Pope Francis restricts Latin mass

The move was greeted by many conservative Catholics as a reprimand from the Holy Father.

Pope Francis/Twitter

(Daily Caller News Foundation) — The head of the Catholic Church announced Friday that he is tightening restrictions on traditional Latin masses, arguing that they have been “exploited” to cause divisiveness in the Church.

“An opportunity offered by St. John Paul II and, with even greater magnanimity, by Benedict XVI, intended to recover the unity of an ecclesial body with diverse liturgical sensibilities, was exploited to widen the gaps, reinforce the divergences, and encourage disagreements that injure the Church, block her path, and expose her to the peril of division,” Pope Francis wrote in the motu proprio Traditionis Custodes.

The pope ordered that priests who are already celebrating the Latin mass need to get their bishop’s permission to continue celebrating, and any priest who is ordained in the future must submit a formal request to their bishop to celebrate the Latin mass. That bishop will then need to consult with the Vatican before the priest may celebrate the Latin mass.

The move was greeted by many conservative Catholics as a reprimand to traditionalists from the pontiff.

“The lack of mercy shown here toward traditional Catholics, Benedict XVI, and the young laity and clergy drawn to the Latin Mass is stunning,” warned EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo. “This will create the division that Francis claims to cure through this ill advised and destructive new law.”

The Catholic Church’s former pope, Benedict XVI, had issued a 2007 ruling that encouraged priests to offer the Latin mass if their parishioners requested it, Crux reported. The former pope’s ruling said that parishioners could go around the priest to the bishop or even the Vatican if the priest denied their request.

Before the former pope’s ruling, the Latin mass was not allowed to be on parishes’ normal Mass schedules and had to be requested of the bishop.

Benedict resigned as pope in February 2013, saying he no longer had the strength to continue leading the Catholic Church. The last pope to resign from the papacy was Gregory XII, who left the office in 1415.

“Ever more plain in the words and attitudes of many is the close connection between the choice of celebrations according to the liturgical books prior to Vatican Council II and the rejection of the Church and her institutions in the name of what is called the ‘true Church,’” Pope Francis wrote as justification for his announcement.

He continued: “One is dealing here with comportment that contradicts communion and nurtures the divisive tendency — ‘I belong to Paul; I belong instead to Apollo; I belong to Cephas; I belong to Christ’ — against which the Apostle Paul so vigorously reacted (1 Cor 1:12-13). In defense of the unity of the Body of Christ, I am constrained to revoke the faculty granted by my Predecessors.”


Mary Margaret Olohan

Mary Margaret Olohan is a reporter for The Daily Signal.