The Mass which the French Revolutionaries tried to the prevent the Saint Curé of Ars from saying, now banned in his sanctuary

Worldwide anger at ban on Latin Mass in the Sanctuary of the Patron of Parish Priests

The Curé of Ars is considered the patron saint of priests. Where he once worked, the Old Mass has now been "banned", so to speak: Photos of a notice signed by the bishop are doing the rounds among supporters of the pre-conciliar liturgy.

In sanctuary of the French pilgrimage town of Ars, the pre-conciliar liturgy may no longer be celebrated in public. Mass can be celebrated in Latin and in any vernacular language, but only with the valid Roman missal, decreed the bishop of the diocese of Belley-Ars, Pascal Roland. Accordingly, a celebration according to the 1962 missal is now only possible if a priest celebrates alone in the crypt. A photo of the order, signed by Roland and hanging on a door in the Basilica of Ars, has been circulating on social media for a few days and is causing criticism among supporters of the pre-conciliar liturgy.

The so-called "Old Mass" has been the subject of increased discussion in the Church since Pope Francis severely restricted its celebration with the motu proprio "Traditionis custodes" (2021). In it, the pontiff decreed that it is up to each diocesan bishop to regulate the liturgical celebrations of his diocese and that it is within his sole competence to allow the celebration of the Mass in its extraordinary form. In doing so, the Pope significantly restricted access to the celebration of the Mass according to the missals prior to the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), which had been facilitated by his predecessor Benedict XVI with the motu proprio "Summorum Pontificum" (2007). In February 2022, Francis issued further implementing regulations on "Tradionis custodes", with which the Vatican can reclaim many local special permissions, for example the celebration of the "Old Mass" in parish churches. According to research, the pre-conciliar liturgy has a comparatively large following in France in particular.

The village of Ars-sur Formans, near Lyon, became famous in the 19th century because of its parish priest, Jean-Marie Vianney (1786-1859). The "Curé of Ars" came from a peasant family and received his religious education from an underground priest due to the French Revolution and its ban on celebrating mass. Considerable learning difficulties with the Latin language were a major obstacle to his desire to become a priest. Nevertheless, he was finally ordained in 1815. After four years as chaplain in Ecully, Vianney became parish priest in the village of Ars-sur-Formans, where his fight against "immoralities" such as drinking, dancing, swearing and working on Sundays initially met with little approval. With great commitment, however, Vianney renovated the parish church, founded a girls' and a boys' school, an orphanage and various prayer brotherhoods, held daily catechism classes and offered confession. When Vianney died of overwork on 4 August 1859, 90,000 people came to Ars for his funeral; only three years later the beatification process was initiated. He was canonised in 1925. He is considered the patron saint of all parish priests. After his death, the parish church of Ars was expanded into a basilica.


See original story on Cathcon

Cathcon: The altar in the crypt is the one that the Saint celebrated upon as the Basilica was built over his church.