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Monday, May 8, 2017

CATHOLIC FRANCE RISING: Tens of Thouands to Walk French Pilgrimage Dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima Featured

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The first time I walked the Pilgrimage from Paris to Chartres, France, I was 24 years old. I was young and the world was a mess, yes, but so much less so than it is today. People smiled more readily back then. The world wasn’t quite so jaded.

Now I realize that it’s well within the prerogative of grumpy old curmudgeons to think the world is blacker and bleaker today than it was back when they were walking uphill both ways to school every day through driving blizzards. But this is different. It really is so much worse now than then, and I think it’s a statistically provable fact.

Nothing’s the same anymore.


When I went on pilgrimage back in 1991 we were still travelling to the other side of the world to a place that had its own culture, language and currency. It was actually a foreign country in the truest sense of the word. McDonald’s in Paris? Yeah, right!

I remember the hassle involved with calling home. It usually involved a pile of coins, a payphone and a midnight stroll. When I telephone my wife from Paris these days, I pull out my cellphone and say, robotically: “Siri, call home”. And that’s it. I sound like a complete lunatic, of course, asking my little Star Trek communicator to phone home for me, but there you have it. Men appearing to behave like lunatics is yet another sign of the advancement of our civilization.

And then there was the problem with language. At the time, I spoke no French and not many Frenchmen spoke English. So we’d all babble away and see if any of it landed. It was fun, but nothing like today. These days, I have some French but rarely need it, since everyone speaks English in France, especially in Paris, and if you’ve a mind (and no sense of culture at all), you can order a Starbucks on the Champs-Élysées in English and get whatever New World Order flavor you like best.

Then there were the French Francs and the currency exchange. It wasn’t unusual for the rookie traveler to just open his wallet, exasperated, and ask the merchant to grab whatever he needed to complete the transaction. It was a lot easier (if more expensive). Today, if you need to purchase something you use your credit card, of course, because Big Brother doesn’t want us leaving home without it. And we don’t.

And then there’s the little issue of terrorism. When I first went to France I could have boarded the plane with my shotgun in hand, so long as it was in its case and not loaded. These days, a passenger has to take off his shoes, belt, jacket and undergo an entire body scan just to get in the general proximity of the gate area. And if you so much as joke about guns you’ll spend your vacation in front of guys pointing them at you.

The atmosphere of international travel really is like something out of Nineteen Eighty-Four. Big Brother is everywhere—watching, monitoring, scanning. You can’t get away from him but, what’s worse, you’re oddly comforted by the omnipresence of his all-seeing eye, knowing that he is all that stands between you and the Grim Reaper in a dynamite vest. The world’s airports are filled with global citizens grateful to Big Brother, even those few that hate everything he is and everything for which he stands. Life is his to take and give.

The airports on both sides of the Atlantic are patrolled by soldiers of the New Disorder, naturally—grim little platoons, comprised usually of one Madame Defarge-looking female and two males, machine guns at the ready. The New World Order will have order, even if they have to shoot everyone to establish it. After all, in the past the world was terrorized by really terrible things, such as the Spanish Inquisition, oh me oh my!

Flying the friendly skies just isn’t what it used to be, unless you used to be incarcerated, in which case you’ll feel right at home.

So I may be a curmudgeon but that doesn’t mean we’re not approaching a positively post-apocalyptic world, the likes of which no previous generation in human history ever experienced, even if the Volors are a bit faster now (hat tip to Msgr. Benson).  

God is gone and guns and killing machines are a vital component of Utopia’s international civilization of love.

So just getting to France has changed rather dramatically in 26 years. And with the passing of each year, the organizers of the Pilgrimage to Chartres are induced to take ever more security precautions as they launch the 5-mile pilgrim column through the streets of Paris—a city that over the past 26 years has gone from a French majority to Muslim, with its Christian heritage having gone the way of the French Franc, English street signs all over the place, and patriotism equated with fascism and hate. This is not your grandmother’s Paris anymore.

On the other hand, France’s Front National has gone, in the same time period, from a tiny little gaggle of misfits, “neo-Nazis” (of course and NOT!), and monarchists which could be safely ignored by Europe’s power elites, to a major party that just came in second in France’s presidential race. Who saw that coming 26 years ago when I first walked the Chartres Pilgrimage? Nobody! It’s a big deal, despite yesterday’s loss, and it’s only going to get bigger in years to come, so inept and nationally suicidal is France’s mainstream political power structure.  Now if only the Front National could become as hard-right conservative as La-La Land European secularists think it is.

Still and despite terrorism, political flux, and no-go zones, each year the Pilgrimage grows stronger, larger and more unapologetically Catholic. What’s left of Catholic France is not backing down from an encroaching New World Order, because what’s left of Catholic France is a growing and thriving minority of Traditional Catholics who see the proclamation of the Kingship of Christ, the Latin Mass and the large Catholic family as the only way to make France French again.

The Pilgrimage to Chartres is made up of hundreds of what are called les chapitres or “chapters”—groups of about 50 pilgrims each, usually from the same parish or Catholic organization. There are all kinds of new chapters forming, including a vibrant chapter of displaced Iraqi Christians.  And last year, a chapter made up of non-Catholics, fallen-away Catholics and perhaps even a few atheists was formed. Where did they come from?

So each year as the long column wends its way through Paris, local folks in windows and storefronts look on in bewilderment at the sight of the Catholic thing. They watch pilgrims from all over Europe carrying statues of Our Lady on their shoulders, wearing the Sacre Coeur, praying rosaries, singing the old Catholic hymns. The curiosity factor is enormous. 

So last year, some enterprising chap in the Notre-Dame de Chretiente organization had the idea of trying to reach out to those onlookers and invite them to attend the pilgrimage, free of charge, to better understand this massive spectacle that takes place in their neighborhoods every year over Pentecost weekend.

After a screening process to establish good will, there was enough of these curious spectators to form an entire chapter of would-be pilgrims, many of whom will return this year. Someone took the time to look up at them sitting in their windows and say: “Hey, you want find out what you’re missing? Follow us.” And by the grace of God it worked.

This, in essence, is what the Pilgrimage to Chartres is all about—making a public demonstration of Catholic faith and values to a world at war with both. The Pilgrimage to Chartres is all about saying to the world: Je suis Chretiene!...and quite frankly we don’t give a flying baguette if you don’t like it!

For 26 years we at The Remnant have vigorously supported this event because it has the same message for young Americans— “Hey, you want to find out what they stole from you? Follow us. We’re Catholics and we’re proud of it!”

Islam tells young Muslims the world over to follow Allah, and they do to such an extent that much of the world is now growing fearful of waking up Islamic. We Christians were once like that, too, and we must become that way again, only with the true God, Christ the King Lord of History. Nothing else matters.

chartres 2012We’re not interested in establishing our legitimacy in the eyes of the world. We have no need to win the approval of a modern Church which has abandoned the Traditions of Christ’s Holy Church. Our young people must be made to understand that the world is at war with Christ, whether our Church wants to admit it or not. The infidel of old advances against our countries and our families, and the only way to stop him is with the Cross. There’s no better way to drive this point home than to join 15,000 Catholics from all over the world in a holy march across France.

The key to the survival of the Catholic family today is the Crusade itself—the fight to remain detached from a world drunk on the blood of the innocent and a Church that has clearly lost its way. Better than any sermon, the Pilgrimage to Chartres allows young Catholics to experience exactly what was stolen from them and what they must be willing to give their lives taking back—not out of mere duty, but out of love for what they lost and what they will find again along the road to Chartres.

After all of these years organizing the U.S. Chapter on the Chartres pilgrimage, I admit that this is a labor of love. It is not easy. Organizing an event on the other side of the Atlantic is a challenge. We make no money off it, other than enough to pay our own way to and from France. This year, we’ll have more than 85 pilgrims. We’ll also be assisting a second U.S. chapter from Washington state, which will have another 40 pilgrims. We will be joined by 9 traditional Catholics from Sweden who will walk it for the first time. I was contacted by a small group of Catholics from Malaysia, a now-Muslim dominated country, who practically begged us to let them walk with the U.S. chapter so they can make contacts to help them spiritually prepare to keep the old Faith no matter what happens.

The Chartres Pilgrimage is emerging, in other words, as the great meeting place for Catholics who understand the particular charism of pilgrimage in preparing the souls of the faithful for the battle to keep the old Faith. And the folks at home can join us.  This year we’ll again be posting daily updates on the Remnant website (, along with the prayer and meditation schedule.

Especially as Catholic Europe falls into secularist chaos, with the Islamic scourge growing every day, I invite Remnant readers to pray and take part in this. The Pilgrimage to Chartres is not a vacation, not a parade, not a fun outing. It’s a journey back to the heart of Christendom, it’s a pilgrimage crusade.

Readers of The Remnant have already sponsored 10 young American pilgrims this year. But there is still a pressing need. We have a larger team this year, who are all volunteering their services, but who still need airfare and accommodations. We have two chaplains, a seminarian, a lead chaperone, 6 assistants and two guides. My eldest son, Walter, is volunteering to join the French tent-building team. This means that he and one other young man will forego walking the pilgrimage itself and instead help build the camps for 15,000 pilgrims—truly grueling work.

So, you get the idea. The Remnant is committed to offering as much American assistance to this massive traditional Catholic operation as possible. It’s God’s work, but it’s hard work. And it requires financial commitment, too—though not a lot. The three days of pilgrimage are spent walking, the nights are spent on the ground in floorless tents, and the rations are meager (thin soup, bread and water). There are no creature comforts. So every dollar donated to this effort goes to the cause, and there’s still time to get involved.

Donations of any size will be accepted in exchange for donor names and prayer intentions being placed on the Prayer List, which means donors will be prayed for every day—by name—and their intentions will be carried on pilgrimage all the way to Our Lady’s ancient “play house”—Notre Dame de Chartres.

And this year, by special arrangement, your intentions will be carried deep beneath the old cathedral, to the crypt where the veil of Our Lady is kept, the oldest part of the great gothic cathedral—built by St. Fulbert of Chartres in the year 1000. 

So join us, at least in spirit. Pray for the success of the Pilgrimage, which this year is appropriately dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima.   Help me and I promise to do all in my power to honor your faith and confidence by using every waking moment to prepare the young American pilgrims for the war for Catholic restoration and counterrevolution to which they are so desperately called.  Time is running out, and this pilgrimage is like boot camp for the Church Militant.  

Thank you, God bless you, and Vive le Christ Roi! 

Don't forget to leave us your name and prayer intention. 





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Last modified on Monday, May 8, 2017
Michael J. Matt | Editor

Michael J. Matt has been an editor of The Remnant since 1990. Since 1994, he has been the newspaper's editor. A graduate of Christendom College, Michael Matt has written hundreds of articles on the state of the Church and the modern world. He is the host of The Remnant Underground and Remnant TV's The Remnant Forum. He's been U.S. Coordinator for Notre Dame de Chrétienté in Paris--the organization responsible for the Pentecost Pilgrimage to Chartres, France--since 2000.  Mr. Matt has led the U.S. contingent on the Pilgrimage to Chartres for the last 24 years. He is a lecturer for the Roman Forum's Summer Symposium in Gardone Riviera, Italy. He is the author of Christian Fables, Legends of Christmas and Gods of Wasteland (Fifty Years of Rock ‘n’ Roll) and regularly delivers addresses and conferences to Catholic groups about the Mass, home-schooling, and the culture question. Together with his wife, Carol Lynn and their seven children, Mr. Matt currently resides in St. Paul, Minnesota.