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Some Catholic priests in France are having serious problems.

Yesterday’s post discussed the priest who broke a church statue.

Today’s tells the story of the priest in the Diocese of Lyon who likened the Bataclan victims to the terrorists.

In the aftermath of the Paris attacks on November 13, the Revd Hervé Benoît wrote an article for the traditionalist Catholic site, Riposte catholique (‘Catholic response’). Father Benoît entitled it (translation mine) ‘The (bald) Eagles of Death Metal love the devil!’

It’s quite a piece and I haven’t even read all of it. Nor do I intend to do so. However, I have read the first third of it, where Benoît warns against courting the devil. Here is an excerpt:

Are you invoking the devil even in jest [possibly referring to the tongue-in-cheek name for the band]? He will take you seriously. An extraordinary exorcist told me on the same day the attacks took place, ‘If you open the door, he will be only to happy to enter’. We don’t play with icons. They convey the sacred …

I will go even further. Too bad about sensitive readers. Look at the photos of the spectators taken seconds before the drama unfolded. These poor children of the bobo [bourgeois bohemian] generation, in an ecstatic trance, ‘young, festive, open, cosmopolitan …’ as a ‘revered daily’ puts it. But they’re the living dead. Their assassins, these haschishin zombies, are their Siamese twins. How can one not see it? It’s so obvious.

On November 27, the Most Reverend Philippe Barbarin, Archbishop of Lyon, relieved Benoît of his duties of chaplain at the basilica in Fourvière.

Barbarin said:

At the conclusion of the funeral for Caroline Prénat, a young woman from Lyon who died at the Bataclan, I mentioned how distressing and hurtful Father Benoît’s text was.

Benoît is — or will soon be — in an abbey for a period of prayer and reflection. Barbarin has already made arrangements for him to transfer dioceses. He will be assigned to his home diocese of Bourges where the bishop, the Most Reverend Armand Maillard, will decide the priest’s future.

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