Fears Traditional Latin Mass will be suppressed renewed in wake of Pope’s alleged comments to Italian bishops
ROME, Italy, May 25, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — A website dedicated to promoting the Traditional Latin Mass has warned that “multiple sources” within the Conference of Italian Bishops say that Pope Francis wants to “reform” Summorum Pontificum “for the worse.”
The unsigned article in “Messa in Latina” (MIL or messainlatina.il) alleges that the pontiff told the Italian Bishops at the opening of their General Assembly yesterday that he had finished the third draft of a document that will restrict the use of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, also called the Traditional Latin Mass or Tridentine Mass.
“After once again warning against accepting ‘rigid’ (that is, faithful to doctrine) young men into the seminary, Francis told the bishops that he had reached the third draft of a text that contains measures restricting the celebration by Catholic priest of Mass in the Extraordinary Form made accessible by Benedict XVI, who according to [Pope Francis] wished with Summorum Pontificum to encounter only the followers of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre,” Messa in Latina reported.
Pope Francis then suggested, the website alleged, that there are many young priests who want to celebrate the “Tridentine Mass” even if they don’t know Latin. The sources also apparently told Messa in Latina that the pontiff told a characteristic story about a supposedly rigid young priest and his wise, in the eyes of Francis, bishop.
“To illustrate he told the story of a bishop to whom a young priest had turned to express his intention to celebrate in the Extraordinary Form,” MIL reported.
“When asked if he know Latin, the young priest told the bishop that he was learning it. At that the bishop told him that it would be better to learn Spanish or Vietnamese because there were many Hispanics and Vietnamese people in the diocese.”
The MIL blogger fears that there will be a return to the days of the “indult” — when priests could say the Traditional Latin Mass only with the permission of their bishop, or an even stricter situation, in which they can celebrate it only with the Vatican’s approval, “ghettoizing” priests and laypeople dedicated to the ancient rite. He contrasted the Pope Emeritus and Pope Francis in dramatic terms.
“After Moses the liberator, the Pharaoh would return,” he wrote.
The unknown author also underscored, correctly, that Benedict XVI did not address only “Lefebvrians” with his 2007 motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, but the whole Church. As evidence, MIL pointed to an interview the Pope Emeritus gave to Peter Seewald, in which he explicitly said that he had not written Summorum Pontificum as a concession to the SSPX (the Society of St. Pius X priests).
Although the English-language blog Rorate Caeli swiftly posted MIL’s story, it was greeted with scepticism by liturgical expert Gregory Di Pippo. Upon hearing the allegations that Pope Francis wants to water down Pontificum Summorum, Di Pippo, editor of New Liturgical Movement, said, “Again? How many times have we heard this in the last 8 years?"
It is a matter of public record that Pope Francis opened the socially-distanced 74th General Assembly of the Conference of Italian Bishops at the four-star Ergifle Palace Hotel yesterday afternoon. The theme of the four-day meeting, which will end on Thursday, is “To announce the Gospel in a time of rebirth; to start a synodal journey.”
According to the Sala Stampa, the Vatican Press Office, the pontiff gave an “off-the-cuff" address to the assembled Italian bishops, followed by an interview with those present. It did not publish Pope Francis’s remarks.