Chief of the Vichy Knights of Malta forbids the Extraordinary Form

UPDATE 11 June:

___Originally Published on: Jun 10, 2019

In the wake of the hostile takeover some two years ago, the Sovereign Military Order of the Knights of Malta has dealt yet another self-inflicted wound to its identity and purpose.

We should now refer to Vichy Malta…. Vichy SMOM.

Today I received a copy of a letter of 10 June 2019 from the Vichy Grand Master of SMOM to all members. Channeling his inner Pétain, he forbids the use of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite at any of their Vichy SMOM events.

Note in the letter, below, that the half-informed scribe who wrote it got the name of Benedict XVI’s document wrong.

Frankly, it would be reasonable were present members to resign, given the antics of the Holy See and SMOM over the last couple of years.

For young people in Columbia Heights, “Vichy” is explained HERE.

Think about the amazing tradition of the Knights of Malta.  I recently read the book by Ernle Bradford: The Great Siege, Malta 1565: Clash of Cultures: Christian Knights Defend Western Civilization Against the Moslem Tide.


I warmly recommend this book.   The present SMOM has turned its proverbial back on their own history and identity.



About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    I was accepted into the order of malta a few years ago Thank the Lord I choose to decline in the end. My idea of them was based on their grand history but modern reality is just a Catholic club. The charge to defend the faith is just a quaint tradition. This latest new about the extraordinary form does not surprise me in the least.

  2. Eriugena says:

    “Grand Master” is written with initial capitals, but not the name of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Perhaps the grand master doesn’t believe in It any more…

  3. Ariseyedead says:

    Regarding enforcement, how many divisions does the Grand Master have?

    Cardinal Burke, call your office!!

  4. don Jeffry says:

    “…ordinary rite of the Church (rite of St. Paul VI) and not the extraordinary rite (Tridentine rite).” I thought we were dealing with the Roman rite which has two forms which are ordinary and extraordinary.

  5. excalibur says:

    When Pope Francis began his assault on the group they had a legitimate case to take to court. They refused. They caved and now they have this imposition. It is all so inevitable when one cowers.

  6. JustaSinner says:

    Vichy Knights of Malta? Did they change their uniform to a yellow streak down the middle? Strip all coat of arms from their flags and pennants, leaving it barren white? New slogan, Knights of Malta–whatever…

  7. WmHesch says:

    This is a “language event”!! Glad he calls a spade a spade by distinguishing between the “ordinary rite” and the “extraordinary rite”…

  8. acardnal says:

    Something smells very “Vichy” about this.

  9. zama202 says:

    Just donate to Traditional Catholic Orders monasteries and convents that celebrate the TLM.

    It gives me great piece of mind to watch how God fills them with the Grace to grow while the V2 crowd age and shrivel away.

    In 25 years the Church will be smaller – but it will be much, much more Catholic!


  10. Geoffrey says:

    The Order of Malta is a lay religious order, with members making commitments (Knights and Dames of Magistral Grace), promises (Knight and Dames in Obedience), or vows (Knights of Justice).

    It is nothing like the Knights of Columbus. “Quitting” is a very involved process, and should not be for a reason like this. The charism of the Order is summed up in its motto: “Tuitio fidei et obsequium pauperum [Defence of the faith and assistance to the poor]”.

    Members can still attend the EF Mass whenever they wish, and I should think even be members of such organizations as Una Voce International, the Latin Liturgy Association, etc.

    Let us pray to the saints and blessed of the Order that fidelity, tradition, and sanity may prevail!

  11. Kenneth Wolfe says:

    Resigning is the only action that will send a reactive message on this. Sadly, I fear/predict most members will simply whine about it privately while cutting their next huge check to Malta in the spirit of blind obedience.

  12. JMody says:

    Rats – acardnal, well done, you beat me to it.

  13. Eoin OBolguidhir says:

    “Art. 1. …..These two expressions of the Church’s lex orandi will in no way lead to a division in the Church’s lex credendi (rule of faith); for they are two usages of the one Roman rite.”

    Perhaps his Eminent Highness is confused about what constitutes a threat to the cohesion and communion? Would he take issue at the still normative use of Latin in the Divine Liturgy of St. Paul VI? Latinity would certainly make communal worship by the varied Langues more cohesive. How could you take seriously anyone who said otherwise?

    “Art. 3. If communities of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, whether of pontifical or diocesan right, wish to celebrate the conventual or community Mass in their own oratories according to the 1962 edition of the Roman Missal, they are permitted to do so. If an individual community or an entire Institute or Society wishes to have such celebrations frequently, habitually or permanently, the matter is to be decided by the Major Superiors according to the norm of law and their particular laws and statutes.”

    “Frequently, habitually, or permanently,” and “their particular laws and statues” seem to be the controlling phrases.

    This Order meets so infrequently that it can’t do anything frequently. Habitually would equally be a stretch. And permanently was just decidedly ruled out.

    Regarding the “norm of law of their particular laws and statutes,”

    “Par. 2 — The Prelate is the ecclesiastical superior of the clergy of the Order in sacerdotal functions. He ensures that the religious and priestly life of the Chaplains and their apostolate are conducted”

    Nothing in the statues, which are being abused, again, give HEH the power to make such decisions.

    We need a canonist to opine about the competence of a layman, however august in his person, to make liturgical decisions.

    The captain of an aircraft carrier doesn’t get to decide for the ship’s surgeon how to perform surgery, nor do generals get to tell military judges what verdicts they will render, you know? He might have the higher rank, but that doesn’t rank obtain in activities of the three learned professions proper to their professional expertise and fiduciary activities.

  14. HvonBlumenthal says:

    As a member of the British Association of the Order I have to say that I have not received this letter and it is being said that, on the contrary, the authenticity of the letter is being denied.

  15. Gaetano says:

    Fortunately, the letter says nothing about the Mozarabic, Ambrosian, and Braganza Rites. Perhaps they could even use the Darum Rite.

  16. Gaetano says:

    Fortunately, the letter says nothing about the Mozarabic, Ambrosian, and Braganza Rites. Perhaps they could even use the Sarum Rite.

  17. APX says:

    I had to stop reading it. It’s so poorly written that it makes my brain hurt. Proofread, my friends. If you’re not good at it, get someone else to do it for you. I encourage companies to hire someone to proofread what they put out there on the internet.

  18. monstrance says:

    The scared shepherds in Malta are running full tilt away from orthodoxy.
    What are they afraid of ?

  19. Really has me seriously considering packing up my tunic and neck device and sending it back. Uncalled for and unenforceable, except, if taken at face value, those ceremonies which are mandated or the Mass of Installation. Why the insane hatred of Tradition?

  20. Johann says:

    This ban on the TLM was at the instigation of the Grand Chancellor of the Knights of Malta, Albrecht Freiherr von Boeselager, AKA the Rubber Knight for his role in the distribution of condoms by the Knights, and his dismissal by the previous Grand Master Matthew Festing was the pretext for Pope Francis to seize control of the order (Boeselager claims he was persecuted by Festing and Cardinal Burke because he is a liberal Catholic). The Rubber Knight got his job as Grand Chancellor back and he is the de facto head of the order, with the backing of the Pope.

  21. Uxixu says:

    I’m kinda curious as to the impetus. Was there a priory that was doing the TLM? Or is this a finger in the eye of Cardinal Burke? Or is it a feeler to see how much outrage so the modernists can implement a restriction of the TLM (to the FSSP, etc)?

    The original reason for Summorum Pontificum, was of course outside of being justice, a condition of the SSPX towards normalization. Of course, Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei was created since the Curia treated Abp. Lefebvre so maliciously he didn’t trust any of the cardinals…

  22. This decision, which now seems official, probably has a back story. In any case, chaplains of the Knights and priests saying Mass for them are not forbidden to celebrate the Extraordinary Form, when doing so privately. I suspect that this is addressing some particular events.

    For example, imagine a Knights pilgrimage with a number of priests along. One chaplain, who refuses to say the Ordinary Form, comes around as the celebrant of the “Pilgrimage Mass” of the day at which all willing to celebrate the Ordinary Form concelebrate and which the laity normally attend. His refusal to celebrate the Ordinary Form means that the other priests either have to forgo Mass themselves or scramble to set up alternative private or small group Masses. If this started happening regularly at functions of the Order (and perhaps it has), something like this letter will be the natural result. It need not be the result of anti-Extraordinaary Form ideology per se.

    And yes, I know many on this comment board would like to seem the Ordinary Form suppressed and the Old Rite reimposed everywhere. The problem is that most of the Knights and their chaplains (and I know many here in the Western Region) would not want that to happen within their order, and would not want the kind of problem I have just *hypothetically* described.

    And a final reminder, I myself say the Dominican Rite regularly, even preferring it. But I would never attempt to impose it on a congregation that preferred the Ordinary Form, nor would I insist on celebrating it at what is normally a concelebrated Mass and thereby prevent my fellow priests from concelebrating.

  23. Fr. Timothy Ferguson says:

    Since they seem to be abandoning everything – sovereignty, the traditional liturgy, good sense, and reason – as wantonly as Winston and Franklin did in 1945, from henceforth, I shall be calling them the Knights of Yalta.

  24. Lurker 59 says:

    It continuously amazes me that when the OF and EF are competing for the same “space”, that the OF is often largely propped up by force of dictate. As a complete outsider to the EF (none locally never attended), this only indicates that there is a degree by which the OF is less optimal and that the gravitational pull is decisively in the EFs favor.

    @Augustine Thompson O.P. — Yes, but such a hypothetical is implausible. Either the EF only priest is assigned so in advance that everyone knows that it will be an EF and can plan accordingly or, in the case of the OF celebrant taking a sudden absence, one of the OF concelebrants would simply take his place.

    It is true that OF proponents are fearful of EF proponents simply banning the OF if they were to have authority. But this is more so transference as that is exactly what the OF proponents in authority do to the EF.

    In the case of chocolate and vanilla ice cream, you only ban chocolate if you are afraid that people would prefer chocolate.

  25. TonyO says:

    @Augustine Thompson O.P. – what Lurker 59 said.

    In addition: there are pilgrimages, and then there are pilgrimages. What I mean is: there are some pilgrimages that are planned ages in advance, (as on an annual basis) with hundreds of people attending, with motorcades and processions and public speeches at the start and end, etc. Then there are pilgrimages where 20 people and a priest plan to meet at the airport and make a 9 day trip to the Holy Land, staying in the same hotel and having one meal a day in common. Obviously there is a validity to calling the former, and it’s pre-planned and publicized masses, “official”, that simply does not work in reference to the latter. So, if the latter sort of pilgrimage happened to be organized by local Knights for Knights and spouses, having a rule that the OF must be used would obviously be an example of stretching Fra’ Giacomo’s authority up to (or even beyond) its breaking point.

  26. Uxixu says:

    Cardinal Stickler said this was exactly the case. Paul VI couldn’t ban the Mass used by thousands of saints for centuries. He could only say ‘I want that the new Mass be said’. The far more reasonable approach would have been to make the novus ordo optional as the Pius XII Psalter was (and again very many hated). If the novus ordo hadn’t been imposed by force… if forced resignations at 75 and early retirement hoisted on pastors, etc adoption would have probably been embarrassingly sluggish.

    While we can be cognizant of the issues of Religious and the Mass in common (which reputedly brought down the wrath of the merciful on the Franciscans Friars of the Immaculate) one is also reminded how draconian the urge to compel concelebration can be nowadays versus the traditional practice of it being quite normal to celebrate separately and multiply the graces of the Mass.

    That said, though, have never heard of a priest who knows both the novus ordo and TLM refusing to say the novus ordo. I have heard of traditional FSSP priests who quite apologetically have said they don’t know the novus ordo and can’t celebrate it when attempting to help a diocesan pastor and the faithful said that was ok (though someone still complained to the chancery). The hypothetical would make more sense if the TLM celebrant sought to say the TLM for those who were interested and let the rest do their regular communal concelebration rather than leave them scrambling, though would be quite interesting to see which way the faithful sorted.

  27. robtbrown says:

    Fr Augustine Thompson indirectly raises an interesting point: Concelebration, which has been promoted as a sign and cause of unity, in fact undermines it.

    It is another VatII era project that was recklessly implemented without thinking through the consequences.

  28. Semper Gumby says:

    Edward Pentin had an article in the Register yesterday:

    Critics of the extraordinary form say it divides the faithful and ignores the reasons for the liturgical reform that followed the Second Vatican Council. Some influential European members of the order hold this view, particularly within the order’s German and Scandinavian associations, and are said to have lobbied for this change for some time.

    But supporters of the extraordinary form believe that Dalla Torre is misstating the law, and in particular Article 3…

    “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 wrote, adding that fears that wider use of the 1962 Missal would lead “to disarray or even divisions within parish communities” were “quite unfounded.”

    Sources within the order told the Register June 11 that the move, which has caused shock and consternation among Knights and Dames who have a preference for the extraordinary form, is part of a political battle between members wishing to “modernize” the Knights and using the ordinary rite to further those ends, and more traditional and conservative members.

    “The risk is that the order will be turned into a secular institute,” said another source who asked for anonymity for fear of being expelled for speaking out.

    The Knights of Malta were originally the Hospitallers of the First Crusade. They have been headquartered in various places including Cyprus, Rhodes (as the “Knights of Rhodes”), and briefly St. Petersburg (the Catholic Encyclopedia says the Grand Master surrendered Malta to Napoleon and Leo XIII revived the Order decades later). Dalla Torre and certain elements turning Vichy need not be the last chapter written on the Knights.

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