In response to a request from a group of the faithful in the Archdiocese of San Francisco in June, I agreed to allow a monthly first Wednesday celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass in the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption. The request having been received and granted before the issuance of Pope Francis’ motu proprio, Traditionis custodes, the first of the monthly Masses was celebrated on July 7th, the 14th anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI’s motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum.
Since Pope Francis issued Traditionis custodes, I have been grieved by certain disrespectful responses; some have even included slanderous attacks on the Pontiff. I support Pope Francis, and his concern that those who are drawn to more traditional forms of Catholic worship also affirm the validity of the Novus Ordo form of the Mass and, indeed, of the Second Vatican Council itself. As the visible head of the Church, the Pope has a global vision of Church life and can perceive things that we cannot from our more local perspective.
I also support the other concern Pope Francis articulates in his accompanying letter to the bishops, but has been overlooked by many in these recent discussions: his denouncing widespread liturgical abuses. Such abuses have been condemned by various levels of Church leadership for decades now; yet, they continue. In addition to satisfying the legitimate desires of some Catholics, then, the Traditional Latin Mass can also serve as a reference point to enhance the celebration of the Novus Ordo Mass.
Pope Francis is concerned with preserving unity. While celebrations of the Traditional Mass will continue, the focus on unity must always be before our eyes in every celebration of the Mass, in whichever form or rite. In addition, greater attention and effort must be placed on restoring dignity, reverence and a sense of the sacred in the celebration of Masses according to the current edition of the Roman Missal. Especially now it is incumbent upon all Catholics to show respect to the Holy Father, and as well as patience and understanding toward each other regardless of the form in which one chooses to worship.
As I said when the motu proprio was published July 16th: “The Mass is a miracle in any form: Christ comes to us in the flesh under the appearance of Bread and Wine. Unity under Christ is what matters.”
The above comes from an Aug. 5 statement from the Archdiocese of San Francisco.