Is Pope Francis Planning to Restrict Benedict XVI’s Apostolic Letter “Summorum Pontificum”?

It is ongoing news: strange plans are getting underway in the Vatican under Pope Francis’ orders that are not going to favour the spread or even the celebration of the Mass of the Ages. These plans are not taking into account either the stipulations set out in Benedict XVI’s motu propio, ‘Summorum Pontificum’, nor the growing preference among devout Catholics for the Traditional Latin Mass!

Dr. Peter Kwasniewski at RORATE CAELI informs us that: “There is still no reliable information about the “interpretations” of Summorum pontificum announced by Francis, but there are numerous conjectures. Some of them are to be taken quite seriously.

Perhaps the most interesting consideration: Since there is talk of “interpretation,” the text of the motu proprio itself could remain untouched—the planned changes would be realized through a rewrite of the 2011 Universae Ecclesiae implementing regulations. Deeper interventions would thus not be necessary for the time being; yet one would have to accept certain incongruities between the Motu Proprio, which as such has the force of law, and the implementing regulations. This is precisely what one must expect in view of the increasingly demonstrated disregard for formal law and its norms in Rome.

Current practice would be to frame the changes not as generally binding prescriptions, but—under the pretext of decentralization and strengthening episcopal authority—as “extended possibilities,” or “options,” whose implementation would be left wholly or partly to the discretion of the local bishops. It is expected as certain that local ordinaries will be given full authority as to whether and when, and in what form, diocesan clergy may celebrate in the traditional rite. But priests of the old-rite communities could also be subjected to diocesan regulations for celebrating in churches of the diocese. In this context, it could come about that the previously valid prohibition of “mixed forms” would be relativized, so that, if necessary, readings according to the new lectionary and calendar, female altar servers, extraordinary ministers of communion, and other achievements of the Novus Ordo could be expected. Also the administration of the sacraments—above all, baptisms, marriages, and confirmation—are, according to rumors, to be regulated even more strongly than before. Even now, local ordinaries have considerable possibilities of influence over access to the liturgical rites in this regard—up to making (for example) confirmation according to the old liturgy impossible in their area of authority.”


What’s In Store For Us?

“According to current information and rumours about the impen­ding restrictions on the use of the traditional liturgy, the Vatican is planning a two-step approach. In a first step, expected in weeks rather than months, the rules for the use of the liturgy in diocesan clergy and under the responsibility of local bishops are to be rewritten. In a second step, which is not expected before the autumn, the priestly communities of the old rite are to be urged, emphatically and if necessary by coercive measures, to orientate their pastoral work, their community life, and their priestly formation to the “guidelines of the Second Vatican Council.”

Such a division into two parts seems logical and also advantageous from the point of view of church politics for the forces that want to push back the traditional rite and traditional teaching and spirituality. The documents of Summorum Pontificum—that is, the Motu Proprio itself, then the accompanying letter to the bishops [Con Grande Fiducia], and finally the implementing regulations issued only after a four-year delay in 2011 [Universae Ecclesiae]—essentially deal with rules for the clergy or the faithful in the dioceses, and only in a few special cases (e.g., with regard to the conferral of holy orders) make reference to questions of practice in old-rite communities, which may not yet have been sufficiently clarified in their founding documents.

The advantage of such a division into two parts for the curial apparatus would be, above all, to split up the expected opposition and resistance with regard to the affectedness and the interest situation and to disperse it over a longer period of time.”



The Remnant has independently confirmed that a Vatican document restricting Pope Benedict XVI’s apostolic letter Summorum Pontificum is backed by at least two Vatican cardinals, is in its third draft, and threatens to thwart the growth of the Traditional Latin Mass and other sacraments particularly among diocesan clergy.

Two senior members of the hierarchy confirmed May 31 that the document, first reported by on May 25, is currently under review at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).

Multiple sources have also told The Remnant that Pope Francis wishes to soon publish the document, and that it is alleged to be receiving backing in varying degrees from two cardinal consultors to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, and Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

The sources also said that these restrictive measures will most probably be carried out by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments and its newly appointed under-secretary Msgr. Aurelio García Marcías, whom Pope Francis is said to have raised to the episcopate for the very purpose of executing these plans.

Several senior Vatican sources have also confirmed that the first draft document was preceded by an introductory letter from Pope Francis that is said to have been very harsh and acrimonious toward the Tridentine Mass. 

The document is now in the third draft, the first two having been thought to be too severe. If it is eventually published, it is likely to roll back the liberalization of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass introduced by Pope Benedict XVI’s 2007 apostolic letter, Summorum Pontificum. 

That document authorized any stable group of faithful attached to the “previous liturgical tradition” to ask their local priest for the Mass who “should willingly accede to their requests.” The decree stated that the older form of the Mass was “never abrogated” and that both the Extraordinary and Ordinary Forms were “two expressions” of “one Roman Rite.”

The Remnant has learned that the first draft put strict limitations on the age of the celebrants and is described as somewhat similar to the indult of Paul VI, which allowed elderly priests to continue offering the Tridentine Mass after the promulgation of the Novus Ordo Missae by Paul VI. It also discussed whether to allow or prohibit the administration of the other sacraments in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.

In its present form, communities and diocesan priests who already offer the Mass in the Extraordinary Form may continue to do so, but diocesan clergy who wish to begin offering the Traditional Mass would have to obtain authorization. Whether local bishops or the Holy See will be responsible for granting such permissions is still under discussion.

The administration of the other sacraments in the Extraordinary Form, i.e. marriage, baptism, confirmation, etc., would be maintained for those who already have permission to celebrate the Traditional Mass.

The third draft moves the office of recourse for matters pertaining to the Traditional Latin Mass and oversight of priestly societies and religious communities that use the pre-1970 Missal, from the fourth section of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (formerly the pontifical commission Ecclesia Dei) to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

The first draft initially discussed placing these priestly societies (e.g. Fraternity of St. Peter, Institute of Christ the King, and Institute of the Good Shepherd) and other traditional communities under the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, two senior Vatican sources confirmed.

Such a move would be considered potentially more problematic for these communities, in light of the way the congregation has handled contemplative orders in the recent past, namely, through the 2018 Instruction Cor Orans, which requires autonomous female monasteries to belong to a wider federation, and asks novices and professed cloistered contemplative nuns to leave their enclosure for initial and ongoing formation, something alien to cloistered contemplative life.

Under the current plan, Msgr. García, who has served as head of office in the Congregation for Divine Worship since 2016, has been elevated to the episcopate in order to assume the responsibilities formerly carried out under Ecclesia Dei by its former president, Archbishop Guido Pozzo. A professor at the Pontifical Liturgical Institute at the Pontifical Athenaeum Sant’Anselmo, Msgr. García is not known to share Benedict XVI’s views on the sacred liturgy, one source describing him as “the most anti-Tridentine Mass person ever known.”

It is not clear yet whether the fourth section of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith will continue to handle doctrinal matters and relations with the Society of St. Pius X.

Several senior Vatican sources have also confirmed that the first draft document was preceded by an introductory letter from Pope Francis that is said to have been very harsh and acrimonious toward the Tridentine Mass. Jesuit Cardinal Luis Ladaria, Prefect of the CDF, strongly opposed both the first draft and the letter, senior Vatican sources confirmed. The letter has since been revised.

Concerns over possible curtailments of the Extraordinary Form arose after the CDF sent a letter to the presidents of bishops’ conferences worldwide asking them to distribute a nine-point questionnaireabout Summorum Pontificum. Cardinal Ladaria said the questionnaire was issued because the Pope wanted to be “informed about the current application” of the apostolic letter.

Approximately thirty percent of the world’s bishops responded to the questionnaire, and more than half of those who responded had a favorable or neutral response, multiple sources confirmed.

One source familiar with the consultation document said that, although the questions were notably biased against Summorum Pontificum, or formulated in a manner that did not always elicit a clear and specific response, what emerged from the questionnaire is how the Traditional Latin Mass has taken root. It has revealed that even in unexpected places, the old Mass is embraced and loved by young people and families, is bearing fruit in flourishing parishes, priestly and religious vocations, and in greater prayer and devotion among the faithful.

On May 31, the French traditional website Paix Liturgique, which was among the first to report on the forthcoming document, published an article titled, “The Summorum Pontificum Galaxy Prepares to Resist!”

Describing Summorum Pontificum as “provisions for peace” that “sought to bring peace to a Church that was sinking deeper and deeper into crisis,” the authors note how “from the very beginning, the traditional movement has been grounded in the action of laymen.”

Their efforts, it continues, were “a surprising and providential manifestation of the sensus fidelium, of the instinct of the faith among the faithful, which defends tooth and nail the lex orandi’s expression of the doctrines of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, the Real Presence, the hierarchical priesthood, and more generally of the transcendence of the mystery: ‘Do this in memory of Me!’”

Should Pope Francis decide to restrict Summorum Pontificum by issuing such a document, Paix Liturgique asserts that “this capacity to resist ‘on the ground’… may well come to include powerful demonstrations and actions.

“Already now,” they add, “in various spots of the globe, they are being given serious consideration.”


The Importance of the Holy Mass in the Prayer of the Church

by Fr. George Roth (FI)

Mary’s miraculous appearance at Knock in Ireland in 1879 was a great consolation to those who suffered through the terrible famines and extreme hardships of that era in Ireland’s history. Although Our Lady of Knock was silent, the peace and healing she brought was real and lasting.

On the 21st August, 1879, at about 8 o’clock, Our Lady, St. Joseph, and St. John the Evangelist appeared in a blaze of Heavenly light. The vision also included Christ as the Lamb of God standing on an altar surmounted by a cross – a symbol of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the Holy Eucharist. St. John was standing with a gesture of teaching while holding a book, presumably the Book of the Revelation he authored, in which he described his vision of the heavenly liturgy (Holy Mass).  
Our Lady is reminding us of the importance of the Holy Eucharist and Holy Mass in the prayer of the Church.

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1 Response to Is Pope Francis Planning to Restrict Benedict XVI’s Apostolic Letter “Summorum Pontificum”?

  1. Brother Burrito says:

    To answer the question in the title:


    Liked by 1 person

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