Thursday, March 7, 2024

Pope Francis Reaffirms Support for Extraordinary Form

Pope Francis met with FSSP, reaffirms support for Extraordinary Form of the Mass

On February 29, 2024, Pope Francis met with the superior general of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP), Father Andrzej Komorowski, and two other priests from the order, at the Vatican. The meeting was an opportunity to express gratitude to the pope and to discuss the challenges and opportunities of celebrating the Extraordinary Form in the Church today.

The FSSP is a society of apostolic life of pontifical right, founded in 1988 by former members of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), who wanted to remain faithful to the Church and to what they consider to be the ancient liturgy. The FSSP celebrates exclusively the Mass and the sacraments according to the 1962 Missal and other liturgical books in force before the Second Vatican Council.

The meeting came after Pope Francis issued his motu proprio Traditionis Custodes in 2021, which restricted the use of the Extraordinary Form in dioceses and required bishops to regulate its celebration. The motu proprio also revoked the permissions granted by Pope Benedict XVI in his 2007 apostolic letter Summorum Pontificum, which allowed any priest to celebrate the Extraordinary Form without needing permission from his bishop.

Many traditionalist Catholics were dismayed by Traditionis Custodes, seeing it as a betrayal of their legitimate aspirations and a rupture with the Church's liturgical tradition. Some bishops were also reluctant to implement the new norms, fearing that they would alienate faithful Catholics who were attached to the Extraordinary Form.

However, Pope Francis clarified in a letter to bishops that he was not abolishing the Extraordinary Form, but rather seeking to promote unity and harmony in the Church, and to prevent abuses and divisions caused by some groups who used the Extraordinary Form as a means of rejecting Vatican II and the magisterium.

Why did Pope Francis issue Traditionis Custodes?

According to some sources, Pope Francis was motivated by two main reasons: first, he wanted to end the attempt to reconcile the SSPX, a breakaway traditionalist group that rejects Vatican II and remains in an irregular canonical situation; second, he wanted to restore the authority of Vatican II and its liturgical reform, which he saw as being undermined by some sectors of the Church that favored the Extraordinary Form over the Ordinary Form of the Mass.

In an interview with a Swiss television station, Archbishop Arthur Roche, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of Sacraments, said that Pope Francis issued Traditionis Custodes because "the effort to reconcile [the SSPX] has not entirely been successful" and because it is necessary to "go back" to what Vatican II required of the Church.

In his letter to bishops, Pope Francis said that he acted "in defense of the unity of the Body of Christ," on the grounds that there was "distorted use" of Summorum Pontificum. He said that he was saddened that some groups used the Extraoradinary Form as a way of doubting Vatican II and its liturgical reform. He also criticized what he called a growing attitude of "rejection of the Church and her institutions in the name of what is called the 'true Church'."

The pope also confirmed that some exceptions to Traditionis Custodes were possible, such as for religious communities that had a specific charism related to the Extraordinary Form. One of these communities is the FSSP, which has more than 300 priests and 150 seminarians worldwide, serving in 17 countries.

In a press release, the FSSP said that during their meeting with Pope Francis, they shared with him "the difficulties encountered" in applying his decree addressed to their order on February 11, 2022. In that decree, Pope Francis confirmed their right to celebrate the Extraordinary Form according to their proper charism, but also asked them to respect some conditions, such as not denying Vatican II or questioning its liturgical reform.

The FSSP said that "the pope was very understanding" and invited them "to continue to build up ecclesial communion ever more fully through its own proper charism." The pope also emphasized "the importance of their role in fostering ecclesial communion."

Father Komorowski, the superior general of the FSSP, said that he was grateful for the pope's invitation and that he hoped that their meeting would be "a sign of hope for all those who seek to honour God and serve souls through the Roman traditions."

The meeting was also welcomed by other traditionalist Catholics, who saw it as a gesture of goodwill and openness from Pope Francis towards those who love the Extraordinary Form. They hoped that this would lead to more dialogue and mutual understanding between different segments of the Church.

Pope Francis can never abolish the Mass. It is just not possible. Jesus formulated the Mass. What the poep can do is change or remove the man-made parts the Church added throughout the centuries.  As stated several times by us here at Sacerdotus, the sole reason for Traditionis Custodes was to curb back the abuse being perpetuated by some in the so-called "Traditionalist" movement. They have been using the Extraordinary Form to cause division and doubt against Vatican II and the Ordinary Form of the Mass, not to forget the papacy itself!  These people have been posting lies since the documents of Vatican II still had wet ink. They are ruining it for everyone else who appreciates the Extra Ordinary form as another form of the Liturgy and who do not worship it as an idol.  

You can read these posts related to this topic as well here:

Sacerdotus: Ordinary Form of the Mass Is Closer to the Mass of the Early Church

Sacerdotus: There Is Only ONE Mass

Sacerdotus: Eucharistic Prayers: Not From Napkins

Sacerdotus: No Such Thing as 'Novus Ordo' in the Catholic Church

Sacerdotus: Pope Francis Says Why He Limited Use of Extraordinary Form of the Mass

Sacerdotus: Pope Francis 'We cannot go backwards...'

Sacerdotus: Ite, missa est: Pope Motu Propio restricts Extraordinary Form of the Mass

Sacerdotus: Tridentine Mass

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