La Bazarette sur la Canabière

marseilleMany years ago, I lived in Marseille to help with a traditionalist chapel near the Gare Saint-Charles. It’s an amazing town with its clearly Latin culture, crushingly hot summers and its own folklore. The accent is very particular, and I have known people able to speak the old Provençal language. One character made a lot of this culture, the actor Fernandel who played in the Don Camillo series and films like La Vache et le Prisonnier et La Cuisine au Buerre. Marseille has its extremely unpleasant aspects too like its content of delinquents and criminals. However, I have walked round the Arabic districts in my cassock and never had any problem with the Tunisians and Algerians living and working in the streets. Perhaps I would be a little more careful nowadays!

The air is thick with the smell of car exhaust and lavendar. It is Provence, where the Pastis flows and tongues are loosened. The fish stalls at the end of La Canabière facing the Vieux Port are full of the species of fish from the Mediterranean Sea, ideal for making the famous and delicious Bouillabaisse, which is a fish soup with pieces of fish in it. As the tongues start wagging, this is the famous gossip of the fish market, the bazarettes or talk of persons called bazarettes. I have heard much of the old days in the parish churches in Marseille, La Bonne Mère and the many others in town, always the curé jupitérien aware at all times of his clerical authority and the many bazarettes in the pews, just like at the fish market.

Why do I mention this great French city? Where ici on parle, on discute, on raconte beaucoup…? I return once again to our bazarette in California who now informs us in no uncertain terms that Archbishop Hepworth is back in business with the “Patrimony of the Primate”.

Let’s look at this. The former priest who was in the Patrimony of the Primate has won his parish back through the American courts from the ACA. He has put up a sign to say that he belongs to the Patrimony of the Primate and that he is under Archbishop John Hepworth. Obviously this is no secret. I imagine we will be reading a pronouncement of some kind from the Archbishop-Primate of the Patrimony of the Primate – unless of course there is an alternative TAC none of us knows about. Perhaps a new TAC is in the pipeline to rake up the debris and re-negotiate the Ordinariate with the friends in high places in Rome who can be contacted by telephone at any time… Hmm…

I’m sure a lot of the fish ladies at their stalls in the Canabière would have much to say! What did you say was the price of loup de mer and rascasse?

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