“I am saddened by an instrumental use of the Missale Romanum of 1962, increasingly characterized by a growing rejection not only of the liturgical reform, but of the Second Vatican Council, with the unfounded and unsustainable assertion that it has betrayed Tradition and the true Church ‘”. Thus Pope Francis in the Letter to the bishops of the whole world to present the Motu Proprio “Traditionis Custodes” on the use of the Roman Liturgy prior to the 1970 Reformation. In practice, on masses celebrated in the ancient rite. If Benedict XVI, in order to meet the Lefebvrians and other traditionalists, had liberalized the pre-conciliar missal, that is the so-called “mass in Latin” (Motu proprio “Summorum pontificum” of 2007), Francis modifies the norms of the celebrations in the liturgy preceding the Council .
“I am saddened – writes the Pontiff in the Letter to the Bishops – in the same way the abuses of one side and the other in the celebration of the liturgy. Like Benedict XVI, I too stigmatize that ‘in many places people do not celebrate faithfully to the prescriptions of the new Missal, but it is even understood as an authorization or even as an obligation to creativity, which often leads to distortions to the limit of what is bearable ‘”. Francis explains the decision to abrogate the previous norms, recalling the reasons that led John Paul II and Benedict XVI to grant the possibility of using the Roman Missal promulgated by Saint Pius V, published by Saint John XXIII in 1962. The Motu Proprio ‘ Ecclesia Dei ‘of 1988, there was the will to favor the recomposition of the schism with the movement led by Monsignor Lefebvre. That faculty “was interpreted by many within the Church as the possibility of freely using the Roman Missal promulgated by Saint Pius V, determining a parallel use to the Roman Missal promulgated by Saint Paul VI”. Bergoglio also recalls that “to regulate this situation, Benedict XVI intervened on the issue many years later, regulating a fact within the Church, as many priests and many communities had gratefully used the possibility offered by the Motu proprio to St. John Paul II. Underlining how this development was not foreseeable in 1988, the Motu proprio Summorum Pontificum of 2007 intended to introduce ‘a clearer legal regulation’ on the matter “.
Supporting his choice was the conviction that this provision “would not cast doubt on one of the essential decisions of the Second Vatican Council, thereby undermining its authority: the Motu proprio fully recognized that the Missal promulgated by Paul VI is the ordinary expression of the lex orandi of the Catholic Church of the Latin rite ‘”. Thirteen years later, Bergoglio explains, “I have instructed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to send you a questionnaire on the application of the Motu proprio Summorum Pontificum. The responses received revealed a situation that pains and worries me, confirming my need. to intervene. Unfortunately, the pastoral intent of my Predecessors, who had intended to make every effort, so that all those who truly desire unity, be made possible to remain in this unity or to find it again. once again, it has often been seriously disregarded. A possibility offered by Saint John Paul II and with even greater magnanimity by Benedict XVI in order to recompose the unity of the ecclesial body while respecting the various liturgical sensibilities has been used to increase distances, harden differences, build contrasts that injure the Church and hinder its progress, exposing it to the risk of divisions “. Here is the decision “to abrogate all the norms, instructions, concessions and customs preceding this Motu Proprio, and to retain the liturgical books promulgated by the Holy Pontiffs Paul VI and John Paul II, in conformity with the decrees of the Second Vatican Council , as the only expression of the lex orandi of the Roman Rite “.
The responsibility of regulating the celebration according to the pre-conciliar rite returns to the bishop, moderator of diocesan liturgical life: “it is his exclusive competence to authorize the use of the Missale Romanum of 1962 in the diocese, following the guidelines of the Apostolic See”. The bishop will have to ascertain that groups that already celebrate with the ancient missal “do not exclude the validity and legitimacy of the liturgical reform, the dictates of the Second Vatican Council and the Magisterium of the Supreme Pontiffs”. Masses with the ancient rite will no longer be held in parish churches, the bishop will establish the church and the days of celebrations. Readings must be “in the vernacular” using the translations approved by the Bishops’ Conferences. The celebrant will be a priest delegated by the bishop. The latter is also responsible for verifying whether or not to maintain the celebrations according to the ancient missal, verifying their “effective usefulness for spiritual growth”. It is in fact necessary that the priest in charge has at heart not only the dignified celebration of the liturgy, but the pastoral and spiritual care of the faithful. The bishop “will take care not to authorize the constitution of new groups”. Priests ordained after the publication of today’s Motu proprio, who intend to celebrate with the pre-conciliar missal “must submit a formal request to the diocesan Bishop who, before granting the authorization, will consult the Apostolic See”. While those who already do so will have to ask the diocesan bishop for authorization to continue using it. The Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, “erected at the time by the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei” come under the competence of the Congregation for Religious. The Departments of Worship and Religious will supervise the observance of these new provisions.