“Mass, a very basic necessity”: Catholics gathered again on Sunday in front of churches and cathedrals in several large cities in France to demand the return of mass, banned during confinement.
Kneeling in the shade of Saint-André Cathedral in Bordeaux, more than 300 faithful recited a rosary and sang songs and recitations of prayers during a rally, under the watchful eye of a discreet police presence and between two “Give us back mass” and “Stop the health dictatorship” banners.
“For us, Mass is vital. We need it right now and now. This ban is nonsense. Sanitary measures can be put in place and respected in churches”, told AFP Elisabeth Blanchet, a student who with four friends set up the collective “Pour la messe Bordeaux”.
“We will be there every Sunday as long as they do not return mass for us,” she added. On November 15, more than 300 Catholics had already met on the forecourt of Saint-André Cathedral.
On Monday, the government cautiously agreed to a resumption of religious ceremonies with the public from December 1, but on two conditions: compliance with a new health protocol in places of worship and a favorable development in the epidemiological situation.
Before the collective prayer, one of the organizers asked the faithful to reach out to move away from each other, in order to respect social distancing.
Among the faithful, of all generations, some carried small signs such as “Less cathode ray tubes, more catholic masses” or “The mass, well of first necessity”.
In Toulouse also a few hundred Catholics, many of them families with children, gathered in front of Saint-Etienne cathedral for the second Sunday in a row.
“We have been snatched away from our freedom of worship. We need to go to mass to fully live our faith,” Marie-Clémence Bourgeois, a 20-year-old design student, told AFP.
Thomas Robesson, 42, came to demonstrate with his family, does not understand the “logic” of the government: “The buses are full, the subways are full, the supermarkets are full, but mass is prohibited?”.
In Lyon, around 300 people, including many young people and families, gathered on Place Bellecour. Banners were hung at the foot of the equestrian statue of Louis XIV: “Mass prohibited by order of the government, believers, traders, craftsmen all together against confinement”, could one read in particular.
“To restrict worship is to cut off a freedom”, commented a faithful, Véronique.
In Lille, around a hundred people, mainly young people and families, gathered on the forecourt of Notre-Dame-de-la-Treille in Old Lille and sang songs, of which “the Lord calls all his activists to the reconquest of Christendom “.
In Paris, several hundred faithful prayed together in front of the Saint-Sulpice church at 5:00 p.m. “The Eucharist is the summit of our faith”, “Mass is for us the nourishment of the soul”, the organizers notably said at the microphone.
“Let us hope that the speech of the President of the Republic on Tuesday will bring good news“, added one of them.
bpe-burs / swi