Lefebvrists release official statement…
From the Reserve to the Zoo: Society of St. Pius X slams Francis’ Decree against Traditional Latin Mass
On Saturday, July 17, 2021, one day after the release of “Pope” Francis’ decree Traditionis Custodes, the Lefebvrist Society of St. Pius X published a scathing but humorous response, in which it accuses the supposed Vicar of Christ of “caging” the Traditional Latin Mass and forcibly administering a “vaccination” against Lefebvrism. In this way, the SSPX contends, he seeks to marginalize Tradition-loving Catholics with the ultimate goal of driving them into extinction.
So far, the SSPX statement has been released in French only, available here. [UPDATE: The SSPX has now released its own official English translation.] Due to the great urgency and importance of the matter, Novus Ordo Watch is providing the following English translation:
From Summorum Pontificum to Traditionis Custodes, or from the Reserve to the Zoo
Pope Francis published a motu proprio yesterday whose title could be full of hope: Traditionis custodes, “Guardians of Tradition.” Knowing that he is addressing the bishops, one might begin to dream: Would Tradition now be regaining its rights within the Church?
Quite the contrary. This new motu proprio effects a purge. It comes to illustrate the precarity of the current magisterium and indicates the expiration date of Benedict XVI’s Summorum Pontificum, which will not even celebrate its fifteenth anniversary.
Everything, or almost everything, that Summorum Pontificum contained is broken up, abandoned, or destroyed. The goal, moreover, is clearly set down in the letter that accompanies this liquidation.
In it, the pope enumerates two principles “about how to proceed in [the] dioceses:” “on the one hand, to provide for the good of those who are rooted in the previous form of celebration and need to return in due time to the Roman Rite promulgated by Saints Paul VI and John Paul II.”
And on the other hand, “to discontinue the erection of new personal parishes tied more to the desire and wishes of individual priests than to the real need of the ‘holy People of God.’”
A programmed extinction
While Francis makes himself the defender of animal and plant species that are in the process of disappearing, he is deciding for and promulgating the extinction of those who are attached to the immemorial rite of the Holy Mass. This species no longer has the right to live: it must disappear. And every means will be employed to achieve this result.
And first, a strict reduction of freedom. Until now, the spaces reserved for the ancient rite included a certain freedom of movement, a bit like reserves. Today, we have moved to the system of the zoo: cages, strictly limited and demarcated. Their number is strictly monitored, and once set up, it will be forbidden to have others.
The keepers (or should we say the jailers?) are none other than the bishops themselves.
All of this is specified in article 3, paragraph 2: “The bishop… is to designate one or more locations where the faithful adherents of these groups may gather for the eucharistic celebration (not however in the parochial churches and without the erection of new personal parishes).”
The internal regulation of these jails is strictly controlled (article 3, paragraph 3): “The bishop… [is] to establish at the designated locations the days on which eucharistic celebrations are permitted using the Roman Missal promulgated by Saint John XXIII in 1962.”
This control extends to the least details (ibid.): “In these celebrations the readings are proclaimed in the vernacular language, using translations of the Sacred Scripture approved for liturgical use by the respective Episcopal Conferences.” Using the translation of a Dom Lefebvre or of a past lectionary is out of the question.
Euthanasia is envisaged for specimens judged unfit for palliative care (article 3, paragraph 5): “The bishop… [is] to proceed suitably to verify that the parishes canonically erected for the benefit of these faithful are effective for their spiritual growth, and to determine whether or not to retain them.”
The reserve is furthermore suppressed as a whole, since the Ecclesia Dei Commission disappears (article 6): “Institutes of consecrated life and Societies of apostolic life, erected by the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, fall under the competence of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies for Apostolic Life.”
Forbidden to Migrants
While the pope does not cease to concern himself with all kinds of migrants, the prisons he sets up have walled borders, impassable from the outside.
To ensure that wildlife reserves do not come into existence, the pope forbids any extension of the prison (article 3, paragraph 6): “The bishop… [is] to take care not to authorize the establishment of new groups.”
This measure is akin to a sterilization: these wild animals of the past must disappear, it is forbidden them to reproduce and perpetuate their species.
This sterilization equally concerns the priests who will be ordained in the future (article 4): “Priests ordained after the publication of the present Motu Proprio, who wish to celebrate using the Missale Romanum of 1962, should submit a formal request to the diocesan Bishop who shall consult the Apostolic See before granting this authorization.”
As for the priests already benefiting from an authorization, they will now need a renewal of their “celebratory” pass, which is akin to a temporary visa (article 5): “Priests who already celebrate according to the Missale Romanum of 1962 should request from the diocesan Bishop the authorization to continue to enjoy this faculty.”
Thus, if it is a matter of curbing, reducing, or even destroying the groups, the bishops have free reign; however, if it should be authorized, the pope does not trust them: it must go through Rome.
While dozens of priests, often supported by their bishops, have thumbed their noses at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith by “blessing” homosexual couples, without any Roman reaction, if it is not Francis’ veiled approval through his message to Fr. Martin, future priests will be closely watched should they dream of celebrating according to the Mass of St. Pius V.
Evidently, it is easier to mask his lack of authority by terrorizing faithful who will not resist than to curb the German schism. To think that there was nothing more urgent than to strike this portion of the flock…
Vaccination against Lefebvrism
The great fear of infection by the Lefebvrist virus is exorcized by the Vat. II vaccine—from the Moderno laboratory—which is mandatory (article 3, paragraph 1): “The bishop… is to determine that these groups do not deny the validity and the legitimacy of the liturgical reform, dictated by Vatican Council II and the Magisterium of the Supreme Pontiffs.”
And anything that could be a source of potential infection is eliminated without mercy (article 8): “Previous norms, instruction, permissions, and customs that do not conform to the provisions of the present Motu Proprio are abrogated.”
Carried away by his momentum, the pope nearly comes to the point of saying that the ancient Mass is a dangerous virus from which one needs protection. Thus, in article 1, he makes clear: “The liturgical books promulgated by Saint Paul VI and Saint John Paul II, in conformity with the decrees of Vatican Council II, are the unique expression of the lex orandi of the Roman Rite.”
If the Novus Ordo is the unique expression of the lex orandi, how does one qualify the Tridentine Mass? Is it in a state of liturgical and canonical weightlessness? Does it not even have a right to the status still held by the Dominican, Ambrosian, and Lyonese rites within the Latin Church?
This is what seems to emerge from what the pope says in the letter that accompanies the motu proprio. Without seeming to suspect the paralogism [fallacy] he is committing, he writes: “I take comfort in this decision from the fact that, after the Council of Trent, St. Pius V also abrogated all the rites that could not claim a proven antiquity, establishing for the whole Latin Church a single Missale Romanum. For four centuries this Missale Romanum, promulgated by St. Pius V was thus the principal expression of the lex orandi of the Roman Rite, and functioned to maintain the unity of the Church.”
The logical conclusion that flows from this comparison is that this rite must be maintained. All the more so since St. Pius V’s bull Quo Primum protects it from all attacks.
Which was confirmed, moreover, by the commission of cardinals whom John Paul II assembled, who affirmed quasi-unanimously (8 of 9) that a bishop could not prevent a priest from celebrating it, after having unanimously affirmed it had never been prohibited.
And which Pope Benedict XVI accepted and confirmed in Summorum Pontificum.
But for Francis, the ancient rites maintained by St. Pius V, including the so-called Tridentine Mass, have no unifying value, it seems. The new rite and it alone, with its fifty years of existence, its infinite variations, and its countless abuses, is capable of giving liturgical unity to the Church. The absurdity is flagrant.
Going back to his idea of eliminating the species, the pope can write to the bishops: “It is up to you to proceed in such a way as to return to a unitary form of celebration, and to determine case by case the reality of the groups which celebrate with this Missale Romanum.”
A law manifestly opposed to the common good
The general impression which emanates from these documents—the motu proprio and the pope’s letter accompanying it—gives the feeling of a sectarianism coupled with an abuse of recognized power.
As the traditional Mass belongs to the most intimate part of the Church’s common good, curbing it, expelling it to ghettos, and finally programming its disappearance, can have no legitimacy. This law is not a law of the Church because, as St. Thomas says, there is no legitimate law against the common good.
There is additionally, in the ins and outs, an obvious tinge of spitefulness manifested against the traditional Mass by some of those passionate about the liturgical reform. The failure of this reform is underscored, like in a chiaroscuro, by the success of Tradition and the Tridentine Mass.
That is why they cannot stand it. Imagining, no doubt, that its total disappearance will make the faithful come back to those churches emptied of the sacred. A tragic mistake. The magnificent blossoming of this celebration worthy of God only underscores their destitution—it is not the cause of the desertification produced by the new rite.
It remains that this motu proprio, which sooner or later will end up in the dustbin of Church history, is not good news in itself. It indicates a halt in the reappropriation of her Tradition by the Church, and it will accordingly delay the end of the crisis which has already gone on for more than sixty years.
As for the Fraternity of St. Pius X, it finds in this a new reason for fidelity to its founder, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, and for admiring his clear-sightedness, his prudence, and his faith.
While the traditional Mass is in the process of being eliminated, and while the promises made to the Ecclesia Dei societies are being so well kept, the Fraternity finds, in the freedom the iron bishop bequeathed to it, the possibility to continue to fight for the faith and the reign of Christ the King.
We will leave this reaction uncommented, at least for now.
More posts on the ongoing fallout from Francis’ suppression of the Traditional Latin Mass can be found here:
- The Party Is Over: Francis kills ‘Summorum Pontificum’, severely limits Use of 1962 Missal
- The Traditional Mask is Off: Commentary on Francis’ Move against the Latin Mass (PODCAST)
- Pope Pius XII on ‘Traditionis Custodes’: The Authority of the Roman Pontiff over the Sacred Liturgy
We will continue to provide timely posts, both here and on Twitter, on new developments and reactions as Traditionis Custodes begins to be implemented.
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