Letter 65 published 6 November 2015


We’re back from Rome where part of the Paix Liturgique team was blessed with participating in the fourth international pilgrimage of the Summorum Pontificum people. We here present a sampling of texts that give a good idea of the joyful and serene intensity of those days spent under the protection of Saint Philip Neri. We’ll start with the surprising and short—but very evenhanded—article in La Croix, the French Bishops’ daily newspaper.

Another, Italian, daily (La Nuova Ferrara) published a few words from Archbishop Negri of Ferrara and Comacchio, who is also Abbot of Pomposa and preached at Saint Peter’s basilica on Saturday October 24 before 200 priests and over a hundred religious men and women as well as close to 2000 faithful. He reckoned that the traditional liturgy “reinforces our ecclesial identity” and mobilizes it for “a renewed mission adapted to present times [and open] to the true needs of modern man—the very mission to which Pope Francis is constantly calling us back.”

(E. Capoferri)


To his Most Reverend Excellency Archbishop Guido Pozzo, Secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, on the occasion of the Roman pilgrimage of the Cœtus Internationalis Summorum Pontificum, which keeps the ancient Roman liturgy alive in the Church: the Holy Father Pope Francis addresses his heartfelt greetings and hopes that participation in the pious itinerary at the tombs of the Apostles may foster a fervent adhesion to Christ as He is worshipped in the beauty of the liturgy, which leads to the contemplation of the Lord transfigured in the light of His glory and provides a renewed impetus for the witness of the eternal message of the Christian faith.

His Holiness, invoking the abundant gifts of the Holy Ghost and the maternal protection of the Mother of God, asks you to persevere in prayerful support for his Petrine ministry and wholeheartedly imparts to Your Excellency, prelates, priests, and all the faithful attending this holy celebration His apostolic blessing as implored, to foster a fruitful ecclesial path.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin
Secretary of State to His Holiness


1,800 Participants at Rome for the 4th “Summorum Pontificum” Pilgrimage
Rome, 27 October 2015; article by Gauthier Vaillant

Since 2012 this international pilgrimage brings together religious and faithful attached to the liturgy according to the rite of Saint Pius V. This year it coincided with the closing of the synod on the family. As has been the case every year since 2012, priests, religious, and the faithful attached to the Church’s traditional liturgy gathered in Rome from Thursday 22 to Sunday 25 October for the international pilgrimage “Summorum Pontificum.” Once a year this gathering celebrates the motu proprio that Benedict XVI published in October 2007 liberalizing the celebration of the Mass in the extraordinary form of the Roman rite.
“Our special intention this year concerns the Christian family, since the second assembly of the Synod of bishops dedicated to that issue is just now coming to a close,” announced the abbé Claude Barthe, pilgrimage chaplain, at the beginning of the pilgrimage.
As had been the case in the pilgrimages of the past years, the high point was the procession towards Saint Peters’ Basilica. There were 1,800 participants, including 200 priests and seminarians. A Frenchman, Dom Jean Pateau, Abbot of the Benedictine abbey Notre-Dame de Fontgombault, presided.
The pilgrims then heard a Tridentine Mass in the Basilica, at the Altar of the Chair, celebrated by Archbishop-emeritus Juan Rodolfo Laise of San Luís, Argentina. Pope Francis, in a message signed by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, addressed “his heartfelt greetings” to the pilgrims, who “keep[s] the ancient Roman liturgy alive in the Church”; he expressed his hope for a “renewed impetus to the witness of the eternal message of the Christian faith” and imparted the Apostolic Blessing to them, a token of “a fruitful ecclesial path.”


Left to right: Abp. Guido Pozzo, Mons. Abp. Luigi Negri and Dom Jean Pateau.

a) Archbishop Guido Pozzo, President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, Friday 23 October, at Santa Maria in Campitelli

The greatness of the liturgy does not consist in offering a spiritual entertainment, as pleasant as it may be, but in allowing us be touched by the mystery of God who presents Himself to us since we could not approach Him on our own.

The celebration of the Holy Mass in the traditional Roman rite brings out elements and aspects that are indispensable to make us perceive the sacrality of the Rite, the real presence of Christ, the sacrificial character of the Mass which is precisely the sacrifice of Christ. All of this participates in building up the Body of Christ, which is the Church.

The ancient liturgy is not a relic of the past; it is a living reality of the Church that contributes to making present the patrimony of holiness and prayer as transmitted by Tradition.

b) Archbishop Luigi Negri, of Ferrare and Commacchio, Saturday 24 October at Saint Peter’s

During the Mass celebrated by Bishop Juan Rodolfo Laise in Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Abp. Negri preached in a rich and beautiful vein, relying on but a few notes. His theme, within the context of the then-ending synod of bishops, was the faith, which compels us forcefully to witness to what grace enable us to do and therefore obliges us to say possumus. Yet it also witnesses to what we may not do by virtue of our fidelity to Christ and therefore also compels us to say non possumus to a secularized society that seeks to eliminate the Church and the Gospel from daily life.

c) Dom Jean Pateau, Abbot of Our Lady of Fontgombault, Sunday 25 October at Santa Trinità dei Pellegrini

During the sacrament of baptism, the priest asks the catechumen: “What do you ask from the Church?” He must answer: “Faith.” This answer should remain the firm purpose of our whole life. Failure of hope and charity is often a consequence of a lack of faith, of a too human consideration of situations, that forgets abandonment to God’s purpose.

However, so that nations should acknowledge Christ’s kingship over them, we must first accept His kingship over each of us. Pope Benedict XVI’s Motu proprio Summorum Pontificum allows us to enjoy peacefully the manifold riches of the extraordinary form. We should be thankful for that, and to this duty of gratefulness is added another one, that I take the liberty to sum up with a single question: Is our faith as extraordinary as our liturgy? To make Jesus the centre of liturgy has but a single aim: to become ourselves true witnesses of Christ’s kingship, to live of Christ and for Christ, to such an extent that all should be able to say: “It is Christ Who lives in him.”

(Trinità dei Pellegrini, after the Mass of the feast of Christ the King, 25 October 2015)

Fr. Claude Barthe (left) with don Marco Cuneo, MC of the St. Peter's High Mass.

We must give thanks to God for all that He has granted us in this pilgrimage at the Apostles’ tombs. Thanks also to all who have contributed to the good and proper celebration of the sacred ceremonies: the pastor of this parish, who is playing the role of Saint Philip Neri for us, and all of his assistants; the masters of ceremonies who bring to life the spirit and the letter of the Roman Ceremonial to perfection; the magnificent choirs, the Schola Sainte Cécile and the Cantus Magnus choir, who have been so to speak sacramental signs of what may be called contemplative graces for us; and of course all the Most Reverend Prelates who have had the kindness of celebrating our holy Masses.

(turning towards Dom Pateau:)
We express our thanks to you in particular, Right Reverend Abbot, for having accompanied us step by step these last few days. You have carried amongst us, in Rome, the Roman spirit of Fontgombault—Fontgombault which, I daresay, is perhaps called to be the new Cluny of the new Gregorian reform for which the Ecclesia Adflicta, afflicted as never before, hopes against all hope.
Dear pilgrims, you have come from all points of the horizon and you have expressed a great deal of emotion every day. There is no measuring God’s gifts and the graces he can freely bestow to each of us, but we are too attached to the liturgy, and too devoted to Saint Philip Neri, not to know that the invisible movements of the Spirit within the soul can manifest themselves through the sensible movements produced and ordered by the heavenly beauty of the Roman liturgy.

May the Mother of the Eternal High Priest, King of Nations, beseech Him for of all of our intentions.

Goodbye, every one, and until next year.