20 Feb 2023 Rescript ex audientia – The Dictastery for Worship tattled and got some tape and glue to patch up their paddle

And people ask me why I post a lot about chess these days.

The Congregation Dicastery for Worship has become a parody of itself.

So much for the ‘Social Justice’ Principle of Subsidiarity!


The Holy Father, in the Audience granted on 20 February this year to the undersigned Cardinal Prefect of the Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, confirmed the following regarding the implementation of his Motu Proprio Traditionis custodes of 16 July 2021.

These are dispensations reserved in a special way to the Apostolic See (cf. C.I.C. can. 87 §1):

the use of a parish church or the erection of a personal parish for the celebration of the Eucharist using the Missale Romanum of 1962 (cf. Traditionis custodes art. 3 §2);

the granting of the license to priests ordained after the publication of the Motu proprio Traditionis custodes to celebrate with the Missale Romanum of 1962 (cf. Traditionis custodes art. 4).

As established by art. 7 of the Motu proprio Traditionis custodes, the Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments exercises the authority of the Holy See in the cases mentioned above, supervising compliance with the provisions.

If a diocesan Bishop has granted dispensations in the two cases mentioned above, he is obliged to inform the Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments which will evaluate the individual cases.

Furthermore, the Holy Father confirms – having already expressed his assent in the audience of 18 November 2021 – what was established in the Responsa ad dubia with the annexed Explanatory Notes of 4 December 2021.

The Holy Father has also ordered that this Rescript be published in L’Osservatore Romano and, subsequently, in the official commentary of the Acta Apostolicae Sedis.

From the Vatican, 20 February 2023

Arthur Card. Roche


A few thoughts.

The first is obvious.  If the documents in the Rescript had been sound and good law in the first place, then why did it need this shoring up?

Evidence is in the first point, about how – apparently – bishops are not to invoke can. 87 to dispense from things in Taurina cacata.  Can. 87 reads:

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.

There was no indication in TC that what was in it was “reserved“.

A bishop might respond:

Can. 90 §1. One is not to be dispensed from an ecclesiastical law without a just and reasonable cause, after taking into account the circumstances of the case and the gravity of the law from which dispensation is given; otherwise the dispensation is illicit and, unless it is given by the legislator himself or his superior, also invalid.

§2. In a case of doubt concerning the sufficiency of the cause, a dispensation is granted validly and licitly.

If anything is clear about the present situation it is the lack of clarity.  Doubt surrounds and interpenetrates everything having to do with TC.

Smart bishops should, if they are not already, get up to speed with Title IV of the 1983 Code about administrative acts.

Note also that Roche wants to micromanage bishops, tell then what they can and cannot do in their dioceses.  No can. 87!  You are not competent.  No faculties for priests!  You aren’t as informed about your diocese and priests as we are.  No Masses in churches, because we know more than you do.

One has the sense that this was motivated from a growing panic that power was slipping away.  Hence, run and tattle.

However, maybe this is like Charlie Brown on Halloween.  He rangs at the door and he got a rock…. not an Apostolic Constitution.  Does that rule out an ApConst?  No.

Bottom line, the cruelty continues.

As we know from the Laws of the House of God:


Meanwhile, when I first saw this I thought it was from the Babylon Bee.

Did you read about the opening of the new “Abrahamic Family House“?  This is a church and it is named, I’m not making this up:

St. Francis Church.

It’s named, it seems, after St. Francis of Assisi.  By coincidence, someone called Francis signed a document in Abu Dhabi – the inspiration for this project – that seemed to state that there are different religious by God’s will.  Only later was it dragged out that that is God’s permissive.

I read on wiki that “The implementation of the project is supervised by the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity. Robert Hugh Benson, call your pool man.

Think about that.

But the Traditional Roman Rite of the Roman Catholic Church must be suppressed, the people who want it scattered.

Ironically, the Abrahamic Family House project was inaugurated officially on 16 February 2023 by Abu Dhabi’s

Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence.

How do we get one of those?

Someone should ask if the new church component could be used for a Pontifical Mass in the traditional Rite.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    “His Holiness Francis Church”? Seems as if the person running the Twitter account is confused as to whether the church is named in honor of the saint or the current pontiff. I wonder if the service began with a rousing rendition of “Father Abraham Had Many Sons.”

    Alternatively, in the spirit of the synodal call to enlarge the space of our tent, here’s a new song for our troubled times: “There’s a Wideness in Our Tent-Frame”

  2. Lurker 59 says:

    At the end of the day, this will come down to someone shouting “I am the law.”

  3. Cranky Old Man says:

    I was in Rome last week and attended the Solemn Mass at the FSSP parish. Every seat was taken, and several were standing, but we are still only talking about maybe 600 folks. These were 600 souls who—if I may be permitted to speculate—attend Mass just about every Sunday and hold an orthodox and unshakable belief about Christ’s presence in the Eucharist. They have nevertheless become a Curial concern, indeed a Curial obsession. I was meanwhile surrounded in Rome all week by 3,000,000 baptized Catholics who did not go to Mass anywhere, and about whom or to whom the Holy See’s Daily Bulletin said nothing.

  4. TheBackPew says:

    I pray for God’s mercy on these desperate broken souls.

    While painful to experience this embarrassing final gasp of the old lavender guard, I draw comfort from knowing that relief is on the way in the biological solution. I am reminded of the final desperate Boxer charge in the movie 55 Days At Peking. I may not live long enough to see the day, but it will come. Meanwhile, they prepare… https://twitter.com/Sachinettiyil/status/1627866410088296449?s=20

  5. DvdH says:

    When I saw the article about forthcoming restrictions due out in April, on The Remnant website over the weekend, my first thought was “Our Lord said to pray for those who persecute you. So I need to up my prayers.”
    Are there any priests available to offer Masses? I’m sure there are others also willing to fund them.

  6. William Cody says:

    >>>Only later was it dragged out that that is God’s permissive.<<<

    This idea still infuriates my rational soul.

    All that exists must necessarily be God’s permissive will to exist. If God does not permit something to exist, it necessarily does not exist, lest God’s omnipotence be denied. Thus, to say that God wills something does not say that God permissively wills something, as that is a tautology.

    It is can only mean, in normal contexts, that God actively wills, desires, and wishes something to be so. God wills me to pray for these idiots. God wills them to use the intellect He gave them. He permits their stupidity but He does not will it.

  7. Julianne says:

    *Is our humble pontiff okay with the monstrosity in Abu Dhabi being named after him while he is still alive?

    [It is and it isn’t. That sums up much of the age we are in. It seems to be named after St. Francis. Let us recall what his style of ecumenical dialogue was like.]

  8. Gaetano says:

    I imagine those dispensation requests will sit at the Curia and be “pocket vetoed” through inaction.

  9. This is a definite turning of the screws and indicates to me that many bishops must have invoked canon 87 for the good of their flocks and that must have irked the anti traditionalists in the hierarchy.

    So, the Holy Father granted to Cardinal Roche the closure of that door. Unless, an argument can be made, perhaps a dubia or a canonical law argument, asking how is TC is a procedural or penal law?

  10. mercy2013 says:

    This is how bullies behave when they don’t get their way. Seems that the Flynn article a couple of weeks ago hit a nerve with Cardinal Roche, who tattled to his boss in order to get his way. Same thing happening in dioceses between bishops and priests and between bishops and laity. Some bishops are all smiles on the outside, but in secret they are bullies. And I’m talking about bishops who don’t seem that bad on the surface to outsiders. Junior high politics is so hurtful.

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  12. WVC says:

    Not being a canon lawyer or a clergy or a bishop, I understand my opinion is just next to worthless. However, it seems to me that the debate over the applicability of dispensations and administrative fine points misses the bigger picture. Would the better position be that the Pope does not have legitimate jurisdiction to abolish the Latin Rite? Paul VI didn’t abolish it. Benedict XVI confirmed it’s immemorial status. It seems to me that Pope Francis has as much right to restrict or abolish the Latin Rite as he does to restrict or abolish one of the Gospels or one of the Sacraments. If he said, “No public reading from the Gospel According to John except with specific dispensation as held by me, the Pope” I don’t think the argument is so much “Did he word his decreed correctly in legal terms?” as it is “Get lost – you don’t have that kind of authority.”

    Regardless, I continue to wish more bishops and priests would take hold of their fortitude with both hands and stand up for the Church they pledged their allegiance to, but I’m not holding my breath. Meanwhile, a bunch of wormy old men cow people by the billions with nasty threats all while bending over backwards to protect sodomites, sexual abusers, and abortion promoters. Yay, V2!!

  13. thomistking says:

    This all seems to have been sparked by JD Flynn’s article in The Pillar about Roche playing fast and loose with the law. It shows how weak and desperate the forces opposed to the TLM are that an article at an independent news blog sent the head of an important Vatican department scurrying to the Pope to change the law ad hoc.

  14. Georgemartyrfan says:

    I’m waiting for a bishop to simply say “No” to all of this.

  15. OneTradMale says:

    I have a feeling that the SSPX are going to have even more packed parishes now.
    I think many people, like myself, are going to find themselves with no better choice.
    Some people and I were talking and we said very soon we’re going to find that people at our TLM will be talking about “where to go”. Most will probably say SSPX or Byzantine Divine Liturgy, some the NO, and some -even worse- will probably say Sedevancantist.
    It is so angering what Francis is doing.
    I know not many people will probably see this, but some friends and I are offering a 54 day Novena, starting today, with the intention of all this. Please, if you see this, join us and pray for the the TLM to continue to spread and no longer be restricted!

  16. James C says:

    The monstrous lies on which this persecution was built continue. Shawn Tribe had an excellent comment:

    One of the elephants in the Traditionis Custodes room (there is more than one regrettably) is that we are to believe that these actions are the result of a poll to the bishops of the world, reflecting and responding to their concerns about the usus antiquior and the community of people attached to it in their respective dioceses.

    At the same time, however, it is clear that some in the curial halls of Rome are clearly bothered by the lack of most bishops of the world having any real motive or desire to implement it in their respective dioceses.

    Yet we are still somehow expected to believe it was they, the same men who show no eagerness to implement it, who clamoured for this.

    Everything around the matter points to this being nothing more than the work of a small handful of ideologues wishing to autocratically and intolerantly impose their own agenda on the Church Universal, without any notable pastoral concern for the good of souls, for the health and stability of communities, nor for the scandal they cause — never mind showing respect for the cultural treasure that is the immemorial Roman rite.

    in front of our very eyes Rome is once again sacked by a small handful of clerics intent on acting like barbarians, leaving nothing but death and destruction in their wake.

  17. Kathleen10 says:

    D-Day is coming, sooner, rather than later. He intends to ban it. He intends to force the faithful back to the Clown Mass, and he’s not interested in prayers, spiritual bouquets, or any other form of appeasement or petitions.
    Bishops have a choice to make, but if they make the wrong choice they are only delaying the inevitable. The NO church is not sustainable and cannot continue long without the life blood of the TLM. He wants to take away the TLM but it is the NO church that will likely collapse while the TLM will be a faithful remnant.

  18. TheCavalierHatherly says:

    Matt Groening’s “Futurama” already did this bit, “The First Amalgamated Church.”

    I wish world leaders would stop copying scripts from old
    satirical cartoons.

  19. Gab says:

    @Ipsitilla – that was excellent. Noteworthy also because of the remedy at the end.

  20. Uxixu says:

    The parish thing seems rather easy for bishops to get around especially when the loss of the TLM community would cause it’s closure: rather than expel the TLM and close the parish, designate the parish as a Canon 1223 oratory. A cunning Ordinary would let the parish “go under” first and then give the most suitable traditional building as part of the resulting restructure. Rather than leave the faithful in the lurch, DISCRETELY allow a private chapel under Canon 1226 in the meantime. No one need be sworn to silence but best if this intermediary measure wasn’t trumpeted out loud in defiance. Then if and when the oratory is established and Card Roache gets wind of it, they still have the private chapel to fall back on.

  21. donato2 says:

    Sunday night I had a dream. I from time to time have dreams about the Mass. They take place in a church that is only of my dreams, the church does not actually exist in this world. This church in my dreams is where the Latin Mass is said. In the dream that I had Sunday night it has been emptied of all its interior objects — the altar, the pews, everything had been removed. The only thing in the church was a black raised platform in the center of the church. On the platform were three plastic chairs and the thing that holds a microphone. I was given to believe that the chairs and the microphone holder were for a trio to sing, with the person in the center using the microphone and strumming a guitar.

    I agree with Kathleen10. I think Pope Francis intends to suppress the traditional Mass entirely and that God will allow his efforts to go very far. I think traditional Catholics will be put to a choice: either on the one hand attend the traditional Latin underground or at a SSPX chapel and disobey the Pope or, alternatively on the other, attend the new Mass so as to obey the Pope.

    This choice that the Pope is forcing upon traditional Catholics used to cause me anxiety. It no longer does. The reason it no longer does is that I have made up my mind. It has become very clear to me what the right choice is, should it be thrust upon me, as I think it will be. The Synod of Synods and the attack on the traditional Latin Mass are proceeding in lockstep. They both have the same goal, the same destination in mind. It is not a place to which I will be going. There is a great line in a Bob Dylan song called “Dead Man,” it goes: “The ghetto that you built for me is the one that you’re living in.” I don’t want any part of it.

  22. Gregg the Obscure says:

    the headline has a suitable typo(?) “Dictastery”, as in shorthand for a “dictator’s dicastery”

  23. JamesM says:

    I’ve been going to an SSPX Mass for some time now so this doesn’t really impact me that much.

    If there was a traditional Mass near me that wasn’t SSPX I would happily go to it as a show of solidarity.

    I’m very much at the point where I am ignoring anything from Rome on this matter. TC just seems like the spiteful act of a petulant child. I’ll happily support, spiritually and financially, to the best of my ability, ANY priest near me who will celebrate the traditional Mass.

  24. Geoffrey says:

    Georgemartyrfan says: “I’m waiting for a bishop to simply say ‘No’ to all of this.”

    I think it will take one brave one to be the first, then others may follow. Or, they will just try to stay under the radar and try to carry on without drawing attention to themselves. Sadly, the blessings of the Internet can be a two-edged sword.

    OneTradMale says: “I have a feeling that the SSPX are going to have even more packed parishes now.”

    That’s just it: They do not have parishes, but chapels. Cardinal Burke has said it is important not to flee to the SSPX but to remain in the Church and fight.

  25. summorumpontificum777 says:

    As much as I wish that our prayers would cause the Holy Father to wake up one morning and ask himself and his minions, “Why exactly are we expending so much time and energy picking a fight with this tiny minority of rigid fuddy-duddies within the Church? Fire whomever thought this was a good idea,” … regrettably, I tend to agree with Kathleen. There will likely be no retreat on the part of the Vatican. For both sides, it’s Stalingrad for at least the rest of this pontificate (and possibly longer if the next pontiff makes it his mission to finish what Pope Francis start). But like the Germans embarking on Operation Barbarossa, the boys in Rome badly overestimate their chances of a quick and easy victory. I’m not sure they quite “get it” that in a world of lukewarm, disinterested Catholics, the TLM subculture is the hardest of hardcores. And if there’s any lesson from the religious history in general and Catholic history in particular, persecution doesn’t destroy the zeal of the hardcore faithful, it fuels it.

  26. JabbaPapa says:

    These Guardians of the Betrayal, such as Roche, are stirring up Schism in the name of some false “unity”.

    It is absolutely scandalous, and not entirely dissimilar to the wrecking ball against unity in the CoE that their synod has swung in their pretended “blessings” for active homosexuals in sham pseudo-“marriage” contracts.

    This is an ongoing multidirectional assault upon Christian Faith, Tradition, and solid Doctrine throughout the whole of the West.

  27. JonPatrick says:

    “If a diocesan Bishop has granted dispensations in the two cases mentioned above, he is obliged to inform the Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments which will evaluate the individual cases.”

    It seems to me that after the bishop sends his letter informing the Dicastery, the TLM could continue until a reply is eventually received from said Dicastery. Of course letters can get lost in the mail, the USPS has gotten less reliable since the COVID “pandemic”. Plus the chancery is notorious for losing letters.

  28. Gaetano says:

    The Curia assures us that dispensation requests will be reviewed just as soon as they finish the McCarrick Report and responses to the Dubia.

  29. OneTradMale says:

    @Geoffrey: I am aware that the SSPX doesn’t have parishes but that their churches are “chapels” rather. I didn’t catch my error until after I posted. My apologies for that mistake.

    I think one could still fight ‘in the Church’ (as Geoffrey says) from within the SSPX. The SSPX is not “fully unified” but we also know that they are not outside the Church either. It’s confusing how they are not not in union, but they aren’t in union either.

    In addition, whether one fights from a reverent Novus Ordo, an Underground Latin Mass, an SSPX Mass, or even a Divine Liturgy (as I’m sure some people will end up going there) to that I guess I’ll just have say “to each his own.” I’m sure that everyone is capable of finding the place where they can best strike from, and where they will personally be best equip for the fight. It’s gonna get ugly.

  30. The Masked Chicken says:

    I’m just saying…get a good statistics/polling place to conduct a proper bishop’s poll, then expose the original TLM poll (which was hardly statistically well-designed, from what I understand) for how badly it was done. The Vatican’s position will be totally undercut. This is the laity in action that was hoped for by Vatican II. If the new poll contradicts the original then what can the Vatican do? Call them out on the facts. Don’t wait for them to release the poll. Do one, yourself. Don’t argue with them. Prove them wrong (if they are). Arguing for or against the TLM from sentimentality will get one nowhere. Bring facts to bear. This is what Christ said to do if your brother offends you – get witnesses. Don’t just poll the bishops. Poll the TLM-goers as well about their attitudes and practices. This entire issue has been too polemical. In science, you prove the other position wrong by doing experiments. So, do them. If the Vatican still holds to their position in the face of contradictory facts (should the data show this), then their position will be shown to be either malicious or delusional. This is what one should do. The Pope cannot prevent the faithful from seeking the truth. Unfortunately, it is easier to complain than act. I don’t have the money to conduct such a poll (and do it with discretion and kindness). Someone in the Church probably does and can.

    The Chicken

  31. TheCavalierHatherly says:


    “It seems to me that after the bishop sends his letter informing the Dicastery, the TLM could continue until a reply is eventually received from said Dicastery. Of course letters can get lost in the mail, the USPS has gotten less reliable since the COVID “pandemic”. Plus the chancery is notorious for losing letters.”

    Just send them a letter written in fine Ciceronian Latin.

  32. WVC says:


    I would contribute to support such a poll. This idea is both simple and brilliant.

  33. TonyO says:

    “I’m waiting for a bishop to simply say ‘No’ to all of this.”

    While I strongly believe that a good bishop would be inclined to do just that, I have little doubt of the consequences: The bishop of Arecibo, Puerto Rico was summarily dismissed from his see for much less than that. He was dismissed without trial, without a hearing, without a specified charge, and for being difficult in even less threatening matters. He was removed from office extra-legally, by the bully-boys in the Vatican, without even a shred of cover from canon law. They will surely do that even more quickly to a bishop who discovers a spine and actually DECLARES his “no”.

    While I agree with the basic question of whether TC has any validity at all, I would love a bishop who quietly undermined it while seeming to be in compliance: For example: don’t “give a dispensation” to a priest who wants to say the TLM, instead just comment in his hearing that “no dispensation is needed for a priest to say the TLM as indicated in SP, and that SO FAR in this diocese, no local law has been promulgated regarding the matter that overturns the rights expressed (not ‘granted’) in SP.” Decline to bother even ASKING priests to divulge whether they want to say the TLM, then the bishop can say to the Vatican “no priest asked me for permission”. And so on: by elegant inaction and non-interference, the bishop can let priests do what is fitting, and can report to the overseers afar off that “I have not given authorization for any TLM personal parish or use of a parish church …” Then cautiously invite the parish priests to encourage their flocks to keep everything quiet. If and when the Vatican Roach asks questions, mis-place the request, or answer it vaguely, and use the 10,000 tricks of bureaucracy.
    Oh, and build up your retirement plan, because it’s coming in spite of your tricks of technical compliance: the other side ISN’T playing by the rules.

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