Most US bishops responded cautiously to Pope Francis’ motu proprio, Traditionis Custodes, assuring those who attend the traditional Latin Mass that they would be able to continue to do so, at least pending further study, writes Michael Sean Winters.
“I will prayerfully reflect upon Traditionis Custodes in the coming weeks to ensure we understand fully the Holy Father’s intentions and consider carefully how they are realised in the Archdiocese of Washington,” stated Cardinal Wilton Gregory in a letter to his priests. “In the interim, I hereby grant the faculty to those who celebrate the Mass using the liturgical books issued before 1970 to continue to do so.”
The Priestly Fraternity of St Peter (FSSP) was less welcoming. “At this point, it is too early to tell what all the implications will be [for the FSSP], but we assure you that we remain committed to serving the faithful attending our apostolates in accordance with our constitutions and charism as we have done since our founding. We must strive to see this Cross as a means of our sanctification, and to remember that God will never abandon his Church.”
Bishops who host the FSSP said their parishes would not be affected. However, some websites were more aggressive. Remnant editor Michael Matt wrote: “He [Pope Francis] has locked down Summorum Pontificum because like a crucifix to a vampire, the old Catholic liturgy threatens the diabolical New World Order to which Francis has signed on.” Michael Brendan Dougherty in National Review called the document “diabolical”.
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