It is unfortunate to see so many Catholics deeply traumatized from the recent restrictions imposed by Rome on the traditional liturgy. It would not be overstating the impact to say that a vast swath of the traditional Catholic world has been in a daze and despairing ever since the Vatican released the motu proprio Traditionis custodes (TC) and the ensuing dubia.
Many Catholics are genuinely confused by the complete lack of Christian charity or pastoral concern demonstrated by this pope, his advisors in the CDF, and many bishops around the world. Even those who do not consider themselves “traditionalists” have openly questioned the nastiness and punitive nature of the restrictions against the liturgical patrimony of the Church.
The question that so many are asking is, “Why?” For those who have been paying attention, however, none of this is surprising.
None of this should be confusing to anyone. There is no need for thoughtful analysis or deep soul searching at this point. There is no benefit of the doubt to grant Francis and his cohorts, no assuming that they must at least believe this is for the good of the faithful; for the good of the Church.
In the recently released book, From Benedict’s Peace to Francis’s War: Catholics Respond to the Motu Proprio Traditionis Custodes on the Latin Mass (Angelico Press, 2021), editor Peter Kwasniewski presents the reader with nearly 70 articles from various Catholic writers and publications released in the wake of the motu proprio.
“The old Mass is a threat to their new religion. Once you’ve understood that, you’ve understood everything.”
Such is the observation of a traditional order priest writing anonymously at Rorate Caeli just days before TC was released. (His is one of the essays featured in the book). In that same article we are reminded that Francis and other likeminded bishops were never going to allow the traditional Mass to continue. Quoting an Italian bishop from back in July of 2007 (upon the release of Summorum Pontificum):
“This day is for me a day of grief. I have a lump in my throat and I do not manage to hold back my tears…It is a day of grief, not only for me, but for many who lived and worked in the Second Vatican Council. Today, a reform for which so many labored…has been cancelled.”
The irony here of course is that Benedict XVI never cancelled the Novus Ordo (even going so far as to juridically rename it the Ordinary Form). However, with Francis we do indeed see cancel culture within the Church, except it is the Church canceling herself, her tradition.
So this is what we must recognize and remember: do not search for goodwill or pastoral motivations behind these current and increasing restrictions upon our liturgical tradition. You won’t find them.
Lex orandi, lex credendi. How we pray (worship) is how (what) we believe. Their new religion has to have the new Mass. The Traditional Mass requires conformity, it supports orthodoxy and fosters it.
The old Mass is a threat to their new religion. Once you’ve understood that, you’ve understood everything.