Pope Francis’ motu proprio on the usus antiquior defeats its own stated purposes

Vatican II did not intend to bring a new, distinct church into being, as the “hermeneutic of rupture” assumed, and therefore its ancient liturgical traditions could be preserved without any violence being done to the council’s true agenda.

Altar server Bradley Morley leads the closing procession during a traditional Latin Mass July 1, 2021, at Immaculate Conception Seminary in Huntington, N.Y. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)

Pope Francis new motu proprio on the traditional liturgy of the Roman Rite is, as so many commentators have already observed, a shockingly draconian exercise of papal authority, one that strikes at the heart of the spiritual life for millions of Catholics. In effect, the pope is seeking to exclude from parish churches – and ultimately to eliminate – a liturgical usage that has defined the religious culture of Catholics for centuries, a tradition stretching back in an organic continuum to the earliest days of the Church. If Pope Benedict’s own motu proprio Summorum pontificum is to be taken seriously, the legal validity of such a move would seem to be inadmissible, and many bishops appear to be dumbfounded by its implications.

But this strange document, so filled with contradictions and unanswered questions, is no less shocking for its self-defeating nature. It appears to be designed to achieve precisely the opposite of its stated goals, principally the defense of the Second Vatican Council. It seems that after so many years of suspicion regarding Pope Francis’ ultimate agenda, he has finally shown his hand, and his hand is nothing less than a souped-up version of the “hermeneutic of rupture” that unleashed chaos in the Church during the 1960s and 70s, and has continued to undermine the credibility of Vatican II since the council’s completion in 1965.

In 1988, the then-cardinal Josef Ratzinger, as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, lamented this interpretation of Vatican II and identified it as the source of the conflict that had led to the scandalous ordination of bishops by Archbishop Marcel Lefevbre that same year. In a speech to the bishops of Chile, Ratzinger claimed that cause of the break was found in a false understanding of the council that treated it like a revolutionary rejection of the historic faith, rather than an application of perennial teaching in the context of contemporary society.

“Certainly there is a mentality of narrow views that isolate Vatican II and which has provoked this opposition [of Archbishop Lefevbre],” Ratzinger told the bishops of Chile. “There are many accounts of it which give the impression that, from Vatican II onward, everything has been changed, and that what preceded it has no value or, at best, has value only in the light of Vatican II.”

“The Second Vatican Council has not been treated as a part of the entire living Tradition of the Church, but as an end of Tradition, a new start from zero,” said Ratzinger. “The truth is that this particular Council defined no dogma at all, and deliberately chose to remain on a modest level, as a merely pastoral council; and yet many treat it as though it had made itself into a sort of superdogma which takes away the importance of all the rest.”

Ratzinger told the bishops that the free-for-all innovations in the Latin rite, together with the prohibition of traditional liturgical forms, had given force to criticisms of Vatican II, adding, “That which previously was considered most holy — the form in which the liturgy was handed down — suddenly appears as the most forbidden of all things, the one thing that can safely be prohibited.”

Cardinal Ratzinger understood quite well that people were taking refuge in the 1962 missal because they saw it as a bulwark against the ambiguities and liturgical chaos that were unleashed during the liturgical reform of the late 1960s, a reform that is increasingly seen today as inconsistent with the intentions of Vatican II itself.

“While there are many motives that might have led a great number of people to seek a refuge in the traditional liturgy, the chief one is that they find the dignity of the sacred preserved there,” Ratzinger told the Chilean bishops, adding that the liturgical reform had been used as a vehicle for a program of what he called “desacralization,” the elimination of the sense of the sacred from the sacramental life of the Church.

Pope Benedict’s decision to do away with earlier restrictions on the traditional mass was made in part to help reverse this desacralizing tendency in the liturgy, but also to counteract the false narrative that the Church intended to repudiate its own history with Vatican II. The council did not intend to bring a new, distinct church into being, as the “hermeneutic of rupture” assumed, and therefore its ancient liturgical traditions could be preserved without any violence being done to the council’s true agenda.

There was no conflict between the old and the new, according to Ratzinger, and later Pope Bendict XVI. The heremenutic of rupture was a false one, and the true interpretive lens was a “hermeneutic of continuity” with the past. Proving this by eliminating most restrictions on the missal of 1962 and acknowledging its legitimacy was a major element in his effort to place Vatican II within the continuum of Catholic tradition. Pope Benedict expressed his hope that the old and new usages would gradually enrich each other, to the benefit of the whole Church.

Pope Francis’ motu proprio Traditionis custodes and its accompanying explanatory letter appears to be seeking to restore the very same state of affairs that Cardinal Ratzinger was addressing in 1988. Until that year, Catholics who wished to participate in the more ancient usage or “usus antiquior” of the Roman rite were excluded from the parish churches, and could only celebrate at irregular times with the permission of their bishop. The papal indult that outlined this system was first issued by Pope Paul VI in 1974 for the United Kingdom only, and then was expanded ten years later by Pope John Paul II to apply to all Latin rite dioceses worldwide.

This restricted permission to use the traditional liturgy provided useful evidence that the usus antiquior of the Roman rite had never been eliminated from the Church, but also indicated to traditionalists that the ancient usage was seen as dangerous for the post-Vatican II regime, so much so that it had to be contained and isolated from the rest of the Church. Traditionalists and their liturgy were in effect placed in a quarantine, as if they were somehow ill and dangerously contagious, or perhaps a second class of ecclesiastical citizen in a system of liturgical segregation.

Pope John Paul II wisely brought this system to an end in 1988, by urging diocesan bishops to accommodate lay groups that preferred the ancient usage and by lifting the prohibition of the liturgy in parish churches. A Vatican dicastery was created, the Pontifical Ecclesia Dei Commission, to provide for the needs of liturgical traditionalists and to provide mediation with the Holy See and the bishops. Eventually, in an attempt to integrate traditionalists further into the life of the institutional Church and even to promote the use of the ancient liturgical forms, Pope Benedict famously eliminated the need to obtain permission to celebrate according to the usus antiquior and mandated the Tridentine form of the rite be “duly honoured for its venerable and ancient usages.” The traditional liturgy was now on firmer canonical and theological ground.

The massive, global response to Summorum pontificum is well-documented, and its effects are clear to any careful observer. The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter and other orders in the Church stepped forward to prove that the traditional liturgy could exist and even thrive within the post-Vatican II Church, always in cooperation and with the permission of the diocesan bishop. Millions of Catholics became aware of the riches of the traditions of the Latin rite, and the perceived need for separatist solutions, such as those offered by the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X, was significantly reduced. The scandal of liturgical abuses, which had led so many away from the Church in preceding decades, was reduced by the counterexample provided by the traditional liturgical forms.

I can say from my own experience that Pope Benedict’s motu proprio, Summorum pontificum, had a tremendous effect in this regard in Mexico, where a large number of independent chapels, mostly led by sedevacantist clergy, had been offering some version of the ancient usage for decades. Now the traditional liturgy is offered at parish churches to Mexicans who identify with the liturgy of their ancestors, particularly the Cristeros, who gave their lives in defense of the Catholic faith in the 1920s and 30s. These traditional mass apostolates have flourished and have functioned in harmony with the institutional Church, and with its approval. They have not been sources of division, but profound sources of unity with the visible, institutional Church, a testimony to the continuity of the faith.

Pope Francis’ new motu proprio and accompanying letter place this whole policy in reverse, and seem to ignore the painful experience of the Church in the decades prior to 1988. In essence, the pope is claiming that the usus antiquior is so dangerous to the purposes of Vatican II that it must be placed back into its previous quarantine and ultimately eliminated entirely, in contradiction to Pope Benedict’s admonition in Summorum pontificum that “what earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful.” It is as if Francis has decided that Vatican II really does require the elimination of the Church’s traditional liturgical practices, as critics of the council have so long claimed.

Although Pope Francis decries deviations from the approved texts of the Novus Ordo Missae of Paul VI, he offers no recognition of the grave losses to the liturgical tradition of the Church that occurred following the council, even the loss of elements that Vatican II explicitly ordered to be conserved and promoted. He notably ignores the loss of liturgical Latin, Gregorian Chant, the silent canon, the ad orientem posture of the priest, and other generic elements that characterize the most profound elements of the Latin rite, and even mutatis mutandis, the Eastern rites. Although these elements can be used in the Novus Ordo, in practice they are almost never found there, and Catholics can encounter them almost exclusively in the pre-1969 liturgical books.

Now they are being told that this shelter from the liturgical storm is to be eliminated, in order to protect the reputation of Vatican II. How can this have any positive effect for the reputation of the council?

Pope Francis claims, without offering any specific proofs, that, “the instrumental use of Missale Romanum of 1962 is often characterized by a rejection not only of the liturgical reform, but of the Vatican Council II itself, claiming, with unfounded and unsustainable assertions, that it betrayed the Tradition and the ‘True Church.’” This begs the question: how can the usus antiquior be instrumentalized in this way if there is no conflict between Vatican II and the Church’s liturgical traditions? Shouldn’t it be a simple matter to prove that Vatican II never mandated the elimination of the traditional elements of the Roman rite? Indeed, it is, but by remaining silent about this, Pope Francis allows the opposite conclusion to stand, and only promotes the perception of a conflict between Vatican II and liturgical tradition.

The inevitable effect, insofar as this motu proprio is truly implemented, will be to drive liturgical traditionalists into the arms of groups, such as the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X, which expressly reject the authority of Vatican II and blame it for the liturgical revolution – status quo ante, if you will excuse the Latin. It will thus achieve the opposite of its stated purpose, and strangely almost seems designed to do so.

In his enthusiasm to eliminate the usus antiquior, the pope even seeks to downplay the fact that the Roman rite was never the only rite permitted in the Latin Church, and seems to treat liturgical diversity itself as a threat to the integral unity of the Church. In reality, both the Latin Rite and Eastern Rite churches have enjoyed a rich variety of liturgical practices from time immemorial. The pope’s ahistorical reasoning might have sinister overtones for Catholics who are integrated into the dozens of other rites that exist in the Eastern churches: if a single rite is necessary for unity in the Latin Church, why would this not be true of the Church as a whole?

Pope Benedict told us in 2007 that “there is no contradiction between the two editions of the Roman Missal. In the history of the liturgy there is growth and progress, but no rupture.” The best way to ensure this outcome, and to ensure true unity in the Church, is to protect the fullness of the historical Roman rite, and to show respect for what Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict called the “legitimate aspirations” of those who are attached to its traditions. Pope Francis’ new motu proprio will only undermine that intention.


If you value the news and views Catholic World Report provides, please consider donating to support our efforts. Your contribution will help us continue to make CWR available to all readers worldwide for free, without a subscription. Thank you for your generosity!

Click here for more information on donating to CWR. Click here to sign up for our newsletter.


About Matthew Cullinan Hoffman 18 Articles
Matthew Cullinan Hoffman is a Catholic essayist and journalist, and the author and translator of The Book of Gomorrah and St. Peter Damian's Struggle Against Ecclesiastical Corruption (2015). His award-winning articles have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, London Sunday Times, Catholic World Report, LifeSite News, Crisis, the National Catholic Register, and many other publications. He holds an M.A. in Philosophy from Holy Apostles College and Seminary, with a focus on Thomism.

55 Comments

  1. When Jesus spoke about his flesh and blood being food and drink, many of his followers could not accept his words and so began to leave. Jesus did not try to compromise with them.
    I am not saying that what we see now is in any way similar to the event I mentioned, but if people want to leave the fellowship or union with Jesus in and through his Church, over the mannerism of a ritual, then it is their faith that is in question.

    • Liturgy is not a “mannerism” nor is worship a “ritual.” A stubborn refusal to recognize the arrogance of hundred year old forces in the Church intent on having it meld with systematic Protestant secularity, with the intent to desacralize not only liturgy, but the entirety of the Church’s doctrinal and authoritative moral witness to humanity in the process, the effect of which makes the Church an accessory to such things as mass murder, is the actual trivialization and abandonment of faith.

    • I certainly did not leaved it. Just moved to the eastern rite, when I have a chance. It is a falacy to think that one rite suits all. Some prefer rock and role some prefer classical music. Although the essence of the mass is the same, some rites resonate with our inner being more than others. I am a classical music lover, and the wordings and style of the Tridentine Mass or even the Eastern Rite, lift me more than the Novus. The other foult of the Novus is, that it is not standardized. At the beginning lot of parts can be left out or changed. (Ex. Confiteor)

  2. One has the distinct feeling there are two Popes in Rome: A Contemplative Catholic Pope, and an Active Protestant Pope. Is this the first time in history that the Catholic Church has been persecuted by an acting Bishop of Rome while a contemplative PP watches on?

    • Sorry, your “feelings” about there being two popes does not matter. There is only one pope. And your attempt to cast Benedict as the bad guy since you claim he is “watching on” as the church is destroyed is noted. Shame on you.

      • You left out that Pope Francis is the one pope. Affirm that fact, please. If you will not affirm that Francis is the pope, then this combox has been confirmed as the replacement for the Crisis Magazine trad echo chamber that was shut down by the editors. Too bad. There used to be worthwhile comments made here.

        • “If you will not affirm that Francis is the pope, then this combox has been confirmed as the replacement for the Crisis Magazine trad echo chamber that was shut down by the editors.”

          Are you really going to turn down that self-righteous, trolling road? Your sorry attempts at shaping editorial decisions here are embarrassing.

          There are plenty of worthwhile comments made here. You should try to leave one.

          • Thanks to Carl. Please read above “is obliged to watch on like Siri”. My response to both comments from a 50 year old who aged 18 suffered two years in a Vatican II seminary is below. The blot on my record: too pius. I knelt during consecration… And for the record, I discovered latin mass aged 40 and have never looked back except in pity.
            https://onepeterfive.com/the-pope-that-broke-the-camels-back/

  3. Perhaps we have returned indeed to 1988. From 1958 to 2 May 1989 there was already a contemplative Pope and an Active Pope as today. The Active John XXIII, and the contemplative Cardinal Siri: who was elected in 1958 following the poisoning of Pius XII was forced to stand down post-election… ?[Taylor Marshall, INFILTRATION]. It will be interesting to see how the Modernist heresy is wrapped up for the history books, as PP Benedict XVI has today formalized the Siri situation ?

    • Ah. Here it comes. The nonsense about Cardinal Siri. Your fantasies are very mixed up. Try returning to the real world. No, Pius XII was not poisoned. Oh, maybe you mean that thing about the aliens from planet Greebo, who accidentally fed Pius some of their Greebo fruit in a gesture of good will, and thereby accidentally made him sick? But Bigfoot has looked into this, and that story is not true at all.

  4. “[A]souped-up version of the ‘hermeneutic of rupture'”. I love it.
    Great article. I have yet to see an articulate defence of TC.

      • How will it affect the 70% of Catholics who regularly attend Mass in the OF and who don’t believe in the Real Presence [Note, so that you won’t instantly dismiss me as a deranged “traditionalist”: I am a weekly OF attendee who occasionally is able to attend the EF. Lots of vehement clerical hostility and obstructionism, plus the fact that I’m an assistant organist at my parish ]? Will TC stem the continuing decline in Mass attendance within the OF?

        What do you say, Carl?

  5. Pope Benedict XVI said that Vatican II was high-jacked. We learned that the Holy Spirit guided Vatican II. Didn’t the Holy Spirit know that it would be high-jacked? The Vatican II Church blesses the disobedience and punishes the obedient.

    • George Kocan, Was the Holy Ghost present at the Hijacked Vatican ll? As Archbishop Vigano stated on the hijacking of the real Council, “By what right, by what authority did they do this”. Pope Benedict XVl called for the re-writing of the Council Documents, telling the Society of St. Pius X to obtain Canonical status because their theologians would be of great help in this endeavor. Remember Vatican ll was deliberately written in an ambiguous language. When it comes to the Holy Ghost he was already at the completed Council of St. Pope John XXlll. At the hijacked Council let us remember that man has free will so when it came to the Modernists at the hijacked Council they used their free will against God. Is not the Holy Ghost the God of peace? At the hijacked Vatican ll it was a fierce battleground of 450 Traditionalists against many who were infected with the modernist heresy. The Holy Ghost certainly intervened but God has given us free will. After the hijacked Council it was those very Council Fathers that went out and encouraged and allowed the destruction of the faith. With this encouraging article, I see there is still hope.

      • Our only disagreement, mine and yours, is your proposition that the the 21st ecumenical council of the Church (yes, with all of its sinister ambiguities) was not a council at all; and that the predictable abuses of past decades invalidate the council itself.

        Regarding the Council and the Mass, Hoffman more accurately reports, instead: “…the loss of elements that Vatican II explicitly ordered to be conserved and promoted [!]. He [Pope Francis] notably ignores the loss of liturgical Latin, Gregorian Chant, the silent canon, the ad orientem posture of the priest, and other generic elements that characterize the most profound elements of the Latin rite, and even mutatis mutandis, the Eastern rites.”

        To be precise, and truthful, it was not the Council itself (Sacrosanctum Concilium, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy) that went iconoclastic with a vengeance…the hijacking took place by airborne viruses after takeoff.

        • Peter D Beaulieu, Here is a bone of contention I have with the hijacked Vatican ll. St. Pope John XXlll reformed the liturgy for Vatican ll, we call it the 1962 Missal, also he wrote an Apostolic Constitution signed on the Papal Altar of St. Peters Basilica that concerns the sadness that priests and Prelates could not write, speak or speak fluently in Latin. He issued it with a remedy. Now, this is where I question the hijacked Vatican ll, why the need for Sacrosanctum Concilium. Sure it says good things but there was no need for it as St. Pope John had already dealt with this matter in his real Council. What happened as Pope Benedict XVl says, the hijackers had plotted the takeover, meeting together even the day before the Council to vote out the Council of St. John XXlll. My point is that St. Pope John XXlll had already completed what Sacrosanctum Concilium ventured out to do.

          • So, what’s the disagreement? Three points:

            FIRST, Traditionis Custodes (TC) must be measured against the legitimate Second Vatican Council’s [!] traditional Sacrosanctum Concilium (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, 1963), not simply Pope Benedict’s later and consistent Summorum pontificum (2007) which it presumes to abrogate. (Cardinal Burke makes this point on EWTN’s “The World Over”.)

            SECOND, the broader point is that in addition to the Extraordinary Form (not a separate Rite), the two dozen non-Latin Rites within the universal Catholic Church now also have some cause to feel in jeopardy under TC (a point made by Cardinal Muller, also on EWTN).

            THIRD, making a comparison—in 1962-5 the episcopacy was not subordinate (as merely an executive committee) to Pope John XXIII’s pre-conciliar/ preparatory commissions of the Council drafts, but nor are they individually subordinate today to synods/national conferences of bishops of limited purpose or legal competence, or Vatican operatives. The Apostolic Succession is personal…

            The related roles of individual bishops and of conferences of bishops are clarified in Apostolos Suos (On the Theological and Juridical Nature of Episcopal Conferences, July 23, 1998) which refers to “the INALIENABLE responsibility of each bishop” (n. 21-24), as also acknowledged in TC–“It belongs to the diocesan bishop, as moderator, promoter, and guardian of the whole liturgical life of the particular Church entrusted to him, to regulate the liturgical celebrations of his diocese. Therefore, it is his EXCLUSIVE competence [!] to authorize the use of the 1962 Roman Missal in his diocese, according to the guidelines of the Apostolic See” (n.2; the “guidelines” call for consultation).

            Is TC self-invalidating? Let the studying continue…

        • Agree!!! The hijack was afterwards. I have attended the Low Mass of the EF on many Sundays. The reverence is beautiful but there is no reason that we cannot have equal reverence at the OF. It seems many dioceses have reduced the kneeling at Consecration to almost nothing. That is not the true fruit of Vatican II. There is so much division and confusion that is present in the Church now. It is very painful to witness. But I trust that Christ makes Himself present in the Holy Eucharist because He said He would. “And know that I am with you always, until the end of the world!” Mt 28:20 NAB There are things about the OF that I like better. I like that my eyes can look on Jesus in the Consecrated Host for a greater duration in the OF. I believe that gazing on Him in the Eucharist is healing. I love the wording of the EF but I like it in English better. I can focus on the content of the prayer when I don’t have to focus on translation. I pray that Our Lord will pour out the Holy Spirit on all of us. I see no other route to the unity of faith found in the Apostolic tradition than a reception of the fullness of our Confirmation in the Holy Spirit. I find it interesting that “Spiritui Sancto” is not translated as “Holy Spirit” but as “Holy Ghost”.
          Spiritui sounds more like Spirit.

    • You misrepresent what Benedict said. He referred to the misuse of what Vatican II said, by the media and other liberals, who claimed every change could be made based on Vatican II, when in fact Vatican II did not authorize any of it. Vatican II was hijacked after the fact by evil men, The council itself was not hijacked at all.

      • Here is an interesting analysis of what Ratzinger said specifically about post Council liturgical reform. https://sharonkabel.com/post/ratzinger-fabricated-liturgy/

        “The liturgical reform, in its concrete realization, has distanced itself even more from its origin. The result has not been a reanimation, but devastation. In place of the liturgy, fruit of a continual development, they have placed a fabricated liturgy. They have deserted a vital process of growth and becoming in order to substitute a fabrication. They did not want to continue the development, the organic maturing of something living through the centuries, and they replaced it, in the manner of technical production, by a fabrication, a banal product of the moment.”

    • The contention that the Holy Spirit “guided” Vatican II is a relatively new contrivance of desperation to try to quell those dissenting from some particularities of its content. Almost everyone agrees that almost all of it was orthodox! But why do you think we got the CCC a couple of decades later? Because in the Synod of 1985 the vast majority of the world’s prelates acknowledged, finally, that, despite “noble and holy intentions” and despite so much good that came about from VII, much did go wrong and there was much confusion that came about as a result of some of the actual text of the documents themselves, the proverbial “spirit of VII” notwithstanding. A mindless affirmation of everything about VII would require an evil and sinful sort of submission, and no pontificate has a right to demand it.

  6. I want to thank Pope Francis. He has done more than his predecessors to make sure that the Traditional Latin Mass will never go away. I have heard that he is planning additional punitive measures to enforce his edict. If so, may we keep him in our thoughts and prayers that he does so quickly before coming before the Just Judge.
    Viva Cristo Rey!

  7. Since the beginning of Socialism in the mid-19th century, 10 of the 11 Popes prior to Pope Francis have written condemnations of Socialism, even going so far as to say that Socialism and the Catholic Church can have no connection with one another, and that it is not possible to be a Socialist and a Catholic at the same time. The only Pope who did not write such a condemnation was Pope John Paul I, who did not live long enough to do so. Pope Francis has yet to write such a condemnation of all aspects of Socialism.

    • If you think Pope John Paul II did not condemn socialism, when he lived all his life under communism and hated it, and showed repeatedly where it was wrong, you are mistaken. It all depends on how you define “socialism”. Your whole statement is very wrong. I have no idea where you get such wrong information.

      • Umm – he said the only one who didn’t write a condemnation was John Paul I, because he didn’t have enough time. That means he was saying John Paul II did write a condemnation.

      • If you think Pope John Paul II did not condemn socialism, when he lived all his life under communism and hated it, and showed repeatedly where it was wrong, you are mistaken.(sic)

        “The only Pope who did not write such a condemnation was Pope John Paul I, who did not live long enough to do so.”(emphasis added)

  8. I was sure there was no reforming Vatican ll. But this article was a breath of fresh air. I was becoming more anti-Vatican ll. This article perfectly puts things in proper perspective, as I have never read before. Now, I hope again for Christ’s Church. This past Sunday, my son and I attended Mass at an SSPX Chapel. It was interiorly a great experience. To stand at the foot of the Cross and receive the Father’s great mercy through the Holy Ghost. According to Pope Benedict XVl, this is what Vatican ll meant by active participation at Mass. Pope Benedict XVl said that it was to be done in silence. That’s how I heard Mass this past Sunday. I heard the TLM according to Vatican ll.

    • If you can plow through Aquinas, you will surely be astonished to realize what he understood as man’s “participation” in God. Read it and weep when you realize the dwarfing of intellect in the Church today.

      • Meiron, Active participation in God means to know, love, and serve Him with every fiber of our being. Pope Benedict XVl said that the Latin “active participation” has no English translation. He said it meant “Participation in silence”. The Mass is a contemplative prayer which of course requires silence. Vatican ll made no mention of strumming guitars, wildly shaking tambourines, banging at drums, etc…

      • Unfortunately, the Angelic Doctor was one of the first casualties following the conclusion of VII. Many clerics ordained since that time have no conception of his masterly philosophical system, as they don’t with much of the rest of the Church’s impressive intellectual heritage.

  9. This is a very insightful article. Thank you. I’ve always wondered why members of SSPX have had such hostility to Vatican II. It’s because they bought into the lie of the “Spirit of the Council” that ultimately viewed the Council as separating the Church from Her doctrinal roots. This, indeed, would cause many to leave the Church if it were true. Of course, any good read of the conciliar documents clearly reveal a hermeneutic of continuity.

  10. There are 20+ Eastern Rite churches in union with Rome. Why doesn’t Francis go after them? They haven’t changed their rites in centuries as well. And they don’t do novus ordo!! The Roman rite is the most ancient, so why hostility to only this one? They never changed one thing though they also went through VaticanII–the rite hasn’t changed and inside the church hasn’t changed. I’ve been numerous times to a Byzantine church and nothing was tampered with. One reason may be that these eastern rite churches used to be Orthodox. If the Vatican tried to tamper with their rites, they would probably just revert back to Orthodoxy. So Francis isn’t going to mess with them.

    • The Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X is the official name of the Society of St. Pius X, not to be confused (although it is confusing) with the The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter.

      • Abbreviations:

        The Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X (Society of St. Pius X) is often abbreviated as SSPX. Wikipedia has:
        The Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX), officially the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX; Latin: Fraternitas Sacerdotalis Sancti Pii X).

        The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter is abbreviated as FSSP, from the French “La Fraternité Sacerdotale Saint-Pierre”.

  11. Here’s an idea for Francis’ unitatis chopping block: Jesuits vs. Dominicans. How about a little Motu Proprio to call those disordered outdated Dominicans back to unity through Ignatius, Augustine, or Francis? Then the Benedictines could become Cistercians, and Salvatorians become Seraphic Carthusians? Why not corral them all into the Vatican, put them in a vat and turn up the heat so they all become one? How about that kettle of stew?

  12. Here’s an idea for Francis’ unitatis chopping block: Jesuits vs. Dominicans. How about a little Motu Proprio to call those disordered outdated Dominicans back to unity through Ignatius, Augustine, or Francis? Then the Benedictines could become Cistercians, and Salvatorians become Seraphic Carthusians? Why not corral them all into the Vatican, put them in a vat and turn up the heat so they all become one? How about that one kettle of conglomerate stew?

  13. Three years ago, I left a diocesan and joined an FSSP TLM ‘personal’ parish. I had no idea that I was joining what some have called a “mean rad-trad sede sect.” I was Catholic then. I am Catholic now. The divisive labels others fling as insults do not reflect reality. Sincere, devout, service-oriented, and faithful Catholics holding to tradition, magisterial teaching, the Holy Word of Scripture, and those who love the TLM are Catholic. First and foremost. Political and secular beliefs and charity should flow from and follow a holder of Catholic identity.

    The labels others sling? They roll off like the uncharitable, nondescriptive, uninformed false assumptions they are.

    But when the pope of Holy Mother Church deigns to claim that worship at the Mass of the Ages correlates with non-acceptance of a factual occurrence or the pastoral words of a historically factual, duly called and carried out ecumenical council of the Roman Catholic Church???, one must of necessity infer and conclude facts which fit the nature of objective fact.

    If this is the best that the leaders of our Church can offer, they now signal to the world their smallness of mind and hideousness of spirit. They place themselves on the altar of the inane and the ridiculous. As Pachamamm and homoerotic dancing acrobats, etc., had already hinted.

    The churh hierarchy has perfectly staged the story of the Modernist brotherhood’s worldchurch vision. The Modernist reform of the Catholic Church in the name of the spirit of the council hijacked, deformed, and destroyed so very much good in the Church. Yes, there was then some ossification and some legalization which could have been corrected. But to destroy 2000 years of worthy architecture, art and music, modes of worship, metaphysical philosophy and scholastic theology, to introduce psychobabble as worthy catechesis???, the result has been the undermining of the very faith of the Catholic people. That many Catholics apostasized is a revelation requiring no new eyewear.

    What to do? The OT story of Elisha, Israel’s continual wars, and Israel’s kings has opened new meaning, inspiration, and trust in the King of All Kings and Lord of All Lords. The path forward is blazing. We are already on it. The Lord came to cast fire upon the earth and He would have it blazing. (Luke 12:49) He told us that brother would stand against brother. (Luke 12:53) So here we all are.

    Kyrie Eleison. Christe Eleison. Kyrie Eleison.

  14. I’m with David J. Sheehan above (again). I think TC has awakened a lot of people’s awareness and curiosity about the TLM. And those already onboard aren’t going to go away. Delicious irony!

  15. There has not been any ECUMENICAL Council since the Great Schism of 1054.
    Today after all the Protesting shenanigans and the new secularist cults of so called “woke” Rome still maintains the pretence of Imperial Power (rather like Austria after the loss of Germany).
    By treating Vat II as Year Zero and therefore treating the Church’s Tradition as a wrong that has to extiparted, this Pope undermines any claim to authority or power.
    What he perhaps fondly imagine to be an “August and Pontifical Apostolic Decree” becomes fantastical posturing which can be safely be ignored.
    If the Throne of Peter is considered irrelevant or even vacant, it is actions such as this, that the hierarchy has done to to itself, that has made it so

  16. In my own experience, the traditionalists seem content with their rituals and worship. V2 IMHO puts emphasis on understanding and living out the faith. This I concur from the introverted nature of traditionalists who love the pomp & pageantry but rarely get on their knees ‘to wash their neighbours feet’.
    I think that we have lost focus of our Mission Statement with this discussion, we have stopped to ask ourselves how does all of this help me live out Christ’s commandment? To love God and to love my neighbour.

    • But if it is as you say, LTP, it is not a problem with the liturgical form per se of the Latin Traditional Rite. And so the solution would not be, bishops denying the Rite. Bear with me.

      As a matter of reality any practice at any level can become routinized and barren; in general in life at home or work, etc. This is not something “peculiar” to the Latin Traditional Rite.

      So then we want to boast how open we are to the whole world yet we will not extend the softness, tendresse, goodwill and dialogue to “the Traditionalists”? For why?

      Just by the way, I read your word “concur” as infer.

    • In answer to LTP: Truth in Charity, and Charity in Truth?
      Virtually every Pope bar 3 from 1717 to 1958 condemned Freemasonry – founded in opposition to the City of God; the heresy of Modernism was condemned over two centuries by the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. Since 13th May 2013 the Pope from a country he refuses to return to and in which young men are initiated into freemasonry in their early teens – stands in opposition to the last two centuries, and most of what went before. Is this normal? Since 1958 what has happened? Our page of Church history is catastrophic. This the first Acting Bishop of Rome in Church history to admonish young people for attending the eternally valid mass of Pius V… a mass celebrated pretty unchanged since the Apostles, and at the same time close access to sacrements and even Bugini’s Novos Ordo. Needless to remind readers that Bugini was also a freemason

  17. I have read that Pope Francis predicted, early in his pontificate, that he would probably cause a schism in the Church. Is this what he had in mind? Let’s not play into any schism by slinging mud at each other and getting entrenched into factions. Internal anger and division only help the devil. Better to wait until Francis is gone, and time and the Holy Spirit make any necessary corrections. This too shall pass.

  18. I am by no means siding with Pp. Francis and others re. restriction the Old Rites, but I am posing here a VERY sincere hypothetical and would be interested how my fellow CWR readers might reply: Why would the Rite of Mass in the ’62 Missal even be necessary if the Novus Ordo: 1) Used some Latin on a weekly+ basis (especially in the Ordinary of the Mass); 2) Made normative the now-virtually never used introit, offertory and communion antiphons, along with more chanting in general–especially of collects, readings (or at least the Gospel) preface and consecration; 3) Were celebrated “ad orientem”; 4) Prescribed fuller ceremonies (which were never forbidden), like incense and torchbearers “as a rule” and employed these at the principal Mass on Sundays and Solemnities; 5) Used a single “approved” national hymnal (such as exists among Episcopalians, Methodists and Lutherans) that entirely excluded the plethora of folksy-ballad/soft-rock/easy-listening arrangements AND…which would generally be used only if the antiphons were too short (e.g. during the reception of Holy Communion)?

  19. “Vatican II did not intend to bring a new, distinct church into being, as the “hermeneutic of rupture” assumed, and therefore its ancient liturgical traditions could be preserved without any violence being done to the council’s true agenda.”

    Why introduce into this council ambiguous language if it did not intend to bring in a new church? Is it not true then that the spirit of the council IS the result of the council itself ?

  20. The shocking draconian use of Papal authority was actually the initial approval to have two “forms” of the ONE Roman Rite. This is historically unprecedented.

5 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Pope Francis’ motu proprio on the usus antiquior defeats its own stated purposes – Catholic World Report – The Old Roman
  2. Pope Francis’ motu proprio on the usus antiquior Latin Mass defeats its own stated purposes – Blithe Spirit
  3. CATHOLIC HEADLINES 8.15.21 – The Stumbling Block
  4. Zap Big Pulpit – Big Pulpit
  5. MONDAY EDITION – Big Pulpit

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

All comments posted at Catholic World Report are moderated. While vigorous debate is welcome and encouraged, please note that in the interest of maintaining a civilized and helpful level of discussion, comments containing obscene language or personal attacks—or those that are deemed by the editors to be needlessly combative or inflammatory—will not be published. Thank you.


*