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Today the French bishops opened a meeting at Lourdes, and in his capacity as president of the episcopal conference, Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard made the opening speech.

In the course of his address, Cardinal Ricard used the word peur (fear) 11 times, and confiance (confidence, trust) 15 times. He was urging his brother bishops not to panic.

Why would the French bishops be inclined toward panic?

– Because their parish churches are empty, their seminaries emptier, and Catholic parents aren’t bothering to bring their children for Baptism? No.

– Because divorce, abortion, fornication, and sodomy are rife; and momentum is building toward general social acceptance of euthanasia and human cloning? No.

– Because Islam now has more practical impact on public policy than Catholicism, in the country once proud to be known as the ”eldest daughter of the Church?” No.

– Because the Holy Father might sign a document allowing priests to celebrate Mass using the Tridentine rite? Yup, that’s it.