Sandro Magister is billing it as the first time Francis has contradicted Benedict. There are these Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, who appear to be traditionalist-leaning in terms of celebration of Mass in the unreformed pre-Vatican II form with the missal of 1962. And there seems to have been some sort of difficulties among them, such that an apostolic visitation was carried out a year ago. Now a commissioner has been appointed to oversee the group.
In a decree issued shortly before Francis went to Brazil, the use of reformed rite is in the order presented as the norm, and the “occasional” use of the old rite requires special permission. This is significant because Pope Benedict allowed unrestricted use of the old rite to every priest in 2007 with the document Summorum pontificum, with no further special permission required.
“The Holy Father Francis has directed that every religious of the congregation of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate is required to celebrate the liturgy according to the ordinary rite and that, if the occasion should arise, the use of the extraordinary form (Vetus Ordo) must be explicitly authorized by the competent authorities, for every religious and/or community that makes the request.”
You have to be careful when reading Magister, whose reports are not lacking in speculation and rumors and tendentious interpretations at times. But his report on what the decree says is still helpful and interesting.
It’s hard to know the whole story here. Is this decree a reflection of Pope Francis’ desire to undercut Summorum? Or it is a unique case, tied to particular turmoil in one religious order?