21 July 2021, The Tablet

In search of a shared identity

Roman rite


Benedict XVI’s decision in 2007 to revive the old form of the Mass known as the Tridentine Rite was leading to a harmful degree of disunity in the Catholic Church. That’s the opinion of Catholic bishops worldwide who were consulted by Pope Francis before he issued his ruling overturning Benedict’s Summorum Pontificum.

Benedict envisaged two “forms” of the one Roman Rite operating harmoniously side by side – though it was an unconvincing proposition from the start, the Ordinary and the Extraordinary Forms being different rites in all but name. What almost inevitably resulted was the creation of dissent, where the pre-Vatican II form of the Mass, invariably in Latin, became a magnet for those who, implicitly or explicitly, rejected the Council itself. Benedict never consulted the rest of the Church. Clearly, Francis does not share this conception of papal leadership.

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