In early November 1951, a Catholic masswas held in the cathedral of Notre-Dame in central Paris to honour the memory of Marshal Pétain, head of state of the collaborating Vichy regime (1940-44). It sparked energetic popular protests that had been encouraged by Resistance veterans’ groups, where angry crowds shouted ‘Pétain assassin!’ and ‘Death to collaborators!’ For historians of memory, there are at least two sets of source material here. On the one hand there are the rituals – the religious ritual designed to build a sense of solidarity among those who valued a military hero and political leader and who mourned his passing; and by contrast the familiar ritual of the counter-demonstration, similar in function to the first while being pitted against it. On the other hand there are the newspaper articles in which these events were reformulated by a mass press that competed to give them meaning. Thus the pro-Pétain publication Rivarol complained that the authorized news agencies had issued no photographs of the mass, so that the French reading public were left with the impression that the ‘popular’ – and therefore legitimate – event had been constituted only by the protest, despite the fact that some 6,000 people had crammed into the cathedral for the occasion.1