French Catholics Rally Against Lockdown
French Catholics Rally Against Lockdown
French Catholics are openly defying the latest efforts of atheist president Macron to use coronavirus as an excuse to close down the Mass. Today will see defiance and protests all over the country as clerics and laity alike refuse to accept the monstrous diktat.
The anger is against Macron's decree that no church service may involve more than thirty people. Some bishops have already asked Catholics to disregard this and to return to public Mass for the First Sunday of Advent.
When Macron announced the 30-person rule on Tuesday at 8 p.m., the most benevolent interpretation of his offhand treatment of spiritual needs suggested that he had simply made a mistake, and meant that churches could receive the faithful for public Masses up to 30 percent of their nominal capacity from the first day of the relaxing of confinement measures, this Saturday, onwards.
The bishops had gone out of their way to propose “sanitary protocols” for public worship at several meetings with the government, around the 10th and the 20th of November; many of them distanced themselves from public demonstrations all over France these last two Sundays in the name of “preserving dialogue” with the authorities, and they were confident that their voices had been heard by Macron and the government headed by Jean Castex. They have now found out that the were wrong. The regime has refused to relax its ban.
Some 45 prayerful demonstrations have taken place all over the country, and a number of open-air Masses have been announced, while pro-Catholic commentators were able to express their exasperation at “ridiculous” and “inapplicable” rules on the mainstream media. The head of the Christian Democrat party VIA, Jean-Frédéric Poisson, launched an appeal to “civil disobedience.”
Bernard Antony, president of the Christian rights organisation AGRIF (which together with others had obtained the return of public Masses at the end of the first confinement in May), issued a statement noting that the “humiliation” to which they have been submitted has likely encouraged the French bishops to react much more firmly than they had until now. He wrote:
Whatever the result of the summary proceedings filed in this new case, AGRIF invites all its members and all French Catholics to do everything possible to attend Mass in large numbers, peacefully and in compliance with health safety rules.
They should oppose, if need be, the force of a non-violent but heavy inertia to interventions of police forces illegitimately instrumentalized for the purpose of anti-Catholic measures inspired by the abject liberticide Jacobinism of the totalitarian governmental atheocracy.
The strongest declaration on the part of the bishops came from Bernard Ginoux, bishop of Montauban, who has very consistently defended the rights of the faithful regarding assistance at Mass from the start of this crisis. In a letter to his clergy and faithful, he wrote:
Dear parish priests, dear parishioners,
In the most recent decisions of the government we are obliged to take note of the restrictions concerning public Masses. I deeply regret that the government is refusing to listen to the Catholic Church and other cults and openly ignores what the Eucharist means to us. Limiting, regardless of location, the participation in Mass to 30 faithful is an encroachment on everyone’s freedom.
The Second Vatican Council recalls that “free access to the sacraments derives directly from the right to religious liberty” (Declaration on Religious Liberty No. 13), adding that “the Church should enjoy all the freedom of action she needs to watch over the salvation of men.”
From the Law of Separation of Church and State (1905) it follows that the government is not permitted to intervene in worship or in its modalities, except in matters of public order.
Churches remain open, and the faithful who wish to come to them may do so, without any authority being empowered to establish a ban or to demand that they obtain an authorization to do so.
The presence of the faithful in a church is not in itself a public disorder.
Consequently, I ask that Masses resume in the diocese at the usual Sunday hours, applying the health protocol in force (Diocesan Circular No. 3), which we have always respected. It is the responsibility of the parish priest or his delegate to ensure that the rules established according to the health protocol are respected.
If certain persons (celebrants, liturgical actors, faithful) are fined at the end of the Mass, they should refuse to pay the fine on the spot. I ask that these facts be transmitted to me and I will instruct the lawyer of the diocese to take up these cases.
If some of you wish to say an extra Mass on Saturday evening or Sunday, do so provisionally in agreement with your pastoral teams.I charge you with making this message widely known, as I am doing myself in regard to the media.
I deeply regret that, in a free country, we should have reached this point. A frightening pandemic does not justify a stranglehold on the Mass. I pray for all of you and I entrust myself to your prayers.
At the beginning of this time of Advent I invite you to look at the Virgin Mary, our Mother, the one who gives us the Savior, our Hope.
The auxiliary bishop of Versailles, Bruno Valentin, pointed out that in his diocese, priests would have to celebrate twelve Masses per Sunday to reach the necessary 2,100 Masses for all habitually practicing Catholics to be able to attend. “We want to get out of this journey to Absurdistan,” he insisted.
Bishop Marc Aillet of Bayonne told L’Incorrect that he had been “dumbfounded” by Castex’s announcement, because it “called the president’s word into question.” He slammed the “contempt” shown to “millions of believers who are deprived of the essential freedom of worship, as if worship was of no interest at all to society.” Like many of his brother bishops, he questioned the accusation made by Jean Castex saying that places of worship are well-known to favor contagion.
“No study has clarified this, and it seems obvious that no clusters have been identified in our assemblies, which would be easy since the faithful are regular worshippers in our churches and they all know each other. There has never been an identified cluster, so I would like him to show precise, statistical and scientific proof to be able to put forward such an untruth,” added Aillet.
Bishop Dominique Rey of Fréjus-Toulon also condemned the “contempt” of the State towards Catholics, calling the 30-person limit “insulting.”
“Many Christians have been scandalized by this discriminatory measure, which is both unacceptable and unrealistic, and which forces us to selective sorting of the faithful. The inconsistency and injustice of the latest measures is fracturing society by opposing small traders and large stores, theaters and restaurants, essential and non-essential activities.”
Bishop Rey asked his clergy to celebrate several Masses per day and not to concelebrate; he also stated that the faithful of his diocese can accomplish their Sunday obligation on another day of the week. But he also committed to the fact that “no selection, segregation or limitation of the People of God who present themselves in church” will take place. Bishop Rey gave his “personal guarantee” that people who may find themselves in difficulties because of the rules will be under his “protection.”
Echoes to these firm statements came from unexpected quarters. Bishop Delmas of Angers invited his priests to celebrate multiple Masses so as to ensure no more than 30 people took part, but added: “Where that is not possible, priests are not there to count the faithful.”
In Rouen, Bishop Dominique Lebrun said he found the rule “unbelievable.”