Bishop of Chur will not celebrate the liturgy of the fraternity

Bonnemain attends Huonder's funeral at Society of St Pius X despite criticism

Chur - At his own request, Chur's former bishop Vitus Huonder is buried in the seminary church of the Society of St Pius X. The Swiss bishops do not attend – except for Huonder's successor. Bishop Bonnemain now explains why.

Published  on 16.04.2024 at 14:14  – 

Bishop Joseph Bonnemain of Chur remains the only Swiss diocesan bishop to attend the funeral of his predecessor Vitus Huonder in the seminary church of the Society of St Pius X. In a statement published on Tuesday published on Tuesday, he defended his presence against criticism and reiterated his stance on the community with which Huonder spent the rest of his life: "The Society of St Pius X has an irregular status in the Catholic Church."

Bonnemain emphasised that he would be present, but would not actively participate in the liturgical celebration. From the outset, he had regretted that his predecessor lived with the fraternity and wanted to be buried there. wanted to be buried there. "When I, as Bishop of Chur, attend the funeral of a former diocesan bishop of the diocese, I do so in the attitude in which I stand at the grave of every human being. It is not for me to pass judgement on their life and work. Only God knows our motives and intentions," Bonnemain continued.

In the past few days, the bishop had received "recommendations, warnings and statements" on his announced participation through various channels. The arguments put forward had been considered by him. Bonnemain sees no direct connection between the canonical status of the Society of St Pius X and the "old injuries and tensions" in the diocese of Chur. "It is high time that we put them behind us and take a step towards each other. If we in the Catholic Church are not prepared to act in this way, we can no longer speak credibly about reconciliation, peace and fraternity," Bonnemain continued. The requiem for Huonder in Chur Cathedral next Friday will also be celebrated in this spirit.

Swiss diocesan bishops are not sending official representatives

Last week, the other Swiss bishops announced that they would not be attending the funeral and would not be sending official representatives. Bonnemain announced that he would not be attending "in his capacity as Bishop of Chur". The other bishops will be on a retreat organised by the Bishops' Conference or in Lourdes during the funeral.

Huonder died on 3 April at his retirement homeInstitute Sancta Maria of the Society of St Pius X in the canton of St Gallen and, at his own request, will not be buried in the bishop's tomb in Chur, but in the seminary church of the Society of St Pius X in Écône in Valais. The diocese of Chur announced that Bonnemain had assured Huonder at their last meeting on Easter Monday that he would "naturally" respect his will. Huonder, born in 1942, was bishop of the Swiss diocese of Chur from 2007 to 2019. He was considered a representative of the conservative wing of the church in Switzerland and repeatedly caused a stir with his verbal attacks on sexual doctrine, the church constitution and the protection of life. After his retirement, he moved to the Institute of the Society of St Pius X and increasingly advocated the pre-conciliar liturgy. (fxn)