March to Be Held Between Paris and Rome to Beg Pope Francis: Save the Traditional Latin Mass
The Catholic association La Voie Romaine is collecting letters from around the world that will be brought to the Vatican, at the conclusion of a spring march connecting the two European capitals.
PARIS — Some faithful devoted to the Traditional Latin Mass are mobilizing to convince the Pope to temper his restrictions arising from the recent motu proprio Traditionis Custodes on the use of pre-Vatican II Roman liturgy.
Considering the papal document as being the result of a misleading perception of traditional communities within the Church hierarchy, some French faithful have organized to launch the association La Voie Romaine, with the aim of collecting letters in which faithful from across the country and beyond would express their concern and testify to the reasons for their liturgical attachment to traditional rites.
The petitions will then be placed in a chest that will be routed to the Holy See via a march that will start on March 6 in Paris. It is scheduled to conclude in Rome on May 1, for the opening of the Marian month.
The procession will be led by a group of mothers of priests, concerned for the future of their sons who were called to celebrate Mass according to the older rite.
“These mothers were willing to take action and go to Rome, so, we proposed that they bring the letters to the Vatican,” Benoît Sévillia, founder of La Voie Romaine, told the Register. “They will bring our testimonies with the very direct sensitivity that a mother’s heart can have,” he added.
Helping Rome Understand
The association’s determination to make its voice heard was strengthened by the recent publication of a document by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, which further restricts the Traditional Latin Mass, making it an exception in the life of the Church.
In a Dec. 19 communique, the Catholic association’s members claimed that the “very strict terms of application” taken by the congregation regarding Traditionis Custodes left them “speechless.” “The many letters we are already receiving from Catholics who feel hurt by Pope Francis’ decision to drastically restrict the celebration of the Mass and, from now on, to prohibit the celebration of the sacraments according to the Tridentine rite, must be multiplying,” the communique stated.
The organizers told the Register that the deadline for sending letters, originally set for Dec. 31, will be extended to the day before the march starts to allow the current momentum to build. They also stressed that anyone wishing to defend the Tridentine Mass (including those who don’t attend it) can send a letter to the Pope through La Voie Romaine’s website — which will be available in English and Italian shortly — by mail or through local parish priests, and that the march is open to all. To date, letters and registrations to the upcoming march have already arrived from several countries, including the U.S., Portugal and Mexico.
“The purpose is for the Pope to realize that the heart of the Church also beats through these Christians, especially in countries like France,” Sévillia said, adding that if the Holy Father were to go through with his restrictions on traditional rites, “he would risk plunging thousands of Christians into great despair and disarray, because a certain number of them would be refused access to the Church from one day to the next.”
“We hope that Rome will become aware of this, as perhaps they do not measure the magnitude of the earthquake that this generates, especially among young people, who are very attached to this whole traditional world,” he said
In his view, the current impasse is also due to a lack of knowledge of traditional communities within the Curia, fostered in part by the negative feedback given by some bishops in the 2020 survey on the application of Pope Benedict XVI’s apostolic letter Summorum Pontificum. Thus, he said, the initiative represents an occasion to make sure that the faithful can report on their personal experience directly.
Questioned about possible public support from Catholic leaders, Sévillia said that while no bishop has yet expressed official support for the association, he has received many private expressions of sympathy from clergy. He added that a documentary film is being produced that includes testimonies from traditionalist priests, but also unexpected support from bishops, priests and leaders of Catholic associations.
“Surprisingly, the majority of the letters we’re receiving for our march are not from traditional Christians, but from other Christians who want to testify of their attachment to this rite,” he continued.
“We are reproached for being militant or for being a parallel Church, but from the letters we receive, it is very clear that it is the faith that animates all these people. They say ‘We owe everything to this Mass,’ ‘I reconnected with the Lord,’ ‘I cried when I rediscovered my faith at 45 years old during a Tridentine Mass,’ and so on.”
“All these Christians are completely committed to their mission,” he concluded. “They are not at all in their corner, they are the veins of the Church, they contribute to make the Church live, and it is this reality that we want to bring to Rome.”