Rumors about Summorum Pontificum – GET A GRIP!

17_02_17_screenshot_SummorumMy email is filling with panicked messages about a story at LifeSite which suggests that Pope Francis is maneuvering to end the universal legislation established by Benedict XVI in Summorum Pontificum. HERE

Please, friends, breathe into a paper bag or whatever else you have to do to get a grip.

First, I don’t believe it.

Second, I don’t think it would make a lot of difference: this thing is going to continue one way or another.

So, put on your big boy underwear, stop whining, and GET BACK TO WORK.


Honestly… if some people put half the energy they use to worry and whine and wring their hands about rumors into building up a traditional Mass community where they live, we’d see some remarkable progress.

¡Hagan lío!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in ¡Hagan lío!, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Si vis pacem para bellum!, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. abdiesus says:

    Would it be possible for you to expand slightly on this sentence: “Second, I don’t think it would make a lot of difference: this thing is going to continue one way or another.” Thanks….

  2. Kevin says:

    A cursory glance at the exaggerated and sensationalist headlines most days on Lifesite News put it in the same category as the common British/Irish tabloid newspaper, albeit a religious version.

  3. Josephus Muris Saliensis says:

    Deo gratias, Father Z. The voice of calm common sense!

    Oremus pro invicem.

  4. JonPatrick says:

    I agree, things are happening at the grass roots and will continue no matter what the Vatican says or does. Besides, Summorum Pontificum basically said that the traditional Latin Mass had never been abolished or abrogated – so what are they going to do, declare it is now abolished? I don’t think so. Even though in theory SP allows any priest to say the TLM without needing permission of his bishop, the reality is that if his bishop is against the TLM it probably won’t happen. So going back to a system that requires Episcopal permission wouldn’t change things much – those places like Madison and Lincoln NE where bishops are friendly to the TLM will continue to be, and vice versa.

  5. albizzi says:

    Making the Church unrecognizable implies de facto to suppress the TLM.

  6. Adaquano says:

    Great response Father, when I saw this circulating I began thinking this has to be merely rumor (too much of it just seems like, yeah that sounds just like Pope Francis). And then I started reading some commenters on the subject, and was saddened to see people so shaken or consumed with vitriol over a rumor. If anything, such responses should make us step back and wonder if we do treat the liturgy as merely a form, rather than an opportunity to encounter God. My wife and I have been preparing for Marian consecration and I have also been reading about the life of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, and I think they can show us how to respond to challenging times, when it feels like our designs have been denied.

    I live in a large NE city in which there are many parish consolidations, which actually could be a great opportunity to start Latin Mass communities, as new groups of people form together.

  7. TheCivilCatholic says:

    Libs are feeling the pressure brought on by ballooning calls for the reform of the reform. Cardinal Sarah et al have them spooked. All dissent must be crushed. All must worship in bongo masses celebrated by wymenpriests.

  8. Rosary Rose says:

    Our new pastor had Broadway songs during Mass at his last parish, apparently singing a duet with the pianist. Any suggestions on how to approach him on bringing the EF? I am praying the rosary daily. I am involved in various parish activities and I do financially contribute. Not sure how to approach his big ego.

  9. Henry Edwards says:

    The future of the TLM is not in the hands of Pope Francis and his spirit of Vatican II generation nearing its end, but in those of a new young generation of tradition-loving priests and faithful.

  10. revueltos67 says:

    Perhaps this article struck a nerve because people can see that this is what has happened in their own dioceses.

    Certainly it’s the case here where our archbishop at the time of SP, a canny operator and protege of Cardinal Bernardin, barred FFSP etc from the diocese, brought in a sole “Latin Mass Chaplin” of limited abilities, then used him to quite effectively ghettoize the TLM to his tiny chapel and an obscure parish with an ongoing indult Mass.

    When people ask for the TLM at their local parish the pastor, having gotten the message that establishing such a thing or even attempting to learn the Mass is a ticket to the hinterlands, can point them to the TLM ghetto with charitable concern lest the door strike their backside on the way out. An experience I’ve personally had.

  11. Knight from 13904 says:

    With what we’ve seen coming out of Rome lately anything is possible. Also seems to me that there is a pattern forming where by a high percentage of leaks and rumors do eventually turn out to be true. As being one that is relatively new to the TLM, I have a very hard time going to a NO Mass now. The lack of reverence and respect is hard to take.

  12. frjim4321 says:

    Generally speaking, probably 1% of rumors are true.

    As I’ve stated before, I think SP was a mistake and if it were to be suppressed I would see that as a good thing. [Typical lib. Always wanting to make God smaller, control people.]

    But I doubt that it will happen.

  13. Legisperitus says:

    Henry Edwards: Yes, it’s fascinating to imagine what the Church will look like in 30 years.

  14. ASPM Sem says:

    To quote President Trump:

    Remember, when you hear the words “sources say” from the Fake Media, often times those sources are made up and do not exist.

    @realDonaldTrump on Twitter

  15. ASPM Sem says:

    Also, to quote canon law:

    A person who publicly incites among subjects animosities or hatred against the Apostolic See or an ordinary because of some act of power or ecclesiastical ministry or provokes subjects to disobey them is to be punished by an interdict or other just penalties.

    Canon 1373

    Such rumors, especially when spread on Facebook with language condemning the Holy Father, would seem to be a violation of this canon in at least the spirit of the law.

  16. Pastor in Valle says:

    Agreed entirely, Father. I cannot imagine anyone who now celebrates EF agreeing to put the genie back in the bottle. And any attempt to enforce it would be doomed to failure. Been there. Done that. Got the polyester chasuble. Even some Argentinians must know that the attempt would be futile.

  17. This is one of those rumors that gets hashed and re-hashed now and again. (Remember the one four years ago about the “Hybrid Mass”?) There are no doubt a few malcontents within the Curia who would love nothing more than to see this through, but then again, we’d have to ask if this pope cares enough one way or the other to go to the trouble of overturning a motu proprio that would cause more trouble than it would by just leaving it alone.

    And all that might presume that this story is credible, which it isn’t so … nothing to see here, move along, move along …

  18. iPadre says:

    “What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful.” – Benedict XVI, Summorum Pontificum

  19. un-ionized says:

    This seems to be a rumor. I have noticed that lifesitenews is pretty unreliable. Poorly written, having trouble getting facts straight, etc.

  20. arga says:

    just wondering what “thing” you mean here: “this thing is going to continue one way or another.”

  21. juergensen says:

    You can build brick by brick, or you can tear down brick by brick. The latter is what I see in this pontificate.

  22. Boniface says:

    I think I can claim some expertise in this area and I don’t believe it one bit, either. Lifesitenews has, unfortunately, become a “fake news” source. That article, which a friend sent me in alarm, was riddled with “suggests,” “anonymous sources,” “rumored,” etc., which in itself was a giveaway the author has no idea what he’s talking about. But hey, as long as any scrap of third-hand hearsay can serve to bash the Holy Father in the eyes of their “customers,” LSN seems willing to publish it these days.

  23. SKAY says:

    “First, I don’t believe it.”
    Thank you, Father Z.

  24. Charles E Flynn says:

    The lighter side of the so-far unfounded rumor:

    From Rev. John Stone’s Twitter feed, in which Charlton Heston is channeled:

    Pope Francis can have my Latin Missal, when he takes it from my cold, dead hands.

    [We do like Charlton Heston.]

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  25. Pingback: Canon212 Update: FrancisChurch is a Full-Blown Member of the Gay MonsterState – The Stumbling Block

  26. benedetta says:

    I do not think that we ever really need doubt, particularly after the experiences and events of so many many things, that there do exist certain personalities ensconced in some relatively powerful places who do actively entertain perhaps obsessively in a clinical sense even some bucket list fantasies to do away with the EF, forever, and who in all likelihood are engaged in a continual activity of scanning for openings and opportunities and who left to their own devices and when triggered in a particular way devise various schemas in the hopes that one or more may take hold and get some big ‘mo to carry them through. These would be people whose idea non theocratic, un integralist, ultimate secular state would be one in which there are several abortions rendered for every man, woman, and child, for any and no reason including gender, for coin and commercial profit with a certain percentage tithed to the appropriate authorities and politico bigwigs. That said, one can understand the reality at work. One should not be dismayed at these reports and rumors but one should understand why some powerful people feel extremely threatened by right belief and worship today, and understand that some are willing to do, almost anything, to strike out at that in attack. The response is to redouble the practice of the faith and employ all spiritual weapons available to work for the true peace of the world.

  27. Fr. Vincent Fitzpatrick says:

    One thing LifeSite got wrong was referring to SP as giving “permission” for the celebration of the TLM. On the contrary, SP announced that permission has not ever been needed, is not needed, will not ever be needed, and cannot ever be needed.

    [Be careful. The motu proprio SP doesn’t say that string of “nots”. The Supreme Pontiff has full authority in the Church as Legislator. It is possible that A Pope could choose to overhaul from top to bottom with radical changes the way in which all priests are authorized to say Mass. However, it is unlikely that any Pope would undertake to so today.]

  28. un-ionized says:

    Boniface, I have done a thorough search. This rumor originated with lifesitenews.

  29. Aquinas Gal says:

    Even if Pope Francis did nullify SP, a future pope could nullify whatever Francis does.
    So there!

  30. wolfeken says:

    If nothing else, this (latest) exercise should serve as a reminder to conservatives and traditional Catholics who post things on the Internets: know your sources and look into why they say what they say before rushing to post. There have been WAY too many otherwise well-intentioned Catholic bloggers lately getting played by smart sources with an agenda in the Vatican.

    [And, most of all, GET TO WORK. Confound expectations.]

  31. Mike of Arkansas says:

    Regardless of all contemporary Roman episcopal intrigue, there will now forevermore be courageous independent organized remnants not cowed by clerical jack boots and their sycophants, nor by today’s debauched saboteurs and enemies of summorum pontificum.

    We had none of that required courage and organization in 1965, least of all from priests and bishops…save the heros who would form FSSPX.

  32. The rumor goes back a few weeks to a July 7 piece in “La Croix”, in which liberal theologian Andrea Grillo [an enemy, without question] suggested that Pope Francis could or should ghettoize the TLM, just as soon as Pope Benedict is out of the way. (So pastoral and charitable, these liberals.)

    Since then the idea has been picked up by trad-friendly sites like and “Adelante la Fe”; so LifeSite shouldn’t be credited or blamed as the source of this rumor. They’re just repeating it and generating outrage.

  33. Charles E Flynn says:

    Fr. Fitzpatrick’s comment leaves me wondering if the pope has the authority to prohibit the praying of the rosary.

  34. Y2Y says:

    “As I’ve stated before, I think SP was a mistake and if it were to be suppressed I would see that as a good thing.”

    Thus proving that you are motivated by pure spite. Kindly depart from my planet.

  35. DustyRyder71 says:

    I’m always a little leery when language is used to paint portraits of people who hold a certain opinion. I’m neither panicked, nor hyperventilating, as the opening of the piece suggests, but I do believe that, in time, this Pope will act to suppress the Mass of the Ages. It’s not a crippling, all-consuming fear that prevents me from doing anything — in fact, Francis’ words and deeds have moved me to action in more ways than I could list here without boring you silly — but it is something that I expect from the man.

    That being said, the advice is otherwise sound. I enjoy your blog. God bless.

  36. Fr_Sotelo says:

    Pope Francis is not overly concerned about Summorum Pontificum. He hardly speaks of the Extraordinary Form and has not told a single bishop to repress or reverse the motu propio.

    That the pope would instantly acquire an obsession about the EF Mass and connive like a petty politician to undo the motu propio is laughable and sad. Some purveyors of fake Catholic news are not only paranoid, they are clueless.

  37. Huber says:

    And wielding his mighty digital crozier, Father Z smacks some frenzied sheep upside the head, then gently pushes them forward along the path.

    Times/posts like this are when your true pastoral talents shine through, Father.

  38. hwriggles4 says:

    The last several years I have become more informed in media relations, which include secular news and Church news. Since the death of JPII in 2005, I have noticed that much of the media (big city newspapers, Reuters, API, national news stations – cable and local) do not understand the workings of the Church, and writers are often pressed to release an article by the deadline. Since the election of Pope Francis, the media has an agenda, and skews the information. By the way, I like Fox News, but they are not immune to shoddy Church reporting.

    I was VERY happy One Sunday when a good deacon at our parish (at one of the larger Masses) told the congregation to be careful what the secular media reports on the Church. The average Catholic on Sunday will normally get Catholic news from secular media, a Church bulletin or newsletter if they read it, and every now and then a diocesan newspaper (I know – I did this myself for years – I remember Connie Chung doing a news release on altar girls in 1994).

    A few things Pope Francis has emphasized that I like:

    1. No to women priests
    2. No to homosexual men in the priesthood
    3. Support for religious freedom – Senator Cruz (a Baptist) said on Fox News that the look on the faces of Catholic politicians when Francis gave a discussion on religious freedom
    4. The Eucharist

    What I am concerned about:
    1. Amoris Laetitia – answering questions from the Dubia – thank you Raymond Cardinal Burke and the others
    2. Being a little too welcoming – the truth can be taught in a charitable way, and bigger doesn’t always mean better
    3. I have heard Francis is not a huge fan of the Anglican Ordinariate, but he did appoint a good bishop for the Anglican Ordinariate in the United States, so this observation may be incorrect
    4. I am also concerned that some of the culture warriors (i.e. Chaput, Vigneron, Lori, Cordlione, Aquila ) are being overlooked. I was happy with several new bishop appointments, but there are at least four sees in the United States that I have serious concerns.

    Bottom line: when secular media outlets report news about Pope Francis, I do my best to dig deeper to find “What did Pope Francis just do today?”

  39. Semper Gumby says:

    Richard Chonak: Thanks.

    Fr. Sotelo: You overextended your argument and strayed into strawmen and an emotional dismissiveness. “That the pope would instantly acquire an obsession about the EF Mass and connive like a petty politician to undo the motu propio is laughable and sad.”

    Let’s not overreact to fragmentary reporting- an excellent point by Fr. Z. But Fr. Sotelo, let’s not be overconfident in predicting the future, especially in light of numerous statements aimed at traditional Catholics by this Pontificate, certain cardinals, Fr. Spadaro recently, etc. Cheers.

  40. Fr_Sotelo says:

    Semper Gumby,

    On many matters, I confess to ignorance–but not on how priests and bishops tend to think and act. Fr. Z and I were ordained a month apart, and like him, I have worked for decades with priests and bishops. In addition, I am Mexican and can hear and understand the Pope in his native language. I am quite experienced in dealing with Hispanic clergy from various countries.

    So, forgive me if I sound dismissive and overconfident in predicting how an elderly, Hispanic pope sees the Extraordinary Form. I have pretty good antenna for detecting if a Hispanic priest is on the warpath against the Extraordinary Form Mass. And on my “I hate the Missal of Pius V” radar, Pope Francis does not get even a flicker of the needle.

    Yes, the Pope has made statements (“numerous” statements? meh) about traditional Catholics, but that has to do with how he perceives them as a group, working within the Church, with other groups. He has concerns with whether they are insular and so much so that they do not have an ecclesial sense of how to evangelize and work with other Catholics. But those are concerns about personalities and characters–not the Form of Mass to which they are attached.

    Or, to borrow from Fr. Z, Francis makes numerous comments at Catholics (not just traditionalists!) who he fears are afflicted with an inertia that does not allow them to “put on your big boy underwear, stop whining, and GET BACK TO WORK.”

    Notice that the pope has never made biting criticisms about the priests and people of the SSPX chapels? In spite of their traditionalism, they get out there, they build, they form communities, they reach out for converts, and they do a lot of Catholic evangelism in spite of their very limited resources. They don’t sit around wringing their hands and buying every bit of bad news–hook, line, and sinker.

  41. Semper Gumby says:

    Fr. Sotelo: Thank you for your thoughtful and tempered reply, and for your priestly service.

  42. Absit invidia says:

    Shame on you. The same mass that formed the spiritual lives of Sts Martin de Porres, Jane Frances de Chantal, John Francis Regis, Robert Bellarmine, John Berchmans, Kateri Tekakwitha, John Eudes, Vincent de Paul, John de Brebeuf, Claude de la Colombiere, Rene Goupil, and countless others wasn’t harmful then and cannot be harmful to us now.

    To consider the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is harmful while forming the aforementioned saints who were nourished by the same Tridentine Mass is to say the Holy Spirit made a mistake.

  43. Fr_Sotelo says:

    Fr. Jim,

    I’ve always seen you as very attuned to pastoral needs and pastoral creativity in responding to those needs. And so, I’m not going to say, “shame on you” but I am going to share that I was dumbstruck when you made the comment, “I think SP was a mistake and if it were to be suppressed I would see that as a good thing.”

    Really? Do you actually think it would be a good thing for the Pope to suppress a liturgical form which many people in the Church consider deeply nourishing and spiritually fortifying for them? And we are speaking not just of singles, but moms and dads, large families and small, teens and children as well as elderly people. I cannot read the intention behind your comment, but I can say that of all you have ever written, it is the most pastorally insensitive thing I have read from you. I hope you took a temporary leave of your pastoral heart as a priest and “mispoke.”

    As a priest, I have offered Mass in English, in Spanish, in Portuguese, and even in Korean. I learned the Extraordinary Form and offered it for some years. Even if I found it hard, which I did, or even if I did not like offering the EF Mass (I did, in fact, enjoy the EF Mass), the fact of the matter is that I am a priest, I am ordained, I am a pastor, and I am at the service of the Catholic people and their liturgical needs.

    It would never occur to me to say that it would be a good thing to suppress the Mass as it responds to the pastoral needs of a particular community. When a congregation tells me that a certain Mass would respond to their heartfelt aspirations and liturgical needs, I take that as marching orders, because I am their shepherd and I am responsible for their souls. As I see it, that is what the priesthood is about. You and I are at the service of both Catholics who prefer the Ordinary Form, and those Catholics who need us at times to offer the Extraordinary Form (if we are able to). We are not lords and masters who take away bread or eggs from our children to give them a stone or a scorpion. Just my two cents, as a brother in Christ.

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