Church cat thinks she can play games with the traditional mouse. Time for this to stop once and for all.

Is the Diocese of Versailles trying to deceive the Tridentine faithful of Saint-Germain-en-Laye?

A new initiative by the Diocese of Versailles is casting doubt on its intentions towards the faithful of the Tridentine Mass in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, which was introduced by the diocese on 19 March - and which is very well attended - and is causing concern, especially as two Tridentine Masses are still held in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, the Franciscan Mass and the Mass "outside the walls" in front of the hospital chapel. The latter should continue until at least mid-September, say the organisers in Paix Liturgique.

The authorities won't let traditionalists into the hospital chapel

In addition, the diocese of Versailles has a long-standing relationship with the faithful who attend Tridentine Masses, and with those who have requested them in various parts of the diocese. The diocese - some of whose leading figures are wondering how to restore trust, and are not hesitating to consult widely - will undoubtedly have a great deal of work to do if it is to succeed in re-establishing the conditions for trust and dialogue.

For several weeks now, calm seems to have reigned in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, where everything seems to be returning to normal. However, the reality is very different and reveals that manipulation and disloyalty are still at work. So once again we're calling on our friend Germain to reveal what's behind the cards...

Paix Liturgique: Dear Germain, is the situation evolving at Saint-Germain-en-Laye?

Germain de Paris: Absolutely, in a hushed silence, the situation is evolving considerably more than the faithful believe, with both good news and bad news.

Paix Liturgique: Please start by telling us the good news...

Germain de Paris: You know that in desperation, and above all because they didn't understand our request, some of our pastors had introduced, at great expense, a "Gregorian Mass" on certain Sundays in the Franciscan Chapel since February 2022.

Paix Liturgique: So what?

St. Germain de Paris: Well, the good news is that all the parties concerned have, as the saying goes, "thrown in the towel" and this initiative, which did not correspond to any demand, has been brought to an end with the utmost discretion before Easter 2023.

Paix Liturgique: And why?

Germain de Paris: I'll say it again: this liturgical proposal, which didn't correspond to any demand, died almost naturally... so most of the faithful who had come to see it in a spirit of curiosity didn't want to follow the experiment and ended up with fewer than 20 in the winter of 2023. The coup de grâce of this pathetic initiative was the reception of a true traditional liturgy within the Franciscan chapel itself... from then on it could only disappear.

Paix Liturgique: What does that mean?

Germain de Paris : As I've already written, the faithful aren't idiots and they know how to choose between what they want and an ersatz, or between the authentic and a pale copy, if you prefer...

Paix Liturgique : You think so?

Germain de Paris : Of course, the faithful of the Gregorian mass, who numbered only about fifteen at the time of its final phase, have practically all opted for the traditional liturgy now celebrated at the Franciscan monastery every Sunday and feast day.

Paix Liturgique: Every Sunday and feast day?

St. Germain de Paris: Every Sunday and  feast day, whereas the Gregorian Mass was in fact celebrated on less than half the Sundays of the year...

Paix Liturgique: And what's your bad news?

Germain de Paris: In a previous interview, I mentioned the echoes I'd heard from the bishopric of Versailles, which suggested that the Ukrainians would soon be returning to the Franciscan chapel.

Paix Liturgique: But this was a decision taken several years ago?

St. Germain de Paris: Yes, just when the faithful of St. Germain had requested that the Franciscans continue to celebrate a traditional Mass at the same time as the Institute of Christ the King was returning to its church at Saint-Louis du Port-Marly once the work had been completed.

Paix Liturgique: I remember how astonished the people of Saint-Germain were to see these Ukrainians come out of the woodwork just to continue to make it impossible to hold a celebration at Saint-Germain.

St. Germain de Paris: Moreover, these Ukrainians existed so little that they only occupied the Franciscan chapel very occasionally.

Paix Liturgique: I've been told that they only celebrate one week in three, on Sundays in the late afternoon for a few dozen faithful!

Germain de Paris: That's absolutely right, and the parish priest of Saint-Germain even told us a few months ago that this had always been the plan and that there had never been any question of granting the Ukrainians the morning slot, which remained available to the parish of Saint-Germain.

Paix Liturgique: So what?

St. Germain de Paris: Well, here's the bad news: as soon as the Gregorian Mass was abolished, the Franciscan chapel was once again given over to the Ukrainian community, this time in the morning.

Paix Liturgique: So that the traditional Mass can't be celebrated there at family time?

Germain de Paris: That's something to be believed and feared. Above all, it allows the diocese to block any positive developments for the young traditional community because of the lack of freedom of schedule.

Paix Liturgique : But is this cohabitation going well?

Germain de Paris: If you like, because in fact there's no relationship between the two communities and the very oriental way in which the Ukrainians use it makes it difficult to set up the traditional Mass.

Paix Liturgique: What do you conclude from this?

Germain de Paris: Unfortunately, I see this as yet another indication of the cunning and disloyalty of our pastors, who were cowardly enough not even to consult the celebrating priests about this decision, which they discovered just as we did.

Paix Liturgique: That's why you still don't trust this creation?

Germain de Paris: Absolutely, this new Ukrainian affair, combined with a refusal to return to a family timetable and a refusal to guarantee the long-term future of the new community, are particularly worrying and explain why we don't put our trust in what I still consider to be a cheap manipulation rather than an honest search for dialogue and Peace.

Paix Liturgique: So you think there's no way out of this situation?

Germain de Paris: Not at all. There are always ways out for loyal people of good will, but I'm not sure that Father Boulle, who is behind this affair, is a loyal man of good will...

Paix Liturgique: What would be possible...

St. Germain de Paris: The disloyalty of the priests leads us to believe that the Franciscans' chapel being systematically allocated to others - yesterday to the Portuguese, today for the second time to the Ukrainians and tomorrow perhaps to others - seems to show us that it's to another place, an empty one this time, that the young traditional community of Saint-Germain-en-Laye should move.

Paix Liturgique: What do you have in mind?

Germain de Paris: Naturally, the Saint-Louis chapel in the old hospital, which is completely free on Sundays and where no rivalry can be exploited.

Paix Liturgique: But do you think there's still the question of the future of this community?

Germain de Paris: For me, this is an essential aspect: if the community exists, it must be able to offer Mass every Sunday and every feast day of the year... that's a basic requirement.

Paix Liturgique: Is it also linked to the Christian life of the faithful?

Germain de Paris: The faithful go to Mass every Sunday, even if there are fewer of them at certain times in the summer. But we also have to think about births and deaths, as well as weddings and catechism classes. This is why a community of this type cannot function randomly, but must guarantee its members continuity and stability.

Paix Liturgique: But is that possible? 

Germain de Paris: Of course! Several years ago, some of us suggested to the Bishop of Versailles that the Saint-Germain group should be managed jointly with the personal parish of Notre-Dame-des-Armées. I think that would be an ideal solution today.

Paix Liturgique: Especially as Notre-Dame-des-Armées operates all year round!

Germain de Paris: Exactly! It's a real parish that serves its faithful even during the holidays and provides baptisms, funerals and even weddings.

Paix Liturgique: So you're not giving up hope?

Germain de Paris: There's no reason to lose hope... However, we must be particularly vigilant in the face of the lies and disloyalty of too many priests. This is why we will continue to celebrate Mass in front of the hospital chapel until at least mid-September.

Paix Liturgique: Does that mean that if you were sure of the continuity and stability of the new community you would be prepared to stop celebrating in front of the chapel?

Germain de Paris: That's what we said.