The Catholic bishops of France, home of Marcel Lefebvre and a country with a strong traditionalist presence, released a statement yesterday in response to the motu proprio of Pope Francis which abrogated Summorum Pontificum. In Traditionis Custodes, Francis clarified that the Vatican II liturgy is the “unique” or “only” expression of the lex orandi of the Roman rite, and that all the faithful are eventually to return to it. The statement of the French bishops is noteworthy both for the sensitive care it shows for liturgical traditionalists and for the gentle but firm commitment it gives to embark on the path laid out by Pope Francis.
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A demanding call for the whole Church to an authentic Eucharistic renewal
The bishops of France, with all the faithful of their dioceses, have received Pope Francis’s motu proprio “Traditionis Custodes” released yesterday.
The bishops wish to convey to the faithful who celebrate regularly according to the missal of Saint John XXIII, and to their pastors, their attentiveness, the esteem they have for the spiritual zeal of these faithful, and their determination to pursue the mission together, in the communion of the Church and according to the norms in force.
Each bishop will strive to be up to the challenges described by the Holy Father in order to exercise the responsibility, which he is reminded of, in justice, charity, care for one and all, service to the liturgy, and the unity of the Church. This will be done through dialogue and will require time.
The motu proprio “Traditionis Custodes ” and the letter of the Holy Father to the bishops which introduces it are a demanding call for the whole Church to an authentic eucharistic renewal. None can dispense with it.
The bishops invoke the Holy Spirit so that the Eucharist, the “source and summit of the Christian life,” the sacrifice of the Lord and the memorial of his Passion and Resurrection, may be the place each day where the Church draws her strength to become what she is: “in Christ like a sacrament or as a sign and instrument both of a very closely knit union with God and of the unity of the whole human race, “( Lumen Gentium 1).