On this day in particular, I had wanted to put aside highly negative news.
However, to paraphrase Trotsky, we might not be interested in war, but war is interested in us.
My mail box is filling with notes from people about the rumor that some document is forthcoming from Francis or some office of the Curia which would, in effect, return the state of use of the Traditional Roman Rite back to Ecclesia Dei days, that is, that diocesan priests would need some sort of additional permission to use the Traditional Roman Rite, either from Rome or from the local bishop.
Such a document would be a huge mistake.
Attacks and even rumors of attacks on Summorum Pontificum underscore what I have said ever since it was released: it was perhaps the single most important thing that came out of Benedict XVI’s pontificate (other than his resignation) and it was a monumentally important gift for the whole Church. The Enemy knows this. The critical importance of Summorum for the renewal of the Church is confirmed by attacks on it.
Here is a brief explanation of what is up.
Pais Liturgiques (original in French, not my translation):
For some time now, the warning signs about Summorum Pontificum have multiplied: the majority of Italian bishops and the heavyweights of the Curia, in particular at the Secretariat of State, have convinced the Pope that the liturgical traditionalization of the young clergy was “Worrying” and that the “right to the traditional mass”, instituted by the motu proprio of Benedict XVI, was an attack on Vatican II.
On Pentecost Monday, opening in Rome the meeting of the Conference of Italian Bishops, the CEI, the Pope first washed the heads [I sense an idiom here: he gave them a beating] of the Italian bishops, who are dragging their feet to put the Italian Church in a generalized state of synod because they consider it an expensive idea and totally unnecessary. Old man’s mania, some even say.
Then, once the journalists had left the debating hall, the Pope addressed a theme that unites many bishops on the Peninsula: the execration of Summorum Pontificum. Francis confirmed the upcoming publication of a document that he was urged to write, intended to “reinterpret” the motu proprio of Benedict XVI. The publication was indeed delayed, because the document seems to have provoked objections and brakes, especially on the part of Cardinal Ladaria and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, who argued that it would provoke worldwide unrest of uncontrollable oppositions. Despite everything, the Secretariat of State would push for the publication of the text, the essential provisions of which would be as follows:
– communities [e.g., FSSP, ICK, etc.] celebrating in the ancient form could continue to do so;
– on the other hand, diocesan priests should now obtain specific permission.
It is obvious that this document, inapplicable in many countries including France, will have above all a symbolic significance: to make the celebration of the traditional Mass no longer a right, but a tolerated exception. [What rich irony… remember when Kasper talked about Communion for adulterers as “tolerated but not accepted”?]
The traditional anti-mass pressure group, at Saint-Anselme University, at the Curia and at the CEI, thus leads the Pope towards a major political error: the latent discontent of a whole section of Catholics in the face of doctrinal approximations, weaknesses in the face of German excesses, the multiplication of disconcerting statements to say the least, risks turning into a real “fed up” [ras-le-bol – a state of being completely fed-up, of having had enough]. Instead of striving to feel what a very living part of the Christian people thinks and aspires to, they would be driven to despair and exasperation.
The peace of the Church, especially the liturgical peace, to which Benedict XVI had contributed a lot with his wise liberating text, is deliberately torn: a return to the worst years of the post-Council period is coming.
A gloomy outlook. Alas, trads tend to be a little gloomy. On the other hand, open war on tradition might result in something that those in charge really don’t want. “¡Hagan lío!”, after all.
However, one can understand some people will be frightened by these rumors. However, even though there seems to be some concrete data points, they are still just rumors.
At this point there is no such document.
CONSIDER THIS: This could be a campaign of disinformation. Italians are really good at this game. Put out some rumors that are sure to rile up a certain sector and then stand back and watch their behavior. When they react negatively, you can say, “See! It would be right to get rid of these people! Look at how they are behaving!”
But let’s game this out in our heads.
Firstly, it is important not to run around with out hair on fire.
Next, because situational awareness is important in every sphere of life, we should consider, calmly, what might be coming down the pike.
Just to riff on that Kasperite Proposal I mentioned, above, remember that that came from a synodal (“walking together”) process that lead to a post-synodal (“walking together”) document that did not explicitly permit Communion for manifest adulterers, but strongly hinted at it in a footnote, the infamous n. 351. It could be that whatever comes out about the Traditional Roman Rite and Summorum Pontificum will not be clear and explicit, but will rather be a kind of dog whistle, a message to bishops and other ideologues that open war on traditional Catholics will be… how to put it… “tolerated but not accepted”.
There could be just enough of a message, shrouded in deniability – “Oh, heavens no! We love our traditional Catholics! We would never allow them to be mistreated!” – that hostile or ambitious bishops will have cover to get out their long knives and take out their traditional leaning priests. After all, just look around now. We can name names.
Furthermore, that point made by Paix Liturgiques at the end must be and, hopefully, will be weighed: how much more abuse will people take? Especially in light of all the other garbage that is being allowed, nay rather, fostered in the Church, how much more marginalization and mistreatment will tradition-leaning Catholics take before something snaps?
One hopes that if there is such a document, or – who knows what it is – voices such as Card. Ladaria’s will have a strong say in the matter.
Such a document, as rumored, would be a real mistake.
It is too early to tell what the effects of COVID Theater will have on Mass attendance as we move forward. My suspicion is that, after a brief spike, the numbers at Masses will plummet in those places that go back to the old “normal”.
However, over the last year or so, many priests have learned to say the TLM and have quietly implemented it in their parishes in a peaceful way according to Summorum Pontificum. The number of people who attend the TLM now is growing. And those people tend to be more supportive financially of the Church than Novus Ordo attendees. These “strong-identity” Catholics, or also “strengthening identity”, will not want to lose what they have found.
I suspect that the “powers that be” who hate and fear the TLM are so ideologically blinkered that they would not care of the post-COVID renewal of the Church was shattered.
The TLM is a rebuke of effeminacy. It is a “no” to the world St. Paul warns of. It is a bulwark against Modernism. It has to be crushed so that Modernism can continue its infection, the world can subsume more and more of the Church’s ethos, and effeminacy and perversion can force itself into every crevice.
Pace Tacitus, these powerful ideologues would rather create a wasteland and then call it ‘peace’, rather than allow the organic renewal of the Church to take place through the natural process of people freely being able to vote with their feet.
If people want the Novus Ordo, fine, they can have it. If people want the TLM, fine, they should be able to have it. The whole thing will in time sort itself out. I have a strong idea of what it will look like if allowed to proceed. So do the powers that be. Hence, the lawless, heartless St. Peter’s Mass Suppression Stunt.
Ideologues fear freedom. In their view, people have to be controlled. The only freedom people are allowed by ideologues to have is the freedom to agree with their ideology.
In effect, it comes down to bullying.
In the meantime, in the absence of a document that can be read, rather than rumored, keep moving forward. Do not let up. Do not slow down. Keep encouraging and helping priests to learn the TLM. Even if such a document were to come out, there would be all the more reason for priests to learn the TLM!
Keep going. Keep building. Relentlessly and joyfully.