Monday, July 19, 2021

Nine Reflections on Traditionis Custodes

Ha so did you hear there's this thing called Traditionis Custodes that Pope Francis issued? Papa Francesco sure stirred up some lio with this one. If Francis is concerned about the growth of traditionalism that rejects the post-Conciliar Church, giving the SSPX their single biggest marketing boost of all time is certainly a strange way to show it. 

Many people more astute than myself have already commented on Traditionis Custodes extensively, so I will try not to repeat their talking points. Here are my nine reflections on the new motu proprio.

* * * * *

First, on the antithesis between Francis and Benedict. Some are saying this isn't a repudiation of Benedict XVI's Summorum Pontificum. They are arguing that those who are saying so are being unnecessarily partisan and dramatic. Have these people even read these documents? We need to start by realizing that Summorum Pontificum did not "legalize" or "allow" or "liberalize" the Traditional Latin Mass. It did not make the Latin Mass available by positive decree; rather, it stated the principle that the Latin Mass could never truly have been abrogated and, therefore, by consequence was (and is) always allowed. Traditionis Custodes, on the other hand, completely repudiates that principle. It's not just that it suppresses something that Benedict XVI allowed; its that by presuming to suppress the traditional liturgy by papal dictate, it contradicts the principle elucidated in Summorum Pontificum while giving no explanation of why or how that is possible. But that's par for the course these days; the modern magisterium creates continuity by merely declaring it (see "The Phantasm of Fiat Continuity", USC, May, 2016). We are to accept continuity and harmony exist merely because we are told it does.

* * * * *

Francis's motu proprio was issued out of concern that traditional communities foster a divisive spirit, believing that they alone are "the true church." What does this even mean? Does this refer to traditionalists who literally think the Church presided over by Francis is a false church? That Francis is a false pope? Or perhaps it merely means the belief that Traditional Latin Mass reflects the authentic heart of our faith? It's hard to say. Traditionis Custodes does not elaborate on what the false premises affirmed by these divisive traditionalists actually consist of. It is impossible to determine when and whether someone is guilty of thinking they are "the true church", as the document provides no explanation of this new and dangerous schism, which is nevertheless so grave as to justify suppressing an entire rite. It is meant to cast suspicion on an entire subsection of the Church.

The crux of the matter is this: there is a subtle transmutation being wrought upon word "schism", morphing it from a canonical status into an attitude. It is very difficult to pin the canonical state of schism upon somebody; it is extremely easy to accuse someone of having a "schismatic attitude." I think most uses of the word "schism" I see on social media these days are in the context of an attitude rather than an objectively existing canonical state. Basically, "schismatic attitude" has become the catchphrase to denote anyone who posts mean things online about the current regime. Its definition is so broad it means nothing; its used the way Wokies use the word "racism."

Also, the fact that the Holy Father is taking punitive action against an attitude is horrifying. And this isn't even speculation; Francis says plainly in his accompanying letter that his edict is prompted by "words and attitudes."

As for real schism, the number of traditionalist groups or parishes who have gone into schism during the pontificate of Francis is zero.

* * * * *

But if there are traditional Catholics who literally believe that they and they alone are the "true Church," they must number only a few thousand worldwide. And apparently we are to believe that this tiny sliver of a demographic poses an existential threat to the unity of a communion of one billion believers?

But fear not! As a remedy, we shall herd every catholic who loves in a Latin Mass into one or two parishes in a diocese, place draconian restrictions on them, functionally ban them celebrating in new parishes or even with new priests, and then we're going to let them stew in an age of social media. Sounds like a winning plan for unity. 

The harshness of this diktat is only surpassed by its sheer imbecility.

* * * * *

Even if there is a real threat of schism, it is exceptionally bizarre to suppress a legitimate rite because of such concerns. Canonically speaking, it is persons, not rites, who are the objects of legislation in such cases. Consider this nugget of history:

During the pontificate of Bl. Pius IX, Chaldean Patriarch Joseph Audo was frequently at odds with the Vatican. Most notable was his efforts to bring the Syro-Malabar Catholics of India under his jurisdiction, sending the Bishop of Aqra, Mar Elias Mellus, to India as his envoy in 1874 to accomplish this. Mar Elias was actually excommunicated for fomenting schism there. This did not stop Joseph Audo, who continued to consecrate various bishops without prior consultation with Rome in the following years, effectually setting up a rival hierarchy in India. In September 1876, Pope Pius IX finally threatened to excommunicate the Patriarch and the bishops he had consecrated if they remained disobedient. Patriarch Audo finally submitted to the pope, who then commended him for his compliance and recognized all his episcopal appointments outside of India. Bishop Mellus also reconciled with the Holy See and went on to become the Bishop of Mardin.

This story is noteworthy because the promotion of the Chaldean rite in India was directly linked to the establishment of a rival and schismatic hierarchy in a blatant usurpation of ecclesiastical jurisdiction. Nevertheless, Pius IX made no attempt to limit the use of the Chaldean rite, despite the serious threat of schism. Canonical penalties were imposed against the persons fomenting schism. A rite itself is not the proper subject of these types of canonical penalties. I hope more commentators and canonists start pointing out how truly bizarre the rationale of Traditionis Custodes is in this regard (Thanks to my friend Konstantin for making me aware of this story).

* * * * *

Francis's accompanying letter says, "Most people understand the motives that prompted St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI to allow the use of the Roman Missal, promulgated by St. Pius V and edited by St. John XXIII in 1962, for the Eucharistic Sacrifice. The faculty—granted by the indult of the Congregation for Divine Worship in 1984 and confirmed by St. John Paul II in the Motu Proprio Ecclesia Dei in 1988 was above all motivated by the desire to foster the healing of the schism with the movement of Mons. Lefebvre."

This is demonstrably false. The indult was not set up to heal the schism with the SSPX. Rather, the indult was set up to create a home for the faithful who loved the Latin Mass but nevertheless did not want to follow the SSPX into formal schism. That is to say, the object of John Paul II's legislation was the faithful who did not want to join the SSPX; but Pope Francis says that the object of John Paul's legislation was the SSPX. This is a colossal blunder. Rorate Caeli has an excellent piece documenting the way John Paul's intent is mischaracterized by Francis.

* * * * *

Despite the motu proprio's insistence that the abuses in the Novus Ordo be checked, we all know that will never happen. If Francis is really concerned about Catholics dissenting from Church teaching, then Traditionis Custodes is like pulling the speck from the traditionalists' eye without removing the plank in the eye of the Novus Ordo. Polls consistently show that 89% of Catholics reject papal authority to teach on the immorality of contraception; 51% reject papal teaching on abortion. And 69% of Catholics do not believe in transubstantiation (source). Is the Holy Father distressed about this? Is he going to take decisive action against these people?

Of course not. The double standard does not invalidate the weight of Traditionis Custodes (whatever that may be), but it does destroy any pretense of good will on the part of the Holy Father, and it destroys any likelihood that the faithful will receive this with docility. In the face of such brazen injustice, the prospect of traditional Catholics just rolling over and accepting this is ridiculous. This is just going to cause more trouble. And it was 100% avoidable. What a waste. Talk about fights that did not need to happen.

* * * * *

As for you self-hating trads who are saying, "We asked for this and we're getting what we deserved," and "the Holy Father's assessment of traditionalism must be correct", I can't imagine what sort of mental torture you must put yourself through to square these circles. I understand that traditional Catholics can be toxic; I've whined about it just recently. But if you think the bad attitudes of a few online traddies merits the global suppression of an entire rite—and not just any rite, but the preeminent historical rite of Latin Christendom—then you are infinitely more unbalanced than the boogey-man trads you are wringing your hands about. This is akin to amputating a hand to fix a hangnail.

* * * * *

One of the most laughable passages in the accompanying letter is where the pope says, "Whoever wishes to celebrate with devotion according to earlier forms of the liturgy can find in the reformed Roman Missal according to Vatican Council II all the elements of the Roman Rite, in particular the Roman Canon which constitutes one of its more distinctive elements."

This is a frighteningly reductionist view of the liturgy. There is a certain attitude amongst conservative Catholics that the only thing that matters in the liturgy is a valid Eucharist. "It's still Jesus!" they would predictably intone, as the balloons ascended and the sanctuary was filled with the strumming of guitars. This represents a radical minimalist view of the liturgy, reducing the Mass down to its most barebone  component and rejoicing that we at least still have the sine qua non of the liturgy. Pope Francis evidences a similar view with this quote: the entire liturgical tradition of the West is boiled down to just the Roman Canon. "What are you complaining about? You have the Roman Canon." If that's the pope's view of continuity, then literally nothing in the Church is safe from his novelty. I hope more people realize what a horrifically reductionist hermeneutic this is. It's as if after years of feeding my children healthy, balanced meals, I suddenly throw them outside and tell them to eat insects. And when they complain that they can't survive on insects, I dismissively say, "It's still protein."

* * * * *

"What are we to do?" That's really what everyone wants to know. To this I shrug. I don't know. But I will say two things:

(1) Traditional Catholics have a tendency towards scrupulosity. We worry way too much about rules, about minutiae, about jots and tittles. And the current situation just exacerbates scrupulous anxieties. This development has put many of us in extremely challenging dilemmas that no Catholic should ever have to be in. No Catholic should have to pit pope against liturgy, obedience against worship, fidelity to tradition against the living magisterium. In these dilemmas, we cannot afford to be overly scrupulous. I'm speaking to laypeople, but also bishops and priests. We are way too litigious in the West. With all the shit going on in the world and the church, with civilization falling apart and the Church in total chaos, with all the confusion and misinformation and lies and double-standards being vomited forth from the hierarchy on a daily basis, do you really think God is laying the responsibility entirely on your shoulder for determining the precise canonical status of that independent chapel? Just do what you need to do and don't worry too much about the fine print. 

Also, I said "shit" just to irritate the scrupulous people who, in a post about this crisis, will think complaining about the word "shit" in the combox is the best use of their energy.

(2) As awful as this situation is, I always try to remember that the Mass is not my faith. It's an integral part of how I live my faith, but my faith is much bigger than the Mass. I make this point because people will message me and say "This is damaging my faith." I don't know if they really mean that, in the sense that this is making them believe in God less; sometimes I think they just mean "This is making it challenging for me to live my faith." The Latin Mass is an absolute treasure. But God doesn't owe you the Mass. He gives it, and He can remove it. If deprivation of access to the Latin Mass actually makes you lose your faith, what would you have done in Japan all those centuries when the Catholics there had no Mass? Or in Elizabethan England? Would you have simply lost faith? Many of the Desert Fathers didn't even go to Mass at all; nor immured nuns in the Middle Ages, nor many of the hermits.

God is still on the throne. Jesus is still risen from the dead. I am still redeemed by His blood and incorporated into His body through the sacred font of baptism. Has any of that changed? No. None of it has changed, and therefore my faith is unchanged. I don't mean to diminish the importance of the Mass in any way; but if your actual faith in God is predicated upon a certain level of access to the Traditional Mass, where will your faith be when it becomes even more difficult in ages to come? I am not insulting you if your faith is being challenged. Rather, I am challenging you to go back to the basics, the unchanging truths that no prelate can touch. Have faith in God. And I'm not talking about "Have faith that the Traditional Latin Mass will triumph!" or "Have faith that some future pope will reverse all this." I mean have faith that God is with us, that the blood of Christ had freed us from sin, and that in Him we can live a life of grace and holiness—even if these disorders are never remedied unto the very ending of the world.

* * * * *

I'm praying for all of you, wherever you are and whomever you are! Just last month I posted about this blog's 14th anniversary. What a different world it was then! Summorum Pontificum had not even been issued. My blog has outlived the entire Summorum Pontificum era. Insane. But now more than ever it is important to patronize and support good traditional Catholic blogs. I'm not going anywhere; remember, even if the hierarchy has control over the exterior forms of our worship, it has no control over my spiritual life (see "Into the Woods", USC, May, 2018). Even though those forms of worship are meant to nourish my spiritual life, they can't ultimately be identified with it. The life I have in Christ is "an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven" (1 Pet. 1:3-4). And that will never be touched, even though a pope worse than Francis should destroy ten times as much. Christus regnat.

Click here for a Spanish language version of this article.


Karl said...

"Ha so did you hear there's this thing called Traditionis Custodes that Pope Francis issued?"

Nope. Sounds bad though, good thoughts.

Michael Paterson-Seymour said...

Surely, the attraction of the TLM was well described by Mgr Ronald Knox:
"But there is something else underlying the pomp of our ceremonial which makes, I think, a more powerful impression, though one far more difficult to analyse. I mean the sense of mystery. The effect of long distances, of tapers flickering in the heart of an altar far away, of slow silences interrupted by sudden bursts of sound, of voices coming from unseen quarters, of doors opening unexpectedly, of figures moving to and fro over a business unintelligible to the spectator, of long chants in a language which he does not hear, or does not understand, of tingling bells, and incense-smoke caught in the shifting lights of a high-windowed building-- the effect, I say, of all this upon the visitor who has no opportunity and no wish to "follow the service" is to breed an atmosphere of solemn mystery which works, not upon his senses, but upon his imagination. In this respect, Catholic ceremonial does not lend itself so readily to imitation. The intrusion of English, or any other intelligible tongue, breaks the spell of mystery with its too familiar cadences. And yet you will meet with elements of all this in some of the old cathedrals; you will meet it in King's Chapel, at Cambridge, if you stand outside the screen and listen to the chanting on the farther side of it. Conversely, in a small and ill- built Catholic church you will miss the illusion."

He concludes by reminding us, "Our crude forefathers had a name for all this; they called it hocus-pocus," a sentiment for which he expressed some sympathy.

Anonymous said...

Pope Francis writes, in the letter, says Una Voce International’s representative Dr.Joseph Shaw,that the use of the 1962 Missal is

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”.

This is true. I agree with Pope Francis.However he is not aware that Vatican Council II has to be interpreted with a rational premise, inference and conclusion otherwise, with the common false premise, it has to be a betrayal of Tradition and the « true Church ». Since with the false premise, the Athanasius Creed, the Syllabus of Errors of Pope Pius IX, the Catechism of Pope Pius X (24 Q,27Q) and the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus according to the Jesuits in the 16th century are rejected.So a false Church is created.
(from the blog Eucharist and Mission -Lionel's blog)

Anonymous said...

I doubt that Summorum Pontificum intended to say that no permission was ever required for the TLM on the basis that it was never abrogated. That seems to be wishful thinking of some trads reading into the text. "Never abrogated" simply means it was never totally done away with or suppressed. And that's true enough given the indult. However, priests require faculties to say Mass publicly, period. They also can't just celebrate whatever rite of Mass on the basis that these rites were never abrogated. They need permission for that as well. I'm certain Benedict XVI realizes this, and so quoted the prior legislation of the indult as something that was real and factual.

Richard Malcolm said...

I remember the first time I stumbled across Fr Fortescue's anti-ultramontanist screeches, and how taken aback I was. You know, this kind of thing:

"Centralization grows and goes madder every century. Even at Trent they hardly foresaw this kind of thing. Does it really mean that one cannot be a member of the Church of Christ without being, as we are, absolutely at the mercy of an Italian lunatic? Saving a total collapse, things are as bad as they can be. Give us back the Xth century Johns and Stephen, or a Borgia! They were less disastrous than this deplorable person."

Today, you know, maybe I sympathize with him a little more.

Mind you, he wrote that in the pontificate of *Pius X*. I think he could only survive our present era on a morphine drip. Preferably located on Mars.

Boniface said...

@Anon 9:59,

Well that would be a strange take on the phrase "always permitted"

Rosa Rita La Marca said...

La pandemia ha fatto esplodere la sana informazione a grandissimi strati della popolazione mondiale di tutti e cinque i continenti dell’esistenza e della non abrogazione della Messa cattolica pre innovazioni conciliari sui quali non oso pronunciarmi certo io, che sono alla ricerca della verità e non sono in grado di donarla ad alcuno. Certamente ho professato in modo aperto e leale perchè pubblico il mio compiacimento per la scoperta della libertà di recarmi ad una Messa in latino appena finite le proibizioni alla deambulazione nel mondo reale, sopportando di dover resistere davanti ad un pc. Scoprire di essere stata prevenuta con un Motu Proprio per fermare ogni possibile richiesta al Vescovo è vera e propria persecuzione artata traendo informazioni per rivoltarle contro a chi non tradisce e agisce nell’oscurità. Un massone deve riunirsi in segreto; perchè opera con il male, un cattolico agisce come figlio della Luce davanti agli altri affinchè risplendano le sue opere buone e sante..

Anonymous said...


Unless I'm missing something, nowhere in SP does the words "always permitted" appear.

Boniface said...


Please see the letter of Pope Benedict that was issued with Summorum Pontificum, which explained the pope's intentions. That document states:

"As for the use of the 1962 Missal as a Forma extraordinaria of the liturgy of the Mass, I would like to draw attention to the fact that this Missal was never juridically abrogated and, consequently, in principle, was always permitted."

The document can be found here:

DP said...

Richard M:

As much as I love Pius X and think Fortescue was overwrought, the latter was on to something.

The former really did kick papal centralization into high gear with arrogating to himself the appointment of every last bishop. And the reform of the Breviary started the ball rolling with liturgical tinkering. By the time the Code of Canon Law was finished, everything necessary for papal autocracy was in place.

CinciJohn said...

“… we must get over this modernist delusion of living “as if the Bride of the Lamb could have two voices.” No, we know the Bride of the Lamb listens to only One Voice: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of My hand.”—John 10:27-28 …"

Alan Hicks said...

This is an excellent analysis.

Boniface said...


Thank you kindly! Please share : )

Brian S said...

I’ve been out of touch with the Catholic news world for so long that I found out about this ridiculous document through your blog. I attend an Ordinariate parish, so thankfully I’m not too affected by this, but as someone who attended the TLM almost exclusively in the past, this is indeed stressful news, but I think you have the right idea. This decision will make aspects of living a Catholic life more difficult, but it’s not like anyone can take your faith away, unless you allow them to.

Brian S said...

I’ve been out of touch with the Catholic news world for so long that I found out about this ridiculous document through your blog. I attend an Ordinariate parish, so thankfully I’m not too affected by this, but as someone who attended the TLM almost exclusively in the past, this is indeed stressful news, but I think you have the right idea. This decision will make aspects of living a Catholic life more difficult, but it’s not like anyone can take your faith away, unless you allow them to.

Greg said...

Salve, Boniface! This is my first time reading your blog, and I have to agree foursquare with your thoughts on this topic. In particular, your concluding thoughts rang particularly true, specifically, " you really think God is laying the responsibility entirely on your shoulder for determining the precise canonical status of that independent chapel? Just do what you need to do and don't worry too much about the fine print."

A Franciscan priest whom I admired greatly said to me, shortly before his death a few years ago, "The thugs are in charge, do the best you can."

Your further points in (2) about personal faith and the Mass and its availability across the ages and in various situations are well-met.

As we are tossed by the waves of modernity, I take solace in the fact that there yet remains a Faithful Remnant among both the priesthood and the laity.


Unknown said...

Thank you for this excellent analysis. I love #2, your exhortation that the Mass is not the faith. We can survive this trail and temptation to despair because God will not test us beyond our ability to prevail and persevere.

I confess to part of the attitude expressed here, but not all of it:

There is a certain attitude amongst conservative Catholics that the only thing that matters in the liturgy is a valid Eucharist. "It's still Jesus!" they would predictably intone, as the balloons ascended and the sanctuary was filled with the strumming of guitars. This represents a radical minimalist view of the liturgy, reducing the Mass down to its most barebone  component and rejoicing that we at least still have the sine qua non of the liturgy.

I’m not a ‘conservative’ but a Catholic who holds to the faith as it has always been taught by the Church. I believe that if the Novus Ordo is offered validly, no matter then it is the means by which we can receive, potentially, infinite grace, and therefore it represents an infinitely good thing. It therefore has a certain minimal dignity which must be respected, “My grace is sufficient for you,” Our Lord counsels. This ‘barebone component’ as you call it, is, indeed, everything.

I also believe that the newer form of the Roman Rite, judging by its fruits, is markedly less effective than the older form in providing a catechesis in the faith, and it is much harder, I find in personal experience, to be properly disposed to receive Our Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament in the newer rite because there are fewer opportunities for recollected prayer in union with the priest’s work at the altar. One is always being shaken out of concentrated prayer by a need to speak up and participate “actively”. So while the newer rite can provide potentially the same infinite graces as the older rite, it requires more effort on the part of the faithful to a) become educated about what it means (despite the prayers in plain language), and b) to remain recollected in prayers of devotion to be properly disposed to receive them.

Anonymous said...

I think the fear on the part of some "traditionalists" is not losing their faith because they have no access to the Mass (as in the historical examples you cite), but rather being forced to attend a form of Mass that they believe poses a potential negative impact on the spiritual formation of their younger children (as evidenced by the statistics cited as to the current lack of belief in basic Catholic truths and the very well-stated final paragraph of the previous comment).

I attend the traditional form of the Mass because I am weak, and the prayers and elements that have developed over centuries help strengthen my faith. This new motu proprio seems like a pastor removing a walkway ramp used by people to enter the church who have difficulty walking because he finds it inconvenient and unnecessary; and his advice to his ambulatory challenged parishioners is "just use the stairs like everybody else."

Overshoe said...

Excellent article. To your point number two at the bottom: attending the typical parish Novus Ordo can indeed be damaging to one’s faith…

Brother Andre Marie said...

Excellent piece! Thank you, Boniface.

Uxi said...

Perfectly said, especially about God not owing us the Mass. I always took the liturgical crisis to be the test of Job.

The traditional Mass is the greatest treasure the Church has ever produced. God permitted it to be taken away but also ensured it was never abrogated and preserved for future generations. Bugnini himself was explicit in his memoirs he tried to get that. However feckless and unfair to Abp. Lefebvre that Papa Montini was, he did two things well: insisted on the bare minimum for Sacramental validity in the novus ordo and never gave the bishops authority to forbid the old Mass.

Those who fall into sedevacantism or doubting the indefectibility of the Church (however convoluted they might try to reframe it) fail the test are just as much as those who fall into complete indifferentism and blatant liturgical abuse and only a degree removed from those that lose their faith entirely.

Uxi said...

@DP and @Richard

Definitely agree. It is pertinent also that Fr. Fortescue was careful to keep this opinion in private correspondence and never gave rise to scandal and the principle is sound. Catholics are supposed to believe that the deposit of Faith belongs to Christ and the pope is supposed to guard it and not presume to own it or insert his own preferences. Ultimately that's between a particular pope and Our Lord, and that they will face judgement is enough for me to pray for him.

Noucvnt said...

i doubt the Elizabethan martyrs would have taken kindly to you dismissing the need for the perpetual unbloody sacrifice of the Mass, when they literally came up with priestholes (and Mass rocks in Ireland) as a way to hide clergy and keep said perpetual unbloody sacrifice of Our Lord, while under persecution.

i'm pretty sure the Japanese martyrs still tried to conditionally administer the sacraments their valid Jesuit clergy administered to them before being banned.

(btw, following through on your logic, why still adhere to the "sacred font of baptism", if you are redeemed by His Blood and already said the Holy Mass [and Communion, unless you are the reductionist you criticize and deem that Communion without Mass is enough for salvation] is not owed to us? very protty slippery slope you lead to. speaking of protty slopes, have fun with the post-V2 translations of the Epistle and Gospel, as not even the beloved Douay-Rheims comes out unscathed).

Medieval immured nuns, monks, hermits, Desert Fathers, all would have agreed that the secular clergy and the laypeople should still need to have Mass every Sunday as possible.

Plus, in alllllll these cases, all the aforementioned submitted obedience to a valid Roman Pontiff. thus, the pope-sifting and cognitive dissonance on display is ridiculous. how is Francis is still deemed pope while SAINT Pius X is considered "ultramontane"? this is not just believing that the shepherd can be disobeyed and the sheep may scatter as they please (the SSPX, Orthobro, Old Catholic schismatic position, of which i get a whiff around here) - this is believing the shepherd can slaughter the sheep and feed them to pet wolves.

except the shepherd can neither be disobeyed (for we cannot say "I am of Paul, I am of Apollos"), nor can his faith fail ("I have prayed for Thee, that thy faith fail not", said the Lord). thus, one can only conclude that the shepherd... is not there. that is all i can reasonably opine at least, if indeed as St Thomas Aquinas says, Faith is an act of the intellect. i'm sorry if this offends, as the blogmaster seems learned and kind as i have read him over the years, but i can't help but disagree. the see is vacant.

yes, i know the sv position has its issues. still, can't think of any other alternative, as a barque without Peter is better than no barque or a false Peter. a valid hierarchy is needed tho. #validconclavenow.

Boniface said...


If you think I am suggesting the Mass is dispensable or we shouldn't do everything possible to have access to it then you've completely missed this whole thing.

Cratchit said...

Great post, especially the last part about the Mass not being the faith. I've seen a lot of traditional Catholic internet personalities struggling lately with the reality of the Church as both a human and divine institution; not just as regards the liturgy but also the abuses by those in authority, the bad priests and bishops, etc. It can seem hard to reconcile the two realities and, as you say, we tend to focus on the jots and tittles. I think we sometimes lose sight of what the faith really is, or rather who the faith is really about: a person, Christ. That's the heart of it all. Maybe we would do well to focus more of our time and energy on coming to know Christ through a real life of deep prayer.

And before anyone says it, no, I'm not saying, "Novus Ordo, TLM, doesn't matter, just focus on Jesus!" Of course these things matter; if the last fifty years have taught us anything, it's that these things matter, and we ought to fight for them. But are we really putting forth the effort to get to know Christ before marching off to the battle? I'm sure I'm Exhibit A in this regard.

Duke said...

Hello Boniface,
first of all, I would like to thank you for your unbelievably great blog. Your writings have filled me with much comfort, peace and renewed faith and trust in our Lord, especially in these difficult times. In the next few days, I'll hopefully read most of your blog.
I would like to ask you how do you think we should react when, because of this motu proprio, we lose access to our particular TLM. With difficult work, pregnant wife and a child on the way, we cannot drive every sunday hour and half to the nearest SSPX chapel (especially with the state of roads in my country). So what to do? Visit Novus Ordo to fulfill sunday obligation? Or go to the TLM once a month and rest of the month have different forms of prayer at home? Thank you very much for everything you do and keep up the great work.


Boniface said...

@ Martin,

Thank you for your kind compliments. Good luck reading "most of my blog" in the next few days, as it goes back to 2007 lolol.

Anyway, regarding your question, I can't pretend to advise you on something so personal. Go with God and do what seems best to you. I will say, I don't believe personally that the unavailability of Mass in the Extraordinary Form is justification to abstain from Mass on Sunday, and I believe this is reflected in the current legislation of the Church as well (looking for it right now for citation).

Novus Ordo Masses can certainly be occasions of irreverence and outright blasphemy, but not simply because they are the Novus Ordo. I would rather attend a decent Novus Ordo rather than abstain from Mass all together. And I do not believe the legislation about the Sunday obligation permits me such an option anyway.

But, as I said, these are very odd times. Do as you see best, my friend.

Walter E. Kurtz said...

It has been translated to Spanish

Noucvnt said...

@Boniface my point is that if that is indeed the case, if the Mass is truly not to be replaced by a defective rite, borne out of defective theology from a defective magisterial council, then it must mean that such defective teachings must not have come from a true valid hierarchy. the see must be vacant.

for if it was a valid hierarchy, why would you resist its magisterial teachings?

Paul S said...

I absolutely love: "do you really think God is laying the responsibility entirely on your shoulder for determining the precise canonical status of that independent chapel." It has helped me get over my own personal sturm und drang over traditionis custodes.

Catholic in Brooklyn said...

The very fact that you say the TLM is a "Rite" shows you have no idea what you are talking about. There is one Rite in the Roman Catholic Church. Summorum Pontificum even says, there is the Ordinary FORM and the Extraordinary FORM. No, the Mass can never be abrogated, but the form most certainly can.

From Summorum Pontificum:

"Art 1. The Roman Missal promulgated by Pope Paul VI is the ordinary expression of the lex orandi (rule of prayer) of the Catholic Church of the Latin rite. The Roman Missal promulgated by Saint Pius V and revised by Blessed John XXIII is nonetheless to be considered an extraordinary expression of the same lex orandi of the Church and duly honoured for its venerable and ancient usage. These two expressions of the Church’s lex orandi will in no way lead to a division in the Church’s lex credendi (rule of faith); FOR THEY ARE TWO USAGES OF THE ONE ROMAN RITE."

To listen to you, it would seem the TLM has more authority than the Pope, that the Pope is obligated to subordinate himself to a form of the Mass. The TLM was given to Trads in an attempt to make them happy, pure and simple. This is from Summorum Pontificum:

"In some regions, however, not a few of the faithful continued to be attached with such love and affection to the earlier liturgical forms which had deeply shaped their culture and spirit, that in 1984 Pope John Paul II, concerned for their pastoral care, through the special Indult Quattuor Abhinc Annos issued by the Congregation for Divine Worship, granted the faculty of using the Roman Missal published in 1962 by Blessed John XXIII. Again in 1988, John Paul II, with the Motu Proprio Ecclesia Dei, exhorted bishops to make broad and generous use of this faculty on behalf of all the faithful who sought it."

Instead of being grateful, Trads have used the TLM as a bludgeon against the rest of the Church. Why don't you quote this from Traditionis Custodes:

"Regrettably, the pastoral objective of my Predecessors, who had intended “to do everything possible to ensure that all those who truly possessed the desire for unity would find it possible to remain in this unity or to rediscover it anew”, has often been seriously disregarded. An opportunity offered by St. John Paul II and, with even greater magnanimity, by Benedict XVI, intended to recover the unity of an ecclesial body with diverse liturgical sensibilities, was exploited to widen the gaps, reinforce the divergences, and encourage disagreements that injure the Church, block her path, and expose her to the peril of division."

Posts like yours are Exhibit A in support of Traditionis Custodes.

Boniface said...

^Peak ignoramus-posting