Friday, February 7, 2014

Sad End at Le Chamblac

I have mentioned in a few places the story of Fr. Quintin Montgomery-Wright, the convert priest who celebrated the old rite with Norman influences until his death in 1996. He attempted to arrange the FSSPX to take his church after his death, but disputes with the diocese of Evreux (which gave Abbe Michel so much grief) resulted in the closure of the church. From an old Google Group you can read the appeal of one of the parishioners of Le Chamblac here. He sounds quite irate:
Coincidentally, on May 10th, many parishoners from the three parishes received a letter from Mgr. David. He assured them that they were all Catholics; that their needs would be ministered to; and that "together we shall build the church". That the Old Mass was not available was clear; that the traditional Sacraments were not available was clear; that there would be no resident priest was clear. In other words, Mgr. David was once again failing to practise his beloved "dialogue" and was forcing himself and his views on "the People of God"!!
Unfortunately for Mgr. David, the faithful of Le Chamblac are not the feeble-minded peasants that he hoped they were. They are not impressed by a bishop who mutters about friendship and dialogue, but only deals out actions aimed at extinguishing the Catholic life of Le Chamblac. On May 16th, despite a police presence, the faithful managed by legal means to open the church and celebrate Holy Mass. The church was packed tight. People from the community who had not been to church for years had come to show their support in the clearest possible way. They may not practise, but they know how important Le Chamblac's church is to their community and way of life.

The stage is now set for confrontation week after week because of the shortsightedness and stupidity of Mgr. David. Instead of bringing peace, he has declared war on fellow Catholics, on the most successful parishes in the diocese. Only an idiot can seriously believe that the faithful are going to obey the order to go away and die. 

One wonders if this fellow would have gotten further with some manners....

The parish has been re-opened and "improved" under the aegis of the diocese. The parish went from this....

source: Getty Images (free preview)
and this....
source: Getty Images (free preview)
to this.

At least they re-cycled the tabernacle and put a few Latin words on the altar....

EDIT: Thanks to Mr Alan Robinson we now know that the above altar was at some point installed by Fr Montgomery-Wright and not by the current authorities. The Rad Trad had read elsewhere, perhaps on Fr Chadwick's blog, that Fr M-W moved an existing altar.


  1. This altar and the latin inscription was actually put in by Fr Montogmorey Wright. I remember staying there several times. Of course, he celebrated the Old Mass Eastward facing. I think that he welcomed the changes when they came in he was very much forward looking then [very much of the old liturgical movement] and went to France to avoid the stuffiness of the pre-Vatican II church here in England. Then he realised where all the changes were leading and went back to the old ways.

    1. Thank you for the clarification Alan. I have read elsewhere that Fr M-W had moved out a pre-existing altar and not installed a new one. Did he used a frontal or something to cover up the not entirely attractive facade of the altar?

    2. Sadly he didn't use a frontal on what was the new stone altar. He said that they'd find it very hard to move.He had six candles on the altar and I think the tabernacle too, but can't be sure. In the 1985 period there was a television documentary about him and an article in the (national) Sunday Times magazine and in the Illustrated London News. There were many colourful photographs and there are some from French photographers posted on line. Contact me if you want more information. A friend of mine - English - nearly became the SSOX sponsored P.P. after Fr Montgomorey died.It's a long and very sad story.

    3. Thank you, Alan. I would love to learn more. How would I go about getting in touch with you?