Interesting celebrant of Pontifical TLM at SS Ternità in Rome: a very non-trad leading Auxilary close to Pope Francis

No fooling… on Sunday one the Auxiliary Bishops of Rome went to the official parish for the Extraordinary Form in Rome, SS Ternità dei Pellegrini (real Romans say Ternità rather than Trinità).  There are some good photos at NLM.

Here is an account with comments from a friend in Rome who attends the parish (edited):

Yesterday the auxiliary Bishop for the Centro Storico, [The historic center of Rome] His Excellency Most Reverend Matteo Maria Zuppi celebrated Mass at our parish.

This is very important for all of us for a host of reasons:

1) the man is no traddie. A bishop from the clergy of the Sant’Egidio community (Andrea Riccardi anyone?), is not someone you expect to want to be with us. And yet he asked to come and celebrate Mass.  [Next… INVITE HIM!]

2) he’s said to be very close to the Pope, and he certainly shares a lot of his style.

3) he was very kind and very nice to us. He took the time to speak with all who wanted to during the post-Mass “coffee and donuts”. He was very amiable, repeating how sorry he was for the inevitable mistakes he made not being used to the traditional missal and rubrics.

[NB] 4) His homily was neither about the risks of reneging on the Council nor about risks of “instrumentalizing” the old Mass or neopelagianism and such. It was about the Gospel and the Epistle of the Laetare Sunday, and the service to the universal Church we all need to be involved in as a parish and as individual Catholics to feed the people with the spiritual food of the Gospel and when necessary also with the food the body needs. [Excellent.  It is best that the sermon not be so self-conscious.]

The pajama traddies in their mom’s basement will try to destroy this thing via comboxes, but if there was anything I didn’t detect due to wishful thinking, I don’t know. Those with any working synapses left felt really consoled and reassured by yesterday. At least I know I did.

Another person who was involved sent this (edited):

Some people in the liberal part of the blogosphere note that Pope Francis just got rid of the “bling bishop”, and – what a coincidence – the bling-bishop also just happens to like the trad Mass.

People have been giving the impression that Francis is not keen on the “trad thing”.  [On the other hand], the Pope is completely cool with having the guy who is doing most of the actual bishoping in Rome celebrate the trad Mass.

More photos HERE.

This is a good development. No fooling!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    Wouldn’t it be nice if one day we read that in another one of his unexpected and unannounced whims, Pope Francis shows up one day to celebrate the TLM? Probably won’t happen – but it would be nice.

  2. Gratias says:

    Auxiliary Bishop Zuppi is responsable of representing Pope Francis in the region of the historic center of Rome, where the Pope’s personal parish for the EF is located.

    This is a big, big deal. The pope likes to lead by example as in his recent public confession in St. Peter’s as seen in the photo nearby. What would we not give if such a gesture could happen to the Vetus Ordo.

    Santo Padre, lo que no daríamos por una misa Vetus Ordo suya para predicar a través del ejemplo. Esto terminaría con los temores de un posible cisma por razones litúrgicas. Sería un gesto de gran caridad. Haber enviado a Msgr Zuppi fue un gran comienzo.


  3. AGA says:

    How much prep/study time does it take for a cleric with limited to no experience with the TLM to show up and celebrate such a Mass? Do the various assistants walk him through it around the sanctuary? It just seems strange that someone without a background in traditonal liturgy can just show up and say a TLM…

  4. Jacob:

    To be fair, Pope Benedict XVI never did that, despite all, including many desires that he would, and which I have to assume the pope was aware of. Further, I must assume he, perhaps with help from trusted aides, weighed the idea and it’s consequences at length.

    Father Z:

    Would it be a reasonable inference that this bishop’s participation — given his prior interests — was induced by a higher-up?

  5. Athelstan says:

    “Pajama traddies?” That’s a new one on me. Is this what’s worn when the denim jumper or the waistjacket is in the wash?

    I can only see good in this Mass, and the good bishop’s celebration of it. Many kind thanks to Bishop Zuppi for his openness to tradition and his generosity, and my prayers go with him. I hope he’s willing to come back for an encore, and that the FSSP invite him to do so.

    Francis is not keen on the “trad thing”… The truth is, he’s not, by his own public comments, his record in Buenos Aires, as well as things I have heard off the record – and that is deeply disappointing. (Let’s not assume the worst at every turn, but let’s also be honest about what he is, too.) But the FFI (alas) notwithstanding, he’s willing to let tradition “do its thing” so far, and he’s declined to overturn Summorum or fire Marini despite open calls for him to do so by his own bishops. And, apparently, he’ll even allow his own auxilliary bishop celebrate a TLM in his own diocese. There was a time not so long ago when that was unthinkable.

  6. Nathan says:

    Deo gratias! Not only did an unexpected bishop celebrate a Pontifical Mass (it appears to be said from the faldstool from the photos), but he also did not deliver a “You Bad Trad” homily (which, for a while, seemed ubiquitous in such occasions). Another blessing from Almighty God.

    In Christ,

  7. Athelstan says:

    Hello Nathan,

    …which, for a while, seemed ubiquitous in such occasions

    Indeed, it did. Hopefully, this is evidence that we’re moving past that now.

  8. Sonshine135 says:

    The more I learn about Pope Francis and the more we see of him, I am beginning to believe that this man just truly carries a large umbrella. While I agree, he is not big on Traditional Liturgy, he is at least showing he is concerned for the souls of those who prefer the EF Mass.

  9. Polycarpio says:

    I have posted some reflections on this news here.

  10. Inigo says:

    I’ve been saying this since day one. Pope Francis is the most likely candidate for a public EF mass by a pope. Only somebody who is clearly not especially impressed by liturgical matters can pull off something as controversial as this.

    Has anyone tried to ask the pope to do it? How about this year, at the Summorum Pontificum pilgrimage in Rome, we would hand over a petition signed by thousands of people from all over the world to someone close to the pope, to whom the EF community has access to, and who’s reputation is all but “traddy”? Oh wait, I’ve got an idea, how about bishop Zuppi?

    “Ride the damn bike!”

  11. mamajen says:


    I completely agree that if anybody can get away with it, and in fact might actually do it, it’s Pope Francis.

  12. mamajen says:

    This is so great to hear, and it seems to me that couldn’t have been just a random idea on the part of Bishop Zuppi. Olive branch perhaps? Clear message that there is no “war on tradition”?

    I hope that a few people have thought to send nice thank you letters.

    Finally, I don’t think one needs to be a “trad” in order to appreciate, attend or offer the TLM. The sooner we all understand that, the better.

  13. Bea says:

    Great News, for a change.

    How refreshing to hear your friend in Rome call it: “post-Mass “coffee and donuts”

    We had a visiting priest here for a while that called it “The continuation of the Mass with coffee and donuts” It used to drive me up the wall. Really? “The continuation?”

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