Trads Target Francis With Latin Mass Billboard Blitz

News: World News
by Jules Gomes  •  •  March 29, 2023   

Posters feature quotes from Popes Pius V, John Paul II and Benedict XVI

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ROME ( - Traditionalist Catholic organizations have launched a billboard blitz around the Vatican to fight back against Pope Francis' crackdown on the Traditional Latin Mass. 

Roman posters (2017) target Francis' attack on conservatives

On Tuesday, dozens of posters urging the pontiff to cease his hostilities against the TLM were plastered on billboards in Roman neighborhoods surrounding Vatican City. 

The posters featuring images and quotes from Pope Benedict XVI, Pope John Paul II and Pope Pius V will be displayed in Rome for 15 days in an act of resistance to Francis' Traditionis Custodes — his July 2021 motu proprio that aims to suppress the TLM.

"Those who go to the 'Latin Mass' are not second-class believers, nor are they deviants to be re-educated or a burden to be gotten rid of," traditionalist groups promoting the poster campaign warned in a press statement.

"The growing hostility towards the traditional liturgy finds no justification on either a theological or pastoral level. The communities that celebrate the liturgy according to the 1962 Roman Missal are not rebels against the Church," the statement noted.

"On the contrary, blessed by steady growth in lay faithful and priestly vocations, they constitute an example of steadfast perseverance in Catholic faith and unity, in a world increasingly insensitive to the Gospel, and an ecclesial context increasingly yielding to disintegrating impulses," the organizers observed. 

The campaigners further lamented the "bitter sorrow" caused by the "rejection" of traditionalist communities by "their own pastors" and warned that such hostility against faithful Catholics "also constitutes a grave injustice."

At best, we seem to be collateral damage to an ideological project; at worst we seem to be regarded with contempt.

"In the face of this injustice, charity itself demands that we do not remain silent: for 'indiscreet silence leaves in error those who might have been instructed' (Pope St. Gregory the Great, Pastoral Rule, book II, chapter 4)," the statement emphasized. 

Church Militant asked Dr. Joseph Shaw, president of Foederatio Internationalis Una Voce (the international TLM society), if such methods of protest were appropriate. 


Shaw responded, "It is not easy to make oneself heard in the Church today. In 2021, before Traditionis Custodes was published, Una Voce International took out a newspaper advert to appeal to Pope Francis with a similar message as these posters." 

The Oxford academic explained that the group was forced to campaign in the secular news media "because the official channels, the Roman Curia, could not even talk to us about the planned document, let alone enter into any dialogue." 

It is not easy to make oneself heard in the Church today.

"We find ourselves in a similar situation today. I don't get the impression that decision makers in the Vatican know or care about the communities of Catholics who derive spiritual consolation from the Traditional Mass," Shaw observed. "At best, we seem to be collateral damage to an ideological project; at worst, we seem to be regarded with contempt."

A poster featuring a picture of Pope John Paul II carried this banner slogan: "For the love of the pope. For peace and unity of the Church. For the free practice of the Traditional Latin Mass." 

"Illegal postings" notice covering an anti-Francis poster

The billboard went on to quote Pope John Paul II's September 2001 address to the plenary meeting of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments: 

The Roman Missal, promulgated by Saint Pope Pius V, and the various Eastern Liturgies, contain many beautiful prayers with which the priest expresses a profound sense of reverence and humility before the Sacred Mysteries. These prayers reveal the very substance of every Liturgy. 

A billboard featuring an image of Pope Pius V quotes the papal bull Quo Primum (July 1570): "We declare and decree that the present Letters shall under no time or circumstance be revoked or diminished, on the contrary always maintained and validly shall they persevere in their vigor."  

As a rebuttal to traditionalist citations of Pius V, the Vatican insisted that the liturgical reforms following the Second Vatican Council were legitimate despite the apparent finality of the language used in Pius V's bull. The Office of Liturgical Celebrations explained

A simple comparison between the two Constitutions allows us to note how both arose from the renewing will of the Councils that had preceded their drafting. Both, therefore, are the fruit of two historical–ecclesial contexts in turmoil: the Counter-Reformation, on the one hand, and the liturgical movement on the other.

The billboard featuring Pope Benedict XVI cites his moto proprio Summorum Pontificum (July 2007): "The Roman Missal promulgated by St. Pius V and re-edited by Blessed John XXIII must be kept in due honor due to its venerable and ancient use." 

Those who go to the 'Latin Mass' are not second-class believers, nor are they deviants to be re-educated or a burden to be gotten rid of.

The campaigners pleaded:

In the Church of our day, in which listening, welcoming, and inclusion inspire all pastoral action, and there is a desire to build ecclesial communion 'with a synodal method,' this group of ordinary faithful, young families, and fervent priests has the confident hope that its voice will not be stifled but welcomed, listened to, and taken into due consideration. 

Poster featuring image and text from Pope Pius V

Traditional bodies promoting the billboard campaign include the blogs Messainlatino and Campari & de Maistre and the associations National Committee on Summorum Pontificum and the St. Michael the Archangel Association.
This is the second time Pope Francis has been the target of a billboard campaign. 

In February 2017, posters that asked "Where's your mercy?" to a sour-looking Pope Francis appeared around Rome.

The images slammed the pope's "decapitation" of the Knights of Malta and other conservative groups and individuals.

"Ah, Francis, you've taken over congregations, removed priests, decapitated the Order of Malta and the Franciscans of the Immaculate, ignored Cardinals … but where's your mercy?" the posters read.

The unsigned posters were quickly removed or covered by a smaller notice that said they were "illegal postings."

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