2013 Press Conference : Talk by Fr Claude Barthe, Pilgrimage Chaplain


Fr. Barthe (left) with Fr. Z and don Almiro de Andrade (PCED) during the Sacra Liturgia meeting. Rome, June 2013.

Fr. Barthe (left) with Fr. Z and don Almiro de Andrade (PCED) during the Sacra Liturgia meeting. Rome, June 2013.

With the second Summorum Pontificum pilgrimage coming up, pilgrims who follow the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite are invited to close this Year of Faith the same way they began it: by making their way to Rome and showing their support for the Mission of the Church and their desire to play a greater part in it. This they can do by means of different ceremonies and acts of devotion, which will come to a close on 26 October with a procession to St. Peter’s for Holy Mass at eleven o’clock in the Basilica.

The pilgrimage will end on 27 October, Feast of Christ the King in the traditional calendar, with Holy Mass said by Bishop Rifan, Apostolic Administrator of the Personal Apostolic Administration of Saint John Mary Vianney at Campos in Brazil and a Bishop from the other side of the world. For all the people of Summorum Pontificum this time will not only be the end of the pilgrimage and the Year of Faith, but rather the start of a new mission for all of us.

The ever-young and ardent liturgy of all time, which is peacefully spreading into almost all the Catholic world, breathes its own spirit into the work of the New Evangelisation. It attracts many of the young people who come to know it thanks to its powerful identity and the way it expresses sacredness, and for these reasons it is one of the main planks in the New Evangelisation.

It is also intrinsically one of the best ways of teaching catechesis about the Real Presence, what it means to be a Priest, and the value of the Eucharistic Sacrifice.

All pilgrimages to St. Peter’s and the tomb of the Apostle are in se pilgrimages we make with the Bishop of Rome, and are a way for us to show our love for the Successor to St. Peter. In this particular case, I think I can say the feeling is mutual: we know that Pope Francis is very interested in everything that renews and rejuvenates the outward face of the Church, and this Pope who came from so far away seems to have understood by intuition what strengths are to be found in older, European Catholicism.

For example, I can think of the recent appointment in Liège, in Belgium, of a Bishop who is very close to the Community of Sant’Egidio in Rome. One may think he is very modern, but as a Priest he has taken full advantage of the publication of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum. Choices such as these show what great freedom of thought Pope Francis is capable of. The important thing is that Apostolates come back to life, without ideological ties. As far as we are concerned, Pope Francis is living out what his predecessor said to the Bishops of France in 2008:“Everyone has a place in the Church.”

Last year, Cardinal Cañizares, in his homily during Mass at St. Peter’s, insisted on the fecundity of the Extraordinary Form in giving rise to priestly and religious vocations.It is clear that Religious Orders, associations, seminaries, schools, and Traditional Scouts all have an important role to play in what we have come to know as the “New Catholicism”. Indeed, it has a very missionary impulse, whether among the communities born just after the Council or the works for young people and large families. Let us not forget that in many countries with very few vocations, more and more seminarians are being called by the Extraordinary Form. In France now, 15% of all new vocations come from the Extraordinary Form, and this gives a clear idea of the effects it has on the clergy.

A lot of old stockades are falling down. With all these diocesan Priests who are discovering the riches and joy of saying Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form, the number of seminarians who are learning to follow it, and the ordinary Catholics who are asking for it in their parishes, something must be done to improve contacts between them all. The Year of Faith also involves the Summorum Pontificum pilgrimage.

All associations and diocesan and Ecclesia Dei communities are welcome, but for the pilgrimage to be for everyone – rather than a parade of associations – it must be for individual people. Catholics from their parishes and dioceses, Priests, religious and seminarians wherever they come from. So that everyone represents Summorum Pontificum and spreads its words.

Everyone. No exceptions.Just as happened last year, we shall meet up in St. Peter’s, and shall be open to those who are close to the Society of St. Pius X.Rome is the ideal place for this sort of unity:the Traditional Latin Mass, freely and openly celebrated (*) will bring about true unity for all Catholics.

Trinità dei Pellegrini Church, Rome, June 26, 2013.

(*) “Use of the 1962 missal is normal,” the Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship said last year.

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