Papal Election Raises Alarm for Some Latin Mass Fans

Brian Roewe writes at the NCR:

The simplicity dotting the first days of Pope Francis’ tenure gave many Catholics seeking a more humble church reason for optimism. For others, they represented cause for concern, specifically among those who celebrate the traditional Latin Mass.

Francis’ decision to omit the papal mozzetta, or cape, from his clerical attire as he first appeared to the crowd in St. Peter’s Square launched a frenzy of worry for the fate of the Latin Mass among forums and comment sections of conservative Catholic blogs and websites.

Read the story here.

24 comments

  1. Reactionary reactionaries; imagine that.

    If you ask me, traditionalists ought to be renamed accretionists. It seems to me they chronically mistake barnacles for “tradition”. That being the case it’s no wonder they would interpret the lack of a shoulder cape as tantamount to the heralding of Catholicism’s doom.

  2. Wow. Reading the full article it sounds like some are under the impression that Pope Francis has revoked the Latin Mass altogether. I do believe it is fair to say he has a different set of priorities than B16, but to say that he is “a sworn enemy of the Traditional Mass” seems a bit ‘out there’.

  3. Even on my most humble and quite balanced blog I had to delete some negative comments by some overreacting trads who can really almost rival progressive commenters in vitriol. I was shocked! But of course progressive bishops are the ones into suppressing and abrogating traditional elements of the Mass including the 1962 missal. Progressives are quite aggressive and rigidly so in this regard and so the trads are paranoid because of the progressives’ track record in this regard. However, I think Pope Francis will live and let live and may well celebrate a Low EF Mass in humble vestments before it is all over, but I’m not clairvoyant.

    1. @Fr. Allan. McDonald – comment #3:

      I think you can count on Pope Francis leaving the traditionalists alone and letting them have their “TLM” all they want. I just don’t see this man distracting himself from his program in order to indulge in playing the role of antagonist of the Latin Mass crowd. That was Pope Paul’s thing. Francis isn’t Paul.

      On the other hand, I don’t see Francis making an effort to win back the Lefebvrists the way Benedict XVI did. I’d be astonished if he up and celebrated a Tridentine Mass of any kind in an effort to appeal to traditionalists. I just have a hunch that traditionalism is an issue that isn’t going to absorb Francis, one way or another.

      1. @James Murphy – comment #4:
        “I think you can count on Pope Francis leaving the traditionalists alone and letting them have their “TLM” all they want”

        Is this really what we should wish for, though?

        If it’s fundamentally a problem that we have two liturgical books that are peers of one another (and I think it is a problem), and it’s a problem that the adherents of each view the other with distrust and suspicion (ditto), then a neglectful (benign or otherwise) letting “them” have all “they” want doesn’t really address the fundamental problem, istm.

        I give Benedict a lot of credit for trying to find a way to heal genuine rifts. I don’t agree with some of his specific strategies, but I agree with what I take to be his intuition, that the very separation is a problem and a scandal.

      2. @Jim Pauwels – comment #9:

        Over the years, Jim, I’ve worshiped at so many different types of liturgies from East to West, both in the Catholic Church and in the Orthodox Churches, and I have been so genuinely thrilled and edified by the beautiful variety of liturgical presentations of the various Apostolic Churches that I would be the last person in the world to squelch that variety in favor of limiting Catholic liturgical worship to only one permissible form. In my opinion, if certain Catholics have a desire to maintain the so-called Tridentine form of the Mass and they have clergy and parishes that are willing and happy to provide it for them, I’m all for letting them have it.

        While I dislike this whole “ordinary form”/”extraordinary form” business, I think it was wise for the Holy See to grant unfettered access to the Tridentine Mass for those clergy and faithful who desire to worship that way. Personally, I don’t see any harm in it. I furthermore appreciate that open access to the Tridentine Mass by those Catholics who prefer it provides a greater variety of liturgical expression within the Latin Church. When I see all the stunning liturgical variety in the East, I find it hard to persuade myself that we ought to insist upon strict liturgical uniformity in the Western Church.

    2. @Fr. Allan. McDonald – comment #3:
      Fr. Allan, why do you say he “may well” celebrate an EF Mass? Is this based on anything, are there any indications of it in his past? Where are you getting this from?
      awr

  4. Perhaps it’s only natural that there’s such a wide (if frequently acrimonious) divergence of views on issues of liturgy and theology, almost to the point of polarisation, which the election of our father, Francis has brought into sharp relief. After all, most of our divisions are the result of different cultural preferences. The East/West schism is one of the more obvious examples. The Anglicans have their categories of churchmanship. ‘churchpersonship’ ? 🙂

    Maybe it’s time for us to realise that greater diversity is essential if 1.2 billion Catholics are to be accommodated. It would save a lot of energy and time, and it would be more charitable, if we were to divide along broad cultural religious i.e. aesthetic, ideological, theological, ecclesiological, moral lines etc. into two or three main families and continue to allow all to call themselves Catholics.

  5. Well, some Latin Mass folks are totally nuts, so I’m not surprised. I’ll bet the majority of the people who attend official EF Masses are not particularly alarmed. I wonder how much of the anguish is coming from the SSPX and independent Latin Mass crowd – some of those people treat official EF Masses like they are a trap set by NewChurch.

  6. As I have always said they, the EF crowd, should have their own rite, separate from the Latin Rite, similar to the Maronite, Oriental Catholic, etc. They should not be confused with the Western Rite. But they need to build their own churches and stop attempting to influence the OF. They should be monitored carefully to make certain they do not continue in their hyperbole (the EF is the unchanged mass of the ages, the EF is unchanged for 2000 yrs and other such nonsense). Furthermore, they should purchase or build their own churches, after all don’t they have churches “filled to capacity with young people”, shouldn’t be a problem raising the money. They’ve had almost 5 yrs to jump start because of SP and MP, now it’s time to leave, bye bye.

  7. The day pontiff emeritus Benedict announced his resignation, I became extremely despondent. Yes, that sounds pathetic, but it was as if I had lost someone very close in my life. Then I became angry. “Pope Benedict, how dare you leave us [the traditionalists, ordinary form high church reformers] now? We were just starting on the path of reforming the reform! Please don’t depart your post, Holy Father!”

    Benedict XVI will, I am convinced, will be remembered as the pope who, while affirming the Second Vatican Council, elevated the Ordinary Form to a yet unrealized beauty and majesty. He supported his vision with excellent encyclicals and theological studies. Pope Benedict will continue to be the exemplar of what a postmodern and postconciliar pope can be.

    Like many traditionalists, by first response to Pope Francis was, “ugh, back to Paul VI, back to the “reforms”, back to the “rationalizations” of the papal court.” After confession and meditation I now think otherwise. Pope Francis is truly a pastoral pope. He has what appears to me an infectious love for people, cardinals and laity both. He knows that a church broken by scandal and poor leadership needs a return to the Pope as a constantly visible example of unmistakable Christian virtue. At first, I considered Pope Francis’s public display of charity (such as the Holy Thursday liturgy at the prison) as vain charity. I now believe that he is being sincere so far as he wishes to kindle a very basic exercise of virtue congruent with Ignatian spirituality.

    Those to the right end of the Catholic liturgical spectrum should take heart in Pope Francis’s eagerness for charity and equanimity. I do not think that Pope Francis hates traditionalists or ROTR types. Sometimes, acting charitably means putting aside the vestments and paraments while seeking a charitable middle ground with other liturgical persuasions. This is a hard lesson for many to learn.

    1. @Jordan Zarembo – comment #11:
      ” I do not think that Pope Francis hates traditionalists or ROTR types”

      Look Jordan, nobody hates traditionalists or ROTR types. Let’s get that straight. However, as a progressive I have seen many trads tell us, “if you don’t like the church go start your own”. You can understand that we feel little sympathy for the plight of trads with the election of pope Francis. As I stated above I feel it is incompatible to have two different groups under one roof. I think Bill deHaas can make the point more eloquently than me. As Christ states a house divided will fall.
      Having said that I feel that having your own unique rite under your own bishops is possibly the best way to go, at least in my opinion. Not all trads are polemic, but just go over to Father Z and other trad sites and there are plenty of them there. We progressives pale in comparison regardless what Fr. Alan states although I do not believe much of what he says anymore after visiting his blog site. Even on this site I read things like pope Francis behaves like he was released from an insane asylum, etc. I didn’t agree w/ B16 but never disrespected him to the point as making those kind of statements.
      So those who want to continue attending the EF should begin to petition the Vatican for their own rite.
      But Jordan, even strident progressives like me do not hate you.

      1. @Dale Rodrigue – comment #13:
        No, progressives can be pretty awful too. I’d say the crazy progressives and rad trads are even when it comes to online nastiness.

        I have no problem co-existing, and most real-world traditionalists seem okay with it too. Most all the traditionalists who post here are very mild and reasonable, especially compared to the folks who oppose the EF. Rorate Coeli and Fr Z’ s comment section aren’t where I’d go to figure out what most people who like the EF think.

        Also, why should I petition for my own rite when it is you who has the problem?

      2. @Jack Wayne – comment #15:
        Actually, I’m not the only one with a problem. It seems you may have a bigger problem if Pope Francis continues on the present trajectory. Jettisoning all the lace and gold seems to have the traddie’s cinctures all tied up in knots. And you do know that it has been reported he refused to implement SP/MP in his diocese right?
        Furthermore, how are we progressives a “smidge responsible” for creating those rad trad pharisees?
        As far as trads who post here being “very mild” well, I guess it’s in the eye of the beholder. Interesting that you distance yourself from the traddies over at Father Z’s site because you think that isn’t where to go to figure out people who like the EF. Are you kidding? That is exactly where you go, and to the NLM and Rorate Caeli to figure out what they think and it “ain’t pretty”. Now Jack you may not be nasty but you’re an exception. You can understand after 8 years of progressives being told if we don’t like it to start our own church that we have very little sympathy for the rad trads plight now.
        I have no problem with coexistence, but in your own rite and under your own roof just like all the other rites under the RC umbrella.
        You also state: “my own rite”… wait a minute, since when is it all about you and you’re “own rite”? Funny, isn’t that the epithet (all about me) that trads threw at us?
        Two forms may have been “legal”under the previous pontiff but this is a new day and many are questioning if it was correct.
        Now, I may be wrong about all this but I don’t think so.
        So you better get going on that petition, I’ll even sign it…

      3. @Dale Rodrigue – comment #16:

        Two forms may have been “legal”under the previous pontiff but this is a new day and many are questioning if it was correct.

        The “two forms” will remain legal unless Pope Francis actively legislates the situation into something else.

        That said, it is much easier to justify granting rights than restricting them — It is unlikely that Pope Francis would actively revoke the rights of traditionalists to attend the liturgy that spiritually nourishes them. Might he change the manner in which those rights are exercised? possibly… but not outright revocation.

        And you do know that it has been reported he refused to implement SP/MP in his diocese right?

        And what did he gain by that? Lots of SSPX. Episcopal stonewalling is a failed proposition — and the reason why we got SP in the first place.

      4. @Matthew Morelli – comment #18:
        Matthew, it is my understanding, and I may be wrong, Motu P needs to be renewed on a 5 yr basis. What will possibly happen it won’t be renewed. Like so many other things the Vatican will let it die out. It’s the Italian way!

        And refusing to implement SP/MP in his diocese goes to show that he is not a fan of it unlike Ouelett in Quebec who went out of his way to establish an EF site bringing in a priest from SSPX even though apparently nobody asked for it.

      5. @Dale Rodrigue – comment #18:
        Matthew, it is my understanding, and I may be wrong, Motu P needs to be renewed on a 5 yr basis.

        You are, in fact, wrong.

        And refusing to implement SP/MP in his diocese goes to show that he is not a fan of it

        That’s not exactly what happened.

        unlike Ouelett in Quebec who went out of his way to establish an EF site bringing in a priest from SSPX even though apparently nobody asked for it.

        That’s blatantly not what happened. The FSSP is not the SSPX. Given the growth and sustainment of the community it is clear that there was demand. Do you have a source for saying “nobody asked for it”? That seems unlikely in a large metropolitan area.

      6. @Dale Rodrigue – comment #13:

        Dale, I don’t mean to get all Fred Rogers-y about this, but hate, mistrust, and frustration are human emotions. We all have to deal with these emotions from time to time. Most traditionalists are extremely grateful to Pope Benedict for Summorum pontificum. Unfortunately, sites like Rorate Coeli and Fr. Z have certainly (even gleefully) stoked the fire of progressive-traditional mutual suspicion. RC is full of schismatics, and Fr. Z is just abrasive. I wish that these websites weren’t the face of traditionalism to the world, but I can’t change how the tradosphere has played out.

        I would not mind if Roman Catholic traditionalism were spun off into a sui juris-like church. It’s just that that type of governance might not be feasible because traditionalists are using the Missale Romanum, albeit a previous incarnation. The Union of Brest, for example, involved the union of Slavic Byzantine Christians under Roman authority. I would say that traditionalist worship and piety is sufficiently different than reformed worship and piety, but quite a bit of canonical underpinning is shared between the two forms. A new type of governance, partway between ordinariate and sui juris, would be required. I don’t know if that’s possible to develop in a petition. Maybe the “traditional” cardinals (paging Cdls. Burke, Pell, and Ranjith) could hammer out a new government for traditionalism so long as they don’t approach Pope Francis with chips on their shoulders.

        Brian Duffy [March 24, 2013 – 9:00 am] has noted that Anglicanism has never been a liturgically cohesive entity. Perhaps to this I can also add to this the reality that Anglicanism has long been doctrinally and politically non cohesive. Unfortunately, this non-cohesive nature has resulted in bloodshed (c.f. English Civil War). Traditionalism, just like the Catholic wing of Anglicanism, will not disappear because of persecution. One day, all, progressive and traditional, must create peaceable means. I do not know how to do this; I suspect no one does. But hatred might need to give way to an unresolved tension.

  8. Ok, friends and comrades:

    I realize emotions are running high with the new pope, especially since there are so many unknowns about what’s coming next.

    Let’s all strive to remain charitable. We’re all learning from each other. Please share your information, and correct possible misstatements of others, with charity, not one-upmanship or proving others wrong in a spirit of “winning one.” We’re all on the same side!

    awr

  9. One dynamic I sense from these discussions is something of a relativism. By this I mean that if a person’s life experience (family, church, whatever) is deeply adversarial, one can easily assume that any disagreement seems like someone’s being mean to me/us.

    The way around that would seem to be the imitation of Christ: getting to know people, listening, and entering into dialogue. Unfortunately, some believers see that very model as fraught with its own dangers. Sometimes it doesn’t seem as if there’s any allowable room to get past the emotions.

    Pope Francis sure might feel like 1963 or 1970, so it’s not surprising that many Catholics are feeling a mix of uncertainty and alarm. Also, many differences within the Catholic tribe are political, sociological, and/or emotional. Not theological. Not liturgical.

    1. @Todd Flowerday – comment #22:
      It would be a mistake to oppose emotional on the one hand and theological and liturgical on the other. Our theological and liturgical positions are frequently accompanied by a strong emotional identification.

  10. Sorry if things got heated. I can handle disagreement, but it’s the vengeful attitude I cannot stomach. People who are on the same side, yet disagree, do not rejoice at the prospect of their brothers and sisters suffering. Nor do they wish for revenge.

    I don’t worry about Pope Francis. If he is truly the man he seems to be, then SP is safe. Any pastoral person, regardless of their personal opinion, can likely see the folly in revoking it, or in setting limits on the EF, IMO. I myself am a progressive when not speaking about liturgy, so I even have some hopes of my own for this pontificate.

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