Fr Claude Barthe is a French traditionalist Roman Catholic priest. I have read several of his books and I greatly esteem his capacity for rational analysis. I last saw him in 2009 at a conference in Versailles about the developments around Anglicanorum Coetibus in November 2009. At the time, I believed Archbishop Hepworth’s narrative and the French traditionalist priests were very warm in my regard. I was already out of communion with Rome under the John Paul II pontificate. Fr Barthe has an interest in liturgical studies, and particularly reflects on the situation of Christianity in today’s world. In his book Trouvera-t-il encore la foi sur la terre?, he mentions the thought of Georges Bernanos who wrote the famous Journal d’un Curé de Campagne. These words are most characteristic of the young parish priest already dying of cancer:
Ma paroisse est dévorée par l’ennui, voilà le mot. Comme tant d’autres paroisses ! L’ennui les dévore sous nos yeux et nous n’y pouvons rien. Quelque jour peut-être la contagion nous gagnera, nous découvrirons en nous ce cancer. On peut vivre très longtemps avec ça.
“My parish is devoured by boredom, that’s the word. Like so many other parishes! Boredom is devouring them before our eyes and we can do nothing about it. Perhaps one day the contagion will reach us, we will discover this cancer in ourselves. You can live with that for a long time”. Bernanos found that this boredom was not limited to parishes or even the Church, but it is all around us, and in ourselves if we do not take care for our souls in this world of conformity, technocracy and bureaucracy.
The Roman Catholic Church is becoming a clone of the Anglican Communion. You can make what you want of that boring fact.
I was sure that Fr Barthe would have something to say sooner or later about Pope Francis’ motu proprio. Traditionis Custodes une nouvelle guerre liturgique ? Un entretien avec l’Abbé Claude Barthe is found on the website of Paix Liturgique and apparently also in Présent. An English translation is now available in Rorate Coeli. Italian Bishops and Cardinals were the origin and moving force behind Traditionis Custodes (an Interview with Fr. Claude Barthe)
Something I will say, full of cynicism and sarcasm, is that it would be useless at this stage to ask permission in the RC Church to celebrate according to the Use of Sarum!