CONFUSION IN ROME OVER THE CELEBRATION OF THE TRADITIONAL (LATIN) MASS

    “This is what the LORD says: ‘Stand at the crossroads and look. Ask for the ancient paths: Where is the good way? Then walk in it and find rest for your souls.’ But they said, ‘We will not walk in it!’ And I set watchmen over you, saying, ‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’ But they said, ‘We will not listen.'” —Jeremiah 6:16-17    Letter #145, 2021, Monday, November 15: Rome    In a decision made public last week, the Pope’s vicar for the city of Rome, Cardinal Angelo De Donatis (whom at least one observer has suggested could be Pope Francis‘ candidate to be the next Pope; see below, at the very end) has decreed that the sacraments of the Church(that is, baptisms, confirmations, confessions, marriages, ordinations, funerals) are prohibited from being celebrated in the diocese of Rome inthe old Latin liturgy.    This is the implementation for the city and diocese of Rome of the decree Traditionis custodes (“Of tradition the custodians” or “Of tradition the guardians”) issued by Pope Francis on July 16, 2021, the Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.        What it means is that, in the city of Rome, the traditional Roman liturgy itself — the liturgy in Latin of the city of Rome for generation upon generation — has been prohibited.    This comes as one of the five churches in Rome where the old liturgy had been regularly celebrated, Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini — run by the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, a community dedicated to the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass — has experienced a doubling or even a tripling of faithful attending in the months since July. (Some observers are saying that this very growth in attendance is one of the reasons for the issuing of this decree.)    Here is the actual decree, in Italian (link).    The old liturgy was accepted and revered as the liturgy of the entire Church from the 1500s (but its roots are 1,000 or more years earlier) until the 1960s.    It was the liturgy known to St. Robert Bellarmine, St. John Henry Newman, St. Maximilian Kolbe, St. Edith Stein, and so many more saints and believers over the centuries.    It is the liturgy our fathers asked us with solemn conviction to study, learn, respect, honor and defend from every attack, because it was for them the most sublime worship of God and brought graces into the world for the redemption of sinful, fallen mankind.         Now, in Rome, since five days ago, this liturgy is forbidden.    Below are two reports about this development.—RM    
 
    Cardinal Angelo De Donatis (link), the vicar of Pope Francis for the city of Rome. (Pope Francis is the Bishop of Rome, but, because of his global duties as Pope, he chooses a “vicar” or “deputy” to administer all of the Church matters in the diocese of Rome; so De Donatis makes all the decisions for the diocese of Rome, but he would not do anything not ordered or approved of by Pope Francis, the actual bishop of Rome.) The words of De Donatis’ Latin episcopal motto, nihil caritate dulcius (“nothing is sweeter than love” in English), are taken from St. Ambrose‘s De officiis ministrorum (in English: On the Duties of the Clergy): “Be among you the peace that surpasses all feeling. Love one another. Nothing is sweeter than love, nothing more pleasing than peace.”    Traditionis custodes: Rome diocese bans Traditional Latin Mass for Easter Triduum (link)    By Hannah Brockhaus    Rome, Italy, Nov 10, 2021 / 04:20 am    The vicar general for the Diocese of Rome has banned the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass during the Easter Triduum in his implementation of Pope Francis’ motu proprio Traditionis custodes.    In a letter dated Oct. 7, but made public on several blogs Nov. 9 [Note: Six days ago now…], Cardinal Angelo De Donatis said that Mass could continue to be celebrated according to the 1962 Roman Missal at five churches in Rome on all days except from the evening of Holy Thursday to the evening of Easter Sunday, the period known as the Triduum.    De Donatis also stated that no other sacraments or sacramentals may be celebrated according to the pre-Vatican II missal except the Mass.    The diocesan press office confirmed on Nov. 10 that the letter, addressed to the priests and faithful of the Diocese of Rome, was authentic.    As pope, Francis is also the bishop of Rome, but because the pope has many other responsibilities, the day-to-day care of the Diocese of Rome is entrusted to the vicar general, whose full title is Vicar General of His Holiness.    A vicar general is given, by canon law, executive power over the diocese in all administrative acts except those reserved to the bishop. In the Diocese of Rome, the cardinal vicar functions like a de facto diocesan bishop.    Rome diocese’s guidelines were issued in response to Pope Francis’ motu proprio Traditionis custodes, published in July, which placed tight restrictions on Mass using the 1962 Roman Missal, known variously as the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite, the Tridentine Mass, and the Traditional Latin Mass.    In a letter to the world’s bishops explaining his decision, the pope said he felt compelled to act because the use of the 1962 Missal was “often characterized by a rejection not only of the liturgical reform, but of the Vatican Council II itself, claiming, with unfounded and unsustainable assertions, that it betrayed the Tradition and the ‘true Church.’”    Responding to the pope’s motu proprio, the cardinal vicar of Rome said “it seemed fitting to continue to exercise a lively pastoral charity towards the faithful” who wish to participate in the Traditional Latin Mass.    He said that all priests in the diocese who sought to celebrate Mass according to the 1962 Missal must be authorized in writing by the diocesan bishop, as stipulated in Traditionis custodes.    The cardinal designated the pastor of Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini, a church run by the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP), as responsible “pro tempore” (for the time being) for the “dignified celebration of the Eucharistic liturgy, as well as the ordinary pastoral and spiritual care of the faithful.”    The readings during Traditional Latin Masses must be proclaimed in Italian according to the 2008 translation by the Italian bishops’ conference, De Donatis’ letter said.    He added that with Pope Francis’ motu proprio, “it is no longer possible to use the Roman Ritual and the other liturgical books of the ‘ancient rite’ for the celebration of sacraments and sacramentals (e.g., not even the Ritual for the Reconciliation of Penitents according to the ancient form).”    Issued with immediate effect on July 16, Traditionis custodes (“Guardians of the tradition”) made changes to Benedict XVI’s 2007 apostolic letter Summorum Pontificum, which acknowledged the right of all priests to say Mass using the Roman Missal of 1962.    With Traditionis custodes, Pope Francis said that it is now each bishop’s “exclusive competence” to authorize the use of the Traditional Latin Mass in his diocese.    Since the motu proprio’s promulgation, some bishops have said that priests may continue to offer the Traditional Latin Mass in their dioceses, while others have banned it.    ========    And here below is an interesting article from Dr. Jules Gomes, who covers the Vatican and Rome for Church Militant (link). The article is written from the perspective of those who wish the continued celebration of the sacraments and Mass in the old rite, and so it cites a number of people who are saddened by this decision and opposed to it. —RM    ***    DIOCESE OF ROME OUTLAWS OLD RITE HOLY WEEK    Pope’s vicar general also bans other sacraments using the Roman ritual    By Dr. Jules Gomes    November 10, 2021    ROME, Italy (ChurchMilitant.com) – Pope Francis‘ vicar general has banned Latin Mass clergy and laity in the diocese of Rome from celebrating the Easter Triduum — from Maundy Thursday to Easter Sunday — according to the Extraordinary Form.     Cardinal Vicar Angelo de Donatis has also “expressly forbidden” the celebration of all other sacraments and sacramentals — including the sacrament of confession — according to the ancient form. The proclamations came in a letter that has stunned Latin Mass Catholics in Rome.     The cardinal vicar of Rome, who is handpicked by the pontiff, serves as the de facto bishop of the city in place of the pope — the official bishop of Rome.    Addressed “to all priests engaged in the pastoral work of the diocese of Rome” and “to all the faithful of the diocese,” the vicar general’s letter cites Pope Francis’ diktat Traditionis Custodes (TC) as the pretext for the ban.     ”Truly Astonishing” and “Vindictive”    Donatis’ letter, dated Oct. 7, was released through unofficial sources Tuesday (November 9). Priests serving Latin Mass congregations in Rome told Church Militant they were previously unaware of the letter and speculated that it may have been wrongly dated Oct. 7 instead of Nov. 7.    ”It is truly astonishing that Cdl. de Donatis feels it necessary to try to prohibit even the blessings of the old ritual,” Dr. Joseph Shaw, president of the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) society Una Voce International, told Church Militant.     ”This really seems vindictive and hardly calculated to promote the unity of the Church,” lamented Shaw, an Oxford academic in medieval philosophy.     Shaw, who is also chairman of the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales, explained: “This letter appears to go far beyond the letter or spirit of Traditionis Custodes, which does nothing to restrict the celebration of marriage, baptism and other sacraments, as the (new) letter does, or to prevent priests from celebrating Mass in the older form over Easter. From the point of view of canon law, it must be said clearly that this letter is based on a misreading of TC and should not be regarded as an example to follow in other dioceses. I hope it is speedily clarified in Rome.”    In July, Francis issued Traditionis Custodescanceling Pope Benedict‘s Summorum Pontificum — the 2007 decree that liberated the TLM by permitting a priest to celebrate the TLM without permission from the Apostolic See or from his bishop.    For ‘The Spiritual Good of the Faithful’    The cardinal vicar’s letter targets the parish of Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini — the main center for the TLM in Rome run by the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter — a community dedicated to the celebration of the TLM.     The letter also bans the Easter Triduum and sacraments according to the Old Rite in the Basilica of Sts. Celso and Giuliano, administered by the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest (ICRSS) — also devoted to celebrating the sacraments in the Old Rite.     Other churches authorized to offer the TLM — like Sts. Dominic and Sixtus, St. Joseph at Capo le Case and St. Anne at the Lateran — are also prohibited from offering the Easter Triduum in the Extraordinary Form.     In his letter, Donatis insists he is exercising “a lively pastoral charity” and the cancellation of Holy Week and other sacraments is for “the spiritual good of the faithful.”     Donatis’ letter also orders priests celebrating the TLM in Rome to proclaim the Scripture readings in Italian (not Latin) and only according to the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI) 2008 translation.    The CEI version contains several innovations, including a mistranslation of Matthew 6:13 and Luke 11:4 as “and do not abandon us to temptation.”         Par for Francis: Killing Growing Orthodoxy    Church Militant spoke to two traditionalist priests in Rome who said that Donatis’ letter was almost certainly instigated directly by Pope Francis.     One priest suggested the attack on Holy Week “may stem from a desire to placate Jews and keep the peace with the chief rabbi in Rome, putting to rest the controversy about the Good Friday prayer ‘for the conversion of the Jews.'”     In the Old Rite, the Great Intercessions of Good Friday include a prayer “for the Jews: that our God and Lord may illuminate their hearts: so that they may acknowledge Jesus Christ, the savior of all mankind.”    ”It shows the persecution of traditional Catholics is growing,” another priest remarked, citing the words of a high-ranking European bishop at a recent conference in France: “The Old Mass is finished.”     ”Such a prohibition is even more scandalous because since COVID, the congregation at Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini has almost doubled if not tripled,” he said.     ”There are more people going to Mass there now than over the last few years. This includes people from all over the world,” he noted. “Ironically, numbers have increased after TC. Francis’ decree has had the opposite effect, and this may explain the backlash.”    The Messa in Latino website slammed Donatis’ letter as “the worst (at least so far) and most restrictive implementation of Traditionis Custodes.”    ”It could only come from the diocese of Rome, which from the heart of Christianity has become the epicenter of the senseless war against the traditional liturgy,” the Italian blog commented.     Complete TLM Ban Ahead?    Interestingly, a leaked July 28 letter from Cdl. Vincent Nichols, head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, to Abp. Arthur Roche, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, asks if TC also “abrogates” the celebration of other sacraments, including a Requiem Mass, in the Extraordinary Form.    Roche’s reply advocates “pastoral prudence” towards a “full implementation” of TC “for a very limited time only,” suggesting bishops are working towards a complete ban of the TLM and sacraments celebrated according to the Old Rite.     Vatican journalist Franca Giansoldati earlier observed Donatis is “considered a loyal executor of Pope Francis’ thought,” and is “dutifully working to shape the pontiff’s diocese according to accurate directives he receives directly from the pope.”    [Special note: On the internet, commenters on this part of the article wrote as follows:     Romano: “This is rubbish. I live in Rome and we all know that when De Donatis ordered all Catholic churches to be closed in March 2020 because of the virus, Pope Francis called him in and overruled him. That’s why the parish churches were all reopened, after being closed for only a few hours. I am not a fan of Pope Francis, but it is evident to all that De Donatis doesn’t work for him, De Donatis works for someone else.”    Mogue: “I remember that episode too! The decree came out on Friday afternoon, we were in SS. Trinita and told by unhappy fathers tomorrow there’ll be no more “secret mass”. But that evening the brave Card. Konrad Krajewski angrily stated that he will be stationed in his titular church [Krajewski is Cardinal-Deacon of Santa Maria Immacolata all’Esquilino 28 June 2018 – present] tomorrow with the blessed sacrament exposed whole day long and the door widely open, he said they Polish didn’t close churches under neither Nazis nor Communists, and they won’t do it now. The next day PF [Pope Francis] spoke up trying to sooth the situation, and Card. Donatis withdrew the order on Saturday evening with a new statement… The first sentence was to say that he made previous measures only after counseling PF! Such an embarrassing scandal! Seeing princes of the Church openly forsake each other so basely like some lousy politicians. This time probably will be the same. They will push it only if there’re no fierce resistances. If there’s a big riot then PF would come out to become the “peacemaker” again. And all are Card. Donatis’ fault, again. I live in Rome too. I don’t know where to turn now, Norcia or some nearby towns with catacomb communities….”    [End, Special Note; below is the end of the Julian Gomes article]    In 2019, historian Mirticeli Dias de Medeiros described Donatis as “a major nuisance” because of his “‘Franciscan’ line of government.”     ”This leads us to believe the vicar is the name chosen by Pope Francis to be part of the list of papabiles for the next conclave,” Medeiros wrote.    [End, article by Julian Gomes]

About abyssum

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