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Archbishop Viganò on what priests should do in light of Traditionis Custodes


‘Allow me to say first of all that in continuing to celebrate the Mass of Pope Saint Pius V no priest performs any act of disobedience, but on the contrary he exercises his right sanctioned by God, which not even the Pope can revoke.’

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Maike
Hickson

Thu Aug 5, 2021 – 2:49 pm EDT

(LifeSiteNews) – In a new response to a question from LifeSite (see full text below), Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò insists that priests have a right to celebrate the Tridentine Mass, adding that at times they might have to continue to do so in hidden ways. But the way of the saints, he adds, would be to go into open disagreement and even “disobedience” should their local bishop forbid them to continue to celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass. With this response, Archbishop Viganò acts as a pastor who tries to help priests and faithful in a very difficult situation.

On August 2, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò published a video and statement with his response to Pope Francis’s July 16 motu proprio Traditionis Custodes which aims at banning the Tridentine Mass, or Traditional Latin Mass, as it has been celebrated for centuries. In his response, the Italian prelate pointed out that this Pope shows himself to be a “anti-Catholic Pope” aiming at the undermining the Faith, rather than fostering it.

“Just when Bergoglio recognizes the Bishops as guardians of the Tradition, he asks them to obstruct its highest and most sacred expression of prayer,” Viganò writes.

He makes it clear that the Tridentine Mass is a superior rite in comparison to the Novus Ordo Mass and says that these two rites represent two different churches, thus negating the idea that there is a continuity between the Church before and after the Second Vatican Council. “Francis has once again disavowed the pious illusion of the hermeneutic of continuity, stating that the coexistence of the Vetus and Novus Ordo is impossible because they are expressions of two irreconcilable doctrinal and ecclesiological approaches,” the Italian prelate states.

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Pointing out the differences between these two rites, he adds: “on the one hand there is the Apostolic Mass, the voice of the Church of Christ; on the other there is the Montinian ‘Eucharistic celebration,’ the voice of the conciliar church.”

In light of the importance of continuing to celebrate this beautiful traditional rite of the Mass, LifeSite reached out to Archbishop Viganò and asked him what he thinks priests should now concretely do, should their bishop deny them the right to celebrate this Mass.

“Allow me to say first of all,” the prelate answers, “that in continuing to celebrate the Mass of Pope Saint Pius V no priest performs any act of disobedience, but on the contrary he exercises his right sanctioned by God, which not even the Pope can revoke.”

He invites priests to reach out to their bishops and to make their hearts known to them and even to invite them to celebrate the ancient rite of the Mass, which possibly could then work a “miracle” in their own episcopal hearts.

Archbishop Viganò says that a priest has to make a decision as to how to proceed in light of where his own bishop stands with regard to the Mass of Ages. Some bishops might try to help these priests. In some cases, it might be better to continue the traditional Mass in hiding, but in other cases, a priest might have to resist his bishop, and the latter solution might very well be the response of the saints. The archbishop thus states:

The priest must therefore consider whether his action will be more effective with a fair and direct confrontation, or by acting with discretion and in hiding. In my opinion, the first option is the most linear and transparent, and the one that responds most to the behavior of the Saints, to which we must comply.

This answer might be important to some priests in the world, especially in light of what several Vatican sources have recently told LifeSite. As an upcoming report shows, several observers and experts are expecting that Pope Francis will soon make use of a “spy system” or “spy network” and especially of Cardinal João Braz de Aziz, the head of the Congregation for Religious, in order to pressure the bishops worldwide to comply with his new motu proprio. In light of this possible development, priests and faithful might do well to consider what they would do in this very case.

Below is Archbishop Viganò’s full statement:

August 5, 2021
In Dedicatione B.M.V. ad Nives

Dear Maike,

Regarding your request for clarification, I am sending you some considerations that I hope will make my thoughts more explicit. This is the reference sentence: “It will be our duty, whether as Ministers of God or as simple faithful, to show firmness and serene resistance to such abuse, walking along the way of our own little Calvary with a supernatural spirit, while the new high priests and scribes of the people mock us and label us as fanatics. It will be our humility, the silent offering of injustices toward us, and the example of a life consistent with the Creed that we profess that will merit the triumph of the Catholic Mass and the conversion of many souls”.

You ask me: “What shall priests and faithful do when the bishop clamps down on them?  Shall they go into clandestinity, or shall they cut publicly off, in public disobedience?” Allow me to say first of all that in continuing to celebrate the Mass of Pope Saint Pius V no priest performs any act of disobedience, but on the contrary he exercises his right sanctioned by God, which not even the Pope can revoke. Whoever has the power to offer the Holy Sacrifice has the right to celebrate it in the ancient rite, as it was solemnly proclaimed by Saint Pius V in the Apostolic Constitution Quo Primum, promulgating the Tridentine Liturgy. This has been reiterated by the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum as an indisputable fact. Anyone who contravenes these provisions should know that he will incur the wrath of Almighty God and of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul (Quo Primum).

The response to any limitation or prohibition of the celebration of the traditional Mass must obviously take into account both the objective elements and the different situations: if a priest has as an Ordinary a sworn enemy of the ancient rite who has no qualms about suspending him a divinis if he were to celebrate the Tridentine Mass, public disobedience could be a way to make the abuse of the Ordinary clear, especially if the news is spread by the media: the Prelates are very afraid of media coverage about their actions, and sometimes they prefer to refrain from canonical measures just to avoid ending up in the newspapers. The priest must therefore consider whether his action will be more effective with a fair and direct confrontation, or by acting with discretion and in hiding. In my opinion, the first option is the most linear and transparent, and the one that responds most to the behavior of the Saints, to which we must comply.

Obviously there may be the case of a comprehensive Ordinary, who leaves his priest free to celebrate the Tridentine rite; speaking with an open heart to one’s Bishop is certainly important, if one knows that he can find in him a father and not an official. Unfortunately, we know well that most of the time it is a question of tolerance, and almost never of encouragement on the path of Tradition. In some cases, however, inviting one’s Ordinary to celebrate the Mass of St. Pius V himself can be a way to make him understand, by touching the deepest chords of his heart and his priestly soul, which are the treasures reserved for the Ministers of God who have the opportunity to offer the Holy Sacrifice in the apostolic rite. When this “miracle” happens, the Bishop becomes an ally of his priest, because in addition to the intellectual and rational aspect that makes the traditional Mass preferable, he experiences firsthand its spiritual and supernatural dimension, and how it affects the life of Grace of those who celebrate it.

I hope that my words will clarify the points that I had not developed in my previous speech.

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Dr. Maike Hickson was born and raised in Germany. She holds a PhD from the University of Hannover, Germany, after having written in Switzerland her doctoral dissertation on the history of Swiss intellectuals before and during World War II. She now lives in the U.S. and is married to Dr. Robert Hickson, and they have been blessed with two beautiful children. She is a happy housewife who likes to write articles when time permits.

Dr. Hickson published in 2014 a Festschrift, a collection of some thirty essays written by thoughtful authors in honor of her husband upon his 70th birthday, which is entitled A Catholic Witness in Our Time.

Hickson has closely followed the papacy of Pope Francis and the developments in the Catholic Church in Germany, and she has been writing articles on religion and politics for U.S. and European publications and websites such as LifeSiteNews, OnePeterFive, The Wanderer, Rorate Caeli, Catholicism.org, Catholic Family News, Christian Order, Notizie Pro-Vita, Corrispondenza Romana, Katholisches.info, Der Dreizehnte,  Zeit-Fragen, and Westfalen-Blatt.TOPICS

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I am a retired Roman Catholic Bishop, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas
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