By Phil Lawler ( bio – articles – email ) | Feb 23, 2023
OK, I think I understand now.
- The Vatican “carried out a detailed consultation of the bishops in 2020” regarding the use of the traditional Latin Mass. Although we’ve never seen the results of that consultation, Pope Francis determined that “the wishes expressed by the episcopate” called for a crackdown on traditionalism. But the bishops who wanted that crackdown can’t be trusted to do it themselves.
- In a “synodal” Church, the Vatican listens carefully to all the faithful, and serves the needs of the diocesan bishops—in this case, by telling them what to do.
- In Traditionis Custodes (#4), when the Pope wrote that the diocesan bishop has “exclusive competence to authorize the use of the 1962 Roman Missal in his diocese, according to the guidelines of the Apostolic See,” what he meant was that a diocesan bishop cannot authorize the use of the traditional liturgy without explicit permission from the Holy See.
- Traditionis Custodes set forth the guidelines for diocesan bishops to follow. Canon Law (#87) gives bishops the authority to offer dispensations from liturgical guidelines, unless the Holy See reserves that authority to itself. Nothing in the language indicates that the Holy See reserved that authority. But it did, and you should have known that.
- Although it is obvious from the above language that the Pope wanted the Dicastery for Divine Worship to approve any dispensation from the guidelines of Traditionis Custodes— “an absurdity” to think otherwise—the Vatican still felt it imperative to issue a new document “confirming” that message.
- Pope Francis is acting to unify the Church—“to press on ever more in the constant search for ecclesial communion”—so he felt it necessary to take actions that will leave thousands of Catholics frustrated, angry, and dispirited. He wants to “reach out to the marginalized,” so he needs to marginalize traditionalist Catholics.
- Ecumenism is “not something optional” for this papacy. Yet the Vatican has taken peremptory action to strip diocesan bishops of their normal powers and to suppress an ancient liturgical form. These steps will undoubtedly be noticed by the bishops of the Orthodox churches, who cherish both their own authority and their liturgical traditions.
- It remains licit (under some circumstances) to celebrate the traditional Mass in a school auditorium, but not in a beautiful parish church. The liturgy may be celebrated by older priests, but not those newly ordained. Because we want to appeal to young people, and to those drawn to the way of beauty.
- Pope Francis tells us that “the passion for evangelization—that is, apostolic zeal” is “a vital dimension for the Church.” He emphasizes that the Church “is not closed in on itself, but turned outward, a contagious witness of Jesus—the faith is also contagious—reaching out to radiate His light to the ends of the earth.” But this does not apply to traditional Catholicism. You may (for now, in some places, under certain conditions) be comforted, strengthened, and enriched by the traditional Mass. But you cannot promote it. The Eucharistic sacrifice, in any valid form, is the “source and summit” of Catholic spiritual life. But if the Mass is in Latin, don’t tell anyone about it.
- In order for the Church to grow, it is necessary to prune off some of the fastest-growing branches, so that the dry yellow leaves will get more sunshine.
All perfectly clear now?
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