“A la droite du Vatican”: France 3 documentary.

Tradidi Quod Et Accepi: Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre

Those of you who understand French will certainly enjoy this hour-long documentary about French Traditional Catholics produced from France 3 and appeared on Gloria TV. The documentary is obviously not without faults, but one must say that the effort to understand French Traditionalism and accurately transmit its values to the viewers is, for a secular sender, remarkable.

There are small parts you won’t like (a stupid reference to alleged “Islamophobia” comes to mind; one also notices that secular people are unable to discuss Traditionalism without mixing it with the private opinions of Bishop Williamson), but in general I think that many lukewarm French Catholics who have seen this documentary have been left with a lot to think about.

Those who do not understand French (no subtitles, unfortunately) will enjoy the period footage of Archbishop Lefebvre and the beautiful music in the first part of the documentary.
He will also enjoy the masses. Both on the impressive footage from the Sixties and on the parts dealing with contemporary traditionalism, one can’t avoid noticing the numerical impact of an organisation numbering 150,000 in a country with around the same inhabitants as the United Kingdom. Since Vatican II France has been disgraced with bishops among the worst on the planet, but it is also the country where the reaction to “Catholicism easy” is strongest and best organised.

You’ll notice (and this is correctly put in evidence in the documentary) the strikingly low average age of the French Traditionalists. In addition, the entire editorial cut of the documentary makes at least an honest effort to portray them in their daily lives and as normal people rather than deluded nutcases, as the BBC or Channel Four would most certainly do.
These are young people, young mothers, families with children; they are listened to in the course of their daily life, in the kitchen, the reception room, at lunch, in a brasserie or bar; they smoke and drink beer, are dressed correctly but like everyone of us and are evidently not living in a parallel, alternative world like a hippy or an extremist biker. These are people with normal jobs and normal lives, whom every lukewarm Catholic could easily have as friends.

I recommend the viewing to the french-speaking readers, but even those who don’t will probably find the initial part – with the period footage and the music – rather interesting.


Posted on August 30, 2010, in Catholicism, FSSPX and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. The late, great Hamish Fraser often said, in the pages of his wonderful publication “Approaches”, that in France one can always find both the best and the worst Catholics in the world. The documentary you refer to would seem to confirm his opinion.

  2. Marvellous, thank you. It was also good that they focused to an extent on the return of some traditionalists to the Church in recent years, such as the Institut du Bon Pastuer in Bordeaux – although this was the scene of great frustration for me as I looked up the time of mass on the internet before I went, but it was obviously wrong, as I was met by locked doors when I got there!

    • Afcote, BBC would never give us such a balanced report, I think. They would not even start thinking that it has to be balanced. They’d go at it with a view of how they can educate their viewers.


  3. That’s a very good documentary; I was shocked by another one on France 2 a few months ago:

    they show the children in the IBP school making racist and anti-semitic comments. It was later reported that the children had been enticed into making the comments.

    They protray Dies Irae (inaccurately) as if it’s a militia bent on a coup. It’s a very interesting group of young people, and they have responded on their website: http://www.dies-irae.fr/

    • Shane, I have seen the video and this is really BBC-style. They start with a clear idea of what footage they want to have and then get the footage fitting for that. Not difficult it you pose suggestive questions and take phrases in isolation.

      Still, I do not doubt that groups of nutcases can be found in every modern Western country. It is when this is painted as the next big danger that I get a bit nervous.


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