Pope Francis says traditional Latin Mass was being used in an ideological way

Pope Francis said he implemented one of the changes of Traditionis custodes, the 2021 motu proprio restricting the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass, because the allowances granted by his predecessors were “being used in an ideological way.”

The pope spoke about the Latin Mass in a private conversation with Jesuits on the second day of his April 28–30 trip to Budapest, Hungary. The text of the April 29 meeting with Jesuits was published by the Jesuit journal La Civiltà Cattolica on May 9.

During the question and answer session, Pope Francis said he was concerned about a “reaction against the modern,” or what he calls in Italian “indietrismo,” which translates in English to “backwardness.”

“It is a nostalgic disease,” he said, explaining that this is the reason why he made it necessary for priests ordained after July 16, 2021, to seek authorization from their bishop and the Holy See to offer Mass according to the 1962, pre-Vatican II liturgical books, what is commonly referred to as the Latin Mass.

This restriction was introduced in paragraph 6, article 4 of Traditionis Custodes, issued by Pope Francis in July 2021.

“After all the necessary consultations, I decided this because I saw that the good pastoral measures put in place by John Paul II and Benedict XVI were being used in an ideological way, to go backward. It was necessary to stop this ‘indietrismo,’ which was not in the pastoral vision of my predecessors,” the pope told the group of 32 Jesuits in Hungary.

Through the motu proprio Traditionis Custodes, Pope Francis placed sweeping restrictions on the celebration of Mass using the 1962 Roman Missal, known variously as the extraordinary form of the Roman rite, the Tridentine Mass, and the Traditional Latin Mass.

Francis’ predecessor Pope Benedict XVI had issued a 2007 apostolic letter called Summorum Pontificum, which acknowledged the right of all priests to say Mass using the Roman Missal of 1962.

Francis’ comments on the celebration of the Latin Mass were prompted by a question about reconciling the Church and the modern world, as discussed at the Second Vatican Council.

The pope said: “I wouldn’t know how to answer that theoretically, but I certainly know that the Council is still being applied. It takes a century for a Council to be assimilated, they say.”

“And,” he added, “I know the resistance to its decrees is terrible. There is incredible support for restorationism, what I call ‘indietrismo’ (backwardness), as the Letter to the Hebrews (10:39) says: ‘But we do not belong to those who shrink back.’”

“The flow of history and grace goes from the roots upward like the sap of a tree that bears fruit. But without this flow you remain a mummy,” he said. “Going backwards does not preserve life, ever.”

“You must change, as St. Vincent of Lérins wrote in his Commonitory when he remarked that even the dogma of the Christian religion progresses, consolidating over the years, developing with time, deepening with age,” he said.

It’s not a new news, as it was the argument Pope Francis develops in TC, which you, OP, had already made a topic.

The problems are. There is a small group of faithful who really like the TLM. It may be a very tiny minority, but the fact is, where there is a TLM mass, there is also usually a community of faithful who are younger than the average, have larger families (yes, in many parishes of the western world, there is no children anymore!). The faithful are often more communited to practice, to prayers, to traditional devotions and sacraments like confessions. To cut the links with them is dommageable for the Church.

It is also partially inffective : the TLM catholics don’t need lessons. Some will choose to have no mass than to go to a novus ordo mass. It’s naive to believed this “suffering sheeps” will reintegrate ordinary parishes. I am not sure the Pope even believe it.

Second TLM is originally link to far-right political militancy, at least in France. It’s not a secret to anyone.
Yet, I see it with the Synod of Synodality, the faithful in ordinary parishes are not exempt from heterodox catholic ideology. We had see many places where the conclusions advocate for the optional celibacy for priesthood, women priests, changes in sexual morality such as homosexuality and divorce and remarriage.
Is is unacceptable to push traditional Catholicism and mass but is acceptable to push modern heterodoxy. Will we punished them by restricted new mass? (Of course no, it will be absurd…)

New ordo mass is not directly linked to Vatican II, as the topic of liturgical reform was only overfly and the new missal released years after.

This “basta” from the Pope is really an unecessary added suffrance. It’s how I feel it. We don’t deserve to be censured for liturgical preference. Respect and care is better.

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Pope Francis was responding to a question about the implementation of Vatican asked during his trip to Hungary this week, so that is the context in which it is reported.

Yes, his reasons for restrictions on the Latin Mass are covered in TC but there are still those who either don’t believe the concerns and those who outright reject the validity of Vatican II hence the Popes need to keep addressing it.

This is a problem attitude that I’m not sure you realise.

I’m not sure how you formed this idea. The document initiating the reform of the liturgy was the first to be published by the Council. CONSTITUTION ON THE SACRED LITURGY SACROSANCTUM CONCILIUM SOLEMNLY PROMULGATED BY HIS HOLINESS POPE PAUL VI ON DECEMBER 4, 1963

1. This sacred Council has several aims in view: it desires to impart an ever increasing vigor to the Christian life of the faithful; to adapt more suitably to the needs of our own times those institutions which are subject to change; to foster whatever can promote union among all who believe in Christ; to strengthen whatever can help to call the whole of mankind into the household of the Church. The Council therefore sees particularly cogent reasons for undertaking the reform and promotion of the liturgy.

That’s a vague document that was even voted by council fathers who later would oppose the liturgical reform. The reforms were finalised years before the council.
The mass at the time of the council was the the traditional one, which was very different from the current version.
That’s why there is incompatibility between Vatican II and the TLM.

Of course there is a problem of attitude if we prefered no mass at all, but it’s also a problem of attitude to try to impose a liturgical taste preference on faithful with the false pretence that we should adapt ourselves. Pastoral care is better than to stick it (which is more or less the Pope implies when he speaks of “basta”, which is linked to bastonare verb). It’s not very compatible with modern views. When people are disatisfied they don’t invest themslves or turn themsleves off. Including in the Church.

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So well put. Thank you.

From Sacrosanctum concilium:

Finally, there must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them; and care must be taken that any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already existing. (SC 23) [emphasis mine]

Bugnini went far beyond this, and just as I wouldn’t swear my life that he was a Freemason, neither would I swear my life that he wasn’t. That would speak volumes.

Somebody please explain why he couldn’t possibly have been a Freemason.

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Another problematic point is that the reform of the liturgy was made by a commission, a very small group of priests. According to Louis Bouyer who was a member of this group, they approved the ideas submitted by the secretary Mgr Bugnini because of the decisive argment that the Pope wants it. With the Pope, he apparently had another discourse and said the contrary.

The first version of the mass wasn’t approved by the bishops.

If Mgr Bugnini was a freemason, I don’t know and the Observatore Romano demented it. Yet, in Italy there were many politicans, bankers and leading people at that time that were freemasons (members of the P2 loge), including Catholics.

What we also know is that Mgr Bugnini suffers a carrer break some years later when he was sent a pro nonce of Iran, a country with very few Catholics.

I wouldn’t read too much into Bugnini being sent to Iran. Every nunciature needs a nuncio, and somebody had to be that nuncio. Maybe after all of his hard work, for good or for ill, he needed a kind of semi-retirement with fewer demands upon him (and maybe if he had been a Freemason, Paul VI wished to place him somewhere that he could live in relative obscurity). Iran is no Third World backwater. Tehran is a major world city, though Iran is a pariah to much of the rest of the world, nonetheless, they are a sovereign nation with the natural right to govern their own internal affairs as they see fit. If they wish to have an Islamic republic, that is their prerogative.

Even a nation with few Catholics nevertheless has a right to solicitude from Rome. Add to that, Persia is one of the oldest cultures in the world, and if through some miracle their people were to convert to Catholicism, it would do nothing but enrich the entire Church. I was surprised to learn recently that Farsi has a huge amount of linguistic borrowing from French.

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According to Pope Benedict XVI, the EF was allowed because some miss it. That means they grew up with it.

Given that point, Pope Francis argues that his predecessors allowed the EF to be celebrated for that reason only, and I don’t think that applies to many who insist on such.

The conditions were a steady group of faithful and a diocesan priest who know how to celebrate it. At the time of the former motu proprio it was hard enough sometimes to find a priest within the diocese who can celebrate it. Usually the bishop find an old priest who had done this celebration when he was younger. With TC the newly ordained diocesan priests will be forbid to celebrate the old mass unless given permission from the bishop and Holy See.

I think you may be right. I was not involved, but I have read in a newspaper the difficulty for a “steady community” I had been part of to have a priest. They had turning diocesan old priests which dissatisfied them because they want a steady priest otherwise they think it will be a danger for their spiritual life. They ended it to have a priest from TLM community like they want.

In my former diocese the TLM diocesan mass had disappear. I don’t know when.

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Even if the original intent was to provide the TLM for those who “miss it”, in the ensuing years, it has morphed into far more than that. You have entire generations who have been raised with the TLM, and people who, whether they ever experienced it in the past to “miss it” or not — many if not most wouldn’t be that old — find it to be the way they worship best. Priestly societies such as the FSSP and the ICSSR have been founded solely to preserve the TLM. Are they to be ended when the last octogenarian or nonagenerian who remembers the end of the TLM in 1970 dies? Ditto for personal parishes dotted throughout the US and other countries. Those parishes don’t exist merely to cater to elderly nostalgic people who will all die in a few years.

The TLM is not impossible for a younger priest to learn. Our pastor has learned it and occasionally offers the TLM as well as the Novus Ordo. And we are a “steady group of faithful” if ever there were such a thing. If someone challenges the validity of post-Vatican II priestly orders, they won’t be there, as we use a common ciborium with the Novus Ordo. It’s a self-cleansing mechanism, for lack of a better way to put it.

The Church is not guaranteed infallibility or indefectibility in the practical decisions she makes (as opposed to teachings of faith or morals, which Sacrosanctum concilium clearly was not, it was a pastoral document which sought to address a juncture in the history of the Church). She erred in how she handled abusive priests, as well as situations such as the First Nations orphanages in Canada and the quasi-Jansenist situation among French Canadians in Quebec, where the faithful were tormented by too-strict interpretations of Catholic morality (a wife of childbearing age must either be pregnant or lactating, for instance).

And she may have erred in totally suppressing the TLM, in fact, I would say it’s more than “may have”, and hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of the most devout, faithful Catholics you will ever meet, would agree with me. The Church needs to be open to this possibility. Even faithful who prefer the Novus Ordo generally have nothing against others adhering to the TLM if that’s their charism. Intolerance towards the TLM seems to rest pretty much solely with more modern-minded prelates and clergy, and probably not all that many of them either.

Anyone care to weigh in on why the Church was right to do this, why she was led by the Holy Ghost to issue this instruction, and why it should have been implemented docilely by the bishops?

Vatican told bishops to cover up sex abuse | World news | The Guardian.

And here’s the document:

This is another of the appallingly bad judgment calls of Cdl Ottaviani. It was he who resurrected that rule and convinced Pope John XXIII to enact it in 1962. Proof positive of the widespread scourge of Priestly sex abuses before Vatican II.

Cardinal Pell mentioned the document at the Australian Royal Commission in explaining why it weighed so heavily.

11. Since, however, in dealing with these causes, more than usual care and concern must be shown that they be treated with the utmost confidentiality, and that, once decided and the decision executed, they are covered by permanent silence (Instruction of the Holy Office, 20 February 1867, No. 14), all those persons in any way associated with the tribunal, or knowledgeable of these matters by reason of their office, are bound to observe inviolably the strictest confidentiality, commonly known as the secret of the Holy Office , in all things and with all persons, under pain of incurring automatic excommunication, ipso facto and undeclared, reserved to the sole person of the Supreme Pontiff, excluding even the Sacred Penitentiary. Ordinaries are bound by this same law , that is, in virtue of their own office; other personnel are bound in virtue of the oath which they are always to swear before assuming their duties; and, finally, those delegated, questioned or informed [outside the tribunal], are bound in virtue of the precept to be imposed on them in the letters of delegation, inquiry or information, with express mention of the secret of the Holy Office and of the aforementioned censure.


Ottaviani got it wrong so often.

I don’t challenge one bit the existence of priestly sexual abuse before Vatican II, nor, obviously, its existence after that.

Heaven only knows how long it had been going on. I absolutely welcome the “zero tolerance” policy that has been adopted at least in the United States, and, I hope, in other countries as well.

There are very few communities that grew up with the EF, which is why Pope Francis only allows that for them.

About the point that it is not impossible to learn the EF, ironically it is also not impossible to learn the OF. But because most people don’t understand Latin, then it is more logical to use the latter.

The point about erring with abusive priests looks highly fallacious, i.e., if it errs given that, then it also errs about policies concerning the EF.

No, there are quite a few, including FSSP and similar communities throughout the United States and elsewhere. There are at least two new generations that have never known anything but the TLM. (Incidentally, it’s a fount of vocations.)

But some people prefer the Latin, and not everyone finds it necessary to understand each and every word. It is not a doctrine of the Faith that a person assisting at Mass understand what is being said, that is just a pastoral judgment made in Sacrosanctum concilium and elsewhere. For many centuries, the faithful generally did not have letter-perfect understanding of the Latin (some barely understood anything at all), yet they received many graces and grew in holiness from it. And the same is true now of EF communities.

Which policies? The ones set forth in Traditionis custodes? Or the ones set forth in Summorum pontificum?

“Yes, but it’s not our job to determine whether a present policy of the Church is right or wrong, we must simply obey regardless of what it is, in a spirit of docility”

Tell that to the parents of the children who were raped and sodomized by abusive priests during the days when the instructions were to keep it secret and not tell the civil authorities.

Better yet, tell it to the children themselves. Many of them are scarred for life, and many of them have left the Church entirely. Extra ecclesiam nulla salus notwithstanding, from a purely human point of view, it’s hard to blame them.

What good are a ‘fount of vocations’ if they are committed to suppressing Vatican II and winding back the clock? Wresting back an all powerful clericalism? Trying to put the laity back on silent? That’s simply out of touch with modern society. Not even the Amish can keep their members compliant to that today.

The TLM squandered a great opportunity to celebrate the old rite and live in a traditional way by harping on about how bad Vatican II is and how bad the Ordinary Form is. Why did they have to do that? They shot themselves in the foot by not just getting on with the generous concession granted to them. And they still keep at it. Every day virtually on Twitter and Facebook and other socials, they post mockery of the Ordinary Form. Why? Just why not get on with it and let the rest of us get on with the OF?

It’s best that you and I do not engage directly on this subject, but I had to chuckle at this comment.

The TLM-adherent laity are FAR from silent. That’s a genie that’s not going back in the bottle. Wherever you get four traditionalists together, you get five different opinions. (Or more.)

Traditionalists don’t do “silent”. Our priests are used to us by now, and if they have any sense, they value the opinions of the laity. Sounds to me like precisely what the Vatican II fathers had in mind, in calling for a more involved body of the faithful.

Sounds like cafeteria Catholicism. Pick and choose what you want from Church teaching.

You are looking at a minority compared to the Catholic World. One source indicates that they make up less than 1 pct of the global Catholic population.

The belief that it’s not necessary to understand each and every word in Mass is absurd. Every word in Mass is important just as every part of the Mass is important, and that includes the readings and homily, not to mention any prayers and blessings that change.

The policies referred to are those involving TC. The belief that they’re questionable because the Church can’t deal with sexual abuse issues is fallacious. It’s similar to implying that the Church shouldn’t be allowed to make any policies about anything because it can’t deal with sex abuse and financial scandals!

The majority of Catholics “don’t do” Latin.