Now that Benedict XVI is gone…

Francis rumored to be preparing new Decree against Traditional Latin Mass

It behooves bloggers to be careful with rumors. It is too easy for a story to make the rounds that ends up being false — “fake news”, as it is called in our day.

At the same time, not all rumors are equal. Some are more credible than others, and in the case of the one before us right now, we think it worth reporting on, considering the source: the German ‘indult’ blog Motu-proprio: Summorum-Pontificum, which is run by Michael Charlier. It is a kind of German equivalent to the English-speaking Rorate Caeli blog, although the two are not connected. Furthermore, the well-informed and reliable Secretum Meum Mihi blog has also picked up the story.

In a nutshell, the rumor is that “Pope” Francis is preparing another, more severe crackdown on the Traditional Latin Mass (Roman Missal of 1962, that is). To be issued as an “Apostolic Constitution”, the new decree would carry as much weight as Paul VI’s 1969 bull instituting the Novus Ordo Missae (“New Mass”) and would curtail the permitted celebration of the “Old Mass” even further, as outlined below. The new document has allegedly been ready for quite a while, but Francis and his henchmen were supposedly waiting for Benedict XVI — author of the celebrated Summorum Pontificum decree that gave wide access to the Latin Mass — to die.

The following is our translation of the post published on Jan. 13, 2023, on Michael Charlier’s Summorum Pontificum blog:

Bombshell or mere rumor?

January 13, 2023

The Roman jungle telegraph, to which we are connected via several stops, is not always reliable — which is why we usually restrain ourselves from publicly repeating news received in that way. Not everything is worth sharing: The fact that Arthur Roche, head of the dicastery for the liturgy, reacted to the news of Benedict’s death by saying: “Now we can finally sign the document!”, seemed to us to be of merely anecdotal interest at best.

Now reports have reached us concerning the form and content of this document — and they are cause for great alarm. They tell of a new Apostolic Constitution with which Francis, who is claimed to be highly dissatisfied with how long the implementation of Traditionis Custodes is taking, wants to finally put an end to the old Mass. Francis is said to be choosing the form of an Apostolic Constitution in order to align himself with the corresponding constitution Missale Romanum of Paul VI, and to emphasize the equivalence in authority between his current provisions and the legislation of 1969.

According to the information we have, the anticipated Constitution will contain four main directives:

  • no (diocesan?) church is to be used for the exclusive celebration of the old Mass
  • in (diocesan?) churches it is not permitted to celebrate in the old rite every Sunday
  • the use of the [liturgical] books of 1962 (including the modifications decreed by Francis) is only permitted for the celebration of Mass, not however for the administration of the sacraments and sacramentals
  • every priest is required also to celebrate [publicly?] according to the Roman Missal of Paul VI

Thus far the information we have, as of January 13. We will keep an eye on the matter and keep our ears close to the telegraph.

(“Paukenschlag oder Gerüchtesäuseln?”, Motu-proprio: Summorum-Pontificum, Jan. 13, 2023; our translation.)

The provisions mentioned are rather specific, which lends additional credibility to what for now will have to remain mere rumor.

Let us not forget that Francis’ initial crackdown on the Traditional Mass, the document Traditionis Custodes, was likewise preceded by unconfirmed whispers:

Rumors are like theories — some end up being true, others end up being false. We all know Bergoglio detests the Roman Catholic Faith and its liturgical expression, the Holy Mass. The question, then, is perhaps not so much whether the false pope really would fire another salvo against the “old Mass”.

The bigger question is: Why wouldn’t he?

Image source: composite with elements from Shutterstock (Thoom/kurhan/Drop of Light)
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