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Traditional Mass in Basilica of St. Pancras, Rome, 2016.Thoom/Shutterstock

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July 22, 2021 (LifeSiteNews)  Another shepherd has spoken up for his sheep, countering Pope Francis’ recent attack on the Traditional Latin Mass and those faithful to it.  

Monsignor Charles Pope, a pastor of the Archdiocese of Washington DC, wrote an opinion piece entitled “A Cry From the Heart About ‘Traditionis Custodes’ and the Latin Mass” for the National Catholic Register. It appeared in the “Blogs” section on Tuesday, and addresses the pain caused by Pope Francis’ recent motu proprio. 

I must say that I am grieved and stunned by this document and the letter to the bishops that accompanied it,” Msgr. Pope stated.   

“I think not so much of my own potential loss but of the many Catholics I have served who love the extraordinary form [of the Mass],” he continued.  

“For so long and in so many places they have often been treated harshly and have been marginalized for their love for the form of the liturgy that most of the saints knew.” 

Msgr. Pope’s blog is addressed to a mainstream Catholic audience and also to the bishops and pontiff, promoting pastoral care and charity — ideals emphasized by Pope Francis — for the benefit of the priests and faithful who love the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM), which Pope Emeritus Benedict called “the extraordinary form of the Mass” in his own 2007 motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum.   

Traditionis Custodes contradicts and effectively cancels Summorum Pontificum  

The monsignor began by stating that although he has celebrated the TLM for more than 32 years and has written about this form of the Mass many times, he also celebrates the Novus Ordo Mass. He noted also that none of the 10 diocesan parishes in which the extraordinary form is celebrated in DC are devoted exclusively to the celebration of the Latin Mass. The celebration of both forms leads to less tension than Traditionis Custodes (TC) suggests. 

While people on both ‘sides’ may have preferences, even strong preferences, there has been mutual respect and a willingness to make room for one another,” Msgr. Pope wrote.  

“Whatever tensions do exist, they are minor and not so different than the tensions that emerge from the diverse mosaic of ethnic communities.” 

The pastor appealed to the ideal of liturgical diversity, saying that the TLM has been celebrated alongside the Eastern Rite, the Anglican Rite, and the Neocatechumenal Mass in his diocese. This co-existence has always been peaceful, the monsignor said. 

Msgr. Pope pointed to the contradiction in Pope Francis accepting other kinds of liturgical “diversity,” like the abovementioned celebrations, plus the ordinary form of the Mass in “dozens of languages,” but seeing the extraordinary form as somehow divisive.  

“Apparently, Pope Francis does not see this rich and peaceful diversity when it comes to the Traditional Latin Mass,” the monsignor wrote.  

“Even if other expressions may be tolerable or agreeable to him, the Latin Mass seems to be the fly in the ointment. With a special focus that seems overly harsh he attributes blame for divisions to traditional Catholics who attend the Latin Mass.” 

Msgr. Pope asserted that it is “not reasonable to attribute the sins of the vocal minority to an entire movement” and pointed out that other groups wonder that others don’t celebrate the way they do.   

“Yes, some people advance the superiority of the extraordinary form,” he said.   

“But I know many Catholics from Eastern Rites who think their liturgies are vastly preferable and even superior to the Roman Rite,” he continued.  

“Many Catholics in the Neocatechumenal Way assert that the Church will not experience reform until their liturgy and their ‘way’ is embraced by all. In African American Parishes where I serve there is a great pride in the joy of their worship and a wonderment at why so many other parishes seem to have ‘dead’ and short liturgies.” 

The monsignor listed three aspects of the new motu proprio which he fears have hurt and discouraged many Catholics and will cause real division: the harsh, heavy-handed tone at odds with the “language of mercy”; the “impossible requirements” which includes a ban on the TLM in parish churches; and a “strange treatment of bishops” in giving them confusing instructions.   

“Pope Francis has seldom addressed any other group this harshly,” Msgr. Pope said regarding Catholics who love the TLM.   

“To others such as unbelievers, dissenters and wayward politicians there is to be mercy, understanding and tolerance,” he added. 

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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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“He speaks of ‘going to the margins’ and of compassion for the poor and morally lost. But to those attached to the Latin Mass comes this strong rebuke, with almost no room to maneuver in the Church they love. It is very shocking and saddening to me as a pastor of souls that such vitriol be directed at the flock I have long cared for.” 

Msgr. Pope ended his piece with appeals to the faithful, the bishops, and to Pope Francis himself.  

He asked the faithful “to beseech [the bishops] to exhibit solicitude” which the new motu proprio lacks, while praying for the bishops since “they have been given a hard and awkward task.” 

The monsignor then asked the bishops “for a gentle and kind interpretation” of Traditionis Custodes, reminding them that people who love the TLM “need a shepherd’s care.”  

“Even if the document suggests that they be shuffled off to the margins, I beg you not to do it,” he said.  

“This is a vibrant and growing section of the flock. Many young families and young adults, as well as young priests and older folks, are depending on you to do what is truly pastoral.” 

Msgr. Pope then reached out to Francis, saying, “Dear Holy Father, I beg you to reconsider what you have written and to hear the unnecessary pain you have caused. You rightly desire unity in the Church, but I fear that, by this action, you may end up causing far more serious division.”  

Monsignor Pope’s defense of traditional Catholics and the TLM is one of many recent statements made by other churchmen, including Bishop Schneider and Archbishop Viganò, who recognize the wrongs inflicted on the traditional liturgy by Rome.