“I urge everyone to think carefully about how to approach your local bishops.”

At Rorate there is a strong piece which examines the Motu Proprio. It is by a canonist writing with a nom de plume.

I’ve read it over a couple of times, along with Traditionis, and I’ve been contacted by, and have myself contacted, several canonists today who reference it.

It takes time and sometimes more than one set of eyes to get into a document like this, as well as commentary.

One of my first reactions to Traditionis is that it is not just cruel, it is sloppy.

For example, as the aforementioned canonist points out, Article 3 refers to “‘the “Missal antecedent to the reform of 1970.’ Strictly understood, the Missal antecedent to the reform of 1970 is the editio typica of 1965 with the alterations of Tres abhinc annos of 4 May 1967. This is not the 1962 Missal.”   Yes.  And no.  The 1962 was issued with an editio typica.  In 1965 and 1967 alterations were made, and books were prepared with vernacular translations and a new Ritus Servandus section, but there wasn’t an actual, technical typical edition of 1965 or 1967.

Please allow a digression.

A huge problem with this whole nasty business is that the people who are issuing these decrees and who will enforce them in general do not know the Traditional Roman Rite.  They are judging what they do not know.  If they don’t use it, they don’t know it.  They are working from incomplete knowledge, or perhaps faulty notions.  They are making decisions sometimes based on whether they like the people involved.

Look… the bottom line is this.  There is sloppy language in this document that, frankly, if carefully read with the interpretive principle odiosa restringi et favores convenit ampliari, there isn’t that much that would have to change in a diocese – depending on the bishop.   Sure the document is dreadful: it can be read in a severely restrictive way or be read in a lenient way.   Just as that dreadful footnote in Amoris could be read one way or the other.

I would add to the above the provision of can. 87 –

Can. 87 §1. A diocesan bishop, whenever he judges that it contributes to their spiritual good, is able to dispense the faithful from universal and particular disciplinary laws issued for his territory or his subjects by the supreme authority of the Church. He is not able to dispense, however, from procedural or penal laws nor from those whose dispensation is specially reserved to the Apostolic See or some other authority.

§2. If recourse to the Holy See is difficult and, at the same time, there is danger of grave harm in delay, any ordinary is able to dispense from these same laws even if dispensation is reserved to the Holy See, provided that it concerns a dispensation which the Holy See is accustomed to grant under the same circumstances, without prejudice to the prescript of can. 291.

So, a diocesan bishop can dispense from disciplinary laws, both universal laws and those particular laws made by the supreme ecclesiastical authority (read: Supreme Pontiff) for his territory and his subjects.  Since the provision that the Traditional Roman Rite ought not be celebrated in parish churches (cf. Traditionis Art. 3) is a disciplinary law, and has not been reserved to the Apostolic See, the diocesan bishop is free to dispense from that norm!

Do you want the TLM to continue in your parish church and not in the garage attached to the rectory, a hotel room or the nearby Lutheran church that the local pastorette will let you use for a contribution? Then calm down and think.

I urge everyone to think carefully about how to approach your local bishops and priests.

What sort of attitude and language are going to obtain what you desire?


  • Joy and commitment to parish life?
  • Bitterness and being unengaged except for that hour or so on Sunday?

What have I been saying for YEARS?!?

You can lose what you have, people.  Now more than ever.

So, if you are inclined to lash out and make a big scene to your local bishop or priest, then consider how selfish you look in the eyes of those whose opportunities you are casting into the hazard.

This doesn’t mean roll over and let yourself be kicked.  It means think first.


Archbishop Salvatore Cordiloeone of San Francisco told CNA July 16 that “The Mass is a miracle in any form: Christ comes to us in the flesh under the appearance of Bread and Wine. Unity under Christ is what matters. Therefore the Traditional Latin Mass will continue to be available here in the Archdiocese of San Francisco and provided in response to the legitimate needs and desires of the faithful.”


The Diocese of Arlington told CNA that all parishes that had planned on offering Masses in the Extraordinary Form would be able to do so.

I hope that that “planned” means that lots more were going to start it up!

And this from New Orleans:




Archbp. Hebda of St. Paul and Minneapolis HERE

D. Madison.

D. of El Paso HERE (good news, mostly)


D. Grand Rapids.  HERE

Archbp. Gomez, President of the USCCB. HERE  (Remember that conferences can’t tell bishops what to do.  They have no power.)

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Save The Liturgy - Save The World and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Gaetano says:

    I recommend sending thank you cards to every bishop who has provided such a blanket permission to their dioceses. Bury them in expressions of gratitude.

    Not kidding.

  2. The Egyptian says:

    My opinion only, after trying to moderate my anger, Is this a man who is seeing his last days and trying to set his legacy in stone before he goes?
    A last gasp so to speak.
    ” Dr. Taylor Marshall said pope Francis wants to corral us into one area this way we can all be controlled this includes the FSSP and the institute of Christ the King. ”
    Or is this his inner Marxist coming out?
    BTW I’m not a TLM adherent, I just like to go to one 2 or 3 times a year for the peace and quiet

  3. Uxixu says:

    I wonder…. does the whole antecedent thing open up full pre-1955. The great old Holy Week, All 18 Octaves and all the old Vigils, etc. The 1948 Missale Romanum is a”Missal antecedent to the reform of 1970.”

  4. Uxixu says:

    Praying for the Holy Father. He’ll answer to a more harsh and Perfect Judge than me. May God forgive him. May his successor be more tactful in repudiating this and celebrate a traditional Pontifical Mass himself, restore the Latin & Greek subdeacons & deacons chanting the Epistles and Gospels in Latin & Greek and ride the Sedia Gestatoria – it’s fully Green, after all.

  5. Semper Gumby says:

    Thanks Fr. Z. San Francisco, Arlington, New Orleans and Detroit have been Mentioned in Despatches. Excellent.

    Gaetano: A-men.

  6. TheDude05 says:

    The response in my diocese is that they think this won’t affect the FSSP personal parish so it sounds like there won’t be much latitude from our prelate. Granted that just might be the shocked answer.

  7. DianeK says:

    Thanks for posting these Fr. Z

    I could be wrong, but my sense is that the bishops might have expected the ball to come back to them, but they didn’t anticipate being stripped of the power to grant the use of the TLM in parishes.

    I’m glad Archbishop Vigneron is taking time to study it and I hope that takes a few years.

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  9. majuscule says:

    This came to my inbox from the Benedict XVI Institute for Sacred Music and Divine Worship in the Archdiocese of San Francisco:

    “The Traditional Latin Mass Will Continue to be Available”

    Dear Friends,

    A few days ago, I shared with you the beautiful Mass at St. Mary’s to celebrate the 14th anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI’s Summorum Pontificum, which gave every Roman priest the right to celebrate the Latin Mass.

    Today Pope Francis abrogated Summorum Pontificum. Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone responded to a request from the Catholic New Agency for comment on the Latin Mass:

    “The Mass is a miracle in any form: Christ comes to us in the flesh under the appearance of Bread and Wine.

    Unity under Christ is what matters. Therefore the Traditional Latin Mass will continue to be available here in the Archdiocese of San Francisco and provided in response to the legitimate needs and desires of the faithful.”

    Please pray for the Archbishop. I’m also praying for Pope Francis and for all our priests.

    We at Benedict XVI Institute will continue our project to train more diocesan priests to celebrate the Latin Mass as well as amplifying Archbishop Cordileone’s voice throughout the American church.

    Please let us know that you will pray for him. We appreciate your support for him and for the Church we love, under Jesus Christ.

    Challenging times. Quo vadis?

    Warmly and with faith,


    Maggie Gallagher, Executive Director

  10. JacekSDS says:

    Fr. Jacek Nowak SDS here. I believe it is my first comment ever. Still, under the circumstances, I feel obliged to share the words of my (recently beatified) Founder, fr. Francis Jordan, which have given me, and others, some encouragement in these times:

    “Still we have the task of becoming like the apostles. Therefore, we must above all else cling to the cross and be ready to drink the cup. I would like to say your main task is: bibere calicem, quam bibit Dominus noster, “to drink the cup which our Lord drank.” And how should we drink it, where, why, how will we receive it? We are walking in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, we seek to extend his kingdom, we seek to become like the apostles, we seek to spread the teachings proclaimed by the apostles, we seek to oppose the vices against which the Divine Savior and the apostles labored – that is why we will receive the cross. But how will we receive this cross?

    First we will receive it from hell, from the opponent of salvation, from the fierce enemy who hates everything which is from God, from the opponent who hates us and pursues us when we work to destroy his empire and spread the kingdom of Jesus Christ. Therefore, he will pursue us in all directions, as far as he can. So we must engage him in battle! But this cup is one of the easier ones to endure.

    A more bitter cup comes from evil people. That is the second point: to be pursued by those evil people who attack us because we confront their passions in our desire to restrict their lack of restraint when we want to bring them under the law of Jesus Christ. And the wicked enemy will strengthen them, and these people will be worse than those who come from hell itself. We must drink the cup presented by evil people.

    A third cup an apostolic person must drink and which is even much more bitter is the one prepared for him by good people when they misunderstand him, his plans and his intentions; when as a result of this people believe they are doing something good when they obstruct them [his plans]! The Divine Savior even says: One will believe he is doing a service to God when he pursues them! Therefore, you must also be ready to drink this cup, the cup of good people who mean well but who do not understand you well; that is, the cup they hand you. That is the third cup, but not yet the most bitter.

    The last, if God should pass it to you, is when even those appointed by God to support and guard you, even the church authorities, lay obstacles in your path. This is the fourth and most bitter! But God can insist that you drink this cup also. And if you were to ask a St. Francis or a St. Vincent which was the most bitter cup for them, they would say it was when I was forbidden by the superiors to preach

  11. tgarcia2 says:

    From my home town, good news thank God!

  12. oldrover says:

    Just heard from our priest. He spoke to the bishop of our diocese. The TLM in our parish will continue as of now. Thank you, Jesus! :)

  13. Chrisc says:

    Perhaps I am crazy here. But if the problem that this motu proprio was addressing was the distance between traditionalists and their bishop, then it would seem the logical conclusion to bring them back to their shepherd would be to begin offering the TLM at the cathedral.

  14. WmHesch says:

    The Rorate JCL errs in that there never was a 1965 editio typica. He makes much ado about nothing given that the original 2007 motu proprio also used the same language in the header: Id est, “APOSTOLIC LETTER

    Moreover, the derogation clause of SP remains unaltered re: post-1962 rubrics. Therefore it’s disingenuous to argue there’s somehow ambiguity about Tres hinc annos when that’s obviously not there.

  15. Tbraun says:

    Thank God for those bishops who are a continuing to permit the TLM! I know that I will be attending TLM rite –whichever revision prior to 1969– much, much more frequently now.

    And thank you to Fr Z and all commenters who have, measured, encouraging words and counsel in light of this “attack” (is that too harsh? It feels like an attack!)

  16. Thank you to Gaetano for the excellent advice on writing thank you notes to those Ordinaries who are stepping out front so quickly .
    I am a dedicated Austen fan and therefore it follows that manners and etiquette are always called for particularly in uncertain situations.

    As I sit here with my stock of thank you notes , I’m thinking of perhaps a Novena to Our Lady of Mount Carmel. We pray for her help and to allow our beloved former Ordinary , His Excellency, +Bishop Robert Morlino+ from Madison WI to spend Heaven interceding on our behalf to protect the Traditional Mass.
    Bishop Morlino made sure Summorum Pontificum was joyfully adhered to with wonderful results .
    Requiescat in pace .

  17. Orual says:

    You hit the nail on the head when you said some decisions are based on whether or not they like the people involved. Pope Francis has made it clear he doesn’t like traditional Catholics, and honestly, that hurts. I wonder if he considered how many people this hurts, or if he cares.

    Unfortunately, my bishop isn’t a fan of the TLM, so I am worried. So far not a word from my diocese about what will happen so we’re all in suspense here. Kudos to the bishops who are being generous and kind to their flock who are attached to the TLM. They are truly being pastoral Spiritual Fathers to their children in Christ. May they all follow suit.

  18. iamlucky13 says:

    I noticed Archbishop Hedba explicitly authorized the extraordinary form to continue to be celebrated in parish churches. Explicit clarity about that matter is no doubt greatly appreciated by those in his diocese.

    However, will he be able to permit that to continue?

    Despite knowing some change was coming, I was shocked that it seems to ban the TLM in existing parishes:

    The bishop…is to designate one or more locations where the faithful adherents of these groups may gather for the eucharistic celebration (not however in the parochial churches and without the erection of new personal parishes.

    No word yet from Seattle’s archbishop. Fortunately, the local FSSP parish is well-established, and I believe would fit the category of “personal parish.” I’m not aware of our archbishop having any strong feelings about the TLM, but I do not expect him to restrict the existing FSSP liturgies. I can’t guess what the situation will be for others.

  19. Danteewoo says:

    I wonder if and hope that very many bishops will just continue business as usual. A couple of bishops above are going to “study” this document — why study a document which has taken effect immediately? And Archbishop Cordileone does not seem inclined to change anything.

    Perhaps a poor comparison, but didn’t Hitler command his generals to burn Paris? And they refused.

  20. TheDude05 says:

    So our Bishop has confirmed that the TLM will continue at the FSSP parish in our diocese but that’s the only place it will be allowed. One parish for a diocese that is 23,950 square miles in size. So I’m happy and incredibly disappointed at the same time. Sadly the SSPX chapel is closer to my home than the FSSP parish and the MP and my Bishop’s statement cancel my plans of trying to get a committed group at my parish to get a TLM. I’ll just keep praying for both my Bishop and the Pope and hope for changes in hearts.

  21. Fuerza says:

    To me this whole thing seems kind of like trying to reduce gun violence by banning guns. It only penalizes the law abiding. Ultimately I feel that this motu proprio will have the opposite of the effect intended. It will only further alienate those who prefer traditional worship as we are forced into our ghettos, while simultaneously strengthening our resolve and sense of identity in a Church that seems not to want us. For now we simply need to pray, express our gratitude to bishops who at least tolerate our presence, and do our best to financially support TLM parishes. It shouldn’t be this way, but money talks, and perhaps bishops who are less friendly to tradition will be more inclined to accept our presence if our parishes bring in more of it.

  22. Jones says:

    Just a little blurb from Fr. Jackson,

    “And like St. Padre Pio once said, “Pray, hope and don’t worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer.”

    Your Servant,
    The Rev. James W. Jackson, FSSP”

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  24. TonyO says:

    I agree with Gaetano: thank the bishops who are thinking before acting, and giving liberal use of permission while they take time.

    I also agree with Diane: let the bishops take their time. After all, plenty of bishops took 20 bloody years to consider whether to accommodate the Ecclesia Dei directive of giving “a wide and generous application” to using TLM. Let them take 20 more years to ponder this one before they figure it all out.

    Given that SSPX and many others have been saying, since 1970, that the popes HAVE NOT abrogated the right to say the mass of immemorial custom, and that Pope Benedict XVI explicitly confirmed this view in Summorum Pontificum:

    It is therefore permitted to celebrate the Sacrifice of the Mass following the typical edition of the Roman Missal, which was promulgated by Blessed John XXIII in 1962 and never abrogated

    And that this new motu proprio also does not abrogate it, it is impossible for an educated, intelligent Catholic to believe that the same people will now think they must forego using TLM because of this directive, unless they get the bishop’s approval. At least this: SSPX won’t bother about it. Probably many more will behave the same.

    Which means that this new motu proprio is going to constitute a divisive wedge in Church practice.

    Fr. Z says: This doesn’t mean roll over and let yourself be kicked. It means think first.

    Hear, Hear! Totally agree. The objective here is to figure out how to work WITH the bishop to enable him to give as broad and generous approval to use TLM as he can, without the Vatican trying to lower the boom on him. This means cooperative action, when at all possible. I suspect that there will be some bishops (not a huge number, but some) whose initial inclination would be to give the Vatican a kick in the teeth over this totally unnecessary battlefront they have been forced into for absolutely no good reason, (and really doesn’t see that the Vatican needs to stick their nose into his diocese), and to INCREASE the TLM in their diocese to spite any CDF intent to suppress it…but don’t want to be slammed down by being too blatantly offensive about it. So they need a cover, some make-up on it to present their position to the Vatican.

    Other bishops may not care a lot either way, but are willing to go along with keeping successful TLM parishes going, they just need a presentable reason they are willing to hand off to the Vatican.

  25. mbabc123 says:

    I’ve always supported Pope Francis. Given him the benefit of the doubt. Stood up for him. Prayed for him. And now this – after all his talk of mercy, inclusion, and against clericalism. I guess we just have to storm heaven with prayers. 
    He mentions the Roman Canon – most priests in my experience never use it. 
    Active Participation – most people in the west don’t even go to Mass in the first place. 
    Vatican 2 – Most people on both sides I suspect haven’t read the 16 documents of Vat 2 otherwise we’d have, among other things, chant in Latin and religious in habits. 
    If we read the content of the docs of Vat 2, then who really hates Vat 2? The Trads or the Left? 
    Has Pope Francis even been to a TLM this millennium and met the young families and children and talked to them, or is he relying on old stereotypes? 
    As most young Catholics don’t got to Mass, surely he should be happy that there are young people who do want to go to Mass instead of hindering them. Permit the children to come to me, says our Lord. 
    He seems to say no TLM in parochial churches, but what if your parish is a long drive away from a chapel or what not. Where do you go? 
    If he really believes that the TLM is overrun by baddies, where does he think they are going to go. Their local parish? 
    Where I live we have families with young kids who drive ages to the TLM instead of going to our local parish. They home school their kids, take them to catechism classes run by good priests and have a good network of families to support one another. Sooner of later the biological solution will run its course and these people will be waiting. 

  26. The Egyptian says:

    tonyo said “Other bishops may not care a lot either way, but are willing to go along with keeping successful TLM parishes going, they just need a presentable reason they are willing to hand off to the Vatican.”
    many bishops are in a hard spot, unless i am wrong the TLM parishes bring in a LOT of money, and in this cost covid era, money and attendance is critical. Especially money.
    I know this is callous but money talks and bull—- walks

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  28. donato2 says:

    Has any U.S. bishop announced that he is enlisting in PF’s crusade against the TLM and will ban any existing TLM in his diocese?

    One thing this new motu proprio will do is reveal exactly where every bishop stands concerning the liturgy and by implication all the important associated issues (e.g., the role of tradition in Catholicism). It will be interesting to see how many are gung-ho ideologues committed to stomping out the TLM. That’s the type you’d have to be to take up the crusade. The non-ideologue, run-of-the-mill careerist bishop is probably not going to be interested in enlisting in PF’s anti-TLM crusade. Ordinarily those bishops do the Pope’s bidding with as much enthusiasm as they can muster because the Pope has the power to make or break their careers. However, that political calculus weakens, and even reverses, if a Pope is weak and at the end of his Pontificate. Such may be the case here. If I were a bishop and making a purely political calculation, I would ask myself: In view of the significant chance that there will be a conclave in the next few years and that it will likely at least to some degree act in reaction to the excesses of the current Pontificate, do I want to sign on publicly right now to the worst of those excesses? My answer would be, no, not really and accordingly conclude that under the circumstances it is best to go with the flow and allow existing TLMs to continue.

  29. dinsdale says:

    In Pittsburgh, Bishop Zubik issued a statement that there will be no changes to Most Precious Blood of Jesus Parish (attended by canons of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest). This is welcome news, and I urge all in the Pittsburgh area to take Gaetano’s advice and send thank-you notes to the bishop. However, he did not mention any other public Masses. Over the past few months a few parishes in the diocese have instituted regular TLMs, so it is unclear what, if anything, will happen to these.

  30. Here’s the Washington, D.C., archdiocese weighing in:

    Regarding the Holy Father’s new motu proprio on the regulation of the extraordinary form “EF” (i.e. Mass in the 1962 Missal): Cardinal Gregory has granted faculties to his priests to continue celebrating the EF as he reflects on the the Pope’s instruction. All parish commitments to EF ministry therefore remain in place.

    Keep reflecting, Cardinal Gregory! Keep reflecting!

  31. tramtrist says:

    Is anyone aware of a site tracking these announcements form each diocese?
    (What an unfortunate though necessary thing to have to do :( )

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  33. G. Thomas Fitzpatrick says:

    Putting this here, because a suggestion from you, Father, can get mountains moving.

    Saving What We Have For Better Days

    I was shocked to see this morning the Bishop of Puerto Rico ordering a ban of burses, birettas, etc. They hate the Mass of the Ages so much, they will apparently not fail to stoop to the most extreme measures. [That should be met with complete scorn.]

    Over the years, a great many Traditional Masses, both Sunday and daily Masses, have been filmed and posted on YouTube. I suggest that someone with the means and storage save all these Masses to redundant devices and the clouds of more than one individual before bishops start demanding they be taken down and erased from memory. [Good idea.]

    A videoed Mass doesn’t fulfill the obligation, but it is something. How many of us had a first introduction to the traditional Mass via that videotape from the 1980s produced, I think, by the Latin Mass Society with the English priest saying High and Low Mass? [I remember that! It was extremely influential, also on me.]

    While the readings for fixed feasts, etc. are the same year to year in the Vetus Ordo, there are differences caused by the date of Easter, how many Sundays After Pentecost, what votive Masses are selected, etc. That is why I suggest we create an accessible archive, not under the control of anyone the bishops can control, of all the traditional Masses we can. [Also good.]

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  35. abasham says:

    Thanks be to God, I just got back home from my regularly scheduled TLM… In the nation’s oldest parish – thankfully allowed to continue, for now, by Cardinal Gregory. I will certainly thank him for that decision, but I’m sure difficult times are ahead.

    In theory, could not a specific diocese, or even a bishops’ conference on behalf of a specific county, request an indult to be exempt from this motu proprietary? I get that it seems extremely unlikely to be granted at the moment, and would require bishops to have an almost miraculous amount of courage, bit still… isn’t it at least technically a possible tool?

  36. hwriggles4 says:

    I am planning to be on the lookout this coming week. I think several bishops (including my own, who seems to be more tradition friendly than his predecessor) need time to reflect, digest, and pray. My neighboring diocese has a strong bishop, so I think the neighboring diocese will keep to what they have been doing.

  37. jboyne says:

    I could not find it online, so I suspect it was a more direct communication to the priests who run the parishes, but our priest read an announcement this morning from Bishop Naumann in the KCK diocese that the two FSSP apostolates here could continue to operate as usual. It was an encouraging letter- not so much a “fine, you can continue”, but more of a “you are doing good work, keep it up”. (There are no diocesan TLMs in this diocese as far as I am aware.) I plan to take @Gaetano’s advice and write him a thank-you note.

    The timing is certainly interesting. Maple Hill FSSP has been exploding over the last few years, and they are building an extension to the church that will bring capacity from ~200 to about 450. I suspect that the influx there and everywhere else will continue to spike after this recent news, and the exodus to more traditional-minded communities and parishes will only continue to grow. Many people have commented on how this motu proprio may have the opposite effect that Francis was aiming for, and I’m inclined to agree.

  38. Noelle says:

    Deo gratias! From the Oxford Oratory, http://www.oxfordoratory.org.uk/
    “Following the publication of Traditionis Custodes, His Grace Archbishop Bernard has asked that we continue to provide access to both forms of the Mass. There will be no changes to our regular Mass schedule. We will continue to say Mass according to the Missal of 1962 at 8am on Sundays and at 12:15pm on holy days.”

  39. robtbrown says:

    One of my first reactions to Traditionis is that it is not just cruel, it is sloppy.

    Nb: 2 + 2 = 5

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