Even by its own logic, Traditionis Custodes is an unnecessary use of papal power—and another illustration that despite all his talk about decentralization and synodality, Pope Francis has frequently overstepped the bounds of his own proper authority.
Restrictions on the traditional Latin Mass were necessary, the Pontiff argued, because the traditionalist movement had become a source of division within the Church. He said that when the Vatican surveyed bishops about the use of the traditional liturgy, the responses confirmed the divisions.
We have not seen the results of that Vatican survey, of course, so we cannot gauge the depth of concern among the world’s bishops. True, after the promulgation of Traditionis Custodes, several bishops confirmed that they were uneasy about the traditionalist movement. Then again, a number of bishops reported that they had no problems with the trads in their own dioceses.
Granted, some Catholics who attend the traditional liturgy find that they are no longer satisfied with the Novus Ordo, and grow alienated from their parishes. (I wonder: if a drinker who samples fine craft beers loses his taste for Budweiser, is that an argument against craft beer?) Then again, many Catholics who regularly attend the Novus Ordo liturgy also become unsatisfied, and drift away from the Catholic Church altogether. Surely the ongoing departure of countless thousands from the faith is a more grievous sort of division than the formation of little traditionalist enclaves.
But I digress. Let us assume, for the sake of the argument, that some traditionalists really have been divisive, causing problems for their local Catholic communities. If that has been the case, then the local bishops have always had the authority—indeed the duty—to intervene, to correct the situation. The diocesan bishop can remove a pastor, close a parish, or even ask a religious order to leave. No doubt such disciplinary action would prompt canonical appeals, but can anyone doubt that in the end, the Vatican would back the bishop’s decision?
For any bishops who saw traditionalists undermining the unity of the faithful, the solution was always close at hand. So why did Pope Francis, who so often speaks of decentralizing the Church’s decision-making process, seize on this alleged problem as a reason for Roman intervention?
And why did this Pope, who exhorts bishops to “accompany” those who are estranged from the Church, close off an effort to “accompany” traditionalists? With Traditionis Custodes—and even more pointedly with the subsequent responsa ad dubia from the Congregation of Divine Worship—the Vatican ordered bishops to take one particular approach to the “problem” of traditionalism, and to seek permission from Rome for exemptions from that approach.
Nor is this a consistent application of Vatican authority. Bishops are not required to ask (or in any case do not ask) for Vatican permission before allowing other variations from the approved liturgical forms (the Clown Mass, the ‘70s Mass, etc). In the German-speaking world, especially, Catholics now regularly see liturgical celebrations that bear little resemblance to the Novus Ordo.
The rush toward a crackdown on the traditional liturgy—regardless of whether or not diocesan bishops want it—is obviously not a “synodal” initiative. For Pope Francis, the suppression of the ancient liturgy is a priority, and throughout this pontificate he has never hesitated to act decisively on his own priorities.
Traditionis Custodes was issued in the form of a motu proprio—a term that can be translated literally as “by his own motion,” or more smoothly, “on his own initiative.” In a perceptive post on his Crux site, John Allen remarks that the motu proprio is “the purest use of papal authority possible.” It is revealing, then, Allen continues, that the motu proprio has been a favorite instrument for Pope Francis:
He’s now issued this kind of edict 47 times in less than nine years in office; by way of contrast, Pope John Paul II issued just 30 motu proprio across the almost 27 years of his own reign. That’s an average of more than 5 motu proprio per year for Francis, and right at one a year for John Paul.
Allen made that comment after the Pope released another motu proprio—his second of the week—shifting some powers away from the Vatican, to be vested in diocesan bishops and episcopal conferences. Was this a move toward the decentralization that the Pope often touts? Don’t count on it. The administrative powers covered in this latest papal legislation were limited and specialized: the authority to establish inter-diocesan seminaries, to publish regional catechisms, to regulate the satisfaction of Mass stipends. And notice that in making these changes, the Pope did not consult with the world’s bishops; he presented them with the new rules as a fait accompli. When Pope Francis wants something done, forget the rhetoric about synodality; he does it himself.
The above comes from a Feb. 17 posting by Phil Lawler on Catholic Culture.org.
It’s so amusing to see people defending a Mass that the bishops of Vatican II said needed to be reformed and replaced.
If you want the TLM, you reject Vatican II. It really is that simple. So just face the music and go to the SSPX. Because the TLM is no longer the prayer of the Vatican II Catholic Church.
Pope Francis is saying that the Church needs to be committed fully to Vatican II. No more humoring the trads who want to ignore that Vatican II has happened and that it ordered the church to do away with the 1962 Missal.
Go to the SSPX, you who have made the TLM into an idol. Within your lifetimes the TLM is going to be outlawed in the Catholic Church. It has begun already.
It’s amusing to see people defending Vatican II as if it come down from Heaven like the 10 Commandments. New Mass for a New Church for a New Religion.
Well, this is definitely heresy.
Sure, just ignore the decision of an ecumenical council in union with the pope. Didn’t come down from heaven, but about as close to it as you can get in the Catholic Church.
Why should I join a schismatic group?
Can’t see that that solves anything.
And spare me your verbal gymnastics claiming that you are not in schism.
This is not correct. No one is going to “outlaw” the TLM. That is not how it works.
Mass is Mass.
Going to the TLM does not reject Vatican II.
There are people who attend the TLM who reject Vatican II or what they think it is.
Do not go to the SSPX, please.
Your soul is better off staying in full communion with the Church.
go to sspx– No. Many Church clerical leaders have made Modernism and Protestantism into a huge idol. And no, the Council Fathers never believed in doing away with the 1962 Missal. Pope Francis has overstepped the bounds of his proper papal authority. This is similar to extremely radical, secular movements of Cancel Culture and Political Correctness — radical, fanatical Church leaders cancelling, rejecting 2000 years of Church history, and embracing Modernism and ecumenized Protestantism– demanding that we all follow along, erroneously — politically correct, according to their beliefs– or else, threaten your existence, as a Catholic.
I attend an SSPX chapel because I couldn’t take the never knowing what level of irreverence to down right heresy at my local novas order. Simple as that. No ick no fssp. The only non SSPX had been banished by the bishop to a church 2 hrs away. I have arthritis in my hips.
You are making too much of why many just want the tlm. I dont care what you think or say. You argument and your demeanor are unappealing and uninteresting
I have been told by good priests, too, that if there is not a reverent orthodox newer Catholic mass or a Traditional Latin Mass in the area that it is all right to go to the SSPX, so I understand your position and would have no problem doing the same thing myself. I am blessed, though, that there are good masses of the newer and traditional kind in my area allowed by our bishop. I do buy books put out by the Angelus Press (SSPX Press) as Leaflet Missals Company and others have sold them for years, and their English translation of the Adoro Te Devote is the most beautiful as far as I am concerned.
My intent has been to worship and not be sede. I do believe PF is Pope as does SSPX Clergy. Thx for your comment and charity.
I would not go to a Mass where the priest is suspended. I would rather go to any valid, licit Mass. If there was irreverence, I would stay after Mass and make reparation.
Anne TE’s point is a myth: that if there is no “reverent” Mass around, that that’s an excuse to go to a Mass offered by the beloved SSPX. Myth. Which “good priests” told you that? Priests of the beloved SSPX? Please don’t lead people into sin by disseminating myths and falsehoods. The beloved SSPX has no legal ministry in the Catholic Church, apart from what has been provided by Pope Francis. If a Catholic goes to their Mass while other valid and licit Masses are offered in the area, that is a transgression of the laws of the Church. Doubtful you get divine graces because of that transgression.
Evidently, Jon, you did not read what I said as you misinterpreted it. And I will discuss it no further.
I did some research on this issue a few months ago. Phil Lawler is right on. If memory serves, Pope Francis has issued dozens of MP’s in his pontificate, more than the last four popes combined. I agree that the Holy Father’s push for “synodality” (which, by the way, is a made up word) is really a sort of clever cover for what has become a very autocratic and single-minded pontificate, often void of much real collegiality among his bishops who often seem to be as surprised as we clergy are are when these motu proprio are issued on an almost monthly basis, it seems. I make no judgment about the autocracistity (another made up word) of a pontificate, but it certainly worth noting that, like most church liberals, what Pope Francis says, i.e.,”I want more participation by local churches and the laity” and what he actually does. i.e., “I will issue motu proprios and canonical rulings at will as needed” are often two very different things. Personally, I believe the ways and methods by which the Holy Father administers the teaching office is mostly based on the way he was treated as a young Jesuit in Argentina. He was an outcast then, and as such, is now, some thirty years later, prone to operating much in the same way in Rome.
It’s apparent that we have a Pope who speaks so much of collegiality, accompaniment, synodality, dialogue, collaboration and the like, yet acts unilaterally and without consultation more than any other Pope (in recent history, at least). This need not be taken as a criticism. But, does anyone deny it’s an accurate reporting of the facts? Pope Francis, without consulting other bishops (except for maybe some in the Vatican’s inner circle), has unilaterally changed Canon Law and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. I’m not saying he cannot do that; simply stating the fact that he has. And, the fact that he has issued relatively way more motu proprios (“on his own Initiative”) than other popes is striking. Traditionis Custodes is only one example of many. And, the Vatican’s secret deal with the Communist Chinese government was brought about by the criminally predatory former cardinal McCarrick. Why didn’t the Pope consult with other bishops, specifically Cardinal Zen and other Chinese bishops, before signing that?
All of us need to never forget we’re called to pray for the Pope (and all clergy) daily.
Why do they always play the victim?
You are the ones who are to accompany others to salvation.
You are not the ones who need accompaniment.
You are already there.
This is not a stumbling block for faithful Catholics.
Exactly how does a Pope overstep the bounds of his authority by issuing a moto proprio?
Use your brain!
Interesting question. Another one: how did the Church function for most of her history, 15 centuries, without them?
A Motu Proprio was first issued by Pope Innocent VIII in 1484, as he reigned between a couple of Borgia popes. As for the Pope who invented motu proprios, he fathered illegitimate children and as Dr. Rodney Stark writes, “in 1488 Pope Innocent VIII accepted a gift of a hundred Moorish slaves from King Ferdinand of Aragon, giving some of them to his favorite cardinals. Of course, Innocent was anything but that when it came to a whole list of immoral actions. However, laxity must not be confused with doctrine. Thus while Innocent fathered many children, he did not retract the official doctrine that the clergy should be celibate. In similar fashion, his acceptance of a gift of slaves should not be confused with official Church teachings. These were enunciated often and explicitly as they became pertinent.” So, we had, basically, a Pope who didn’t follow the teachings of the Church, including his own.
Why not consult broadly with bishops or convene synods of bishops or even call councils when necessary? That worked pretty well for the most of the Church’s history. Our Church, the Church founded by Jesus on the Apostles, didn’t begin five centuries ago, like the Protestants. Why “go it alone?” A Pope is not a monarch.
The moto proprios are on the Vatican website. Most of them deal with judicial, financial or Vatican administration. There might be something that someone disagrees with but there is nothing inappropriate.
And how do you know that he hasn’t discussed these things with the bishops. They have ad limina visits every 5 years.
Do you even know what a synod is? What moto proprio do you think was worthy of a Synod?
He does not have to call an ecumenical council for stuff like this. That would be ridiculous.
This is just the latest anti-Francis thing by lay Catholics who make their living writing on the Internet and need clickbait.
My comment is not “anti-Francis.” It may be considered anti-Innocent VIII, who invented motu proprios.
What about my question, how did the Church function for most of her history, 15 centuries, without them?
My comment is rather anti-motu proprio. There are, and have been, other ways to manage and govern the Church.
I’m pointing out the unilateral, monarchical nature of motu proprios. By their nature, they are on a pope’s own initiative, not because bishops around the world were bringing a problem to his attention. (A pope can, as you likely know, issue other types of statements or legislation or teaching.)
And, in answer to your question about discussing TC with more than a few Vatican bishops, do you really think a significant number of bishops would tell the TLM communities to essentially “carry on” as usual and that the pope would’ve issued TC in the way he did if there had been broad consultation with bishops around the world?
And, where is the spending time with the sheep and accompaniment that the Pope has, so rightly, emphasized?
Again, my point is about motu proprios in general, not the TLM or the current pope.
The Church shouldn’t have moto proprios because you don’t like them?
I have no problem with them.
Most people don’t.
We know he polled the bishops on TC.
It is possible that he discussed other issues with them at their ad limina visits.
me, the issue is not whether I don’t like them and you do. You may be thrilled Pope Innocent (though not so much) invented them 3/4 the way through the Church’s history. But, they’re unnecessary. Why won’t you answer a simple question: how did the Church function for most of her history, 15 centuries, without them?
Look at the great things that happened long before we “needed” such.
He doesn’t: the pope has supreme and total and full judicial authority in the Catholic Church, which he may always exercise immediately, and there is no recourse against his decisions.
CCD-please don’t give John Allen any more attention that he deserves.
There is a deaf priest who is pastor of a church for deaf Catholics, in San Francisco. He learned to say the old Latin Tridentine Mass, and he loves it. His congregation loves it, too! They have sign language, and voice interpretation in English, for all Masses.
Our Archbishop has announced a Sacra Liturgia Conference which will take place June 28-July 1, at St. Pattick’s Seminary. These conferences are held in major cities, worldwide, to seek to restore beauty and reverence in our Catholic liturgy (both forms of the Mass), as well as promote love for the Eucharist. Many outstanding speakers will be present for the Conference– Cardinal Sarah, Cardinal Pell, Bishop Steven Lopes, head of the Anglican Ordinariate, the Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Gerasimos, outstanding traditional Catholic architect, Duncan Stroik, Fr. Joseph Fessio, S.J., founder of Ignatius Press. Composer Frank La Rocca’s newly-commissioned Mass setting, “Missa Sancti Juniperi Serra,” will be performed by the Benefict XVI Choir. Cdl. Pell, Cdl. Sarah, and Abp. Cordileone will each offer the Holy Tridentine Latin Mass, on different days. Bishop Lopes will offer a Mass in the Anglican Ordinariate Rite. There will be workshops on our Sacred Music for young Catholic singers, who will sing at one of the Masses. Cdl. Pell will celebrate First Vespers in the old Latin pre-Vatican II Rite, on the first day of the conference. There will be Catholic liturgical scholars and Catholic musicians there.
My post of Feb. 21 at 4:33 am, was edited. Unfortunately, the word “Benedict,” of the “Benedict XVI Choir,” was misspelled. Also, Martin Baker, past president of the British Royal College of Organists, and Master of Music from 2000-2019 at Westminster Cathedral (the Mother Church of Roman Catholics in Great Britain) will conduct singers for a Mass celebrated by Cardinal Pell. The Sacra Liturgia conferences were founded by Dom Alcuin Reid, founding Prior of a famous French monastery– who is an internationally acclaimed liturgical scholar. He wrote a famous book, “The Organic Development of Liturgy,” with a preface by Pope Benedict XVI (emeritus), published in 2005 by Ignatius Press. Dom Alcuin Reid will be at this Conference. You can purchase tickets through Eventbrite.
In regards to the upcoming Sacra Liturgia Conference at St. Patrick’s Seminary– Kansas City Chiefs kicker, Harrison Butker, a big advocate for the beautiful Latin Tridentine Mass, will be at the Conference. There will be a big reception for him, after the closing Mass.
Pope Francis acts just like recent and current Democrat Presidents.
Would you rather he were like Trump?
THIS moto is losing its mojo