4 things to know about the Chartres pilgrimage

4 things to know about the Chartres pilgrimage

This Pentecost weekend, from May 18 to 20, 2024, the activist association Notre-Dame de Chrétienté is organizing its 42nd traditionalist pilgrimage from Paris to Chartres. The opportunity to find out more about this event.

At the origins of the pilgrimage: a political project

The term “Christianity” describing the pilgrimage from its first edition, in 1983, has a political resonance: Christianity designates a society founded on Christian principles.

The leaders of the Henri-et-André-Charlier Center, close to the National Front, founded the pilgrimage in 1982 during a summer school at Barroux Abbey, where the abbot, Dom Gérard, was then out of work. communion with the Holy See. The pilgrimage is seen as an expression of “Christian and national resistance”, with a perspective of Christian reconquest of France. Until today, speeches or sermons during the pilgrimage can have political overtones, as in 2023 in the sermon of Abbot Matthieu Raffray, on Pentecost Sunday: “A crowd of enemies will want to silence you (…). The communists, the freemasons, the globalists, the wokists, the liberals, the progressives, the godless and those who worship false gods, the heretics and the schismatics, the socialists, right and left, they will try to 'put out this fire of love….'.

Bishops facing the demands of traditionalists

Only the so-called traditional mass (in Latin, according to the rite of Saint Pius V, priest with his back to the people, without concelebration, etc.) can be celebrated on the Christian pilgrimage. It's a question of identity for the organizers. Now this hobby horse involves questions much more fundamental for the Church than simple aesthetic choices or those linked to personal sensitivities: the unity of Catholics is at stake, especially manifested in communion with the pope and the bishops during the mass.

Since Archbishop Lefebvre's refusal of the Council in the 1960s, successive popes have attempted to bring the traditionalist sheep back into full communion. But the recent choice of Pope Francis to restrict the possibility of celebrating the ancient rite and to demand full acceptance of the Council and the Reformed rite on the part of traditional priests resembles a showdown. On the ground, bishops and representatives of traditionalist communities are invited to a difficult dialogue.

At Pentecost 2023, the speech of Jean de Tauriers, president of the Christian pilgrimage, sounded like a challenge to the bishops: “The Tridentine Mass of the Catholic Church, of our saints, the mass of our families, of our masters , and for many of us, our conversion would therefore not correspond to the new theology. All the pressing demands that Our Lady of Christianity supports are only a reflection of what you (the faithful traditionalists) undergo in many dioceses (…). We will not renounce what we are, (…), a work of fidelity and resistance, in a crisis which is first and foremost doctrinal, which the Church must admit and face.”

A Tridentine Mass on television: a first in 60 years!

For its Pentecost pilgrimage to Chartres, the Notre-Dame de Chrétienté association sees things big. Two special broadcasts of the Mass in Latin, according to the rite of Saint Pius V, and several spotlights in the Catholic press are to be expected. Thus for the first time since the liturgical reforms of 1965 and 1970, French viewers will be able to benefit, this Sunday, May 19, Pentecost Sunday, from the broadcast of the outdoor Sunday mass of the pilgrimage, live, by the channel CNEWS television, owned by the Catholic Vincent Bolloré. And which will be done in partnership with the magazine France Catholique, owned by the same Bolloré. An event which delights the faithful traditionalists, starting with its star influencer, Father Matthieu Raffray, priest of the Institute of the Good Shepherd, who speaks of a “historic” event on Instagram and congratulates the channel.

Moreover, conservative Catholic weekly, L'Homme Nouveau will broadcast and comment live, on YouTube, the opening mass of the pilgrimage (still according to the “traditional” rite) in the Saint-Sulpice church (Paris), Saturday 18 May at 6:00 a.m. Phillipe Maxence, editor-in-chief of Éditions de L'Homme Nouveau and specialist in the social doctrine of the Church, accompanied by Odile Le Saint and Gabrielle Cluzel (publishing director of the information website Boulevard Voltaire) will comment on the office. This magazine is also launching a competition for the most beautiful photo before, during and after the pilgrimage on its social networks, under the hashtag #Jepeuxpasjaichartres.

The pilgrimage in a few figures

  • 18,000 pilgrims are expected, an increase of 12% compared to last year, the organizers report in advance. This figure does not include those who will only attend the various masses, departing from Paris at Saint-Sulpice church on Saturday May 18 in the morning or arriving in Chartres on Monday May 20.
  • Between 4,000 and 5,000Guardian Angels» will pray all weekend for the pilgrims. These are people prevented from walking because of their age, a disability, or their religious vocation. Pregnant women are also part of it.
  • 97km : distance covered over all three days, which requires a sustained walking pace.
  • 1983 : Year of the first edition, on the advice of Bernard Antony, MP and member of the National Front from 1984 to 2008.
  • 23 years : the average age of pilgrims.
  • 20 years : the median age of pilgrims (both above and below this age).
  • 372 chapters : groups bringing together at least forty people.
  • Less than 5% : This is what the traditionalists represent among the Catholics of France.
  • 250 : Number of places of worship in France regularly offering mass in the Tridentine rite

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