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  • David Martin | The Daily Knight

Bishops May Not Restrict the Traditional Latin Mass

David Martin | The Daily Knight

In his motu proprio “Traditionis Custodes” issued July 16, 2021, Pope Francis took “the firm decision to abrogate all the norms, instructions, permissions and customs” issued by his predecessors regarding the “Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite,” known as the “Traditional Latin Mass.” With this new decree, the bishop alone now regulates the Latin Mass in his diocese, since "it is his exclusive competence to authorize the use of the 1962 Roman Missal." (Art. 2)

Unfortunately, Traditionis Custodes is nothing more than an illicit, iron-clad attempt to oppress the work of God. Priests do not need permission to say the old Mass no more than they need permission to keep the Ten Commandments.

According to Francis, Catholics who are attached to the Traditional Mass express by their “words and attitudes … a rejection of the Church and her institutions in the name of what is called the ‘true Church.’” He says, “One is dealing here with comportment that contradicts communion and nurtures the divisive tendency.”

On the contrary, it is today’s Protestantized comportment promoted by Traditionis Custodes that divisively undermines the unity of the “One True Church.” For what Traditionis Custodes promotes is rebellion against the everlasting ordinance of old (Quo Primum) that beautifully united the Church through the centuries.

Paul VI Never Abrogated the Old Mass

Unbeknownst to many, Pope Paul VI, held by many to be the architect of the New Mass, never forbade the Old Mass. In 1986, a panel of nine Vatican cardinals concluded that Pope Paul VI never abrogated the Mass of Pius V, nor did he grant bishops the right to forbid or restrict priests from saying the Tridentine Latin Mass. Pope John Paul II had commissioned the cardinals to look into the legal status of the old Mass, as it was his intention to bring its legality to light.

It should also be pointed out that Paul VI never mandated the Novus Ordo Mass but merely allowed it. If Pope Paul had truly mandated the New Mass, he would have specified this, but this was never done. Pius V, on the contrary, laid down the law with his subjects, saying, “We order them in virtue of holy obedience to chant or to read the [Tridentine] Mass according to the rite and manner and norm herewith laid down by Us.” He said: “Let Masses not be sung or read according to any other formula than that of this Missal published by Us” mandating that “This new rite alone is to be used.” (Quo Primum, July 14, 1570)

Nowhere in the 1969 Missale Romanum does it mandate that the New Mass must be said. The document merely mandates the publication of the new missal, ordering that “the prescriptions of this Constitution go into effect [are validated] November 30th of this year” and that it “be firm and effective now and in the future.” But there is no mention of its use.

The decree then validates and makes available the new missal for those who want it, i.e. it is an indult, and as such, may never be imposed on the Church. A Traditionalist priest of the Society of St. Pius X, Fr. Francois Laisney, points out that “Pope Paul VI did not oblige the use of his [new] Mass, but only permitted it.... There is no clear order, command, or precept imposing it on any priest!” According to Fr. Laisney, the same applies to subsequent decrees on the New Mass, including the 1971 Notification from the Congregation of Divine Worship, of which he says: “One cannot find in this text any clear prohibition for any priest to use the Traditional Mass nor an obligation to celebrate only the New Mass.”

Hence Traditionis Custodes violates priests’ God-given rights to say the Traditional Mass. Under the pretext of unity it strengthens the unity of modernists that seek to bring Tradition to an end so that they can move forward with their new "synodal" church of man. It indeed places rebellious anti-Church whims above the laws of God.

What Francis needs to remember is that his duty is to uphold the laws of God as handed down through Tradition. He can take it or leave it, but the ancient Latin Mass as promulgated by St. Pius V in his papal bull of July 14, 1570, remains the official Roman Rite of the Catholic Church. Let Francis ponder the admonition of St. Pius V concerning the perpetual mandate to the celebrate only the Tridentine Latin Mass, where he says:

"Therefore, no one whosoever is permitted to alter this notice of Our permission, statute, ordinance, command, precept, grant, indult, declaration, will, decree, and prohibition. Would anyone, however, presume to commit such an act, he should know that he will incur the wrath of Almighty God and of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul." (Quo Primum, July 14, 1570)



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