OPE LEGIS - Comments on the cuts to the Motu Proprio "Summorum Pontificum"
News about the suppression of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei has been leaked to the press. The greatest worry for conservative Catholics is that this decision imposed by Bergoglio is only the first step towards the total abolition of Summorum Pontificum, or at the very least drastic cuts to its field of application.
For several weeks now, people such as Redaelli, Brambilla, and Girardi at the Italian Bishops’ Conference have been openly supporting the suppression of the Motu Proprio, saying that it is a legal nonsense [here].
Clearly these words were not immediately censored, so it is clear that they are a political tool to test the reactions of the faithful. A further document bearing the Papal signature gives further confirmation of the threat looming for those who frequent the Traditional Liturgy; they are in some ways forced to accept saltem impliciter all the doctrinal, liturgical, and disciplinary apparatus of Vatican II, which has clearly shown itself to be the sworn enemy of that very Liturgy.
According to the Italian newspaper La Verità [here], the final purpose of the decision reached by Bergoglio is to blot out the Motu Proprio issued by H.H. Benedict XVI. Since he is still alive, it can only be applied more weakly for the moment; its secondary purpose, no less insidious, is to install a spirit of hatred and competition between the Society of St Pius X and the conservative wing of the Church, “to feed the spirit of jealousy which exists between Traditionalist groups.” This is a malicious and completely false rumour spread by faux-conservative groups very close to the Holy See, who are trying to shift blame for dissolving Ecclesia Dei onto a sort of conspiracy by the Society of St. Pius X to damage their competitors approved by the new church. It is a skilfully prepared rumour, and many unwary Catholics have already fallen for it hook, line and sinker.
Those who know the ways of the former Superior of the Jesuits in Argentina will be only too well aware that this is all part of his master plan to weaken any Conservative opposition, thus empowering the ultra-progressives. I find it difficult to think that the Society somehow want to have their enemies in Rome give them some sort of monopoly over the old Liturgy, and there is a good reason for this: if they have to challenge any further doctrinal drift by the former Bishop of Buenos Aires - which becomes more and more worrying day by day - they would be shutting themselves and the Tridentine Liturgy off in a de facto ghetto. This need to stand up against his heresies - especially considering that the more conservative Cardinals and Bishops are keeping absolutely quiet about them - cannot be put off because of fear that the sanctions under Canon Law might be applied as before. Sanctions were originally applied by the Apostolic See against Archbishop Lefebvre, often using the measures usually seen at Stalinist show trials to hide their real intent. It is absolutely unthinkable that Father Davide Pagliarani, Superior General of the Society, might prefer the path of silence when dealing with the Vatican, especially as implementation of the latest liturgical reforms spoken about by many seems imminent.
Bergoglio’s intentions seem clear: to make sure that the Society becomes the only Institute with real liturgical and doctrinal independance, while everyone else waits for him to move somewhere better; put up for the moment with those Institutes approved by Ecclesia Dei which have only partial liturgical independence but which are completely dependent upon the Vatican in terms of doctrine and discipline, and which live every day in the constant fear and terror of an Apostolic Visit; and, finally, to stop all Priests from using the Old Rite by saying that the liturgical emergency which caused the Pontifical Commission to be set up in the first place no longer exists [here].
The fact still remains that after the so-called excommunications were suspended by Benedict XVI, and after Bergoglio gave almost total juridical recognition to the Society, those inevitable complaints about sundry heresies and errors were taken as a lack of gratitude towards the Apostolic See, as happened when permission to consecrate new Bishops was denied in 1988. Since the Society could not be condemned for its orthodoxy, its members were excommunicated by forcing Archbishop Lefebvre to disobey the Holy See, which kept delaying permission for the consecrations in the hope that his death would solve the problem.
Basically, the Vatican wants to force the Society to do the same things once again, instead of simply accepting the schism which everyone can see. A schism directly caused by Bergoglio, the only purpose of which is to force out the only truly Catholic voice within the Church. The same fate awaits the many faithful and the many simple Priests who feel constant exasperation with the paradigm shift at Casa Santa Marta and who are truly frustrated with the limits placed on the Vetus Ordo.
Moderates will surely say that there is no reason to worry about the suppression of Summorum Pontificum, and that the latest Motu Proprio - which has been printed and signed but not yet made public - will cover merely administrative affairs. They will say that there will be no real difference after its publication for the Traditional Liturgy. There will still be the Society of St. Peter, the Good Shepherd Institute, and the Institute of Christ the King who will say the Old Liturgy in public, although they are currently all seeking supporters and protectors in the Roman Curia to ensure that they, too, will not face instant suppression. There are those who have even suggested that this is a method for blaming the Society of St. Pius X for stealing the TLM, something which is not only a complete and utter lie, but which also clearly goes against everything that has been done against the many Priests who have learnt to use the Church’s centuries-old Liturgy.
The unsurprising result - as my friend Patrick Archbold predicted here - is that ordinary diocesan and regular Priests will be denied the faculty of saying the Old Mass if they do not belong to the official rassemblement ufficiale: “I think they will repeal Summorum Pontificum (specifically the individual right of priests to say the Mass) while still allowing it under some super indult structure, a juiced up Ecclesia Dei. […] They will move us back to the indult era and consolidate us into a few groups (FSSP, ICKSP, etc) and some grandfathered indult locations.
As confirmation that this possibility is anything but remote, we now have the Bergoglio’s Storm Troopers making their first significant step: on 17 December Archbishop Víctor Manuel Fernández of La Plata in Argentina published a decree [here] and, in visible violation of the norms set out in the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, orders the Clergy in his Archdiocese to celebrate ONLY the New Mass, in Spanish, with the altar facing the people. The Tridentine Liturgy is allowed only once on Sundays and only once during the week. Not only does this decree go against the Motu Proprio, it also goes against liturgical law under the Novus Ordo which - at least theoretically - do not require the altar to face the people nor the language of Mass to be any particular one.
Let me remind you that Archbishop Fernández, popularly referred to as Tucho, is the ghost writer for Bergoglio’s Encyclicals, his friend and confidant, and one of the most strenuous defenders of the heresies in Amoris lætitia. I mentioned this Prelate last March [here], when he made the following amazing remark: “I see that in the Catholic world Francis is irreversibly demythologising the Papacy. Until now nobody dared to criticise the Pope, but now there is a lot more freedom and nobody is sanctioned any more for doing this. This stops the Pope from appearing too sacred, from being superior and untouchable.”
Talking about Bergoglio being “superior and untouchable,” Tornielli asked the Archbishop if Catholics were confused after Amoris lætitia. Fernández replied, “Amoris lætitia implies a paradigm change in the way we deal with complicated things, but this does not mean all the doors have been opened. It certainly goes beyond allowing divorced and remarried people to make communion. This change, which stops us being too hard and mathematical, isn’t liked by everyone. But the Pope ordered a note to be published in the official version in the Acta Apostolicæ Sedis. Only a Pope can decide something like this, and Francis did. So Catholics cannot be confused. We know exactly what the Pope wants. This does not mean you have to like it, or think it is good or bad. But you cannot say you are “confused.” You can say, “I don’t like this.” Or “I’d rather the Church applied more restrictive standards.”
I think it reasonable to assume that this decision by the Archbishop of La Plata - which follows the usual path of the post-conciliar sect - is merely an advance warning of what Bergoglio is about to do at world level. And since Archbishop Fernández is an extremely important member of the Argentine Bishops’ Conference, it is obvious that this message will be interpreted by the other members of the Conference as an invitation to do the same and stop the application of Summorum Pontificum until, by his Apostolic Authority, the Great Argentine strikes his coup de grace against the Tridentine Liturgy and completely wipes out Catholic conservatives.
As Patrick Archbold has said, “No, he won't ban the Traditional Latin Mass outright, I don't think. The Pope will do something much worse than ban it. He is going to change it. […] So there you have it. Any approved group that resists the changes or complains too loud gets the Apostolic Visitation and is squashed for refusal to submit to the Pontiff. Any diocesan indult community that resists is squashed. And any Catholic who thinks he can go underground and just have Masses said in someone’s house? Nope. Individual priests no longer have the right to say the Mass. Do it and you have refused to submit to the authority of the Pope. You are a schismatic. So too any Bishop. You either accept the Vatican Two boot on your neck or you are a schismatic. Any attempt to live an authentic traditional Catholic life, whether as a religious, or just attending the Mass of the ages, will make you a schismatic by default. Go SSPX, you are schismatic. Go to an underground Mass. Schismatic. Form a group of faithful under a traditional rule without permission of Rome, schismatic. They will turn any and all attempts to live a traditional Catholic life into an act of disobedience.”
I wish to point out, however, the extreme short-sightedness of those who, even with the best of intentions, accepted the partial application of the Motu Proprio. Liberalising the Tridentine Liturgy foresaw the setting up in all parishes of a coetus fidelium and no permission had to be asked of the Ordinary. Unless the Parish Priest could not or would not accept the new situation. Usually the Ordinaries would nominate a non-parish church where the faithful could have their liturgical functions as though they were living on some sort of Indian reservation.
This departure from the requirements of the Motu Proprio should have been denounced from the very outset, because it is clear that if the old Liturgy could be celebrated in many parishes, and not just in one church in a diocese, parishioners who were not used to the old rite could have assisted at the functions and would not have felt penalised in going to them. Parish Priests would have come to know the Tridentine Liturgy and many of them would have fallen in love with it and its deeply Catholic spirituality. Such an application ad litteram of the Motu Proprio would have brought millions to the Mass of St. Pius V, and any return to the status quo would have become much more complex.
It must be realised that the surrender of many conservative groupings on this point weakened them right from the start. It should have given them strength, but since they were spread over different Mass centres they can now be wiped out with extreme ease, without hitting hundreds of churches. This, too, is something I spoke of in 2007 and then again in 2011[here], when I said that designating a church for the Tridentine Mass was something already set out in the Apostolic Indult Ecclesia Dei, and that the novelty of Summorum Pontificum could be seen in the fact that the faithful could ask their Parish Priests to recognise their rights directly and immediately.
All this has come about in an extremely realistic way, and now I wonder if those Prelates, Priests, and faithful who love the old Liturgy will allow their rights to be suppressed, when they were granted by Saint Pius V and then confirmed by Benedict XVI. Perhaps they will have to be courageous in their disobedience now that they are faced by an extreme abuse of power which has absolutely no reason to exist, other than to show hatred for the Catholic Mass.
Whether the obey or disobey, the problem remains that they will have made it possible for a de facto schism to occur, as Bergoglio has forced them to do: “This is how you make a de facto schism into a real one with the faithful Catholics on the outside looking in.” […] They have cut off every escape path and are driving us to the cliff, because that is where they want us. Choose. Obedience or your Faith.”
The only possible way this expelling of Catholics from the Church by apostates can be avoided is by denouncing this abuse in the strongest possible terms before it becomes official in a new Motu Proprio.