Pope Francis, Ever The Iconoclast – The American Conservative

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

Iam not a Catholic, but I cannot fathom why Pope Francis is working so hard to tear the Catholic Church apart, and suppress one of its most vital communities

Pope Francis, Ever The Iconoclast – The American Conservative

Angry Pope Francis is tired of Latin mass people (Source)

DECEMBER 18, 2021|


Iam not a Catholic, but I cannot fathom why Pope Francis is working so hard to tear the Catholic Church apart, and suppress one of its most vital communities. The Vatican today released even more restrictions on the Latin mass and the communities around it. From Edward Pentin in National Catholic Register:

In summary, Archbishop Roche has ruled the following:

  • If traditional faithful are unable to find a church, oratory or chapel to exclusively celebrate the older rite, a bishop can ask the Congregation for Divine Worship for a dispensation to use a parish church, but if allowed, such a celebration should not be advertised in a parish Mass schedule (this is not to marginalize the faithful who prefer the traditional form, he insisted, but to “remind them that this is a concession to provide for their good … and not an opportunity to promote the previous rite”).
  • The traditional sacraments in the Rituale Romanum (e.g. baptisms, nuptial Masses, extreme unction, confession) need a bishop’s permission and can only be celebrated in “canonically erected personal parishes” [Editors’ note: This applies to those already in existence, as the erection of future such parishes is not allowed in Traditionis Custodes]A bishop is not authorized to grant permission to use the Pontificale Romanum, that is sacraments celebrated by bishops, i.e. traditional ordinations and confirmations.
  • A priest cannot continue to celebrate the traditional Latin Mass if he “does not recognize the validity and legitimacy of concelebration,” especially at the Chrism Mass. A bishop should “take care to establish a fraternal dialogue” with the priest before revoking this concession.
  • A reassertion that readings must be proclaimed in the vernacular language and a stipulation that no new vernacular lectionaries may be published that use the old cycle of readings.
  • Bishops must obtain authorization from the Holy See to allow priests ordained after the publication of Traditionis Custodes to celebrate the traditional Mass.
  • It is “recommended” that the traditional Mass be celebrated for a defined period of time set by the bishop who can assess at the end of that time whether or not there are grounds for prolonging or suspending the permission, depending on how much “everything is in harmony” with the direction of Traditionis Custodes. 
  • A bishop can only grant permission to celebrate the traditional Mass in his own diocese.
  • If a priest authorized to celebrate the older rite is unavailable or absent, his replacement must also be given formal authorization.
  • Deacons and instituted ministers taking part in a traditional celebration must also have their bishop’s permission.
  • A parish priest or chaplain who is authorized to celebrate the traditional Mass but must also celebrate the ordinary form of the Mass during the week cannot then also celebrate the traditional Mass on the same day (binate).
  • A priest who is authorized to celebrate the traditional Latin Mass cannot celebrate it for another group of faithful on the same day, even if that group has received authorization.

In his introductory note, Archbishop Roche reiterated that Traditionis Custodes and Pope Francis’ accompanying letter “clearly express the reasons” for the apostolic letter, and that the Mass of Paul VI is the “unique expression of the lex orandi of the Roman Rite.”

“This is the direction in which we wish to move, and this is the meaning of the responses we publish here,” Archbishop Roche said. “Every prescribed norm has always the sole purpose of preserving the gift of ecclesial communion by walking together, with conviction of mind and heart, in the direction indicated by the Holy Father.”

And here is the pure voice of 1960s-era utopian fundamentalism:

The English archbishop said that the Second Vatican Council Fathers sought the reforms so that the liturgy would appear “ever more in all its beauty and the People of God might grow in full, active, conscious participation in the liturgical celebration.”

“As pastors, we must not lend ourselves to sterile polemics, capable only of creating division, in which the ritual itself is often exploited by ideological viewpoints,” Archbishop Roche said. “Rather, we are all called to rediscover the value of the liturgical reform by preserving the truth and beauty of the Rite that it has given us. For this to happen, we are aware that a renewed and continuous liturgical formation is necessary both for priests and for the lay faithful.”

They will never, ever, ever admit that there was a problem with the Council, or that there is anything worthwhile in what it displaced. As a former Catholic who has been Orthodox for sixteen years, the scandal of the ruling class of the Catholic Church sacking its own precious heritage, liturgical and otherwise, is both astonishing and painful. Painful, not only because I have friends and acquaintances who are not hotheads, and who have been deeply enriched in their faith by the Latin mass. Yes, of course there are some Latin mass fanatics who are a source of division — but they by no means characterize the mainstream of the Old Rite community, and besides, you can find far more anti-Tridentine fanatics, especially in power. In general, and in my experience, Latin massgoers are among the most faithful Catholics I know. And the leadership of the Church, from Pope Francis on down, spits on them.

Read all of Pentin’s report.

Just so non-Catholics understand what is going on here, Pope Francis wishes to crush observance of the Tridentine Rite mass, popularly called the “Latin mass,” because it is celebrated in what had been the Catholic Church’s liturgical language from ancient times, until the Second Vatican Council. From Times story highlighting LGBT-friendly parishes in New York City, here is the kind of thing the Pope not only tolerates, but encourages through his embrace of pro-gay figures (e.g., Father James Martin) and organizations (e.g., New Ways Ministry) in the Catholic Church:

Gay-friendly parishes are something that many Catholics, and many L.G.B.T.Q. people, do not know exist. They are scattered in cities and large towns across the country, with roughly a dozen concentrated in New York City. Here, parishes have drawn worshipers from across the region by starting L.G.B.T.Q. ministries; organizing events like spiritual retreats, hikes and happy hours at local gay bars; celebrating Masses and other events during Pride Month; and by speaking up for the gay community.

Francis encourages parishes that have happy hours at gay bars, and Pride masses. But the Latin mass people must be suppressed. More from that story:

Father James Martin, a Jesuit writer and well-known proponent of outreach to L.G.B.T.Q. Catholics, said liberal parishes like these had long played an important role as “safety valves” for the church by providing a space for Catholics who might chafe at its prevailing dogmas.

“They are places, as the saying goes, for people who are on their way into the church or who may be tempted to go on their way out of the church,” he said. “They can go to these parishes and feel at home.”

Not Latin mass Catholics. Not under the rule of Francis the Merciful. More from that Times story:

One day he knelt in a confessional there and shared his inner struggle with a priest, who told him that “you have no sin in this, there is nothing to feel shame for,” he said. After that, he began taking communion for the first time in years.

“I think St. Paul’s probably accepts me right now more than I accept myself sometimes,” Mr. Browner said.

“Because the catechism of the church is so omnipresent, it is ingrained in us — or at least in me — that those are the rules,” he added. “I am still grappling with what the rule is versus what the message of St. Paul’s is. It is a process.”

This parish and its priests are leading people away from faithful observance of the Catholic faith. Francis loves this kind of thing, though, and has made that very clear. Just a few days ago, it emerged that Francis had written encouragingly to the leadership of New Ways Ministry, a pro-LGBT Catholic activist group pushing for the normalization of homosexuality within the Catholic Church. Some years ago, when he was head of the Vatican’s doctrinal office under John Paul II, Cardinal Ratzinger ruled that New Ways could not be considered authentically Catholic. Francis has brought them in out of the cold.

But the Latin mass community, he sends to the margins.

I think of Francis and those around him with the same puzzlement I have with regard to the senior members of the ruling class in the US. I wrote something about this last night. 

I understand them being concerned about extreme elements of the Right, but these people — particularly in the military — are going all-out to confirm the claims of hardliners, and both antagonize and alienate those who are not unfaithful to Catholic doctrine, and who only want to be left alone.

Why would you do this? Does Francis want to drive these people to the SSPX, or to Orthodoxy, or perhaps even to abandon Christianity entirely? If they were obstinate deniers of authoritative Catholic teaching, I could understand this or any pope saying, in effect, “Being Catholic requires affirming certain things, rejecting other things, and living in certain ways; if you refuse to repent, and are leading others astray, then you should leave the Church.” But this is not what he’s doing. Again, the Latin mass people are not demanding that everybody go to Latin mass, and while some of them may deny the validity of the Novus Ordo mass (the one that came out of the 1960s Council), they are not demanding that the Vatican suppress that mass, nor are they in any position to do so. They are tiny!

Yet Francis, in his pontifical wisdom, is attempting to strangle those faithful communities, while encouraging LGBT-positive priests, parishes, and organizations that openly defy Catholic teaching to flourish.

Why? What sense does this make? Why the contempt for Catholics who abide by the Magisterium (the teaching authority of the Catholic Church), and who only want to pray liturgically in the same language that was the Church’s since the earliest days of Latin Christianity, and in the rite that was common to all Catholics from the Counter-Reformation until the mid-1960s?

Let me be clear here: when I was a Catholic, I was a Novus Ordo Catholic. I didn’t love the new rite, but I never did learn to love the old rite either. I considered them both sacramentally valid, though, and I was glad that the Latin rite existed for those who were nourished by it. I don’t know that I ever met an ordinary Novus Ordo Catholic who felt threatened by the Latin mass’s existence, if they even knew about it. But professional liberal Catholics truly despise the Latin mass. And now one of them is the Pope — a Pope who knows that of all the billion Catholics over whom he presides, the Latin massgoers are the least likely to defy a licit papal order.

This is spiritual warfare, you know. May God strengthen those faithful Catholics persecuted by their own leaders. What Francis doesn’t understand, it appears, is that his actions undermine the authority of the Church itself.

I see people sharing this today like it means anything. But if the current pope can so utterly contradict previous popes, who are we to believe? In a pope fight, who wins? And if they can all cancel each other out, what good are any of them? @SteveSkojec

Traditionalist Peter Kwasniewski writes of today’s document:

It was not difficult to see, even before today, that the Vatican opponents of the traditional liturgical rites of the Church of Rome are animated by an animosity toward tradition that is totally incompatible with the Catholic Faith and an animosity toward the faithful who adhere to tradition that is totally contrary to charity and the much-vaunted desire for “unity” and “communion” (lip service for “diversity” and “peripheries” and “minorities” etc. notwithstanding—that’s the typical modus operandi of hypocrites).

However, by releasing a document like this—so full of malice, pettiness, hatred, and cruelty, and so abundant in its lies—exactly one week before the great feast of Christ’s Nativity shows, more eloquently than any other gesture possibly could, that we are dealing with mafia thugs who have set themselves against our spiritual good, our vocations, our families, in such a way that their attack on the Church’s common good could not possibly be more apparent.

Let’s remind ourselves of what our forefathers in the Faith said about such a situation.

Thomas Cardinal Cajetan (1469–1534): “You must resist, to his face, a pope who is openly tearing the Church apart.”

Francisco de Vitoria (1483–1546): “If the Pope by his orders and his acts destroys the Church, one can resist him and impede the execution of his commands.”

St. Robert Bellarmine (1542–1621): “As it is lawful to resist the pope, if he assaulted a man’s person, so it is lawful to resist him, if he assaulted souls, or troubled the state, and much more if he strove to destroy the Church. It is lawful, I say, to resist him, by not doing what he commands, and hindering the execution of his will.”

Sylvester Prierias (1456–1523): “He [the pope] does not have the power to destroy; therefore, if there is evidence that he is doing it, it is licit to resist him. The result of all this is that if the pope destroys the Church by his orders and acts, he can be resisted and the execution of his mandate prevented. The right of open resistance to prelates’ abuse of authority stems also from natural law.”

Francisco Suárez (1548–1617): “If the Pope lays down an order contrary to right customs one does not have to obey him; if he tries to do something manifestly opposed to justice and to the common good, it would be licit to resist him; if he attacks by force, he could be repelled by force, with the moderation characteristic of a good defense.”

God’s Providence is therefore clear, and I consider this instruction to be a Christmas gift. By showing that its authors hate Catholic tradition, hate continuity with the past, hate the faithful, they make it easy for us to see that they are acting against the common good and therefore deserve to be resisted. We are not only permitted to resist; we are obliged to do so, if we would avoid sinning against what we know to be right, holy, true, and good.


In its abundance of charity, the CDW [Congregation for Divine Worship, the Vatican agency that issued today’s ruling — RD] explains that the liturgies of such Catholics are not part of the ordinary life of the parish; the activities of this group should never coincide with those of the parish; the group should be jettisoned from a parish as soon as may be; their Masses may not be advertised in the schedule; and presumably no new members are to be invited, since the group is hermetically sealed off to prevent cross-contamination. All this, and yet Roche has the gall to say: “There is no intention in these provisions to marginalise the faithful”?

The response of a healthy Catholic to such offensive impertinence and worse-than-racist prejudice is to say: “To hell with you” (for that is where such ideas came from and belong). “We will announce our Masses far and wide. We will keep publishing our books, brochures, missals, and every sort of paraphernalia. We will advertise our activities and invite new attendees. We will promote tradition actively among friends, family, strangers, and potential converts. We will channel our donations to its support. We will, in short, do everything in our power to ensure that your unjust war against tradition meets with the embarrassing and inglorious defeat it richly deserves. Deus vult. You will never, ever win.”

Read it all. Straight fire.

UPDATE: A Reformed friend writes to say that Kwasniewski’s essay sounds very much like Luther. I find it hard to disagree. Steve Skojec, once a Catholic traditionalist polemicist, but now apparently struggling to hold on to faith, pens a painful essay pointing out that the position of Catholics like Kwasniewski is hard to sustain. Excerpts:

The idea that we only have to listen to the authority that was placed over us, allegedly by God himself, when WE decide that it’s being exercised legitimately, must be seen as the dangerous, quasi-protestant approach that it is.

When I say dangerous, I don’t mean in the objective sense, but dangerous to the integrity of Catholic teaching on the papacy and magisterial authority in general, and the submissions we lowly peons are supposed to offer in deference before it. Recognize and resist puts us all on the sede spectrum, as we say: “You’ve only got the authority of the papal office and can only demand my obedience if I say so, bub.”

This kind of response is justified with hand waiving towards “tradition” and “perennial teaching” and the rest, but the fact is, papal supremacy is a helluva drug. It’s completely autocratic and doesn’t give a fig whether you like it or not. One of the more noxious sede websites helpfully compiled some quotes from Pope Leo XIII to drive home this point, which I’ll re-post here:

  • “To the shepherds alone was given all power to teach, to judge, to direct; on the faithful was imposed the duty of following their teaching, of submitting with docility to their judgment, and of allowing themselves to be governed, corrected, and guided by them in the way of salvation. Thus, it is an absolute necessity for the simple faithful to submit in mind and heart to their own pastors, and for the latter to submit with them to the Head and Supreme Pastor.” (Epistola Tua)
  • “…it is to give proof of a submission which is far from sincere to set up some kind of opposition between one Pontiff and another. Those who, faced with two differing directives, reject the present one to hold to the past, are not giving proof of obedience to the authority which has the right and duty to guide them; and in some ways they resemble those who, on receiving a condemnation, would wish to appeal to a future council, or to a Pope who is better informed.” (Epistola Tua)
  • “That obligation, if it is generally incumbent on all, is, you may indeed say, especially pressing upon journalists…. The task pertaining to them … is this: to be subject completely in mind and will, just as all the other faithful are, to their own bishops and to the Roman Pontiff; to follow and make known their teachings; to be fully and willingly subservient to their influence; and to reverence their precepts and assure that they are respected.” (Epistola Tua)
  • “No, it cannot be permitted that laymen who profess to be Catholic should go so far as openly to arrogate to themselves in the columns of a newspaper, the right to denounce, and to find fault, with the greatest license and according to their own good pleasure, with every sort of person, not excepting bishops, and think that with the single exception of matters of faith they are allowed to entertain any opinion which may please them and exercise the right to judge everyone after their own fashion.” (Est Sane Molestum)
  • “…to scrutinize the actions of a bishop, to criticize them, does not belong to individual Catholics, but concerns only those who, in the sacred hierarchy, have a superior power; above all, it concerns the Supreme Pontiff….” (Est Sane Molestum)

Where this leaves us is in quite a pickle. How can we recognize papal supremacy but also resist it? How can we not resist it when resistance is clearly warranted? How can we live with all the contradictions without tying ourselves into knots?

The answer for me, at least, is: I can’t. I’m not going to break my brain trying to smash round pegs into square holes. If the pope can put heresy in the catechism, if he can promote adultery and sacrilege, if he can sign his name to religious indifference, all bets on infallibility are off, and I don’t care what absurdly restrictive conditions you think the dogma has.

I also know I am not, and could not be, in communion with the pope and the bishops who are on his side. I wasn’t before I stepped back from the Church, and I wouldn’t willingly do so now even if my other issues of faith were resolved. These pedophile-protecting, orgy-attending, faith-hating monsters in mitres don’t believe in the same things actual Catholics do. Accusing the faithful of schism for being faithful to the teachings that were handed down, rather than the tyranny of the present papacy, is laughable, but in a way, it’s also technically correct, since schism is canonically tied to refusal of submission to the Roman Pontiff (Can. 751). If I still cared as much as I used to about such things, I’d embrace schism over faux communion in a second.

Catholics, what do you have to say to Steve?

UPDATE.2: Just checked e-mail today. This letter was in the stack:I figured I’d say something from the perspective of someone who is set to be baptized and confirmed a Catholic in a few months: I don’t know that I want to become Catholic anymore.I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve attended a Latin Mass. I like the Novus Ordo just fine and have gone there despite having Latin Mass options in the area. But if this is what the papacy means–totalizing control over how people worship, and even over what their bulletins look like–I don’t know how I can continue to believe that the papacy is God’s design. I think the dubia is essentially spiritual abuse. Again, I’m not affected, but I have good, faithful friends who are, and they don’t deserve abuse. I keep seeing people talking about how we should be obeying the Holy Father, but that’s exactly the problem: Why does anyone owe obedience to a pope who’s making abusive decisions? Do children owe obedience to abusive parents?I was looking into Orthodoxy before this because of other concerns, but I’m doubling down now. I do hope the Catholic hierarchy understands that this type of stuff is faith-crushing, even to people whose faith doesn’t look like it would be crushed by this. I’m certainly one of them.This is one fruit of Francis’s approach. Again: why?

UPDATE.3: Reader Alcuin, a Catholic, posts a quote from this essay on the New Liturgical Movement website:

The pontificate of John Paul II produced a generation of Wojtylian priests, that of Benedict XVI a generation of Ratzingerian priests. The current pontificate has inspired no such school or movement. Gentlemen of a certain age, who had already taken hold of positions of power, have consolidated their power, but there is no ‘Bergoglio generation.’ This pontificate, with all its hangers-on, must recur to the use of force as its solution to the traditionalist ‘problem’, a force which conquers, but does not convince, repression and censure.

Does the new rite as understood by Pope Francis, Abp Roche or Andrea Grillo inspire art, the spiritual life, or vocations? No? Fine, then we shall forbid the old one, and Ratzinger’s whole understanding of the problem. A senile, Brezhnevian Church, paralyzed and sterile, which continues to repeat the slogans of the 1970s ever more tiredly, will end like the power of the Soviet Union ended.

Have patience and trust in God, and put a good bottle of champagne in storage, to be opened on the day of liberation. It will come, later than we hope for, but sooner than we expect.

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