I am in total awe of a piece posted – thank you – at Rorate. A monumental take down of Traditionis custodes and the Dubious Dubia using Francis’ own categorical declarations about freedom, conscience, clericalism, proselytizing, discernment. A Manual for Resistance.

Today, on the last day of this annus terribilis, I am in total awe of a piece posted – thank you! – at RorateHERE

The writer was a lawyer in Buenos Aires, now a priest with a super CV.

The writer goes through all of Francis’ speeches and documents, back to the beginning of his pontificate, to look for principles by which we are to measure both Traditionis custodes (TC) and the Dubious Dubia (DD – Responses to Dubia).

The result is, simply put, devastating.   

Through a systematic presentation of questions and themes that arise from the publication of Traditionis, and the use of Francis’ own words, sometimes strong and even categorical pronouncements about how people really must behave, must think, the writer shows the contradictory disconnect between Francis’ own publicly declared thought and the action his took in TC and the subsequent DD.

This is amazing work.  I won’t try to summarize it here, because the writer did such a good job of leading you step by step through the evidence, each quotation of Francis meticulously footnoted.

I’ll give some a tempting examples, which will immediately drive you to Rorate to read the whole thing and then PRINT IT AND SEND IT TO YOUR BISHOPS.  I am NOT kidding.

I will, with effort, restrain myself!  For example…. (some formatting will be lost):

Although it is tempting to read these texts (TC and RAD) in a fundamentalist fashion, above all we must avoid interpreting or applying Traditionis Custodes and the Responsa ad dubia rigidly. We must take into account the specific way Francis asks us to interpret and live the law. We must do exegesis in the way the Pope himself has asked us to, with freedom and discernment, giving priority to charity. Above all we must avoid rigidity, insofar as, according to him, “Rigidity is not a gift of God.”[1]

The Holy Father points out that one must be

particularly concerned to offer understanding, comfort, and acceptance, rather than imposing [upon needy souls] straightaway, as if they were a rock, a set of rules [be they liturgical, canonical, or disciplinary] that only lead people to feel judged and abandoned by the very Mother called to show them God’s mercy.[2]

Indeed, many souls (both laymen and priests) feel abandoned by the Church in the face of the publication of Traditionis Custodes and the Responsa.


Now, the key to interpreting and applying TC and RAD is discernment, which ultimately cannot be applied from the frigidity of a clerical desk (be it Roman, episcopal, or parochial)—since “clericalism is a perversion.”[3] Rather, the priest must go among God’s people as a shepherd among his sheep, willing to give his life for them (cf. John 10:11).

Indeed, as Amoris Laetitia 305 states:

Natural law should not be presented as an already established set of rules that impose themselves a priori on the moral subject; rather, it is a source of objective inspiration for the deeply personal process of making decisions.

This implies that Traditionis Custodes and the Responsa are merely a “source of inspiration for the deeply personal process of making decisions.”[4] Moreover, one must take into account that, as Pope Francis says, the “attitude that would solve everything by applying general rules”[5] is mistaken and that it is “not helpful to try to impose rules by sheer authority.”


Just as “a pastor cannot feel that it is enough simply to apply moral laws to those living in ‘irregular’ situations, as if they were stones to throw at people’s lives,”[13] neither should bishops think that it is enough merely to apply moral laws to the priests and laymen who live in “irregular” liturgical or ritual situations, as if these las were stones to throw at people’s lives. By analogy with Amoris Laetitia 305, this casting of regulations as if they were stones (be they of TC, RAD, or the Code of Canon Law) at traditional communities “would bespeak the closed heart of one used to hiding behind the Church’s teachings, ‘sitting on the chair of Moses and judging at times with superiority and superficiality difficult cases and wounded families.’”[14]

In the wake of TC and RAD, many families feel hurt because they feel they are being discriminated against when choosing which rite they want their children to be baptized, confessed, or confirmed in. Indeed we can easily imagine difficult cases such as if five brothers are confirmed according to the solemn traditional rite but the sixth, on top of having to wear his older brother’s hand-me-downs, must now be confirmed in a different rite that appears less beautiful to him.


For Pope Francis, however, the relativity of norms is even more radical. Indeed, he has affirmed that the Ten Commandments are, ultimately, relative, as he stated during a general audience: “Do I despise the Commandments? No. I follow them, but not as absolutes.”[38]

Let the will of Pope Francis when he legislates or gives instructions be clear. If not even the Ten Commandments are absolute, Church norms made by men are even less absolute. What is said by a motu proprio is even less absolute, and what a Cardinal Prefect says in response to dubia is even less absolute than that.

The Pope points out that human precepts must be enforced with moderation:

Saint Thomas Aquinas pointed out that the precepts which Christ and the apostles gave to the people of God “are very few.” Citing Saint Augustine, he noted that the precepts subsequently enjoined by the Church should be insisted upon with moderation “so as not to burden the lives of the faithful” and make our religion a form of servitude, whereas “God’s mercy has willed that we should be free”. This warning, issued many centuries ago, is most timely today. It ought to be one of the criteria to be taken into account in considering a reform of the Church and her preaching which would enable it to reach everyone.[39]

This means that the application of TC and RAD cannot be so demanding that it burdens the life of the faithful. In other words, if the application of this or that precept of TC or RAD in a particular case makes the life of this or that believer burdensome, then those general normals should not be applied.


The Holy Father also insists on the importance of building bridges instead of walls, as in the following passage:

I remember when I was a child one heard Catholic families say, even my family: “No, we cannot go into their house, because they are not married in the Church, they are socialists, they are atheists, hey!” It was exclusionary. Now—thank God—nobody says these things, right? No one says it! These things were said to defend the faith, but with walls. The Lord, on the other hand, built bridges.[42]

This concept of bridges must be taken into account when discerning how to apply TC and RAD. In other words, bishops and priests must avoid expressions like “no, we cannot allow that rite, because they aren’t attached to Vatican II, to the new Mass, hey!” That would be exclusionary. That would be like defending the new rite and the Council, but with walls. But the Lord, on the other hand, builds bridges.


.1 The Deliberate Intention of Making a Mess

The Holy Father exhorts the young to “make a mess,”[48] but this papal request actually extends to all of the baptized, since he has thanked certain people for helping him continue making messes.[49] Therefore, Pope Francis invites all Christians to make a mess.

2.2 The “Revolutionary” Character of Faith

The Holy Father not only calls us to synodality, but also to be revolutionaries, since he considers the Catholic faith intrinsically “revolutionary.”[50]

Therefore, abiding by these papal declarations should encourage many Catholics to carry out a kind of “revolution” against TC and RAD, as long as this involves no lack of obedience to the Pope according to their own consciences. Instead, they might see it as an act of profound fidelity to the Pope and of commitment to following the doctrine he teaches, namely, that the faith is revolutionary.


His Holiness Pope Francis has pointed out that he dislikes young people who do not protest[51] and that he appreciates it when young people are non-conformist, because that is their very essence.[52] Since it would be a hypocritical contradiction to exempt from this judgment those young people who protest against him, or to exempt those young men who are priests, then we cannot but conclude that His Holiness would like to see young priests protesting against TC and RAD.


the Holy Father asks those who feel discriminated against (socially, liturgically, or in whatever fashion) to raise a prophetic voice against the privileges of the followers of the new Mass, who can attend it anywhere without any restrictions, and who discriminate against them to the point of banning them from receiving the Holy Spirit (in Confirmation) in the rite of their grandparents.


One of the things the Holy Father most repeatedly condemns is proselytism, which includes liturgical proselytism, which is why all efforts to convince or force those who sympathize with the traditional rite to adhere to the liturgical reform or to accept the Second Vatican Council in its entirely must be rejected and deplored.

The Holy Father affirms that “proselytism is always violent by nature, even when this nature is hidden”[54] and has said that “proselytism is not Christian” and that “the Church does not grow through proselytism, but by attraction.”[55]

Therefore, no bishop should proselytize their priests, trying to convince them to embrace Vatican II or the new Mass, since Pope Francis condemns proselytism. If Pope Francis prohibits us from converting a heretic to the Catholic faith, with all the more reason a bishop is prohibited from trying to persuade a priest refractory to Vatican II. He cannot proselytize.


There’s so much more I could quote. It is a monumental take down of everything surrounding TC and the DD and all the fake words about unity and accompaniment and Vatican II etc. etc.

I am deeply grate for this GOLD MINE, first published in German at InfoCatholica and now in English, a little abridged, at Rorate.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in ACTION ITEM!, Francis, Just Too Cool, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, The Drill, The future and our choices, Traditionis custodes, What are they REALLY saying? and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Pingback: I am in total awe of a piece posted – thank you – at Rorate. A monumental take down of Traditionis custodes and the Dubious Dubia using Francis’ own categorical declarations about freedom, conscience, clericalism, proselytizing, discernment. A Manua

  2. Charles E Flynn says:

    Hoisted with his own papal petard.

  3. Gaetano says:

    While I almost never quote Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals, the article is a perfect application of Rule 4: “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.”

    It is also an excellent example of proper citation. It’s no surprise that an attorney wrote it.

  4. monstrance says:

    At first read I thought it satire.

  5. Benedict Joseph says:

    It has been evident to me for many decades now that the only pre-conciliar understanding of any sort that has not been up for reimaging is the notion of episcopal authority. Those engaged in every alteration of Catholic belief and practice over the past sixty years have never touched that lightening rod. Why would anyone when you can use it to whip the groundlings into shape for your own purpose?
    Finally someone has essentially called them out on it. It took clear-sightedness and remarkable courage to do so. It will take even more courage to act upon the wise insights of Padre Frederico.
    I am reminded of that linchpin toward the end in “Pastor Aeternus” of the First Vatican Council: “The Holy Spirit was not given to the Roman Pontiffs so that they might disclose new doctrine, but so that they might guard and set forth the Deposit of Faith handed down from the Apostles.”
    When the living Magisterium fails to thus perform does it exist?
    From now on let’s just do the right thing. When there is enough of that on display those who would abuse their authority will have to pick up the pieces. They don’t appreciate handling real messes despite what they say.

  6. Mariana2 says:

    So, hagamos lío!

  7. Andrew says:

    Quia me syllogismis provocaverat, et videbam tendere hominem ad interrogatiunculas tortuosas, sua contra illum tela jaciebam. (Hieronymus: Epistola LXIX)

  8. eamonob says:

    Rotate often has had good content, but they kind of turned me off about a year/year and a half ago. They posted an article titled with a false statement from the pope. They had it in quotes and said “Francis, in his own words:…” and proceeded to put a statement that even later in their own article they admitted he never said (he actually said literally the opposite of what they claimed). They posted it on Twitter and I, when I was still on Twitter, replied that they could not bear false witness against the pope like that. They kept it up and blocked me. I have trouble wanting to read them after that.

    Now, that is not to say they’re all bad or that any of their other stuff is bad but I really got turned off from them after that incident.

  9. Mike says:

    eamonob, yes, they are….well, let us say, a bit…witchy, if you get my drift. But overall, they are spot-on here. My main problem with RC is they don’t know how to identify “fellow travelers”, but draw somewhat arbitrary lines when they should encourage fellow RCs on their way to Tradition.

    But as Fr. Z says, this current piece is masterful.

  10. Grant M says:

    ¡¡¡Hagamos lío!!!

    It would seem that only the young can make a mess. For the Pope was addressing the young.
    On the contrary, he has commended older people for making a mess.
    So, I answer that everyone should make a mess.

    ¡¡¡Hagamos lío!!!

  11. Pingback: I am in total awe of a piece posted – thank you – at Rorate. A monumental take down of Traditionis custodes and the Dubious Dubia using Francis’ own categorical declarations about freedom, conscience, clericalism, proselytizing, discernment. A Manua

  12. colospgs says:

    All throughout I kept thinking “very good and valid points, but stingers gonna sting.” That said, it’s still a very good idea to see to it that your bishop reads it. I’m guessing most are lukewarm and on the fence, and it will do them good to read it.

  13. Archlaic says:

    How does the old saying go: “Half kidding, whole in earnest”? A very deft way to make a number of points that needed to be made plainly! I’ve been the first one to ask – as archly as possible – “ Where’s OUR accompaniment… where’s OUR mercy?” but this goes beyond a simple bon mot or two and brilliantly hoists the Bishop of Rome on his own petard! And of course in the hallowed precincts of the Roche Motel CDW and – speaking of motels – the“Juan Peron Suite” of the Domus Sanctae Marthae – it will be seen as ridicule… probably a good thing since it’s unlikely to be judged on its merits – and we know how much authoritarians hate being ridiculed!

  14. mburduck says:

    Thank you for posting this, Father! Brilliant on all counts!

  15. Arturo says:

    This is a great article showing the seeming double standard being employed. However, while this might be useful in persuading the powers that be to be generous and accommodating to those attached to TLM, I fear that this might normalize this kind of hermeneutics. I am of the opinion that employing this kind of interpretative lens and approach leads one to arrive at a “discerned” conclusion that is exactly the opposite of what the document is saying. This kind of hermeneutics is the kind that is being used by the liberals in hijacking the Vatican II documents, arguing that they must be interpreted through the spirit of Vatican II. It is not so much about the texts of Vatican II but about the “thrust” put in motion by the council. This is dangerous.

    I understand the disappointment and sadness brought about by TC to those attached to TLM. But even if we assume the worst case, that TLM is to be abolished entirely, it is not like we are left with no sacraments. A lot of saints of the 21st century is nourished with Novus Ordo. St JP II exclusively celebrated Novus Ordo when he was the pope.

    Don’t get me wrong. I don’t hate TLM. I do attend TLM mass once in a while in one of the few parishes in our diocese that offer the TLM. Last 2019 I participated in Chartres pilgrimage, a 3 day walk from Notre Dame de Paris to Notre Dame de Chartres offering TLM mass along the way. To my surprise and horror, there are people I met there who thinks the Novus Ordo mass is invalid.

    Before the TLM emerged in its current form as the universal rite of the Church, there are various rites of the mass that existed, all of them valid, all of them said in various parts of the world where the Church existed. In fact the Dominican rite of the mass still exists today and can still be validly celebrated. It is by the authority of the Church that decreed that the mass of the Latin rite be standardized which paved the way for the TLM as we know it today to be used as the universal rite of the Latin rite.

    There is no other power on earth who can decree how the public communal prayer of the Church be formulated and practiced except by the authority of the Church herself. It is by Church authority that led to the abolishment of other forms of the mass (save perhaps the Dominican rite) and the promulgation of the TLM as we know it today as the universal (“normative”) form of the Latin rite. It was made it so by the authority of the Church and the same authority can unmake it. On areas under her competence and power, what the Church has bound, the same Church can unbound.

    If the Church has exercised her authority that enabled her to decree TLM as the normative form of the mass centuries ago, she can also exercise the same authority to decree a new form of the same mass. No power on earth has this power. Not even an Archbishop Lefebre can presume to over rule what the Church had decreed. To question and reject what the Church had decreed by the authority given her by God Himself is to commit a most grievous of sins.

    I have read some of the objections on the Novus Ordo mass. For example, it was alleged that the liturgical prayers of the novus ordo mass was formulated in a bar using a table napkin to write its draft on. Even if we are to assume that this is true, the moment the Church accepted it, it was effectively “baptized”. It was therefore effectively made clean and any of its stain prior to it getting “baptized” is effectively and irrevocably cleansed. Bear in mind that throughout the history of the Church, it adopted some of the pagan practices of the people it seeks to evangelize and purified/baptized those pagan practices to render it a new meaning and nature consistent with our faith. If this can be made possible on pagan practices, how much more on prayers directed to God? What God accepts through His Church is effectively exorcised. What God therefore touches through His Church becomes clean.

    I also read that one of the objections to the novus ordo mass is the way their texts were constructed. It was observed that they are so simple, that they lack the eloquence of the TLM. This is true, I agree. But bear in mind that the moment the Church decreed the liturgical prayers of the novus ordo as the official prayer of the Church, those novus ordo liturgical texts assumed supernatural character. They are no longer ordinary and boring texts. No matter how simple these texts are, they are effectively endowed with supernatural powers the moment a priest say those prayers in novus ordo mass. The simple sentence “this is my Body” no longer becomes ordinary, but assumed an extraordinary power the moment the Church decreed it as constituting the form of the mass. To critique the novus ordo mass using literary lens is to mistakenly bring down a supernatural character of the textual prayer into the realm of natural order. Effectively this means that a human criteria is used to critique a supernatural reality, a fatal mistake and a sinful one if we are to realize that effectively this is an act of judging what is beyond a man’s power and authority to judge.

    To some extent, I can understand some of the elements that inspired the promulgation of TC. For example, there are those who are effectively saying that no mass is being said in most of the Latin rite churches, and virtually no one is validly ordained after Vatican II. It is therefore a legitimate question, on whose authority do they make these assertions? They do quote some of the papal texts written in years ago. Bear in mind that the Church is the only authority who can properly and correctly interpret all papal decrees and in fact all of sacred scriptures. Between the personal interpretation of well meaning people and the Church’s interpretation, I think it should be obvious which one should the faithful choose.

  16. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Under correction, and on the basis of the selections here, I think this demonstrates (rather than discussing) two aspects of one (so to say) erring ‘papo-oracular pnumaticism’, in that the radically defective ‘hermeneutics’ are in fact as rigidly and sweepingly proclaimed to be unquestionably final and authoritative as TC et al.

    Pace Arturo, I think to “normalize this kind of hermeneutics” is part of the ‘pneumaticist totalitarian’ Bergoglio-Franciscan project, and that this demonstration of its character is unlikely to enhance the danger.

    With respect to the contention that “the Church has exercised her authority that enabled her to decree TLM as the normative form of the mass centuries ago” and that “It is by Church authority that led to the abolishment of other forms of the mass (save perhaps the Dominican rite) and the promulgation of the TLM as we know it today as the universal (“normative”) form of the Latin rite”, I would note again the post of 24 July 2021 by Father John Hunwicke (a Latinist and student of Church history far beyond my level). He writes with respect to ‘Quo primum’, “Both Bergoglians and some Traddies are currently writing as if S Pius V in 1570 ‘permitted’ rites with more than 200 years behind them to continue.

    “He did not.

    “He ORDERED such old rites to be continued. ‘Nequaquam auferimus’ were his words … ‘auferimus’ means ‘we take away’, ‘nequaquam’ means ‘not at all’.

    “What he did allow was his own new 1570 Edition to be brought into use if a bishop and his entire Chapter agreed.”

    And, indeed, the Dominican Rite was not the only one which continued in use of 1570, there being (for instance) the Ambrosian Rite and the Mozarabic Rite and the Sarum Use.

    The question to be addressed is, can any Pope simply abolish a Rite of the Church?

    Father John Hunwicke writes further, “When Papa Ratzinger issued Summorum pontificum, he explained to his brother bishops that ‘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.’

    “Observe that Benedict XVI did not say ‘It should not be forbidden’; he said ‘it cannot be … ‘

    “From 1570 until 1970, Quo primum stood at the beginning of every Missal of the Roman Rite.

    “Pope Bendict XVI, in his own words, in our time, has reiterated its assertion of the essential, theological, primacy of Tradition.

    “‘Cannot be’

    “Is anything else needed to make clear that this is the settled doctrine of the Catholic Church?”

    [Thanks for the reminder about that great post from Fr. H.]

  17. Arturo says:

    I actually searched for the Quo Primum papal decree and read it. In here we can see that Pope Pius V exercised his authority in decreeing the use of TLM. That same authority was exercised by Pope Paul VI in decreeing the use of Novus Ordo. If we accept TLM and render it with due reverence, the same reverence and acceptance are to be rendered to Novus Ordo. Rejecting the Novus Ordo or even thinking it is inferior I believe is an act of disobedience and even an act of presuming they know better than the Church. Unless we think Novus Ordo is not of God. But how can this be if saints of the 21st century is nourished by it? How can this be if saints like Padre Pio celebrated it and saints like Mother Teresa took part of it? And how can this be when a saintly pope exclusively celebrated it?

    On your note “What he did allow was his own new 1570 Edition to be brought into use if a bishop and his entire Chapter agreed.” I am not sure that this statement is 100% accurate. I read the Quo Primum, and I did not get a sense that Pope Pius V is saying that this is one of the missal I am authorizing for use and you have the liberty to choose to use it among many others that you are now using already. He mandated its use and here I am quoting directly from his text with some emphasis and comment of mine:

    “Let all everywhere adopt and observe what has been handed down by the Holy Roman Church, the Mother and Teacher of the other churches, and let Masses not be sung or read according to any other formula than that of this Missal [the TLM] published by Us… All other of the churches referred to above, however, are hereby DENIED the use of other missals, which are to be DISCONTINUED ENTIRELY and ABSOLUTELY… We specifically command each and every patriarch, administrator, and all other persons or whatever ecclesiastical dignity they may be, be they even cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, or possessed of any other rank or pre-eminence, and We order them in virtue of holy obedience to chant or to read the Mass according to the rite and manner and norm herewith laid down by Us [the TLM] and, hereafter, to DISCONTINUE and COMPLETELY DISREGARD all other rubrics and rites of other missals, HOWEVER ANCIENT, which they have customarily followed; and they must not in celebrating Mass presume to introduce any ceremonies or recite any prayers other than those contained in this Missal.”

    Here Pope Pius V decreed that the use of all other missals must be discontinued and disregarded completely. Effectively he is abolishing their use. Yes, he did allow some exceptions. And I quote this exception:

    “This new rite alone is to be used unless approval of the practice of saying Mass differently was given at the very time of the institution and confirmation of the church by Apostolic See at least 200 years ago, or unless there has prevailed a custom of a similar kind which has been continuously followed for a period of not less than 200 years, in which most cases We in no wise rescind their above-mentioned prerogative or custom. However, if this Missal, which we have seen fit to publish, be more agreeable to these latter, We grant them permission to celebrate Mass according to its rite, provided they have the consent of their bishop or prelate or of their whole Chapter, everything else to the contrary notwithstanding.”

    Note the language used by Pope Pius V in giving his exception. He laid out the criteria for exceptions and then said he is not rescinding the prerogative or custom that satisfied his criteria. He made the decision not to rescind. In other words, he made the decision not to take away anything from those whose customs or prerogatives satisfied his criteria for exception. He exercised his discretion in giving this exception or permission to continue to use those that satisfied his criteria. In other words, he decided and chose not to take them away. The fact that he laid out the parameters for exceptions implies his absolute authority in regulating the public, communal and official prayer of the Church. If he decided not to provide exceptions, he can do so. The 200 year limit he chose is his discretion. He could have chosen 50 years or he could have chosen not to give any exceptions at all. What Pope Pius V is saying, now that I decided not to take away your custom or prerogative that you have been using for at least 200 years, you can continue to use it BUT if you want to use the TLM instead, you have to seek your bishop or prelate or your whole Chapter to agree. This is because after Pope Pius V decided to let a congregation use their own missal they have been using for at least 200 years (and satisfied some other criteria he laid out), the norm for that congregation is their own missal NOT the TLM. And so if any priest in this congregation decided to use the TLM other than their own missal, he is deviating from their norm and any deviation needs to be approved by proper and legitimate authority of that congregation. Note also how he called the other missals as “customs or prerogatives”. Customs and prerogatives are under the pope’s power to regulate.

    I understand the frustration that people who are attached to TLM feel. I am not around when altars are torn down and the Novus Ordo mass is being implemented for the first time. I do however take my faith seriously. And I try to live my best to be as pious and obedient as possible. When I see abuses in Novus Ordo mass like a priest using a scooter in the mass for example, I am horrified to see those. If this is what I feel, how much more the good and holy people back in the days when they see the altars being torn down and the Novus Ordo being celebrated with unhinged abuses? It must be devastating to see those. But I do believe that the devil is trying to hijack the fruits of Vatican II by influencing people to commit liturgical abuses and driving them to the extreme so that Vatican II is delegitimized, the authority of the Church is compromised and people lose trust in the Church. And it is happening. Well-meaning people now feel the Novus Ordo is either invalid or inferior. Well-meaning people now feel there are no validly ordained priests after Vatican II. Well-meaning people are now even resisting the Church. Some do not know what to believe anymore. If we allow ourselves to fall under any of these categories, we are allowing the devil to win. The antidote to this is not resistance or insistence that we know better than the Church. The antidote to this is humble obedience to the Church.

    Several saints had been subjected to unjust treatment. They obeyed anyway. They did not reason that what is being done to them is wrong and that they are being abused. They kept silent and they rendered their humble obedience to their superiors, no matter how cruel their superiors are to them. And I think this to me tells a very powerful lesson. It is easy to be obedient when what we are being told to obey is something we like or something we agree with. But true obedience is rendering our submission even if what is being told for us to do is cruel, or unjust or something we do not like. Never mind that we are being treated unfairly, God Himself will avenge us so that in the end we are justified. As it is written “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”

    We can provide reasons why we are attached to TLM. We can exalt the beauty of TLM. But please let us do so without saying any bad things about the Novus Ordo. Let it be. If the Novus Ordo is of human origin, it will die out. But if it is of God, then we end up going against God.


    1. My previous post is a direct copy and paste from the reply I’ve made in facebook. I realized that my post is in some way a reply to Fr Z’s post and therefore a reply to Fr Z himself. I feel that my previous post is direct and lacking of any respect due to a priest (for example I used the words “bear in mind” as if I am talking to my contemporary colleague). I do not mean to be disrespectful. I am sorry.
    2. When Pope Francis was elected and for the first time presented himself at the balcony of St Peter’s, I feel like something is off. I just couldn’t put my finger into it but somehow I feel uneasy. Afterwards Pope Francis made several statements that I find slippery at best. I then began to feel angry to the point of I think hating the pope. I couldn’t stand looking at his photos. For a long time I struggled with this kind of feeling. I am telling myself that he is the pope and I cannot feel this way to our pope to no avail unfortunately. Then I realized I should bring this to confession. After confessing it two or three times, I am so grateful that any ill feelings I have towards Pope Francis was gone. Now, whenever I hear Pope Francis say anything that before made me concerned or even angry, I just acknowledge that he said those words but then I am grateful to have the serenity and security to say “it is God’s Church, He is in control”. I realized that in the long arc of history (as what Fr Z used to say) and in God’s Divine providence, He will sort things out. I no longer feel anxious and worried. I thank God for the grace of trusting Him. Confession really works and that we receive actual and tangible graces from it! We may feel at times so worried about what is happening but we are a people of hope! Let us trust God. Nothing will happen that He does not permit to happen.

  18. Venerator Sti Lot says:


    Thanks for your reply! I have not (yet) studied ‘Quo primum’ thoroughly and carefully (though I suppose Father John Hunwicke has), but I found a handy dailycatholic.org post online with the Latin text and an English translation in parallel columns. The Latin text is divided into paragraphs to which I shall assign numbers. The English translation is divided into paragraphs, too, but some of them translate the text of more than one Latin paragraph.

    And, looking at it, I am not persuaded that you are reading it correctly – in which I mean to speak under correction, myself.

    Latin paragraph [5] includes the passage “vel consuetudine, quae, vel ipsa institutio super ducentos annos Missarum celebrandarum in eisdem Ecclesiis assidue observata sit: a quibus, ut praefatam celebrandi constitutionem vel consuetudinem nequaquam auferimus”, which Father John Hunwicke discusses in his 24 July 2021 post. This corresponds to the translation you quote “or unless there has prevailed a custom of a similar kind which has been continuously followed for a period of not less than 200 years, in which most cases We in no wise rescind their above-mentioned prerogative or custom.” The translation in the dailycatholic post translates this “and those in which there has prevailed a similar custom followed continuously for a period of not less than two hundred years; in which cases We in no wise rescind their prerogatives or customs aforesaid.”

    I am not sure what the weight of “super ducentos annos” is, or what difference it might have made if Pope St. Pius V had “chosen 50 years” in exercising “his discretion”. But I am not convinced that you are correct in thinking Pope St. Pius V thought “he could have chosen not to give any exceptions at all”. As far as I can see, he is recognizing “constitutionem vel consuetudinem” which are “in eisdem Ecclesiis” and being of those Churches are not something he would ever imagine that he could take away.

    Another matter which invites attention is, whether he was mistaken or talking nonsense when he said in Latin paragraph [7] “perpetuo concedimus et indulgemus” (“We give and grant in perpetuity”) the use of this Missal, and in Latin paragraph [8] “neque ad Missale hoc immutandum a quolibet cogi et compelli, praesentesve litterae ullo unquam tempore revocari, aut moderari possint, sed firmae semper et validae in suo exsistant robore, similiter statuimus et declaramus” (“We likewise order and declare that no one whosoever shall be forced or coerced into altering this Missal; and this present Constitution can never be revoked or modified, but shall forever remain valid and have the force of law”).

    Were a subsequent Pope to attempt to reverse this, could he do so in law and in fact, or would he be mistaken or talking nonsense in attempting to do so?

  19. Arturo says:

    I urge you to read the document in whole to get a sense of his intention.

    I am not convinced by what you are attempting to insinuate. If you ask me, Pope Pius V decree remains in effect in perpetuity unless a future pope exercising the same authority modified it or repealed it altogether. What was bounded by a legitimate authority can be unbounded by the same authority.

    Outside the sacred scripture and sacred tradition, the pope’s authority is plenary. This power was given by our Lord Himself when he said “ whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” The act of loosening implies that something was previously bounded.

    When Pope Pius V said that he is rescinding nothing that to implies that he has the power to rescind but decided not to do so. Otherwise, why the need to even make a statement if it is self evident that it is sacrosanct that certain missals are beyond his power?

    But in summary of what Pope Pius V said:

    1. He mandated that the TLM be the universal norm of the mass.
    2. He prohibited the use of many other missals.
    3. He made exceptions to his prohibitions.

    But this is my reading. I am sure you may have your own reading. At the end of the day, it is the Church herself who is the legitimate authority to correctly interpret these documents. Between your interpretation and the Church’s interpretation, I think there is no question which ones the faithful can safely choose.

  20. Arturo says:

    Sorry I also forgot to note.
    Pope Pius V did not say “We cannot rescind anything”. What he essentially said is “We rescind nothing”. To say “I cannot rescind anything” means I have no power to rescind anything. But to say “I rescind nothing” means I have the power to rescind but I exercised restraint.

  21. Fr. Reader says:

    Dystopian times.

  22. Arturo says:

    I am sorry it is me again. I suspect you are not convinced by my understanding of what Pope Paul VI meant when he said that his TLM is in force in perpetuity. I said it is in force in perpetuity until the same authority modified it or repealed.

    But I believe this will convince you. God instituted the day of sabbath to be observed in all perpetuity. But the same authority exercised by our Lord Himself inspired the Church to move it to Sunday.

  23. Venerator Sti Lot says:


    Thank you for the further replies!

    After my last comment, I encountered a translation of a quotation of a letter of 14 December 1976 from Professor Dr. Father Joseph Ratzinger to Professor Doctor Wolfgang Waldstein: “The problem of the new Missal lies in its abandonment of a historical process that was always continual, before and after St Pius V, and in the creation of a completely new book, although it was compiled of old material, the publication of which was accompanied by a prohibition of all that came before it, which, besides, is unheard of in the history of both law and liturgy. And I can say with certainty, based on my knowledge of the conciliar debates and my repeated reading of the speeches made by the Council Fathers, that this does not correspond to the intentions of the Second Vatican Council.”

    So the considered opinion of the future Holy Father was that to accompany the new Missal of Pope St. Paul VI with “a prohibition of all that came before it […] is unheard of in the history of both law and liturgy.” It was not obvious to him that Pope St. Pius V had done anything of the sort in 1570. Quite the contrary.

    As Father John Hunwicke notes, as quoted above, he made this point even more strongly as Pope: “When Papa Ratzinger issued Summorum pontificum, he explained to his brother bishops that ‘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.’”

    “Cannot”. Was he wrong?

    It seems a good question as to why Pope St. Pius V did not explicitly say something like ‘We in no wise rescind their prerogatives or customs aforesaid because, as should be obvious to all, we are not able to do any such thing’. But that he merely said “nequaquam auferimus” does not so far as I can see necessarily mean that he thought he could have, had he chosen to do so.

    I did read the document as a whole to try to get the sense of it. I take that sense to be that in turning “to the matter of preserving incorrupt the public worship of the Church”, he perceived that some ‘versions’ (written or printed) of the Roman Rite were become inferior on the basis of having become corrupted in one way or another, and provided for their replacement with a corrected version of that same Roman Rite. At the same time, he left untouched many and various other Rites and Uses (the Ambrosian, the Mozarabic, the Sarum, the Lyons, etc.) which (presumably) he did not perceive as having become similarly corrupt and needing correction. He further permitted these other local Churches “to celebrate Mass according to this rite, subject to the consent of their bishop or prelate, and of their whole Chapter” – that it, to choose to use the newly corrected Roman Rite (whether instead of, or in addition to, the Rite or Use of their own Church, I do not know).

    I do not think I am trying “to insinuate” anything. Rather, I am trying to discern what the Church’s interpretation is – as distinct from any (possibly erring private) interpretation of Pope St. Paul VI or Pope Francis.

    As far as I know, Holy Church has always respected Sancta Sabbata but Dominica more: as the Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “Jesus rose from the dead ‘on the first day of the week.’ Because it is the ‘first day,’ the day of Christ’s Resurrection recalls the first creation. Because it is the ‘eighth day’ following the sabbath, it symbolizes the new creation ushered in by Christ’s Resurrection. For Christians it has become the first of all days, the first of all feasts, the Lord’s Day (he kuriake hemera, dies dominica) Sunday” (2174).

    *Wolgang Waldstein quotes the letter on pages 202-03 0f his article, “Zum motu proprio Summorum Pontificum,” Una Voce Korrespondenz 38/3 (2008): 201–214 – I do not know if anyone has ever translated the whole article (or the other quotations from that letter), but the original is freely available to download from the archives on the Una Voce website.

  24. Arturo says:

    I am not convinced with your interpretation of Pope Pius V. You seem to be forcing his document to fit your preconception. This is dangerous.

    I love Pope Benedict XVI. I read his books Introduction to Christianity and Jesus of Nazareth. How I wish he is still the pope.

    Prof Dr Fr Joseph Ratzinger is expressing his personal opinion. His opinion is not the Church’s. In the same manner that St Thomas Aquinas opinion on immaculate conception is not the Church’s and as you know St Thomas Aquinas had been corrected by the Church on this matter. You have to remember that Fr Ratzinger also believed that on a case by case basis, divorced and remarried should be allowed to receive communion. When he was named the Prefect of CDF, he was asked about this. Cardinal Ratzinger responded that the magisterium had already spoken on this matter and as such it turns out his opinion on this matter is wrong. This is true humility and obedience. He has the humility to submit himself to the Church’s teaching on communion on divorced and remarried even if he has a prior opinion different from the Church’s.

    Last time I checked, Cardinal Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI. All throughout his papacy, he never abrogated the Novus Ordo. On the contrary, Pope Benedict XVI celebrated all public papal masses in Novus Ordo. So you can bring up Fr Ratzinger’s opinion in 70s but what truly matters is what the Pope Benedict XVI did with respect to Novus Ordo. Far from abolishing the Novus Ordo, he celebrated masses in Novus Ordo.

    I have no problem with TLM. In fact as I said, I attend TLM once in a while. The problem however is when people start demonizing Novus Ordo. When Pope Benedict promulgated his Sumorum Pontificum, he envisioned that the two forms of the mass will live in harmony and peace and that along the way there is going to be mutual enrichment. Mutual enrichment implies mutual respect otherwise how can each other enrich one another if they don’t respect each other. So people who are attached to TLM and who are attacking the Novus Ordo are violating the intent of the Sumorum Pontificum. I love TLM and I love NO. I love that I can participate in the mass known by more ancient saints and also to participate in the mass known by saints like Padre Pio, Mother Teresa, St JP II etc. I am a happy Catholic. But when I come across grumpy Catholics who demonize the NO, I have a problem with that. They think they know better than the Church. And by doing so, they are disobeying the Church. It is a sin to disobey legitimate authorities. How much more when one disobeys the Church.

  25. Venerator Sti Lot says:


    I fear that you seem more the candidate for “forcing his document to fit your preconception”.

    Was Prof Dr Fr Joseph Ratzinger in expressing his personal opinion in the instance which I quote ‘forcing his document [Quo primum] to fit his preconception’?

    “When Pope Benedict promulgated his Summorum Pontificum, he envisioned that the two forms of the mass will live in harmony and peace and that along the way there is going to be mutual enrichment.”

    Indeed, Pope Benedict XVI gives evidence of believing that a valid new Rite can be introduced. But that is not what I have attempted to address in all my previous comments.

    What of Pope Benedict XVI in his use of “cannot”?

    I refer you once more to Father John Hunwicke’s post where he writes “When Papa Ratzinger issued Summorum pontificum, he explained to his brother bishops that ‘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.’

    “Observe that Benedict XVI did not say ‘It should not be forbidden’; he said ‘it cannot be … ‘

    “From 1570 until 1970, Quo primum stood at the beginning of every Missal of the Roman Rite.

    “Pope Benedict XVI, in his own words, in our time, has reiterated its assertion of the essential, theological, primacy of Tradition.

    “‘Cannot be’

    “Is anything else needed to make clear that this is the settled doctrine of the Catholic Church?”

  26. Arturo says:

    My friend I am afraid I have to say this but you do not seem to recognize the issue I am raising. You keep on quoting Pope Benedict to which I fully agree. What was previously held as sacred is sacred for us still and it cannot be that all of a sudden it has become entirely forbidden and even considered harmful. This is true and self evident. As I said I attend TLM masses and even participated in Chartre pilgrimage last 2019 when we walked for 3 days from Paris to Chartres.

    The problem with those attached to TLM is their thinking that Novus Ordo is either invalid or inferior. This thinking is dangerous as number one it rejects what the Church is telling us, number two this thinking breeds subversion and contempt that leads people to disobey the Church and number three left unchecked leads to prideful thinking that they know better than the Church.

    When I took part in Chartres pilgrimage I am surprised and shock to meet someone who thinks NO is invalid. In the parish that I occasionally go to for TLM, I meet fellow young adults who think NO is inferior and there are not a few of them who think this way. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if an honest census is done and discover that majority (if not overwhelming majority) of young adults in the parish that I go for TLM think the NO is inferior. At the root of this thinking is a rejection of what the Church is telling us – that the Novus Ordo is the normative mass of our times, a mass that confer the same graces, and a mass that is equal to what went before it. This rejection of what the Church is teaching us is not only wrong, I believe it is sinful.

    For the sake of those people who are being misled into thinking that NO is inferior, I think TC is a medicinal action with curative effect. It is a painful curative action, but a doctor does not stop the surgery just because the patient is screaming to stop. I see the wisdom that before a TLM is to be continued in a diocese, it must be ascertained that those people who attend the TLM attend it because they find it fits them well or that they have preference for it for some innocent reason and not because they think NO is either invalid or inferior

    There are legitimate reason to resist. For example on matters that touches the sacred scripture and sacred tradition, any order that does not conform with them must be resisted. If Pope Francis says you must give communion to divorce and remarried couples, I will resist because this is a direct violation of what our Church teaches. But to resist NO and even demonizing NO is not only way out of line. Such thinking and attitude cannot be from God. Because actions that resist the Church can never be from God.

  27. Pingback: RECENT POSTS and THANKS! | Fr. Z's Blog

Comments are closed.