Coverage of Summorum Pontificum conference for 10th anniversary

The conference for the 10th anniversary of Summorum Pontificum has received some coverage.

For example, there is a highly tendentious and partial piece from AP, predictably from Nichole Winfield.

This is ludicrous and incomplete.




First, I am pretty sure she’s wrong about Pope Francis being “ignored” by the first speakers. (I was there.)  She may have not been entirely cognizant of the theme of the conference.

Second, she also seems not to be aware that there was an afternoon session with other speakers, such as Card. Sarah. Note that the photo caption even misspells Card. Sarah’s name. So much for anything accurate or impartial from AP/Winfield.

The next time you see something from her about anything having to do with the Catholic Church, yawn and turn the page.

Another version comes from John Allen of CRUX, who was there. HERE He even mentions what Card. Sarah said about Pope Francis!  His story is not what I would have written, but it is not unfair.  Some of Allen’s piece with my usual additions:

Sarah, now 72, spoke for almost an hour, and here’s what seems to be the bottom line on where he stands: If anyone expects Sarah now to go gentle into that good night, muting his strenuous defense of liturgical tradition, they can forget it.


Yet equally, if anyone expected Sarah to go to war against his boss, subtly or not-so-subtly suggesting Francis is the problem – as some in the crowd gathered on Thursday have publicly argued he is – they can forget that too.

At several points during his address, Sarah explicitly described Summorum Pontificum as something Benedict initiated and that “Pope Francis has continued.” Never referring to the new motu proprio on translation, Sarah certainly didn’t come anywhere close to criticizing it.

In other words, the take-away seemed to be that Sarah plans to remain precisely what he’s been up to this point – a hero in some ways to the more traditionalist wing of the Church, which gave him loud and sustained applause on Thursday, but not the leader of the in-house opposition.  [Perhaps the reason why he is so respected by the “traditionalist wing” is because we have read his books!]


As he often does, Sarah offered a strong plug for celebrating the Mass ad orientem, meaning with both the priest and the people facing East towards the altar, and ultimately, towards God. He called it a gesture that was “almost universally presumed in the antique forms of the Roman rite, rendered freely accessible by Benedict XVI for those who desire to use it.”

However, Sarah said, “this beautiful antique practice, so eloquent about the primacy of the all-powerful God, isn’t restricted just to the antique rite.

“It’s permitted and encouraged, and, I would insist, pastorally advantageous, in the more modern form of the Roman rite.”

On the importance of small things, such as the vessels used during the Catholic Mass, Sarah cited the example of two American seminarians who once brought him the chalice he was to use before Mass and asked him to bless it before they placed it near the altar, calling that a “very moving” touch. [That was a great moment.  AND, I must add, something to which the organizers of the conference ought to reflect on.  The organizers gave not even a MINUTE of time to American (North or South) speakers in this conference.  That was a dreadful slight.] 

Taking up the theme of his recent book, Sarah delivered a strong plea for greater silence in worship, calling it “the first act of sacred service.”

Sarah also underlined what he described as the “many young people discovering this liturgical form, who feel attracted by it and find it a form particularly appropriate for them. [That that to Thomas Reese, EthJay.]

“They encounter the mystery of the Holy Eucharist,” Sarah said, “which is more and more a key virtue for them in the modern world.”

Sarah conceded that “many in my generation struggle to understand this,” but insisted that “I can give personal testimony to the sincerity and dedication of this younger generation of priests and laity, and then many good vocations to the priest and consecrated life born in communities using the antique rite.”  [Hopefully, superiors and bishops will WAKE UP.]

If anyone doubts that, Sarah urged them to “visit these communities, get to know them, especially the young who are part of them.

Open your hearts and minds to these young brothers and sisters, and look at the good they do,” he said. “They’re not nostalgic or oppressed by the ecclesiastical battles of recent decades, they’re full of joy to live life with Christ amid the challenges of the modern world.

Sarah issued a direct appeal to his brother bishops to be open to people attached to the older Mass and more traditional customs and observances.  [Everybody wins!]

“These communities need paternal care,” he said, “and we must not allow personal preferences or misunderstandings that keep the faithful away who adhere to the extraordinary form of the Roman rite. We bishops and priests are called to be instruments of reconciliation and communion in the Church for all the Christian faithful, and I humbly ask you, in the one faith we have in common and in accord with the words of Benedict XVI and Pope Francis, to generously open your hearts to allow in everything the faith offers, and to create space for it.”

Statistically, he conceded, these people may remain “a small part of the life of the Church,” [“growing”] but that, he said, “doesn’t make them inferior or second-class.”


Finally, Sarah issued a challenge to his audience, asking that they stop calling themselves “traditionalists,” and stop allowing others to refer to them that way.  [NB]

“You’re not enclosed in a box, or in a library or museum of curiosities,” he said. “You’re not ‘traditionalists.’ You’re Catholics of the Roman rite, like me, like the Holy Father, not second-class citizens in the Catholic Church because of your cult and spiritual practices.”  [TRUE!  However, “traditional” or “traditionalist” (like liberal and conservative) are handy shorthand.]

Those practices, he pointed out, were also those of “innumerable saints.”

He told the group that it should not become “enclosed or withdrawn into a ghetto, which an attitude of defensiveness dominates, and suffocates your witness to the world of today to which you are sent.

“Ten years later,” he said, referring to the Summorum Pontificum anniversary, “If we haven’t broken the chains of the traditionalist ghetto yet, do it today!” [Do I hear an “Amen!”?]


He goes on to mention some remarks of Card. Müller about translations.  That was in interesting moment!


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  1. Michael_Haz says:

    “Latin Mass fans…..”

    Fans. Sort of like NASCAR fans, or baseball fans or wood-fired, stone-oven baked pizza fans, I suppose.

    What dreadful writing passes for journalism these days.

  2. servulus indignus Christi says:

    May God bless the Cardinal.

    However, once again, this demonstrates the misapprehension on behalf of ‘conservatives’ of just what the devotion to Tradition is actually about.

    Adherence to the Tradition is not option among others for a Catholic and to try to co-opt the movement and turn it in any direction other than a recapturing of hierarchy, laws and faithful of the Church for Christ the King is less than helpful. Persistently attempting to color traditionalists as those simply seeking reverence and silence and ad orientem worship is disingenuous (as if those most obvious traits are not related to a substantial difference between not only the rites, but how the faithful view the relationship between themselves and God and the Faith to the world at large). It is not what the courageous leaders of the movement fought for and an utterly absurd simplification of the goals. Fix those elements in the NV and it is still inherently defective (in its human elements…clearly the matter, form being what they ought Our Lord’s action is then perfect). As Dom Kirby once opined (my paraphrase), why fix a house in shambles when you have a mansion standing right next to it?

    Because the endeavor to fully adhere to Tradition in relation BOTH to dogma and liturgical praxis is, quite sadly, a distinctive element for the faithful (not, again, a mere cover for those seeking silence or ad orientem) ‘traditionalist’ is therefore a valid term. Why? Because the vast majority, knowingly or unknowingly, of the faithful do not adhere to those Traditions (they’ve been robbed of it!). Restoring it to them in a universal way is the goal for the glory of God and the salvation of souls.

    If we are a ghetto, it is not because we made ourselves so but because of the diffidence and often ignorance of so much of the hierarchy. Indeed we are at a point with so many hierarchs that they simply don’t know what they don’t know.

    Dietrich von Hildrebrand, Archbishop Lefebvre and the like didn’t ever write that everything would just be okay if we only had more silence and a return to ad orientem….these are symptoms people, not the substance!

    As such, with humble respect to His Emminence, I for one (and certainly many others) will not cease to use the term traditionalist until the day that the hierarchy of the Church in a clear and manifest way makes her own what is her own and the term ‘traditionalist’ is no longer requisite because the pristine term Catholic regains its full meaning. As to the Mass itself, I employ the term “Mass of Tradition” as it makes clear the reality of the N.V. (it is a sloppy artificial break therefrom).

    I perceive–I hope I am wrong–that those hierarchs who are noted as ‘conservative’ could in years to come be the ones most wont to tamper with the direction of Traditional movement.

    God help us and convert our hearts from poor layman to prince of the Church ever more to Himself.

  3. Ocampa says:

    Fans…fans! FANS!

    The “Latin Mass [sic]” is not a celebrity.

    The “Latin Mass” isn’t even what we’re “fans” of. We’re “fans” of the “Traditional Latin Mass” as opposed to the “Novus Ordo Latin [though mostly not] Mass” (though I would prefer a Novus Ordo Mass in Latin than a vulgar one most days of the week.)

    But to the point, the Mass is not a celebrity. It’s not an sport. It’s not entertainment. It’s WORSHIP. If you are a “fan” of any Mass, re-evaluate yourself and your place in worship. Double check to make sure you’re the worshiper, and not the one being worshiped.

  4. APX says:

    What a load of crap that “newspaper” article is.

  5. Andrew says:

    The organizers gave not even a MINUTE of time to American (North or South) speakers in this conference. That was a dreadful slight.

    An even bigger slight is the fact that this entire event is done in the vernacular: that the talks (at least some of them) are not in Latin. That there is no one capable of speaking the Church’s language and that the audience is not capable of understanding it. There is no air for this bird to take off. One cannot give flesh to the universality of the Catholic Church while speaking regional languages. The key element is missing, the one that could make the Universal Church visible and present. As it is, Latin remains an “old foreign language” trying to compete with English. Easy to dismiss.

    [Sorry. Vernaculars were okay for this event, involving mostly lay people. If anything, the talks should have been in the most important language in the world: English, now ironically the lingua franca.]

  6. Charles E Flynn says:


    Matthew 14:13-21 – Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand Fans

  7. Michael_Haz says:

    @Charles E Flynn:


  8. Kathleen10 says:

    We are very much like Israel, always trying to get our hostile neighbors to admit we have a right to merely survive. We seem always to argue from a position of relative weakness, and we beg for crumbs now. Thus far, there is no one who defends the cause from a position of vigor and strength, with pointedly direct words and unwavering determination! I scan the horizon for that person, but they are not here yet. One has to feel though, that in God’s good time, help will arrive.
    We are so beyond labels, I don’t care what anybody calls us. We are here, and one way or another, this Catholic faith will continue, whether or not these mere men want it to.

  9. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    I don’t think Pope Francis is an enemy of the Usus Antiquor or those who attend it.

    I think Pope Francis is happy to let “traditionalists” remain a quirky anomaly along the peripheries that he doesn’t understand and that keeps to itself and closes in on itself.

    I do, honestly, think Pope Francis (and his supporters pre-Conclave) is an enemy of the “reform of the reform” that individuals like Pope Benedict XVI and Cardinal Sarah and Cardinal Burke, among others, have all so eloquently endeavored to foster. Essentially all of Pope Francis’s statements on liturgy suggest this. This is likely why he was mentioned as little as these articles suggest during the conference.

    Sadly, I think there are enough beaten down hopeless “traditionalists” who have accepted the stalemate and are happy to stay a quirky anomaly along the periphery where they don’t have to deal with OF shenanigans and can continue their traditional personal pieties and style of worship.

    I pray the young priests will be the ones to achieve the “reform of the reform” regardless of the close-minded liturgical liberal episcopate for whom they work or the close-minded liturgical traditionalists for whom they may offer a once-per-week EF on Sundays.

  10. PTK_70 says:

    “You’re Catholics of the Roman rite.”


    (On a related note, I am glad to see “extraordinary form” in lower case letters but I am curious to know the reason “rite” isn’t capitalized.)

  11. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Fan and fanatic both come from “fane,” a temple.

  12. servulus indignus Christi says:


    Omnino tibi consentior!

    Nugas dicis, Lingua Latina “gloria sacerdotum” laicis quidem aliena non manet! “doctus dicendus non est qui nescit linguam latinam” cleris solis non est relatum.

    “The most important language in the world”? Linguae Anglicae communis usus eam non facit maioris ponderis quam Latinam… nugacia, care pater.

    Nisi Ecclesia quae sua sunt colit vox sua etiam in vulgi sermonibus obmutescit.

  13. Pingback: SATVRDAY CATHOLICA EDITION | Big Pulpit

  14. Andrew says:

    Re: leaving out Latin from the event:

    Nothing is as impossible as that which I don’t want.
    Is it “non possumus” or is it “nolumus”?

  15. Tom A. says:

    Why are there labels such as “traditional” or “liberal” or “conservative?” Is it purely worship style such as the difference between the Roman Rite and the Eastern Rites? Or is is more than that? I think it is much more. Traditionalist believe V2 introduced a new religion. Abp Lefebrve and the SSPX, till this day, have not recieved an adequate response from Rome as to how V2 can be in compliance to Tradition. Its the elephant in the room no one wants to address. There conciliar church has introduced a new religion that is incompatible with Tradition. I totally disagree with Cdl Sarah. I must identify as a Traditional Catholic in order to proclaim that I do not accept V2 errors. I have searched the internet far and wide to find an explanation as to how V2 complies to Tradition. It simply doesnt. The conciliar church of today doesnt even bother trying to answer the concerns of Abp Lefebrve.

  16. servulus indignus Christi says:

    Quam disertissime dictum! Very well said!

  17. PTK_70 says:

    “I have searched the internet far and wide to find an explanation as to how V2 complies to Tradition.”

    @Tom A…..Have you tried just reading the documents themselves? Or better still, have you tried allowing the Holy Spirit to speak to you through the documents? What is our role as Roman Rite Catholics….to stand in judgement of an ecumenical council? Should we not rather be seeing to its proper implementation?

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