Rorate Caeli

Op-Ed: "The Enemies of Summorum Pontificum Want War!"

 by German website

Paix Liturgique yesterday published its Letter 805, which contains more information on the planned restriction or abolition of Summorum Pontificum. We bring a partially condensed translation.

It begins with a long quotation: “In the coming days or weeks, there will be a new motu proprio,” the archbishop of Dijon, Minnerath, told a group of adherents of the traditional liturgy on 6/26 who wanted to express their dissatisfaction to the bishop. But even before this document is published—if it is indeed published—information is mounting about the intentions of the opponents of Benedict XVI’s previous motu proprio.

Thus, Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin [is said to have] affirmed to a group of cardinals, “We must put an end to this Mass forever!” And Msgr Roche, new prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, laughingly declared to a group of Roman seminary officials and English-speaking Curia staff, “Summorum Pontificum is practically dead. We are returning authority to the bishops on this matter—but certainly not to the conservative bishops.”

It should be noted that Bishop Minnerath, who began the hostilities against the traditional congregation in Dijon, is also a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and is therefore in Rome every month and is very familiar with the circles preparing the attack on Summorum Pontificum.

The Motu proprio Summorum Pontificum of Benedict XVI in 2007 was a compromise that brought about with great skill a coexistence between the new Mass of Paul VI and the Tridentine Mass—one could also say between fire and water. It is clear from all our surveys that this peace treaty was widely welcomed by the vast majority of the Christian people, whether they participated in the traditional liturgy or not.

As we have known since the Pope’s appearance at the Italian Bishops’ Conference on Pentecost Monday, the new text will limit the ability of diocesan priests to celebrate the traditional liturgy. In addition, measures will be taken to encourage priests of Ecclesia Dei communities to also celebrate the new Mass and to include this new Mass and the conciliar magisterium as a whole in the formation of the seminaries of these communities.

A second part of the Paix Liturgique Letter is under the subheading: “Liturgical reform advocates have become aware of the importance of the tradition-oriented world.” Central to this section is also the observation, already shared here several times, that tradition-oriented communities constitute some of the few areas of the Church where there is growth, while “conciliar” structures are in partial free-fall. Noteworthy is Paix Liturgique’s observation that a Roman group is leading here, openly professing the hermeneutic of rupture and assuming that the old and new Masses represent two incompatible stages of doctrine.

The third section, “Doves and Hawks,” tries to take a look at the internal Roman front, which is no longer as clear-cut as it might have seemed a few years ago. Even among the “modernists” there is growing opposition to the chaotic administration of the present pontiff, and even among those who are committed to the reformed liturgy there are voices that—considering the present unstable situation—warn against opening a new battle line in the fight against the traditionalists.

The fourth and final part, “A front of refusal is preparing itself,” states:

As can be seen from the noise caused by leaks on the alteration of Summorum Pontificum, a front of refusal is preparing itself. Are we going back to the situation of the 1970s, when Paul VI’s new missal was introduced? The only difference is that today the Roman institutions and the national episcopates are much weaker.

In Dijon, the priests of the diocese and the faithful who still attend church at all cannot comprehend the archbishop’s policy, which is incomprehensible to them. This is probably what the reaction of the whole Christian people will be: incomprehension. Why reopen the old wounds? Why revel in ecumenism outwardly, but reject it inwardly? Why show so little mercy?

And all this in an environment of dramatic decline of Catholicism. Andrea Riccardi, the main representative of the Community of Sant’Egidio—who is really the opposite of a conservative—has described in a recent book the burning of Notre Dame in Paris as a symbol of the imminent extinction of the Church as a social force: The Church is Burning—Crisis and the Future of Christianity. Country by country in Europe, his analysis yields the collapse of Catholicism. In his conclusions, of course, he inevitably expresses some hopes in the vein of “the crisis is not the end.” But before that, there are some rather poisonous sentences: “Many Catholics have gone from enthusiasm for Bergoglio to disillusionment” or “The solution will not come from (structural) reforms,” and he also states: “Traditionalism is a significant reality within the Church, both organizationally and in terms of content.”

The Catholics who adhere to the traditional form of the Holy Mass are promised extinction: “We must put an end to this Mass forever!” (Cardinal Parolin), and “Summorum Pontificum is practically dead” (Archbishop Roche). Traditional Catholics face hard times if Roman toleration and (more or less) bishops’ toleration were to be withdrawn from them. But does anyone think that would make them give up? It may well be that in the trial of strength now brewing, it will be the guardians of the Council liturgy who have the most to lose.

(Translation of “Die Feinde von Summorum Pontificum wollen den Krieg!” from, published on June 29, 2021.)