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Church Militant predicted that Francis was about to unleash an all-out assault on the Latin Mass. We were right. Our Rome Correspondent Jules Gomes has the story.
Pope Francis fired a nuclear weapon at traditionalist Catholics. Francis issued a diktat canceling Pope Benedict's Summorum Pontificum — the 2007 document that had liberated the Traditional Latin Mass.
But why abrogate a previous pope's decree — especially when he's still alive — and the Latin Mass is flourishing?
Francis claims it's because of the "distorted use that has been made of this faculty." Latin Mass-goers are rejecting Vatican II and dividing the Church, he alleges.
So how does Francis' decree suffocate the Latin Mass?
The pope has told the bishops:
Priests who currently celebrate the Tridentine Mass must now get their bishop's permission. Priests who want to begin celebrating the old Mass after the publication of this edict must get the bishop's permission, and the bishop will have to consult the Vatican
Critics are pointing out that the motu proprio is ironically titled Traditionis Custodes (Guardians of the tradition) — when, in reality, Francis is bulldozing tradition.
Francis writes an accompanying letter to bishops urging them to seek "return in due time" of Latin Mass Catholics to the new liturgy.
He's placed the nail on the coffin, and he's handed the hammer to the bishops.
If you are wondering what will happen to societies dedicated to the Latin Mass like the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP), they will now come under the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies for Apostolic Life. That's problematic because this body has become notorious for forcing contemplative orders to get out of their cloisters.
The future of such Latin Mass societies is certainly rocky. If Francis thinks his decree will unify Catholics, it's already sparking off monumental division.
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