VATICAN CITY (LifeSiteNews) — Vatican officials have confirmed privately to The Remnant that Pope Francis is reviewing a document to be published potentially as an apostolic constitution that would declare the Novus Ordo Mass of Paul VI to be the only official liturgy of the Latin Rite and that would severely regulate the Traditional Latin Mass communities such as the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter and the Institute of Christ the King.
The Remnant, which accurately warned of the restrictions on the Latin Mass before the publication of Traditionis Custodes, reported that a draft of the upcoming document was presented to Francis toward the end of January 2023 by the Dicastery for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments.
The dicastery’s prefect, Cardinal Arthur Roche, has shown himself extremely hostile to the continued celebration of the Latin Mass and the sacraments according to the ancient usage, even calling those who prefer the ancient form of the Roman Missal more Protestant than Catholic, an interesting accusation given the Protestant hatred of this very liturgy and the Protestant persecution of the Roman “papists” who clung to the old form of worship in preference to the new Protestantized forms in countries such as England over the course of several centuries.
The Remnant also reported that the chief intention of the new document is to curb the internal growth of Latin Mass communities through a prohibition on any ordinations to the priesthood or diaconate within the Old Rite. This would come together with a ban on the administration of the other sacraments to the faithful according to the Tridentine form of the sacraments, and a requirement on all priests to concelebrate at certain Masses, which would run contrary to the Code of Canon Law and the entire history of the Church’s liturgical tradition, according to which a priest is never required to concelebrate a Mass. Additionally, a prohibition against celebrating the Tridentine Mass on Sunday is apparently being discussed.
As an alternative to an explicit ban on the Tridentine Mass and the traditional forms of the sacraments, according to The Remnant, an Italian cardinal has presented to Pope Francis another draft of the new document that would simply declare the Novus Ordo Missae of Paul VI to be the only official form of the Mass for the Latin Rite, praising the “abundant fruit” of the “liturgical reform” enacted in the rituals of the Mass and sacraments. The Vatican would “crown and complete” these reforms by establishing them as the sole form of worship within the Latin Rite of the Church.
The document would celebrate the 54th anniversary of the promulgation of the new missal, which Paul VI issued on April 3, 1969. Without mentioning the Tridentine form of the Mass expressly, the document would nonetheless lay the groundwork for bishops to wholly eradicate the celebration of the Mass and sacraments according to the Church’s ancient Roman liturgy.
Should the new document be issued shortly before Easter and be enforced immediately, it could cause immense confusion among the faithful who attend the old liturgy for the celebration of the Sacred Triduum.
The Remnant’s report appears to lend further credence to two other reports of such impending restrictions on the traditional Mass. On January 13, German-language website Summorum Pontificum reported that Pope Francis is set to issue a new Apostolic Constitution bringing in wide-reaching restrictions on the traditional Mass.
Days later, respected Vatican journalist Dr. Robert Moynihan also reported that Francis was planning to attack the traditional Mass, releasing the predicted document in April or May. According to a letter Moynihan published, whose author is only identified as a “priest who belongs to one of the traditional orders,” this forthcoming decree by Francis will not only contain a “further suppression of the TLM,” but will also “carry the ‘weight’ of an Apostolic Exhortation” instead of a motu proprio “to match” the Apostolic Exhortation Pope Paul VI used when “formally establishing the New Rite.”
According to the letter, the new decree will make “an exception for religious orders who solely celebrate privately (no parish churches), and some possible further clarifications for the FSP (Fraternity of St. Peter),” but nonetheless will “effectively, take away from the bishops, any further say or exceptions in the matter.”
The news from The Remnant comes after Cardinal Roche recently issued letters to bishops claiming they could not dispense from the restrictions imposed by Traditionis Custodes, a position that was contradicted by canon lawyers versed on the issue. The letters manifest Roche’s dissatisfaction in the generosity some bishops have afforded priests and the faithful who wish to worship in the old form of the Mass.
Many Catholics already perceive that the Vatican appears bent on marginalizing those in the Church who love her traditional liturgy. Any attempt to ban the old Mass wholesale would likely cement this perception.