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July 16, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — Roman-rite Catholics who love the traditional liturgical practices of the Catholic Church are grieving today.

This morning Pope Francis issued a motu proprio called Traditionis custodes, which sets strict limits on the use of the Traditional Latin Mass, a rite Pope Benedict called “the Extraordinary Form of the Mass” in his own July 2007 motu proprio Summorum pontificum. A critic of the liturgical “reforms” that followed, and contradicted, Vatican II, Benedict XVI gave Catholic priests the green light to celebrate the 1962 “Mass of John XXIII” without asking their bishops’ permission. In a letter that accompanied his official motu proprio, Pope Francis indicated that he believes that Catholics have abused Benedict’s provisions and that those who love the Traditional Mass reject Vatican II.

“Pope Francis appears to be punishing all priests who celebrate the Traditional Mass and all the laity who attend it for the alleged sins of a few: who ‘reject Vatican II’, whatever exactly that means,” Dr. Joseph Shaw, the president of the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales, told LifeSiteNews today via social media.

“The practical effect of this document, however, insofar as it is implemented, will be to marginalise and therefore to radicalise Catholics attached to the older Missal,” he continued.  

“It is extraordinary that thousands of faithful Catholics who responded to the favourable attitude of Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI to the ancient Mass, to celebrate or attend it in complete unity with their bishops and with the Holy Father have suddenly been made outcasts. If bishops are indeed to be expected to govern and guide the use of the 1962 Missal in their dioceses, banning its celebration in parish churches will severely hamper their efforts to do so, and seems completely unworkable.”

In a longer interview with LifeSiteNews, liturgical scholar Dr. Peter Kwasniewski said that Pope Francis’s overturning of Summorum pontificum was “unprecedented.”

“The motu proprio itself is the exact antithesis of Summorum pontificum and the accompanying letter is the exact antithesis of the letter that accompanied Summorum pontificum,” Kwasniewski stated.

“In the whole history of the Church, there has never been so dramatic a rejection of a Pope’s predecessor. Never. This is unprecedented, and I can say that quite confidently.”

Gregory Di Pippo, the editor of the online New Liturgical Movement, told LifeSiteNews that Pope Francis’s accusation that Catholics who love the Latin Mass have rejected Vatican II is untrue.

“It’s a falsehood, and you can quote me saying that,” Di Pippo said.

The Remnant’s Michael Matt accused Pope Francis of being ‘a globalist tool’ who is ‘obsessed with crushing the tiny remnant of believers left in a world of universal apostasy.’ Matt wrote that the pontiff ‘has locked down Summorum Pontificum because like a crucifix to a vampire, the old Catholic liturgy threatens the diabolical New World Order to which Francis has signed on.’

“First of all, the celebration of the traditional liturgy, in the terms defined by Summorum pontificum, brings with it an implicit acceptance of the Second Vatican Council and an implicit acceptance of the validity of the liturgical reform that was enacted after the Council – not in fulfilment of the Council, for it was not the fulfilment of the Council,” he continued.

“However, nobody in the Church today, least of all the papacy, accepts the validity of Vatican II in the sense that a great majority of the reforms enacted in the wake of Vatican II were done in defiance of the letter of Vatican II. [Thus,] the papacy has no standing to say to anybody, ‘You don’t accept Vatican II’.”

Dr. Ilya Kotlyar, a 35-year-old Russian who converted to Catholicism when he was 26, told LifeSiteNews that he found the new document “extremely disappointing.”

“I believe it deprives millions of Catholics not only of the beauty of the traditional liturgy, but also of the proper understanding of both liturgy and the theology,” Kotlyar said over social media.

This ‘distorted ecclesiology’ is ‘deeply concerning,’ said priest-blogger Father Raymond Blake.

“I believe it does not do justice to the numerous devout clergy and laity, who have been trying to combine the authentic liturgical tradition and Catholic theology with being united to the See of Rome and being part of the Universal Body of Christ.”

A historian of law, Kotlyar criticized the new motu proprio in Thomistic terms.

“The document also does not seem to be written particularly well from the legal standpoint, a scandal to the Holy See and two millennia of Canon law,” he said.

“I am pretty confident this document will only…[further] the division inside the Church,” he predicted.

“I am also confident that the final goal of the document – conversion of Catholics from the traditional rite to the new rite – is impossible to achieve, especially by such means. I believe the new document is what St Thomas Aquinas referred to as ‘unjust and unreasonable law,’ which is ‘a violence rather than law’ (Summa Theologiae., Ia IIae, q 96, art 4). I don’t think it binds the conscience of any faithful Catholic.”

A tradition-loving teenager, 19-year-old Sophia Tait, told LifeSitenews via social media, that it feels like an “axe” has been “taken to the roots” of her life.

“I’m frightened and saddened for the Church as a whole, but on a personal level it feels like having an axe taken to the roots of my life- so much of what I’ve been working for, hoping for, or giving time to this past year has been bound up with the traditional Mass,” Tait stated. 

“My family discovered the traditional liturgy only recently, and we’ve all been strengthened and supported by it through what’s been a crazy year in so many ways,” she added.

“It’s there that I’ve found both a certain, stable base, and a constant challenge to deeper practice of the faith. Now hearing the Church authorities condemn the Mass we’ve all grown to love, I’m lost and confused. I want to do God’s will, in obedience to His Church, and it’s so hard to see how we’re supposed to do that now.”

One American bishop, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, promised the faithful they would still be able to access the Old Mass in his jurisdiction. “The Mass is a miracle in any form: Christ comes to us in the flesh under the appearance of Bread and Wine,” he told CNA today. “Unity under Christ is what matters. Therefore the Traditional Latin Mass will continue to be available here in the Archdiocese of San Francisco and provided in response to the legitimate needs and desires of the faithful.”

Pope is ‘obsessed with crushing the tiny remnant of believers left in a world of universal apostasy’

Michael Matt, editor of The Remnant newspaper, wrote today that Catholics should not be discouraged.

“God is in charge of everything, and this would not be happening if He did not allow it,” he stated.

“This has all happened before. I know, I remember, I lived through it,” he continued.

“This is a chastisement, yes, but it does not alter what we are called to do: We must know, love, and serve God, and resist those who do not. Francis has no power to change that.”

Matt had sharp words for Pope Francis, accusing the pontiff of being “a globalist tool” who is “obsessed with crushing the tiny remnant of believers left in a world of universal apostasy.”

“He has locked down Summorum Pontificum because like a crucifix to a vampire, the old Catholic liturgy threatens the diabolical New World Order to which Francis has signed on,” he wrote. 

“The Latin Mass united Catholics from every country in the world for a couple of thousand years like no government ever could. And it was in the process of doing so again.”

On Twitter, British Catholic journalist, and former editor of the Catholic Herald, Damian Thompson warned tradition-loving Catholics not to trust in soft-hearted bishops.

“Traditionalists: don’t entertain the idea that sympathetic bishops can turn a blind eye to Francis’s edict –not with the loathsome Arthur Roche running the CDW [Congregation for Divine Worship],” Thompson wrote.  

“He’ll hunt you down.”

‘Distorted ecclesiology,’ ‘deeply concerning’

The Society of St. Pius X indicated that it would develop their response to the new motu proprio very carefully.

“We will have a statement about today’s news from Rome presently,” they tweeted. 

“Those who follow us know that our statements are not quick or reactionary. In the meantime, pray for your priests. Pray especially for your bishops.”

Steve Skojec, editor of the OnePeterFive blog, damned Pope Francis with faint praise.

Taylor Marshall: ‘This is the most radical thing that Pope Francis has done in his eight years in Rome.’

“It occurs to me that today’s Motu Proprio and accompanying letter are the first things Francis has ever written that I could read through in their entirety,” Skojec tweeted.

“They weren't 60,000+ words of psychobabble, so I'll give him that. He was direct and to the point.”

British Catholic humorist Eccles tweeted, “What can one do when a highly revered religious leader becomes a mad psychopath in his old age? Asking for a friend.”

The English priest-blogger Father Raymond Blake said the theology of the motu proprio is “deeply concerning.”

“Pope’s new doc reinforces a distorted ecclesiology, which has exalted the Papal Office over the Church, Tradition, Scripture,” Blake tweeted.

“It reduces individual conscience to slavish obedience. It is a deeply concerning theology.”

‘The vulgarity of this document is matched only by its cruelty’

Catholic pundit Dr. Taylor Marshall did not mince words on his podcast today.

“Pope Francis has dropped the Bomb on traditional Catholics, on the Traditional Latin Mass, and this is the most radical thing that Pope Francis has done in his eight years in Rome,” Marshall stated. 

American priest-blogger Father John Zuhlsdorf noted that today is World Snake Day, but did not elaborate. In a separate post on his well-known blog, “Father Z” wrote that the motu proprio was an insult.

Traditionis custodes…effectively insults the entire pontificate of Benedict XVI and the pastoral provisions of John Paul II and all the people they have affected,” he wrote.

Noting that the orders come into immediate force, Fr. Z said that the first fruit of the “cruel” document was “chaos.”

“Now people are writing to me to ask what they are supposed to do on Sunday. Priests are asking if they fulfil the obligation to say the Office with the Breviarium Romanum. The questions multiply even as I write. The first fruit of Traditionis is chaos,” he wrote.

“Hence, I am forced to remark that the vulgarity of this document is matched only by its cruelty,” he concluded.

“Even those who have been inveterate critics of Benedict’s provisions, who may even go so far as to hate not just the traditional forms of worship, but the people who want them, ought to be horrified by the brutality of his document.”


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