Commemorating Summorum Pontificum in the Eternal City | Alberto Carosa | Catholic World Report
In November, traditional Catholics will gather in Rome for the Year of Faith and Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica.
Edward Pentin’s September 21 article for the National Catholic Register—on rumors that Pope Benedict XVI might celebrate Mass in the extraordinary form at the Vatican on November 3 for a group of traditionalist pilgrims from around the world—helped to kindle media interest in the upcoming pilgrimage, of which the Mass at St. Peter’s is the crowning event. While the rumors have proven unfounded—it was announced last week that Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, will be the celebrant of the November 3 Mass—the three-day gathering of supporters of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum is expected to draw international attention to the growing number of Catholics devoted to the older form of the Roman Rite.
Father Claude Barthe is the official chaplain of the pilgrimage, which is being organized by the Coetus Internationalis Pro Summorum Pontificum, a group that brings together the traditionalist Catholic organizations from different countries. Father Barthe has graciously granted this exclusive interview about the upcoming pilgrimage.
CWR: Father, there are people who would like to know a bit more about you. Can you please give us your brief curriculum vitae?
Father Claude Barthe: I was born in 1947 in Fleurance, in the southwest of France. My vocation goes back to my Catholic childhood. I studied at the Catholic Institute of Toulouse, as a diocesan seminarian, but the post-conciliar revolution forced me to leave the seminary. Then I studied history and law, appreciating the traditional liturgy, so much so that I went to Ecône where I was ordained a priest by Archbishop Lefebvre in 1979. Afterward I sided with the traditionalist “hardliners,” and then increasingly Roman, eventually becoming a diocesan priest. I also teach liturgy.
CWR: But how did the idea of this traditional pilgrimage come about, and why were you chosen as its chaplain?