The Petitions of 2006

The Socci Petition: text and signatories

Published on the 16th December 2006, in the Italian newspaper Il Foglio.

I wish to launch an appeal to the world of culture.

In support of a decision of Benedict XVI.

The announcement was given by Cardinal Arturo Medina Estevez, a member of the Ecclesia Dei commission which met to discuss the liberalization of the Latin Mass. The prelate said, “The publication of the Motu Proprio by the Pope which will liberalize the celebration of the Latin Mass according to the Missal of Saint Pius V is close.” It is an extraordinarily important event for the Church and even for the culture and history of our civilization. Historically, lay intellectuals were actually those to realize more and better the disaster, the actual cultural destruction, represented by the “prohibition” of the liturgy of Saint Pius V and the disappearance of Latin as sacred language of the Catholic Church.

When, 40 years ago—in contravention to the documents of the Council—the prohibition of the ancient liturgy of the Church (that which had been celebrated even during the Council) was imposed, there was a great and meritorious protest by very important intellectuals who considered this decision as an attack on the roots of our Christian Civilization (the liturgy has always been a center and a fountain of the most sublime art). Two appeals were published in defense of the Mass of Saint Pius V, in 1966 and 1971. These are some of the names which undersigned them: [There follows a selection of names from the two petitions.]

They are largely lay intellectuals because the cultural and spiritual value of the ancient Latin liturgy is a legacy of all, as is the Sistine Chapel, as is the Gregorian [chant], as the great cathedrals, Gothic sculpture, the Basilica of Saint Peter also are. Even more so today, when our entire European Civilization risks to cut off and deny its own roots.

Curiously, even “progressive Catholics”, who made dialogue with the world and with modern culture their banner, did not give any regard and fought for forty years to keep this incredible prohibition. An unprecedented arbitrariness. In April 2005, at the eve of the election of Benedict XVI, it was a lay writer, Guido Ceronetti, who wrote, in La Repubblica, an open letter to the new Pope, in which he asked “that the sinister suffocating gag on the Latin voice of the Mass be removed”. When he was a cardinal, Ratzinger declared that the prohibition of the Mass of Saint Pius V was unprecedented: “throughout her history, has never abolished nor forbidden orthodox liturgical forms, which would be quite alien to the very spirit of the Church”. In one of his books, he retold dramatically how he had viewed the publication of the missal of Paul VI: “I was dismayed by the prohibition of the old missal, since nothing of the sort had ever happened in the entire history of the liturgy. The impression was even given that what was happening was quite normal,” but, Ratzinger wrote, “the prohibition of the missal that was now decreed, a missal that had known continuous growth over the centuries, starting with the sacramentaries of the ancient Church, introduced a breach into the history of the liturgy whose consequences could only be tragic ... the old building was demolished, and another was built.”

The effects were disastrous. The road to incredible abuses in the liturgy was opened. Ratzinger wrote: “I am convinced that the crisis in the Church that we are experiencing today is to a large extent due to the disintegration of the liturgy, which at times has even come to be conceived of etsi Deus non daretur: in that it is a matter of indifference whether or not God exists and whether or not He speaks to us and hears us. But when the community of faith, the worldwide unity of the Church and her history, and the mystery of the living Christ are no longer visible in the liturgy, where else, then, is the Church to become visible in her spiritual essence?”

That same Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, who prepares to cancel the prohibition, will find opposition even inside the Church (already preannounced by the French bishops) and he deserves an answer from the world of culture which, forty years ago, made its voice heard. I ask intellectuals and whomever may wish to do so to sign this synthetic manifesto:

“We express our praise for the decision of Benedict XVI to cancel the prohibition of the ancient Mass in Latin according to the Missal of Saint Pius V, a great legacy of our culture, which must be saved and rediscovered.”


Guido Ceronetti,
René Girard, 
Antonio Socci, 
Vittorio Strada, 
Franco Zeffirelli

The French “Manifesto”: text and signatories

Published on December 16th 2006, in the French newspaper La Figaro.

A Manifesto in favour of the Tridentine Mass

We, laymen, Roman Catholics, wish, considering the media commotion provoked by a possible liberalization of the Gregorian Mass, to publicly witness our fidelity, our support, and our affection regarding the Holy Father, Benedict XVI.

1. The Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium of the Second Vatican Council, recalls: “In faithful obedience to tradition, the sacred Council declares that holy Mother Church holds all lawfully acknowledged rites to be of equal right and dignity; that she wishes to preserve them in the future and to foster them in every way”. We consider thus that the diversity of rites in the Catholic Church is a grace and that we shall see with joy the coming liberalization of that which was our ordinary, that of our parents and of our grandparents, and which nourished the spiritual life of so many saints.

We wish to tell the Holy Father and our Bishops of our joy of seeing the appearance of more and more secular or religious communities attached to the beauty of the liturgy under its many forms. We share the observation of him who was then Cardinal Ratzinger: “I am convinced that the crisis in the Church that we are experiencing today is to a large extent due to the disintegration of the liturgy”. (Milestones)

2. “The restoration of unity among all Christians is one of the principal concerns of the Second Vatican Council. Christ the Lord founded one Church and one Church only,” the introduction of the Decree Unitatis Redintegratio affirms.

It is in this spirit described by the Council that we have welcomed with joy the creation of the Institute of the Good Shepherd and that we pray and hope that all those who have wandered from full communion may follow this same road to reconciliation.

3. We are shocked by the idea that a Catholic may be distressed by the celebration of the Mass which was that which Padre Pio and Saint Maximilian Kolbe celebrated. That which nourished the piety of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus and of Pope Blessed John XXIII.

We know that the Church is formed by man and women, and that reprehensible and at times insulting words may have been exchanged: “often enough, men of both sides were to blame” (Unitatis Redintegratio, 3).

We beg God to “forgive our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us”.

We imagine how difficult the government of the Church is and how heavy the burden of our Holy Father the Pope is, as is also demanding that of our Bishops.

We wish to record, with this text, our total support to Benedict XVI who, after John Paul II the Great and within the long and magnificent chain of the Successors of Peter, continues to work with humility, courage, intelligence, and firmness in the new evangelization.


René Girard, of the French Academy; 
Michel Déon, of the French Academy; 
Bertrand Collomb, of the Institute of France;
Jean Piat, actor;
Claude Rich, actor; 
Jean-Laurent Cochet, actor and producer; 
François Ceyrac, former president of the CNPF (National Council of the French Corporate Directors);
Charles Beigbeder, CEO (Selftrade and Poweo); 
Jean-François Hénin, CEO (Maurel et Prom Oil Company); 
Jean-Marie Schmitz, executive, president of the Free College of Law, Economics, and Administration (FACO); 
Raphaël Dubrulle, executive; Jean François, honorary president of the Lafarge Corporation; 
Jean-Marie Le Méné, president of the Jérôme Lejeune Foundation; 
Jean Raspail, writer;
Jean des Cars, historian; Denis Tillinac, writer and editor; 
Robert Colonna d’Istria, writer; 
Isabelle Mourral, honorary president, Association of Catholic Writers;
Jacques Heers, professor, historian, former director of Medieval Studies at the University of Paris IV-Sorbonne; 
Alain Lanavère, lecturer, Catholic Institute of Paris; 
Jean-Christian Petitfils, historian and writer; 
Yvonne Flour, professor and vice-president of the Scientific Council, University of Paris-I - Panthéon- Sorbonne; 
Jacques Garello, professor emeritus, University of Aix-Marseille III- Paul-Cézanne; 
Jean-Didier Lecaillon, professor, University of Paris II -Panthéon-Assas; 
Catherine Rouvier, lecturer at the University of Sceaux, lawyer; 
Patrick Louis, Member of the European Parliament, professor at the University of Lyon-III; 
Jean-Yves Naudet, professor at the University of Aix-Marseille III- Paul- Cézanne, president of the Association of Catholic Economists; 
Bertrand Fazio, member of the Association of Catholic Economists; 
Roland Hureaux, writer; 
Jean Sevillia, historian and writer; 
Henry de Lesquen, high government official; 
Yvan Blot, high government official;
Jacques Trémolet de Villers, writer, court attorney; 
Alexandre Varaut, court attorney; 
Solange Doumic, court attorney; 
Frédéric Pichon, court attorney; 
Francis Jubert, president of the Foundation for Political Service;
Anne Coffinier, diplomat; 
Benoît Schmitz, History professor; 
Marie de Préville, professor of Classical Letters; 
Alexis Nogier, surgeon, Clinical Head at the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital; 
Philippe Darantière, consultant; 
Thierry Boutet, writer and journalist; 
François Foucart, writer and journalist; 
Philippe Maxence, writer, editor-in-chief of L’Homme Nouveau;
Jacques de Guillebon, writer; 
Falk van Gaver, writer; 
Mathieu Baumier, writer; 
Christophe Geffroy, director of the La Nef journal; 
Anne Bernet, writer; 
Louis Daufresne, journalist, Paris Archdiocesan Radio (Radio Notre- Dame); 
Fabrice Madouas, journalist; 
Hilaire de Crémiers, journalist.

No comments:

Post a Comment