Francisco has returned in top form from his colon operation, and he has just made one of those decisions that will mark his pontificate. In an unpublished Motu Proprio, the Pope has revoked “all the norms, instructions, concessions and customs” approved by John Paul II and Benedict XVI and prohibits masses in Latin and with his back to the people according to the rite prior to Vatican II, except in very few exceptions. A mortal blow to the rigorists, taken weeks after ousting one of its main defenders, Cardinal Robert Sarah, from the command of the Congregation for Divine Worship, and at the gates of the reform of the Curia. A hot summer is coming in Rome and the risk of a schism appears more and more clearly on the ecclesial horizon.
Why this decision by Bergoglio? The reason goes beyond the liturgical: to verify that “the opportunity offered” by Wojtyla and Ratzinger to traditionalist groups, such as the Lefebvrians, responsible for the last schism in the Catholic Church, “to restore the unity of the ecclesial body, respecting the various sensibilities liturgical, has been used to increase distances, harden differences and build oppositions that hurt the Church and hinder its progress, exposing it to the risk of division. ”
Hence the harshness of the decision, which the Pope himself has explained, by letter, to all the bishops of the world. From now on, the only books considered valid will be those approved by the Second Vatican Council, discarding the Missal of St. Pius V, which established a rite entirely in Latin, with the priest facing away from the faithful, communion in his mouth and on their knees, and the women separated from the men (and wearing a white mantilla) on the church pews. A custom that has its roots in the Council of Trent and that had been overcome after the Council, although it was recovered by Bergoglio’s predecessors.
“Unity must be reestablished throughout the Roman-rite Church,” proclaims Bergoglio. A single rite, that of the Council. Will the rigorists accept it or will there be a new schism in the Catholic Church? For the time being, the rule – which has come into force immediately – prevents new groups from being created and sets strict rules so that existing ones can continue to celebrate Mass in this way. Thus, the readings “are to be proclaimed in the vernacular”, and never again in Latin. The rest of the liturgy may be proclaimed in the official language of the Church. In addition, they will have to ask permission from each bishop, who must verify that “these groups do not exclude the validity and legitimacy of the liturgical reform, of the dictates of the Second Vatican Council.”
Bergoglio explains that, when Benedict XVI allowed the use of the pre-conciliar Missal, he wanted to “favor the recomposition of the schism with the movement led by Archbishop Lefebvre” and, thus, “to rebuild the unity of the Church.” However, the Pope adds, “this faculty was interpreted by many within the Church as the possibility of freely using the Roman Missal promulgated by Saint Pius V, resulting in a parallel use to the official” Missal.
Rejection of the council and “the true Church”
Thirteen years after Ratzinger liberalized this practice, Francis commissioned the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to send him a questionnaire on its application. “The responses I received revealed a situation that distresses and worries me, confirming the need to intervene,” admits the Pope, who maintains that the use of the 1962 Missal “is increasingly characterized by a growing rejection not only of liturgical reform. , but rather of the Second Vatican Council, with the unfounded and unsustainable assertion that it has betrayed Tradition and the “true Church.” Here, Bergoglio is resounding: “To doubt the Council is to doubt the Church.”
“It is increasingly evident in the words and attitudes of many that there is a close relationship between the choice of celebrations according to the liturgical books prior to Vatican II and the rejection of the Church and its institutions in the name of what they consider the” true Church “, insists Francis, adding that” it is a behavior that contradicts communion, fueling that impulse towards division. “For this reason, he concludes,” I am forced to revoke the power granted by my predecessors. ”
All the information in www.religiondigital.org