A French archbishop who plans to expel a traditional priestly fraternity from his diocese because they won’t concelebrate Masses has said he took the decision in anticipation of a new decree, or motu proprio, that Pope Francis is reported to be preparing to publish.
“You will have a new motu proprio in the coming days or weeks,” Archbishop Roland Minnerath of Dijon was filmed telling a group of faithful who were protesting against the archbishop’s decision outside the city’s archdiocesan offices on June 26.
On June 16, Catholic News Agency reported that Archbishop Minnerath would be expelling the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) from the Basilica of Fontaine-lès-Dijon, St. Bernard of Clairvaux’s birthplace, at the end of the summer.
Priests of the FSSP, founded as a society of apostolic life in 1988, celebrate Mass in the Extraordinary Form, also called the Traditional Latin Mass, the Mass celebrated in the Latin rite until the 1970 liturgical reforms of Pope Paul VI.
Father Roch Perrel, the FSSP’s superior in Dijon, told CNA that the archbishop had made the decision because the FSSP’s priests fail to follow a practice promoted at the Second Vatican Council of two or more priests concelebrating at the altar.
“[Archbishop Minnerath] wanted to concelebrate the Chrism Mass during Holy Week, but we haven’t done it for years, as we have reservations about the new [Paul VI] Mass and we don’t celebrate at the same pace,” said Father Perrel, who went on to emphasize that, according to Canon 902 of the Code of Canon Law, no one can be forced to concelebrate.
“The archbishop had first accepted [their refusal], although he didn’t like it, but now he is kicking us out for this motive, and in this sense, he is abusing his authority,” Father Perrel said, adding that the archbishop had been wanting to transfer the community a year ago.
CNA reported last week that, according to the archdiocesan media office, in the place of the FSSP diocesan priests would be asked to celebrate both the ordinary and extraordinary forms of the Mass to allow “a permanent exchange between people of both rites.”
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