Recently there was a news item about some Italian bishops griping (that’s not news) to Pope Francis (ditto) about Summorum Pontificum (as before). They think it should be extirpated (more of the same). Francis shot them down. That’s news.
I am having days filled with museums at the moment, and therefore living on my computer is low on my list. However, my friend Fr. Tim Finigan, His Hermeneuticalness, has the low down. Let’s see what clever analysis he offers (my emphases and comments):
The Bishops of the region of Tavoliere met recently with Pope Francis on an ad limina visit. On their return home, one has given a fascinating glimpse of the attitude of Pope Francis to those who are seeking to use the opportunity of his papacy to attack the traditional Mass. This is reported in the Italian paper Il Foglio, in the article: La messa antica non si tocca, il Papa gesuita spiazza ancora tutti (“The old mass is not to be touched, the Jesuit Pope wrong-foots everyone” [spiazza… floors, shocks])
Here is [Fr Finigan’s] translation of the relevant part of the article which tells of other bishops raising concerns with the Holy Father and goes on to speak of the intervention concerning the old Mass:
Then it was the turn of the bishop of Conversano and Monopoli, Domenico Padovano, who recounted to the clergy of his diocese how the priority [what a sad group of men] of the bishops of the region of Tavoliere had been that of explaining to the Pope that the mass in the old rite was creating great divisions within the Church. The underlying message: Summorum Pontificum should be cancelled, or at least strongly limited. But Francis said no.
Mgr Padovano explained that Francis replied to them saying that they should be vigilant over the extremism of certain traditionalist groups but also suggesting that they should treasure tradition and create the necessary conditions so that tradition might be able to live alongside innovation. [Right. And we could even have a document that says that! It could be called… how ’bout… Ecclesia Dei adflicta? In it the Pope could command by his Apostolic authority that bishops do that.]
This is not really a surprise (did anyone expect that Pope Francis would somehow “repeal” Summorum Pontificum? [Apparently those bishops did.]) but it is a welcome confirmation of what we would all expect.
One thing that jumps out of the story is that the bishops of this region judged that their main pastoral priority – to be communicated to the Pope on a five-yearly visit – was to attack Summorum Pontificum. [“priority”] Forget abortion, embryo experimentation, the push for same-sex marriage throughout Europe, the loss of faith of many Catholics and our failure in catechesis and evangelisation. No, the really big problem is a small number of priests legitimately saying the old Mass. [small but growing, especially as the Biological Solution kicks into gear] Given what Pope Francis has said about the danger of being a self-referential Church, I can well imagine he gave them short shrift. [Good insight.]
Those bishops fell into the trap of pitting Pope Francis against Pope Benedict.
Francis himself gave us an example of READING FRANCIS THROUGH BENEDICT.
I will now repeat what I wrote after the election of Pope Francis, addressed to those who were unsure about how to proceed giving the new Pope’s different (outward) style.
The tank has only one gear.
If you are feeling down and don’t know what to do, if you are discouraged because Pope Francis is doing different things, remember that Pope Benedict left juridical provisions.
If you don’t know what to do…
… take the training wheels off and RIDE THE DAMN BIKE.
Get something going. Now is not the time to hesitate. Press forward.