Msgr. Bux: Pope Francis will not restrict the Traditional Roman Rite

At the site of The Remnant there is a piece which quotes the great Msgr. Nicola Bux on Pope Francis’ attitude about the older, traditional forms of the Roman Rite.

Vatican Consultant Says Pope Will Not Hamper Traditional Latin Mass

By Alberto Carosa

ROME – The Mass in the Roman rite according to the pre-conciliar Missal of 1962 will continue to be freely celebrated without any limitation by Pope Francis. This is the opinion of renowned theologian and liturgist, Don Nicola Bux, as expressed in a recent interview in the Neapolitan daily Roma and reported in various news outlets.

“The movement in favour of the traditional liturgy will certainly continue because the succession of Popes does not break the continuity of tradition and he who succeeds to a predecessor does not invent the Church again”, said don Bux, who is also a consultant to the Congregation for Divine Worship and well respected in tradition-minded circles. “Sometimes it is believed that the Pope, in his office, must make his personal views prevail, but this would be quite worrisome. It is clear that every Pontiff has his own temperament and history, and it is not these that are to prevail, but always the good of the Church. The Pope is a minister, but he is not the master, as was also reiterated by the current Pontiff”.

And what about Pope Francis’s attitude toward the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum? Well when he was Bishop of Buenos Aires, according to don Bux, Cardinal Bergoglio did “not hamper the application of the Motu Proprio“.

[NB] The interest in the traditional liturgy, don Bux contends, is also linked to the new evangelization. [Do I hear an “Amen!”?] “In the present moment of grave crisis of faith, a mystical liturgy celebrated with dignity can be a great help for people searching to find God. Historically, great converts were struck by grace while attending solemn rites and listening to extraordinary chants”.


I can attest to that.

The article goes on to talk about a pilgrimage to Rome in October. Last year I was able to go because of the generosity of readers here who sent me donations (on which I greatly depend). This year the organizers have a partnership with Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Joseph-Mary says:

    This is good news and let us hope that the Franciscans of the Immaculate will soon have restored to them the privilege that all other priests in the world have to offer the Vetus Ordo. That was what was making them the fastest growing Franciscan Order! And the young vocations eagerly embrace the TLM but as in other places, a small number of older priests not so much .

  2. acardnal says:

    Good news!

  3. Robbie says:

    I’m certainly glad to read this news, but is this merely the opinion of a theologian and a Vatican consultant or has he actually spoken with the Pope? If it’s just an opinion, that would hardly be binding. While I’ve had my moments of concern about SP these last few months, I’ve never really expected the Pope would make such a controversial move because it would go against his inclusive agenda.

    I must quibble with a comment Msgr. Bux made, though. He said, ” (TLM) will certainly continue because the succession of Popes does not break the continuity of tradition and he who succeeds to a predecessor does not invent the Church again.” Well, I would agree with that statement in theory, but isn’t that exactly what happened after VCII? It certainly seems to me the “spirit of the Council” was used to re-invent many aspects of the Church.

    I’ve probably gone a bit afield from the main thrust of the story, but the comment about tradition and not attempting to invent the Church again, in regards to the TLM, caught my eye.

  4. Tantum Ergo says:

    Sounds good, but let’s see how all this shakes out. If Pope Francis went along this end run around Summorum Pontificum by the Old Guard of the Franciscans of the Immaculate, we may not be out of the woods yet. Actions speak louder than words.

  5. AdDeum says:

    This is good news… I am cautiously optimistic. I don’t believe Pope Francis will do anything to “actively” oppose the Traditional Mass, though what recently happened with the Franciscans was worrisome.

    BUT, I am afraid that those who are adamantly opposed to the Traditional Mass feel emboldened by our Pope. And, THAT is worrisome.

  6. tcreek says:

    It is beyond me why Pope Francis does not clear the air with a statement such as – “I will not restrict the Traditional Roman Rite?”
    Or, can he not truthfully say that?

  7. Choirmaster says:

    [The] Missal of 1962 will continue to be freely celebrated without any limitation by Pope Francis.

    That is, if you don’t count the limitation that Pope Francis has set on the Missal of 1962 regarding the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate. I was unable to find the transcript of Msgr. Bux’s interview, so I assume the quote is only a bit of editorializing from Alberto Carosa, yet it is factually incorrect.

    Pope Francis has been a remarkably polarizing influence on those of us attached to the 1962 Missal and the philosophical and theological currents that go along with it, and this seems to be the very issue that Fr. Z and others (cf. Peter Miller) are most concerned about. In my opinion that which divides us is only superficial, no more than a matter of style and/or intensity, or the differing particulars in the manifestations of our emotional reactions.

    Considering the above, along with the other events, acts, and words which we are all familiar with, I would say that the article is overly optimistic to the point of fault. Msgr. Bux is absolutely correct, of course, in an eschatological sense, but in the near term we have suffered considerable losses. Or, maybe we have been set right and shown reality, if you consider the miraculous gains and unwarranted optimism experienced during the previous Pontificate.

    A Pope may indeed attempt to break with tradition, and he may break a great deal many things in that attempt, but he could not break the Church irreparably, and that is where the truth of the article lies. For us powerless and persecuted here in the middle it will still be a painful time, and we will have to take the assurance of victory on faith.

  8. jbas says:

    It sounds like Msgr. Bux is just guessing here, but has no firsthand knowledge of the Holy Father’s intentions.

  9. kpoterack says:

    “I’m certainly glad to read this news, but is this merely the opinion of a theologian and a Vatican consultant or has he actually spoken with the Pope?”

    It says that this is his “opinion” in the article but, remember that Msgr. Bux is rumored to have had a hand in the drafting of Summorum Pontificum. The man has connections. I think that we can safely assume that if he had real reason to think that any restrictions were coming down the pike, he wouldn’t speak this way.

    His opinion is definitely worth something, and I think it reasonable to take at least SOME encouragement from this!

  10. tonyfernandez says:

    I think that this would be a good time to remind everyone about the Bux Protocol. Even if everything seems hopeless, pray to St. Joseph.

  11. Hank Igitur says:

    Two points: 1) The remarks of Mgr Bux are identified as opinion. 2) The conditions imposed upon the FI ARE a restriction, whichever way you try to spin it.

  12. CharlesG says:

    “The conditions imposed upon the FI ARE a restriction, whichever way you try to spin it.”

    They are if you interpret the words of the decree as they appear on their face. If instead they are interpreted to allow FFI priests to say EF private masses and occasional (not regular) EF conventual masses without permission, then I think they can be squared with Sections 2 and 3 of SP.

  13. Fool_for_Christ says:

    tonyfernandez – I like the Bux Protocol: “Even if everything seems hopeless, pray to St. Joseph!” Thank you for that. Ite ad Joseph!!!

    With regards to the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, the proof of the pudding is in the eating… it remains to be seen if, when and how generous the permissions are going to be. With all of the noise the intervention created, I have to think that permissions will be forthcoming; otherwise… lìo!

  14. kimberley jean says:

    I’d like to hear that directly from the pope.

  15. Athelstan says:

    I can”t quite agree with the excellent Msgr Bux’s history:

    1. While I deplore Rorate’s shoot-first posture with Pope Francis, I do think it is hard to argue with their evidence that, in fact, Summorum was basically a dead letter in Buenos Aires. On the most charitable reading, a half-hearted attempt was made by Cdl. Bergoglio to implement a Mass, and life was still made difficult for priests wanting to celebrate the Old Mass. We don’t know the details, or who was responsible; we just know the results. Which are that life was very difficult indeed for traditionalists in Buenos Aires.

    2. I think that the conditions imposed on the FI really do amount to a constriction of Summorum, albeit a very minor and limited one. We will see how it plays out as permission is sought to celebrate the EF going forward.

    But all that said, I still remain hopeful with Msgr. Bux that Summorum will basically remain intact going forward. Reinforcing Ecclesia Dei by sending Msgr Pozzo over doesn’t exactly bode ill for dismantling the protections set up in the Curia, and Pope Francis has said positive things about Summorum and the TLM to resistant liberal Italian bishops. I think it was wrong to impose this on FI, but trying something similar with EF-exclusive orders like FSSP, ICRSS, IBP, etc., is quite another kettle of fish.

  16. kpoterack says:

    Thank you, Athelstan, for presenting a very fair view of the evidence. You have a refreshing calm and balance in your post. I will simply add a few observations to your two points which I think MIGHT help to explain things:

    1) As for the situation in Buenos Aires, I cannot speak with any first hand knowledge, but the fact that the SSPX has a seminary very nearby (La Reja) and that Bishop Williamson was the rector there for some time should be factored in. As you said, we “don’t know the details . . . we just know the results.” However, I can speak from the authority of working in a solidly orthodox Catholic institution where some very good Catholics still have a bad taste in their mouth about the EF because of associating it with various extremist groups. It is tempting for some of us (myself included) to think of the situation as “bad liberals” who hate the EF vs. “good traditionalists” who love it. However, there is at least a third group of orthodox Catholics – even many who appreciate at least some liturgical tradition – but are turned off by “traddies” and thus biased against the EF. For all we know, in Buenos Aires the EF is (wrongly, but understandably) associated with Holocaust denial – or other such extraneous things – and this is at least part of the reason why the EF has not made much traction there.

    2) Of course the FFI ruling does involve a constriction of SP, but hardly an illicit one. By analogy, Catholics do possess a “right to the sacraments” (canon 213), but this does not rule out the taking away of that right, via interdict, in some cases. Clearly the FFI were experiencing disunity over the different uses of the Roman Rite and the Vatican stepped in and, at least for the time being, took away the full exercise of that right. Whether it was a correct decision or not, is another matter, but I do not think that it portends that everyone’s right will be taken away or restricted.

    Also, having worked in such a close-knit orthodox Catholic community for so long, I know full-well the sort of friction (often unintentional) that can be caused by the introduction of the EF. It shouldn’t cause friction, and I absolutely love the EF, but this is a reality: not even all ORTHODOX Catholics are ready for it yet. I have no trouble imagining that this MAY indeed have happened in some of the FFI communities (particularly contemplative communities who were formed in the OF). Of course, it may simply be trouble makers within the FFI who got the Vatican to believe their side. Fair enough. This is the position I would have taken 10 years ago. It would have seemed so self-evident to me, then. However, I have had enough experiences to the contrary to consider that it didn’t necessarily happen that way. Communities and religious orders are like families and there are all sorts of complicated emotions and attitudes which color the interpretation of even well-intentioned decisions.

    As a wise priest used to say to me, “there are three sides to every story!”

    Anyway, I remain optimistic about the future. I think that we need to keep doing whatever it is we were called to do in the liturgical apostolate: sing, serve, pray, fast, contribute money, etc. – and be of good cheer!

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