Friday, July 16, 2021

Some Comments on the Apostolic Letter Traditionis Custodes

This has already gone out by email to LMS supporters.

This document will be a grave disappointment to those many priests and lay Catholics who responded to the words of Pope St John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, who encouraged the use of the earlier liturgical tradition, calling it a ‘rightful aspiration’ and ‘riches’ for the Church, respectively. These Catholics have worked hard over many years, particularly since 2007, to build up the unity of the Church, which as the Second Vatican Council declared does not depend on liturgical uniformity but on unity of faith under the Pope (Sacrosanctum Concilium 37; Orientalium Ecclesiarum 2).

The provision that the EF not be celebrated in parish churches appears entirely unworkable, in the context of the careful provision which has been made over many years by bishops all over the world.

The overall negative judgement of the EF and the communities which attend it seems wholly unwarranted, and we would challenge any apologist for this document to produce real evidence that the EF has undermined the unity of the Church, compared, say, to the celebration of Eastern Rites in the West, the special liturgical celebrations of the Neocatechumenate, or the great variety of liturgical styles found in the context of the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite.

In detail, looking at the provisions of the document:

Art 1: This appears to overturn Pope Benedict XVI’s claim that the Roman Rite can be considered as having two ‘Forms’, Ordinary and Extraordinary. The document adopts the terminology of ‘the 1962 Missal’.

Art 2: This rolls back the presumption of authorisation for the 1962 Missal which was created by Summorum Pontificum in 2007. However, that claim was based on the fact that the older Missal had never been abrogated. Since this document does not formally abrogate it, this creates a legal anomaly.

Art 3.1: the insistence that groups attending EF accept, in some sense, the ‘validity and legitimacy’ of the reformed Mass is reminiscent of earlier documents (e.g. the Indult of 1984). This seems no more than an empty gesture, however, since now as formerly it is impossible to know how bishops would go about enforcing this.

Art 3.2: in practice bishops all over the world have, on their own initiative or by approving the initiative of their priests, designated where the old Mass can be celebrated. The insistence that these places not be parish churches, and that they not erect any further personal parishes, would seem to present bishops with an unnecessary problem.

Many parishes contain ‘chapels of ease’, the oratories of religious communities, and other places of worship, as well as parish churches, but it is obscure what advantage would be had, from any point of view, in transferring celebrations of the 1962 Missal to such locations.

Art 3.3: similarly, bishops have already in practice ‘designated’ when the 1962 Missal is celebrated, as they know about, and at least by implication permit, all the public celebrations of Mass in their dioceses. It should also be noted that the Epistle and Gospel are commonly read in the vernacular at 1962 celebrations, and that this document does not forbid them from being proclaimed in Latin as well, which is what normally happens.

Art 3.4, Art 5: these re-establish the system in place before 2007 when bishops had to permit priests to celebrate the 1962 Missal. Once again, however, bishops today know and by implication permit their priests to do this, since they assign them to parish ministry or to some other task in this knowledge. Expecting priests to apply for this permission (Art 5) again will be for many priests and bishops a pointless bureaucratic exercise.

Art 3.5: Bishops always have the power to regulate and, for sufficient reason, to close down, pastoral activities in their dioceses. What this, and many other provisions of this document, appear to establish, however, is a hermeneutic of suspicion towards the 1962 Missal and those who celebrate or attend it: almost, that they be regarded as guilty until proven innocent.

Art 3.6, Art 4: To remove the bishops’ power to establish new groups, and to permit newly ordained priests to celebrated the 1962 Mass, seems to contradict the document’s insistence on bishops’ authority and discretion.

Art 6 and 7: these effectively abolish the authority of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith for matters connected with the 1962 Missal, which was reiterated only a short time ago when Pope Francis amalgamated the Pontificum Commission Ecclesia Dei with the CDF.

If implemented rigorously, this document will seriously disrupt long-established celebrations of the older Missal, and will drive a great many faithful Catholics, who desire nothing more than to attend the ancient Mass in communion with their bishops and the Holy Father, to attend celebrations which fall outside the structures of the Church, above all those of the Society of St Pius X.

Joseph Shaw, Chairman of the Latin Mass Society

Support the Latin Mass Society


  1. The only small glimmer of light I can find is that even thougj the MP stops new Personal Parishes being created for the traditional Mass it doesn't stop Traditional Mass Shrine Churches being created. The ICKSP and FSSP churches in the North West are all tecnically Shrine Churches and the new MP doesn't seem to apply to them and doesn't prevent new Shrines being established in other Diocese

    That said I'm hopping mad at what Pope Francis has done He has created division where none was needed Summorum Pontificum was achieving what Pope Benedict wanted namely to bring the various wings of the Church together and Pope Francis has kicked that noble aspiration in the teeth

    1. I could not agree more, Neil - but I suspect Bergoglio will extinguish that small glimmer of light as soon as he realises it exists.

    2. It then becomes a game of legal cat and mouse. Pope Francis has to have the 'problem' brought to his attention, then.he has to draft the appropriate legislation then promulgate it, in effect saying 'sorry got the wording wrong last time' It all takes time

  2. My problem is with Pope Francis claiming that the omniscient Holy Spirit can give 2 opposite sets of advice to 2 Popes. Pope Francis' claim seems to suggest that the Holy Ghost could not foresee the difficulties caused by the Holy Spirit giving contrasting advice. I, personally, have no problem attending Novus Ordo Mass (without roller skates please) & do so on a weekly basis but I receive deeper help from the traditional Latin Mass on Sundays. God grant us a Pope who will unify our Church rather than try to divide it. As christ said "the gates of Hell shall not prevail against His Church" but humans can make it easier for them.

    1. Well said, David; although from now on I will have a problem attending a Novus Ordo Mass. At least the revised translation has given it some semblance of dignity, but how long before Bergoglio and his chums reverse that, too?

  3. Sorry to have omitted the capital letter from "Christ" mea culpa!!

  4. This is just awful. I have recently seen the blogpost from Dom Bede of the Glastonbury Monastery to say that (following the motu propriu and advice from Bishop Lang tomorrow's 12.30 Mass will be the last at St Mary's. I cannot even start to say how utterly devastated I am by this announcement.
    I converted to Catholicism in my mid-thirties (1992), convinced by the Real Presence and the apostolic succession, but was appalled by the protestantised wishy-washy liturgy so I trundled along in first gear for years, until 2007 and Summorum Pontificum. Having thought that the "Latin Mass" was simply the Novus Ordo mass in Latin (which of course it can be) I was intrigued and went along to a traditional Latin Mass - and discovered why I had converted. Since the, my faith has really taken off - until now.
    Bergoglio has always made his dislike of tradition known, but I never thought that even he would stoop to this.
    The SSPX beckons. Just so sad and unnecessary.

  5. I have sympathy with your thoughts about the SSPX but I feel that regardless of the overtures made by Pope Benedict this new 'motu proprio' will again drive a wedge between them & the Church.

  6. I dislike people referring to Pope Francis as 'Bergoglio' It is rude and it's also stupid, opponents of the Traditional Mass point to remarks like that and say 'see these Traditionalists have no respect for the Pope so no wonder they need to be dealt with'

    1. In Rome it is the custom to informally refer to popes by their surnames: i.e Papa Montini, Woityla, Ratzinger, and Bergoglio. No disrespect in this.

    2. You are entitled to your opinion, and you are also entitled to call me rude and stupid. I can forgive you for that, but I can never forgive this pope for what he has done.

  7. We are not in Rome we are in Britain were referring to someone by their surname is usually regarded as rude
    Also the examples you mention have the prefix 'Papa' ie recognising the Papal title

  8. For those who love the Church this action by Pope Francis must be looked at in a positive light. From now on every practising Catholic has to make a decision: either SSPX or the Novus Ordo (or, God forbid, give up religion) The Holy Father has effectively abolished the soggy centre and, as Archbishop Lefebvre once remarked, those who think that they can have their Catholic Tradition coupled with obedience to Modernist Rome will be in for a shock. We cannot anticipate what God's plan is for His Church but this may be seen as a prelude to divine intervention on a massive scale.

  9. This Motu Proprio is undoubtedly valid in Catholic Canon law but I suspect that several of its provisions could breach Equality Law in the UK and EU. The MP requires Bishops to ensure that those attending the Latin Mass do so outside normal Parish Churches a form of Apartheid or ‘separate but equal’ which is arguably unlawful discrimination on the basis of belief.

    Also those attending the Traditional Mass are supposed to be questioned re their acceptance of Church teachings and the 2nd Vatican Council something that is not required of any other group in the Catholic Church. Arguably that would constitute unlawful harassment

    If the British Bishops attempt to enforce this decree fully they could have a nasty legal challenge on their hands. The same would apply within the EU

    Neil Addison
    Barrister at Law
    Author: Religious Discrimination and Hatred Law, Religious Freedom and the Law


    1. Yes indeed Neil -- and it could well be argued that the different treatment foreseen for priests ordained before or after 16 July 2021 (i.e. their degree of eligibility to celebrate the TLM) raises the possibility that the MP violates the "protected characteristic" of age under the Equality Act 2010.

  10. I am beginning to see a silver lining to this black cloud that has descended on us. With the exception of the Bishop of Clifton, it seems that bishops are saying: Continue as you are doing at present. Some add: at least for the time being.

    I suspect that in the coming months, congregations at Latin Masses will grow, and bishops will not want to upset the applecart. Even the Bishop of Clifton may feel impelled to eat his words.

  11. Anonymous11:57 pm

    La pandemia ha fatto esplodere la sana informazione a grandissimi strati della popolazione mondiale di tutti e cinque i continenti dell’esistenza e della non abrogazione della Messa cattolica pre innovazioni conciliari sui quali non oso pronunciarmi certo io, che sono alla ricerca della verità e non sono in grado di donarla ad alcuno. Certamente ho professato in modo aperto e leale perchè pubblico il mio compiacimento per la scoperta della libertà di recarmi ad una Messa in latino appena finite le proibizioni alla deambulazione nel mondo reale, sopportando di dover resistere davanti ad un pc. Scoprire di essere stata prevenuta con un Motu Proprio per fermare ogni possibile richiesta al Vescovo è vera e propria persecuzione artata traendo informazioni per rivoltarle contro a chi non tradisce e agisce nell’oscurità. Un massone deve riunirsi in segreto; perchè opera con il male, un cattolico agisce come figlio della Luce davanti agli altri affinchè risplendano le sue opere buone e sante..