Montreal priests annoyed by increasingly bilingual Catholic services

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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MONTREAL - A group of priests says Montrealers had better watch out - for goodness sake! - because bilingualism is coming to town.
Four Roman Catholic priests have written a letter saying that the house of God is being increasingly infused with the presence of English, and they're not pleased about it.
They say bilingualism has been creeping back into Montreal's churches over the last five years.
"It didn't just happen yesterday," Father Andre Anctil told The Canadian Press on Tuesday.
"We've noted that it's a phenomenon which has been expanding, vis-a-vis the use of English for the faithful and for communications between the diocese and priests."
The priests are upset that when assemblies are held at big local churches, like Notre Dame Basilica and Saint-Joseph's Oratory, a large number of immigrants are usually present and the services are bilingual.
They say that sends the wrong signal to immigrants in the province which is, officially, unilingually French.
"Before, there were a few words in English or a (gospel) reading, but now it's bilingual from wall to wall," Anctil said.
"The message that's being sent is that we don't consider it (French) very, very pertinent. It's like saying you have a choice between English and French, which is not, according to us, an advisable objective - especially for immigrants."
Anctil says the large gatherings bring together Christians who come from different parishes around Montreal.
He notes that many of the faithful are immigrants who have frequented the church since their arrival.
The priests sent a letter to Archbishop Jean-Claude Cardinal Turcotte in October urging him to put the brakes on the expanding use of English.
But Anctil was disappointed with the response from Jean Fortier, the vicar-general of the diocese of Montreal.
"The answer was to say, 'We"ll look at the situation,'" the Montreal priest said."
"The vicar-general affirms that the letter provoked a form of dialogue, a reflection, which is good."
But Anctil adds that he doesn't expect much will change.
He noted that Fortier also indicated in his response that "there aren't any actions more important than being alert."
Anctil points out that communications between the diocese and all parishes in Montreal are now also in French and English, whereas in the past they were only in French.
"It's the same thing for the weekly diocesan review, 'Haute Fidelite.' This review was in French and it's now in French and English," he added.
Anctil says what has to be clear to ethnic groups is that Quebec is a francophone province
The priest made the remarks after Montreal Le Devoir published a copy of the letter.

Organizations: Canadian Press

Geographic location: Montreal, Notre Dame, Quebec

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Recent comments

  • B. Morley
    April 15, 2012 - 12:17

    Solution: The Church returns to the Tridentine Mass. Done. Latin everywhere, always.