15 November 2011

Another Latin Mass Community Disbanded

...at least temporarily. Fr. Laurent Demets, FSSP, a French priest and acquaintance of mine, has been removed from his parish because of allegations that he slapped a teenager. Fr. Demets himself admitted the action, and the diocese, under the existing procedures for dealing with child abuse, has removed him from his ministry. In all likelihood, he will be returning to France.

The first thing I'll say is this: Fr. Demets is a holy priest. Second, the little smack likely only hurt the kid's ego, nothing more. Third, the parents had given the priest explicit permission to discipline their child, and were not in the least offended by his actions. Fourth, Fr. Demets is a French priest, with very French sensibilities, and as a Frenchwoman myself, I can say that the French take liberties in disciplining *other people's children* in ways that Americans do not. I witnessed it firsthand on a number of occasions when I lived in France; it is a cultural difference. The French feel a certain freedom in correcting others' children if they see obvious misbehavior, whereas in America, we generally wouldn't dare, and take extreme offense when others do so.

Pope St. Pius X (emphasis on saint) slapped two girls who were being unruly during Mass. And parents might want to be reminded of Proverbs 23:13: "Withhold not correction from a child: for if thou strike him with the rod, he shall not die." If Fr. Demets had done in France what he is accused of having done here, I guarantee his diocese would not have batted an eyelash. But here, hysterics are launched, the absurd cry of "child abuse" sounded, and a good and holy priest, who has served his parish faithfully for years, is packed off to exile, while the Latin Mass community languishes as it awaits a replacement. Our loss. I'm sure the good father will be happy to return to his mother country.

Fr. Demets himself has said, "I acknowledge the fact, I do not feel guilty at all for correcting a child, and I did that in front of her mother who should have corrected her in my place but did nothing.... all Western civilization is messed up. You can kill babies, but you cannot smoke. You can say heresy in the Church, but cannot discipline a kid..... O tempora o mores!"

How true...Judging from the tidbit above, it sounds as if the girl may have uttered blasphemy. If so, the priest in his zeal was defending Our Lord's honor, and he did so in a way firm, immediate, and unforgettable. If I were that mother I would have thanked the priest!

Update: SNAP, whose latest efforts center on jailing the Pope, has gotten its grubby fingers on the story.