Monday, June 07, 2021

Roundup of Reactions to the Rumored Suppression of Summorum Pontificum

As practically every Catholic with an interest in the restoration of liturgical tradition knows by now, there is a strong current of well-sourced rumors in Rome on Vatican documents that have been prepared with a view to curtailing the freedom to celebrate Mass and other sacraments in the usus antiquior or the so-called Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.

We must remember that such rumors have a way of multiplying and diversifying, and that the documents may not come out, or may be so modified by infighting that they no longer resemble the original rumors, and also that the rollout can be significantly delayed — as occurred with Universae Ecclesiae, which was meant to offer guidance on implementing Summorum Pontificum but appeared four years after it.

It is also worth noting — apologies if anyone finds this too cynical — that papal diplomacy is an art perfected over the course of centuries, and that some of the more extreme rumors may have been deliberately circulated with the intention of either causing traditionalists to make rash and extreme statements to their own detriment (“Look! They’re demonstrating all the problems that we are going to attribute to them!”), or of making people feel relief when the restrictions are less numerous or less onerous than feared, even though they are, in reality, still devastating. The latter strategy is a way of fostering gratitude for and dispersing opposition to an enemy action. The loss of a few fingers may seem highly positive if one had been initially threatened with death.

In any case, there has already been extensive discussion of these rumors, and it may be of service to NLM readers to list in chronological order the principal articles in English (if there are any important ones I’ve missed, please add the title and link in the comments). Nearly all of these articles make important theological, liturgical, canonical, or pastoral observations — mostly in the nature of how foolish, not to say criminal, it would be to impose restrictions on a sector of the Church that, at least in Western nations, is currently healthy and flourishing.

Tuesday, May 25
Rorate Caeli: “URGENT: Pope tells Italian Bishops he plans to abolish the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum” (following on an original report from the Italian blog Messa in Latino.)

Wednesday, May 26
Messeinlatino: “NEWS: Summorum Pontificum, Francis wants to abolish it! He said so at the CEI [Italian Episcopal Conference] Plenary Meeting

Thursday, May 27
The Remnant: Michael Matt, “Will Francis Abolish the Latin Mass? (Archbishop Lefebvre Still Resists… Even from the Grave)

Saturday, May 29
GloriaTV: Fr Glen Tattersall, “Summorum Pontificum: A Looming War?

Monday, May 31
Paix Liturgique: “The Summorum Pontificum Galaxy Prepares to Resist!

Tuesday, June 1
The Remnant: Diane Montagna, “Pope’s Plan to Restrict Traditional Latin Mass Backed by Two Curial Cardinals
Fr. Z: “ACTION ITEM: Fathers, do not wait any longer. It’s time. Get things in gear NOW.

Wednesday, June 2
Catholic Culture: Phil Lawler, “Disaster looms if Pope Francis restricts the traditional Mass

Thursday, June 3
Crux: Elise Ann Allen, “So-called ‘liturgy wars’ more about politics than faith, expert says”
Fr. Z: “A repressive document against the Traditional Latin Mass would be a disaster for those who promulgate and enforce it

Friday, June 4
Rorate Caeli: “On rumored rollback of Summorum, German website asks: ‘What’s in store for us?’
Crisis: Eric Sammons, “Pope Francis Sets His Sights on the Latin Mass
National Catholic Register, Andrea Gagliarducci, “Pope Francis Believed to be Preparing Restrictions for the Traditional Mass” (appeared also on June 3 at CNA)

Saturday, June 5
Rorate Caeli: Fr. Pio Pace, “Restricting Summorum Pontificum: What the Pope Said, the Credible Information, and the Risk of a War within the Church
The American Spectator: George Neumayr, “The Pope’s Horizontal Church

Monday, June 7
Gloria TV: Axed Motu Proprio: Fears and Hopes

As mentioned last week, there is also a Facebook public group, started by NLM founder Shawn Tribe, called “Preservation of Summorum Pontificum & Access to the Ancient Latin Rites.” Readers are encouraged to join, since the members are keeping good tabs on articles and news.

Above all, it is important to remember three things. First, write letters to the Vatican if you wish (the article by Diane Montagna includes mailing addresses), but let us keep firmly in mind that more will be accomplished by prayer and fasting than by our protests or hand-wringing. Second, even if the restrictions are as bad as we fear or worse, the traditional movement now numbers thousands of clergy and millions of faithful, and will not be so easy to shut down or tamp into confined boxes. Setbacks of this kind will be temporary, since the generation that is so eager to create “Trent-free zones” is inexorably approaching death and their day in the sun will come to an end. Finally, it is a lesson of human psychology that that which is forbidden and that which is challenging call forth the most intense desire and the greatest ingenuity. When it comes to evil objects this is obviously a bad thing, but when it comes to a good object that has been unjustly taken away, it is good — it is part of the way we deal with deprivation and injustice. If the rumors prove to be true, the new approach will precisely accelerate its own demise. God will not be mocked, nor will He allow the tradition of the Church to remain the plaything of its momentary masters.

Five men ordained for the FSSP, May 28, 2021

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