Folks, the Roman Catholic church has just entered into a difficult and precarious situation with Pope Francis’s abrogation of Summorum Pontificum. This is a time for humility, intense prayer, great sensitivity, and care in choosing what to say and what not to say.
Today’s motu proprio is stronger than many of us expected, which compounds the level of anxiety for some, even as it provides a path forward. Pope Francis’s modification of his predecessor’s directives will be painful and difficult for some people to accept. Their feelings should be accepted and respected, without judgment or condescension. For those progressives who support the Second Vatican Council and were always skeptical of Summorum Pontificum, this is not a time for gloating or Schadenfreude.
It will take time – not days, but perhaps generations – for the Catholic Church to find her way to greater liturgical unity and to the most appropriate way of reaching out to those who have had difficulties accepting the liturgical reforms. If there is to be unity, it will require patience and forbearance on all sides.
We can expect that liturgical sensitivities in the more “conservative” or “traditionalist” vein will become more mainstreamed now and less segregated. This will have its effect on parish worship, and some places will probably see in coming years more Latin chant, more use of the Roman canon, and the like. This is an opportunity on all sides for growth in mutual understanding and broader tolerance as our various liturgical spiritualities enhance one another.
The challenges ahead are strong – for traditionalists, but certainly also for progressives.
Let us pray for one another, and pray for the church.