19 January 2010

Touché pas à mon curé!

The liberal bishop of Evreux in Normandy was booed by angry parishioners when he announced that their beloved parish priest of 23 years, Fr. Francis Michel, would be their priest no longer, and their parish would be dissolved. The bishop's purported reason for moving Fr. Michel was because of a priestly shortage, but everyone knew the bishop was unhappy with Fr. Michel's traditionalist ways, and with his implementation of the Motu Proprio by occasionally celebrating Mass in the Extraordinary Form. According to the SSPX, Fr. Michel had also at one point given the dissident group use of his church, one of the moves that alarmed the bishop and has led to the current crisis.

Evreux, one of the most sinister dioceses in France, has seen declining numbers at Mass, fewer vocations, and parish after parish closing. The one bright spot of vibrant orthodoxy was at Fr. Michel's church in Thiberville, where he has served for over two decades--and thus the open revolt when Bishop Nourrichard arrived (in his rainbow chasuble) to announce that Fr. Michel would be curé no more.

See the dramatic episode on video here, followed by a portrait of Abbé Francis Michel and his supporters.

The bishop has continued to allow Fr. Michel to say Mass in his parish, as he awaits an appeal to Rome on the bishop's decision.