My latest on LifeSite.
Professor Helmut Hoping, Professor of Dogmatics and Liturgical Studies at the University of Freiburg, has written a strongly critical article on Pope Francis’s Apostolic Letter Traditionis Custodes, in the respected German newspaper, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) on July 28. The article, in German, is unfortunately paywalled, but I have seen a translation.
Pope Francis claims in Traditionis Custodes that the reformed, post Vatican II Missal is the “only expression of the lex orandi of the Roman Missal” (not, as the official English translation had it, merely the “unique” expression). Hoping points out that in 2015 Pope Francis promulgated the Missal of the Anglican Ordinariates, Divine Worship, which describes itself as a “legitimate adaptation” of the Roman Rite, and that only last year, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith published a decree on the Extraordinary Form, Quo Magis, which described it as a the “other form of the Roman Rite”. Somehow, between February 2020 and July 2021, the Holy See has radically transformed its understanding of what constitutes the “Roman Rite.”
Another oddity Professor Hoping points out in Traditionis Custodes is Pope Francis giving bishops the “exclusive” right to manage the celebration of the older Mass, he then commands them to “follow all the instructions of the Apostolic See,” setting out various limitations on what they may permit.
“But it may not be quite so easy to put an end to the old Mass. It is appreciated by many because it protects [worshippers] against the personal creativity with which many priests today assemble the Mass, disregarding the norms of the Missal of Paul VI and the right of the faithful to a liturgy celebrated in accordance with the applicable Roman Rite. With its evolved ritual structure, the old Mass resists attempts to de-sacralize it. This makes it attractive to believers with a sense of the holiness, beauty and objectivity of Christian worship, including, increasingly, young people. Not that the renewed liturgy could not be celebrated worthily and according to the rubrics. However, it is often difficult to perceive, in parish Masses, their character as a sacred act (actio sacra). It was the promotion of this idea which was the object of the liturgical reform, which found its first expression in the Missal of Paul VI (1970).”
Read the whole thing there.