Volume 3, Chapter
– 27 May 1980
XXI of Apologia II consists of an account of a traditionalist
pilgrimage to Lourdes, and describes
the appalling discrimination and harassment to which the pilgrims
was concluded with the following words : “Who knows, the
time may come once more when those who wish to worship in the
churches of Lourdes in the manner of St Bernadette will be freely
permitted to do so. The greater the extent to which traditionalists
obey the call of the Blessed Virgin to pray and do penance, the
sooner that day may come.”
seems to be an almost miraculous fashion, that day came in May
1980,when a traditionalist pilgrimage was permitted to use all
the facilities of the shrine, including the use of the sanctuary
for the Tridentine Mass. The following report by Yann Clerc appeared
in the French daily, L’Aurore :
Confidence and Peace
During the Traditionalist Pilgrimage
do not believe that it amounts to taking John Paul II's name in
vain if I approve the way in which he used his influence to bring
about the happy agreement reached for time between those responsible
for the sanctuary at Lourdes and those in charge of the traditionalists'
Whitsun Pilgrimage. The thought of the Pope's forthcoming to France
will doubtless have encouraged the opposing parties to be reconciled,
so as to avoid scenes which would be especially unfortunate at
the present time.
more, the Holy Father’s strongly worded plea that the
Eucharist should be made a sign of unity was understood in this
particular case as an appeal for tolerance.
very morning of May 24th, the first day of the pilgrimage commended
by Mgr. Lefebvre, and directed chiefly by Fr. Andre, Fr. Coache,
and Fr. Aulagnier, it had not been possible to reach an agreement
on the proposals put forward in April by Fr. Borde, principal
of the Basilica of Lourdes.
got out of the pilgrims’ trains, the traditionalist priests
were asked to see the subprefect, Monsieur Emile Caralp, who
wished to do his best to prevent a violent demonstration. The
discussion proved unhelpful. “In reply to our every entreaty
he began to talk about his responsibility" (i.e., for the
maintenance of public order), Fr. Borde explained.
this initiative was a preliminary to, and perhaps facilitated,
a prompt meeting between Fr Borde and Canon Burdette, general
secretary for the Sanctuary (of Lourdes) on the one hand, and
Fr. Andre and Fr. Coache on the other, both groups accompanied
by lay people of good will.
than a little good will was needed to reach an understanding;
the rules of the Sanctuary, which all pilgrims accept, were
to be observed by the Traditionalist. In return, the latter
were to be allowed, provided they followed set time-table and
kept a low profile, to make use of the upper basilica and the
open space opposite the grotto to celebrate, in accordance with
Tradition, the services of their choice, competing processions
were not to be organised , so as not to create the insufferable
spectacle of a monstrance becoming a factor of division.
end, despite some minor time-tabling problems, the pilgrimages
were this year, at one in their charity and fervour. Fr Borde
was to be seen in the upper basilica, and in the sacristies,
priests and religious of the Sanctuary prepared garments in
a courteous way, and a good many Catholics from all over the
world were able to congregate to say the Rosary in Latin or
quietly to sing the Creed and hymns to the Virgin here and there,
in the universal language of the Church.
said to me: “I hope that this understanding reached with
the whole-hearted consent of Mr Fonue, Bishop of Tarbes and
Lourdes will encourage dialogue to resolve an unnecessary dispute."
same time, Fr. Andre gave his pilgrims a final watch-word- Confidence
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