NewsFri Feb 29, 2008 - 12:15 pm EST
Renowned French Pro-Life Abbot Dies at Age 80
By Pete Vere
Dom Gerard Calvet, the retired abbot of Ste. Madeleine du Barroux monastery and France’s former international consultant to Human Life International, passed away yesterday at the age of 80.
His death came after years of declining health due to a stroke he suffered during the late 1990’s.
Dom Calvet, who founded the Benedictine branch of the world-wide traditional Catholic movement, was one of the first prelates to reconcile with Pope John Paul II under the 1988 papal document Ecclesia Dei adflicta, and was a life-long advocate of Christian culture an morality.
His 1986 book Demain, la Chretiente (Tomorrow Christendom) presented one of the first post-Vatican II indictments of the culture of death and its effect on Europe. The book also offered a blue-print for restoring Christian culture and morality in Europe.
Dom Calvet first became known to the international pro-life community in the 1990’s after he and several of his monks were jailed during the Christmas season.
Dressed in full monastic garb, and carrying rosaries and specially galvanized chain, Dom Calvet had led an early-morning procession of traditional Benedictine monks to a French abortuary.
Moments after the abortuary opened, the monks rushed into the operating room and barricaded themselves inside.
They then chained themselves to the equipment and began to chant the monastic office of prayer in Latin.
The monks spent the day praying the rosary and chanting old Gregorian hymns.
It took the combined effort of the local police and the fire department over 10 hours to break through the barricade, cut through the chains, and arrest the monks.
No abortion was performed in the abortuary that day.
Dom Calvet and his monks were subsequently jailed, however, French authorities released the monks after the arrest sparked massive protests among the country’s devout Catholics.
The monastery requests prayers for the repose of Dom Calvet’s soul, as well as for the members of the community.