More Reactions To Traditionis Custodes

More Reactions To Traditionis Custodes July 23, 2021

How not to respond to the Pope

May be a Twitter screenshot of text

How to respond to the Pope

Some Honest Criticism

For the record, I think this decision by the Pope is wrong and I think the reasons he gives, though partially true, do not sufficiently justify this action.  I do not attend a TLM Mass and attend instead an Ordinariate parish, but I greatly respect the spiritual fruits that have come from those parishes that celebrate the TLM. I find the motu proprio rather cold and harsh, and find it puzzling that a Pope who speaks so much of mercy and accompaniment when it comes to people in immoral sexual relationships – – going so far as to send a personal letter to Father James Martin thanking him and comparing his ministry to that of Jesus – – should suddenly now turn so harshly against a small number of Catholics of a traditionalist bent.  Where is the accompaniment? Where is the dialogue?  Where is the reaching out?  Where is the frank analysis of why so many Catholics of this type find the mainstream Church so dull and uninspiring that they feel compelled to worship in older forms? These too are his sheep but Pope Francis clearly wants no part in “smelling like them” and prefers instead the odiferous stench of ageing German refugees from the sixties.  Apparently, some sheep are more equal than others…
What all of this points to is that the debates and controversies that we see now all around us are not going to go away until we start taking seriously the deep spiritual crisis that is at the core of every single one of them.  And we are not going to get anywhere so long as we persist in seeking bureaucratic or “structural” solutions to what are at root deeply spiritual problems.  You can legislate away the widespread use of the Tridentine liturgy, but you cannot legislate away the conditions of possibility that led to its rise in the first place.  You cannot legislate away the boring and banal mediocrity of so many suburban Catholic parishes.  I am a cradle Catholic, a former seminarian and a trained theologian.  And I attend an Ordinariate parish rather than my territorial parish.  And no motu proprio can legislate away the reasons why I do.  The Church can remove the Ordinariates tomorrow and ban every Latin Mass and every altar rail and every veil and every extruded tongue at communion time, and mandate that all Catholics must worship with the “Gather” hymnal in heart shaped churches, with bare concrete walls, holding sweaty hands, while watching maladroit octogenarians do liturgical dance in the sanctuary with streamers, sparklers, and sock puppets, and it will do nothing to ameliorate the spiritual dread that gnaws at us all.  All that such legislating will ever do is to deepen the abyss below us as it hollows out the heavens above us.
 No photo description available.

I am a Novus Ordo man.

I don’t agree that the Roman Missal promulgated by Pope Pius V in 1570 entombed the Roman Rite in ecclesiastical amber, such that it forever remains (as one traditionalist friend recently put it) “the most authentic expression of the Roman Church’s lex orandi [rule of worship].”

That being said, I also think that the recent apostolic letter Traditionis Custodes [Custodians of the Tradition], which attempts to repeal Pope Benedict XVI’s generous permission for easier use of the Traditional Latin Mass in the 2007 apostolic letter Summorum Pontificum, was theologically incoherent, pastorally divisive, unnecessary, cruel—and a sorry example of the liberal bullying that has become all too familiar in Rome recently.

In many American parishes where the Extraordinary Form has been offered as well as the more common Ordinary Form, the unity of the Church has not been impaired. That some proponents of the Extraordinary Form think themselves the sole faithful remnant of a decaying Church is certainly true, and their presence online is depressingly familiar. But it is an empirically unsustainable slander to suggest, as Traditionis Custodes does, that that divisive superiority complex (coupled with an ideologically-driven rejection of Vatican II) is the new normal for those who wish to worship at Masses celebrated with the Missal of 1962. Roman judgments should not be based on the hysteria and antics of the Catholic blogosphere. George Weigel, Liberal Authoritarianism and the Traditional Latin Mass | George Weigel | First Things

Support of the Pope’s Decision.

I also feel more comfortable with Mass in the vernacular, which is what I celebrate every day. And I’ve enjoyed Mass in the vernacular in many languages—in English of course, but also in Spanish on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, in Swahili in Kenya, in French in Lourdes, in Italian in Rome, and in Arabic in the Holy Land.
So I most enjoy Mass when it is celebrated in the vernacular. But, as I’ve written before, if something brings someone closer to God (and I’m speaking of those who appreciate the Mass in Latin) it is to be reverenced. So I reverence the devotion that many have for the Latin Mass.
At the same time, we must take seriously Pope Francis’s consultation with bishops from around the world, in which he inquired about the on-the-ground results of “Summorum Pontificum.”
Some have rejoiced in the greater freedom for the celebration of the Latin Mass since Benedict XVI’s document, but it has also been, sadly, a source of growing and sometimes heated division among some Catholics. At least in the United States, some Catholics now speak of “Traditional Latin Mass parishes,” as if in opposition to “Vatican II parishes.” That does not bode well for unity.
 Overall, I agree with Francis’s “motu proprio,” not simply based on my own experience of the growing divisiveness over the Mass, but even more his consultation from bishops around the world, who have weighed in on the experiences of the People of God. It was a kind of discernment in which the Pope consulted widely, listened to the Spirit and decided.
I hope even those who enjoy the Latin Mass can receive the Holy Father’s motu proprio in that way. Fr. James Martin, SJ  July 17 at 1:00 PM 
In 2019, one effort by fans of the Tridentine Mass to provide research bolstering the claim that the rite was “quickly growing” and its followers more devout and orthodox than other American Catholics only served to show how hollow such claims are. In an article for First Things, a conservative magazine, sociologist Audra Dugandzic revealed how flawed the so-called study was, the chief problem being that it was a survey of self-selected Tridentine Mass attenders.

Bishops Respond


History & Changes

Does this idea of finding unity through the “Latin Mass” hold up to scrutiny? Fundamentally, it is based on a mistaken view of the history of the liturgy. The liturgy of the 1962 missal is not “the Mass of the ages.” It was only codified for the Western Church by Pope St. Pius V in 1570; as the liturgy of the Western Church, it only lasted for about 400 years, from 1570 to 1970. Even during that time, there were numerous changes and revisions, and of course, the various Eastern churches continued to use their own rites. Before 1570, there was a lot more diversity in the European liturgy. In some ways, liturgy in the middle ages was more like the current form of the Roman Rite than like the 1962 missal. In many places, the Mass included public intercessions (in the vernacular), a sign of peace given to the laity, and an offertory procession. There were more “options.” as they are now dismissively called. In some places, blessed bread was distributed after Mass, as it is today in some Eastern Rites. Liturgical gestures such as genuflection and kneeling only came into vogue in the 1100s. The custom of reading the beginning of St. John’s Gospel at the end of every Mass only became universal in the 1500s. In medieval Spain, there were three liturgical readings: one from St. Paul, one from the Old Testament, and one from the Gospels; this should sound familiar to those who attend the current form of the Roman Rite.

As well as all the diversity in the Western Rites, the Church has always included the many Eastern Churches with their fascinating array of liturgies. They use languages ranging from Syriac to Aramaic to Slavonic and contain many different “anaphora” (the equivalent of the “canon” or “Eucharistic prayer” of the West.) The Maronite Rite alone contains over seventy different anaphora! Language such as “the Mass of all the Ages” tends to perpetuate the unfortunate marginalization of the Christian East.

Going further back in time, the western liturgy was initially in Greek. St. Peter and St. Paul would have celebrated the liturgy in Greek, as would have most of the saints and Fathers of the Church in the first three centuries of Christianity.

If the supposed unity with the past created by attending the Mass of St. Pius V extends to those worshiping in such a diverse range of languages and liturgies, then it is hard to see why the current form wouldn’t do the job just as well! There’s more difference between the liturgy of St. Peter or the modern-day Alexandrian Ge’ez Rite and the 1962 Roman Missal than there is between the 1962 Roman Missal and the Mass of Vatican II. Malcolm Schluenderfritz,United to the Past through the “Latin Mass”? | Where Peter Is

 No photo description available.
 The pope has not prohibited priests from saying Mass in Latin. In fact, the standard official version of the current missal is in … Latin. Various parts of the world use translations into the vernacular from this basic text, which can also be used to say Mass in Latin. What Pope Francis has restricted is the rite that was codified after the Council of Trent (1545-1563) and promulgated by Pope Pius V in 1570. The Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) called for the liturgy to be updated and renewed, and in 1970 – four hundred years after the Tridentine missal – Pope Paul VI promulgated a new missal, the one nearly all Catholics around the world follow at Mass in their own language. Priests can still celebrate “the Latin Mass,” just with the new format and formulas which express a different ecclesiology and theology than the older version. “If you like the Latin Mass, you can keep the Latin Mass, because the Missal of Paul VI is the Latin Mass,” Adam Rasmussen, an adjunct professor of theology, wrote at the blog Where Peter Is.

 Latin Mass Hysteria | SAPIENTIA (

May be an image of 1 person
No, Benedict hasn’t been betrayed. A successor making a different decision on a pastoral matter is in no possible way a betrayal.
A pope isn’t bound to his predecessor’s decisions in such things. Benedict was not bound to the limits his predecessor set. St John Paul II wasn’t betraying Paul VI when he reversed that pope’s restrictions on the old Mass.
That’s just life in a Church with popes. It’s the reality of a Body moving through history and adjusting its course as it goes.
As Newman said in his own way, it is one of the things in the Church’s favor. The ship sails on, steered by its captain, responding to storms, currents, reefs, mines, the wrecks of lesser ships, pirates, other enemies, remaining herself and carrying her people yet always moving on. That means the captain may steer hard to port when his predecessor would have steered hard to starboard. The captain actually at the wheel has to decide.
That’s not “betrayal.” That’s the nature of the Catholic Church. David Mills July 20 at 2:12 PM 

The US holds the monopoly on the TLM

While “The Latin Mass Directory”——an online listing of churches and chapels where the pre-Vatican II Mass is celebrated regularly and with a local bishop’s permission, may not be comprehensive, Archbishop Di Noia said that from his experience, it is accurate in indicating that the older liturgy is offered far more in the United States than any other country. It appears to be no coincidence that the only official translation of Pope Francis’ documents provided by the Vatican were in English.
No photo description available.
 The United States, which is home to just six percent of the world’s Catholics, is home to nearly forty percent of all Tridentines Masses, with 658 sites. France, Great Britain, and Italy are the next most popular, with 199, 157, and 91 sites (which can be a parish or other chapel or designated spot) respectively. Indeed, Europe and the Anglosphere account for more than eighty-six percent of all Tridentine sites, and if you removed the fifty-seven sites in Brazil – the world’s most populous Catholic country – there would be hardly any in Latin America, Africa, or Asia, the continents where the Catholic population is largest and fastest-growing.

What Next?

Pope Francis’s motu proprioTraditionis Custodes has been the cause of no small amount of alarm and sorrow in the hearts of many of the faithful. Not only alarm and sorrow but confusion and questions as well. As more than a few bishops have made clear with public statements, thinking and praying over what the Holy Father desires and how practically to bring it about has led to more points of confusion that they will look to the Holy See to clarify. This state is exacerbated by the swiftness—“entering immediately in force”—with which the document’s changes are to be implemented.

No small number of bishops have responded by saying “Status quo ante” until they have time to interpret a document they saw for the first time last Friday. Others have said nothing, doubtless discerning their best course. In effect, they are creating, in the absence of one, an ad hoc vacatio legis—a time for laws to be examined, questioned, clarified, and edited through a cooperative participation of many good minds. Pope Francis points to Pope St. Pius V, who established for the Church a single Roman missal, but the first Dominican pope gave three months (six for dioceses beyond the Alps) for his famous bull to come to complete effect.

Asking Pope Francis the Rite Questions | Catholic Answers

No photo description available.

 I have no doubt that some traditionalists will tootle off to an Eastern Rite Catholic congregation of some sort.Others will be disobedient and continue to celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass or we may see a resurgence of the Society of St Pius X or the emergence of a new schism.  Not good.

I hope the priests and people who are devoted to the Traditional Latin Mass might decide to follow the way of “subversive obedience.”

Celebrating the Novus Ordo Mass does not mean everyone holding hands and singing Kumbayah.

Remember the flexibility of the Novus Ordo is a two way street. Sure, Sister Sandals and Father Fabulous might celebrate with sock puppets giving the homily and singing  happy clappy folk music, but Father Biretta can also use the flexibility to his advantage.

He may celebrate the Novus Ordo in Latin. Ad Orientem. He can use all the Gregorian chant he likes. Wear fine vestments. Have well trained altar boys. Include some of the “extras” like the prayers at the altar, the Prayer to St Michael etc. Administer communion to the faithful kneeling and on the tongue. Encourage  traditional devotions in Latin.

In other words let’s celebrate the Novus Ordo Mass joyfully, reverently and obediently fully informed and guided by the Traditional Latin Mass.

 I urge the faithful, to pray fervently for Pope Francis, the Bishops and priests. At the same time, in accord with can. 212, §3, “[a]ccording to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess, they have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons.” Finally, in gratitude to Our Lord for the Sacred Liturgy, the greatest gift of Himself to us in the Church, may they continue to safeguard and cultivate the ancient and ever new More Ancient Usage or Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.
-Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke Statement on the Motu Proprio «Traditionis Custodes» – Cardinal Raymond Burke (
 No photo description available.

Traditionis Custodes is a reminder that as a whole the Eucharist must be celebrated in a manner that draws the faithful into the Mystery of God.  It must be celebrated reverently and beautifully regardless of language or Missal.

Pope Francis has not banned the Latin Mass.

Those who are weeping and disgracefully disparaging Pope Francis must have not read the document.  The same goes for those who see this as a victory over those who prefer the Extraordinary Form.  The document is brief and direct, it’s worth a read. Father Pablo Migone, Pope Francis, Traditionis Custodes, and the Latin Mass (

Apostolic Letter issued “Motu proprio” by the Supreme Pontiff Francis “Traditionis custodes” on the use of the Roman Liturgy prior to the Reform of 1970, 16 July 2021 | Francis (

Browse Our Archives