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COURTALAIN, France (LifeSiteNews) – Superiors from twelve Latin Mass communities have issued a joint official statement to Pope Francis and the French bishops in response to Traditionis Custodes.

The priests and abbots have asked for a “humane, personal, trusting dialogue” and promised to “convert if party spirit or pride has polluted our hearts.” 

The joint statement, issued on September 2 in English and in French, addresses Pope Francis’ recent restrictions on the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) in Traditionis Custodes. It asks for security for the members of the traditional communities in their way of life, something which Dr. Peter Kwasniewski described as the statement’s “strongest argument,” as a substantial change to the rule of such communities would be an “internal ecclesiological contradiction.” 

A message of submission from Courtalain 

The twelve superior-generals met on August 31 in Courtalain, France. They represented male and female Ecclesia Dei communities, groups devoted to the celebration and promulgation of the Church’s ancient liturgy. Courtalain is home to the seminary of one of the communities, the Institute of the Good Shepherd (IBP). 

Joining superiors from well-known traditional communities – the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter, the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, the Institute of the Good Shepherd – with those from less known societies and with abbots from France’s traditional Benedictine monasteries, the meeting was an extremely rare event. 

“The signatory Institutes want, above all, to reiterate their love for the Church and their fidelity to the Holy Father,”  the letter began before explaining that this love is “tinged with great suffering today.” 

“We feel suspected, marginalized, banished,” wrote the signatories, adding that “we do not recognize ourselves in the description” which Pope Francis gave of those devoted to tradition in the letter accompanying Traditionis Custodes 

The papal letter has been described as “worse than the MP [Traditionis Custodes] itself.” In it, the Pope attacked “the instrumental use of Missale Romanum of 1962” which, he said, “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’.” 

Twelve signatories firmly denied the papal accusation, writing: “We do not see ourselves as the ‘true Church’ in any way. On the contrary, we see in the Catholic Church our Mother in whom we find salvation and faith.” 

In one passage, the signatories reaffirmed their “adherence to the magisterium (including that of Vatican II and what follows), according to the Catholic doctrine of the assent due to it (cf. in particular Lumen Gentium, n ° 25, and Catechism of the Catholic Church , n ° 891 and 892), as evidenced by the numerous studies and doctoral theses carried out by several of us over the past 33 years.” 

If any of their members had evidenced “excess of language or mistrust of authority,” the signatories said they were “ready to convert if party spirit or pride has polluted our hearts.” 

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LifeSiteNews will hand-deliver this petition to the Holy See, recording the moment traditional Catholics from around the world stood up for the Traditional Latin Mass.

Pope Francis has issued a new decree, "Traditiones Custodes," severely restricting the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM).

Please SIGN and SHARE this petition with other Catholics, and ask the Pope to reconsider this new and divisive Motu Proprio.

Pope Francis' decree clamps down hard on the TLM. In it, he effectively does away with Pope Benedict's protection of it, handing bishops in every diocese the right to suppress it, while demanding new priests get permission from their bishop and the Vatican to offer the Mass of the Ages. 

As Catholics who value Tradition and know the place of the Magisterium in safeguarding the Deposit of Faith, it is time to speak up and have our voices heard

Francis has decried rigidity and intolerance for years, but now is showing intolerance and rigidity himself by forcing his very narrow understanding of liturgy on one of the true sources of good fruit in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church.

Our Lord said that "a bad tree cannot bear good fruit", and yet we see more and more souls drawn to Christ through the TLM, with marriages dedicated to God and open to many children, and vocations also abounding in traditional seminaries, orders and priestly societies.

Indeed, the Traditional Latin Mass has been a source of unity for the Catholic Church for more than 1500 years, producing great saints, repentant sinners, and souls won for Christ across the world. *Read below how Benedict XVI decried attacks against the TLM and its adherents.

To attempt to restrict the Traditional Latin Mass, as a new generation are rediscovering the treasures of God's Church, will inevitably cause further division and hurt among the faithful, risking the loss of some souls who will regretfully turn away

Souls are now at stake with this Motu Proprio, as some will drift away from the Deposit of Faith in disillusionment, while others that are far from God will never be touched by the profound beauty and reverence found in the Traditional Latin Mass. 

Please SIGN and SHARE this petition to Pope Francis, urging him to reconsider his decision, not least for the good of souls and the glory of God, and making sure as many cardinals support the TLM as possible. 

Click "Show Petition Text" on the right to read the letter to Pope Francis.

Finally, please pray, fast and do penance for the salvation of souls, including that of our shepherds, during this turbulent time in Church history.


'BREAKING: Pope Francis abrogates Pope Benedict’s universal permission for Old Mass' -

'ANALYSIS: Pope restricts ‘divisive’ Traditional Latin Mass, says 52-yr-old Novus Ordo is ‘unique expression’ of Church’s liturgy' -

* Pope Benedict XVI (Spirit of the Liturgy, 2000):

"For fostering a true consciousness in liturgical matters, it is also important that the proscription against the form of liturgy in valid use up to 1970 [the older Latin Mass] should be lifted. Anyone who nowadays advocates the continuing existence of this liturgy or takes part in it is treated like a leper; all tolerance ends here. There has never been anything like this in history; in doing this we are despising and proscribing the Church’s whole past. How can one trust her at present if things are that way?"

**Photo Credit:

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Plea for ‘dialogue’ and a ‘mediator’ 

Presenting the situation of thousands of men and women who “gave their lives trusting on the word of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI,” the superiors asked Pope Francis to heed the promise of the 1988 document Ecclesia Dei that “all measures would be taken to guarantee the identity of their Institutes in the full communion of the Catholic Church.” 

The superiors wrote that it was to “this specification” that members of the traditional institutes have made their vows “trusting in the word of the Supreme Pontiff.”

“These priests and men and women religious served the Church with dedication and abnegation,” they continued.

“Can we deprive them today of what they are committed to? Can we deprive them of what the Church had promised them through the mouth of the Popes?” 

Dr. Peter Kwasniewski described this appeal as the “strongest argument in the document.” The expert liturgist told LifeSiteNews that it would be “simply contrary to justice” to force the members of the Ecclesia Dei communities to “do something entirely different from what they understood and consented to.” 

“Theologians often teach that the papal approval of the rule or constitution of a religious community (order, institute, society, etc.) is infallible because of the grave evils that would ensue if it were later found to be inherently heretical, schismatic, or harmful,” stated Kwasniewski. 

“If the current Vatican regime proscribes the rule or constitution of these communities after having approved them earlier, we would see yet another instance of the belief that the Church’s past and present are irreconcilably incompatible, which would amount to an internal ecclesiological contradiction.” 

LifeSiteNews also spoke with Br. Martin Navarro, of the Oblates of St. Augustine, who expressed concern that the superiors seemed only to look for protection for fully professed, or ordained members. “But what about the future? What about the seminaries? What about the rest of us?,” he asked. “The accompanying letter to Traditionis Custodes by Pope Francis clearly confirmed his intention that the Traditional Latin Mass is to be forbidden to and forgotten by the future generations of Catholics.”

Employing ‘rhetorical judo’ to dialogue with the Vatican 

The signatories employ themes often found in Pope Francis’s own writings, speaking of “dialogue” and “mercy” and quoting from Vatican II’s document on the liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, as well as from Francis’s controversial 2016 apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia. 

Petitioning for “listening and goodwill, not condemnation without prior dialogue,” the signatories revealed their communities are set to undergo “disciplinary apostolic visits.”  

“We ask for fraternal meetings where we can explain who we are and the reasons for our attachment to certain liturgical forms,” they wrote. 

Appealing once more to the Pope’s own words, the signatories noted how “in liturgical matters, ‘unity is not uniformity but the multifaceted harmony created by the Holy Spirit’.” 

“We are eager to make our modest contribution to this harmonious and diverse unity,” added the twelve superiors.  

Kwasniewski described the use of recent papal phraseology as “an interesting rhetorical judo move,” but one which “may not be effective with prelates for whom honesty or consistency is not a priority.” He noted how the signatories were attempting to “highlight the discrepancy between how they are now being treated and how they ought to be treated as Catholics in good standing. In effect, they are asking Rome not to be hypocritical, judgmental, intolerant, and against diversity.” 

Concerns about the document were also raised online by Father John Stone, who styled the letter “pure appeasement where can be no appeasement. The Pope has enlisted his many sycophants to assist him in a canonical & theological pogrom against traditional Catholics. We must resist or face extinction.”

The signatories closed by quoting from Amoris Laetitia once more, addressing themselves to the French bishops and asking that “a true dialogue be opened and that a mediator be appointed who will be for us the human face of this dialogue.” 

Find below the full list of signatories: 

  • Fr. Andrzej Komorowski, Superior-General of the Fraternity of Saint Peter 
  • Msgr. Gilles Wach, Prior General of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest 
  • Fr. Luis Gabriel Barrero Zabaleta, Superior-General of the Institute of the Good Shepherd 
  • Fr. Louis-Marie de Blignières, Superior-General of the Fraternity of Saint Vincent Ferrer 
  • Fr. Gerald Goesche, General Provost of the Institute of Saint Philip Neri 
  • Fr. Antonius Maria Mamsery, Superior-General of the Missionaries of the Holy Cross 
  • Dom Louis-Marie de Geyer d’Orth, Father Abbot of the Abbey of Saint Magdalen of Le Barroux 
  • Fr.  Emmanuel-Marie Le Fébure du Bus, Father Abbot of the Canons of the Abbey of Lagrasse 
  • Dom Marc Guillot, Father Abbot of the Abbey of Saint Mary of  la Garde 
  • Mother Placide Devillers, Mother Abbess of the Abbey of Our Lady of the Annunciation of Le Barroux 
  • Mère Faustine Bouchard, Prieure des Chanoinesses d’Azille 
  • Mère Madeleine-Marie, Supérieure des Adoratrices du Cœur Royal de Jésus Souverain Prêtre 


Archbishop Viganò on what priests should do in light of Traditionis Custodes 

Bishop Schneider compares Pope Francis’ crushing of Latin Mass to a shepherd angrily beating his sheep with a stick 



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