“Private” Masses banned in St. Peter’s Basilica?

The recent unsigned document from the Secretariat of State is yet another insult and assault on the priesthood and a glaring violation of ecclesial hospitality to laity who visit the church which is the common home of all believers.

Basilica di San Pietro, Città del Vaticano (Simone Savoldi @simonesavoldi | Unsplash.com)

At the conclusion of World Youth Day in 2013, Pope Francis urged the young people in Rio de Janeiro, “¡Hagan lio!” We apparently have another fulfillment of that wish with the latest decree emanating from the SS (that’s shorthand in “Vaticanese” for “Secretariat of State”).

On March 12, an unsigned document from the SS was sent to Archbishop Giovanni Giordano, responsible for the physical maintenance of St. Peter’s Basilica, and to the canons of the Basilica, indicating that “individual celebrations” (or, inaccurately so-called “private” Masses) would no longer be allowed, as of March 22. There are many oddities connected with the document, which I wish to address presently, and then proceed to deal with the substance. Suffice it to say for now, that this decree has raised a firestorm among priests from around the world.

First of all, the document is unsigned. We have been subsequently (unofficially) informed that its author is Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra, sostituto, successor to the infamous Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu; this man also has a somewhat checkered background. Why would the SS be concerned, let alone have competence, regarding the liturgical life of the Basilica?

Second, why is Archbishop Giordano an addressee? (Actually, I have a thought about that, which I shall share momentarily.)

Third, why are the canons of the Basilica summarily informed about such an issue? Indeed, the Chapter of the Basilica has canonical responsibility and jurisdiction over that edifice and over what goes on therein. Were they even consulted? There is no evidence of that. And, if not, what about the “collegiality,” so often vaunted by this Pope? Rather, this seems like yet another bizarre, unthought-out command from Mount Olympus.

Now, why this document? Some sources claim that it emerged from the will of the Pope himself because he is supposedly “annoyed” by the crowds of people milling about the Basilica in the morning! Why should that bother him? Beyond that, one would think that any cleric (let alone the Pope) would be delighted with crowds in St. Peter’s. Another possible rationale is financial, which has some credibility since we know that the Vatican is in the hole for some $61 million this year and also because the prelate in charge of the Basilica’s upkeep is a recipient of this document.

So, what’s the financial angle? From as long ago as I can remember, going back at least forty years, the sacristy of St. Peter’s has been packed with priests desiring to celebrate Holy Mass. Each priest is given a fresh amice, purificator and finger towel (which are sent to the laundry immediately after his Mass), along with an alb, cincture, stole and chasuble (which have to be cleaned regularly and eventually replaced due to use). Of course, he is also given wine and a host as well. An altar boy is assigned to bring him to an available altar, where candles are burning and electrical lighting is provided. This can add up to a hefty sum over the course of a year. If memory serves, there is a box in the sacristy, where priests can leave a donation to help defray some of the costs; I am not sure how many even notice the box!

The altar boy assigned to celebrants comes from the high school seminary, which has come under scrutiny lately over cases of alleged sexual impropriety among some of the students. There seems to be some momentum to have the institution closed. If that happens, the boy (who is unpaid) will have to be replaced by an adult (who will be paid). Yet another financial consideration.

Now, if money is the motive behind this “instruction,” why not say it? I have no doubt that any number of individuals or organizations would be more than happy to foot the bill. Another point to consider is that if the number of pilgrims hadn’t dried up due to lack of interest in this pontificate (it is important to note that the embarrassing numbers pre-date the “pandemic”), there would be more dollars and euros in the Vatican coffers.

Now, onto more substantive dimensions of this debacle.

The decree indicates that, except for the one daily Mass in Latin at 5:00 p.m., all the other public Masses will be in Italian. The Basilica does not belong to the Diocese of Rome, the Republic of Italy, or the Italian people (whom I love dearly). St. Peter’s is the home of the Church Universal, which is the precise symbolism of the colonnade’s outstretched “arms”. Since priests will now be prohibited from offering Mass for their pilgrims,1 priests and their people (from every corner of the earth) will now have to “participate” in the Sacred Liturgy in a language unknown to them. Where is Vatican II’s “full, conscious and active participation” when you need it? Under these circumstances, not only will a priest be forced to celebrate in an unknown language (will the Eucharistic Prayer at least be in Latin?), but he will be forced to concelebrate Mass – explicitly forbidden by all the documents of the Church from the Council forward.

The document expresses concern for “liturgical decency.” What does that mean? What manifestations of “liturgical indecency” have been observed (except for the presence of the Pachamama at the Pope’s Mass!)? Throwing around facile expressions may give the air of theological validity to an argument, however, there is no argument even proferred; we are simply told to accept what has been decreed (a consistent pattern in this pontificate).

Francis has wanted to be recognized as the Pope of “accoglienza” (welcome). Where is the hospitality for pilgrims and their priests? Where is the fatherly support for Vatican officials who, for decades, have begun their day offering Holy Mass in the Basilica, getting a coffee and pastry on the run (with their brother priests), and then heading to their offices? Further, do Parra and the Pope realize the constraints under which pilgrim groups operate? A tour guide will give a group 45 minutes for Mass; no one will be able to wait around until the next publicly scheduled Mass, which could be more than an hour away.

Some initial reactions suggested that this was a ploy to marginalize the Extraordinary Form Mass. Ironically, this does the exact opposite as it seems that priests wishing to celebrate Mass in the Usus Antiquior can do so and, ironically, in one of the most coveted spots of the Basilica, the Clementine Chapel (directly behind the present niche which is above the relics of St. Peter, so that it correlates to the present high altar of the Basilica).

Word around the Piazza is that some of the Pope’s “magic circle” have surveyed the landscape of the Basilica in the early morning hours and have been disturbed at the sight of priests (many, very young) celebrating “alone.” They take this as evidence of the “clericalism” constantly targeted by Francis, unable to distinguish between the flaw of “clericalism” and a healthy priestly identity.

A most regrettable part of the “Francis effect” of the past eight years is that priests and seminarians (and bishops, too) have known the sting of this Pope’s regularly discharged “nastigrams” at us, which contributes in a major way to the terrible level to which priestly morale has sunk during this time. It is disheartening for a “veteran” in the priesthood like myself to have to counsel young priests and seminarians not to give up on the priesthood because of what they have witnessed in this pontificate. That perception is likewise shared by many potential candidates for the seminary, which is why we have seen those numbers dry up to a most troubling degree in the past few years.

Due to the Wujan virus, many priests discovered for the first time the celebration of Holy Mass without a congregation – and they were surprised to find it spiritually uplifting. The Pope and his “collaborators” ought to be thrilled that priests on vacation (or officials of the Curia) are so devoted to the Mass that they want to offer the Eucharistic Sacrifice whenever and wherever possible. Pope John Paul II – a Pope who didn’t simply love the priesthood but loved priests – actively encouraged priests to celebrate even alone, for their own spiritual benefit but also for the benefit of the whole Church.

When would-be liturgists or left-wing ideologues condemn “private” Masses, they demonstrate an embarrassing ignorance of the cosmic nature of the Mass. No priest ever celebrates “alone,” which is precisely why the Preface of every Mass ends by reminding all that our present act of worship is being joined by all the angels and saints. It’s the fulfillment of the vision described by the Prophet Isaiah in the sixth chapter of his book.

This document needs to be walked back: it is yet another insult and assault on the priesthood and a glaring violation of ecclesial hospitality to laity who visit the church which is the common home of all believers. This is yet another self-inflicted wound, needlessly inflicted. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” – unless your goal is “to make a mess.”

Perhaps we can launch a campaign called, “Give us back our home!” It might be a good idea to register your sentiments about this matter to our Apostolic Nuncio, so that he can pass them on to those responsible at the SS:

The Most Reverend Christophe Pierre
Apostolic Nunciature
3339 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington, DC 20008

The banning of “individual” celebrations of Mass would have troubled Cardinal Newman. St. John Henry knew the meaning, beauty and power of the Mass; it pained him greatly that he couldn’t offer it for most of the last year of his life. His sorrow for that physical inability was multiplied many times over, precisely because of his appreciation for the Mass. Reflect on these words he puts on the lips of his literary alter ego in his novel, Loss and Gain:

To me nothing is so consoling, so piercing, so thrilling, so overcoming, as the Mass, said as it is among us. I could attend Masses forever, and not be tired. It is not a mere form of words — it is a great action, the greatest action that can be on earth. It is not the invocation merely, but, if I dare use the word, the evocation of the Eternal. Here becomes present on the altar in flesh and blood, before whom angels bow and devils tremble. This is that awful event which is the scope, and the interpretation, of every part of the solemnity.


1There is mention of priests perhaps being “authorized” to do this, but what does that mean and “authorized” by whom?

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About Peter M.J. Stravinskas 277 Articles
Reverend Peter M.J. Stravinskas founded The Catholic Answer in 1987 and The Catholic Response in 2004, as well as the Priestly Society of Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman, a clerical association of the faithful, committed to Catholic education, liturgical renewal and the new evangelization. Father Stravinskas is also the President of the Catholic Education Foundation, an organization, which serves as a resource for heightening the Catholic identity of Catholic schools.


  1. Reverend P. Stravinskas article’s usually have some substance in them. But here… I am actually surprised this article got published. The article lacks any serious analysis. But more importantly, it lacks any good faith.

    It starts with camuflaged Nazi-insults, moving on to showing he doesn’t understand what “hacer lío” means and have not bother to ask to a native Spanish speaker. Anyway, then the Revered moves to unsustained and purely speculative theories of why this prohibition is taking place (assuming always the worse, of course) and concluding with a number of rhetorical questions that -rhetorical as they are- are not there to be answered, but to tell us what the author feels.

    An emotional response and a poor journalistic work, which reminds me why people often choose to leave stablished magazines to find deeper reflections on independent blogs.

    • From Christopher Altieri, editor at Catholic Herald, who worked in the Vatican for over a decade:

      It appears to come from the Secretariat of State, but why State should be the competent authority over the internal order of the basilica is anything but apparent. So, what gives? The order isn’t signed, so there’s no indication who actually gave it and no easy way to know to whom one should complain, did one have a mind to register some grief.

      It offers some preambulatory mumbo-jumbo about Lent being a season in which to give “greater centrality” to “the Word of God and Eucharistic Celebration” – but Lent will be almost over before the decree takes effect, and the decree itself has no sunset clause. So, Orwell much?

      It mentions “wanting to ensure that Masses in St. Peter’s Basilica are conducted in a climate of greater recollection and liturgical decorum,” but doesn’t say what specific problems it is addressing, nor does it discuss how to implement the new measures so they achieve the desired effect. At best, it’s fixing what ain’t broke.

      There simply is no good reason for this. More to the point: Every reason given (or conceivable in light of what has been given as a reason) is bad. There’s a lot more one could say about it, but basically, it’s government-by-slogan. …

      It is an exercise of brute force clothed in a gossamer administrative fig-leaf, with implausible reason given — raising questions of the true motive — ill-considered, ad hoc, juridically slapdash at best, and did I mention it’s plain silly?

      Read the entire piece. So there’s that.

      And there is this strong statement from Cardinal Burke, who probably knows a few things about the ins-and-outs of the Roman Curia.

      • After reading many of the comments, I have concluded that the policy regarding the celebration of Mass, with its ambiguities an unknowns, is a perfect, contemporary Vatican strategy. It encourages all manner of responses and sets people against each other. “Make a mess” is alive and well.

    • Thanks for pointing out the Nazi-insults in the article. I missed them in my first reading of it – and the second one too. It is also funny that you should slam the piece for lacking substance.

    • Bad will, traditionalist schismatic article?

      I am a native spanish speaker. I grew up going to mass in Argentina, Chile and Perú. I also heard many times the priest encouraging us to go out to “hacer lío”, particularly before going out on processions. It has a joyful meaning to it. A small group of young Africas, present in Río, asked me about the meaning. When I told them, they all smiled and seemed to have got it by their own anyway. So like Paul, I am pretty surprise this keeps been brought up again and again in determinate circles. Don’t you have Hispanics in the US? I honestly can only attribute this to pure bad will.

      And yes, it seems bad will indeed. I also noticed the free nazi-calling. But furthermore, in the third paragraph, Reverend Stravinskas refers to an active Archbishop as “that man”.

      I mean, why not? He is already saying the Archbishop is head of an SS-like institution. Do we respectfully refer to Himmler as Reichführer? No, we call him “that man”… like to an Archbishop of the Catholic Church? This is very confusing. I normally listen these comparisons only from the mouth of very anti-catholic Assembly of God evangelics. And not even from all of them. Just from a radical few.

      But the Reverend is still a Catholic, is he? And an active member of the clergy, I suppose. And yet, he speaks of the Pope (Our Pope!) as “Francis” further down in the article. I just don’t happen to recall listening any priest ever taking about previous popes (granted, I am not that old) in terms of “John Paul” or “Benedict”… “Those men”, you know?…

      Shouldn’t a priest, above all catholics, refer to the Pope in minimum respectful terms, specially at the time of publicly articling a disagreement?

      So Paul is correct, this article sounds more like an angry teen “camouflaging” his insults towards his teacher because he was unhappy with the grade. And because it feels like that, it’s hard to focus on the substance. Or better said, if there where any substance, the abusive language would discredit the main argument. But there isn’t anything to discredit.

      In order to be rigorous and not speculative, the article should have ended with “The document is unsigned”. That is, probably in the first paragraph. Indeed, if it’s not sign, it’s not official. If it’s directed to the wrong person, it could be even fake and your reputation as a journalist pursuing the truth will be damaged. If a document is not signed, wrong in formalities and possible fake, prudence says you should wait until more information comes out. Or rather look up for sources and get interviews to clarify the reasons behind this new limitations (instead of inventing the whole thing up yourself).

      The Reverend also seeks to put in doubt the reputation of Archbishop Peña Parra. He says the Archbishop has a “somewhat checkered background”. And he just leave’s it there, for our imaginations to fill up the rest. Why you do not share with us instead that background? That would make more sense, since the restriction has been written by the Archbishop, not by the Pope.

      And what is this about launching a campaign before we know all the facts? Talking about teenagers…

      Does Rev. Stravinskas understand these rules of common sense (and of the virtue of patience)? My guess is that of course he does. He is a writer and an educated man. As a well read man, he knows well his readers will also complete the other picture: If the Archbishop is the head of the SS, then who is Pope Francis in this whole structure?

      A real catholic does not talk about the Pope in those terms and does not freely put publicly in doubt the reputation of a fellow priest and Archbishop without any evidence whatsoever.

      Unfortunately, since Rev. Stravinskas is an instructed man, I can only doubt of his good intentions.

      • “I just don’t happen to recall listening any priest ever taking about previous popes (granted, I am not that old) in terms of “John Paul” or “Benedict”…”

        Then you can’t have been paying attention. When writing articles, it is quite common to refer to popes simply by their names, whether the author is a priest or not.

        ” But furthermore, in the third paragraph, Reverend Stravinskas refers to an active Archbishop as “that man”.”

        Actually, he referred to him as “this man,” but in either case it’s not an insult of any kind. Don’t you know any native English speakers?

        Fr. Stravinskas made it quite clear that “SS” is the acronym used by folks in the Vatican for the “Secretariat of State.” You must have real conniptions when you see the nameplate of the Minnow in “Gilligan’s Island.”

      • You write as if nothing at all dubious, heterodox or scandalous has happened in Rome over the past seven years. Your silly rant exposes your idolatry of Bergoglio, not your faithfulness as a Catholic.

    • It starts with camuflaged(sic) Nazi-insults,

      That’s a conclusion reached only by the obtuse. At the Vatican itself the office of the Segreteria Di Stato is known as the SS.

      With your feigned act of wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth over an article that “lacks any good faith”(sic) I doubt you’ll raise nary a whimper about the cornucopia of actual insults that the Argentine Peronist Pontiff has leveled at many over the last eight years.

      The Pope Francis Little Bumper Book Of Insults
      “We have a very creative vocabulary for insulting others!” Pope Francis ~ 19th June 2016

    • Your comment is one of the least thoughtful, most insulting and vacuous I have ever read. For me and I suspect many Catholics, what has just happened in re. St. Peter’s and Holy Mass is an affront to anyone who has had the great experience of being in the symbolic home of every Catholic and even surrounding oneself with the great gift of the Holy Sacrifice. Father Stravinskas is a marvelous, articulate and believable voice of Believers.

  2. From the supreme, divinely instituted sacrament to be exercised daily and without unreasonable restriction to a discretionary function subject to unreasonable omission. Banning of private Mass at the very center of Catholicism sends a message. A bad one. Danger of transmission at a private Mass is negligible. Covid is applied here as an apparent instrument for exercising an ulterior ideology. For the Church at this unique time in its long history, the Vatican has shifted its focus away from a salvific sacramental Church to a proponent for international brotherhood. “There’s no indication who actually gave it and no easy way to know to whom one should complain, did one have a mind to register some grief” (Altieri). Of course. It’s designed to be both effective, and rather ghostly.

  3. Added to my comment, Cardinal Burke’s criticism, referenced by Carl Olson of the clandestinely written order banning private Mass at the Basilica explains it is focused on the liturgy itself, and demeaning of a priest offering Mass alone. It’s designed more in the character of a permanent instruction. In effect the letter is a repudiation of the efficacy of the offering the Mass. The very center of our faith.

  4. I do agree with Fr Stravisnkas that the target of strange decree does not seem to be traditionalists per se: It’s more broadly about a modern theological conception of the Mass as horizontal, communal, and immanentist. It is a of a piece with recent efforts, widely reported over the oast few years, to push concelebrations of Mass to the maximum extent possible in pontifical academies and seminaries in Rome. And I have little doubt that the large numbers of mostly youngish priests offering individual (sine populo) Masses was triggering to…well, *someone*.

    That said, however:

    “Some initial reactions suggested that this was a ploy to marginalize the Extraordinary Form Mass. Ironically, this does the exact opposite as it seems that priests wishing to celebrate Mass in the Usus Antiquior can do so and, ironically, in one of the most coveted spots of the Basilica, the Clementine Chapel.”

    But there is no doubt that this *will* greatly reduce the number of Extraordinary Form Masses celebrated in St. Peters. We know there a fair number, every single day. Now it will be restricted to a single altar for only a few times a day – and while the Clementine Chapel *is* wonderful, it is also very small with very limited seating for any laity who *do* want to attend.

    It is hard not to think that this was an attractive secondary impact of this decree to the men behind it.

  5. It’s not that the priest cannot offer mass, but rather, under the new rules, any priest will be able to concelebrare in any of the morning masses, while all other masses stay scheduled as they have been. The Traditional Latin Mass is to be celebrated in the Clementine Chapel, which is considered the “gem” of grottos in the Basílica, from which one can see the sepulcher of St. Peter. Concelebrated masses date back to ancient times and were done as a sign of unity. These days with so much division within the Church because of all the talking heads on the Internet, and especially with sectarian traditionalist groups who spread the scandal that the ordinary mass is invalid, these new rules may have had something to do with establishing some uniformity and order.
    Obviously all the gossipers are going to spread all sorts of wild accusations and insinuations..

    • To the commenters Paul and Thomas, your responses indicate a similar lack of charity and insight. Why do you think this new dictat has generated such anger? The article of Father Stravinskas indicates that such anger exists. Do not dismiss it as the rantings of “sectarian traditionalist groups”. Who are these people who spread the scandal that the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite is invalid? I would classify that as “a wild accusation and insinuation”. Would you be hearing that line from priests during homilies, or priests offering Mass in S’ Peter’s basilica? The days of giving the Bergoglian regime the benefit of the doubt in all circumstances are surely now over?

    • No prominent Catholic in my lifetime has spread more scandal, caused more division, spoken more gossip, and uttered more “wild accusations and insinuations” than Jorge Bergoglio.

    • 1. The actual document of Vatican 2 on the liturgy affirms and defends the right of priests to say private Masses. Check out Sacrosanctum Concilium 57.2.

      2. Yes, the Clementine chapel is a gem BUT it’s a very, very small gem. It’s a covert way to limit the TLM. Kind of like when a Bishop says, “Sure you can have a TLM in the diocese…how about having it in this beautiful parish in the middle of nowhere on the third Sunday of the month at 3:30 pm?”

      It’s available and it’s not at the same time.

      There is a particular type of conciliar churchman who would rather see empty churches and bare altars than a private mass in any rite of the Church.

      Don’t be naive.

  6. I do have to admire Fr. Peter S for his guts, especially if his bishop rides the Francis train. I have to say that I do look forward to the next conclave. I’m tired of the ironies and the reckless spouting off and scandalous refusal to clarify. A true father does not behave that way. We just hope the next one will be significantly better. We got spoiled in the 20th century, especially with JP II and Benedict.

    • The good news is that, at present, only 7 U.S. cardinals are eligible to vote in the next papal conclave. (Cardinal Wuerl turned 80 this past December.)

      The bad news is that the only trustworthily loyal, faithful, straight-down-the-middle, rock-solidly orthodox and orthoprax cardinal among them is Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke.

      Worse yet, the camerlengo of the next papal conclave will be one of the “U.S. heterodox 6” – namely, the current Prefect of the Dicastery for the Laity, Family, and Life.

  7. I’m not up on the all the ins and outs of this issue but, in the absence of some pretty good arguments, I’ll have to go with Cardinal Burke.

  8. Cardinal Robert Sarah, the Vatican’s outgoing Liturgy Chief, said that those who show hatred and hostility to the Extraordinary Form of the Mass are demonically inspired. Considering that the Devil hates Latin, as many Exorcists have attested, I cannot but agree.

  9. I am always disappointed when Catholics attack the Pope, whom we believe is chosen by the Holy Spirit. It is especially disappointing when the attack comes from within the church whether it be a cardinal, bishop or priest. I usually don’t read them but I expected better from this Priest. It was definitely not worthy to be published in my view. When I read or see attacks by the clergy and Catholics against the Pope I remind myself that there were always those within Christ’s church, even in the days before he chose Peter who tried to attack from within – namely Judas but the fact the gates of hell will not prevail against Holy Mother the Church comforts me. Perhaps Father it would be better to trust in the Holy Spirit and obey as our Heavenly Mother would want us to do and not cause scandal to our Church by these public attacks against the Pope. The tongue, or in this case the pen/computer can cause very serious damage so when we have nothing to say to build up the church perhaps it’s better to remain silent.

    • “…, whom we believe is chosen by the Holy Spirit.”

      If by “we” you mean certain Protestants, yes. That’s what I, as young Fundamentalist, thought Catholics believed (well, some do believe it, obviously, but…)

      But the Catholic Church does not teach or hold that popes are “chosen” by the Holy Spirit. Rather, they believe that the Petrine office enjoys certain specific protections against error.

      If all popes are indeed chosen by the Holy Spirit, then what to do about some very bad popes? How about, for example, the era of the “pornocracy” (or Saeculum obscurum) during the late 900s?

      Finally, not all criticisms of a pope are “attacks”. Pope Francis, in fact, has often lambasted certain priests and laity, in either specific or broad terms, with language ranging from rude to colorful to unfair. Shouldn’t someone chosen by the Holy Spirit do a bit better in that regard?

      • From Ratzinger on the Holy Spirit Choosing a Pope

        March 13, 2013 10:45 A.M.

        by Paul Zalonski

        The well-known journalist John Allen quoted Pope Benedict about the role of the Holy Spirit’s work in the conclave:

        Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was asked on Bavarian television in 1997 if the Holy Spirit is responsible for who gets elected. This was his response:

        I would not say so, in the sense that the Holy Spirit picks out the Pope. … I would say that the Spirit does not exactly take control of the affair, but rather like a good educator, as it were, leaves us much space, much freedom, without entirely abandoning us. Thus the Spirit’s role should be understood in a much more elastic sense, not that he dictates the candidate for whom one must vote. Probably the only assurance he offers is that the thing cannot be totally ruined.

      • That was a splendid reply. As some of you know, I’m not a big fan of Fr. Peter S–although he writes some marvellous things–, but I do sympathize with his frustration with this Pope. What he wrote was not an attack, and what he says is rather gutsy. A lot of clerics feel the same way he does, but they don’t have his guts. Unless he’s got a bishop who is exhorting him to these criticism, encouraging them, then I gotta be honest, he’s got kahoonas, and you have to admire that. The “same sex civil union” comment was the last straw for me. I tried hard to defend Francis, but after that media twisting of his words and the complete and utter silence afterwards, when every media source on the internet announced to the world, using such headlines as: Pope is in favour of same-sex unions”, or words to that effect, I had to admit that something was profoundly amiss with this Pope. The damage that this caused is immeasurable–not to mention his other comments, such as referring to very generous Catholics with large families as a bunch of rabbits. It’s really quite simple in the biblical sense: “If the world hates you, understand that it hated me first. If you were of the world, it would love you as its own. Instead, the world hates you, because you are not of the world” (Jn 15, 18). The world loves Pope Francis. Enough said!

  10. This letter immediately brought to mind a similar action, when an unsigned communiqué was sent from the Secretary of State’s office to the Legion in 2005 saying “there is no canonical procedure in course nor is one foreseen for the future with regard to Father Maciel.” While that letter was issued without consulting the CDF (which happened to be in the middle of conducting an investigation into Maciel) this one was sent without consulting the canons of St Peter’s basilica. So the question remains: What authority does it bear?

  11. Referring to the Secretariat of State as the “SS” and the Covid-19 virus as the “Wujan virus” is unnecessary and inflammatory. Using these uncharitable terms not only degrades your argument but confirms the worst stereotypes about traditional Catholics. Moreover, calling the Covid-19 virus the “Wujan virus” is not only inaccurate, but feeds into the anti-Asian hatred and violence that has been on the increase over the past year. You actually hurt the cause when you confirm the negative stereotypes people have about traditional Catholics. Please think before you try to be witty.


    PS: I attend the TLM.

    • I have never been accused of being a “traditional” Catholic, nor have I classified myself as such. I am a Catholic, pure and simple, which admits of no adjectives!

      • That’s nice Father. Regardless, your allusion to Nazism (SS) and the use of the term “Wujan virus” does not help your argument and unnecessarily provides ammunition to those who want to restrict the TLM. These terms are also uncharitable.

    • Questions: What evidence can you cite to back your claim that “anti Asian violence and hatred are on the rise”? Why is it “inflammatory” to call the Wuhan virus by the name of the likely locus of origin? How does that relate the fact that past epidemics have been named, for example, by their probably loci of origin, such as the Spanish flu or the Hong Kong flu?

    • This coronavirus rose to prominence in Wuhan. “Wuhan virus” is quite accurate; just as Legionnaire’s Disease is an accurate description; just as Lyme Disease is; just as Ebola is.

      Maybe you should blame the people who are doing the attacking rather than blaming someone for using a perfectly ordinary description of the disease.

      • It’s not ordinary. No doctor or member of the scientific community uses it. Sorry, but it’s purposefully provocative.

        • Doctors and the scientific community use all sorts of words and phrases that ordinary people don’t. So what? Wuhan coronavirus is an accurate description, it is perfectly ordinary, and you really ought to stop taking marching orders from the Chinese Communist Party leadership.

          • Leslie,

            Yes, educated people use the proper terms…perhaps we should too.

            But thank you for proving my point.

            Your defence of inflammatory terms and your appeal to conspiracy theories makes it easier for others to marginalize and dismiss orthodox Catholics. You are playing right into their hands by being obstinate about using ignorant terms like “Wuhan virus”.

            PS: There is good evidence that the 1918 pandemic (the so-called Spanish flu as you call it) May actually have started in Kansas. There is actual debate as to where it originated so the term “Spanish Flu” is also inaccurate. So again, it’s best to use the proper scientific terms when referencing diseases….in the name of, you know, truth. Geography is not biology.


          • It was called the Spanish Flu because Spain, not being in the middle of World War I, printed stories about it in the newspapers, which countries at war did not. And as Tony W. pointed out, it is very likely that in fact it originated in China.

            “Yes, educated people use the proper terms…perhaps we should too.”

            I’m quite educated; your post indicates (by setting up a dichotomy between “educated people” and “we”) that you do not consider yourself educated, so do accept my sympathy.

            Medical people call runny noses “rhinorrhea.” Ordinary people do not. Medical people call itching, “pruritis.” Ordinary people don’t. Ordinary people use the term “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” not “amyotropic lateral sclerosis.” “Runny nose” is quite proper, though it is not the word physicians and scientists choose to use.

            “Your defence of inflammatory terms”

            It’s not an inflammatory term except possibly to hypersensitive offense-seekers, and the Chinese Communist Party.

            “our appeal to conspiracy theories”

            To what conspiracy theories do you consider me to be appealing?

            The Wuhan coronavirus almost certainly originated in Wuhan, and in any event came to the world’s notice there. That being the case, “Wuhan coronavirus” is accurate, and I shall continue using it.

        • Interestingly enough, the Spanish flu more than likely also had its origins in China, not Kansas. I do not particularly care what a politicized medical and scientific community has to say about naming a virus that clearly came from Wuhan. The only question is whether it came from disgusting and unsanitary wet markets or from the biowarfare lab that just happens to be located there. In any case, as it was either gross negligence or deliberate malfeasance by the Chinese government that was responsible for the scope of its spread, we should call it the CCP virus. Or do you think that is insensitive to the Communist regime?

  12. The Pontiff Francis orchestrated idolatry in Rome in 2019, by which he showed his contempt for the 1st Commandment. He expects submission to his authority, while brazenly doing injustice to God.

    Our help is in the Name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth…

  13. Does the Holy Ghost aka Holy Spirit guide in the choice of a pope? One would like to think so but the Third Person of the Holy Trinity if so active has in history made some rather unwise choices.
    The God of Catholicism is not the capricious Islamic deity, God is not a puppet master nor is given to playing tricks.
    Choosing a pope is a human process in so far as we exercise free will and may make a bad choice. The wisdom element comes from the post factum recognition of that. That is the truly Sophic guidance..

  14. I do agree that the TLM being pushed to the Clementine chapel puts it in one of the most coveted spots. However, this chapel is much harder for pilgrims to get to and is extremely small. Therefore, it limits those who come to St Peter’s and want to assist at the traditional mass. Seems to go along with the current pontificate questioning those who want to go to the traditional mass. I think that’s the bigger issue as far as the TLM. That and the fact only four priests a day can offer the TLM now

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