WelCom August 2021
Pope Francis has tightened restrictions on where the old Latin Mass can be celebrated and who can celebrate it, and will require new permissions from local bishops.
In a motu proprio, Traditionis Custodes, the Pope reinforced limits on the celebration of the Missal in use before the Second Vatican Council for the sake of Church unity.
His decision clarifies and restricts permissions St John Paul II and Benedict XVI had given to celebrate the Tridentine-rite Mass.
Pope Francis said the bishop must verify that those attending the pre-Vatican liturgy ‘do not deny the validity and the legitimacy of the liturgical reform, dictated by Vatican Council II and the Magisterium of the Supreme Pontiffs’.
The motu proprio says: Masses celebrated according to the 1962 Missal are not to take place in parishes and bishops must establish where and when the Mass will be celebrated. Further, the readings must be proclaimed ‘in the vernacular language’, using the translations approved by local episcopal conferences and the bishop must delegate the celebrant.
The motu proprio also says the bishop must evaluate the Mass to see ‘effectiveness for spiritual growth’ and ‘to take care not to authorise the establishment of new groups’. Priests ordained after this motu proprio wanting to celebrate the Tridentine Mass ‘should submit a formal request to the diocesan Bishop who shall consult the Apostolic See before granting this authorisation’. Those already doing so may ask permission to continue.
In a letter to the world’s bishops accompanying the motu proprio, Francis says concessions granted by his predecessors relating to using the 1962 Roman Missal were ‘motivated by the desire to foster the healing of the schism with the movement of Mons Lefebvre’ and ‘the ecclesial intention of restoring the unity of the Church’.
Despite these aims, the concessions were ‘exploited to widen the gaps, reinforce the divergences and encourage disagreements that injure the church, block her path and expose her to the peril of division,’ Pope Francis said.
Sources: Catholic News Service,