accompanying the “motu proprio” Summorum Pontificum in 2007.

“Needless to say, to experience full communion, the priests of the communities adhering to the former usage cannot, as a matter of principle, exclude celebrating according to the new books,” he wrote.

“The total exclusion of the new rite would not, in fact, be consistent with the recognition of its value and holiness,” Benedict pointed out.

Archbishop Minnerath went last Saturday to talk with the protesters.

“I have made a final proposal to the FSSP, but I don’t yet know their answer. Either they agree to concelebrate from time to time and stay, them or other priests, or they leave,” he said.

But the local FSSP superior, Rev Roch Perrel, said it was impossible for him to concelebrate in the new rite.

“I have chosen a traditional rite; I intend to be faithful to it. It is a choice of life,” he said.

“One out of every two priests in the Fraternity of St. Peter is on the same line in France,” said a person familiar with the matter.

A meeting is scheduled for the end of this week between Minnerath and the FSSP priests. The archbishop is hoping to reduce the tensions that have arisen over the Tridentine Rite and reach a compromise.


La Croix International


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