Sight Magazine – Pope redoubles efforts to cancel old Latin Mass with new limits

Rome, Italy

Pope Francis redoubled his efforts on Saturday to cancel the old Latin Mass, banning the celebration of certain sacraments according to the old rite in his latest salvo against conservatives and traditionalists.

The Vatican Liturgy Office released a document that clarified some questions that arose after Francis in July reimposed restrictions on the celebration of the Old Latin Mass that Pope Benedict XVI relaxed in 2007.

A celebrating priest leads traditional Latin vespers in the ancient basilica of the Pantheon in Rome, in Rome, Italy on October 29. PHOTO: AP Photo / Luca Bruno / file photo.

Francis then said he overthrew his predecessor because Benedict’s reform had become a source of division in the church and had been exploited by Catholics opposed to Vatican Council II, the 1960s meetings that modernized the church and its liturgy.

The Vatican repeated this reasoning on Saturday, saying the clarifications and new restrictions were necessary to preserve the unity of the church and its sacraments.

“As pastors, we must not give ourselves to sterile polemics, capable only of creating divisions, in which the ritual itself is often exploited by ideological points of view”, declared the prefect of the liturgical office of the Vatican, Archbishop Arthur Roche, in an introductory note to the Bishops of the World.

Francis’ crackdown on the Old Mass outraged his conservative critics, many of whom went so far as to accuse him of heresy and weaken Catholic doctrine with an emphasis on the environment, social justice and migrants. Francis says he preaches the gospel and what Jesus taught, and defended the restrictions saying they actually reflect Benedict’s original purpose while limiting how his 2007 grant was exploited to ideological purposes.

Its July law required individual bishops to approve the celebrations of the Old Mass, also known as the Tridentine Mass, and required that newly ordained priests receive explicit permission to celebrate it from their bishops, in consultation with the Vatican. Saturday’s decree makes it clear that the Vatican must explicitly allow new priests to perform the rite.

Additionally, Saturday’s new document places restrictions on the sacramental life of the church.

It prohibits the use of the old ritual for the sacraments of confirmation and ordaining new priests, and will make it extremely difficult for traditionalists to access the sacraments of baptism, marriage and the anointing of the sick according to the old one. rite.

This de facto ban is due to the fact that these sacraments can only be celebrated in so-called personal parishes that already existed and dedicated to traditionalist communities. There are extremely few of these parishes in the world, and Francis has prohibited the creation of new ones.

“Christmas Massacre at Roche,” tweeted Rorate Caeli, a traditionalist blog that criticized Francis and his crackdown on the Tridentine rite.

“Benedict XVI had brought peace to the church. The end of the liturgical wars, “the group said in a follow-up message to The Associated Press.” The current Pope has chosen to rekindle them. There is no logical reason for this. Just an underlying desire for division and violence.

Francis accepted the publication of the document, which was signed by Roche, who is prefect of the Vatican liturgical office.

It was written in the form of questions and answers, some of which go into great detail that highlights the Vatican’s effort to minimize the spread of the Old Mass: parishes cannot, for example, advertise the celebration of the ancient liturgy in parish bulletins. or allow them to be celebrated at the same time as the so-called New Order Mass.

In a clear attempt to deter seminarians from learning even the old rite, the new instruction urges seminary teachers to lead their charges “to an understanding and experience of the richness of liturgical reform demanded by Vatican Council II “.

If a priest authorized to perform the ancient rite falls ill at the last minute, he cannot be replaced by one who has not obtained prior approval. In addition, priests cannot celebrate a Mass of the old rite and a Mass of a new order on the same day.

Joseph Shaw, head of the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales, said the restrictions mean the celebration of the Old Latin Mass “will become extremely difficult” and the sacraments even more so.

“It would drastically reduce the number of celebrations and cause great pastoral damage,” he said in an email.

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