Is Pope Francis Actively Hostile to Summorum Pontificum?

On Aug. 6, 2013, Andrea Tornielli of “Vatican Insider” published an interview with Fr. Alessandro Apollonio, the Procurator General of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, in which they discussed the Holy See’s recent decision to restrict the order’s use of the so-called “Extraordinary Form.”

The decree issued by the Congregation for Religious, with the approval of Pope Francis, reads in part:

“The Holy Father Francis has directed that every religious of the congregation of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate is required to celebrate the liturgy according to the ordinary rite and that, if the occasion should arise, the use of the extraordinary form (Vetus Ordo) must be explicitly authorized by the competent authorities, for every religious and/or community that makes the request.”

After some initial confusion, the picture is becoming more clear, and let’s just say, it ain’t real pretty. Read more

This less than pretty picture then – what does it mean, in fact?  Is “the Holy See”/ elements in the Roman Curia hostile to Summorum Pontificum, or is the hostility coming from the Pope himself? Is the restriction imposed upon the Franciscans likely to lead to overall restrictions on the availability of the Traditional Latin Mass?  Is this action against  Summorum Pontificum in effect, actually  a “slap in the face” to Pope Benedict?

32 responses

  1. It makes me wonder if both Pope Francis and the Roman Curia are working hand in hand to destroy Summorum Pontificum. Are they working to ensure not only restrictions on the availability of the Traditional Latin Mass, but concoct some sort of law to deprive the means of ANY priest to offer it up to God, and ensure no lay person may hear it?

    When Michael Davis wrote on the Legal Status of the Tridentine Mass, he said:
    “Although Pope Paul VI had the strict legal right to revise the Roman Missal, it does not follow that he was right to Break with the practice of all his predecessors of never introducing any drastic change in the Rite of Mass”.

    http://www.unitypublishing.com/NewReligiousMovements/TridentineDavis.html

    • Theresa Rose,

      I agree with you – it does look like the Pope and curia are out to destroy Summorum Pontificum, just when some people are getting more interested in the Tridentine rite.

      The quote from Michael Davis is what I’ve always understood, that the old Mass could not be done away with. That is made clear in Summorum. It will be interesting to see how this develops.

  2. I wonder if Pope Pius XII when he was still Cardinal Pacelli could foresee attacks on the Liturgy, be it by communistic infiltration. He might not have read the Secret of Fatima until he became Pope and saw the Third Secret.
    http://www.traditioninaction.org/ProgressivistDoc/A_061_PiusXII_Fatima.htm

    If Pope Francis really has a love of Our Lady, why instead of Consecrating the world to Her Immaculate Heart, why does he not do as she requests Consecrate Russia in particular to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

    Does the Pope and all the Bishops think that it the “right” thing to harden their hearts and refuse to carry out
    the request of the Mother of God? For Pope Francis must have read the Third Secret of Fatima.

    Diabolical disorientation indeed.

  3. Josephine,

    Perhaps the Pope and the Roman Curia are afraid of the interest in the Tridentine Mass especially by young people, born after the Second Vatican Council. Pope Benedict himself more or less said that the Novus Ord Mass was banal.

    • No “more or less” about it, Theresa Rose. Cardinal Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict XVI, described the new Mass as a “banal on-the-spot production”

      If any of us had said that, the neo-Catholics would have pounced on us and called us all sorts of names.

    • Thurifer – correct. However, the papolatrists, which describes most “Catholics in the pews” these days, won’t accept that. If the Pope says something, something must be true. If the Pope says to do something, that must be the right thing to do.

      So, when Pope Benedict said there were to be no restrictions on the provision of the TLM, that was the right thing to say and the right thing for the clergy to do. Now that, it seems, Pope Francis has said there ARE to be restrictions on the provision of the TLM, that is the right thing to do.

      One would like to tell them to “gerragrip” but one believes it pointless to do so.

  4. This is really concerning and disappointing news.

    Francis and those who surround him in the Vatican seem to be unaware of the great damage they do to their own credibility, when they play fast and loose with the rules of the Church like this. (the waiving of the devils advocacy for the forthcoming canonisation is another example of this).

    Increasingly, I think we will require the death of an entire generation of elderly churchmen, before any concrete forward progress can be made. That sounds like a terrible thing to say, and I suppose it is, but its nonetheless fact.

    Recently I had been told that Francis has been taking advice from his fellow Latin American, Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, regarding the SSPX. I thought that was somewhat encouraging news.

    But now this. There doesn’t seem to be any great coherence to the Churchs direction.

    Perhaps the idea of the modernists is to try to limit the traditional rite – which is now truly “out of the bag” – to specifically traditional orders only.

    Although this is a set back, I feel there is a sense of inevitability that the efforts to restrict the traditional rite will ultimately fail.

    In my experience, the novus ordo parishes are getting to “dire straits” level. Each parish has nothing in common with others and they are increasingly divergent (ie they are not truly Universal – not truly Catholic). They all make up their own liturgies, each as toe-curling as the next.

    (1) at the parish which I have begun to extricate myself from, they are now wanting readers to prepare in the sacristy (!) with the priests and servers, process in/out with them and to remain on the altar throughout the entire mass, (for no obvious reason). They are also to receive communion in both kinds – along with the priest – following the consecration. The idea seems to be to portray the readers as quasi-priests. (I have given up reading because of this).

    2at the chaplaincy service I help out at, the priest there has everyone holding hands during the service and saying parts of the mass with him. The lowest point came once when he had everyone arranged in a semi-circle, clapping rythmically, whilst he was in the middle of the floor doing a silly dance.

    3I visited a parish on Maryhill road recently and the style of the (obviously homosexual) priest – who has previously been involved in public scandal – was very much that of the homosexual comedian Graeme Norton. Cracking jokes through the mass, innuendo laden, “camping it up” etc. The experience is more “comedy night in a gay bar” than it was “Holy Sacrifice of the Mass”. Oh yes, the place was mobbed, and the parishioners were roaring and hooting with laughter throughout – but it was obviously they were coming chiefly to be entertained, not chiefly to worship.

    This rubbish cant go on. What is forming is various little individual communities, wholly distinct from one another. In no way could this be described as a conventional catholic diocese. It’s a rabble.

    If I was to use the language which I felt this situation truly deserved, I daresay poor Editor would have a stroke and my post would be quickly moderated.

    This kind of rubbish has simply got to collapse in on itself at some point, and I pray we are not far from that moment.

    If my wife and I are blessed with children (please, God) in the coming years, then I will be undoubtedly raising them in tradition. I have reached the decision after a period of hesitancy – you could say that the scales have fallen from my eyes. Meantime I have already begun my personal transition to exclusively traditional worship.

    • Gabriel Syme,

      Your latest post is what makes this blog worthwhile. A feast for the eyes.

      Thank God that more and more people are coming to the position you have reached. I asked one young man who started attending our traditional chapel weekly after our June Conference why another young man (whom I hold in high regard) still insists on attending the novus ordo. He replied that, as things are worsening (and that so quickly) he (no. 2 young man & family) will make the transition to the Traditional Mass and ultimately to the SSPX – God’s answer to the current crisis.

      That is not to say – let me repeat – that everything in the SSPX chapels is rosy, that the congregation is comprised of saint. Very far from it, be assured. But, mysteriously, despite all of the weaknesses we encounter there, it’s the oasis clearly provided by God, to allow us to keep the faith intact during this terrible crisis in the Church, where the faith is under attack from all directions.

      Your post lifted my spirits, Gabriel Syme, horrified as I was to read of the latest shenanigans in your parish, and I have no doubt whatsoever that it will help many other novus ordo-attending Catholics who are uncomfortable, let’s say, with what is going on in their parish of St Letitia of the Laity.

      • Thank you editor.

        I guess my realisation is that we ourselves have to personally represent the change we want to see. Its no good waiting on someone else to change things.

        I meant to say above, about the parish on maryhill road – at communion time, I had never seen so many “special ministers”.

        It seemed like there were hordes of people milling around, clutching cups or bowls – it was like a busy period at one of those “China Buffet King” self-service restaurants.

      • We, too, would like to attend the old Mass. However, we live in the sticks so what to do? Perhaps that “itinerant” priest (somebody mentioned) from Leeds would like a new mission??

    • The chapel in Maryhill seems to be attracting people who do not agree with the Church’s moral teachings. For example, I know a couple with an adult child who has ‘come out’ who left their parish of many decades when the relatively young priest preached on the subject of sexual morality and have been attending the Maryhill chapel for the last year now.

  5. Editor,

    I agree. Gabriel Syme is one of how many, who are abandoning Novus Ordo parishes for the Traditional Mass. But, how many simply walk away from the Novus Ordo parish, thinking/believing the Catholic Church is a waste of space. The road to hell is a pretty broad one.

    The previous thread on Pope Francis and the Summorum pontificum was only 4 weeks ago, and things have not altered one iota. Quickly looking through it, I saw good posts.

    Cbucket paraphrased Henry Ford with:
    “You can have any Mass that you want, as long as it’s the New Mass”.

    Westminsterfly’s link to the Devil’s Final Battle:
    http://www.devilsfinalbattle.com/ch9.htm

    • I agree – Gabriel’s post is very encouraging indeed, although I also agree with you that many “simply walk away from the Novus Ordo parish”.

      It’s very sad. How long will it take for the majority of Catholics to wake up to the way the faith is being destroyed?

    • Theresa Rose,

      It was because we ran a post on this topic so recently that I was not inclined to do so again; however, this most recent report seems to be indicating that what we thought and hoped would be a one-off, relating to a particular Order and their “liberal” runt, may well be more serious, after all. Let’s hope it turns out that we were right first time round…

  6. I think this pope will do what he can to undermine Summorum Pontificum. I keep reading that he’s not that bothered about the liturgy, and if that is true, what a terrible thought – a pope who doesn’t care about the Mass!

    If it is so, I think he’ll be into the business of doing deals with the “elements” in the Roman curia that he wants to get on board about other things (making the Church “poor” for example) and this clampdown on the Franciscan Order might be the first sign of it.

    I’d sooner he clamped down on all the ecumenical prayer meetings but that’s unlikely.

  7. “if the occasion should arise, the use of the extraordinary form (Vetus Ordo) must be explicitly authorized by the competent authorities, for every religious and/or community that makes the request.”

    Since the “competent authorities” for the clergy and laity are the bishops, this looks like a “back to square one” situation, where the Bishop has to give his permission for the Latin Mass.

    In that case, I would say that Pope Francis has definitely given Pope Benedict a “slap in the face”.

    I wonder if this will affect the priests who were willing to learn the Latin Mass – will they now feel they need to ask their Bishop (who will say “no” or discourage them?)

  8. I think it will affect the priests. I read on this blog that some in Glasgow were waiting to see if the successor to Archbishop Conti was favourable or at least not too hostile to the old Mass before they learned it even though Summorum Pontificum said they didn’t need permission, so if that is true, they will likely wait again to see if the archbishop wants them to seek permission.

  9. “Let everything that conflicts with ecclesiastical tradition and teaching, and that has been innovated and done contrary to the examples outlined by the saints and the venerable Fathers, or that shall hereafter at any time be done in such a fashion, be anathema.” – Second Council of Nicea

    “It is absurd and a detestable shame, that we should suffer those traditions to be changed which we have received from the fathers of old.” The Decretals (Dist. Xii, 5) Cited by St. Thomas Aquinas in the Summa Theologica, II,I, Q. 97, art. 2

    Regardless of the intentions of the Pope in this matter, what is a matter of fact is that the diocese of Bueno Aires is a wasteland as far as Summorum Pontificum is concerned. His Holiness hasn’t, as far as I’m aware, given any obvious signs of a change in attitude to the Mass of the Saints and Martyrs. What is also scarcely beyond doubt is that many Bishops, inside the Vatican and around the world, harbour a barely concealed contempt for the true Mass.

    Whether or not the Holy Father takes an actively hostile approach to priests who claim the rights granted them under Quo Primum, I think we are in for interesting times. If the liberals get a bandwagon rolling in this one, many priests and laity are going to be faced unavoidably with the issue of false obedience and servility. Maybe it’s the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculata today. Who’s next? Is the Tridentine Mass going to be just another option on the Conciliar buffet menu, or part of a stick and carrot strategy used in an attempt to keep Tradition on the reservation? As the progressivist kenosis programme brings further devastation and novus ordoism self-liquidation accelerates exponentially, more and more Catholics are going to realise that it’s the Bugnini fabrication that needs to be suppressed. Then the restoration will be underway.

    “It is necessary to obey a Pope in all things as long as he does not go against the universal customs of the Church, but should he go against the universal customs of the Church, he need not be followed.”- Pope Innocent III, De Consuetudine

    By right, the Friars really should just continue to say the Mass of Tradition, with serenity and without rancour. And if anyone accuses them of being “disobedient” or “schismatic” they can call in Pope Saint Pius V and Saint Robert Bellarmine. It you actually stop to think about it, forbidding any priest from saying the true Mass is, to err on the side of charity, completely and utterly absurd. Laws against driving at speed in a built up area, or on the right hand side of the road, or selling cigarettes to children are self-evidently justified. What possible justification, based on the glorification of God and the sanctification of souls, can any liberal or neo-cath dream up for suppressing the true Mass?

    Under canon law, the supreme law is the salvation of souls. Power in the Church is that of Christ, which means that all power is vicarious, even that exercised by the Pope and also the Bishops. The fullness of power that belongs to the authority of the Pope can only be rightly exercised in accord with the principle set forth by the Fourth Council of Constantinople and reaffirmed by the First Vatican Council, that is, “Our first salvation is to guard the rule of right faith” (Ds 3066). In other words, the Vicar of Christ is not free to suppress the “the received and approved rites of the Catholic Church” referred to in Session 7, canon 13, Council of Trent or the “Apostolic and Ecclesiastical Traditions” (Tridentine Profession of Faith).

    “A tyrannical law, through not being according to reason, is not a law, absolutely speaking, but rather a perversion of law.” – Saint Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, I, II, q.92, a.1, ad 4.

    The following is, I think, worthy of constant repetition:

    “Pope John Paul asked a commission of nine cardinals in 1986 two questions. Firstly, did Pope Paul VI or any other competent authority legally forbid the widespread celebration of the Tridentine Mass in the present day? No. He asked Benelli explicitly, ‘Did Paul VI forbid the old Mass?’ He never answered –never yes, never no. Why? He couldn’t say, ‘Yes, he forbade it.’ He couldn’t forbid a Mass which was from the beginning valid and was the Mass of thousands of saints and faithful. The difficulty for him was that he couldn’t forbid it, but at the same time he wanted the new Mass to be accepted. And so he could only say, ‘ I want that the new Mass should be said.’ This was the answer all the princes gave to the question asked. They said that the Holy Father wished that all follow the new Mass.

    “The answer given by eight cardinals in 1986 was that, no, the Mass of St. Pius V has never been suppressed. I can say this: I was one of the cardinals. Only one was against…

    “There was another question, very interesting. ‘Can any bishop forbid any priest in good standing from celebrating a Tridentine Mass again?’ The nine cardinals unanimously agreed that no bishop may forbid a Catholic priest from saying the Tridentine Mass. We have no official prohibition and I think the Pope would never establish an official prohibition.”
    – Cardinal Alfons Stickler in The Latin Mass, Summer 1995, p.14.

    The Holy Father would be well advised to read that particular 1986 file.

  10. Leo

    Those first two quotes alone in your post above, take the rug right away from under the changes that have been imposed since Vatican II.

    Your whole comment was, as usual, greatly helpful and I will be using its contents when discussing things with my relatives and friends, who’ve all gone along with the changes or “reforms”.

    I think you are completely right to say “By right, the Friars really should just continue to say the Mass of Tradition, with serenity and without rancour.” However, that is unlikely. I’ve never met a religious or priest who would disobey a superior – even thought they are actually disobeying Tradition, as Archbishop Lefebvre said.

    If anyone has not yet read the Open Letter to Confused Catholics which the Archbishop wrote, it is on the Catholic Truth links page to download, and it is really well worth reading.

  11. “Now sometimes the things commanded by a superior are against God, therefore superiors are not to be obeyed in all things.” – St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theoligica II-II, q. 104, art. 5, ad. 3

    Thank you, Josephine for your kind words, and well done on mentioning Archbishop Lefebvre’s Open Letter to Confused Catholics. Chapter 18 actually addresses the issue of true and false obedience.

    I think any priest who reads this blog regularly shouldn’t be overburdened by scruples on the issue of offering the Mass of the Saints and Martyrs in particular, or that of false obedience in general. I know Crofter Lady posted a link, not long ago, to a talk given by the Archbishop entitled “Can Obedience Oblige Us to Disobey”. And I’m sure that Augustine has previously posted a collection of very useful quotations from eminent theologians on the issue.

    The following may well be included. Anyway, it’s rather typical of what the theologians have to say on the matter:

    “If [the Pope] gives an order contrary to good customs, he should not be obeyed; if he attempts to do something openly opposed to justice and the common good, it will be licit to resist him; if he attacks by force, by force he can be repelled, with a moderation appropriate to a just defence” (Fr. Francisco Suarez SJ, one of the foremost theologians and Scholastic philosophers of the 16th-17th centuries).

    In other words, no authority in the Church can demand obedience to commands contrary to the divine law and the good of souls. Saint Thomas Aquinas addressed the issue of the obedience in Summa Theologica, II, II, Q. 104, Art. 5. Here he states that outside of those things which relate to his mode of religious life, a professed religious, with the highest duty of obedience in the Church, is only bound by obedience if “such things be not contrary to God or to the rule they profess, for obedience in this case would be unlawful.” Any command contrary to divine law removes a duty of obedience. In other words, the principle according to which one must “obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29) applies to religious superiors, just as to any other authority on earth.

    In any conflict between an inferior authority (a Pope) and a superior authority (Our Lord Jesus Christ), obedience is owed to the superior authority. As stated above, it is Catholic moral theology which teaches this. Obeying the higher authority of two hardly constitutes a rebellious, unlawful act.

    In reality, it’s not unimaginable that priests risk banishment to “Craggy Island” or some other ecclesiastical “Siberia” for saying the true Mass. Think of Father Michael Rodriguez in Texas. He wasn’t afraid to do right thing, though. So it looks like decision time for the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculata, and possibly other priests before long.

    What will the Friars do for Tradition, if they are not prepared to stand firm here? Let’s not forget that the battle against all the modernist novelties that have endangered souls for five decades involves a lot more than the Mass, extremely important as it is. That’s really only the starting point.

  12. “What happened over 1600 years ago is repeating itself today, but with two or three differences: Alexandria is the whole Universal Church, the stability of which is being shaken, and what was undertaken at that time by means of physical force and cruelty is now being transferred to a different level. Exile is replaced by banishment into the silence of being ignored; killing, by assassination of character.”
    – Mgr. Rudolf Graber, Bishop of Regensburg,
    Athanasius and the Church of Our Times, p. 23.

    Maybe, in these times of diabolical disorientation and modernist attacks against Tradition, it’s no harm to remember that the Church is not in altogether foreign waters. The story of Saint Athanasius and the Arian Crisis of the fourth century may not be familiar to the many liberals who appear to believe that Church was founded in 1962, a sort of year zero in the Great Revolution, but as Catholics who adhere to the Mass of All Time and Tradition know, orthodoxy is not determined by head counts or agreed statements issued by Bishops Conferences.

    Recollection of the struggle for the Faith in the fourth century has a lot to say to those in the fight for the Mass and Tradition, however much greater the present devastation.

    Cardinal John Henry Newman cites numerous Patristic testimonies to the abysmal state of the Church at that time. In Appendix V to the third edition of his Arians of the Fourth Century, we read:

    “A. D. 360. St. Gregory Nazianzen says, about this date: ‘Surely the pastors have done foolishly; for, excepting a very few, who either on account of their insignificance were passed over, or who by reason of their virtue resisted, and who were to be left as a seed and root for the springing up again and revival of Israel by the influence of the Spirit, all temporized, only differing from each other in this, that some succumbed earlier, and others later; some were foremost champions and leaders in the impiety, and others joined the second rank of the battle, being overcome by fear, or by interest, or by flattery, or, what was the most excusable, by their own ignorance.’ (Orat. xxi. 24).”

    In the year 340 AD, St. Athanasius wrote a letter to his brother bishops, exhorting them to defend the faith against those he did not hesitate to stigmatize as “the evil-doers.” What he wrote to them applies now, and will do so to the end of time:

    “The Church has not just recently been given order and statutes. They were faithfully and soundly bestowed on it by the Fathers. Nor has the faith only just been established, but it has come to us from the Lord through His disciples. May what has been preserved in the Churches from the beginning to the present day not be abandoned in our time; may what has been entrusted into our keeping not be embezzled by us. Brethren, as custodians of God’s mysteries, let yourselves be roused into action on seeing all this despoiled by others.”
    -Migne, Patrologia Graeca, XXVII, col. 219.

    Any priests or laymen inclined towards despair or doubt over the struggle for the Faith might draw some reassurance and fortitude from the above recollection. However desperate things seemed then, Our Lord never left the barque of Peter. He never will. He’s still on board, and He knows exactly who is doing what.

  13. Leo,

    Thank you for those two recent posts. I have just posted a fresh thread on the SSPX, following receipt of an email from an English reader, and when I sent him the link to that thread just now, I sent him the link to this one, pointing him, in particular, to your latest comments.

    How confused people are these days. It’s just amazing – they enthuse about a self-professed ecumenical pope like John Paul II, think nothing of the current Pope’s use of the word “gay” and his shocking question “who am I to judge gays?” And generally cannot see the wood for the trees.

    So, again thank you for your – as ever – thoroughly documented and inspired comments.

    • I truly believe that the self-identification of the poisonous label ‘GAY’ by confused children and adolescents causes grave psychological damage. The Holy Father is very irresponsible for using the Devil’s own lexicon.

      • Correct ++++++++++

        I’m still reeling at the very idea of any pope using that word. Stunned. It’s got “cartoon” written all over it, but given the shock-horror at a certain other cartoon about a pope – see SSPX thread – I’m treading warily right now! By the time the October edition is due, I’ll have recovered, though, so watch out for that!

  14. The blogger Fr Z reports that several branches of the “restricted” order have already received permission to use the traditional rite.

    He claims that Pope Francis is not hostile to the traditional mass and only agreed to the restriction/permission system as a means of:

    – ensuring people were not obliged to use the traditional rite
    – avoiding ideological opposition to the new mass

    He also claims that the situation will be made a lot clearer by 30th August.

    See:

    http://wdtprs.com/blog/2013/08/update-franciscan-friars-of-the-immaculate-and-restrictions-on-the-tlm/

    Reagrding “ideological” opposition the new mass, I understand that the official line is that the new is “just the same” as the old.

    And yet – as per my post above – given the new mass is often starkly different in every parish (sometimes its reverent, other times its an homosexual comedy show, other times its like a pensioners disco dance etc) then it is demonstrably not true that its “just the same” as the traditional mass – its not even the same from one parish to the next.

    It is also demonstrably not Universal and so demonstrably not Catholic.

  15. Well said, Gabriel Syme.

    Those who believe the true Mass and Bugnini’s fabrication are “just the same” or simply a matter of taste, or who believe that attending the former is simply a matter of nostalgia, really don’t grasp the issues.

    If anyone wants to talk about continuity, they might want to have a rethink. While we’re waiting, here’s a thought for the day, courtesy of two of the fabricators themselves:

    “It is not simply a question of restoring a valuable masterpiece, in some cases it will be necessary to provide new structures for entire rites…it will truly be a new creation.” – Annibale Bugnini, May 7 1967, La Documentation Catholique, no. 1493

    “Let them compare it with the Mass we now have. Not only the words, the melodies and some of the gestures are different. To tell the truth, it is a different liturgy of the Mass. This needs to be said without ambiguity: the Roman Rite as we know it no longer exists. It has been destroyed. Some walls of the former edifice have changed their appearance, to the extent that it appears today either as a ruin or the partial substructure of a different building.” – Joseph Gelineau SJ, Demain La Liturgie, Paris, 1976, pp 9-10

    The following short video might help make the point also:

    http://en.gloria.tv/?media=420086

    • Leo,

      That’s a fantastic synopsis of the work of the fabricators of the new Mass. I’ll be able to use that with priests and people who defend the new Mass claiming it’s just the same as the old Mass except in the vernacular and that it is restoring the Mass to how it was at the beginning. Great, thanks.

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